She — subtitled A History of Adventure — is a novel by H. Rider Haggard (1856–1925), first serialised in The Graphic magazine from October 1886 to January 1887. She is one of the classics of imaginative literature, and one of the best-selling books of all time, with over 100 million copies sold in 44 different languages as of 2013. She was extraordinarily popular upon its release and has never been out of print. According to literary historian Andrew M. Stauffer, "She has always been Rider Haggard's most popular and influential novel, challenged only by King Solomon's Mines in this regard".
The story is a first-person narrative that follows the journey of Horace Holly and his ward Leo Vincey to a lost kingdom in the African interior. There they encounter a primitive race of natives and a mysterious white queen named Ayesha who reigns as the all-powerful "She", or "She-who-must-be-obeyed". In this work, Rider Haggard developed the conventions of the Lost World subgenre, which many later authors emulated.
She is placed firmly in the imperialist literature of nineteenth-century England, and inspired by Rider Haggard's experiences of South Africa and British colonialism. The story expresses numerous racial and evolutionary conceptions of the late Victorians, especially notions of degeneration and racial decline prominent during the fin de siècle. In the figure of She, the novel notably explored themes of female authority and feminine behaviour. It has received praise and criticism alike for its representation of womanhood.
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