Periodicals; Mormons; Religious thought; Philosophy and religion
Independent national quarterly established to express Mormon culture and examine the relevance of religion to secular life. It is edited by Mormons who wish to bring their faith into dialogue with human experience as a whole and to foster artistic and scholarly achievement based on their cultural heritage. The journal encourages a variety of viewpoints; although every effort is made to insure accurate scholarship and responsible judgment, the views expressed are those of the individual authors and are not necessarily those of the Mormon Church or of the editors.
Dialogue Foundation, P.O. Box 20210, Shaker Heights, Ohio 44120
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Chandler, Neal ; Chandler, Rebecca
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The State of Mormon Literature and Criticism Gideon Burton and Neal Kramer Gideon Burton and Neal Kramer both serve on the board of the Association for Mormon Letters. In consultation with Dialogue's editors, they have chosen and edited the selections for this issue. Two decades have passed since Dialogue last published an issue entirely devoted to Mormon literature. In the meantime literary writing about Latter-day Saints has been burgeoning both in LDS and national markets—so much so that it is difficult for literary critics to keep up with this growing body of novels, plays, poetry, and literary nonfiction. It is very important, however, that they try. To have a sense of the future of Mormon literature, it is vital that we see how present writings articulate with traditions from the past. Producing literary criticism to do just that is the central function of the Association for Mormon Letters, whose goal is to serve authors, scholars, and general readers of Mormon literature. In our yearly conference, through readings, book reviews, a very active e-mail list, and now an annual writers' workshop and a small quarterly literary magazine, Ir-reantum, we attempt to introduce people to Mormon literature past and present and to critically evaluate it. In this issue of Dialogue, we share with a broader public some of the best criticism that has been generated at our conferences and published in the annuals of the Association, as well as a sampling of new creative works from active writers. As editors we have found our task different from the one faced by editors of Dialogue's prior literary issues because the object of our study has been evolving, as have our means of literary analysis. Discussions of Mormon literature from earlier decades seem to have been controlled by a basic assumption, derived from standards established by the "New Critics" of the 1940s and '50s, that the quality of literature could be de-