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She (1886)

by Henry Rider Haggard

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Ayesha (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,597684,262 (3.44)229
Cambridge professor Horace Holly and his ward Leo undertake a journey to the underbelly of Africa and discover a lost kingdom inhabited by a savage clan. They narrowly escape death and Holly is taken to meet the supernatural Queen, 'She' who must be obeyed who turns out to be half human and half mirage a scintillating contradiction in terms. Lethal and yet irresistible, a youthful beauty and yet thousands of years old.… (more)
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» See also 229 mentions

English (61)  German (2)  French (1)  Dutch (1)  Finnish (1)  Spanish (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (68)
Showing 1-5 of 61 (next | show all)
She by H. Rider Haggard is an adventure novel that was originally published in 1887 after being previously serialized in a magazine. This fantasy adventure is the story of Cambridge professor Horace Holly and his ward Leo Vincey and their journey to a lost kingdom in the African interior. While the story is very unbelievable, I enjoyed being reminded of how I felt as a child when I would watch old Tarzan movies on “Jungle Theatre”.

This story about a two thousand year old sorceress, “She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed” and her tribe of cannibals is sheer balderdash but there were touches of misogynistic attitudes, a great deal of racism, and definite colonial attitudes that gives the reader a good look at the mindset of imperialist Victorians in the 1880s. Although the story is dated, it is a fact that this book was a trailblazer of original adventure stories, and is well remembered and at times copied even today. ( )
  DeltaQueen50 | May 28, 2021 |
What to make of this book?

This is the first Haggard book I have read, and one of his earliest books (his second success). The pacing is uneven, the plot is full of holes, and the writing can be terrible—he often runs out of over-blown adjectives so it seems he repeats the word “hideous” 10 times in 3 sentences. Nonetheless he manages to keep the story entertaining and engaging. He certainly is wildly imaginative and deserves props for creating a whole new genre (and being often imitated in books and films).

I also don’t find his racism or sexism too off the charts or obnoxious for a 19th century Englishman. The main character ends up longing for the days where polyandry will become the norm and describes positively a female led society. Sure he looks down on savages and poor people, yet he develops a true friendship with a “native” and gives arguments in favor of respecting cultural differences. He also has a deep respect for his old, not too bright servant. The only people Haggard truly despises are Jews (the “Hebrew” race) whom he has She viciously attack not once, but twice. But if Jew-hatred/stereotyping disqualifies English literature there wouldn’t be much to read out there, would there? (Ironically his main biographer was a Jew—Morton Cohen, how’s that for a stereotypical Jewish name?)

Finally, to his credit, he does on occasion rise above genre writing and raise interesting philosophical issues regarding sex, aging, culture and society. He puts highly unconventional views (even by modern standards) in the mouth of She and raises ideas clearly influenced by Indian & Chinese philosophies (albeit filtered through Victorian spiritualism).

I would give this 3.5 if I could (lost points for bad writing) and definitely recommend this book.

In regards to dealing with his uneven writing, I highly recommend listening to The Classic Tales audio book version which offers this book for free. BJ Harrison gives life to Haggard’s purple prose and makes it bearable . His excellent recitation style carries you through the boring bits and somehow makes the blow-hard narrator less insufferable. ( )
  aront | May 2, 2021 |
While I did enjoy the story line of this one I cant say I loved the execution.

When things were happening it was interesting - sometimes even exciting - but these events were spread so far apart by long, rambling passages that the pace was very stop-start and not very engaging.

There were some scenes that seemed completely unnecessary and seemed to go on forever!

It's a story I wish I'd read an abridged version of, because I had to keep leaving this version and coming back to it every few days so that I wouldn't be bogged down and lose patience.

I know my review may not sound like it, but it was a good story... it was just also a slog! ( )
  TCLinrow | Mar 17, 2021 |
While I did enjoy the story line of this one I cant say I loved the execution.

When things were happening it was interesting - sometimes even exciting - but these events were spread so far apart by long, rambling passages that the pace was very stop-start and not very engaging.

There were some scenes that seemed completely unnecessary and seemed to go on forever!

It's a story I wish I'd read an abridged version of, because I had to keep leaving this version and coming back to it every few days so that I wouldn't be bogged down and lose patience.

I know my review may not sound like it, but it was a good story... it was just also a slog! ( )
  TCLinrow | Mar 17, 2021 |
I am not an expert in the African adventure genre, but I think that She (1886) must have been an influential work. I can certainly see its sense of visual drama reflected in movies like The Mummy and even The Lord of the Rings. ( )
  stephkaye | Dec 14, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 61 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (83 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Haggard, Henry RiderAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Allen, RogerPréfacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Atwood, MargaretIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ó Domhnaill, NiallTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Barreca, ReginaIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Burejson, Aurelia Ramirez deTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cloete, StuartIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cohen, Morton N.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cowles, HookwayIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Degenkamp, G.J.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Deuchar, IanIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Eccles, DavidIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Embden, MichaelCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Embden, MikeIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Etherington, NormanEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Evans, MalcolmIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Freas, Frank KellyIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gill, TimIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Godinho, Emanuel LourençoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Greiffenhagen, MauriceIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Harrison, B.J.Narratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Herring, MichaelArtistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Heyerdahl, ChristianTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Heyerdahl, ChristianAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Homewood, BillNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Joyce, PeterNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Karlin, DanielEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kerr, Charles H.M.Illustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lacassin, FrancisAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lampo, HubertAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Luber, SusanneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mahieu, José AgustínTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Miller, HenryForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Morse, HaywardNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nickless, WillIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Oxford, MarkEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Puggioni, WandaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Raimondi, PietroIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schalekamp, JeanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schalekamp, Jean ArnoldusTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stauffer, Andrew M.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Thomas, MarkCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wilcock, J. R.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Williams, FredNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wolheim, Donald A.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
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Important events
Related movies
She (1935IMDb)
She (1965IMDb)
She (2001IMDb)
Awards and honors
Epigraph
In earth and skie and sea /
Strange thynges ther be.
Dedication
I inscribe this history to Andrew Lang in token of personal regard and of my sincere admiration for his learning and his works
First words
In giving to the world the record of what, looked at as an adventure only, is I suppose one of the most wonderful and mysterious experiences ever undergone by mortal men, I feel it incumbent on me to explain what my exact connection with it is.
The narrator of She, Ludwig Horace Holly, is conspicuous for his lack of family. (Introduction)
Quotations
She-who-must-be-obeyed
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
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Cambridge professor Horace Holly and his ward Leo undertake a journey to the underbelly of Africa and discover a lost kingdom inhabited by a savage clan. They narrowly escape death and Holly is taken to meet the supernatural Queen, 'She' who must be obeyed who turns out to be half human and half mirage a scintillating contradiction in terms. Lethal and yet irresistible, a youthful beauty and yet thousands of years old.

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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