A History of Adventure

Book - 1982
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" "The moon went slowly down in loveliness; she departed into the depth of the horizon, and long veil-like shadows crept up the sky through which the stars appeared. Soon, however, they too began to pale before a splendour in the east, and the advent of the dawn declared itself in the newborn blue of heaven. Quieter and yet more quiet grew the sea, quiet as the soft mist that brooded on her bosom, and covered up her troubling, as in our tempestuous life the transitory wreaths of sleep brook upon a pain-racked soul, causing it to forget its sorrow. From the east to the west sped those angels of the Dawn, from sea to sea, from mountain-top to mountain-top, scattering light from breast and wing. On they sped out of the darkness, perfect, glorious; on, over the quiet sea, over the low coast-line, and the swamps beyond, and the mountains above them; over those who slept in peace and those who woke in sorrow; over the evil and the good; over the living and the dead; over the wide world and all that breathes or as breathed thereon." H. Rider Haggard, 'She' "

'She, ' subtitled 'A History of Adventure, ' is a novel by Henry Rider Haggard, first serialised in The Graphic magazine from October 1886 to January 1887. The novel is one of the classics of imaginative literature, and as of 1965 with over 83 million copies sold in 44 different languages, one of the best-selling books of all time.

Extraordinarily popular upon its release, 'She' has never been out of print. According to the literary historian Andrew M. Stauffer, "She has always been Rider Haggard's most popular and influential novel, challenged only by King Solomon's Mines in this regard."

The story is a first-person narrative that follows the journey of Horace Holly and his ward Leo Vincey to a lost kingdom in the African interior. There, they encounter a primitive race of natives and a mysterious white queen, Ayesha, who reigns as the all-powerful "She," or "She-who-must-be-obeyed."

In this work, Rider Haggard developed the conventions of the Lost World sub-genre, which many later authors emulated.

'She' is placed firmly in the imperialist literature of nineteenth-century England, and inspired by Rider Haggard's experiences of South Africa and British colonialism. The story expresses numerous racial and evolutionary conceptions of the late Victorians, especially notions of degeneration and racial decline prominent during the fin de siecle.

In the figure of She, the novel notably explored themes of female authority and feminine behaviour. It has received praise and criticism alike for its representation of womanhood.

Publisher: Mattituck, NY : Amereon House, c1982
ISBN: 9780891907053
Characteristics: 233 p. : ill. ; 22 cm


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Aug 02, 2017

An enduring adventure tale which I have read and reread over the years since first picking it up as a teenager. Even though it takes a while for the heroes to reach the realm of the mysterious all powerful Ayesha, it never flags in interest or entertainment. It may be a little antique in its author's views on race relations, but if you can overlook that as a product of the time, the story will sweep you along into a world people by interesting characters who find themselves involved in fantastic happenings. Recommended for young and not-so-young readers. (P.S. The follow-up -- "Ayseha-- which takes place in the Himalayas, is a disappointment so not recommended.)

Feb 15, 2016

Excellent period writing for someone interested in how storytelling used to be. Haggard is not easy to follow and uses fifty words when two would do but that is part of the joy of reading She, trying to understand what Haggard is trying to say. English writers like to make India and the Dark Continent as mystical as possible, they once were, today both are simply great colonial mistakes.

Oct 08, 2014

Best known for "King Solomon's Mines," which has been filmed multiple times, Henry Rider Haggard was, along with Kipling, one of the foremost English writers of adventure stories that also doubled as advertisements for empire and imperialism. He spent time in South Africa and set most of his stories there and, yes, they are kinda racist. But like a lot of popular fiction, they perhaps give a better insight into the mood and attitude of the time than more serious, literary books. In "She," explorers discover a lost kingdom ruled over by the beautiful and imperious Ayesha, aka She-who-must-be-obeyed. The writing is often florid and clumsy, but it has an undeniable power and students of cultural history will find much in its treatment of race and gender to pore over. Fans of Indiana Jones will also see where that series originated. Great cover. "Revel and lust and drink, blood and cold steel, and the shock of men gathered in battle--these were the canons of their creeds."
PS-I wouldn't call this, contra the other review, sci-fi.

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Aug 02, 2017

WhidbeyIslander thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over


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