The Lingering Clasp of the Hand



‘The Lingering Clasp of the Hand’: Literary Collaborations 1885 – 1905

ISBN: 9781466077249


 When this project began there were milestones already in place erected by Stephen Heath, Wayne Koestenbaum, Eve Kosovsky Sedgwick and Rebecca Stott.  Yet these edifices pointed to the need to produce, and the need for further elucidation on, an innovative theory of male bonding in relation to literary representation.  These writings invited my own collaborative endeavours with them, and thus I became an uncontracted fellow worker to take further forward the criticism connecting important research by sexual historians and sexual theorists with literary discourse.

 The research on Haggard was largely undertaken at the Norfolk Record Office in Norwich, and that on related work was engaged in at the Senate House Library of the University of London, the Brynmor Jones Library at Hull, and the Library of the University of Southern California at San Diego.  I should like to thank the staff of those institutions for their co-operation, help and advice. 

 I would also like to thank Andrew Noble, David Jarrett, Owen Knowles, Dr Catherine Wynne, Dr Brian Rigby and Mark Landon, who confounds all stereotypes.


 Introduction    ‘The Lingering Clasp of the Hand’: Literary Collaborations in Late-Victorian Adventure Romance.                                                                  4


Part 1               ‘King Romance is Come Indeed!’ The Fictive, Imperialist, and Homosocial World of the Adventure Romance of Masculine Adventure.          31


Part 2               ‘The Athenaeum (Golly What a Club)’: Clubland Friendship: Male Desire and its Literary Expression in a Homosocial Adventure Romance.  90


Part 3               ‘Faire Objections c’est Collaborer’.  Further Literary Bondings. Haggard and Kipling, Kipling and Walcott Balestier, James and Stevenson, Stevenson and Henley, Conrad and Ford, and Stevenson and Osbourne.                                                                                                                                                  150


Conclusion       ‘Two Hearts that Beat as One.’                                                                                                                                                                      219


Bibliography                                                                                                                                                                                                                         239





‘The Lingering Clasp of the Hand’: Literary Collaborations  1885 – 1905'


The aim of this book is to define the nature of literary collaboration by authors in the mediation and production of the novel of masculine action in the period 1880-1905.  Collaboration in texts is a very interesting problematic that becomes more marked in the late-Victorian period.  I have analysed the nature and motivation on which various literary collaborations rested, looking at the issue of sexuality within the texts and at the disputes that arose and the rivalries that existed within the male bonded community.  The book explores the anxieties and suppressions that characterise such collaborative male ventures, and undertakes research into constructions of masculinity and gender differentiation.  It engages critically with ways in which masculinity, in the late-Victorian period and subsequently, has been accepted as a matter of fact and "given"; and, in terms of theory, the book is tied to, and attempts to extend recent work in gender and cultural studies. 

     Some of the sources I have used for this study have been Double Talk by Wayne Koestenbaum, and both Epistemology of the Closet and Tendencies by Eve Kosovsky Sedgwick.  I have also been significantly influenced in this project by Heath’s “Psychopathia Sexualis”, by William A. Cohen’s Sex Secrets, and The Poetics of Gender by Nancy K. Miller.  Their work on literary collaboration has been influential in forwarding scholarship on queer theory, not least by allowing for new ways of looking at masculinities and femininities, and ways in which these altered in the late-Victorian period.

     I have approached my work in three ways, looking at three essential themes — literary collaboration, Empire and sex.  Firstly, I examine literary collaboration in many of its manifestations because it is different from other more conventional ways of producing texts.  There exist some key novels including Haggard’s She, King Solomon’s Mines and The World’s Desire arising from the collaboration of authors.  I look at the nature of collaboration and male bonding within the text of the novel, pointing to the homoeroticism that is often contained within the stories.  I demonstrate an interest in the nature of collaboration and male bonding within the discourse I examine.  This leads to issues of homosociality which I deal with in some detail.   

    Secondly, I analyse the impact of Empire and consider the ways in which it is reflected in the novels of masculine adventure, exerting, as it did, a remarkable influence upon British youth.  I particularly challenge the notion that Empire was a benign institution, as has been suggested by some recent commentators.  I will argue that Empire provided the geographical scope and possibility for adventure and often influenced the successful works featured in this survey.  

    Lastly, I highlight sex and show that there are a number of texts that deal with the matter in particularly interesting hidden, unconscious ways that are suggestive and erotic and often point to the homosociality of the writers.  There appears to be an unspoken homoeroticism underlying much of the literary discourse that I deconstruct, which may have arisen from either commercial or theoretical literary concerns.  These texts include She, on which Haggard collaborated with Lang, Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, and the joint work by R. L. Stevenson and his stepson Lloyd Osbourne, The Ebb Tide.

     In terms of methodology, I have employed traditional literary criticism allied with qualitative approaches to research, such as family letters, portraits on canvas, evidence from correspondence between authors, handwriting in the original texts, period plate photographs, correspondence between the present author and living and erstwhile members of the Haggard family, previously unknown correspondence between Ford and his publisher, and evidence from ring-giving between Haggard and Lang taken from period plate photographs of the time.

     Where it has been possible, I have attempted to relate the success or otherwise. of the original texts to the production, reception and distribution of similar novels of the period. In many cases, I have analysed the sales figures of the various editions of the works showing, for example, how King Solomon’s Mines and Kipling’s Barrack Room Ballads’s production figures grew in strength over time. 

     In terms of social history, the book refers, where necessary or appropriate, to late-Victorian values, ideals, and the suppressions and repressions that some researchers tend to think of as symptomatic of the era.  These include the system of primogeniture that passed wealth, land and the perpetual inheritance of titles to the first born in an aristocratic family, leading to our present system of unelected peers.

      Masculinities and femininities in the period are looked at, and a comprehensive literature review is undertaken on the subject.  Obviously it is difficult to relate such issues specifically to the time in question because, from our present-day perspective, we have vastly altered ideas on gender and queer studies.


Literary Collaboration.


On making a close analysis of Haggard and Lang’s She. I discovered an interesting focus on the emotional side of male bonding that seemed to reflect the author’s collaborative activity with the critic, Lang.  In the novel Ludwig Holly, Leo Vincey and Job take part in strongly male–orientated adventures that glorify the exclusive realm of bachelorhood, the ‘brother officer’ and male bonding.  When the editor of She receives the manuscript of Ludwig Holly’s account of how his ward Leo Holly came to be the descendant of the ancient priest Kallikrates, he makes the comment “To me the story seems to bear the stamp of truth upon its face”.[1]  This extract underlines the theories about the presentation of reality upon which the adventure romance was based and which contributed to its financial success in the 1880s.

      The relationships in Haggard’s She, in my view, reflect mutual adolescent admiration.  In one scene in particular the interaction between Leo and Holly generates a greater sexual compulsion due to the intensity of their companionship.  In this scene as Leo and Holly escape from danger (the homoeroticism / homosociality is always fraught with danger) each must help the other jump across a yawning chasm: “The rest was easy; in two or three more seconds I was up, and we lay panting side by side, trembling like leaves...”[2]  The extract portrays unusual intimacy in an era renowned for its prudery and repressions written in a clubland where the authors collaborated together.

     As Leo and Holly escape from a scenario of cremation in Chapter 25 of the novel they enter a rosy coloured womb-like cave where the next adventure is to be pursued, suggesting that they are within the power of female dominance.  As they pass through the cave, in an act of rebirth, they enter into another female symbol — that of an inverted cone — providing further suggestions of the feminisation of terrain in the romance of masculine adventure..[3]

 Collaboration and homosexuality – the double bind.

 In She, Holly and Leo, although foster uncle and nephew, share a notable devotion and intimacy.  Haggard and Lang and Stevenson and Osbourne also formed strong male ties that can be seen reflected in the adventure romances that they produced together.  The texts upon which they collaborated demonstrate an interest in male bonding.  Male bonding was a major theme in the culture of the nineteenth century reflected throughout the romance literature.  Some commentators make allegations of homosexuality against collaborating partners.  Male bonding needn’t necessarily have involved homosexuality, yet such friendships among writers and artists had existed for generations in the fields of art, literature, drama, music and sculpture.  For example, the romantic Norwegian painter Frederick Gude (1825–1903) collaborated with the genre painter, Adolf Tidemand in Germany on several oil paintings.  The Swedish born engineer, Billy Klüver, proposed the dynamic and mutual participation of the engineer and the artist in the creation of the artwork, believing that the engineer needed the collaboration of the artist.[4]  In the world of music, the collaboration between the librettist, W. S. Gilbert and the musical composer, Sir Arthur Sullivan in the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company (1875–1982) led to the production of some delightful light operas.[5]  Collaboration together in artistic and literary work remained a legitimate and quite natural outcome of the bonds that cemented together the relationships of the authors in this survey.

     I am inclined to agree with Koestenbaum’s interpretation suggesting that when Rider Haggard dedicated She to Andrew Lang its emphasis on male bonds could be considered as “a reflection of the author’s collegial affection for the dedicatee.”[6]  As an appropriate, approved form of male endeavour, bonding has continued to perform the role of socially acceptable male activity for writers working in collaboration together.  Why the issue of sexuality should be raised so frequently and forcefully in such literary collaboration at all is a question of some concern to me because, although collaboration may have been a dying cultural trend, the opprobrium and blame attached to male bonding seem to arise from the feeling that collaborative works are sexually tainted and unnatural.

     It was argued by Jerome K. Jerome,[7]  J. K. Stephen[8]  and others that the texts resulting from collaboration between men in the eighteen eighties and nineties somehow contained secrets intimating homosexuality.  The homosexual relationships were often at that time ambiguous, their adherents frequently being unwilling in those unenlightened times to admit to being homosexual.  Writers worked together sometimes producing texts that appeared to take on a disguised form in which homosexuality appears as the subject of much of the discourse.  This tendency is noted by others, besides the present commentator, including Koestenbaum and William A. Cohen.  The homosexual references were often veiled in euphemism, cross-gender references, and the double entendres that are the stuff of British comedy.  There existed in-crowd allusions of which only the participants would be fully aware.  Yet whether the intention was to titillate or merely to amuse in a public school type humour way is unclear.  Bawdy passages are not uncommon in English literature from Chaucer onwards, and may be quite endemic in the English literary psyche.

     By collaboration I mean joint activity in artistic and literary, as well as in the cultural, religious, sporting, diplomatic and military fields in which men took part in writing, drama, clubs, sports and wars.  The texts that I discuss show that when men wrote books together they were taking part in a form of homosocial activity, if not necessarily expressing homosexual desire.  I shall argue in this book that male literary collaboration did lead to the production of a homosocial fiction exemplified in stories such as She, Ayesha, Allan Quatermain and other bonded ventures where men were virile and women were marginalised and compliant. 

      I will argue that the friendships of the authors were often more than just a quotidian working practice, but I will also argue that their common centre was not a genitally homosexual one, but a "homosocial" one.[9]  The word "homosocial" is a neologism, or a coinage, sometimes employed in history and the social sciences.  It obviously makes an analogy with "homosexual", but the word “homosocial” is just as obviously meant to be distinguished in meaning from this latter term. 

      I apply the term "homosocial" to designate the bondings and pairings that arose in the period.  An analogy can be made, then, between homosociality as referring to groups in society who adhere through their association together in a community of congruent ideas and interests, and when referring to groups of two men who pair together for the purposes of bonding in a shared relationship exclusive of others.  Homosociality emphasises the masculinity and the social nature of their joint or indivisible male endeavours, without implying that those who conformed to such descriptions belonged to a sub culture or a gay group operating separately from mainstream society.  The word "homosocial", arising from the work of Gayle Rubin[10]  in the 1980s, can be usefully applied to the nature of the identity of the duos and pairings, as well as the extended groupings that I look at in this book.  The homosocial world of literary collaboration was one in which males worked together to socialise with each other in an intensively masculine atmosphere from which women were totally excluded, making the homosocial an entirely male preserve.

      Homosociality elides into homosexuality when practice supersedes desire.[11]  The essential difference between homosociality and homosexuality is that homosociality can be seen as being an acceptable, approved aspect of male collaboration — as we see exemplified in the male bondings of Haggard and Lang and Stevenson and Osbourne — whereas in the case of homosexuality it can mean involvement in same-sex sexual activity including genital contact, as in the alleged case of Kipling and Balestier [see Part 2].

     Masculinities in the late-Victorian period were certainly not “given” but were constructions resulting from social forces.  What was considered by society to be right or wrong, proper or improper and why behaviour was controlled by social custom are issues that need some investigation.  Masculinities and femininities had been constructed over centuries and differed from one country to another, but it is unclear why masculinities were the way they appeared in the late-Victorian age.  The Victorian period was characterised by being patriarchal, as seen in the treatment accorded to servants and working people and to some junior family members.  Primogeniture — a system of passing land, wealth and the inheritance of titles to the first-born in an aristocratic family — had put influential families in positions of power, and had continued the class-based system of education and society of which these writers were a product.  The masculinities that we see portrayed in the adventure romance, such as in the self confident, masculinist clubland adventurers like Alan Quatermain, were the results of a system and were the products of an age that produced the Pax Britannica and the triumphalism exhibited by the male in so many aspects of life.

