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Taming CannibalsRace and the Victorians$
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Patrick Brantlinger

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780801450198

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801450198.001.0001

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Mummy Love

Mummy Love

H. Rider Haggard and Racial Archaeology

(p.159) 7 Mummy Love
Taming Cannibals

Patrick Brantlinger

Cornell University Press

This chapter considers the adventure stories of H. Rider Haggard, which helped set the pattern for fiction combining geographical with archaeological discovery. His three best-known novels—King Solomon's Mines (1885), She (1887), and Allan Quatermain (1887)—feature British heroes discovering the remnants of ancient civilizations in southeastern Africa. It is argued that Haggard's racism and his fetishistic archaeology led him to insist that Great Zimbabwe and other ruins in southeastern Africa could only have been constructed by a civilized, white, or at least Semitic race. He saw the ancient Egyptians as a great civilizing race; he also saw the Zulus as a great savage race, and imagined that they would always remain savage. Though well aware of the theory of evolution, Haggard treats both savage and civilized races as if they were permanent fixtures, eternal certitudes that helped him believe in the permanency of British civilization and its empire.

Keywords:   H. Rider Haggard, racism, race, fetishistic archaeology, Africans, ancient Egyptians, Zulus, British empire

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