Great Basin, travel writing, American literature


By the time the Latter-day Saints had settled in the Great Basin, travel writing had become a major genre of American literature. During the nineteenth century, a mass-reading American public who wished to experience the exotic vicariously were consuming book-length travel narratives and articles in American periodicals at a prodigious rate. Naturally, many travel-writers making their way West to chronicle the overland passage and capitalize on the tastes of the eastern readership paused in Utah to capture in prose the strange religion and peculiar people they observed there. The Mormons thus became a subject of great interest in Western travel narratives, and due to the unorthodox marital practices of the Mormons—which both repulsed and intrigued the eastern public—Mormon women became a subject of particular interest. Although these travel writers were generally united in their intrigue and repulsion of Mormon plural marriage, they often varied greatly in how they construed and depicted the odd practices of matrimony they observed.


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Religious Education

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Graduate Student