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.”
“The Broadview edition of She represents a benchmark in Rider Haggard studies. Situating She within a broad array of cultural documents on race, gender, empire, and archaeology, Andrew M. Stauffer has created an invaluable resource for contextualizing this fascinating adventure story within the ambulatory scope of the late-Victorian scientific and geographical imaginary. This edition will provide students, scholars, and the general reader alike with a sound foundation for reading (and rereading) Haggard’s classic novel.” — Shawn Malley, Bishop’s University
“Professor Stauffer’s editing is an exemplary case of textual stewardship: great care without imposition. His introduction is not only authoritative and lucid but stylistically engaging, as energetic as the novel itself—an ideal introduction for first-time readers. The appendix topics are exactly what is needed, and the materials included provide an excellent context. The selection of non-fiction pieces by Haggard himself on questions of genre, imperialism, archaeology, and gender roles provides especially valuable insights into the author, the novel, and the times.” — J. Jeffrey Franklin, University of Colorado at Denver