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He

Paul Delany, 15 April 1982

Rider HaggardThe Great Storyteller 
by D.S. Higgins.
Cassell, 266 pp., £12.95, August 1981, 0 304 30827 7
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She 
by H. Rider Haggard.
Penguin, 300 pp., £1.50, January 1982, 0 14 005297 6
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The Best Short Stories of Rider Haggard 
edited by Peter Haining.
Joseph, 255 pp., £7.50, June 1981, 0 7181 2010 8
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... In 1887, Rider Haggard earned more than £10,000 by writing: only 31, he was probably the highest-paid novelist in England. Twelve years earlier, he had been packed off to Natal as an unpaid flunky to Sir Henry Bulwer. Haggard’s father, a wealthy Norfolk landowner, had considered him too dim for any public school; later, Africa seemed the best place to dispose of such an unpromising younger son ...

Fashionable Gore

Katherine Rundell: H. Rider Haggard, 2 April 2014

King Solomon’s Mines 
by H. Rider Haggard.
Vintage, 337 pp., £7.99, May 2013, 978 0 09 958282 3
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She 
by H. Rider Haggard.
Vintage, 317 pp., £8.99, May 2013, 978 0 09 958283 0
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... more interesting. It isn’t suitable for children; perhaps not suitable at all.As a child Henry Rider Haggard was believed to be stupid: his father told him he was destined to become a greengrocer. The books aren’t proof that he wasn’t stupid; but they are proof that ...

Fit only to be a greengrocer

E.S. Turner, 23 September 1993

Rider Haggard and the Lost Empire 
by Tom Pocock.
Weidenfeld, 264 pp., £20, August 1993, 0 297 81308 0
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... When 19-year-old Rider Haggard, an underachiever straight from the crammer, secured his first job in 1875, his mother addressed an earnest poem to him. He had now finished drifting ‘adown Life’s vernal tide’ and faced a stiffer challenge. ‘Rise to thy destiny!’ she exhorted ...

White Peril

E.S. Turner: H. Rider Haggard, 20 September 2001

Diary of an African Journey (1914) 
by H. Rider Haggard.
Hurst, 345 pp., £20, August 2001, 1 85065 468 9
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... composed his own epitaph, which was carved in black marble. It read: Here lie the Ashes of Henry Rider Haggard Knight Bachelor Knight of the British Empire Who with a Humble Heart Strove to Serve his Country Nothing there about his ripping yarns, the first of which had been hyped, in 1885, as ‘The Most Amazing Story Ever Written’. The ...

Necrophiliac Striptease

Thomas Jones: Mummies, 6 February 2014

The Mummy’s Curse: The True History of a Dark Fantasy 
by Roger Luckhurst.
Oxford, 321 pp., £18.99, October 2012, 978 0 19 969871 4
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... in London and looking to ingratiate himself with England’s most popular novelist, wrote to Rider Haggard with the outline of a story he’d recently heard, a ‘thing picked up the other day across some drinks’: There was first one Englishman and one mummy. They met in Egypt and the live man bought the ...

Children’s Fiction and the Past

Nicholas Tucker, 17 July 1980

The Lord of Greenwich 
by Juliet Dymoke.
Dobson, 224 pp., £4.95, April 1980, 0 234 72165 0
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A Flight of Swans 
by Barbara Willard.
Kestrel, 185 pp., £4.50, May 1980, 0 7226 5438 3
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Fanny and the Battle of Potter’s Piece 
by Penelope Lively.
Heinemann, 45 pp., £3.50, June 1980, 9780434949373
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John Diamond 
by Leon Garfield.
Kestrel, 180 pp., £4.50, April 1980, 9780722656198
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Friedrich 
by Hans Peter Richter.
Kestrel, 150 pp., £4.50, June 1980, 0 7226 5285 2
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I was there 
by Hans Peter Richter.
Kestrel, 187 pp., £4.50, June 1980, 0 7226 6434 6
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The Time of the Young Soldiers 
by Hans Peter Richter.
Kestrel, 128 pp., £3.95, June 1980, 0 7226 5122 8
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The Runaway Train 
by Penelope Farmer.
Heinemann, 48 pp., £3.50, June 1980, 0 434 94938 8
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... in practice. Later, 19th-century adventure novels set in the past, such as Kingsley’s Westward Ho! or Hereward the Wake, helped to foster the imperial ideal by suggesting that it was natural for Britains to seek an outlet overseas for all the manly endeavour that would otherwise be unbearably cooped up in one little island. The effect of such novels lasted ...

Money Matter

Julian Critchley, 24 July 1986

A Matter of Honour 
by Jeffrey Archer.
Hodder, 350 pp., £9.95, June 1986, 0 340 39365 3
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... has taken to books as other men to property or publishing: as a way to get rich. As is well known, he wrote Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less in order to escape the coils of bankruptcy and to pay his debts. That he should have done so triumphantly is a measure of his guts and application. But courage in adversity is one ...

