TODD M. COMPTON
Victim of The Muses:
Poet as Scapegoat, Warrior and Hero in Greco-Roman and Indo-European Myth and
Pascale Hummel, review in Phoenix, Journal of the Classical Association of Canada 62.1 (Spring 2008): 196-97. “The author of this book approaches his subject with the freedom of a spirit that is both a gourmand and an adventurer. The poet-scapegoat is at the center of his work: the theme is not new, but it has rarely been treated by itself. Four parts [in the book] ... delineate it with neutrality and brio.... We have here a book that is very readable, neutral, rigorous and impartial, well documented, rich and suggestive, which speaks to the public of non-specialists, at the same time that it methodically integrates the precise elements characteristic of the most rigorous philology.” [translated from French]
David F. Elmer, review in The Journal of Indo-European Studies 36.1-2 (Spring/ Summer 2008): 190-95. Elmer has some disagreements with my interpretations. Nevertheless, “Compton’s thoroughly researched work has much to contribute to the study of individual poets’ lives and to the study of the lives as a generic form or cultural phenomenon. The book’s chief virtue is the cumulative force with which it demonstrates the extent to which the vitae are shaped by traditional influences, independently both of history and of the literary corpus of the poet in question....Victim of the Muses is thought-provoking reading for those interested in the tensions surround the practice of poetry in the Greek and Roman worlds, or in the complex meanings that can be encoded in biographical writing. Although one can imagine alternatives to the interpretations Compton proposes, his compendious assembly of biographical anecdotes provides an illuminating glimpse into a world in which myth and history interact in endlessly interesting ways.”
A Widow’s Tale: The
1884-1896 Diary of Helen Mar Whitney. Introduction, Notes and Register by Todd
Compton. Transcription by Charles Hatch and Todd Compton.
· Winner, 2004, Best Documentary Book, Mormon History Association.
· Finalist, 2004 Willa Literary Awards for Nonfiction, awarded by Women Writing the West.
· Finalist, the Penny Kanner Prize, from the Western Association of Women Historians
Richard Holzapfel and David M. Whitchurch, review in Mormon Historical Studies 5.2 (Fall
2004), 189-202. “For most readers, Compton’s tireless, meticulous, and readable
scholarly apparatus will not only provide a historical context but also will
allow the reader to access a wealth of information based on recent scholarly
activity by Compton himself and by other important working historians—providing
both breadth and depth to the many contributions the diaries provide
themselves.” “The notes section, covering 111 pages of small print ... is a
‘book within a book’ itself. Based on years of reading and research among
primary documents in major institutions,
Janet Burton Seegmiller, review in Utah Historical Quarterly 72.4 (Fall 2004): 375-76. Available
online at http://history.utah.gov/history_programs/utah_historic_quarterly/.
“It was a prodigious undertaking by both the editors and the press to bring
this diary to publication in such a remarkable manner.” “
Henry A. Wolfinger, review in Journal of Mormon History 32.1 (Spring 2005): 205-209.
In Sacred Loneliness: the Plural Wives of
· Winner, Best Book of the Year, Mormon History Association.
· Winner, Best Book of the Year, John Whitmer Historical Association.
· Finalist, Evans Award for Biography.
Kay Meredith Dusheck, review in Library Journal, May 1, 1998. In Sacred Loneliness is “a meticulously researched and masterly study of Mormon Joseph Smith’s 33 wives.”
B. Carmon Hardy, review in Journal of Mormon History 25.2 (Fall 1999), 222-27. “In Sacred Loneliness is a major work that will long be essential to anyone studying Mormon history. Apart from the illumination the stories provide concerning the Prophet himself, Todd Compton’s portraits of Smith’s plural companions elevate the importance of women in Mormonism generally.”
BOOKS AND ARTICLES: FORTHCOMING
I am presently working on a biography of Indian missionary Jacob Hamblin.
I am also working as co-author on a book dealing with the Mormon War of 1838 in Missouri.
ARTICLES: MORMON HISTORY, SCRIPTURE, AND CONTEMPORARY ISSUES
“The Big Washout: The 1862 Flood in Santa Clara.” Utah Historical Quarterly 77.2 (Spring 2009): 108-25.
“Becoming a “Messenger of Peace”: Jacob Hamblin in Tooele.” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought (Spring 2009): 1-29.
“Civilizing the Ragged Edge: The Wives of Jacob Hamblin.” Journal of Mormon Studies 33.2 (summer 2007): 155-98.
“Forward” to Devery S. Anderson & Gary James Bergera,
eds., Joseph Smith's Quorum of the
Anointed, 1842-1845 (
“The New Mormon Women’s History.” In Newell G. Bringhurst and
Lavina Fielding Anderson, eds., Excavating
Mormon Pasts: The New Historiography of the Last Half Century (
“John Willard Young, Brigham
Young, and the Development of Presidential Succession in the
· Winner of 2001-2002 Dialogue Writing Award in History and Biography. (See Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 36.1 [Spring 2003]: 8.)
