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He sees the women's emancipation movement taking form, he sees huge changes in industry and how society is relating to these changes, etc. As a proud British conservative, he believes in the glory of the Empire and believes in upholding the age old traditions defining what it means to be British. Therefore, keeping all of this in mind, we can interpret "She" to be a bit of a warning to contemporaries of the consequences these changes could have for Britain and her empire while also exploring the complexities of the human condition which make upholding traditions of the past so important.

She | novel by Haggard |

First off, I'll provide a brief synopsis: Our heroes are two men, one age 25 and beautiful the other in his 40's and hideous these adjectives are very important, I promise. The elder has been the guardian of the younger for 20 years after the boy's father died in strange circumstances. Upon the boy turning 25, our elder hero delivers a secret package to the younger, as instructed, which contains a letter and certain artifacts pertaining to a quest that has been the object of the family since antiquity and up until that point every generation had failed.

This quest, in short, is to travel to an obscure point in Africa and kill a white woman who appears to be a sorceress.

Like all good quests, "King Solomon's Mines" included, our heroes undergo various trials and tribulations before achieving their goal and righting all the wrong in the world. Predictably, the first theme we draw from the book is that of white vs black and the racial justifications for Britain's empire.

In "She", this is made blatantly clear from the start as our heroes find themselves in an African community of cannibals ruled by women we will get to the fabulous theme of women shortly. This tribe wears loin clothes, speaks a bastard dialect of Arabic, and acts on any sexual desire they so choose without regard to morals "morals", of course, as interpreted and held by our white, civilized heroes.

The only hope that these savages of being saved at all is that they worship and are ruled by a white queen, She. She is a nickname for She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed which is an interesting title for the White Queen because it fully describes her relationship to her people as it is impersonal and disconnected and also feared. This relationship corresponds to how the British related to those whom they colonized as well - the fear of She stems from the fact that she appears to be an immortal sorceress with power over the natural order, whereas in the case of the British the fear stemmed from advanced technology and a strangeness of character and custom that was exceptionally difficult to relate to.

She is especially impersonal because she wears a pure white veil from head to foot giving her the visage of a mummy, promulgating the fear of the unknown in her people. It turns out, however, that She does in fact have a name, Ayesha, and is in fact mortal, simply 2, years old. She also does have power over some elements of Nature through wisdom she acquired by arguably unnatural ways.

As our heroes develop a deep and personal connection with the white woman of antiquity, we are left with the understanding that Ayesha is intended to represent the ideal woman in character as well as figure.

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Our educated men are able to speak with Ayesha about the classics, as it's her own history, in each of the ancient languages she is fluent in with an air of aristocratic discourse that so starkly differs from the people over whom she rules. She is a modest ruler who doesn't even want to be the queen of such a retched people and is uncontrollably worshiped by the masses - she simply uses the people as tools to do her bidding, being consistently tyrannical and merciless nature as she kills anyone who disobeys her. Despite this, her humble and modest character is held intact through the eyes of our heroes because a woman of such stature truly has no other way to protect herself against such savages, violence being the only thing they are able to understand.

Under her veil this white woman also has the shape and manner of everything the ideal woman should have. In fact, the veil itself is to protect men and women alike from falling victim to the power of her immense Beauty which is so phenomenal as to be considered a danger to all who look upon it.

And it's true - both of our heroes fall immediately in love with Ayesha once they see her face, grovelling at her feet and uttering nonsense despite their vast intellects and civilized natures. With such power over Nature and Men alike, why would She remain in such a position, you might ask? Well, the answer is simple - she has spent the last 2, years waiting for her dead lover to enter this world again and to come find her where they last met all those years ago.

This devotion and loyalty to a single man only makes her more attractive to our heroes while placing the final touches on the mold of our ideal woman to the typical 19th century reader. More importantly, this theme of reincarnation is something Haggard explored thoroughly in this book but never quite developed. It's clear that his understanding of reincarnation was limited, but it is interesting to see it placed as the backdrop for our quest because our heroes seem to accept it despite their civilized, presumably Anglican beliefs.

Their relationship to Providence is as one would imagine a generic non-devout but believing Christian's would be, but our heroes have no sense of doubt when the subject of being reborn is addressed. Discussion of the Creator and Nature seem to go hand in hand, implying that an active God and the concept of reincarnation are compatible to either Haggard or at least to his characters. The religious components which are more fully developed are those of Truth, Beauty, and Time.

