Literature and Orientalism: Contextualizing Rider Haggard
Contemporary theories about orientalism are often linked to literature, and Edward Said uses a number of examples as primary case-study materials for his seminal Orientalism. Henry Rider Haggard was one of the most successful and prolific writers of 'Orient' and Other in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Haggard's early imperial experience greatly marks his writings, as do his later travels in Egypt, South Africa, the 'Middle East', Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Fiji, Hawaii and the United States. The chapter contextualizes the works of H. Rider Haggard by establishing the environment within which he was working, and hence situating his works within the popular orientalist literature of his contemporaries. Although Haggard's literature might not describe the actual political situations between Britain and its Others, it indicates one man's interpretation of imperial spirit, otherness, 'racial' values and gender issues at the close of the long nineteenth century.