      If men engage in male bonding, a prejudiced and quite intemperate judgment about their homosexuality may be made by some.  Such judgment arises somewhat illogically, for ‘love’ between men (without sexual connotations) was quite common, not only in late-Victorian England but also in the Greek city states, in Rome and America, to mention just a few places.  Plato, Spenser and Whitman are examples of writers for whom male love was platonic rather than physical.[12]  Platonic discourses deal with the traditional questions of the relation between the beloved boy and the master, showing how love differs between body and soul. [13]  In Spenser’s Shepheardes Calender a definition of the difference between love of a man’s soul or ‘being’ is made, as opposed to “disorderly love”[14]  between men.  Walt Whitman, defending his position on homosexuality in a reply to Symonds about “the calamus part” of his work, explores the difference between manly genital homosexuality and the idea of male coquetry.[15]

     The issue of gender and fraught concerns of gender stereotyping were becoming increasingly prominent in the period.  As Elaine Showalter has pointed out, a redefinition was made of the terms surrounding homosexuality and feminism at that time, and new interpretations of masculinities and femininities were formulated:

 The 1880s and 1890s, in the words of the novelist George Gissing, were decades of “sexual anarchy”, when all the laws that governed behaviour seemed to be breaking down.  During this period both the words “feminism” and “homosexuality” first came into use, as New Woman and the male aesthetes redefined the meanings of femininity and masculinity...”[16]

 Studies of “the New Woman” related to aspects of domesticity identify changes in women’s lives in the period.[17]  Gender identity was undergoing extensive change in the 1880s, particularly in the area of constructions of femininities and how these constructs were changing.[18]

 Looking deeper into the complexities of She, I discovered that Haggard and Lang had collaborated over The World’s Desire.  In my view, the sexually heightened imagery in the text suggests homoeroticism, as exemplified in falling drops of blood which Koestenbaum has suggested as being symbolic of menstruation.[19]  Haggard and Lang use imagery of this nature throughout the work, making an allegorical reference to sexual matters.

The Literary Debate.

In what became at the time a most hard fought debate, Haggard, Stevenson and others discussed the nature and composition of the adventure romance.  In writing the collaboratively written South Seas adventure The Beach of Falesa, Stevenson recognised that incident and action were important in the adventure romance.  In a September 1891 letter to Sidney Colvin[20]  he points out that what is important in the adventure story is the need to provide realistic details:

 There is a vast deal of fact in the story, and some pretty good comedy.  It is the first realistic South Sea story; I mean with real South Sea character and details of life.[21]

 Stevenson had expounded his views on the writing of adventure romances within a series of articles including “A Gossip on Romance” in 1882.[22]   Rather than debate whether changes in popular fashions in fiction had affected the reception or longstanding success of texts like Gulliver’s Travels or Clarissa, he stressed the need for the basic power of incident and action that make up a good story, as I discuss at more length later.  Stevenson, as well as Haggard and Lang, disliked romantic fiction written with women in mind because it arguably misrepresented life.  The adventure romance on the other hand, according to the theories of Stevenson and Lang, was to present men in real terms with tales of action-filled adventure that omitted girls and women and concentrated on manly adventures in far-flung settings.  This accounts for the fact that Treasure Island contains no, or only a few, women characters.  Stevenson prizes the heroism displayed in many Western European stories that detail the exploits of men; such novels have become part of the body of literature extolling male supremacism and assertion.  The characterisations, formulated by males in collaboration marginalised women in enduring and enthralling adventures.  The concept of maleness upon which the stories were based nevertheless goes against the rather womanly terms ‘gossip’ and ‘romance’ that entitle his paper. 

     The writing of the romance of masculine adventure and quest was an attempt by male writers to create a fictional space, which would engage fully with what they considered as reality and masculine strength.  The romance of adventure connects itself with the moment and particularly with the colonial narrative.  Realism focuses on moral imperatives, while romance gives prominence to action-filled adventure.[23]  It concentrates on action and adventure most often in a foreign locale.  The fiction of adventure romance frequently involves allegory through the use of covert references, situations and plots in which masculinity in some of its more extreme forms is manifested.

      The male hero is paramount in the adventure romance.  As the article entitled “About Fiction”[24]  by Haggard suggests, he wished to produce a strongly masculinist fiction that drew upon a specifically masculine not just male group of readers.  Haggard’s protagonist, Alan Quatermain, commences his narrative with the avowal that he is the silent, strong hero who abjures book learning: “I am more accustomed to handle a rifle than a pen, and cannot make any pretence to the grand literary flights and flourishes which I see in novels...”  Quatermain has no literary pretensions, he knows the Old Testament, the Ingoldsby Legends and sometimes likes “to read a novel”, yet adventure and not literature is his forte.[25]  

      The adventure romance sprang from an era wherein complex issues of paternalism, patriarchy and homophobia abounded.  Paternalist attitudes continued to dominate the late nineteenth century, discriminating against and marginalising homosexual groups.  The frightening and quite illiberal practice of homophobia limited the activities of writers moving and working in the period.  As Craig Owens has suggested[26]   homophobia "is not primarily an instrument for oppressing a sexual minority", but it could be a construction for controlling the complete range of relations between men including power, control and authority, both familial and societal.  Seen from our current perspective, established homophobic practices at that time appeared unchanging, uncaring and discriminatory, and, as Michael Mason has recently pointed out,[27]  it is the sexual moralism of the Victorians which is the cause of our sense of antagonism towards the constraints upon sexual activity which they applied.  We tend to consider the Victorians as the exponents of a high moral purpose and apply the term “Victorian” to those in their day that took superior attitudes towards sexual morality.[28]   The repressive actions like those restricting displays of male-male emotion that we think of when we use the term ‘the Victorians’ form the basis of most of the taboos and repressions that we recognise as emanating from the 1880s and 90s.    

Homophobia involved a repression of the feminine experiences in men and also had close links with misogyny, as, indeed, Sedgwick points out when she cautions that

While male homosexuality does not correlate in a trans-historical way with political attitudes toward women, homophobia directed at men by men always travels with a retinue of gynephobia (sic) and antifeminism.[29]

This extract implies that there exists a package of sentiments and emotions surrounding homophobia that include negative feelings toward women as well as towards men and is frequently seen in the corpus I examine.  Yet how the homophobic imperative impacted on male friendships is difficult to assess, but it is clear that it had a dampening effect on the expression of male-male affection in the period, as John Tosh and others have pointed out.[30]  It can be seen, for example, when Andrew Lang found himself incapable of accepting that Stevenson should be seen dressed in a slightly camp manner in Bond Street in the presence of a government official.  It would have been impossible for a journalist of Lang’s standing to acknowledge Stevenson dressed in what he (Lang) considered to be an outrageously homosexual fashion, yet Stevenson was clothed in nothing more outré than a sailor hat and velvet jacket.  Furthermore, Lang considered that it would have been impossible to meet Stevenson in the street in such garb, but this did not rule out a private meeting.  It is interesting, too, that dress should have borne such an importance amongst friends in those times.

The adventure romance reinforced ideas of patriarchy and homophobia.  Seen from the present day perspective, homophobia entailed a frighteningly illiberal and discriminatory system.  It accounts for the anti-gay patriarchal repression so current in the 1880s when, reacting to the internal sexual crises of domestic Britain in a homophobic manner, the Labouchere Amendment of 1885 made even private homosexual acts illegal:


We know nothing of what may be valuable social forces or factors of character, or of what may be the relation of physical things to things spiritual; but when you speak of a sexual element being present in this kind of love, we can quite understand that; and that is just what we mean to suppress.  That sexual aspect is nothing but gross indecency, any form of which by our Act of 1885 we make criminal.[31]


It was in the light of this act that representations of masculinities and femininities were formed in the late-Victorian period and may explain why homosexual feelings came into conflict with law.

     Critics might contend that, until the time of the Wilde trial, a concept of homosexuality did not really exist in any event, even among those sexually attracted to their own sex; there were homosexual acts, but because of the lack of an evident discourse, it is difficult to know, until Wilde, what this meant, even to the individual involved.[32]

    These writers were a group of powerful, influential men who identified themselves as a specific intellectual circle with shared interests and attitudes.  Their work was part of a sharing of ideas among a “virtual” club with a community of ideas, and depended on the spirit of co-operation.  The manful and man-centred romances that they promoted, with Empire offering varied settings for adventures and quests, emphasised the headiness of male adventure.  With a love of African vistas, pampas, plains, jungles, countryside and open spaces on the edge of darkness, the male adventure romance was an outlet for boys' imaginations.  For boys starved by life in the Victorian cities, the adventure romance was a counterpoint to the public school, the City, the civil service, and urban life.  

     Social and economic factors had a profound influence upon the membership in different classes of society in late-Victorian England.  The separation of the different classes was much in evidence, particularly in the army, as Kipling shows in his portrayals of Danny Deever, Tommy and others.[33]  The public schools for the upper class, established initially to provide an all embracing social system, promised an introduction to membership of the clubs of Piccadilly, Whitehall and St. James’s, and then on into the officer class of the army and navy.  Yet the other classes enjoyed less travel and movement and, except through marriage or clandestine affairs, could not make the journey to the wealth and privilege as exemplified in these stories.

     In the period there was less mass production of fiction and reading of books than is common nowadays, as publication and circulation figures of the time when compared with today’s figures illustrate.  In the twenty-first century, books and publications are sold in their many hundreds of thousands.[34]  The nineteenth century adventure romance was read principally by boys, male juveniles, and bachelors, and, indeed, the adventure romance defines its intended readers as being boys rather than girls and men and women.  Haggard’s King Solomon’s Mines was an immediate success and sold 31,000 copies in its first year.  The size of the readership of popular/adventure fiction in the early 1890s may be gauged by the number of people who purchased the abridgement of Haggard's She (1887) by the firm of W. T. Stead, in the Penny Novelist volumes.[35]  Sales amounted to a total of 500,000.[36]   The issue of King Solomon's Mines reached a sales figure of 100,000, and the sales of Kipling's collection Barrack Room Ballads (1890) reached nearly 200,000 by 1918.[37]  Yet these figures are relatively small for children’s fiction by the modern standards of sales figures that reach even millions of copies.

Homoerotic fiction

The emotions within the adventure romance focussed on boys.  In a fiction engaged in a rhetoric of male assertion and paternalism, romantic masculinity was a key feature of the romance of masculine adventure.  In a form in which pairs of writers such as Haggard and Lang, Haggard and Kipling, Stevenson and Henley, and Stevenson and Osbourne worked together, there was a disparity between the events they depicted in the adventure stories and the chummy friendships that were being mediated in their imaginations.  The passions behind these collaborative, and, possibly, homoerotic bondings were the stimulus for the works featured in this book.  At the same time an imperial literary imperative lies behind much of their work, for it was at the heart of British patriarchy that Haggard, Kipling, Stevenson and Lang propounded the fictional ethic of the adventure romance; and it was in clubland that the romance novels of action and quest were written and the place where the homosocial bonds were formed.

     It is a feature of collaboration that it contains an element of risk or adventure[38]   in that two authors writing together form a framework for writing their narrative, with a result that is not seen when writers write alone.  The very fact of collaboration by two men implies an interest in male bonding, and it was not, I think, for any other interests, apart from the commercial ones, that they collaborated.  Their collaboration results in a third force arising from the dual personalities of the writers.  What, then, dictates the urge to write together, it may be asked?  Haggard and Kipling writing in Kipling’s study in Batemans alone for whole hours together forming the plot and narrative structure of Red Eve (1911) suggests in itself some kind of special activity, partly adventure, partly warm camaraderie, and in an ideal sense the lofty pursuit of writing rather than, say, conversation. 

      The romance and quest stories themselves, written in collaboration, and suspect in terms of social customs, or at least curious to some, were a matter of concern to late-Victorians because of their covert expressions of violence and sexuality.  Erotic references were not presented overtly as such but tended to point to eroticism, or at least informed the texts with a kind of schoolboy scatology.  The stories were susceptible to censure by literary critics of the period.  Haggard's reference in his solo work, King Solomon's Mines (1885), to the dimensions of Sheba's breasts[39]  raised questions about the erotic content of adventure fiction: “these mountains standing thus, like the pillars of a gigantic gateway, are shaped exactly like a woman’s breasts.”[40]  

      In creating their worlds through combined writing, these authors went through a process of change.  The practice of patriarchy and masculinity was under increasing pressure from modernising forces and technological change, and writing teams such as Lang and Haggard, Kipling and Haggard, and later, Conrad and Ford were developing new gender roles that challenged conventional constructions of masculinities, but classical images of patriarchy remained entrenched.  In its clubby ethos the bonding ethic may have been compatible with the homophobic proscriptions of the imperialist age, but, again, it may have been an expression of the homosocial imperative.  Not that the writers were denied access to power, they were not, but they were artists who were both attempting to subvert, and at the same time to define, both in their relations and in their texts, notions of masculinity in an age which was repressive and classically patriarchal — one in which many sexual stereotypes, constrictions and taboos both shaped and circumscribed their lives.

