Science Fiction Studies

#16 = Vol 5, No. 3 = November 1978

R.D. Mullen

The Books of H. Rider Haggard: A Chronological Survey

The publication data, when not first-hand, comes from J.E. Scott's A Bibliography of the Works of Sir Henry Rider Haggard, 1947, which lists 25 works not included in the following: two multi-volume government reports, one cheap paperback containing two magazine pieces not otherwise reprinted, and 22 occasional pamphlets in support of political candidates, charitable fund drives, etc.
                N.B. The term "recurring triangle" refers to a man and two women, or two men and a woman, doomed to reenact their affair through successive reincarnations until they have achieved spiritual peace.
                #1. Cetywayo and His White Neighbors, or Remarks on Recent Events in Zululand, Natal, and the Transvaal. 1882, 1888 (with a new introduction covering the intervening period). Having spent five years (1875-79 and 1881) in south Africa, where he was associated with high government officials, Haggard writes here on the basis of first-hand knowledge. He was among those of his time who saw the British Empire as a great modernizing and liberating force in the undeveloped world. Opposed to the recognition of a Boer state in the belief that its native policy would be one of naked oppression, he argues here and in other books for the full development of native communities, with due respect for their traditions and institutions, including polygamy, so that they could eventually take their places alongside and fully equal to the white communities of a south African federation within the Empire.
                #2. Dawn: A Novel. 1884. Mundane melodrama, aptly characterized by an aunt of Haggard's as "too full of amateur villains" (#64:1:217). In this, as in each of the novels except #27 and #30, there are one or two instances of psychic phenomena, such as clairvoyance or prevision, but such incidents do not in themselves make a story fantasy.
                #3. The Witch's Head. 1885. Mundane melodrama set mostly in England but partly in South Africa.
                #4. King Solomon's Mines. 1885. Rivaling #5 in permanent popularity, this is the first of the Allan Quatermain romances; in the Kukuanas, Haggard's first depiction of the noble savage; and in the ancient ruins named by the title, his first treatment of borderline SF material. The story is essentially one of a hard journey that develops from a mere treasure hunt into a voyage of the spirit.
                #5. She: A History of Adventure. 1887. Like #4, essentially a voyage. Fantasy elements include some archeological and anthropological speculations, psychic powers, a flame of perpetual youth, and reincarnation with a recurring triangle. Ayesha, or She-who-must-be-obeyed, a variation on the theme of the Wandering Jew, attracted a great deal of attention for many years after 1887 and continues to be the principal subject in most of the discussion of Haggard's fiction. See ## 33, 59, 61.
#6. Jess. 1887. Though set in south Africa, mundane melodrama.
                #7. Allan Quatermain: An Account of His Further Adventures and Discoveries in Company with Sir Henry Curtis, Bart., Commander John Good, RN, and one Umslopogaas. 1887. Haggard's first fully developed lost-race romance, and the chief model for all the many that followed from his and other pens. The imaginary world is more ruritanian than marvelous. The old Umslopogaas, noblest of savages, dies while winning victory for the rightful queen; the old Allan, wounded in the great battle, survives just long enough to complete his manuscript (all the AQ stories are purportedly written by Allan himself, with Haggard serving merely as an editor). In the introduction to the Collins edition of this book, Roger Lancelyn Green offers a chronology for the events of the 18 AQ stories, but there are too many inconsistencies in the series, which was twice abandoned and resumed, to allow for a chronology that will not show Allan in two places at the same time or that will not make many of the other characters much older or younger in this story or that than they can possibly be.
                #8. Mr Meeson's Will. 1888. Partly a robinsonade; mostly mundane melodrama.
                #9. Maiwa's Revenge: or The War of the Little Hand. 1888. Noble-savage romance, with AQ as a middle-aged hunter.
#10. Colonel Quaritch, V.C.: A Tale of Country Life. 1888. Mundane melodrama.
                #11. Cleopatra: An Account of the Fall and Vengeance of Harmachis, the Royal Egyptian, as Set Forth by His Own Hand. 1889. Fantasy: the first extensive depiction of Haggard's spiritualist universe.
                #12. Allan's Wife, and Other Tales. 1889. §1. Allan's Wife. In part fantasy (Hendrika the baboon woman could well be the most immediate source of Tarzan) but concerned mostly with how Allan met, wooed, and won Stella, said in chapter 11 to have been his only wife (cf #48), and how he was widowed. §2. Hunter Quatermain's Story. The heroic deaths of the Zulu Mashune and the Hottentot Hans (not the Hottentot Hans of #48). §3 and §4. A Tale of Three Lions and Long Odds. Allan the Hunter.
