Saturday, October 24, 2015

Henry Rider Haggard's She

Hello all!

I know, I know. Originally I said I would read Ramona by Helen H. Jackson and I did start it but the book was so dry that I decided to put it off till later. So now I am reading Henry Rider Haggard's novel, She. Which is, so far, a more interesting read, especially following Roots.

Let me spend this post giving you a little background on the novel. Originally published in 1887 She is fundamentally a gothic romance with a spice of adventure. The novel followed Haggard's intensely popular King Solomon's Mines. She was published as a serial and is written as if it actually happened. The fantastic story was supposedly written by the guardian of a handsome young man who could trace his ancestry to before the fall of the Pharaohs of Egypt. This style, according to the introduction of the book I'm reading, is similar to the style he employed in King Solomon's Mines. She is one of Haggard's best known, and best read novels and according to some literary experts is supposedly his best work.

Now I have read Henry Rider Haggard before. A few years ago I cracked open Queen Sheba's Ring which I really enjoyed. So going into She I already knew that Haggard is completely racist. I will chuck this up to the period in which he lived, but it is important to note. Since my last novel discussed racism a little, mainly involving the work and its place in modern times, I am kind of going to gloss over the racism in She. I do want to say that, and I've done a little research on this in college, I understand that as a British citizen, Haggard's racism is steeped in colonial concepts. So the racism present is different from what you will find in an American novel of the same time-period. For example, Haggard's characters respect, to a degree, the people of Amhaggar. However, they do turn out to be cannibals, and the party of adventurers are surprised to see any aspects of civilized behavior among them.

But enough about that. As I said earlier, I have read one other book of Haggard's and so I was looking forward to reading She. The last book I read by him took a while, because I dropped off in reading it for about half a year, but generally the book was enjoyable. Haggard is a magnificent author, and his word play is fantastic. I particularly like, in She, his ability to bring humor into what is altogether a rather dark tale. I hope to have She finished in the next few weeks and move on to the next book. Which will NOT be Ramona, yet.

Til next time fellow readers.