The Adventure Romance and Empire.

The reasons for these romances often being set in Africa in such great numbers are not entirely clear.  The attraction of Africa may have arisen from its unknown character, and certainly these writers were attracted by what they saw as the deep sensuality of African women.  Conrad portrays the erotic figure of a woman at the river bank in Heart of Darkness, which is the most insistent example of heterosexuality in the corpus.  Haggard sexualises dark Africa as female body in the same way, portraying penetration as he does.[41]  Empire and visions of Empire were a stimulus to adventure romance, based on notions of hyper masculinity in an adventure genre that submitted to imperial concerns, or that fed upon the rise of colonialism in Britain.  The adventure novel was from the 1880s an increasingly commercialised form raising money for writers and publishers alike, and a writer such as Lang turned from journalism and essay writing to collaboration with the established author Haggard to produce adventure fiction.[42]  The intention was not entirely to do so in order to make money, but the impetus for such activity was a combination of commercial and aesthetic reasons, such as Lang’s theories about what constituted the nature of the adventure romance and his call for more adventure in the stories.  It owed as much to the tradition of the romance form, including new theories of its nature and composition, as to new journalistic techniques and money-making opportunities. 

      In these romance adventures the darkness of the African continent is underscored, as in Heart of Darkness in which a terrible, primitive vision of Africa is presented.  The wilderness is described as “impenetrable”.  The meaning of the story of the novel — that it is “too dark” to tell, too grim, too perverse to be able to recount — is unavailable because of its “unspeakable”, “intolerable”, “inexplicable” nature.  At a time when missionaries to Africa like Wilberforce and Livingstone had attempted to convert darkness to ‘Light’, many young readers were impressed by missionary activity.  Ideas of Empire acted as a spur to the imperial explorer. 

     An analysis of literary collaboration that resulted in the romance of masculine adventure has to take account of the varied and complex chronicle of events that was imperial fiction.  The vital and integrative aspect of Empire is one in which collaboration features, having work and endeavour as its epicentre.  The authors who collaborated may have done so as a service to Empire or, indeed, their work may have been influenced by the progress and outcome of supremacist activity.  What has been argued as one of colonialism’s concerns — integration — would have required assistance from both coloniser and colonised, black man and white man.  The missionaries who departed to Africa, like Leo and Holly, might have had as justification the idea that they were abroad to preach “Christ and Him English”.  The attempt to civilise or europeanise was made with a moral or evangelising, Christian fervour.  It was accompanied by a rhetoric combining proselytising and spiritual endeavour.  This was perhaps the first stage of colonial activity, to be followed in its wake by economic exploitation. 

     Colonialism was a complicated series of events — a grand enterprise that defies efforts at a universal explanation for its origin, continuation and decline.  There exist a number of theories about its inception and growth that have been recorded in detail by Wolfgang J. Mommsen.[43]  Among these theories are the economic and trading theories and myths about the geographical spread of Empire, along with the idea that “the sun never sets upon the British Empire”.  The theory that presents Empire as a civilising mission has been regularly championed, but there has been a growing recognition by critics and historians such as Fanon,[44]  Young[45]  and Rodney[46]  that Empire was a crude process of the exploitation of human and natural resources disguised as economic development.  Interpretations of Spain’s role in Empire have also undergone recent revision, arguing that the destruction of the Inca and Aztec civilisations was the work of pitiless, self-interested traders and mercenaries who used the Spanish royal family as a front for their ambitions.[47]  

Expansionism was thought to be a continuing process that was termed by a contemporary commentator as “a Good Thing”,[48]  but that was an interpretation put upon Empire by nineteenth century propagandists to extol the advantages of Empire to a doubting public at home.  Of course, Empire could be viewed as a noble self-sacrificing project, but the claim by Christianising missionaries that the Empire had a redemptive or improving mission sheds a hypocritical light on their motives in view of the venality of imperialism.  Empire was not, in my opinion, a benevolent movement, as some present-day critics like Niall Ferguson would argue, for the harmful results of slavery, oppression and exploitation continued for many years after the decline of Empire.  British colonies depended to a large degree upon slavery and the slave owners were in a position to amass wealth and to build the finest of houses both at home and in their plantations wherever they operated.  As Joan Anim-Addo has suggested “the enriched slaving merchants used their profits to buy land and titles, symbols of status and power.”[49]  However, the failure of Empire may well have resulted from the inherent faults, inequalities and undemocratic principles contained within it, and, certainly, its decline can be attributed to financial difficulties after 1945.

     The colonising activity was, for many, part of bringing the ‘Light’ to the darkness of the African continent that the Victorian hymnist extolled: “Can we whose souls are lighted / With wisdom from on high / Can we to men benighted / The lamp of life deny?”[50]  It was said to have been undertaken in the spirit of England bringing to the world the message of its own confident self-assurance, and supposedly stemmed from the desire to save the Indian, African, South Seas or aboriginal inhabitant from depredation through superior wisdom, technology, advanced industrial processes, institutions for the preparation of youths and boys, and, arguably, through the romance of masculine adventure.

      It was possible in the period 1880 – 1900 to consider the barbarian eastern hordes that G. A. Henty and others speak of as totally other, beyond the pale of civilisation and incapable of reform, whilst the Indian, African and to some extent the Native American, and the Australian and New Zealand aborigines were subject to missionary attempts to civilise and modernise them.  There existed other ideas of eastern civilisation, in which Haggard was particularly interested, for he emphasised the ancient history of Egypt and Mesopotamia underlining their deep cultural and rich heritage.

     As a result of the colonial process a system of “othering”[51]  took place.  I believe that to include othering here is relevant to my arguments because it was a process that allowed the boy reader to engage in a supremacist attitude to the races and peoples portrayed in the adventure romance.  Othering remains a theory of racial difference whereby minorities and ethnic groups are seen by Westerners as conforming to the stereotypes of colonialism.  In this way, they represent given ideas of inadequacy and inequality.  The option of becoming a complete ‘Other’ has been imposed upon minority groups, and they are considered as outside and apart from white men.[52]  Othering can also mean an idea constituting what Robert Young has termed “the reduction of a person to a ‘nobody’ to the position of ‘other’”.[53]  Black people are portrayed as different and not quite as human as everybody else, and to draw on Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, as being involved in mysticism and frenzied and satanic practices. 

     The notion of the other mirrors colonialism in the way in which it sets up races and groups for economic, cultural and political domination.[54]  Othering is the inexorable plot of racism according to Robert Young.[55]  There has to be some ‘other’ for colonialism to operate, he contends.  There exists “no master without slave, no economic-political power without exploitation, no dominant class without cattle ‘under the yoke’, no Frenchman without wogs, no Nazis without Jews, no property without exclusion — an exclusion that has its limits and is part of the dialectic.”[56]  The exploitation of subject nations did not accurately reflect ‘a global burden’ that Kipling had warned of in his poem written for white men of the United States, nor did it “Match the master – work you’ve done / England, my own?” that Kipling extols in his poem for boys of the Empire.[57]

Collaboration and Sexuality.

 Why authors should have collaborated at all is an issue of some concern.  Collaboration between authors as disparate as Wordsworth and Coleridge, Marx and Engels and Fletcher and Beaumont was a manifestation of the enervation of their artistry, as Koestenbaum has also argued, suggesting that “the ambitions of …collaborators concealed impoverished aesthetic means”.[58]  Authors, as we will see in the James story entitled “Collaboration”, have left behind their respective arts and taken up an activity rather less demanding, hence the suggestion made by James that collaboration results from enervation.  If artistic impulses are dried up, turning to another for help is the solution, and to collaborate with another on a literary endeavour could presuppose for some that the author needs help and assistance to complete his work.

     Throughout the 1880s and 1890s there are continual suggestions made by J. K. Stephen, Jerome K. Jerome and others that joint work was somehow tainted with the suggestion of homosexuality.  They thought that by 1893 sexual implications had gathered around literary collaboration.  Just as collaboration on the political level was considered immoral, joint work at the social, interactive and personal levels was considered to be sexual.  Perhaps it was also the implications of homosexuality that could be made about male collaboration that made it seem distasteful.  Indeed, Robert Louis Stevenson feared as much when he said of his collaborator, Lloyd Osbourne: “Perhaps as we approach the foul time of life, young folk become necessary?  ‘Tis a problem.  We know what form this craving wears in certain cases…Thus perhaps my present (and crescent) infatuation for the youth, Lloyd.”[59]  Much of what occurs in the collaborative process, besides the admiration for the other writer’s artistic abilities, is a kind of “infatuation” with the other collaborator, involving objections and quarrels, and even sometimes resulting in litigation.  The collaborations were not just a working arrangement but were evidence that their relationship rested on a mutual fellow-feeling based on a bonding passion.

      Collaboration in literary affairs concealed enervated artistic means, James suggests.  The activity of collaborative writing as a blameless and elevated sort of energy could mask ideas and preferences which the authors held but which they were unable or unwilling, due to some taboo, to indulge in.  Perhaps it is a form of sublimation of greater energies, specifically sexual ones.  The reason they engaged, in an age of some leisure, in writing in a team in this way is worth consideration.  It may not have been only for social or economic reasons, but the idea that two minds thought as one, each the shadow of the other, cannot be discounted.

     For, as Stevenson noted about his relationship with Osbourne, it might also be asked why there is a sexual energy involved in collaboration, and why sexuality, either heterosexuality or homosexuality, should be an element at all in work with a double signature.  Sexuality was discrete, hidden and condemned, but why it was nevertheless present and often reflected in the literary corpus is a moot point.  The answers to these questions will help to explain the motivations and aspirations of writers who strove to find new patterns of male behaviour.  It is central to our understanding of how writers like Haggard and Lang, Haggard and Kipling, Ford and Conrad, as well as Stevenson and Osbourne met and bonded together sometimes producing fiction of an erotic kind that tended to reflect the joint personality of the authors and their sexuality in the texts themselves.  The discourse I examine, while not being totally conformist, was actually breaking new ground.  As scholarship by Sedgwick, Cohen and others about the terms surrounding same–sex sex has convincingly argued, expressions adopted by writers who were interested in pursuing this terminology were deliberately circulated “non-literally” through evasions, euphemisms, slang, metaphors, and so on.

     The collaboration between writers intensified around 1883.  Later on, Haggard collaborated with Kipling, who had returned from a career in newspaper editing and story writing in India, while Stevenson, from Edinburgh, began a long series of collaborations with the journal editor Henley of the North Briton, and with Osbourne.  Haggard and Lang, and Stevenson started to promote new forms of adventure novels which, written in collaboration, bowed to the service of Empire, and fulfilled the needs of a newly constituted reading public in a more commercially orientated form. 

 The Rise of the Adventure Romance.

 When romance and adventure were still thought of as worthy of serious attention by both writers and critics in books, newspapers, journals, periodicals and reviews, the collaboratively written adventure romance created for itself a niche in the minds of the public.  In order to satisfy a demand from this newly voracious reading public, an adventure romance literature re-emerged in the late 1870s and 80s.  Created by the rising standards of education, and constituted because of the increased expectations of leisure and wealth, with new markets being formed to meet that demand, the adventure romance appealed to the new mass of readers released into literacy by the 1870 Education Act.  The clamour came also, in the main, out of the middle and university classes for novels of masculine adventure and adventure romance.[60]  New, vibrant media were being established, partly due to the abolition of the stamp tax and the duties on paper encouraging the development of the presses, and the incorporation of the circulating libraries of which Mudie's was at the forefront in the 1860s.[61]   These trends were chiefly the result of the significant expansion of market-forces, and authors' and publishers' bodies were also generated by these same pressures.  There existed trade and scientific journals, technical works, sheet music, illustrations, popular issues of boys' fiction, advertisement-supported magazines and, during the period, an increase took place in the market share for adventure romance. 

