|Pulp Magazine Cover|
Haggard wrote a lot of adventure stories (you can buy a kindle edition of his writings that has 50 works included and you can download She as a kindle from Amazon for $10.95 or you can download it for free from Manybooks. Basically I would say do not pay for kindle editions of classics until you have looked around to see if you can find it for free.)
If you do not like the Indiana Jones movies you will probably think this book is a bit silly but it is one of the best selling books of all time with estimated sales of 84 million in 44 languages so Haggard must have done something right! OK I do like at least first of those movies and yes this book is a little silly or maybe it is meant for bookish teenage boys, which I was a long time ago, but it is a very enjoyable read that can suck you into its world.
The story told in the first person by a Cambridge University Professor who received as a dying bequest from an acquaintance the obligation to raise the man's son and when he reaches maturity open a mysterious box that will allow him to unravel a great mystery. Along with this bequest there comes enough money to raise the boy in style. I am not inclined to give a plot outline (if you want home work help just check Wikipedia) but basically the man and the now 25 year old boy are sent on a quest to Africa where they meet a tribe of natives ruled by a woman referred to only as "She Who Must Be Obeyed". As things proceed it seems she might be 2000 years old etc. The treatment of the tribes people is racist and right out of the white man's burden play book. Nevertheless the book is well written, very famous and kind of entertaining.
Elizabeth Bowen loved this book. (My source on this is Virginia Glendinning's excellent biography of Bowen). It was an important part of her internal fantasy structure I think as she walked through London at night she imagined herself in the mysterious city of Kor, where much of the action in She takes place. I cannot prove it but if you look at the romantic life of Bowen you can she how she was also somehow caught up in this. There are only a few pics of Bowen to be found online, all looking very severe and with a "no nonsense" expression. I think this may suggest she was somehow prudish or dull but nothing could be further from the truth. I think I will post on some of her ghost stories during Gothic and Ghosts Week.
I will post on a few more works of fiction and non-fiction during the very extended Irish Short Story week and where I can so so I will explore any connections that seem viable.