“Was Jesus a Feminist?” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 32.4 (Winter 1999 [December 2000]): 1-18.
“‘Remember Me in My Affliction’”: Louisa Beaman Young and Eliza R. Snow Letters, 1849.” Journal of Mormon History 25.2 (fall 1999): 46-69.
“In Sacred Loneliness, an Introduction, and Some RLDS Portraits.” The John Whitmer Historical Association Journal 19 ([November] 1999): 63-78.
“Thoughts on the Possibility of an
“Heaven and Hell: The Parable of the Loving Father and the Judgmental Son.” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 29.4 (winter 1996): 31-46.
“A Trajectory of Polygamy: An Overview of Joseph Smith’s Plural Wives.” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 29.2 (summer 1996): 1-40.
· Winner, Thomas Lyon award, Mormon History Association.
· Winner of 1996 Dialogue Writing Award in History and Biography. (See Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 30.1 [Spring 1997]: 1.)
“Fawn Brodie on Joseph Smith’s Plural Wives and Polygamy: A Critical View.” In Newell Bringhurst, ed., Reconsidering No Man Knows My History: Fawn Brodie and Joseph Smith in Retrospect (Logan, Utah: University of Utah State Press, 1996), 154-94.
“Fanny Alger Smith Custer: Mormonism’s First Plural Wife?” Journal of Mormon History 22.1 (spring 1996): 174-207.
Response by Janet Ellingson, “Alger Marriage Questioned,” Letter to Editor, Journal of Mormon History 23.1 (spring 1997), vi-vii.
“The Spirituality of the Outcast in the Book of Mormon.” Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 2.1 (spring 1993): 139-60.
“Non-Hierarchical Revelation.” In Women and Authority, ed. Maxine Hanks, 185-200.
“Apostasy.” The Encyclopedia of Mormonism (New York: MacMillan, 1992).
“The Organization of the Church in New Testament Times.” The Encyclopedia of Mormonism (New York: MacMillan, 1992).
“Symbolism.” The Encyclopedia of Mormonism (New York: MacMillan, 1992). This is a fine article, mostly written by Robert Rees, though his name was withdrawn from the article. I added the first paragraph and edited his text slightly.
“Counter-Hierarchical Revelation.” Sunstone 15.2 #82 (June 1991): 34-41.
“The Handclasp and Embrace as Tokens of Recognition.” In By Study and By Faith: Essays in Honor of Hugh Nibley on the Occasion of His Eightieth Birthday, 27 March, 1990, ed. by Stephen Ricks, vol. 1 (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book/ F.A.R.M.S., 1990), 611-42.
“Foreword” to Hugh Nibley, Mormonism and Early Christianity, edited by Todd Compton and Stephen Ricks (Salt Lake City: Deseret / F.A.R.M.S., 1987), vii-xiii.
“Aztec Herbalism.” The Herbalist 4.7 (Sept. 1979): 4-5.
“Historical Herb Gardening.” The Herbalist 4.6 (Aug. 1979): 12-14.
REVIEWS AND MISCELLANEOUS: MORMON HISTORY, SCRIPTURE, AND CONTEMPORARY ISSUES
Review of Laura L. Bush, Faithful Transgressions in the American West: Six Twentieth-Century Mormon Women’s Autobiographical Acts. The Western Historical Quarterly 37 no. 1 (spring 2006): 95-96.
Review of Shirley N. Maynes, Five Hundred Wagons Stood Still: Mormon Battalion Wives. Journal Of Mormon History 32.2 (summer 2005): 261-62.
Review of Will Bagley, Blood of the Prophets: Brigham Young and the Massacre at Mountain Meadows. In Journal of Mormon History 29.2 (fall 2003): 255-60.
“A Positive View: Polygamy in Nineteenth Century Manti.” A review of Kathryn M. Daynes, More Wives Than One: Transformation of the Mormon Marriage System, 1840‑1910. In Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 35.4 (winter 2002): 161-64.
“Textual Tradition, the Evolution of Mormon Doctrine, and the Doctrine and Covenants.” A review of H. Michael Marquardt, The Joseph Smith Revelations: Text and Commentary, in Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 33.3 (fall 2000):180.
Review of Jeni Broberg Holzapfel and Richard Holzapfel, A Woman’s View: Helen Mar Whitney’s Reminiscences of Church History, in Journal of Mormon History 25.2 (fall 1999): 231-33.
“Ambiguous Polygamy.” A letter to the editor. Journal of Mormon History 25.2 (fall 1999): ix-xi.