A general expansion of popular journalism occurred between 1850 and 1890 which could be attributed to the introduction of new techniques of mass production, as well as to the abolition of the last "taxes on knowledge", on newspapers, pamphlets and other publications by 1855.[62]  Taken together with a great rise in the technology of the times when improvements were being made in all sorts of areas,[63]  the production, distribution and consumption of these novels was assured.  Britain was becoming an increasingly modern country usually at the forefront of many of the changes taking place in Europe, particularly in relation to intellectual pursuits, inventions and innovation.  The requirements of, on the one hand, a group receiving higher education[64]  and on the other, a mass population in tune with these commercial changes, were now creating literary markets.[65]

     It was these impetuses which created a reading public for which authors were ready to write both alone and in collaboration with another writer.  I argue that adventure fiction was written to counter a loss of confidence, which men felt in an atmosphere of increasing anxiety, resulting in the events around the Boer War at the turn of the century when extreme anxiety was exhibited by British men before the ‘Relief of Mafeking’.  It was thought by some, including Haggard and Lang, that art and literary culture had descended into a state that was debilitated, weak, and effete.  Lang confirms as much when, in a poem in which he claims that “King Romance was wounded deep”, nineteenth century literature is seen as exhausted and incapacitated.[66]

      There exists in this period of the 1880s a domestication of men when patriarchal figures began to spend increasing amounts of time with their families and strove to take part in domestic arrangements for servants, household management and the nursing of children, which had not previously been within their province.  Fathers began to emerge as companions and teachers to older children and began to take their children on holiday trips and outings by railway and road, going for walks with them and teaching them skills especially in the area of outdoor activities, cycling and football.

    In the next part, as well as the presentation of original, unpublished manuscripts, and revelations about Lang’s relationship with  Haggard, I conduct a detailed and striking analysis of the handwriting in the draft manuscripts, achieved by conducting a detailed analysis of the handwriting in the holograph manuscripts.  I will then survey the characteristics of the masculine adventure and quest romance, looking at literary collaboration between late-Victorian male writers, and my position is that homosociality was at the root of much of the discourse.  Collaboration in this context entails the working together of writers to produce commercially viable productions that sometimes feature yet suppress homosociality and eroticism, or at least engage in bawdy public schoolboy humour.  I will analyse and illustrate male bonding which, in contemporary society, is an entirely acceptable process, but appeared as a new tendency in the culture of the nineteenth century, and also look at the opprobrium and disdain incurred by such bonding at that time.  I try to draw a distinction between the terms homosexual and homosocial, since the former appellation ‘accuses’ men of genitally involved sexual activity, while the latter name simply records action as being in the realm of social interactivity, non sexual intercourse, and ultimately male collaboration.

     In Part 2 I show how I have conducted correspondence with the living descendants of the authors to establish whether they could provide evidence of the domestication of family life, with particular reference to their relatives.  There may or may not have been difficulties for people in late-Victorian times in the display of affection between family members.  It is possible that fathers considered it necessary to establish a distance in their relationships, but there were domestic displays of affection shown between members of the same family.  The maternal grandson of Rider Haggard, the late Commander M. E. Cheyne, insisted to the present writer that his (Commander Cheyne’s) grandfather, Haggard, treated his family with close affection and that his (apparently harsh) comments to his grandson about not being able to tie up his shoelaces and not knowing the Lord’s Prayer were “all said with a kindly glint in his eye”.[67]  

      Indeed, Commander Cheyne remembered his grandfather with affection: "...I have always had and still have a tremendous affection and admiration for him."[68]   It may seem strange that such memories as these are based on recollections of apparently harsh and unemotional comments by a grandfather but it was common among late-Victorian fathers to appear stern and lofty in their manner without really relinquishing the affection and love of a grandparent.  Indeed, Commander Cheyne, commenting on the repetition to him by the present author of a published quotation about the "imprecation after imprecation" that was "heaped upon" Haggard by his father [see below], countered by saying that his grandfather did not “follow this course of action upon me.”[69]  The end result confirms ideas that late-Victorian patriarchs were equally as caring as are modern-day parents and grand parents.  Such recollections need to be treated with some caution, but they add to our wealth of knowledge on the issues.

     Looking at girls’ magazines of the time, such as the annual edition of the Girl’s Own Paper,[70]  many articles were published of a domestic nature — instructions for knitting, embroidery, dressmaking and practical homemaking.  Issues of the magazine offered articles on craft, crochet, flower arrangement, collecting and gifts.[71]  Domesticity was the aim of many young girls and women in the late-Victorian period, as exemplified in the pages of the magazine [see below].  It was the editor's intention that the magazine would appeal to servants as well as young middle class girls, and this adds weight to the argument that domesticity was an aspect of the life of all classes of people. 

       It is documented by Elizabeth Roberts[72]  and others that the working class engaged in domestic practices in their homes.  The work of Davidoff and Hall on James Luckock (1761-1835) draws attention to the importance of domesticity as the main purpose of men's worldly pursuits, and as being central to their conception of masculinity.  John Tosh has argued, looking at the family lives of the upper class Archbishop Edward and his wife Mary Benson, that there is evidence of an increasing tendency towards domesticity, although an Archbishop is not a very representative figure.[73]  References to Leslie Stephen, the staunchly middle class and literary figure who is reported to have been considered by his daughters exacting and sentimental,[74]  have confirmed his interest in the nursing of children, the domestic arrangements for servants, and the methods of shopping.  It may seem to be a contradiction that such apparently critical views are taken by descendants, but it was not unusual for late-Victorian parents in grand bourgeois homes like Haggard’s and Stephen’s to appear demanding and to engage in exasperating behaviour.  Despite this, Leonard Woolf has confirmed that “the actual relations between the human beings living in these large households and between the several households related by blood or friendship were, on the whole, in my remembrance extraordinarily human and humane.”[75]

     It is clear that a perception of the late-Victorians as being harsh and unyielding towards their families is not necessarily an accurate one.  This concern leads me on to an examination of further pertinent issues in the book.  I will cover in detail among others, Haggard and Lang’s erotic writing in The World’s Desire, look at Kipling and Balestier’s troubled relationship that produced The Naulakha, examine Stephenson and Osbourne’s joint work on The Ebb Tide and, moving into the twentieth century, undertake a reading of Conrad and Ford’s Romance started in 1898.

     As I have indicated, my study of writers who collaborated incorporates a close analysis of the nature and motives of the bonding on which the collaborations rested, revealing the homosociality behind them.  I provide an innovative theory of male bonding in certain leading nineteenth century literary works, revealing through close analysis of the primary sources, the use of unpublished material, and detailed study of the handwriting in the drafts of early texts, which writer was responsible for specific passages, and how this was achieved.




[1]  Rider Haggard, She (New York: Dover Publications, 1951) 20.

[2]  Haggard, She, 230.

[3]  Annette Kolodny, Lay of the Land: Metaphor as Experience and History in American Life and Letters (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1975).

[4]  Hans Frederick Gude and Adolf Tidemand.  Available Online.  Accessed 23. 03. 02.

Art Museum Net.  Multi Media From Wagner to Virtual Reality.  Billy Klüver: Collaboration.  Available Online.  Accessed 29. 03. 03.

[5]  Gladys Davidson, Stories From Gilbert and Sullivan (London: Werner Laurie, 1953).

[6] Wayne Koestenbaum, Double Talk: The Erotics of Male Literary Collaboration (New York and London: Routledge1989) 1.

[7]  Jerome K. Jerome, Available Online.  Accessed 30. 03. 03.

[8]  The Cambridge History of English and American Literature.  VI.  Lesser Poets of the Middle and Later Nineteenth Century (Cambridge University Press, 1907–21) Available Online.  Acesssed 30. 03. 03.

[9]  See Koestenbaum, Double Talk: The Erotics of Male Literary Collaboration, 3.

[10] Gayle Rubin, "Sexual Politics, the New Right, and the Sexual Fringe" in The Age Taboo (New York: Alyson Publications, 1981) 108-115. Available Online  Accessed 30. 03. 03.

[11] Morris B. Kaplan, Sexual Justice: Democratic Citizenship and the Politics of Desire (New York: Routledge, 1997).

[12] Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Between Men: English Literature and Male Homosocial Desire (New York: Columbia University Press, 1986) 11.

[13] Alan Bray, Homosexuality in Renaissance England (London: Gay Men's Press, 1988).

[14] Edmund Spenser, The Shepheardes Calender, glossary to the month of January.

[15] Traubel, With Walt Whitman, 1. 76 and Miller, Whitman, V. 72-73 quoted in Sedgwick, Between Men, 11.

[16] Elaine Showalter, Introduction. Sexual Anarchy: Gender and Culture at the Fin de Siècle (London: Bloomsbury, 1991).

[17] For a study of female domesticity in the period see Elizabeth Roberts, A Woman's Place: An Oral History of Working-Class Women 1890 – 1940 (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1995) 125; Valerie Sanders, The Private Lives of Victorian Women. Autobiography in Nineteenth century England (New York and London: Harvester Wheatsheaf, 1989)  ---.   The Brother-Sister Culture in Nineteenth century Literature from Austen to Woolf (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2002); Elizabeth Langland, Anne Bronte: the Other One (Basingstoke, Macmillan Education, 1989).

[18] Lilian Faderman, Odd Girls and Twilight Lovers: A History of Lesbian Life in Twentieth-Century America (New York, London: Penguin, 1991) 12; Carroll Smith-Rosenberg, Disorderly Conduct: Visions of Gender in Victorian America (New York: Oxford University Press, 1985) 245; Martha Vicinus, “English Boarding School Friendships” in Duberman et al, Hidden From History (London: Penguin, 1991) 213.  Lucy Bland, Banishing the Beast: English Feminism and Sexual Morality, 1885-1914 (London: Penguin, 1995).

[19] Koestenbaum, Double Talk, 159.

[20] Letter to Sidney Colvin, 28 September 1891. The Letters of Robert Louis Stevenson Vol 4.  100- 101.

[21] R. L. Stevenson, The Beach of Falesa, ed. Jenni Calder (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1979).

[22] R. L. Stevenson, "A Gossip on Romance", The Works of Robert Louis Stevenson Vol. 9  (London: Chatto and Windus, 1911).

[23] Joseph Bristow, Empire Boys (London: Harper Collins Academic, 1991) 120.

[24] Rider Haggard, “About Fiction” Contemporary Review 51 (1887).

[25] Haggard, King Solomon's Mines, 240.

[26] Craig Owens, "Outlaws, Gay Men in Feminism" in A. Jardine and P. Smith (eds.) Men in Feminism (London: Methuen, 1987) 221.

[27] Michael Mason, The Making of Victorian Sexuality (Oxford University Press, 1994) 3.

[28] See J. B. Bullen (ed.), Introduction to Writing and Victorianism (London: Addison, Wesley, Longman, 1997) 1.

[29] Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Between Men: English Literature and Male Homosocial Desire (New York and Oxford: Columbia University Press, 1985) 216.  Sedgwick, “The Beast in the Closet: James and the Writing of Homosexual Panic” in Elaine Showalter, Speaking of Gender (New York: Routledge, Chapman and Hall, 1989) 243-248.

[30] John Tosh, Manful Assertions: Masculinities in Britain Since 1800 (London: Routledge, 1991).

[31] The Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1885, quoted in Carpenter, Homogenic Love, 25.

[32] Colm Toibin, “Roaming the Greenwood” Why the Gay Experience is Dark, Review of Gregory Woods, A History of Gay Literature: The Male Tradition (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1998).  London Review of Books January 2000: 2: 21.

[33] "Danny Deever”, and “Tommy” in Rudyard Kipling, Gunga Din and Other Favorite Poems (Toronto: Dover Editions, 1990) 22-24.

[34] Publication Figures of Children’s Fiction.  Available Online.  Accessed 1. 06.03. An average of 190,000 Tweenies magazines are bought every month and more than 2.4 million Tweenies books and 2.3 million videos have been bought since launch.

[35] W. T. Stead issued a form of abridged novels in this series, which Punch magazine referred to as the "Penny Steadfuls", a pun on W. T. Stead's involvement in the genre of the "penny dreadful".  Frederic Whyte, The Life of W. T. Stead (no date)  I. 229.

[36] Richard Altick, The Common Reader (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1957) 315.

[37] Barrack Room Ballads  (1890)  was a collection of poems some of which, for example, "Danny Deever”, had first been published in W. E. Henley's Scots Observer on 22 February.  A comparison of the print runs of Kipling's Barrack Room Ballads between the sales-figures quoted in the third edition of Twenty Poems in 1922, and the production figures given in the subsequent fifth edition of 1930, shows that they had increased from almost 200,000 to over 250,000 copies between 1922 and 1930.  See Frontispiece of Twenty Poems 3rd. ed.  (London: Methuen, July, 1922) i and Frontispiece of Twenty Poems 5th. ed. (London: Methuen, 1930) i.

[38] That there is a paradoxical tension between risk and adventure has been underlined by Graham Dawson in Soldier Heroes in which he contends that a sense of risk may cause the experience of excitement to give way to anxiety.  Adventure, in the modern sense, he says, contains a balance between desire and anxiety.  See Graham Dawson, Soldier Heroes: British Adventure, Empire and the Imagining of Masculinities  (London: Routledge, 1994) 53.

