Voyager Out: The Life of Mary Kingsley

Overview

Mary Kingsley began her life as a typically conventional Victorian woman. She would end up travelling to some of the most inhospitable regions of Africa and became one of the most celebrated travellers of the day. At the age of 31, she sailed on a cargo ship along the coast from Sierra Leone to Angola and then traveled inland from Guinea to Nigeria, studying African customs and beliefs. On her second journey, she ventured into remote parts of Gabon and the French Congo—the first European to do so. She encountered...

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Overview

Mary Kingsley began her life as a typically conventional Victorian woman. She would end up travelling to some of the most inhospitable regions of Africa and became one of the most celebrated travellers of the day. At the age of 31, she sailed on a cargo ship along the coast from Sierra Leone to Angola and then traveled inland from Guinea to Nigeria, studying African customs and beliefs. On her second journey, she ventured into remote parts of Gabon and the French Congo—the first European to do so. She encountered cannibals and crocodiles, studied the religious customs of the reclusive Fang tribe, climbed Mount Cameroon and explored the Ogowe River, trading cloth for ivory and rubber to fund her trip. She returned only once to Africa, during the Boer War, when she worked as a nurse and journalist. Tragically, she died of typhoid in 1900, only 38 years old.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Katherine Frank is the ideal biographer for this challenging subject…the story of a unique woman that has to be read, absorbed, devoured, to be believed."—Elizabeth Longford

"A brilliant biography of Mary Kingsley, one of that remarkable cohort of brave Victorian lady travellers around the world." —Britain-Nigeria Association

Library Journal
As a travel writer, geographical pioneer, feminist, founder of the Royal African Society, and in a dozen other guises, Kingsley long has fascinated students of Britain's imperial past. She has been the subject of better than half a dozen full-length biographies and numerous shorter treatments. Yet until the present work she has, in many senses, remained cloaked in mystery. That is no longer the case, for Frank has turned years of arduous research into what can justly be called a definitive study. She has unearthed a host of previously unconsulted sources and employs them, together with a variety of printed materials, to good advantage in giving us a readable, credible portrait of a noted lady adventurer. Highly recommended. BOMC and Quality Paperback Book Club alternates.James A. Casada, History Dept., Winthrop Coll., Rock Hill, S.C.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781845110208
  • Publisher: I. B.Tauris & Company, Limited
  • Publication date: 1/8/2006
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 5.14 (w) x 7.77 (h) x 1.08 (d)

Meet the Author

Katherine Frank is the author of Indira: The Life of Indira Nehru Gandhi. She has also written biographies of Emily Brontë and Lucie Duff Gordon.

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Table of Contents

Preface by Rosellen Brown * Introduction * Part One: The Kingsley Family * Mary's Childhood: Inner and Outer Worlds * Changes * Part Two: The First Voyage Out * The Second Voyage Out * Exile in England * Part Three: The Third Voyage Out * Traveling to the Ogooué River * The Journey to the Remboué * Corsico and Cameroons * Part Four: Travels in West Africa" * Growing Influence * Valediction * Part Five: The Final Bound * Notes * Selected Bibliography * Index
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 25, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    An Obscure Explorer Comes to Life

    Calling Mary Kingsley an explorer is a bit misleading. I probably should have labeled her a traveler. Her life as told by Katherine Frank is both inspiring and tragic. Her triumphs as a writer, lecturer, and scientific observer were offset by her isolation and failure to make romantic connections and to co-exist happily with difficult family members. At times Frank seems to over-analyze her subject but seems to have written a balanced account. I wish that she had given us more background on the other African figures who crossed Kingsley's path during her too-short career. I found this book for a few cents at a library sale but, if you are interested in Victorian exploration and travel. it is worth buying.

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