                #13. Beatrice: A novel. 1890, 1894 (rev). Mundane melodrama. Tormented by unconsummated love, and determined to avoid the scandal that would ruin her soulmate's political career, Beatrice drowns herself. Some readers having been offended by certain passages that seemed to offer a philosophic justification for adultery, Haggard made extensive revisions and prefixed an Advertisement that spelled out the moral: "the man or woman who falls into undesirable relations with a married member of the other sex is both a sinner and a fool, and, in this coin or that, certainly will be called upon to pay the price of sin and folly" — which evidently applies even when the lovers, as here, are determined not to consummate their love. Cf comment on #14 and #67.
                #14. The World's Desire. With Andrew Lang. 1890. Fantasy: the spiritualist universe, reincarnation with the recurring triangle, and the time-travel paradox: two have become three (Odysseus, aged but still vigorous; the virginal, pre-Menalaus Helen, as the embodiment of every man's first love; and Meriamun, sex incarnate) and threaten to become four. This book-long lamentation of "post coitum, triste" evidently evoked no protest, presumably because it was set in a remote and fantastic world — for many Victorians the only kind of world in which they could accept sexuality as an object of contemplation.
                #15. Eric Brighteyes. 1891. Romance of 10th-century Iceland based on the Sagas; some supernatural fantasy.
                #16. Nada the Lily. 1912. Ranks with ## 4, 5, 7 as one of Haggard's most widely admired books. Noble-savage romance with some basis in history. Told over a campfire to an unnamed white man (identified as AQ in #12§1:1) by an ancient Zulu recalling the great days of his youth and early middle age, it often takes on mythical overtones and is at times wholly fantastic. Its hero is the young Umslopogaas (see #7); its historical story is Chaka's rise to power and creation of the Zulu state, Dingaan's murder of Chaka and accession to the throne, and Panda's overthrow of Dingaan with the help of a Boer army, which heralds the coming dominance of the white man and the disintegration of Zulu society. The chapters in which Umslopogaas and his friend Galazi live and hunt with a pack of wolves were acknowledged by Kipling as important in the genesis of The Jungle Books.
                #17. Montezuma's Daughter. 1893. Historical romance of the voyage type, about an Englishman who fights with the Aztecs against Cortez.
                #18. The People of the Mist. 1894. Lost-race fantasy. In central Africa a party of adventurers reach a forbidden land inhabited by "the degenerate inheritors of some ancient and forgotten civilization" who worship "divinities of Light and Darkness, or Death and Life, each springing from the other, engaged in an eternal struggle" — which provides roles for two of the adventurers: a dwarfish Black (servant and protector of the white hero) and the heroine, who thus becomes Haggard's first white goddess.
#19. Joan Haste. 1895. Mundane melodrama.
#20. Heart of the World. 1895. Fantasy: a lost Mayan city in modern Mexico.
                #21. The Wizard. 1896 (regular pbn only in US; see #26). Noble-savage romance with a white missionary as the catalyst.
                #22. Dr Therne. 1898. Borderline SF with a purpose: the weakening of the vaccination laws results in a plague that sweeps England.
                #23. A Farmer's Year: Being His Commonplace Book for 1898. 1899. A lavishly illustrated journal of the changing seasons, the joys of rural life, and the problems of the farmer.
#24. The Last Boer War[also pbd as A History of the Transvaal]. 1899. See #1.
                #25. Swallow: A Tale of the Great Trek. 1899. Colonial romance, with the narrator an ancient vrouw recalling the youth of her daughter, known to the natives as Swallow. Beginning with all the Boer prejudices and retaining some to the end, the vrouw gradually learns that some savages can be noble.
                #26. Elissa / Black Heart and White Heart. 1900 (in UK, ## 21 & 26 pbd together as Black Heart and White Heart, and Other Stories). §1. Elissa; or The Doom of Zimbabwe. Pseudohistorical romance suggested by the ruins of Zimbabwe, which is imagined to have been the Golden Ophir of the Bible and to have fallen because of the wickedness of its religion and native policy. §2. Black Heart and White Heart: A Zulu Idyll. Noble-savage romance: the black heart is that of a white man, and vice versa.
                #27. Lysbeth: A Tale of the Dutch. 1901. Romance of the 16th century; no fantasy; along with #30 Haggard's most ambitious attempt at the historical novel.
                #28. A Winter Pilgrimage: Being an Account of Travels through Palestine, Italy, and the Island of Cyprus in 1900. 1901. In this journey Haggard gathered materials for ## 30 and 32, as in an earlier journey to Iceland and Mexico for ## 15, 17, and 20, and as in earlier and later journeys to Egypt for many books.
