She to be warned by Rider Haggard

On a random stroll through Cambridge, two learned friends cross paths with a duo so inconsistent that the striking contrast that characterizes them is as strong as the desire to get to know each other. Introduced to them by his friend, the editor and introducer of the story will embroider himself with the most beautiful Apollo ever met, a certain Lo Vincey. As well as his sidekick, the very ugly L. Horace Holly. After a brief interview, the two duos will separate due to a comic misunderstanding and misunderstanding between Sir Holly and the handsome and magnificent Sir Vincey, who seemed less afraid of women than his clever sidekick. The anecdote could have ended there if a few weeks later had not been received two mysterious packages accompanied by a letter of one of the two understandings and editor of his state. Inside, a confessed letter explaining the sensational story that had happened to the two inconsistent friends. An adventure that had led them to the setting of mysterious Africa, to the troubled city of Kor, located in the cave of a colored volcano, and its cruel queen, Ayesha. This is the story told by “She who-must-be-obied”. A story that will drive the duo and their acolytes to the border between fantasy, madness, but also eternal love. Because Ayesha and Vincey are not so strangers to each other. What if, as legend has it, these two had already loved each other? Not in this earthly existence, where everything means so little, but that was a long time ago, in another life? A love story that would have started more than 2000 years ago and that would have ended with the most unjust crime, Calicrates and the impossibility of repairing what was then broken. Then it could be …

Colonial literature has the qualities of its flaws. But here it is more subtle than one might think. Next to the worst phrases of clichés, repetitions and white racism, there is a huge void of unexpected correspondence. Thus, if in Rober Ervin Howard (1906-1936) the otherness is actually placed in this reinvented dreamlike relationship between white (Solomon Kane) and black (the wizard N’Longa), the moment this little bond, racist and superior vision of the colonist over the colonized, in Haggard this happens on the sentimental level. How can one not see this Ayesha or Acha as the almost unconscious idea of ​​a love that breaks down racial barriers as well as cultural distances to build the underdog in a relationship that has finally become possible. Lo Vincey, as the symbolic reincarnation of a former original love. Ayesha, as the symbolic priest of a woman who was carried away by confusion. This remarkable reversal of the relationship evades both the original wound and promotes resilience through the possibility of a crossing that remains symbolic because it is symptomatic of the last taboo in this Victorian society: ties outside of marriage. And everything that goes with it (family, caste, social level, etc.) and is always present in our secularized society. Haggard’s entire life will be the toy of his polygamous impulses. All his work will remain from his unconscious desire to be monogamous with other ethnic groups. This unforgettable tale is a magnificent game of outrageous reports and finally reminds us how much Haggard’s work is the model that will serve as the basis for all the images of a popular culture that will end up incorporating into his dream of film and paper. , this slave will no longer be free, but a man who has become equal to all other men. From Kipling Edgar Rice Burroughs throughout the cinema in the twentieth century, Haggard is a bit the father of all this culture there. Yet another remarkable edition from the skilful hands of Dominqiue Poisson, who used the best translations ever made to give readers a unique epitome. For this and a thousand other reasons, Haggard rereads.

She there-must-be-obbied, Sir Henry Rider Hagard, Terre De Brume editions, translated from English by Ccile Desthuilliers & Jacques Hillemacher, 310 pages 22 Euros.

Emmanuel Collot

Leave a Comment