Ayesha is She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed, a 2,000-year-old queen who rules a fabled lost city deep in a maze of African caverns. She has the occult wisdom of Isis, the eternal youth and beauty of Aphrodite, and the violent appetite of a lamia. Like A. Conan Doyle's Lost World
is one of those magnificent Victorian yarns about an expedition to a far-off locale shadowed by magic, mystery, and death.
Tim Stout writes, in Horror: 100 Best Books, "As the plot takes hold one has the fancy that [Ayesha] had always existed, in some dark dimension of the imagination, and that [H. Rider] Haggard was the fortunate author to whom she chose to reveal herself." Haggard did, in fact, write this book in a six-week burst of feverish inspiration: "It came faster than my poor aching hand could set it down," he later said.
This edition of the 1887 classic features an introductory essay by literary critic Regina Barreca, who likens Ayesha to Flaubert's Madame Bovary or Tolstoy's Anna Karenina--"literally fantastic female figures who must be stopped before they love again."
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“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 )
"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 )
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