“Response to Janet Ellingson.” Journal of Mormon History 23.2 (fall 1997): xvii-xix.
Participation in “Scripture, History, and Faith: A Round Table Discussion.” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 29.4 (winter 1996): 89-118.
“Christian Scholarship and the Book of Mormon.” A review of Brent Lee Metcalfe, New Approaches to the Book of Mormon and Daniel C. Peterson, Review in Review of Books on the Book of Mormon 6:1, in Sunstone 19:3 (Sept. 1996): 74-81.
“Response to Matthew Stannard on ‘Counter-Hierarchical Revelation’.” Sunstone 15.5 #85 (November 1991): 52-53.
“A Kindler, Gentler Research.” A letter to the editor. Sunstone 15.1 #81 (1991): 5-7.
Review of John W. Welch, The
Sermon at the
Review of Hugh Nibley, Lehi in the Desert, the World of the Jaredites, There Were Jaredites; An Approach to the Book of Mormon; Since Cumorah. In Review of Books on the Book of Mormon 1 (1989): 114-18.
ARTICLES AND REVIEWS: CLASSICS
“The Herodotean Mantic Session at
“The Trial of the Satirist: Poetic Vitae (Aesop, Archilochus, Homer) as Background for Plato’s Apology.” American Journal of Philology 111.3 (Fall 1990): 330-47.
Reprinted in Gregory Nagy, ed., Greek
Literature Volume 6: Greek Literature and Philosophy (
“What are the TOPNOI in Philebus 51c?” The Classical Quarterly 40.2 (1990): 549-52.
“The Barbed Rose: Sappho as Satirist.” Favonius 1 (1987): 1-7.
“Review of Bruno Gentili, Poetry
and Its Public in Ancient
“Review of Pierre Vidal-Nacquet, The Black Hunter.” Favonius 1 (1987): 53-55.
“The Re-united Symbol: Mystery Structures in Classical Recognition Drama.” Epoche 13 (1985): 1-81.
ARTICLES AND REVIEWS: POPULAR CULTURE
“McCartney or Lennon? Beatle Myths and the Composing of the Lennon-McCartney Songs.” Journal of Popular Culture 22.2 (Fall 1988): 99-132.
Review of Gene Wolfe, The Book of the New Sun. In Seventh East Press 2.2 (Oct. 12, 1982): 15.
“Hamblin in Tooele: The Makings of a Pacifist.” Sunstone
“‘Polygamists in Faith’: The Persistence of Polygamy, as
Doctrine, in the
“The Hunchback Prophet: Victim of the Muses.” Sunstone Symposium,
“The Hunchback Prophet: Stories From My New Book.” Sunstone
“My 'Possible' Category: Joseph Smith's Lesser-Known Wives?” Sunstone Symposium West, San Francisco, April 23, 2005.
“’Blessed Are You Who Are Poor’: Rich and Poor in the Gospel
and Politics.” Sunstone Symposium,
Panel Presentation, on “Glimpses into the Past: Editing
Mormon Diaries.” Sunstone Symposium,
Panel Presentation, on “Excavating Mormon Pasts.” Sunstone
“Dealing With Family Crisis In 1886: The Death Of Charley
Whitney And The Marriage Of Gen Whitney.” Sunstone West,
“Keeping The Faith.” Sunstone West,
Panelist on session discussing Jon Krakauer's Under The Banner Of Heaven, Sunstone West, Claremont, California, April 17, 2004.
Panelist on “Women, Priesthood, And The Church: From Early
Christianity To Latter-Day Saints.” Sunstone West,
“The Wrong Indian, the Wrong Mormon: Violence on the Mormon-Navajo Frontier.” John Whitmer Historical Society, September 2003.
“Why You Should Read the Helen Mar Whitney Diaries.” Sunstone
Response to “The Other Massacres That Could Have Occurred,”
by Edward Leo Lyman, Sunstone Symposium,
“The Parable Of The Good Samaritan: 'Orthodoxy,' Priesthood,
Panelist on “Author Meets Critic: Blood of the Prophets:
Brigham Young and the Massacre at Mountain Meadows.” Sunstone Symposium,
“Our Greatest Challenge: Why Women's Priesthood Needs to Be
Recognized in the
“John Willard Young & Presidential Succession In Mormon
History.” Sunstone West,
“The Spiritual Roots of the Democratic Party.” Sunstone
Panelist on “My Creed.” Sunstone Symposium,
Response to “The Domestic Life of Brigham Young,” by Jeffrey
Johnson, Sunstone Symposium,
“Helen Mar Whitney as Dreamer and Priestness.” Sunstone West,
“Austin Cowles: Nauvoo Dissenter and RLDS Maverick.” John Whitmer Historical Society, September 2000.
