chapter  5
23 Pages

‘The “Lady of the Night” hath a sweet voice, and she will not sing in vain’: Haggard’s Women – Sexuality, Music and the Other

Music is an essential component of H. Rider Haggard's presentation of Other women. This chapter focuses on two of Haggard's fifty-five romances: She: A History of Adventure and Allan Quatermain, but makes reference to other Haggard works. In Allan Quatermain, the sequel to Haggard's first romance King Solomon's Mines, the musical sexualization of foreign women again occurs. Throughout the nineteenth century music was considered a central component of mesmerism and the two were associated in theories of the unconscious, something in which Haggard was interested in his quest to discover his own spirituality. The majority of the sparse references to music and European women that Haggard makes are in this mould of purity. Haggard's uncomplicated written style reflects the goal of the quest romance – for the (male) characters to gain knowledge, categorize their findings and so gain control, either of peoples, countries, wealth or all of these.