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She (She #1)

3.6 of 5 stars 3.60  ·  rating details  ·  5,889 ratings  ·  472 reviews
She is the story of Cambridge professor Horace Holly and his ward Leo Vincey, and their journey to a lost kingdom in the African interior. The journey is triggered by a mysterious package left to Leo by his father, to be opened on his 25th birthday; the package contains an ancient shard of pottery and several documents, suggesting an ancient mystery about the Vincey family ...more
Paperback, 317 pages
Published October 22nd 1998 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published 1887)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Stephen
Well, shit snacks…this was a disappointing pile of shattered expectations. While journeying through the early works of speculative fiction, I’ve encountered some amazing novels...this, I'm very bitter to say, IS NOT one of them. This was my first experience with H. Rider Haggard and I think I will take some time before seeking out any of his other works.

My problem was not the not-even-thinly-veiled misogynistic attitudes, or the matter-of-fact racist and anti-semitic opinion or even the pervasi
...more
Manny

- Well, having created my older-men-younger-women shelf...

- ... people thought you needed one called older-women-younger-men?

- Exactly. So of course I'm adding She.

- You mean Her?

- Look, which one of us is the grammarian?


Barry Pierce
Eh this novel is a bit too... Victorian for its own good. It's basically a couple of white English guys go to Africa and say the most racist things they possibly can. Apart from the blatant and offensive racism, the story is enjoyable. This isn't a novel that takes itself seriously. It's a light, fun read, nothing more.

Since this is one of the most influential and best-selling novels of all time (it's sold 100 million copies, the same as The Hobbit and double the amount of copies Deathly Hallow
...more
Shovelmonkey1
Jun 21, 2011 Shovelmonkey1 rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who likes their ladies long-winded
Recommended to Shovelmonkey1 by: 1001 books list
*Sigh* - that was a bit of a mission. I think I was more excited about this book before I read it! The story was good but the overly wordy verbose madness of some of the characters made my thinky thing a bit hurty. Haggard may have written it in a six week whirl wind but the dense text and convoluted poetic speeches make it feel less khamsin-like and more leaden than the worlds heaviest box of pencils.

I have to admit to skim reading some of the speeches in order to preserve my sanity (and my th
...more
Traveller
Thanks, Manny for reminding me that I'd read this as a child/teenager (I think about 3 times)? And absolutely adored it! (way back when, no idea how I'd find it now).

Pygmalion, you can go eat dust in SHE's er... HER wake.

She rules!


..and I really want some of what She had...
Dan (The Chaotic Reader) Porter
This was a very tedious read. The writing was so-so, it was verbose, and the story - although somewhat unusual - was not all that interesting. Lots of descriptions of dark caves. Lots of statements that he can't describe something followed by a page and a half of its description. Inconsistent philosophizing/moralizing with no resolution. Spent the last third of the book wondering if it would ever end.
M.J. Johnson
‘She’ is reckoned to be one of the most widely read books ever written, and fifty years ago was estimated to have sold over eighty million copies. It has been translated into numerous languages and made into several film versions. I recall getting a little hot under the collar myself when as a lad I saw Ursula Andress in the titular role. Like King Solomon’s Mines it is difficult for the modern reader to encounter views that are now considered to be quite unequivocally racist. The European world ...more
Tom Lazenby
"She" is a great book--bottom line. Initially, I was going to say that I was surprised to see that this book did not get more five star ratings. But then I can understand some people's "frustration" with it. Granted, it is slow/verbose at some parts (primarily the beginning in my opinion). But we must remember that this book was published in 1887, the age of no television, radio, Internet, etc. As such, certain description that may be deemed unnecessary in today's world (though there are still s ...more
Henry Avila
She who must be obeyed, sounds like a fun gal.Ayesha is a 2,000 year old woman and still looks marvelous. Who lives in the middle of Africa and rules a tribe of cannibals!When Englishmen arrive in her land, instead of being eaten, are saved by the Queen.Leo is one of the explorers. And She, believes is a reincarnated former love.
Ludwig Horace Holly ,his foster son Leo and their servant Job and an
Arab sailor guide, are a little nervous you can imagine.Unwisely coming to this dangerous continent,
...more
rachel
First of all: the summary of this book is inaccurate. Ayesha does not have the "violent appetite of a lamia," which, if you are me, is a disappointing mislead because I was expecting something awesome. She doesn't thirst for blood so much as kill either when her orders are disobeyed (like when the tribe of people ordered to bring our main characters to her unharmed tries to cannibalize them, which would piss anyone off I think) or when the only man she passionately loves is possessed by another ...more
Mohamed Nida نيده
يبدأ هاجارد بمقدمة تشويقية يخبر فيها بأن القصة أرسلها إليه أحد أبطالها وأنها أحداث حقيقية! رواية ممتعة جدًا كأساطير وقصص الرحلات خاصة أن أحداثها في أفريقيا الغامضة التي تزيد الأحداث إثارة وغموض.
ناهيك عن إني قد تهت لكثرة الممرات وضلّت بوصلتي الطريق وساعد على هذا أيضاً تخبّط المترجم في بعض الوصف، لكن لم أهتم كثيرًا لهذا فالمغامرة مليئة بالأحداث الشيّقة.

