H. R. HAGGARD (PART 3)

In 1895, Haggard decided to enter the world of politics, running for parliament.  He lost.  Yet because of his recognized expertise in agriculture, sociology, and colonial migration, he received appointment to the Dominions Royal Commission.  As a commissioner, one of his duties took him to the United States, where he investigated the Salvation Army’s labor colonies.  When he returned to England, Haggard wrote a lengthy report of his findings.  The report went unnoticed.  Nevertheless, due to his literary fame and his extensive travels, Haggard formed and maintained friendships with many political figures.  He counted Theodore Roosevelt as a close friend, and dedicated one of his books, Finished, to President Roosevelt.

Since farming was more than a hobby with Haggard, he combined his literary skills with his agricultural pursuits, producing several non-fiction books:  A Farmer’s Year, and Rural England, which detailed his observations from his travels throughout the region.  His book The Poor and the Land expounded on the stark life of farmers in England and Wales.  In Rural Denmark and Its Lessons, Haggard set forth the benefits of cooperative farms, and provided a cooperative template for such an experiment in England.

For his efforts as a royal commissioner, as well as his focusing attention on the socio-economic conditions of farmers, Haggard was knighted in 1912.  And seven years later, in 1919, he was made Knight Commander of the British Empire.

Many of Haggard’s novels exude a psychological aura that demands analysis, especially his female characters.  On the surface, the women in Haggard’s stories seem at odds with their author, who was a product of Victorian England.  The superiority of European culture, particularly English culture, had been instilled in Haggard by his family and his society.  He had been raised in the Christian religion by Christian parents in a Christian nation.  Yet these cultural and religious values were not reflected in Haggard’s novels.  Instead, a pagan pre-Christian awareness was presented by Haggard, an awareness that came very near African animism, toward which Haggard was sympathetic. 

One of Haggard’s readers was Carl Jung, who stated that the novel She was the perfect example of the Anima/Animus relationship.  Jung believed each person contained both masculine and feminine components.  Separate from gender, these components were psychological and biological energies that directed each individual’s development toward integration, a healthy wholeness.  According to Jung, Queen Ayesha represented the Anima.  She was a guide and mediator to the hidden, undiscovered inner world.  Thus, Haggard’s protagonists were not merely seeking physical treasures they were also involved, simultaneously, in a spiritual search.  Haggard’s alter ego was Allan Quatermain, who became the Ego or Animus in King Solomon’s Mines.  In his next novel, She, Haggard introduced Queen Ayesha, who became the Anima.  The delicate relationship between Animus and Anima provided the driving force of the novels.