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She (Oxford World's Classics) Paperback – 12 Jun 2008


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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford Paperbacks (12 Jun. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199536422
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199536429
  • Product Dimensions: 19.3 x 1.5 x 12.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (76 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 30,463 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

"A strange book . . . full of hidden meaning." --Sigmund Freud --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

H. Rider Haggard (1856-1925) worked in South Africa during the time of Britian's war with the Zulus and the First Boer War. He turned these experiences into fiction on his return to England and achieved popular and critical acclaim with KING SOLOMON'S MINES (1885), ALLAN QUATERMAIN (1887) and SHE (1887).

Patrick Brantlinger is Professor of English at Indiana University, Illinois. He has published work on British literature and imperialism in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Secret Spi on 25 Nov. 2009
Format: Paperback
H.Rider Haggard's character "She" should be the ideal woman - the wisdom and experience of thousands of years in the body of a stunning beauty in the prime of life. But for Horace Holly and his ward Leo Vincey, the encounter with this all-powerful queen ends in horror and tragedy.

The story of "She" is one of the first in the "Lost World" genre, written back in the 1880s. Yet it is still readable and enjoyable today as it is a book that works on many levels. There is the adventure story - set at a time when much of the world was still unexplored and before aeroplanes made it possible to glimpse into the uncharted territory. There are the philosophical musings of Holly and She herself on life, death, love, civilisation and religion. There are the fantastic and macabre elements which make the book quite spine-chilling in places. And there is the glimpse into the late-Victorian way of thinking.

The book has some beautiful passages on top of the action - the description of the sunrise after the storm and the ruins of the city of Kor in the moonlight come to mind. And there is humour, too - albeit some of it unintentional (I am afraid I could not think of the Amahagger "hot-potting" without an image of Winnie-the-Pooh and the honey jar on his head coming to mind!). There have been some criticisms of the "misogynist" nature of the book, but I feel it is Holly who is the misogynist, not Rider Haggard. In fact, the following comment made me laugh rather than offending: "True, in uniting himself to this dread woman, he would place his life under the influence of a mysterious creature of evil tendencies, but then that would be likely enough to happen to him in an ordinary marriage."
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 8 Aug. 2004
Format: Paperback
Victorian adventure novels often got bogged down in descriptive detail that made them serve a secondary purpose as travelogues. She fits into that model rather nicely with great amounts of detail about the imaginary African tribe of the Amahaggers. Pared down, the Amahaggers enhance the main story in this version.
The book opens as Horace Holly's dying friend begs Horace to take on the task of raising the friend's five-year-old son and preparing him for a challenge when he becomes twenty-five. Since Horace is an honest, hard-working sort and the position pays well, it is an easy decision. Horace and the boy, Leo, quickly become close, and Leo treats him like a favorite uncle.
On Leo's twenty-fifth birthday, they open a mysterious chest that Leo's father has left in Horace's care. Eventually, this reveals an ancient story from Leo's family written on a potshard. On the potshard, there seems to be information about the potential for discovering the secret of eternal life. This requires a trek to Africa. Along the way, Leo falls gravely ill but they are rescued by the Amahaggers who have ordered by She-who-is-to-be-obeyed not to hurt them.
The rest of the story unweaves the fantasy tale of how the 2,000 year old Ayesha, She-who-is-to-be-obeyed, became connected to Leo's family. Ayesha is a little out of date in her preferences, still being an Egyptian-style autocrat with a taste for the macabre. I wouldn't have gone out with her on a second date myself, no matter how beautiful she was. The Gloria Swanson role in Sunset Boulevard is evoked in She.
The story is an interesting one, because it builds around the potential of having a world in which women rule by right.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Mrs. Penelope J. Jaquet on 11 Oct. 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Everyone has seen the film I suppose, all glorious colour and cinematic thrills, and to be honest a little bit off the plot, but it's a good start. Read the book and you get the real story of Holly, Leo and Ayesha, and believe me it is well worth it. Although written in un-PC times, and you may find some of this difficult to ignore, it is still gripping. No long desert treks and volcanos, but descriptive journeys that will make you shudder, and good old fashioned friendship and loyalty amongst the hardships. The writing style too is plain and straightforward, easy to read, and easy to enjoy. Go on, try this classic, you won't be disappointed.
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39 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth Taylor VINE VOICE on 25 Aug. 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book for my summer holiday, I had a detective book, some heavy stuff and wanted a classic, moreover, I always loved that great studio Hammer Films version of She with Peter Cushing, Ursula Andres & Co, and the good looking one (no-one can remember his name). I wasn't disappointed from the first page I was really gripped as this is simply a great story, it has mystery, adventure and a hidden city, it has glamour and sex appeal and history. I won't go into the story as if you haven't seen the film, watch it its a real laugh and a great way to spend a rainy sunday afternoon and if you haven't read the book read the other reviews which give an overview. To be honest the book is better than the movie as the characters are much more etched out in particular that of She, who we discover is a great intellectual (no doubt having watched all that history from afar) and is so stunningly beautiful that she wanders around covered with a sheet the whole time and the narrator we discover is a man of numerous and varied Freudian hang-ups about women. As a history graduate I also found the writing style most interesting, its very precise and more formal than books of today. The book and in particular the views of the narrator allow an insight into another time, when Britain ruled the world, when every square inch of the our world wasn't visible to the CIA via satellite, when there was the lure of adventure and discovery. On the other hand this was also a world when the British had a stiff upper lip, when foreign people were there to be dominated and conquered as savages, when women were not considered intellectually equal to men (hence She is somewhat out of the ordinary) and when an English gentleman did not have to earn his living so could gaunt off around the world.Read more ›
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