oa Alternation - The Return of the Lost City: the hybrid legacy of Rider Haggard's African Romances

Volume 4, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1023-1757



In a strange, oblique way the last eighty-five years of South African fiction has [sic] been an extensive footnote to Rider Haggard. We had to wait until 1972 before we got a serious 'literary' novel about explorers [Fugard, S. The Castaways]. His allegorical battle of love and hate, light and dark, energy and entropy, the cry of the smothered soul for release from rational anguish-all these are still with us. His work is visionary, touching on the primordial experience (Maclennan & Christie 1973:35f). Although the above extract from Maclennan and Christie's unpublished work Dream Life and Real Life will make some hackles rise, there is an element of truth in the observation it makes. Though Rider Haggard's influence on successive British romance writers and colonial civil servants is well known, his profound influence on South African writers is less well documented.

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