نوفمبر 2011
Rebecca
The Ursula Andress film maimed my childhood. I was indoctrinated with a craving for beauty. The book is infinately eerier. Your lover's corpse is a creepy keepsake.

Ayesha is basically Miss Havisham but with looks, immortality, sorcery, brilliance, an underground desert kingdom, enslaved minions...

*aspires*

*especially to the enslaved minions*
Olivia
Considering it was written in 1886-1887, this was a fun, adventuous read. It also really brings light to issues of the Victorian era such as gender and race.

My favourite: the fact that it was written in installments. This meant that every chapter is left off on a cliffhanger, keeping you wanting to read more.
Eric
What a weird book... Haggard's trip into a metaphorical vagina complete with a fem-fatale character lurking inside. That's my take on it anyway.
Russell
This is my third Haggard novel I've read, and it's a top notch, ripping yarn. Although similar to other Haggard's creations, (such as lost civilizations, strange beings with strange powers, at least one friendly native among hostile tribes, hidden untold treasures) it is an enthralling tale, layered and well seasoned with Haggard's ability to weave in different world views and philosophies into the tale. His book is engaging, without being preachy, unapologetically Imperial British, and Haggard' ...more
Marvin
H. Rider Haggard is one of those "classic" adventure writers I missed as a child while I was devouring Verne, H. G. Wells, and Edgar R. Burroughs. Then there were the Lost Worlds tales of that guy who dabbled in fantasy-adventure when he wasn't writing about a detective-doctor duo. Now that I have read my first Haggard novel, She, I am glad I put him off for so long because he is REALLY BORING!

Tedious descriptions, stiff dialogue and simply mediocre writing is the order of the day in the land of
...more
Jeff
This is more like a piece of history than anything else, but I liked it. It's silly and dated but kinda fun, and I am always really interested in seeing the evolution of popular fiction, especially fantasy/horror/sci-fi.

What made this truly excellent was the editing and commentary in this Penguin Classics edition. I am a sucker for academic treatises about 19th century imperialist fantasies.

It would be interesting to compare this book side-by-side with Heart of Darkness to consider two near-con
...more
Dagny
I really enjoyed Holly and the search. But found the character of She herself incredibly tedious.
بسام عبد العزيز
واحدة من الروايات الكلاسيكية التي تمجد في الرجل الأوروبي الأبيض العظيم و تحقر الرجل الأفريقي الأسود الهمجي... و يبدو أنها كانت موجة سائدة بين الكتاب الإنجليز في عصر الدولة التي لا تغيب عنها الشمس..

طبعا العنصرية التامة تسود أحداث القصة برمتها..
الأفارقة الهمج الذين قتلوا الأوروبي المسالم..
الأفارقة الهمج الذين يأكلون لحوم البشر...
الأفارقة الهمج الذين يرون زميلهم يصارع الموت ولا ينقذوه بل ينقذه الرجل الأبيض الشجاع..

دائما و طوال أحداث الرواية لابد أن يكون الرجل الأبيض هو الأفضل.. الشجاع الجسور الم
...more
Alwa
Gosh, I hope this book isn't too racist or misogynist... :(

OMG JK. I've seen this book mentioned as inspiration or background to a lot of other things I've read and enjoyed, something lurking in the history of sci-fi and adventure stories. So, here goes. Plus, if I ever want to get people to call me She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed, I'll need to pick up some tips from Ayesha.

--------------------

Okay, so here's the thing. My problem isn't with the racism or the misogyny (or the classism, or the anti-Semit
...more
Victoria
Haggard’s conception of an immortal female sorceress or ‘femme fetal’ is most easily discussed in terms of sexuality, which serves as an alluring, but altogether unconvincing and rather limiting premise. To understand an ambiguous text in a more in-depth manner, one must look beyond the throes of sexuality. There are numerous terms that Haggard uses to create Ayesha. The use of ‘curtain’ and ‘veil’ are familiar objects for the reader to orient themselves in the text, and the same objects in whi ...more
Sally
I'd seen the film but that was absolutely ages ago and all I could really remember was "Helen Gahagan was hot".

I didn't expect to like the book when I first picked it up - it was only 300 pages, but the font is tiny so in reality it was a much longer book than it first appeared... it was also printed on bible paper so was again, longer than the appearance suggested!

