Paul C Gutjahr

The Book of Mormon
by Paul C. Gutjahr

Late one night in 1823 Joseph Smith, Jr., was reportedly visited in his family’s farmhouse in upstate New York by an angel named Moroni. According to Smith, Moroni told him of a buried stack of gold plates that were inscribed with a history of the Americas’ ancient peoples, and which would restore the pure Gospel message as Jesus had delivered it to them. Thus began the unlikely career of the Book of Mormon, the founding text of the Mormon religion, and perhaps the most important sacred text ever to originate in the United States. Here Paul Gutjahr traces the life of this book as it has formed and fractured different strains of Mormonism and transformed religious expression around the world.

Gutjahr looks at how the Book of Mormon emerged from the burned-over district of upstate New York, where revivalist preachers, missionaries, and spiritual entrepreneurs of every stripe vied for the loyalty of settlers desperate to scratch a living from the land. He examines how a book that has long been the subject of ridicule–Mark Twain called it “chloroform in print”–has more than 150 million copies in print in more than a hundred languages worldwide. Gutjahr shows how Smith’s influential book launched one of the fastest growing new religions on the planet, and has featured in everything from comic books and action figures to feature-length films and an award-winning Broadway musical.


Charles Hodge
by Paul C. Gutjahr

Charles Hodge (1797-1878) was one of nineteenth-century America’s leading theologians, owing in part to a lengthy teaching career, voluminous writings, and a faculty post at one of the nation’s most influential schools, Princeton Theological Seminary. Surprisingly, the only biography of this towering figure was written by his son, just two years after his death. Paul C. Gutjahr’s book is the first modern critical biography of a man some have called the “Pope of Presbyterianism.” Hodge’s legacy is especially important to American Presbyterians. His brand of theological conservatism became vital in the 1920s, as Princeton Seminary saw itself, and its denomination, split. The conservative wing held unswervingly to the Old School tradition championed by Hodge, and ultimately founded the breakaway Orthodox Presbyterian Church. The views that Hodge developed, refined, and propagated helped shape many of the central traditions of twentieth- and twenty-first-century American evangelicalism. Hodge helped establish a profound reliance on the Bible among Evangelicals, and he became one of the nation’s most vocal proponents of biblical inerrancy. Gutjahr’s study reveals the exceptional depth, breadth, and longevity of Hodge’s theological influence and illuminates the varied and complex nature of conservative American Protestantism.

The Book of Mormon
by Paul C. Gutjahr

Late one night in 1823 Joseph Smith, Jr., was reportedly visited in his family’s farmhouse in upstate New York by an angel named Moroni. According to Smith, Moroni told him of a buried stack of gold plates that were inscribed with a history of the Americas’ ancient peoples, and which would restore the pure Gospel message as Jesus had delivered it to them. Thus began the unlikely career of the Book of Mormon, the founding text of the Mormon religion, and perhaps the most important sacred text ever to originate in the United States. Here Paul Gutjahr traces the life of this book as it has formed and fractured different strains of Mormonism and transformed religious expression around the world.

Gutjahr looks at how the Book of Mormon emerged from the burned-over district of upstate New York, where revivalist preachers, missionaries, and spiritual entrepreneurs of every stripe vied for the loyalty of settlers desperate to scratch a living from the land. He examines how a book that has long been the subject of ridicule–Mark Twain called it “chloroform in print”–has more than 150 million copies in print in more than a hundred languages worldwide. Gutjahr shows how Smith’s influential book launched one of the fastest growing new religions on the planet, and has featured in everything from comic books and action figures to feature-length films and an award-winning Broadway musical.


An American Bible
by Paul C. Gutjahr

"An American Bible is an extremely compelling piece of cultural history that succeeds in making rich rather than schematic sense of the major dramas that lay behind the production of over 1,700 different American editions of the Bible in the century after the American Revolution. Gutjahr’s book is especially powerful in demonstrating how nineteenth-century efforts to purge the Bible of textual and translational impurities in search of an ‘authentic’ text led ironically to the emergence of entirely new gospels like the Book of Mormon and the massive fictionalized literature dealing with the life of Christ."

–Jay Fliegelman,

Stanford University

During the first three-quarters of the nineteenth century, American publishing experienced unprecedented, exponential growth. An emerging market economy, widespread religious revival, educational reforms, and innovations in print technology worked together to create a culture increasingly formed and framed by the power of print. At the center of this new culture was the Bible, the book that has been called "the best seller" in American publishing history. Yet it is important to realize that the Bible in America was not a simple, uniform entity. First printed in the United States during the American Revolution, the Bible underwent many revisions, translations, and changes in format as different editors and publishers appropriated it to meet a wide range of changing ideological and economic demands.

This book examines how many different constituencies (both secular and religious) fought to keep the Bible the preeminent text in the United States as the country’s print marketplace experienced explosive growth. The author shows how these heated battles had profound consequences for many American cultural practices and forms of printed material. By exploring how publishers, clergymen, politicians, educators, and lay persons met the threat that new printed material posed to the dominance of the Bible by changing both its form and its contents, the author reveals the causes and consequences of mutating God’s supposedly immutable Word.


Bestsellers in Nineteenth-Century America
by Paul C. Gutjahr

Bestsellers in Nineteenth Century America seeks to produce for students novels, poems and other printed material that sold extremely well when they first appeared in the United States. Many of the most famous American works of the nineteenth century that we know today — such as Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick — were not widely read when they first appeared. This collection seeks to offer its readers a glimpse at the literature that lit up the literary horizon when the works were first published, leading to insights on key cultural aspects of the nineteenth-century United States and its literary culture.


