H. R. HAGGARD (PART 4)

Another of Haggard’s readers, Madame Blavatsky, asserted that Queen Ayesha embodied the first principle of the Theosophical doctrine, which stated there was a single, underlying inseparable Truth that had no cause and no beginning, thus unknowable and indescribable.  According to Blavatsky, it was Be-ness rather than Be-ing.  Yet this Be-ness comprised in its aspect the idea of absolute Abstract Motion, which encompassed the quality of Change. 

In other words, Queen Ayesha represented life, consciousness, and spirit.  Each of these three energies was dynamic and evolutionary.  Haggard took the two concepts – dynamism and evolution – and presented them in the reincarnated Queen Ayesha.  “My empire is of the imagination,” says She.  When the adventurers try to teach her Christian doctrine, she shrugs them off, saying, “The religions come and the religions pass, and civilizations come and pass, and naught endures but the world and human nature.” 

Haggard’s metaphysical themes influenced a number of other writers.  Edgar Rice Burroughs borrowed the lost world concept for his John Carter novels, which were set on the red planet Mars.  And Haggard’s ideas of lost tribes, the elephant’s graveyard, and characters endowed with almost supernatural powers appeared in Burrough’s Tarzan novels.  Another author who leaned heavily on Haggard was H.P. Lovecraft in his Cthulhu Mythos stories.  Joseph Conrad read Haggard, for it was Haggard who first referred to “darkest Africa.”  Conrad picked up on the mysterious concept hinted at in the term ‘darkest,’ using it as a major theme in his Heart of Darkness

Haggard’s Anima novels are:  King Solomon’s Mines

                                                            She

                                                            Ayesha, The Return of She

                                                            Wisdom’s Daughter

                                                            She and Allan

                                                            The Treasure of the Lake

Haggard wrote over 40 novels, most of which are still in print.  The most popular are the Anima novels, and the 14 volumes that comprise the Allan Quatermain series. 

Haggard’s belief in a worldwide Jewish conspiracy impugned his reputation and contradicted his seemingly tolerant attitude toward foreign cultures.  He was a complex man, extremely intellectual yet at the same time unpredictable and very sensual.  Haggard, though married to Mariana Margitson, had a life-long mistress, who lived nearby.  Except for the fact that she existed, Haggard’s mistress remained as mysterious as Queen Ayesha.   

Henry Rider Haggard died in a nursing home in London, on May 14, 1925.  He was cremated, and his ashes buried at a church in Ditchingham.  Haggard wrote his autobiography in two volumes.  Entitled The Days of My Life, it was posthumously published in 1926.  Haggard’s daughter, L.R. Haggard, publisher her memoir of her father in 1951.  The memoir is entitled The Cloak That I Left.