The H. Rider Haggard Thread

BAYLOR

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King Solomon's Mines , She , Allan Quatermain, The Worlds Desire, The People of The Mist , Eric Bright Eyes, The Wander's Neckless and so many other great stories of high adventure and fantasy.

What do You think of his books and how would you rate him as a writer ? How great an influence has he had on the writer that came after him?
 
On the last... hard to say, these days, as Haggard isn't nearly as frequently read as he used to be. Indirectly, of course, he has had a tremendous influence, as one of the major writers of the "lost race" fantasy. And, of course, Haggard wrote one heck of a lot of things which wandered all over the map (anyone here ever read Dawn, for instance, or Jess, or The Witch's Head? Not to mention Cetywayo and His White Neighbours).

I've almost always enjoyed what I've read by Haggard (even that last, which gave a very interesting perspective on the Zulus and Boers), but he is an uneven writer. At his best, close to brilliant (and his conception of She is even more than that); but he could also be lackluster and overexplicative. Still, someone well worth reading, at least for several of his books.

Speaking of which, here's an annotated bibliography:

http://www.depauw.edu/sfs/backissues/16/mullen16bib.htm
 
Baylor, I have sent you a paper that I wrote a few years ago that argues for Haggard's importance for Tolkien.

Let's see if there is interest in this Haggard thread. For now, I'll list the thirty or so that I've read, I think in the order I read them, starting around age 15:

She
King Solomon's Mines
Allan Quatermain
Cleopatra (abridged version?)
The World's Desire
Queen Sheba's Ring (not all that good)
Montezuma's Daughter (impressive)
Eric Brighteyes
Nada the Lily
She and Allan
Ayesha
The Virgin of the Sun
Allan and the Holy Flower
Child of Storm
Heu-Heu, or, The Monster
The Ivory Child
Maiwa's Revenge
Allan's Wife
The Treasure of the Lake
Finished
Red Eve
Swallow
Heart of the World
Black Heart and White Heart and Other Stories
The Days of My Life (with some skipping)
When the World Shook (not one of his best)
The People of the Mist
The Mahatma and the Hare
A Farmer's Year
Dr. Therne
The Ghost Kings
Jess

I've read a few of them more than once. I've also read Cohen's well-written biography of Haggard. I started one or two Haggards (e.g. The Yellow God) without finishing the book.
 
Baylor, I have sent you a paper that I wrote a few years ago that argues for Haggard's importance for Tolkien.

Let's see if there is interest in this Haggard thread. For now, I'll list the thirty or so that I've read, I think in the order I read them, starting around age 15:

She
King Solomon's Mines
Allan Quatermain
Cleopatra (abridged version?)
The World's Desire
Queen Sheba's Ring (not all that good)
Montezuma's Daughter (impressive)
Eric Brighteyes
Nada the Lily
She and Allan
Ayesha
The Virgin of the Sun
Allan and the Holy Flower
Child of Storm
Heu-Heu, or, The Monster
The Ivory Child
Maiwa's Revenge
Allan's Wife
The Treasure of the Lake
Finished
Red Eve
Swallow
Heart of the World
Black Heart and White Heart and Other Stories
The Days of My Life (with some skipping)
When the World Shook (not one of his best)
The People of the Mist
The Mahatma and the Hare
A Farmer's Year
Dr. Therne
The Ghost Kings
Jess

I've read a few of them more than once. I've also read Cohen's well-written biography of Haggard. I started one or two Haggards (e.g. The Yellow God) without finishing the book.


Very prolific indeed. some of those ive never heard of.
 
Very prolific indeed. some of those ive never heard of.

The link JD provided lists 68 books.

Haggard says somewhere that the books he wrote in a ten-year period -- I forget exactly how he put it, but it included King Solomon's Mines and She -- were his best. Say roughly Nos. 4-20 in the list -- though I haven't read several of those. If I'm not mistaken, it was at about the end of that ten-year period that Haggard began to dictate his books rather than write them himself. Some of those later books that I have read were pretty fair entertainment, including maybe the "Zulu trilogy" that commences with Marie and continues with Child of Storm and concludes with Finished, but some of the books have perfunctory development of some elements that could have been more interesting, combined with tracts of poor dialogue (as in When the World Shook, if I remember rightly) that Haggard may have found regrettably easy to reel off.