Walking among ghosts

Paul Fussell, 18 September 1980

The Private Diaries of Sir H. Rider Haggard, 1914-1925 
edited by D.S. Higgins.
Cassell, 299 pp., £14.95, May 1980, 0 304 30611 8
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... library I use contains few books which the undergraduates have read virtually to pulp. One is Rider Haggard’s King Solomon’s Mines, published 95 years ago. Its pages are falling out and its binding has been worn to threads and cardboard. Clearly students told off to go and read Wittgenstein and George Eliot have been spending delicious secret ...

Only the Camels

Robert Irwin: Wilfred Thesiger, 6 April 2006

Wilfred Thesiger: The Life of the Great Explorer 
by Alexander Maitland.
HarperCollins, 528 pp., £25, February 2006, 0 00 255608 1
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... books spread out on the bedcover within easy reach. Thesiger left us alone for a few minutes while he carried a tray with a decanter of sherry and glasses to the sitting-room. It was then that his mother offered me the unforgettable advice: ‘You must stand up to Wilfred.’ Thesiger kept diaries of his travels and sojourns in savage wildernesses. ...

Raven’s Odyssey

D.A.N. Jones, 19 July 1984

Swallow 
by D.M. Thomas.
Gollancz, 312 pp., £8.95, June 1984, 0 575 03446 7
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First Among Equals 
by Jeffrey Archer.
Hodder, 446 pp., £8.95, July 1984, 0 340 35266 3
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Morning Star 
by Simon Raven.
Blond and Briggs, 264 pp., £8.95, June 1984, 9780856341380
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... improvise witty or pathetic dialogue, according to an agreed storyline. D.M. Thomas remarks that he is indebted to Germaine Greer for supplying him with information about the tradition of the improvisatrici in Italy: he has constructed Swallow (‘the second,’ he says, ‘in a series ...

Morituri

D.A.N. Jones, 23 May 1985

Secret Villages 
by Douglas Dunn.
Faber, 170 pp., £8.95, April 1985, 0 571 13443 2
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Miss Peabody’s Inheritance 
by Elizabeth Jolley.
Viking, 157 pp., £7.95, April 1985, 0 670 47952 7
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Mr Scobie’s Riddle 
by Elizabeth Jolley.
Penguin, 226 pp., £2.95, April 1985, 0 14 007490 2
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The Modern Common Wind 
by Don Bloch.
Heinemann, 234 pp., £9.95, May 1985, 0 434 07551 5
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Fiskadoro 
by Denis Johnson.
Chatto, 221 pp., £9.50, May 1985, 0 7011 2935 2
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... lecturer with ‘an amiably long-suffering expression in the face of untenable points of view’. He says things like ‘You sang a similarly sentimental aria last year,’ in normal conversation. We are in a different world, a different village of the heart, as the husbands (in their thirties in the Sixties) contemplate their wives in the garden, remembering ...

Church of Garbage

Robert Irwin, 3 February 2000

The Crusades: Islamic Perspectives 
by Carole Hillenbrand.
Edinburgh, 648 pp., £80, July 1999, 0 7486 0905 9
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... of balancing the skewed picture of the Crusades in Western scholarship.’ I’m not sure what he means by this. David Hume, in his History of Great Britain (1754-62), denounced the Crusades as ‘the most signal and durable monument of human folly that has yet appeared in any age or nation’. Gibbon considered them to be an expression of ‘savage ...

The Human Frown

John Bayley, 21 February 1991

Samuel Butler: A Biography 
by Peter Raby.
Hogarth, 334 pp., £25, February 1991, 0 7012 0890 2
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... of bestowing on them perfect freedom and emancipation of mind. So effective a freedom fighter was he, at least on one front, that his message and his books may now seem not much more than literary curiosities. He settled down in his own lifetime to being a well-known brand of licensed English eccentric, rearranging ...

Into the Future

David Trotter: The Novel, 22 March 2007

The Novel: Vol. I: History, Geography and Culture 
edited by Franco Moretti.
Princeton, 916 pp., £65, June 2006, 0 691 04947 5
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The Novel: Vol. II: Forms and Themes 
edited by Franco Moretti.
Princeton, 950 pp., £65, June 2006, 0 691 04948 3
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... and moths to stock a decent-sized natural history museum) is an adventure story of the kind Rider Haggard devised in King Solomon’s Mines and She, as an alternative to the English novel’s stuffy domestic preoccupations. Green Mansions is an eco-romance: She with added insect ecology (Haggard wouldn’t have ...

Make use of me

Jeremy Treglown: Olivia Manning, 9 February 2006

Olivia Manning: A Life 
by Neville Braybrooke and June Braybrooke.
Chatto, 301 pp., £20, November 2004, 0 7011 7749 7
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... Olivia took out Jacob’s Room almost as soon as it arrived there. But her tastes were catholic: Rider Haggard’s Zulu Trilogy excited her so much that her mother thought she was running a fever and sent her to bed. Olivia would have liked to have been a man. The writing she did in the late 1920s, after she left Portsmouth School of Art, was sent out ...

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