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Americanist Approaches to The Book of Mormon$
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Elizabeth Fenton and Jared Hickman

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190221928

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190221928.001.0001

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Books Buried in the Earth

Books Buried in the Earth

The Book of Mormon, Revelation, and the Humic Foundations of the Nation

Chapter:
(p.21) 1 Books Buried in the Earth
Source:
Americanist Approaches to The Book of Mormon
Author(s):

Jillian Sayre

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190221928.003.0002

This essay reads The Book of Mormon as productive of a structure of mourning, spoken through and effected by the historical romance. It considers not only how individuals come together in religious and national groups, but also the important role that textual artifacts play in those social identifications. The essay identifies shared concerns in structure, topic, and trope between this religious text and the exceedingly popular historical romance that circulated at the same time. The Book of Mormon imbues the American landscape with an antique grandeur, calling upon the contemporary reader to mourn for the communities it describes. But even as the reader volunteers identification by mourning, he or she already has been spoken into the text by the prophets. The romantic structure of prophecy in The Book of Mormon, this essay argues, foretells the reader, thus making of the postrevolutionary subject a historical inevitability emanating from the land itself.

Keywords:   messianic time, mourning, burial mounds, historical romance, reading communities, materialism, identification

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