Abstract

H. Rider Haggard’s adventure story She is a favorite of Freudian critics who focus on the demonic, erotic, immortal Ayesha as a symbol of the “eternal feminine.” They mostly ignore, however, the mortal Ustane, the other powerful woman in She. The sources of Ustane’s strength suggest an ideological reason for her neglect: she reflects biological imperatives, while the immortal Ayesha transcends them. Though the deaths of both women seem to thwart a resolution of these conflicting sources of potency, I contend that evolutionary theory (especially Darwin’s sexual selection) provides a better explanation of feminine power in She than Freudian theory.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-329X
Print ISSN
0190-0013
Pages
pp. A60-A74
Launched on MUSE
2014-11-13
Open Access
No
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