Degree Name

Master of Arts (Hons.)


Department of English


Given the absence of critical studies of Rider Haggard's short stories, this study critically examines the short stories finding in them justification for the claim that after the outstanding successes of King Solomon's Mines, She, and Allan Quatermain there is a notable decline in Haggard's writing. As a critical perspective of this phenomenon, the Introduction examines biographical factors conditioning the quality of Haggard's writing and offers a brief history of the nineteenth century short story genre. Chapter 1 asks: Was Allan Quatermain Haggard's spokesman or was he merely an imaginative manifestation of the escapist hero-worship of the Victorian age? In Chapter 2, the hero's flaws are discussed in the context of Allan Quatermain's reappearance in the short stories. Chapter 3 examines Haggard's spirituality in the context of his short pieces, and Chapter 4 draws conclusions from the foregoing, suggesting that Haggard's aspirations were always towards the romantic adventure and that it is erroneous to seek to judge him against the major novelists of his day: he never sought to be more than a story-teller. An Appendix graphically illustrates Haggard's detachment from innovative themes in fiction writing.