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Exposé of Polygamy

by Linda Wilcox Desimone Fanny Stenhouse

After the 1872 publication of Exposé, Fanny Stenhouse became a celebrity in the cultural wars between Mormons and much of America. An English convert, she had grown disillusioned with the Mormon Church and polygamy, which her husband practiced before associating with a circle of dissident Utah intellectuals and merchants. Stenhouse's critique of plural marriage, Brigham Young, and Mormonism was also a sympathetic look at Utah's people and honest recounting of her life. She later created a new edition, titled "Tell It All," which ensured her notoriety in Utah and popularity elsewhere but turned her thoughtful memoir into a more polemical, true exposé of Polygamy. Since 1874, it has stayed in print, in multiple, varying editions. The original book, meanwhile, is less known, though more readable. Tracing the literary history of Stenhouse's important piece of Americana, Linda DeSimone rescues an important autobiographical and historical record from the baggage notoriety brought to it.

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