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Nineteenth-century American writers frequently cast the Mormon as a stock villain in such fictional genres as mysteries, westerns, and popular romances. The Mormons were depicted as a violent and perverse people--the "viper on the hearth"--who sought to violate the domestic sphere of the mainstream. While other critics have mined the socio-political sources of anti-Mormonism, Givens is the first to reveal how popular fiction, in its attempt to deal with the sources and nature of this conflict, constructed an image of the Mormon as a religious and social "Other."
Oxford University Press
Mormonism, Mormon church, Nineteenth-century literature, Mormons in literature
School of Arts and Sciences
American Literature | Christian Denominations and Sects | Comparative Methodologies and Theories | History of Christianity | Nonfiction | Religion
Givens, Terryl. The Viper on the Hearth: Mormons, Myths, and the Construction of Heresy. New York: Oxford University Press, 1997.