Haggard, H. Rider She

ISBN 13: 9780345274533

She

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9780345274533: She
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A runaway bestseller on its publication in 1887, H. Rider Haggard's She is a Victorian thrill ride of a novel, featuring a lost African kingdom ruled by a mysterious, implacable queen; ferocious wildlife and yawning abysses; and an eerie love story that spans two thousand years. She has bewitched readers from Freud and Jung to C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien; in her Introduction to this Modern Library Paperback Classic - which includes period illustrations by Maurice Greiffenhagen and Charles H.M. Kerr - Margaret Atwood asserts that the awe-inspiring Ayesha, "She-who-must-be-obeyed," is "a permanent feature of the human imagination."

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Review:

Ayesha is She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed, a 2,000-year-old queen who rules a fabled lost city deep in a maze of African caverns. She has the occult wisdom of Isis, the eternal youth and beauty of Aphrodite, and the violent appetite of a lamia. Like A. Conan Doyle's Lost World, She is one of those magnificent Victorian yarns about an expedition to a far-off locale shadowed by magic, mystery, and death.

Tim Stout writes, in Horror: 100 Best Books, "As the plot takes hold one has the fancy that [Ayesha] had always existed, in some dark dimension of the imagination, and that [H. Rider] Haggard was the fortunate author to whom she chose to reveal herself." Haggard did, in fact, write this book in a six-week burst of feverish inspiration: "It came faster than my poor aching hand could set it down," he later said.

This edition of the 1887 classic features an introductory essay by literary critic Regina Barreca, who likens Ayesha to Flaubert's Madame Bovary or Tolstoy's Anna Karenina--"literally fantastic female figures who must be stopped before they love again."

From the Back Cover:

First published in 1886-87, H. Rider Haggard’s imperial romance follows its English heroes from the quiet rooms of Cambridge to the uncharted interior of Africa in search of a legendary lost city with an ageless white queen. The two men find their way to the ancient city of Kôr, where the beautiful and mysterious Ayesha, “She-who-must-be-obeyed,” rules. Despite her cruelty, both men become fascinated by Ayesha, who leads them on a harrowing journey to bathe in the underground “River of Life.” A thrilling "history of adventure," She also reveals the complexity of Victorian attitudes towards race, gender, exploration, and empire. This Broadview edition presents the novel in its original illustrated Graphic magazine version, never before republished, and includes a critical introduction and supporting materials that demonstrate the novel's relationship to late-Victorian issues such as imperialism, archaeology, race, evolution, and the rise of the "New Woman."

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