[39] Rider Haggard, King Solomon's Mines (London: Cassell, 1885) 254.

[40] Haggard, King Solomon's Mines, 286.

[41] Daniel Bivona, Desire and Contradiction: Imperial Visions and Domestic Debates in Victorian Literature (Manchester University Press, 1990) 79.

[42] Morton Cohen suggests that Lang was "the crusader on behalf of romance" and that he "boomed" romance in his column, 'At the Sign of the Ship', in Longman’s Magazine.  Morton Cohen, Rider Haggard (London: Hutchinson, 1960) 179.

[43] Wolfgang J. Mommsen, Trans P. S. Falla. Theories of Imperialism (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1981).

[44] Frantz Fanon, Towards the African Revolution (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1970) See Patrick Williams and Laura Chrisman eds. Colonial Discourse and Post-Colonial Theory: A Reader (New York and London: Harvester Wheatsheaf, 1993). See also Paul Gilroy, The Black Atlantic (New York and London: Verso, 1993).

[45] Robert J. C. Young, White Mythologies: Writing, History and the West (London: Routledge, 1990).

[46] Walter Rodney, How Europe Underdeveloped Africa (London: Bogle L’Ouverture Publications, 1972).

[47] Henry Kamen, Spain's Road to Empire (London: Allen Lane, 2003).

[48] Niall Ferguson, Empire: How Britain Made the Modern World (London: Allen Lane, 2003).

[49] Joan Anim-Addo, “Longest Journey: A History of Black Lewisham,” Flame, ed. Seán Mac Mathúna and John Heathcote, Spring 2002. 10.  Available Online.  Accessed 3. 03. 03See also Hugh Thomas, The Slave Trade: The History of the Atlantic Slave Trade 1440-1870 (London: Picador, 1997).

[50] For the perception of the hymn verse “Lead Kindly Light” underlying popular fictional attitudes to colonialism, see John M. Mackenzie, Propaganda and Empire: The Manipulation of British Public Opinion (Manchester University Press, 1984). Hymns Ancient and Modern (Oxford University Press, 1958) 358. See John Ling, Buddhism, Imperialism and War (London: Allen and Unwin, 1979). 

[51] Young, White Mythologies: Writing, History and the West, 6.

[52] Jacques Lacan, Ecrits: A Selection (London: Tavistock, 1977).

[53] Young, White Mythologies Writing, History and the West, 2.

[54] ibid.  See also Anne McClintock, Imperial Leather, Race, Gender and Sexuality in the Colonial Contest  (New York and London: Routledge, 1995).

[55] Young, White Mythologies Writing History and the West, 2.

[56] Young, White Mythologies Writing History and the West, 70-1.

[57] Rudyard Kipling, ‘Pro Rege Nostro’ in Lyra Heroica: A Book of Verse for Boys (London: David Nutt, 1906) 338.

[58] Koestenbaum, Double Talk: The Erotics of Male Literary Collaboration, 144.

[59] Stevenson is concerned that his relationship with Osbourne, might be construed as an “infatuation”.  Stevenson to Henley.  Spring 1887 quoted in Malcolm Elwin, The Strange Case of Robert Louis Stevenson (London: Macdonald, 1950) 198-199.

[60] Peter Kemp, The Haunted Study: A Social History of the English Novel (London: Secker and Warburg, 1989).

[61] The increase in the availability of novels of adventure and romance to the reading public is partly accounted for by organisations such as Mudie's Circulating library, which became a Limited-Liability Company in 1864, but types of which had been in existence since the turn of the century.  The circulating library was already known, by the early nineteenth century, to Jane Austen, for example.  She refers in Northanger Abbey to the 'riot' of circulating libraries.  Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey (1818) (Oxford University Press, 1923) 113.  See Guinevere Lindlay Griest, Mudie's Circulating Library (London: David and Charles, 1971).

[62] Raymond Williams, The Long Revolution (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1965) 215.

[63] There arose improvements in areas such as type setting, steam presses, motorised vehicles and tram cars, electric railways, street and house lighting, public libraries, larger schools, colleges and institutions of adult education.  Alan Bott, Our Fathers  (London: Heinemann, 1931) 1 - 255.

[64] For “light” and “heavy” reading see Patrick Brantlinger, “What is Sensational about the Sensational Novel”, Journal of Nineteenth Century Fiction. 37. I. (1982-3): 1-28.  In terms of different groups in a newly emerging class of readers Rider Haggard refers to what he suggests was a "superior critic" who was not "the average reader".  Rider Haggard, ed. C. J. Longman, The Days of My Life (London: Longmans, Green, 1926). 

[65] Of course, there is a distinction to be made between high culture and low culture which develops into an argument about “higher” reading and “lower” reading.  This is to be seen within the context of the commoditisation of literature and particularly novels for a wider reading public.  Another term that is employed is “low modern”, which Maria DiBattista terms a “near oxymoron” to bring to the fore the connections with literary high mindedness for the realism, accessibility and taste for such arenas as journalism and cinema that are often called “low”.  See Maria DiBattista and Lucy McDiarmid (eds.), High and Low Moderns: Literature and Culture 1889–1939 (Oxford University Press) 259.

[66] Andrew Lang, The Poetical Works of Andrew Lang, ed. Mrs Lang, quoted in P. Beresford Ellis, H. Rider Haggard: A Voice from the Infinite (London: Routledge, Kegan Paul, 1978) 119.

[67]  Commander M. E. Cheyne. Address at the Rider Haggard Festival, Ditchingham, May 1999.

[68]  Commander M. E. Cheyne, Speech to the Rider Haggard Festival,  raising funds for Ditchingham church. 14 May 1999.  A copy of the text of the speech is in the possession of the present writer. Letter.  Commander M. E. Cheyne.  15 January 2000.

[69]  Letter.  Commander M. E. Cheyne to the present writer , 24 February 2000.

[70]  Girl’s Own Paper, 3 January, 1880.

[71]  See Girl’s Own Paper Index.  Available Online

 Accessed 10. 03. 03.

[72]  Elizabeth Roberts, A Woman's Place. An Oral History of Working-class Women 1890-1940 (London:Blackwell 1984).

[73]  John Tosh, "Domesticity and Manliness in the Victorian Middle Class", in Michael Roper and John Tosh, (eds.) Manful Assertions: Masculinities in Britain Since 1800 (London: Routledge, Kegan Paul, 1991) 44-73.

[74]  But Woolf thinks that his (Stephen’s) daughters “exaggerated his exactingness and sentimentality and, in memory, were habitually rather unfair to him…” Leonard Woolf, Sowing: An Autobiography of the Years 1880 – 1904 (London: The Hogarth Press, 1960).
75]  Woolf, Sowing, 24.



Part 1.



‘King Romance is Come Indeed!’: The Fictive, Imperialist and Homosocial World of the Romance of Masculine Adventure and Quest.


The romance of masculine adventure concentrates on action and adventure most often in a foreign locale.  The fiction of adventure romance frequently contains covert references, situations and plots in which masculinity in some of its more extreme forms is manifested. The assurance of white dominance, the proof from technical superiority, the enrolling of ’loyal natives’ against savages, and so forth are all presented in the narratives.  Public schools, regiments, exploration parties, and other exclusively male groups figure largely in this literature and produced rituals and bondings at various emotional levels.

     Romance writers engaged in theoretical speculation on the nature of their work.  Lang, writing in the Contemporary Review in November 1887, highlighted the double nature of fiction.  He emphasised the combination in the romance of characterisation and adventure narrative.  He held it was, "a shield with two sides, the silver and the golden, the study of manners and of character, on one hand; on the other the description of adventure, the delight of romantic narrative."[i]  In Lang's programme, romance begins to be an attempt at writing about what the romance writers thought to be the important and fundamental aspects of humanity -- life and death, and those they saw as the subsidiary elements -- “soldiering and sailoring”, epic, quest and adventure.

     Lang wrote a poem which hailed both Haggard and Stevenson as saviours from South Africa and Scotland who brought the debilitated and exhausted King Romance back to life:

King Romance was wounded deep

All his knights were dead and gone

All his court was fallen on sleep

In the vale of Avalon!


Then you came from south and north

From Tugela, from the Tweed;

Blazoned his achievements forth

King Romance is come indeed![ii]

Since Haggard and Stevenson were its chivalrous courtiers from South Africa (River Tugela) and Scotland (River Tweed), as mentioned in this poem, "King Romance" could now be resuscitated in the form of a fiction written by two men constructing a world peopled by courageous men and pliant women.


     Lang, explaining his theories in the Contemporary Review under the title ‘Realism and Romance’, explained that: "any clever man or woman may elaborate a realistic novel according to the rules" but claimed that, "romance bloweth where she listeth."[iii]  These attempts to restore romance to the position it held before its fall from favour tend to illustrate the notion, prevalent in the 1ate 1880s, of the hidebound nature of realism and the opportunities that romance offered for the presentation of myths and fables, of legends, and of the homosocial[iv]  romance of adventure and quest.  The fiction of male adventure had an essential appeal for boys who might be impressionable and susceptible to influences such as jingoistic appeals to empire, and membership of sixth forms, clubs and societies.

     Male writers like Lang felt that women were unsuited to review and criticise the literature of masculine adventure.  He wrote, revealingly, to Haggard about the reviews which had been published of King Solomon's Mines, lamenting the fact that the reviewers were from the feminine side of the editors' family, "the dam(n) reviewers were never boys -- most of them the Editors' nieces."[v]  It was, also, despite Lang, a female reviewer of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde who expressed astonishment that, "no woman's name occurs in the book, no romance is ever suggested in it."[vi]  Here, the reviewer is treating romance as “sexual” or “heterosexual” romance, whilst the romance was a form that generally expunged romantic love, other than courtly love, honour, patriotism and chivalry.  Another critic, Alice Brown, wrote that "Mr. Stevenson is a boy who has no mind to play with girls."[vii]  She was certainly correct as far as the characterisation and plot of Treasure Island are concerned, as I discuss later.  There was little place for girls in Stevenson’s fiction and, as a reflection of late-Victorian society, this may have mirrored domestic conditions where a tension existed over the place of women, repressions of expression and movement and a misogynist, patriarchal, family structure reigned.



The Haggard Narrative.


The writers of the adventure romance often sought an escape to a mythical place where “men could be men”, and essentially free.  In the fabled city of Zimbabwe, on the endless plains of Afghanistan, or the Southern African of Congo Free State locales in which these stories were set, the authors of the male adventure romance could explore their own libidos in a desert place such as the Heart of Darkness, the Lost Mines of Solomon or some faraway island and imagine themselves free to play with gunpowder, pearls and pistols.  The motivation for the writing of the adventure stories was that these locales represented an unexplored dark continent, a mysterious Eastern land, or an imaginary island where they could escape the dreariness and oppression, and the domestication of life in Victorian England.  Such destinations were a free space, a blank, as far as Europe was concerned, on an, as yet, undrawn or, at least, uncompleted map which is usually in Africa or Asia.  Indeed, fearing that one day, when "the ancient mystery of Africa will have vanished", Haggard enquires, where will the romance writers of future generations find a safe and secret place... in which to lay their plots?"[viii]  Haggard saw himself as a bastion of the romance form and regarded his work as a repository for the legends and adventures of Africa. 

     There is an ambivalence in Haggard with regard to the realistic portrayal of sexual matters for in his own “About Fiction” he castigated too much realism in sexual characterisation in a paper where he criticises the realists in strong terms:


Lewd, and bold, and bare, living for lust and lusting for life and its good things, and naught beyond, the heroines of realism dance, with Bacchanalian revellings, across the astonished stage of literature.[ix]  

Haggard’s own use of sexual imagery, however, undermines his forthright and somewhat ambivalent attitude to the free use of sexual imagery in children’s fiction in the patriarchal and collaborative mode in which he was operating.  He complains about the limitations imposed upon him and upon a fiction which “should be judged by the test as to whether or no (sic) it is suitable reading for a girl of sixteen.”[x]  It is unusual that he should mention reading matter for a girl, for Haggard’s work spoke, for the most part, to a male audience.  Concerned about the scenes of violence in She, Lang wrote to Haggard about the hot-potting scene suggesting that:


the potting might be modified slightly in the selling interest of the book, as many people funk giving children or boys anything of that sort.[xi]


It appears that Lang, who did not want to “disestablish” the pot in the story, but to “glisser him”,[xii]  was aware of the problems connected with publishing children’s literature based on patriarchy and homosociality.

     In the corpus of the collaborators Haggard and Lang, Buchan, George Henty and similar writers, the imperialist character more often than not finds himself in Africa in the midst of a crisis which, with his superior wisdom as a white man, his civilising manner and his vastly superior technical knowledge, he has no difficulty in solving.  The Haggard or Henty hero in some foreign milieu, encounters a situation such as a revolution where battles are being fought, statesmen are being toppled, old regimes swept aside, and new reforming ones being put in their place.  Then he enters the arena of action, defies the odds against him, and turns them in his favour.