                #29. Rural England: Being an Account of the Agricultural and Social Researches Carried Out in 1901 and 1902. 2v 1902. Haggard spent much time and effort in support of reforming English agriculture along distributist lines.
                #30. Pearl-Maiden: A Tale of the Fall of Jerusalem. 1903. Romance of the first century CE; see comment on #27.
                #31. Stella Fregelius: A Tale of Three Destinies. 1904. Fantasy and SF combining spiritualism and technology: the invention of the aerophone, a kind of two-way radio. With ## 36 and 54, this is one of three books with a prefixed warning to readers that it is "in no way a romance of the character they may perhaps expect from him"; i.e., is not an adventure story.
#32. The Brethren.1904. A romance of the crusades.
                #33. Ayesha: The Return of She. 1905. Spiritualist and lost-race fantasy (a Greek colony planted by Alexander isolated in central Asia), with new variations on the themes of #5, this time ending in the deaths of all three members of the triangle (Ayesha and her rival also died in #5) and the obvious necessity for another reincarnation.
                #34. A Gardener's Year.1905. Similar to #23.
                #35. The Poor and the Land: Report on the Salvation Army Colonies in the United States and at Hadleigh, England, with Scheme of National Land Resettlement. 1905. See comment on ## 29 and 44.
                #36. The Way of the Spirit.1906. Almost entirely mundane melodrama centering on sexuality and its renunciation, but with a voyage both spatial and spiritual and an isolated community in Egypt that approximates a lost race. See #31.
                #37. Benita: An African Romance [also pbd as The Spirit of Bambatse]. 1906. Colonial romance and fantasy with spiritualist and lost-race themes.
#38. Fair Margaret[also pbd as Margaret]. 1907. Romance of the 15th century.
                #39. The Ghost Kings[also pbd as The Lady of the Heavens]. 1908. In the last six chapters, fantasy set in a marvelous world of gigantic trees, with the dwarfed inhabitants worshiping the most gigantic; in the first 18, colonial and noble-savage romance related to #16 in the slight historical but well developed mythical basis that supports the white-goddess theme.
                #40. The Yellow God: A Idol of Africa. 1908. Fantasy with a lost race of mixed Semitic and Negro ancestry ruled by a line of priestesses determined to keep their whiteness pure, a motive prominent in many another lost-race romance. The subtitle is ironic, the yellow god being worshiped more fervidly elsewhere.
               #41. The Lady of Blossholme.1909. Romance of 16th-century England.
                #42. Morning Star.1910. Historical fantasy of the spiritualist universe set in the Egypt of the post-Hyksos period.
                #43. Queen Sheba's Ring.1910. Lost-race fantasy: in Africa an unwarlike Jewish community inhabiting a natural fortress and under constant attack by a barbaric pagan community. Like other writers of his time, Haggard makes the supposed culture and traditions of European Jewry a symbol of bourgeois values as opposed to those of the warrior-aristocrat, a practice hardly to be likened to the anti-Semitism that advocates expulsion or extermination on religious or racial grounds.
                #44. Regeneration: Being an Account of the Social Work of the Salvation Army in Great Britain. With an Appendix by Bramwell Booth. 1910. For many years a friend of General William Booth, Haggard maintained a life-long interest in the work of the Army. Cf #35.
                #45. The Mahatma and the Hare: A Dream Story. 1911. Fantasy with a purpose: opposition to killing animals for sport. Metempsychosis with a vision of the pearly gates. The narrator here is the same as in #50.
#46. Red Eve.1911. Historical fantasy of the years of the Black Death.
#47. Rural Denmark and Its Lessons.1911. See comment on #29.
                #48. Marie.1912. Primarily colonial romance as the story of Allan's boyhood and youth and his first love-marriage-widowhood; in part noble-savage romance as the beginning of the "epic of the vengeance of Zikali, the Thing-that-should-never-have-been-born, and of the fall of the house of Senzangacona" (Chaka, Dingaan, Panda, Cetywayo). Here also we first meet Hans, Allan's Hottentot servant and protector, who figures prominently in most of the AQ stories to follow. The Zikali trilogy continues in ##49 and 53.
                #49. Child of Storm.1913. Noble-savage romance, the second part of the Zikali trilogy. The story of Mameena ("a kind of Zulu Helen") and of the great struggle of Umbelazi and Cetywayo for recognition as heir to the Zulu throne. Narrational irony is stronger here than in the other AQ stories, where it is seldom long absent, for Mameena is Allan's third love, though he denies it in his white man's pride, and her death is for him a kind of third widowhood.
