The Viper on the Hearth

The Viper on the Hearth : Mormons, Myths, and the Construction of Heresy

4.01 (69 ratings by Goodreads)
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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'.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 216 pages
  • 154.94 x 228.6 x 20.32mm | 453.59g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • halftones
  • 0195101839
  • 9780195101836
  • 2,073,508

Review quote

A wonderfully thought-through look at the interrelationships between fiction, religion, and the culture of humor/hostility....It represents a significant contribution to our understanding of literary relations. * Larry H. Peer, Brigham Young University *show more

Back cover copy

The Viper on the Hearth is the first full-length study to look at representations of Mormonism in popular fiction, enhancing our understanding of the religion's vexed relationship to American society. The book reconsiders the nature of Mormonism's encounter with mainstream religion, and asks how a category like "heresy" can operate in a pluralistic society. Examining the ways in which Mormons have been portrayed in popular culture, Givens's study demonstrates how fiction can respond to cultural conflicts and anxieties by refashioning heresy into a more appropriate target for moral and political more

About Terryl L. Givens

Terryl L. Givens did graduate work at Cornell University in intellectual history and at UNC Chapel Hill, where he received his PhD in comparative literature. He holds the Jabez A. Bostwick Chair of English and is Professor of Literature and Religion at the University of Richmond, where he teaches courses in nineteenth-century studies and the Bible's influence on Western literature. His writing has been praised by the New York Times as "provocative reading," and his numerous books include When Souls Had Wings, a history of the idea of premortal life in Western thought, as well as The God Who Weeps (with Fiona Givens) and Wrestling the more

Rating details

69 ratings
4.01 out of 5 stars
5 30% (21)
4 42% (29)
3 26% (18)
2 1% (1)
1 0% (0)
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