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A Tale of Two Hemispheres
E. W. Hornung's first book, *A Bride from the Bush*, was greeted with acclaim in 1890. The critics were delighted by its freshness and originality but puzzled at having to wait until 1893 for a sequel. It may have seemed that the novelist was resting on his laurels. But “Willie” Hornung had, in fact, been hard at work in 1891 on an ambitious romance; he came within a hair’s breadth of finishing it. Whether it was the upheaval resulting from a move to a different address, illness, or another insurmountable problem, the creative process suddenly stopped. That novel is *The Graven Image*, a sensitive, beautifully wrought narrative with much humour and drama and vivid descriptions of people and places alike, the action moving from a cheerless Midland town in England to the wide open spaces of southeast Australia. This is the second unfinished novel edited by Peter Rowland, the companion volume being *His Brother’s Blood: The Last (Unfinished) Novel*, published by ELT Press in August 2015. As with *His Brother’s Blood*, Rowland rounds off *The Graven Image* with speculation on how, at one level, it might have reached a resolution. Together these books are designed to celebrate in 2016 the 150th anniversary of Hornung’s birth.
The Political and Literary Contexts of His African Romances
H. Rider Haggard on the Imperial Frontier, the first book-length study of H.R.H.'s African fiction, revises the image of Rider Haggard (1856–1925) as a mere writer of adventure stories, a brassy propagandist for British imperialism. Professor Monsman places Haggard’s imaginative works both in the context of colonial fiction writing and in the framework of subsequent postcolonial debates about history and its representation. Like Olive Schreiner, Haggard was an Anglo-African writer straddling the moral divide of mixed allegiances—one empathetically African, the other quite English. The context for such Haggard tales as King Solomon’s Mines and She was a triad of extraordinary nineteenth-century cultures in conflict—British, Boer, and Zulu. Haggard mined his characters both from the ore of real-life Africa and from the depths of his subconscious, giving expression to feelings of cultural conflict, probing and subverting the dominant economic and social forces of imperialism. Monsman argues that Haggard endorses native religious powers as superior to the European empirical paradigm, celebrates autonomous female figures who defy patriarchal control, and covertly supports racial mixing. These social and political elements are integral to his thrilling story lines charged with an exoticism of lived nightmares and extraordinary ordeals. H. Rider Haggard on the Imperial Frontier will be of interest to readers of imperial history and biography, “lost race” and supernatural literature, tales of terror, and heroic fantasies. The book’s unsettling relevance to contemporary issues will engage a wide audience, and the groundbreaking biographical account of Haggard’s close contemporary Bertram Mitford in the appendix will add appeal to specialists.
The Last (Unfinished) Novel
At the turn of the nineteenth century into the twentieth, hearts would have beat a little faster with word of a new novel by E. W. Hornung, one of the most widely read writers of the time, a born story-teller with an abundance of plots and, invariably, a trick up his sleeve. His A. J. Raffles stories rivaled Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes in popularity. That new novel is *His Brother’s Blood*, a Cain and Abel tale with a different cast of light. It took shape during the fifteen months preceding his death. Hornung believed it would out-do all his other novels. Sadly, he died too soon to complete the task. With permission of the Hornung family, Hornung’s biographer Peter Rowland has transcribed the 20,000-word manuscript, the six exciting chapters, housed in Cadbury Research Library, University of Birmingham. He also includes an “Introduction” and an “Afterword.” It offers convincing details on how the plot may have been intended to develop and come to a surprising resolution. In the Internet age nearly all of Hornung’s fiction is available. Once again general readers and critics are interested in this stylish, sensitive writer. They will find His Brother’s Blood: The Last (Unfinished) Novel a great read, every bit Hornung.
Travel Letters, 1889-1895
Rudyard Kipling claimed that he never wrote "the bland drivel of the globetrotter." As a journalist for seven years in India, he watched tourists scurry across the land and then publish their superficial impressions. Ironically over the course of his life, Kipling too became a tourist, visiting and describing six continents. Kipling was just twenty-three years old when he reached San Francisco in May 1889; he immediately began recording the sights and sounds of boom-town America. For four months he toured the United States, publishing accounts of his journey in the Pioneer, a major newspaper in western India. A few years later, when he lived in Vermont (1892-1896) with his American wife, Kipling wrote several syndicated articles published in both England and the U.S. Then in 1899 he revised and abridged the Pioneer versions and published them in From Sea to Sea. The second series of syndicated articles he collected in Letters of Travel (1920). Most of these travel writings are now out of print. In Kipling's America, Professor D. H. Stewart brings all of these articles together and reproduces the original printed versions; he sets the context with an engaging introduction and helpful annotations. Readers are provided with the opportunity to hear again Kipling at his cocky and often opinionated best. From Kipling's perspective, America unleashed the chaotic energy latent in human beings, and he was uncertain whether this energy inevitably would be productive or destructive.