But man, I got right into it like *that* and I'm not even sure why... there was something very engaging about the writing I guess,
...more
Ksenia
I had originally picked this up in the bookstore a while ago, based off the cover. Penguin had a display of their “Red Classics” and this one definitely caught my eye. I think it’s quite the striking illustration of “She who must be obeyed.” I had never heard of it before, nor of the author. When you read the summary above, it sounds fascinating, right? And it was originally published in 1886. I think the last time I read a “classic” book was in college. All of my reading since then has been con ...more
Maureen
Jul 29, 2008 Maureen rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: adventure, fantasy
I read H. Rider Haggard for the sheer fun of his stories, and it would be hard to out-do this one. Ayesha, the ruler of a dark, mysterious kingdom, is a female character who represents (among other things) the destroyer side of the female psyche. Every woman who reads this book will find herself identifying with Ayesha at some point in the story. Along with the ability to nurture new life, woman is capable of implacable ferocity. "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned," is more than an adage, a ...more
Alex
I was first introduced to H. Rider Haggard in my class on British Imperialism in college where we studied history though novels of the time. We studied his "King Solomon's Mines" with the intent of viewing the British Empire as 19th century contemporaries might have - and what better place to do this than through propagandist adventure novels targeted at young boys?! I'd like to say that "She" - one of Haggard's more grown up novels - is a step up, but I can't say that with thorough conviction. ...more
Fsiemsen
This book starts out like an Indiana Jones movie (a good Indiana Jones movie). The back cover description, the characters, the title, and the concept leads you to believe that this book is going to be the absolute shit. Not to mention the fact that the people who adapted "The Most Dangerous Game" made this into a movie soon after. However, this book loses what it has going for it. You watch the characters you loved and respected become pathetic, moral-less and miserable beings. This book isn't r ...more
John
Kind of like Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, only with unlikable characters and next-to no action. Although quite predictable, SHE is not bad for a pulp adventure novel--it just hasn't aged well mostly due to its extreme political incorrectness and clunky, King James-style prose. I can see how this would have been an exciting, ominous read a hundred years ago, but now it mostly just feels melodramatic and wordy. She's ultimate demise sure is effectively gruesome, though...
Ron
Sep 13, 2008 Ron rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: fantasy
Great premise; sloppy execution. I don't care that Haggard is a great name: his stuff is great fun. He writes great stories, but he's not a great story teller.

BTW, the phrase "she who must be obeyed" while popularized by "Rumple of the Old Bailey" (a BBC comedy series) and used with deleterious effect by certain males of this family, originated in Rider Haggard's book, She.
إيمَان
من أول الحاجات اللى قرأتها زمان وأنا فى ابتدائى يمكن :S
كنت بحبها قوى
بس مش فاكرة خالص غير تدمير فكرة الأبدية المطلقة فى النهاية
هقرأها تانى :))
Simon Mcleish
Originally published on my blog here in March 2001.

Haggard's second most famous novel has many similarities to King Solomon's Mines; they are both about incredible secret nations hidden away from European eyes in the interior of Africa, still at the time almost completely unknown to Westerners.

The basic story is that M.L. Vincey, knowing his death to be imminent, entrusts the care of his young son Leo to his close friend Ludwig Horace Holly, along with a box to be opened on Leo's twenty fifth bi
...more
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What Is Wrong With "She"? 1 32 Nov 25, 2013 12:34PM  
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Sir Henry Rider Haggard was an English writer of adventure novels set in exotic locations, predominantly Africa, and the creator of the Lost World literary genre. His stories, situated at the lighter end of the scale of Victorian literature, continue to be popular and influential. He was also involved in agricultural reform and improvement in the British Empire.

His breakout novel was King Solomon
...more
More about H. Rider Haggard...

Other Books in the Series

She (4 books)
  • Ayesha: The Return of She
  • She and Allan
  • Wisdom's Daughter (Dodo Press)
King Solomon's Mines (Allan Quatermain, #1) Allan Quatermain The People of the Mist Ayesha: The Return of She Montezuma's Daughter

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“The moon went slowly down in loveliness; she departed into the depth of the horizon, and long veil-like shadows crept up the sky through which the stars appeared. Soon, however, they too began to pale before a splendour in the east, and the advent of the dawn declared itself in the newborn blue of heaven. Quieter and yet more quiet grew the sea, quiet as the soft mist that brooded on her bosom, and covered up her troubling, as in our tempestuous life the transitory wreaths of sleep brook upon a pain-racked soul, causing it to forget its sorrow. From the east to the west sped those angels of the Dawn, from sea to sea, from mountain-top to mountain-top, scattering light from breast and wing. On they sped out of the darkness, perfect, glorious; on, over the quiet sea, over the low coast-line, and the swamps beyond, and the mountains above them; over those who slept in peace and those who woke in sorrow; over the evil and the good; over the living and the dead; over the wide world and all that breathes or as breathed thereon.” 43 likes
“Yea, all things live forever, though at times they sleep and are forgotten.” 33 likes
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