     In addition, Haggard uses ‘black’ Africa as a springboard for its usability as a place of sexual metaphor.  In many of the Haggard romances Africans as associated with exotic and attractive sexual features.  Ayesha, although not black, is "an incarnation of lovely tempting womanhood" whose eyes “pierced me through with their beauty”[xiii]  and Holly says “The woman had attractions I could not forget”[xiv]  The treatment of women here is exaggerated and conveys something of the ambivalence of Haggard’s attitudes to women.  African woman may be of superior beauty, but only European ladies qualify for marriage.  Ayesha is so lovely that she surpasses normal beauty and becomes supernatural: “No merely mortal woman could shine with such a supernatural radiance.  As to that, at least,  she had been in the right - it was not safe for any man to look upon such beauty.”[xv]  Foulata, too, is described as "a beautiful creature" and "our lovely guide".[xvi]   

     Haggard's depiction of the Kukuana women who line up in order to view the Westerners is grudgingly flattering for a “native race”.  In Haggard's description they are objectivised in the way of an anthropological and philological survey:


These women are, for a native race, exceedingly handsome.  They are tall and graceful, and their figures are wonderfully fine.  The hair, though short, is rather curly than woolly, the features are frequently aquiline, and their lips are not unpleasantly thick, as is the case in most African races.[xvii]


The description is given in the spirit of an anthropological text book which notes, in turn, various categories for examination — 'the hair', 'the features' [my emphasis] and 'their lips' — which because of the inclusion of the very indefinite definite article, the, robs it of any real, vital, liveliness.  Also their features are given as "European" in some sense, or at least, not Negro, emphasising the shortness of the African women’s black, curly hair, the women’s fine stately figures, and their aquiline features which are usually aspects of northern countenance.  What struck Haggard forcibly was "their exceeding quiet, dignified air".[xviii]  Haggard recounts that these particular Africans were, "as well-bred in their way as the habitués of a fashionable drawing room".[xix]  He frequently compares native women in Zululand and western ladies in the refined atmosphere of Victorian England.  In that respect they were not the same as their "cousins" the Masai who were to be found in, "the district behind Zanzibar."  The Masai women, presumably, did not carry the same weight with Haggard by virtue of possessing the dignity and the refinement of the Kukuanas, but it underlines the fact that Haggard, through the persona of Allan Quatermain, found sections of the Zulu-speaking population to be worthy of his admiration.  In the representation of the colonial Other[xx]  as woman she becomes a figure of desirable sexuality, attractiveness and beauty.  The association of blackness with beauty is a remarkable feature of the discourse, African women are portrayed as polite, noble and respectful of their elders.

      The representation of heterosexuality continues in the Haggard corpus for black women are used as sites for sexual exploration in the guise of anthropological study.  In Haggard's sexualising of dark Africa in this way, he calls on images of penetration, exploitation, and control to establish imperial supremacy over the Other as female.  Women as the site of attack in Haggard are part of a topos of difference, opposition, and rejection; outcasts from a world of men yet — contradictorily — constantly their begetters.  Ayesha in She, the omniscient female leader of a matrilineal tribe, is not a monstrous figure but a combination of Lover and Avenger.  Her final inability to save herself from the immortal flame underlines not only the danger to Englishmen which she represents, but the danger of handing over power to men — by granting immortality to Leo which he can achieve in the all-consuming flame.  Her lack of the power of self-preservation shows the danger of the reversal of power from men to women in the Other land which Haggard has created.

     The characterisaton of Ayesha draws on images of a matriarchy derived from within Haggard's anthropological studies such as in The Witch's Head (1884).  He highlighted in a number of the romances the benefits of aspects of Eastern philosophy and culture such as maternalism.  In Child of Storm (1913) for example, his woman character Mameena approaches Alan Quatermain directly in an act of sexual selection.  Haggard writes: "Slowly she lifted her languid arm and threw it about my neck",[xxi]  underlining the fact that she belonged to a matricentred society in which women made choices affecting marriage.  However, she commits suicide by poisoning, partly because of Quatermain's inability to return her affections, but largely in an act of great symbolic and ritualistic importance in vengeance for the death of Saduko: "Farewell, O Macumazana, you will never forget this kiss of mine; and when we meet again we shall have much to talk of, for between now and then your story will be long."[xxii]   In coming to an agonising end in this way she causes the male reader, whose interest in her had been aroused, some frustration at her repudiation, and in its emphasis upon the hatred shown towards her by the Zulus, who were what Haggard terms her "implacable enemies", underlines once again the thesis that he was a misogynist.[xxiii]  Indeed, he confesses as much where he refers to himself: “I, a Fellow of my college, noted for what my acquaintances are pleased to call my misogyny.”[xxiv]  Haggard’s narratives are also clearly imbued with the male imperative.  His homosocial bonds resonate throughout the fiction — Holly and his counterpart Quatermain, Sir Henry Curtis, Captain Good and the others all take part in strongly male-orientated adventures.

The association of the black African woman with eroticism is continued in Conrad whose erotic figure of a woman at the river bank in Heart of Darkness —  the striking image of an outstandingly attractive black woman — arrests the attention of the reader: 

She walked with measured steps, draped in striped and fringed cloths, treading the earth proudly with a slight jingle and flash of barbarous ornaments.  She carried her head high, her hair was done in the shape of a helmet, she had brass leggings to the knees, brass wire gauntlets to the elbow, a crimson spot on her tawny cheek, innumerable necklaces of glass beads on her neck...[xxv]


Her image informs a narrative not open to suggestions of unconventional heterosexual activity, yet Conrad includes the description of her sensuous, magnetic personality; a woman who "was savage and superb, wild-eyed and magnificent; there was something ominous and stately in her deliberate

progress".[xxvi]  She is a figure who brings sexuality to the dead centre and the black emptiness within the heart of the narrative.  The conventions surrounding Conrad in an Anglo-American literary culture were deeply concerned in two elements — violence and eroticism.  The heterosexual passage opens the question of the presence of women in a sentimental European Christian melodrama, the role of black women, and the association of beauty with blackness.  Conrad's narrative, which I shall look at in more detail later, is part of a European attempt to think through issues of beauty, taste, and aesthetic judgment that were the precursors of contemporary cultural criticism.

     There may well be a link here between homosociality, magic, commercialism and the production of these adventure stories.  They became phenomenally successful, with a huge readership, in a male-dominated age, promoting the paranormal in the texts such as when, in King Solomon’s Mines, Curtis uses magic tricks to ensure their success with the African people.  There is also, of course, a distinct connection between romance writing and commercialism.  The possibilities for personal furtherance through the production of adventure stories were taken advantage of by Haggard, Stevenson and others and the writers made a great financial success of their lives, each of them settling in fine houses in luxurious circumstances, the fame they achieved posited on collaboration in a homosocial venture.  The appeal to romance, the fairy tale, magic, and adventure stories was also a result of the desperation some writers felt about the state of the novel and the inadequacies of realism which left them unfulfilled.


The Theoretical Background.


The development of these authors’ ideas on fictional writing is of significant interest, for the writing stems from their theories on the romance form that formed a background to the writing.  Haggard’s vision of fiction could be seen as prosaic.  He views it as a painstaking, stoic, workmanlike, and strictly money-making task:


It should, in my judgment, be swift, clear and direct, with as little padding and as few trappings as possible.  The story is the thing, and every word in the book should be a brick to build its edifice.  Above all no obscurity should be allowed.  Let the characters be definite, even at the cost of a little crudeness, and so with the meaning of each sentence. Tricks of "style" and dark allusions may please the superior critic; they do not please the average reader, and- though this seems to be a fact that many forget, or only remember to deplore - a book is written that it may be read.[xxvii]

The late-Victorian tension between the “superior critic” and the "average reader", between commercialism and art as perceived by Haggard and others in the novel of action and quest, and the constant intrusion of the double identity all lead to speculations about a psychological displacement active in their literary aesthetic system.  The “average reader” was not the male juvenile reader for whom his works were produced, and the statement that the reason that a book is written so that it can be read is a tautology.  High literature, then, for Haggard is divorced from middlebrow culture, from the fiction read by the “reading public” as Q. D. Leavis has it.[xxviii]  But such pronouncements on the romance style are typically colourless.  His romance characters are frequently lacking in distinctive features.  Haggard's protagonists are frequently "flat"[xxix]  characters, of the kind which, Frye suggests, are common in romance, lacking the accumulation of idiosyncrasies which we associate with the techniques of realist fiction.  His practical and commonsensical attitude to the composition and reception of fiction — he appears to be aping the “normality” of realist fiction — may be related to commercial concerns; indeed Haggard became the highest paid writer in Edwardian times.  There are two contradictory elements here — the fairy tale and commercialism — which have to be resolved.  As in all writers, who are in their different ways writing from a position based on theoretical principles which they have enunciated, or at least have had formulated for them, there must also have been an element of their work meriting a financial return for the investment of their time and energies.  Yet it is paradoxical  that a naïve genre such as the romance of masculine adventure should have been predicated upon issues of commercialism, money making and an accounting of sales figures.  It was the first time that so much money and success was achieved through the production of what is, at base, a children’s fiction.

 According to the debate in Stevenson's paper, there were, in the aesthetic of the romance fiction prior to 1882, (the year in which Stevenson's "A Gossip on Romance"[xxx]  was published) two kinds of fictional method — the Realist and the Symbolist.  By this are meant two similar, yet different, elements, firstly what is real or actual, rather than falsification, and, secondly the mimetic, symbolic or representational, quality of art.  The realist method attempted to deal directly and consistently with the specificities, to use James’s word, of man’s experiences in the real world, whilst the symbolist tried to represent or imitate life in art, on the canvas, in clay, in mime or in a novel.  The representation of the real is not the same as the real, therefore.  Art can never in fact truly represent life. 

     Stevenson's call in ‘A Gossip on Romance’ for a blend of realism and idealism was a way forward for the romance.  Although "gossip" and "romance" are perhaps somewhat ‘womanly’ terms, Stevenson's ideal, as expressed in boys' stories such as Treasure Island and Kidnapped, extols the manly role in a fiction.  And, indeed, the adventure novel engages in a search for paternal role models.  The importance for Stevenson and Osbourne of finding a father figure in the form of one or more male characters is repeatedly underscored in Treasure Island.  Stevenson defends his position from the criticism of James in "The Art of Fiction"[xxxi]  by defining three categories of literary fiction, novels of adventure, character, and drama.  James claims that, although having been a [male] child, "I have never been on a quest for buried treasure", to which unlikely assertion Stevenson rejoins lightly that:

Here is, indeed, a wilful paradox; for if he has never been on a quest for buried treasure, it can be demonstrated that he has never been a child.  There was never a child (unless Master James) but has hunted gold, and been a pirate, and a military commander, and a bandit of the mountains; but has fought, and suffered shipwreck and prison, and imbrued its little hands in gore, and gallantly retrieved the lost battle, and triumphantly protected innocence and beauty.[xxxii]


In the category of adventure, however, Stevenson sees the affairs of childhood as common to all children, probably meaning boys.  For Stevenson's art is, as James has pointed out, an estimable one not so much because of episodes such as, "murders, mysteries, islands of dreadful renown, hairbreadth escapes, miraculous coincidence and buried doubloons,"[xxxiii]  but rather because of what is not capable of definition, not because of what is — it is too "free", too "full of art"[xxxiv]  to be encapsulated in mere definitions.  Conrad, too, endorsed the approach of complete truth to life, for he maintained that the novel was nothing if not:

a conviction of our fellow men's existence strong enough to take upon itself a form of imagined life clearer than reality and whose verisimilitude of selected episodes puts to shame the pride of documentary history.[xxxv]


For Conrad it is life in the imagination which is sharper and more focused than life in reality.  The imaginary is more real than reality.  The imagined images are truer and more real, and outdo documentary accounts of historical event.  The content and style of the Naturalists were too erotic for Haggard and their realism raised the issue of the moral responsibilities of the writer, and, indeed, the reader:

Besides, it is not so much a question of the object of a school as that of the fact that it continually, and in full and luscious detail calls attention to erotic matters.  Once start the average mind upon this subject, and it will go down the slope of itself ... if the seed of eroticism is sown broadcast its fruit will be according to the nature of the soil it falls on, but fruit it must and will.[xxxvi]


Realism and Naturalism were not interchangeable for Haggard.  His ‘realism’ purported to contain the spirit of humanity, whilst he saw the products of Naturalism as being corrupting.  A difference opens up, then, for Haggard in the study of art as aesthetic beauty and art as realistic representation of life in its rawest aspects.  Haggard saw art as a higher and more fruitful activity than the mere representation of the human form, and this theory highlights the reason the romance stories became mainly adventures which avoided the representation of the human body but concentrated, at least outwardly, on imagination, quest, and the portrayal of admirable qualities of success and fortitude in its heroes.

