Sir Henry Rider Haggard (1856-1925) was an English author of adventure novels set in exotic locales, predominantly Africa. King Solomon’s Mines, one of his best-known books, details the life of the explorer Allan Quartermain. She: A History of Adventure followed, introducing the character Ayesha. While much of Haggard’s reputation stems from those two books and their subsequent series, he also wrote nonfiction and short stories.
She, King Solomon's Mines, & Allan Quatermainby H. Rider Haggard
These three great novels of African adventure continue to be favorite reading of those who love a thrilling tale. Perhaps the reason that they continue to be part of the public imagination, delighting each new generation afresh, is that they are filled with qualities close to the human heart: adventure, discovery, desire for immortality, terror, the search for
These three great novels of African adventure continue to be favorite reading of those who love a thrilling tale. Perhaps the reason that they continue to be part of the public imagination, delighting each new generation afresh, is that they are filled with qualities close to the human heart: adventure, discovery, desire for immortality, terror, the search for the primitive . . . for what is unadorned by civilization. As Kipling said of Haggard's work, "It goes, and it grips, and it moves with all the freshness of youth."
Haggard had lived for many years among primitive peoples in Africa, and his knowledge of the Dark Continent was matched by few men. Yet beyond his personal knowledge of Africa, his experience of savage life and wild lands, and his faculty for making us believe impossible tales ― lies a feeling for the supernatural. Adventure alone was not enough for Haggard. As he said, "The thing must have a heart; mere adventures are not enough ― I can turn them out by the peck." About "She," one of the great mythical creations of the late 19th century, he said, "The only clear notion that I had was that of an immortal woman inspired by immortal love . . . and it came―it came faster than my poor aching hand could set it down." Kipling simply said, "You did not write 'She,' you know. Something wrote it through you."
His novels have been called parables, asking "What are science, learning, and consciousness of knowledge and power, in the face of Omnipotence?" They have been called romance. And they have been called excitingly alive and imaginative by almost everyone who has ever picked up a volume, from R. L. Stevenson to George Orwell.
"Do any of the moderns equal H. Rider Haggard as spinners of suspense yarns?" ― Los Angeles Times
"Haggard could spin a yarn so full of suspense and color that you couldn't put the story down." ― Washington Post
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