Sunday Lit Crit Sermon: The Young Woman’s Journal on Novel Reading

YW_Journal_1889
First Page of the Young Women's Journal, 1889

With the advent of the home literature movement in the end of the 19th century, Mormon culture began to produce novels for the first time. For decades church leaders had taught from the pulpit that church members should avoid reading novels because they weren’t “true,” and one speech at a late 1880s YMMIA event by a Salt Lake City-area bishop (although admittedly an influential one–Orson F. Whitney) wasn’t going to change the perception of many church members. The message that reading some novels was acceptable would need to be explained and repeated.

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