Bright Angels & Familiars

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I recently was given a copy of Bright Angels & Familiars, a short-fiction collection edited by Eugene England (Signature Books, 1992). I rather wish someone had given me this book in high school. Who knows? Maybe I would have read it and who knows where I would be now!

Fascinatingly, this volume was published seven (seven!) years before his famous essay “Danger on the Right! Danger on the Left!” which decried two recent books of short fiction, one from Signature (1998), one from Deseret Book (1994), that, in his opinion, were more about spreading (im)piety than being good, ethetical and esthetical fiction. Oh, how disappointed he was in this turn in our letters.

For me, as the publisher of collections that, in my opinion, are of high ethical and esthetical value (The Fob Bible, Out of the Mount, Fire in the Pasture, Monsters & Mormons), I’m reading England’s collection with the desire to learn from our history —  a history I am, alas, much too ignorant of. I’ve enjoyed England’s introduction and have read the first story (by none other than Virginia Sorensen). This post serves as an announcement that I will be blogging my reading of Bright Angels & Familiars here at AMV, one story at a time. The posts will be short and I have decided to avoid requiring myself to discuss any particular aspect of the tales (eg, their Mormonness, their ethics, what they teach about the history of MoLit, etc); instead I wish to respond honestly and see where this reading takes me.

Expect my first post, on Sorensen’s story, soon. Then they will appear irregularly as I fit stories into my rather hectic reading schedule.

See you soon.

ps: follow along at home — Signature has kindly made this volume available online

Author: Theric Jepson

. Theric Jepson has been blogging since 2005, but he's been a gadfly-in-the-making for much, much longer. Most of his professional publications have been under his legal name, Eric W Jepson, but online he is better known by a variety of monikers beginning with the digraph th. Theric first published about Mormon literature in Brigham Young University's now defunct Collegiate Post, a student-run newspaper. That article is (happily) unavailable online as it reveals the tremendous ignorance of the author at that time. Theric has worked as a reporter and, briefly, the editor of the Tehachapi News. His columns from this time and other writings are available on his website. Although he considers himself primarily a fictionist, Theric writes in other forms as well. A partial list of his work follows. Blogs Thutopia The Weekly Svithe Fob Comics Short stories Afterlife The Oracle The Widower Nonfiction Living Literature Saturday's Werewolf

10 thoughts on “Bright Angels & Familiars

  1. Awesome! This is one (of many) I’ve been meaning to get to for years.

  2. I love this collection. Thanks for bringing well-deserved attention to it.

  3. I was in Eugene England’s Mormon Lit class at the Y back in the 80’s and this is one of the books we covered in class. I have not re-read it since and I’m thinking it is about time… I plan to follow along with you.

  4. Correction: I fat-fingered the date in my previous comment – it was in the early 90’s that I had the class…

  5. .

    FTR, I’m pretty excited about how excited others are by this project and by the notion that it may not be me reading alone and writing to a vacuum. I hope everyone comes along and enjoys the journey.

    Incidentally, this seems an apropos time to replug the MoLitBlitz.

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