Modern Library Classics


A History of Adventure

Publisher: Modern Library
A runaway bestseller on its publication in 1887, H. Rider Haggard’s She is a Victorian thrill ride of a novel, featuring a lost African kingdom ruled by a mysterious, implacable queen; ferocious wildlife and yawning abysses; and an eerie love story that spans two thousand years. She has bewitched readers from Freud and Jung to C. S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien; in her Introduction to this Modern Library Paperback Classic—which includes period illustrations by Maurice Greiffenhagen and Charles H. M. Kerr—Margaret Atwood asserts that the awe-inspiring Ayesha, “She-who-must-be-obeyed,” is “a permanent feature of the human imagination.”


My Visitor

There are some events of which each circumstance and surrounding detail seem to be graven on the memory in such fashion that we cannot forget them. So it is with the scene that I am about to describe; it rises as clearly before my mind at this moment as though it had happened yesterday.

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1. Consider the great effort that the author makes to pass off the events of the novel as real (presenting himself merely as the editor of the manuscript rather than its author, the detailed presentation of the shard, the extensive footnotes, etc.). Does this actually make the novel seem true to life? Do you think that...

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“A strange book . . . full of hidden meaning.” —Sigmund Freud