The Cosmopolitan Saint: Nephi Anderson’s Scandinavian-American Mormon Identity
ABSTRACT: Norwegian immigrant Nephi Anderson (1865-1923) was Mormonism’s first popular author and wrote a regional bestseller that stayed in print over 100 years. Despite the fact that many of his works have Scandinavian characters and international settings, scholars have considered Anderson’s texts primarily for their Mormonism and not in terms of his ethnic identity or portrayal of an international church. This parallels the scholarly reception of the Mormon Scandinavian immigration to the United States, which privileges American over Scandinavian and Mormon above American. In this article, I offer a critical reevaluation of Anderson’s works to show their place in Scandinavian-American or “immigrant” literature, preserving Norwegian cultural heritage as it intersects Mormonism.