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title

Reconsidering No Man Knows My History

edited by Newell G. Bringhurst

Publication Year: 1996

Fawn Brodie's biography of the founding Mormon prophet has received both praise and condemnation since it's publication in 1945. In 1995, at a symposium to mark its fiftieth anniversary, several scholars gathered together to re-examine Brodie, her Joseph Smith biography and its continuing importance. Bringhurst has brought together many of the essays from that meeting.

Published by: Utah State University Press

Contents

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pp. v-vi

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Foreword: The Example of Fawn McKay Brodie: A Tribute

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pp. vii-xii

Fawn McKay Brodie and I were strict contemporaries: We were born in the same year; we met on several occasions; we corresponded; and once, in June 1978, we shared the same platform with the distinguished Black historian John Hope Franklin at a Phi Beta Kappa ceremony. ...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xiii-

I am extremely grateful to a number of individuals whose help, influence, and inspiration facilitated publication of this book. This volume would not have been possible without the contributions of William Mulder, Marvin S. Hill, Mario S. De Pillis, Lavina Fielding Anderson, Todd Compton, and Roger D. Launius, ...

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Introduction

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pp. 1-6

Alfred A. Knopf first published Fawn M. Brodie's No Man Knows My History: The Ufe of Joseph Smith, the Mormon Prophet in November 1945. Over the next twenty-five years, this work went through eight printings. In 1971, it was revised and enlarged into a second edition. This revised edition, in tum, has gone through ...

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1. A Biography of the Biography: The Research and Writing of No Man Knows My History

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pp. 7-38

Fawn Brodie did not originally set out to write a biography of Joseph Smith per se. Instead, she explained years later that when a study of the anthropology of American Indians convinced her that they were of Mongoloid rather than Hebraic origin, she wanted to satisfy herself by exploring ...

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2. Applause, Attack, and Ambivalence: Varied Responses to No Man Knows My History

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pp. 39-59

In November 1945 Alfred A. Knopf published the first edition of Fawn M. Brodie's No Man Knows My History: The Life of Joseph Smith. Brodie, in terms of her background and intelligence, seemed highly qualified to write a biography of Mormonism's founder.1 Born Fawn McKay in Ogden, Utah, on September 15, 1915, ...

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3. Secular or Sectarian History? A Critique of No Man Knows My History

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pp. 60-93

When Herbert O. Brayer reviewed No Man Knows My History, Fawn Brodie's biography of the Mormon prophet, Joseph Smith, in the Mississippi Valley Historical Review in 1946, his words were prophetic. "This book" he said, "which purports to be a 'definitive biography' will probably be one of the most highly praised ...

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4. Fawn McKay Brodie: At the Intersection of Secularism and Personal Alienation

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pp. 94-126

I argue that Fawn McKay Brodie's immediate environment was a rich and ambiguity-fraught intersection of modem secularism with Brodie's own personal alienation from the religious tradition that formed her. Her biography has been a scandal to orthodox Mormons for half a century and Brodie, herself excommunicated ...

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5. Literary Style in No Man Knows My History: An Analysis

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pp. 127-153

Perhaps the first analysis of Fawn Brodie's literary style in No Man Knows My History came in August 1944 when she gave a revised second draft of the manuscript to Dale Morgan for his critique, a service he had performed since their first meeting a year earlier. Among other comments he called the manuscript ...

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6. Fawn Brodie on Joseph Smith's Plural Wives and Polygamy: A Critical View

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pp. 154-194

Anyone who sets out to seriously study Joseph Smith's polygamous marriages must use the appendix to Fawn Brodie's No Man Knows My History as a starting point.1 This appendix is a pioneering work; before Brodie, few had studied Smith's polygamy on a scholarly level. Nevertheless, the discerning reader ...

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7. From Old to New Mormon History: Fawn Brodie and the Legacy of Scholarly Analysis of Mormonism

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pp. 195-233

If there had been no Fawn Brodie, Mormon historians would have had to invent her. Ever since she published No Man Knows My History: The Life of Joseph Smith, the Mormon Prophet in 1945, calling into serious question most of the faith claims based on Mormonism's early history, an enormous amount of energy ...

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Notes on the Contributors

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pp. 234-235

Lavina Fielding Anderson is president of Editing, Inc. She is editor of the Journal of Mormon History, a member of the Board of Editors of Signature Books, co-associate editor of Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, former associate editor of Ensign, and past president of the Association for Mormon Letters. ...

Index

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pp. 236-241


E-ISBN-13: 9780874213355
Print-ISBN-13: 9780874212143

Publication Year: 1996