Ayesha is, of course, the symbol of the former two in that Truth is veiled from Man and Beauty is Truth, Truth Beauty. Beauty is a component of righteousness in that our younger hero, the more gorgeous and god-like of the two, turns out to be the very reincarnation of Ayesha's lost lover that she has been waiting these 2, years for. Therefore, whether through the agency of Providence or of Fate, he is destined to be Ayesha's partner as only the most beautiful could be the proper match for her.


Our elder hero is not necessarily evil despite his hideousness but, rather, he is simply not the one who is meant to be paired with someone of Ayesha's stature. Time, of course, is addressed through reincarnation but also by taking the reader through the history of the world's great civilizations through conversations with Ayesha.

WElcome to Well-Storied.

As we discuss what happened to these lost civilizations, Ayesha is also learning what has happened since them in a line of events presented in an auspicious light. Furthermore, Ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome, and the imagined people of Kor - this book's own lost civilization - are all placed next to the British, implying to the contemporary reader that their own Empire has met if not exceeded the greatness of these peoples of antiquity.

As such, it is critical to preserve its greatness which Haggard fears is slipping. Overall, it was a very good and enjoyable read though I was disappointed in the outcome of the plot. I am also disappointed to learn that, presumably while in a financial pinch, Haggard wrote a sequel to this book which based on the plot could only be possible through the further misuse of the concept of reincarnation. Haggard believed that "She" would be the book that he became the most well known for, and while it was a best seller during his lifetime and surely appreciated as a piece of literature I simply don't see how it can stand the tests of the ages beyond what it already has.

The 19th Century best-seller set in a mysterious African kingdom explores the complex themes of imperial arrogance, sexual obsession, power and isolation that lie behind the high adventure. Ludwig Holly and his ward Leo's quest for the truth behind the legend of Leo's ancestry takes them to Africa, where they find Ayesha, years old but beautiful beyond all description, despotically ruling her secret kingdom.

Ayesha, the queen whose beauty enthralls and terrifies all who see her, believes Leo The 19th Century best-seller set in a mysterious African kingdom explores the complex themes of imperial arrogance, sexual obsession, power and isolation that lie behind the high adventure. Ayesha, the queen whose beauty enthralls and terrifies all who see her, believes Leo to be the lover for whom she has waited 2, years. Truly bizarre Gothic adventure novel about eternal youth, savage Africans, and all those other cultural imperialisms so favored in the Victorian era!

Watch out for the hotpots! See review. Shelves: , classics. Let me get the unforgivable out of the way before I get started. She 's real name is Ayesha. According to the editor it's pronounced Assha and how the hell you say that, I have nary a clue. Regardless of this helpful tidbit, my brain kept saying Iesha which always brought to mind this awful thing. It's been in my head on and off for three weeks now. Go ahead. Click on the link. Give it a listen.

Why should I be the only one in pain? I'll do the old e-mail chain letter scroll-down thing to give you a moment to depart if you wish to leave. Back in June, , I predicted Trump would win in a landslide.

I was wrong about the landslide. I stood by this pronouncement but I did have a couple moments of weakness. One of these occurred a week before the election, and while contemplating the idea of our new presidentress I was stricken with a desire to read a story about an evil bitch who got her comeuppance.

This was the only thing that I thought might fit the bill, so I took a chance and pulled it off the shelf. I'm afraid it didn't satisfy that particular expectation, for while She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed shortened to She is certainly evil, and there is comeuppance of a sort, I ended up having a bit of pity for her by the end, and I don't think that's ever happened for Mrs. But being evil and in a position of power are the only similarities She and Hillary share.

She is gorgeous, and while not hideous, Hillary will never win any beauty contests though she did once enter the Miss California Pageant as Miss Death Valley. Nobody wears the 70's well, but I think if a quail flew past her here she'd turn and point. At least she was spared the travesty that was her daughter's visage. The good book tells us God will be "visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations," so whatever Billary was up to, we have to assume there was no good in it for them to end up with this: Hillary, your daughter Oh, get over it.

I was beat with the ugly stick myself; we can take the criticism. And though Chelsea and I likely disagree on just about every issue out there, we can come together in our homeliness. Anyway, She was supposed to be so beautiful that, if this had been written at a later time when publishers weren't quite so prudish, men would jizz their jeans as soon as she lowered her veil and let them gaze upon her face.