     In an atmosphere of patriarchal repression and late Victorian suppression, the romance writers constantly strove to surmount these hurdles.  Indeed, for Foucault the notion that the Victorian era was characterised by the repression of sexuality is not as tenable as perhaps it may seem for, a long way from repressing sexuality, Foucault argues that late-Victorian culture actually “produced, multiplied and dispelled it”.[xxxvii]  In the context of patriarchy which is defined by Heidi Hartmann as, "relations between men, which have a material base, and which, though hierarchical, establish or create independence and solidarity among men that enable them to dominate women",[xxxviii]  and in the context of patronage, by which is meant superiority and privilege, a debate raged between romance and realism.  The discussions masked concerns about bonding, collaboration, and eroticism and became a screen for activities directly concerned with paternalist influence.  In the Late-Victorian patriarchal scheme of life, the debate centred on the clubland ethos as well as on homosociality.  The romances aspired to higher aims and values, but a debate raged in the intellectual circles of the 1880s, and it was marked by a ‘heated’ element that will be shown to be a screen for activities involving bonding, collaborative literary endeavour and erotic writing.  Indeed the discourse leads to suggestions of homosociality that appeared in covert, if not in overt, ways. 

     Eve Sedgwick's analysis of male homosocial desire founds itself on the premise that homosexual hysteria, or homophobia, and genital homosexuality were a kind of double bind which men have been unable to unravel.[xxxix]  The paranoia surrounding homophobic activity and homosexuality is part of an historical and institutional construction that opens up a range of categories for examination, she carefully explains.[xl]  It is evident that such a complex paradox existed in the period under discussion.  Writers and artists were presented with possibilities for the definitions of new masculinities,[xli]  but were everywhere denied the expression of their theories.  It was still largely impossible, despite changing attitudes to homosexuality, to demonstrate affection and tenderness in public between men.  There is a contradiction, then, in this combination of homosocial desire and the higher sense of an attempt to promote ideas about the aims and values of the romance form such as purity, manliness, and chivalry in which they were working.


The Feminisation of Land


The homosocial genre of masculine adventure fiction was, in certain ways, what might be termed exotic.  Writers who came from patrician backgrounds engaging in an unabashed attempt at what was then free rein of what was, then, an unacceptably unrestrained genre were the subject of much disapprobation.  In descriptions metaphorising the land as feminine, Haggard, Buchan[xlii]  and others explore the enigma of female sexuality which draws attention to the idea of the woman as an object for the gaze of the male and as a significant Other; Woman as one more colonizable space.  This topos confirms the idea of the landscape as a terrain of imperial exploration and adventure.  Early nineteenth-century books on ethnology,[xliii]  art, medicine and anthropology contained pictures of the naked female form; and works featuring the land in feminine forms such as undulating marble-like contours which resembled the human female figure, and curves, crevices and fissures which suggested the erogenous zones of the female body were to be seen in collections of gentlemen's books on topography.  In King Solomon's Mines (1885) the erotic mountain of the Queen of Sheba is directly named Sheba's Breasts[xliv]  and in Buchan's The Thirty-Nine Steps (1915)[xlv]  there is also a suggestion of the unfolding landscape of Scotland as a metaphor for the feminine.


     In Buchan's Greenmantle (1916) the land is either pictured as a "rocky knoll which grew out of a forest"[xlvi]  or on the veldt "the earth is like a great yellow bowl with white roads running to the horizon and a tiny white farm basking in the heart of it," suggesting feminine images of breasts and vulvas.[xlvii]  In Bavaria the forest, a snowy breast: "rolled unbroken in a wilderness of snowy treetops",[xlviii]  and once "down country...the flat bush trees seemed to melt into one big mirage and dance quadrilles before my eyes."[xlix]   The possibilities for examination of snow-white breasts and flat bush trees dancing a jig are profoundly erotic, if seen from the late-Victorian perspective of erotic bibliomaniac Henry Ashbee, also known as Pisanus Fraxi, and the Erotomaniac.[l]  [See Part 3].  Richard Hannay’s dream of a mountain top shaped like an inverted saucepan or castrol lies as a persistent motif in the novel suggesting an image of the female breast: "now I was among peaks that I fancied were bigger than the Alps, and I could hardly keep my eyes on the road.  I was pretty certain that my castrol was among them, for that dream had taken an almighty hold on my mind."[li]  Hannay has the idea that "if I could get to that castrol I should be safe."[lii]  It all adds to the perception of sexuality, the domination of female imagery, the land as (distorted) intellectual property, and Hannay's inability to come to terms with the female in the novel.  It does not require a great deal of imaginative ability to perceive the images as being resonant of the enigma of the female form and for that form to take on a quite maternal, oedipal and erotic aspect.

     In She the caves are depicted in a quite erotic and suggestive fashion. 


At last we came to the head of the cave, where there was a rock dais almost exactly similar to the one on which we had been so furiously attacked.[liii] 


To the erotic mind of Ashbee and others, such references may well have been allusions to sensual attentions to the vagina and clitoris that are “furiously attacked”.  The image of caves with a particular spot wherein an attack is made is clearly sexual.  There appears the feminisation of land in She also, and in Heart of Darkness, topography becomes a subject associated with the female body.  The wilderness in Heart of Darkness is described as “impenetrable”, with the river portrayed as a “serpent” that unwinds its way through the forest, suggesting the unfolding of a giant snake.  Africa is referenced as masked, veiled and curtained so that it does not open up its secrets to Marlow.  While the Congo in Heart of Darkness is described as “impenetrable”, the wilderness in She allows for the topos of the easier penetration of the masculine adventurer into a female landscape.  Destructive male forces in the land outdo feminine nurturing forces.  The Congo is portrayed as dense and impenetrable and the vulvae and inner organs of the female body invite a similar comparison.  The snake conjures clearly sexual overtones as that which writhes and squirms its way to invade potentially the female apertures seen as caves, fissures and clefts among the rocks.  Additionally, the serpent may represent female forms as it encircles, wraps itself around and enfolds its victim.  [see Part 2]  Just as Dracula offers a serious threat to female security, the feminisation of land by writers threatens and contests the wholeness and well-being of Edwardian womanhood.



Search Romances


Search romances all involved a penetration into the imaginary centre, core, or coeur, (perhaps the reason for the naming of the caves of Kôr; and an allusion to Cork, the Irish city is likely),[liv]  of an exotic civilisation.  Whether it was the Amahagger, the Lovedu tribe of the Transvaal, the Tibetan civilisation, the lost cities of Zimbabwe, the dark continent, or the cloudy sphere of darkness, a search was involved to find such peoples and places.[lv]  The physical immensity of Africa and Asia is always apparent in the romance texts.  The concept of the restrictions of distance, too, is imaginatively overcome by placing these locales in an imprecisely located, thus not defined or sign-posted "Dark Continent", where the characters meet ‘dark’ ladies who are equated, by Haggard certainly, with erotic sexuality.  The association of negritude with the erotic is a commonplace in European fiction, sometimes with pornographic overtones.[lvi]  Haggard presented the erotic as a normal part of the adventures.  The dimensions of the Queen of Sheba's breasts (King Solomon's Mines) must have appealed to the prurience of generations of schoolboys.  And the scrap of a map written in 1590 in the blood of José da Silvestra, featured in the introduction, directs the reader to "the northside of the nipple of the southernmost of the two mountains I have named "Sheba's Breasts"".[lvii]  A case in point is also the glossing of Da Silva's bloodsoaked letter — the letter exactly states that the road to the mines is to be reached by a man climbing, "the snows of Sheba's left breast till he reaches the nipple."[lviii]  It is difficult to dismiss the connotation of prurience from the description Haggard includes of surmounting the erogenous area of the whiter than marble female form, unless he is merely being scatological.

     The romance of adventure and search is characterised by a separation from reality in a literary form in which élan vital, vivacity, and freedom are evidently paramount.  The geographical immensity of the textual locales in which the authors operate exists and Britain and Britons react against the restrictions of time and place and size.  The reaction against the concept of the permanency and inevitability of time is evident in The World's Desire (1890) where Ulysses is allowed to live again and Helen of Troy survives death by fire.  And Leo Vincey in She is a reincarnation of the ancient priest, Kallikrates, stressing the permanency of his genealogy.

     The significance of the overcoming of the elements of time and space lies in its appeal to the Victorian reader as a place where she/he can imagine for a moment a breach of the restrictions imposed on the person in an 1880s view of life which was highly constricted.  There remained problems in the Victorian age, too, relating to tensions within the family, and the repressions and suppressions that this fictional form attempts to alleviate.  The adventure tales, committed as they were to action rather than analysis, were able to help readers overcome fears of insecurity about their safety, their social standing and their potential poverty by affording them a vicarious outlet for the imagination through the catharsis of invigorating entertainment.  After all, Britain was in an economic depression from the 1870s.  The "weary public", as Haggard puts it, cries out for "books, new books to make them forget, to refresh them, to occupy minds jaded with the toil and emptiness and vexation of our competitive existence."[lix]

     The need for escape facilitated the need for myths and allegories.  A tendency to myth and allegory arises in romance works, which can be seen particularly in Haggard’s The Ancient Allen, (1920)[lx]  Eric Brighteyes, (1891)[lxi]  and When the World Shook (1919).[lxii]  Icelandic men, according to Lang, were fearless and "the best of soldiers, laughing at death and torture like the Zulus who are a kind of black Vikings of Africa."[lxiii]  Haggard's reverence for the Zulus, whom he had fought in the Transvaal, is exemplified in the texts in many episodes where warrior-like men with a strong and independent culture have much to offer the west in terms of philosophy, psychology and sociology.  In particular, they are notable for the contrast which they afford to the culture of the wealthy, industrialised and technological society in England and from which it was felt lessons about lifestyles, organisation, valour and independence could be learned.

    The sagas had come into Haggard's orbit aptly through Lang's encouragement, and also through Haggard's journey to Iceland which resulted in the writing of  Allan and the Ice Gods.(1927)[lxiv]  A favourite myth of Lang's was the reputedly mythical story of King Arthur.[lxv]  These myths had important resonances for male writers who perceived patriarchy, dominance and power in a context of Victorian debilitation, domestication and insecurity, in texts which expressed a self conscious message of the image of the English gentlemen, and how that image is exemplified in the collaborative novels in whiteness, chivalry, and the warrior ideal.

 Haggard and Conrad

The male myths which the romance writers researched and developed are repeated in many of the adventure novels.  There are similarities in generic theme and content between, for example, Haggard and Conrad in this new form of fiction.  Two works, She and Heart of Darkness, make an impression on the modern reader of male adventure at work.  Both writers have embarked on a search for a hidden heart or core which would be the focus of their quest.  Conrad has Marlow talking of looking for "blank spaces on the earth" and when he saw one that looked inviting he would put his finger on it and promise himself, "When I grow up I will go there.  The North Pole was one of those places I remember."[lxvi]  In "A Personal Record" Conrad himself also remembers:

 It was in 1868, when nine years old or thereabouts, that while looking at a map of Africa of the time and putting my finger on the blank space then representing the unsolved mystery of that continent, I said to myself with absolute assurance and an amazing audacity which are no longer in my character now:

     "When I grow up I shall go there."

And of course I thought no more about it till after a quarter of a century or so as an opportunity offered to go there - as if the sin of childish audacity was to be visited on my mature head.  Yes.  I did go there: there being the region of Stanley Falls which in '68 was the blankest of blank spaces on the earth's figured surface.[lxvii]

 There is unmistakably a sense of the map of Africa as a space for Conrad's imagination to occupy, a fascination with the unknown and a cartographic imprecision.  The map of Africa represents here a kind of private space which can be defined as whatever he wants it to be, although the story will go on to contradict this pleasing boyish dream — a script to be read and a space for fantasy, where a reader is seduced into collaborating by supplying the details that the author so engagingly leaves out.[lxviii]  It is the framework for a nothingness, an area to be marked with his own purposes which fascinates him.  Its pull is magnetic, its attraction cosmic.

