Influences: H. Rider Haggard

Sir Henry Rider Haggard (1856-1925), father of the ‘Lost World’ genre of fantasy is often overshadowed by those who followed.  This is an undeserved place among the imaginative fiction writers of the late nineteenth century.  Like many of his contemporaries, an air of white supremacy runs through his work.  Sadly, this is the most common trope in early lost world and lost civilization stories from this time.  While not trying to skirt the issue, it must be said Haggard was the most sympathetic of theses writers to their native characters.  His portrayal of Umsloppgaas in King Solomon’s Mines is the most notable instance of his portrayal of Africans as heroes on equal footing as the usual European protagonists.  All writers are a product of their time, in some fashion. It is just a matter of degree as to what societal morals or prejudices come through in the writing.

If one cannot look beyond the Victorian morality and prejudices, then Rider may not be the best author to tackle.  He does make a good starting point for a lot of the imaginative adventure fiction writers of the late nineteenth/early twentieth century because of his love of Africa and his respect for the people.

Must Reads:

King Solomon’s Mines (1885)

She: A History of Adventure (1886)

Allan Quatermain (1887)

Eric Brighteyes (1891)

The People of the Mist (1894)

The Return of She: Ayesha (1905)

When the World Shook (1919)

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