In my experience the Allan Quatermain books are usually pretty decent fun, but I have to confess that two late ones -- The Ancient Allan and Allan and the Ice Gods -- remain unread. I got fairly well into the former one but dropped it.

Bowled over by She, readers might guess that the next books to read would be the other "Ayesha" books. My own experience is that Ayesha: The Return of She and She and Allan were a bit disappointing. I've had a copy of Wisdom's Daughter for many years but haven't read it.

So I'd say, to any people who've read King Solomon's Mines and She, that if you're looking for another Haggard romance to read and don't mind a perhaps "old-fashioned" style, you might try Montezuma's Daughter. I think Haggard's imagination was still much involved with his material in that one. How about other Haggard readers -- what would you suggest for Haggard #3?

By the way, all or nearly all of Haggard should be available at Project Gutenberg or Project Gutenberg of Australia. My method has been to download them and make Word files of a given novel, choose a type font and size that I like, and print them. You send up wth hundreds of sheets, and can use a heavy-duty stapler to make a three- or four-"volume" book. Yes, the "books" don't look great, but this approach may be cheaper than buying used books, and you need have no compunction about getting them damp while you read in the tub or getting part of your lunch on them. However, cheap used copies might be available. I used to be able to pick up hardcovers from various era for $3 or so, but that was in the 1970s.
 
I was just looking through my book pile and I found an H. Rider Haggard novel that id forgotten I had. it's called Queen Sheba's Ring. Doubeday book , published 1909.
 
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Would you be able to list them?
As it has been 20-30 years since I read some of them, I'm not sure I can, but here goes the attempt (not necessarily in the order I read them, mind):

She
Ayesha: The Return of She
Wisdom's Daughter
Cetywayo and His White Neighbours
Dawn
The Witch's Head
Jess
King Solomon's Mines
Allan Quatermain
Cleopatra
Allan's Wife and Other Tales
The World's Desire
Eric Brighteyes
The People of the Mist
Pearl-Maiden
The Wanderer's Necklace
The Holy Flower
When the World Shook
 
As it has been 20-30 years since I read some of them...

I'm struck by how many of these are ones I haven't read. I don't have a copy of the nonfiction Cetywayo or the novels Dawn, The Witch's Head, The Wanderer's Necklace. I've had a copy of Pearl Maiden for many years... maybe I should read it and report on it at the From Way, Way Back in Your Backlog thread. Do you remember anything about how you liked Wisdom's Daughter? The title reminds me of C. S. Lewis's quip that, if Ayesha really was Wisdom's Daughter, she didn't take after her parent. : ) That's another one I haven't read.
 
i started King Solomon's Mines once and don't know why I didn't finish it... might have to track a copy down.
 
i started King Solomon's Mines once and don't know why I didn't finish it... might have to track a copy down.

It's easy enough to find, as there have been hundreds of editions... not to mention that several places online have the full text, should that be more convenient.

I'm struck by how many of these are ones I haven't read. I don't have a copy of the nonfiction Cetywayo or the novels Dawn, The Witch's Head, The Wanderer's Necklace. I've had a copy of Pearl Maiden for many years... maybe I should read it and report on it at the From Way, Way Back in Your Backlog thread. Do you remember anything about how you liked Wisdom's Daughter? The title reminds me of C. S. Lewis's quip that, if Ayesha really was Wisdom's Daughter, she didn't take after her parent. : ) That's another one I haven't read.

Not a bad quip as far as it goes, but it rather misses the point in order to make the pun. At any rate... by no means as successful as She, but I enjoyed it. The main problem, I think, is that it repeats, in much greater form, the backstory included in that earlier novel. That becomes the whole story here, really, which allows for a lot more development of various aspects, but some might thus find it simply repetitious. Sorry I didn't reply to this earlier, but I hadn't even seen it until today....
 

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