“The 1884-1896 Diaries of Helen Mar Whitney: Four Themes.”
“Christian Treasure: Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon, and
Folk Magic in Sympathetic Sources.” Sunstone West,
“Response” to Newell Bringhurst on Writing his Biography of
Fawn Brodie, Sunstone West,
“Plural Marriage, Abuse of Women, and Heavenly Rewards in Mormonism.” In a conference sponsored by the Council for Secular Humanism, “Imagine There’s No Heaven, a Future without Religion,” May 6, 2000.
“Was Jesus a Feminist?” Sunstone Symposium,
“Making Sense of In
Sacred Loneliness: The Plural Wives of Joseph Smith.” 1998
“Sacred Loneliness, an Introduction, and some RLDS Portraits.” John Whitmer Historical Society Meetings, 1998. Plenary session.
Participant in “Making Sense of Joseph Smith and Nineteenth
Century Mormon Women and Polygamy: Todd Compton’s In Sacred Loneliness.” Sunstone Symposium,
“The Ordeal of Josephine Lyon (Smith?) Fisher.” Sunstone
“Apostle’s Wife: Mary Ann Stearns Pratt.” Mormon History
“On Being an Independent Scholar.” Talk given at
Intermountain Booksellers Association Banquet,
“Emily Partridge Smith Young: A Life in Polygamy.” Talk given
at Mormon History Association, May 18, 1996, at Snowbird,
“Fawn Brodie on Joseph Smith’s Polygamy: A Critical View.”
Paper given at Fawn Brodie Symposium, August, 1995,
“Polygamy, Polygyny, Polyandry: An Overview of Joseph Smith’s
Plural Wives.” Sunstone Symposium West, August, 1995,
“A Trajectory of Polygamy: An Overview of Joseph Smith’s
Plural Wives.” Sunstone Symposium, March 1995,
“Sacred Loneliness: The Ordeal of Presendia Lathrop
Huntington Buell Smith Kimball.” Sunstone Symposium, August 19, 1994,
“Agnes Moulton Coolbrith Smith Smith Smith Pickett.” Sunstone
Symposium West, April 1994,
“The Parable of the Loving Father and Judgmental Son.”
Sunstone Symposium, August 1993,
“Violence, Possession, Poetry: Dumézil’s Indo-European
Warrior as Poet.” The Fifth Annual UCLA Indo-European Conference, UCLA,
“Socrates on the Wasatch Front: Honest and Skillful Apologetics.” Sunstone Symposium West, San Francisco Airport Clarion Hotel, April 10, 1993.
“Mary Magdalene and the Recognition of Christ.” Sunstone Talks on the New Testament, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, July 9, 1991.
Participant on panel, “How Timely, How Timeless: Scholars
Evaluate the Work of Hugh Nibley,” with Sheldon Greaves, Greg Dundes, Ed
Ashment. Sunstone Symposium West,
“Non-Hierarchical Revelation.” Sunstone Symposium,
“Non-Hierarchical Revelation.” Sunstone Symposium West,
“Ancient Sources of Masonic Ritual.” Co-written with “David
Ellis.” Sunstone Symposium West,
“Woman and Priesthood.” Sunstone Symposium,
Response to Ian Barber and Susan Staker on Woman’s Authority
and Mormon Splinter Groups, Sunstone Symposium West,
“The Trial of the Poet: Aesop, Archilochus, Homer, Socrates.” American Philological Assocation, December 1987.
“Magic, Folklore, and Religion: Connections in Early
“Response to Lyn Jacobs on Baptism for the Dead in Early Christianity.” Sunstone Symposium West, San Francisco, January 31, 1987.
“Sexuality, Authority and Misogyny: Woman as Male in Gnostic
Christianity.” Sunstone Symposium,
Philosophy in Classics,
Master of Arts in
Bachelor of Arts
“The Exile of the Poet: Bardic Expulsion and Death in the
Archaic Greek and Indo-European Traditions.” Ph.D. thesis,
“The Homeric Roots of Virgil’s Elysium” and “Notes on the
Manuscript Montpellier 360 of Sallust.” Master’s Thesis,
ACADEMIC JOB HISTORY
1993-2008. Independent Researcher.
1992, Summer. Visiting Fellow,
September, 1988 to March, 1989 (two semesters): Lecturer,
January to December, 1988 (two semesters): Lecturer,
June, July 1988: Lecturer,
1983-1987: Teaching Fellow and Assistant,
1979-1983: Teaching Assistant,
Classes taught: English composition, Latin Elements in English, Latin, Greek Civilization, Greek Religion and the Polis, Roman Civilization, Classical Mythology.
I have been History Editor at Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought and have been a member of the editorial board of Journal of Mormon History.