                #50. The Wanderer's Necklace.1914. Fantasy set in prehistoric Scandinavia and in the Byzantium of Irene and Egypt of Haroun-al-Rashid. A story of the recurring triangle with the present-day narrator writing from racial memory.
                #51. The Holy Flower[also pbd as Allan and the Holy Flower]. 1915. Lost-race fantasy: an African community of Semitic ancestry who worship a gigantic gorilla and an equally gigantic orchid.
                #52. The Ivory Child.1916. Fantasy: reincarnation, drug-induced clairvoyance, and a forbidden world in Africa whose inhabitants retain the Osiris-Isis religion. In ## 51 and 52 the "real hero of this history" is Hans the Hottentot, who dies in the climactic action of #52.
                #53. Finished.1917. Noble-savage romance: the conclusion of the Zikali trilogy in the destruction of the Zulu state.
                #54. Love Eternal.1918. Mundane melodrama but with some more or less marvelous experiments in spiritualism. See comment on #31.
#55. Moon of Israel. A Tale of the Exodus. 1918. Historical romance.
                #56. When The World Shook: Being an Account of the Great Adventure of Bastin, Bickley, and Arbuthnot. 1919. The most science-fictional of Haggard's novels, for along with such psychic phenomena as metempsychosis we have suspended animation with survivors from a technologically advanced civilization 250,000 years in the past, a chart comparing the star patterns of that time with those of today, and a monstrous machine — one capable of changing the tilt of the earth.
                #57. The Ancient Allan.Fantasy (reincarnation, the recurring triangle, and drug-induced transtemporal metempsychosis) and historical romance (Egypt under the Persians).               
               #58. Smith and the Pharoahs, and Other Tales. 1920. §1. Smith and the Pharaohs. Transtemporal metempsychosis. §2. Magepa the Buck. Noble-savage romance, with AQ.
§3. The Blue Curtains. Mundane melodrama. §4. Little Flower. Colonial and noble-savage romance. §5. Only a Dream. Mundane melodrama. §6. Barbara Who Came Back. Fantasy of the spiritualist universe.
                #59. She and Allan. 1921. Partly fantasy (telepathy, clairvoyance, the spiritualist universe) but mostly colonial and noble-savage romance with the middle-aged Umslopogaas (see ## 7 & 16) as the principal hero, but with Ayesha, Allan, Hans, and Zikali all figuring in the action. Concerned with the story of #5-#33-#61 only in that Allan hears from Ayesha another version of "her varying tale," it still develops the African background that was scanted in #5, which it precedes by many years in the internal chronology of the series.
                #60. The Virgin of the Sun. 1922. Pseudo-historical romance: the adventures of an Englishman who happens to reach Peru in the 14th century.
                #61. Wisdom's Daughter: The Life and Love Story of She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed. 1923. Fantasy (the spiritualist universe, etc.) and historical romance (Egypt under the Persians). Perhaps intrigued by the many and various interpretations of the Ayesha of #5, Haggard here offers what may be regarded as his own, or at least as Ayesha's own. Trouble is, the better we get to know Ayesha, the duller she becomes.
                #62. Heu-Heu; or The Monster. 1924. SF and fantasy: the Missing Link and a lost race; an AQ story.
                #63. Queen of the Dawn: A Love Tale of Old Egypt. 1925. The overthrow of the Hyksos and reinstatement of the rightful pharaonic line.
                #64. The Days of My Life; An Autobiography. 2v 1926. Written in 1912, but locked away for posthumous publication, though one can hardly see why, it being a very gentlemanly book. Of special interest is the last chapter, in which Haggard discusses the limits of his belief in spiritualism.
                #65. The Treasure of the Lake. 1926. Fantasy: telepathy, the recurring triangle, and a lost race. An AQ story.
                #66. Allan and the Ice Gods: A Tale of Beginnings. 1927. Prehistoric fantasy, with drug-induced transtemporal metempsychosis.
#67. Mary of Marion Isle [also pbd as Marion Isle]. 1929. Mundane melodrama in
§§1-14 and 23-24, a robinsonade in §§ 15-22. Apparently a posthumous response to the moralistic objections to #13, with which it is closely parallel in many details, for here adultery is justified by circumstance, the self-sacrificing heroine is rescued from the waters, and the accidental drowning of the wicked wife makes possible the legitimation of the child of the soulmates.
#68. Belshazzar. 1930. Set in Egypt and Cyprus as well as Babylon.

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