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Joseph Smith, Jr.Reappraisals After Two Centuries$
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Reid L. Neilson and Terryl L. Givens

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195369786

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195369786.001.0001

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“I Love All Men Who Dive”: Herman Melville and Joseph Smith

“I Love All Men Who Dive”: Herman Melville and Joseph Smith

(p.47) 4 “I Love All Men Who Dive”: Herman Melville and Joseph Smith
Joseph Smith, Jr.

Richard Dilworth Rust

Oxford University Press

This chapter illuminates Smith's religious-making imagination by juxtaposing him with America's greatest myth-making novelist of the 19th century, Herman Melville. Melville revealed a recurrent interest in things Mormon, and the most telling preoccupation that unites them, the chapter finds, is not so much the heights they achieved as successful creators of epic systems, as the depths they plumb as thought-divers, exploring the darkest abysses of human experience and of the tragic universe.

Keywords:   Mormonism, religious imagination, theodicy, American scripture

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