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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, RiderHaggard earned more than £10,000 by writing: only 31, he was probably thehighest-paid novelist in England. Twelve years earlier, hehad 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 ...

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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... Jones and James Bond, and though less slick than its successors, its anxieties and lunacies are more interesting. It isn’t suitable for children; perhaps not suitable at all.As a child Henry RiderHaggard 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 he was dogged and canny, with ...
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 RiderHaggard, an underachiever straight from the crammer, secured his first job in 1875, his mother addressed an earnest poem to him. Hehad now finished drifting ‘adown Life’s vernal tide’ and faced a stiffer challenge. ‘Rise to thy destiny!’ she exhorted. ‘Awake thy powers!’ His father, Squire Haggard (a crusty fellow ...

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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... The author of King Solomon’s Mines and She composed his own epitaph, which was carved in black marble. It read: Here lie the Ashes of Henry RiderHaggard 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 ...

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 1889, Rudyard Kipling, 23 years old, recently arrived in London and looking to ingratiate himself with England’s most popular novelist, wrote to RiderHaggard 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 dead, for it was a fine dead ...

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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... Jeffrey Archer 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 ...
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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... The large university library I use contains few books which the undergraduates have read virtually to pulp. One is RiderHaggard’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 ...
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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... mobility always remains a strong possibility for everyone, however illusory the idea may often be 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 ...

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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... and an old-fashioned lace-trimmed mob cap, she lay propped up on pillows, with writing paper and 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 ...
3 February 2000
The​ Crusades: Islamic Perspectives 
by Carole Hillenbrand.
Edinburgh,​ 648 pp., £80, July 1999, 0 7486 0905 9
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... at Edinburgh University, observes that ‘the author has as her primary aim the scholarly objective 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 ...
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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... already familiar with many of the masks, half-knowing what to expect of them, and the maskers seem to 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: hehas constructed Swallow (‘the second,’ he says, ‘in a series of ...

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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... liberators who escort readers and admirers into a new airy sort of cell, and turn the key with an air 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  ...
8 June 1995
Northern Antiquity: The​ Post-Medieval Reception of Edda and Saga 
edited by Andrew Wawn.
Hisarlik, 342 pp., £35, October 1994, 1 874312 18 4
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Heritage and Prophecy: Grundtvig and the​ English-Speaking World 
edited by A.M. Allchin.
Canterbury, 330 pp., £25, January 1994, 9781853110856
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... in England though more ominously elsewhere. Andrew Wawn prefaces his collection with a 19th-century sketch of the great translator Sir George Webbe Dasent: Of Herculean height and strength ... he resembled a Viking of old, and such I conceive he at times supposed himself to be ... He was two gentlemen at once ... In dull fact, he was an excellent citizen ... but in the dream, the fancy ... he ...

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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... forests of western Guyana featuring a female spirit-presence, a lost tribe, and enough spiders, centipedes and moths to stock a decent-sized natural history museum) is an adventure story of the kind RiderHaggard 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 ...

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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... came floating towards her like beautiful swans.’ An assiduous user of the public library, the young Olivia took out Jacob’s Room almost as soon as it arrived there. But her tastes were catholic: RiderHaggard’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 ...

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