The Oxford Handbook of the Bible in America
by Paul C. Gutjahr

Early Americans have long been considered “A People of the Book” Because the nickname was coined primarily to invoke close associations between Americans and the Bible, it is easy to overlook the central fact that it was a book-not a geographic location, a monarch, or even a shared language-that has served as a cornerstone in countless investigations into the formation and fragmentation of early American culture. Few books can lay claim to such powers of civilization-altering influence. Among those which can are sacred books, and for Americans principal among such books stands the Bible.

This Handbook is designed to address a noticeable void in resources focused on analyzing the Bible in America in various historical moments and in relationship to specific institutions and cultural expressions. It takes seriously the fact that the Bible is both a physical object that has exercised considerable totemic power, as well as a text with a powerful intellectual design that has inspired everything from national religious and educational practices to a wide spectrum of artistic endeavors to our nation’s politics and foreign policy.

This Handbook brings together a number of established scholars, as well as younger scholars on the rise, to provide a scholarly overview–rich with bibliographic resources–to those interested in the Bible’s role in American cultural formation.


Illuminating Letters
by Paul C. Gutjahr, Megan L. Benton

What do we read when we read a text? The author’s words, of course, but is that all? The prevailing publishing ethic has insisted that typography — the selection and arrangement of type and other visual elements on a page — should be an invisible, silent, and deferential servant to the text it conveys. This book contests that conventional point of view. Looking at texts ranging from the King James Bible to contemporary comic strips, the contributors to Illuminating Letters examine the seldom considered but richly revealing relationships between a text’s typography and its literary interpretation. The essays assume no previous typographic knowledge or expertise; instead they invite readers primarily concerned with literary and cultural meanings to turn a more curious eye to the visual and physical forms of a specific text or genre. As the contributors show, closer inspection of those forms can yield fresh insights into the significance of a text’s material presentation, leading readers to appreciate better how presentation shapes understandings of the text’s meanings and values. The case studies included in the volume amplify its two overarching themes: one set explores the roles of printers and publishers in manipulating, willingly or not, the meaning and reception of texts through typographic choices; the other group examines the efforts of authors to circumvent or subvert such mediation by directly controlling the typographic presentation of their texts. Together these essays demonstrate that choices about type selection and arrangement do indeed help to orchestrate textual meaning. In addition to the editors, contributors include Sarah A. Kelen, Beth McCoy, Steven R. Price, Leon Jackson, and Gene Kannenberg Jr.


Popular American Literature of the 19th Century
by Paul C. Gutjahr, Assistant Professor of English American Studies and Religious Studies Paul C Gutjahr

This unique collection captures some of the excitement and diversity of the immensely prolific print culture that formed and framed nineteenth-century American life and thought. Gathering popular stories that tap into a variety of nineteenth-century American self-perceptions, fears, dreams, and longings, this resurrectionist work makes available material that is not readily available today but which was vital to the culture and daily conversations of the period.
Popular American Literature of the 19th Century collects examples of a wide range of literature including tracts, plays, poems, gift books, dime novels, school books, and serialized newspaper novels. Featuring twenty-five works in their entirety and several more in extensive excerpts, it includes works by the American Tract Society, Catharine Esther Beecher, Bret Harte, Ik Marvel, William Holmes McGuffey, Maria Monk, Elizabeth Stuart Phelps, E. D. E. N. Southworth, Mason Locke Weems, and many others. The selections cover many important themes including singleness and marriage, domesticity and gender roles, masculinity, proper conduct, social reform, temperance, religion, urban and rural life, race, slavery, class, science, business, and more. Ideal for courses in nineteenth-century American literature, surveys of American literature, and introductory courses in American studies, Popular American Literature of the 19th Century is also a rich resource for anyone interested in American popular culture.

Popular American Literature of the 19th Century
by Paul C. Gutjahr, Assistant Professor of English American Studies and Religious Studies Paul C Gutjahr

This unique collection captures some of the excitement and diversity of the immensely prolific print culture that formed and framed nineteenth-century American life and thought. Gathering popular stories that tap into a variety of nineteenth-century American self-perceptions, fears, dreams, and longings, this resurrectionist work makes available material that is not readily available today but which was vital to the culture and daily conversations of the period.
Popular American Literature of the 19th Century collects examples of a wide range of literature including tracts, plays, poems, gift books, dime novels, school books, and serialized newspaper novels. Featuring twenty-five works in their entirety and several more in extensive excerpts, it includes works by the American Tract Society, Catharine Esther Beecher, Bret Harte, Ik Marvel, William Holmes McGuffey, Maria Monk, Elizabeth Stuart Phelps, E. D. E. N. Southworth, Mason Locke Weems, and many others. The selections cover many important themes including singleness and marriage, domesticity and gender roles, masculinity, proper conduct, social reform, temperance, religion, urban and rural life, race, slavery, class, science, business, and more. Ideal for courses in nineteenth-century American literature, surveys of American literature, and introductory courses in American studies, Popular American Literature of the 19th Century is also a rich resource for anyone interested in American popular culture.

The Last of the Mohicans
by James Fenimore Cooper

The Last of the Mohicans enjoyed tremendous popularity both in America and abroad, offering its readers not only a variation on the immensely popular traditional captivity narrative of the time, but also characters that would become iconic figures in the young nation’s emerging literature. The novel’s central action follows Leatherstocking and his two faithful friends, Chingachgook and Uncas, as they come to the aid of two daughters of a British officer seeking to become reunited with their father. The novel provides insights into Cooper’s own thinking on Native American and White relations during the early national period, revealing a profound ambivalence to the reality that the rising fortunes of the young United States meant the declining fortunes of the nation’s Native American inhabitants.



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