In her novels and short stories, May Laffan Hartley (1849–1916) depicts the religious and political controversies of late nineteenth- century Ireland. Helena Kelleher Kahn reintroduces us to Laffan’s vivid, witty fiction, rich in political and social commentary. Laffan did not offer clear-cut approval to one side or the other of the social and religious divide but weighed both and often found them wanting. She adds a missing dimension to the Irish world of Wilde, Shaw, Moore and Joyce. A woman of the age subtly embroiders the acute challenges and divisions of middle-class Ireland. As Kahn says, “she chose to write about the alcoholic ex-student, the impecunious solicitor, the farmer or merchant turned politician, and their often resentful wives and children. On the whole her world view was pessimistic. Rural Ireland was a beautiful intellectual desert. Dublin was a place to leave, not to live in.” This account of her life and work will be of interest to students of Anglo-Irish literature and history, as well as women’s studies.
Hugh Clifford and the Discipline of English Literature in the Straits Settlements and Malaya 1895-1907
Hugh Clifford’s position as both colonial official and writer sets him apart from such contemporaries. His career as colonial administrator in the Malaya and Straits Settlements spanned five decades, and his Malayan short stories, novels and sketches draw an elaborate series of parallels between the act of governing the colony and the discipline of writing a literary text. In Modern Subjects/Colonial Texts Philip Holden places Clifford’s writing in the context of the British "Forward Movement" in the Malay Peninsula, the evolving strategies of colonial governance, and their reception and reinscription by colonial elites. What makes Holden’s study especially interesting is his careful analysis not only of Clifford’s unique role as administrator and writer, but his probing of Clifford’s doubts about the colonial enterprise. The central contradiction of colonialism pervades his fiction. In its late nineteenth-century guise colonialism promised improvement and the uplifting of subject peoples, yet it could not admit them to a position of social equality since at that moment the basis for colonialism would vanish. Holden reveals how the experience as a colonial administrator made Clifford suspicious of the economic expediency which often underlies the rhetoric of mission and duty. Clifford also comes to have doubts about the success of masculinity as a practice of the regulation of the self. As the last chapter of Holden's study shows, such doubts and contradictions were exploited in the reception of Clifford's texts by colonial elites such as the Straits Chinese.
Dorothy Richardson Annotated
Dorothy Richardson's thirteen-volume Pilgrimage is crowded with references from the last decade of the Victorian era and the first decade of the twentieth century. The interests of the protagonist Miriam Henderson are wide-ranging, from ecology to economics, from fiction to philosophy, from the mores of the family to the morals of the nation. Pilgrimage's stream-of-consciousness narrative evokes these references and interests in elusive, complex ways. Even accomplished readers, following in the wake of the heroine's personal revelations, are hard-pressed to understand aspects of the more public scene from turn-of-the-century England. Notes on 'Pilgrimage' , by identifying historical persons, events, ideas, quotations and writings that underpin Richardson's story, illuminates these factual details and enriches understanding of the narrative. A translation of all foreign words and phrases, a record of textual misprints and a thorough index add to the value of the book.
A Supplement to "Oscar Wilde Revalued"
Oscar Wilde: Recent Research updates and reconceptualizes the bibliographic objectives of the earlier Oscar Wilde Revalued. This new volume surveys research on Wilde from 1992 to 2000, but in a much more explicitly evaluative manner. The opening chapter, “Wilde in the 1990s,” traces the main directions of Wilde research over the past decade. Critical material is then reviewed under three broad categories. The first, Biography, is concerned with the continuing fascination with Wilde’s life, and its emphasis on how critics have moved on from dissatisfaction with Richard Ellmann’s Oscar Wilde (1987). Recent Critical Paradigms evaluates research channelled through master-narratives that have emerged in the 1990s, ways of describing Wilde’s work: the “gay” Wilde, the “Irish” Wilde, and “Wilde and Consumerism.” Wilde the Writer, the third category, centres on an important trend in research during the last decade, what might be thought the less glamorous aspects of the oeuvre—from the seriousness with which Wilde took his role as a poet, to the sheer amount of time he devoted to writing journalism, to the complexities of the production and staging of the plays. Oscar Wilde: Recent Research also contains sections devoted to sources and intertexts, to thematic studies, to essay collections, and to critical monographs which take Wilde as their sole subject. The book includes information about new research resources, and about manuscript discoveries and letters. It concludes with an extensive bibliography organized alphabetically and in terms of Wilde’s works and an index of critics.
An Essay on New Materials and Methods of Research
In Oscar Wilde Revalued, Ian Small chronicles the significant changes in Wildean critcism and suggests that a "demythologized" Wilde is surfacing from innovative but scattered research by scholars working in areas as distinct as women's studies, textual scholarship and theatre history. The book places the scholarship in an authoritative context, makes explicit changes that have occurred since E. H. Mikhail's bibliography, corrects earlier bibliographical inaccuracies, and provides a census and description of the manuscripts available.