     For Conrad, this blankness on an entirely unfilled map emerged out of a father-dominated childhood in a country of unstable borders delineated and re-delineated by officialdom, by historical forces which all might be said to have the face of Conrad's Kurtz bearing the expression of "an intense and hopeless despair" while their features spoke of "sombre pride, of ruthless power, of craven terror."[lxix]  Jozef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski ultimately became Joseph Conrad the English writer whose novels have been enshrined as prime examples of modern English fiction in the National Curriculum for schools in Britain.  Conrad, like Stevenson, lived his life under the shadow of his father, exiled, book-ridden, prophetic.  Conrad was to speak of his father in tones which reflect his own moody disposition and “very intense imaginative and emotional readiness”:[lxx]

 A man of great sensibilities; of exalted and dreamy temperament; with a terrible gift of irony and of gloomy disposition; withal of strong religious feeling degenerating after the loss of his wife into mysticism touched with despair.  His aspect was distinguished; his conversation very fascinating; his face in repose sombre, lighted all over when he smiled.[lxxi]

 Writers report constantly on the gifts and talents bequeathed to them by their parents, as our contemporary writers’ children have frequently remarked.  In She, Leo Vincey decides to set out for remote parts and remarks that: "if I don't find the `rolling Pillar of Life', at any rate I shall get some first-class shooting."[lxxii]  His uncle, Holly, whose idea it was originally, readily agrees: "Do you know, my boy, I don't believe in the quest, but I do believe in big game, and really on the whole, if, after thinking it over, you make up your mind to start, I will take a holiday and come with you."[lxxiii]  There is a total disregard for the practicalities of time, place and financial ability in the concept of imperial adventure.  While the work features hunting in Africa, a total absence of the considerations which working people in the period would have had about holiday arrangements is evident.

     Although the idea of the author as synonymous with the text and, thereby, omnipresent, is problematic, Haggard and Conrad were expressing their personal ideas in their male adventure texts.  There is an autobiographical parallel for Heart of Darkness, unreliable though it may be in some ways, in A Personal Record (1912) and Haggard wrote his memoirs under the title of The Days of My Life.  In both works the search for the hidden centre is by river to an intriguing destination.  In both cases the steersman is killed by native activity along the river banks.  In She Holly is surrounded by natives on the order of their queen:Four suns since was the word brought to me from She-who-must-be- obeyed.  Bring forth the men, and let that which they have with them be brought forth also.  Come! said  the men, half leading and half dragging me from the boat...[lxxiv]Subsequently, their boatman, Mahomed is "hot-potted", that is, causing an agonising death.  In Conrad's novel, the pilgrims are killed by the natives on Kurtz's orders, perhaps another "gratification of his various lusts."[lxxv]

In Heart of Darkness and in She, Africa is referenced as dense and mysterious, and unmapped.  In Heart of Darkness, the “clean shaved man”, an official of the Company, speculates: "Mr. Kurtz's knowledge of unexplored regions must have been necessarily extensive and peculiar...",[lxxvi]  and Marlow, reporting the state of affairs in which he found Kurtz, recounts the effect that the conditions in the Congo had upon him“

I assure you that never, never before did this land, this river, this jungle, the very arch of this blazing sky appear to me so hopeless and so dark, so impenetrable to human thought, so pitiless to human weakness.”[lxxvi

It seems to him to be an unknowable, vast and terrible country, with insinuations of deep, unfathomable mysteries which are impossible for the listener to conceive, and with a level of incongruity which is impossibly hard to countenance.  In Haggard's novel there is the sense of pushing hundreds of miles into an unknown interior, passing through a region of almost endless bogs where "the best thing to do would be to lie down to die in that dreadful wilderness of swamp."[lxxviii]

Haggard indicates that "It was an awful position, ... bitterly I cursed my folly in having become a party to such a mad undertaking".  In both Haggard and Conrad the main protagonists are two men who possess a remarkable admiration and feeling for each other. In She, Holly and Leo, although foster uncle and nephew, share a notable devotion and intimacy and in Heart of Darkness the Russian Manager and Kurtz become, it transpires, extremely close, even talking of love:


"They had come together unavoidably, like two ships becalmed near each other, and lay rubbing sides at last. ...`We talked of everything,' he said quite transported at the recollection.  'I forgot there was such a thing as sleep.  The night did not seem to last an hour.  Everything! Everything! ...Of love too.’”[lxxix]


This implies two rusting hulks or two behemoths stranded in dock together, taking part in an act of nautical copulation,[lxxx]  as suggested by “rubbing sides at last.”  The idea of metaphorical intercourse on the high seas is suggested.  The two men, the youthful harlequin, an attractive twenty-five year old, and Kurtz the older used-up man, talk “…Of love too.”  One may speculate whether it is their love for each other, each one’s love for another or love in general; and one wonders why the author uses the word “too” for such a natural subject of conversation.  Indeed, Marlow is surprised also that Kurtz should have talked to the Russian Manager of love: “‘Ah, he talked to you of love!’  I said much amused.”

His surprised reaction occupies a text which could be partly suggestive of a homosocial relationship between the allegorically portrayed Russian Manager and the mythical Kurtz figure.  Zohreh T. Sullivan has argued that Kurtz could be seen in a sexually ambiguous light,[lxxxi]  and, indeed, one might ask why he kept his Intended at arms length in Europe for such a long time, and spent longer periods in a bond with the Russian harlequin, and then with Marlow.  Kurtz is referred to as "an enchanted princess sleeping in a fabulous castle", proposing a cross gender transformation for a man who is envisaged more as one who, in his relations with the harlequin, "...filled his life, occupied his thoughts, swayed his emotions."[lxxxii]  He is a person whose personality was sufficient "to charm or frighten rudimentary souls into an aggravated witch-dance in his honour...".[lxxxiii]  As Kurtz and Marlow travel together on board, the movement is a female one, a regression back into the womb as Kurtz desperately seeks to save himself from the torment of the theft of ivory, heads on poles, and "satanic litanies".

The context of the passage about two rusting hulks suggests that the use of metaphors like ships is part of the acquired rite of understatement, where subjects concerning the emotions are suppressed as something else, and upon which many British Victorians prided themselves.  Here are examples of homosociality fraught with danger and death, in texts located in a foreign setting, the stuff of romance and adventure fiction, which exhibit a sense of collaboration between men in an all-male environment, with metaphors of machines for a group of men engaged in narratives of "work" and the writing of technically orientated fiction.  Work is central to Heart of Darkness.  Each station along the riverbank has its function as a work post, “I went to work the next day”,[lxxxiv]  says Marlow and the workmen are “this devoted band”[lxxxv]  “What saves us is efficiency — the devotion to efficiency”[lxxxvi]  says Marlow, as recounted by the narrator, as the men bond together on board the Nellie.  The steersman and Marlow are defined in the text as a type of partnership implying the collaboration in work and life that underpins society.  Marlow admires the shirt collars of the accountant that suggests a bonding with him.  For Holly, in She, his ward, Leo, is the most beautiful man of all the alumni of his college.

Conrad makes his figure an idealist.  But what Marlow learns makes him reverse his beliefs.  Kurtz goes to Africa innocently; he is still acting out his ultimate belief in reality, but moves from belief to insanity.  Sure of Kurtz’s megalomania, Marlow exclaims: "'Why! he's mad,' I said.”[lxxxvii]  The Manager refutes the allegation: “He protested indignantly.  Mr. Kurtz couldn't be mad.  If I had heard him talk only two days ago I wouldn't dare hint at such a thing…"[lxxxviii]  It is a picture of a sane man acting out what he believes to be real.  Kurtz comes from the world of criminality, like a nineteenth-century Mephistopheles as the text suggests, but it is disguised by the language of bureaucracy.  

 Marlow’s blindness to comments about the Russian harlequin underlines, notes Nina Pelikan Straus, a strong emotional impacting with Kurtz.  She identifies Marlow’s constant self-criticism as strangely emotional, and recognises that he is nearly driven "mad" by what he has unearthed in the Belgian enterprise, [just as Kurtz was].  There are glimpses in the text’s imagery of Marlow’s wish to be swallowed by Kurtz, to "join" him in death, and finally to be "rush[ed]" and invaded by the wilderness that Kurtz embodies.[lxxxix]

 In both romances characters take part in secret rites.  In Haggard the Amahagger, a fictional tribe in She,[xc] are taking part in a ceremony in a country where Haggard explains, “they followed the customs of the early Christians.”[xci]  This refers to a primitive form of wedding ceremony, for it is here that Leo becomes betrothed to Ustane, the Amahagger beauty.  Kurtz, in Heart of Darkness is a solitary witness of, at worst, cannibalism and, at best, a form of naked native life dance in a “wilderness that seemed to draw him to its pitiless breast”[xcii] — that has convinced his companion, the Manager, that those were the factors which have instinctively driven Kurtz:


out to the edge of the forest, to the bush, towards the gleam of fires, the throb of drums, the drone of weird incantations.[xciii]

The horrific, strange air is full of the illusory visions of evil and surreal activities.  There is a specific kind of symbolic reading to be made from this passage that there was more to these rituals than met the eye; that there was evidence of supernatural activity of a kind of which Marlow, reporting the Manager’s words, is unable to recount the meaning or the effect.  Kurtz is encountered in the forest during the performance of the rites of an African witch doctor, and what Marlow witnesses as he travels down-river with the dying Kurtz are the rites of some weird molestation, of an ecstatic energy that is only dimly understood:


“... they faced the river, stamped their feet, nodded their horned heads,


swayed their scarlet bodies; they shook towards the fierce river-demon a bunch of black feathers, a mangy skin with a pendant tail - something that looked like a dried gourd; they shouted periodically together strings of amazing words that resembled no sounds of human language; and the deep murmurs of the crowd, interrupted suddenly, were like the responses of some satanic litany.”[xciv]

 There is a clear picture in both texts of a primitive sense of Africa as unknown, unknowable and mysterious, containing social arrangements and anthropological rites which appear strange and different to the Western observer.  Animalistic rituals and native practices converge in a primordial jungle of which Westerners — it is suggested — would be only dimly aware.  The interaction of two cultures, Belgian and African, is absurd, totally illogical.  In She, also, Holly witnesses the cursing of Amenartas by Ayesha and, again, during the drama of the dance fetish spectacle, Holly and the others see a barbaric scene of ritual slaughter:


The Goat! the Goat! the Goat! Give me the blood of my black goat!  I must have it, don't you see I must have it? Oh! oh! oh! give me the blood of the goat.[xcv]

The presence of an animal indicates a profoundly totemic symbolism of which Haggard was probably aware in his account of primitive ceremonies.  In She and Heart of Darkness journeys are undertaken to meet a mysterious character in the heart of Africa.  Marlow journeys to the Congo to try to find Kurtz who is an almost legendary figure, whilst Leo, Holly and Job travel to Africa to find a lost Kingdom with an immortal queen in a land peopled by a lost white tribe.  The novels develop in a similar way; they encounter their adversaries — in the case of Holly and the others it is the Amahagger — who surround their boat on the orders of She, whilst in Heart of Darkness Kurtz orders the natives to attack the pilgrims and even Marlow himself.  In both works Africa is represented as mysterious, unknowable, Other.  Haggard’s study of Natal and the Zulus and Conrad’s knowledge of the sea and of Africa bring the role of anthropology into the works.  The idea of races as being “primitive” backward and in need of “Light” pervades their work.  The context of imperialism in which these works were conceived , written and sold, points to jingoism and empire as the ethos of many of the plots.  The lands which they visit are not of this world.  She is an immortal who lives in the ancient caves of Kôr, in an inexpressibly ageless civilisation, while Marlow encounters in Africa a "prehistoric earth" which appears to him as "an earth that wore the aspect of an unknown planet."[xcvi]

     The setting of Heart of Darkness provides another revealing indication of the masculine ethos of a shared circle of writers.  A group of five male companions, identified, for the most part, by their professions, the Director of Companies, the Lawyer, the Accountant, Marlow, and an anonymous narrator, are on board a yacht moored in the Thames, in a context defined by their male culture, and involved in roles from which females have been excluded.  It is a circle engaged in a play version of activities on which empire is based, because empire is “the game” — the sport in which these professional men, like Kim in all of India, are engaged.  The story emerges out of their community and their shared concerns.  There is a bond between them, and it is "the bond of the sea".[xcvii]  "You know me.  I'm here", Marlow seems to be saying.  ""I don't want to bother you much with what happened to me personally, ...yet to understand the effect of it on me you ought to know how I got out there, what I saw, how I went up that river to the place where I first met the poor chap"",[xcviii]  says Marlow, illustrating the necessity of knowing him to understand the message.  To know him is to understand the homoerotic nature of his venture to rescue a friend lost in the depths of the Congo.  Buddha-like, he spreads himself out on the deck of the yacht, "lifting one arm from the elbow, the palm of the hand outwards",[xcix]  intimating, perhaps, a contradictory sense of sexuality, and pointing again to my earlier reference to Haggard’s use of erotic Eastern imagery.  He is referred to at the outset as sitting, “his arms dropped, the palms of hands outwards”,[c]  giving way to the idea of a sensuous aspect of the limb.  The arm as the signifier, and the hand as that which indicates declare themselves as emblems of the erotic.

     In She the editor of the story recounts how characters take part in a club land venture to travel to Africa for some “good shooting”, and incidentally to find the ‘pillar of life’.  In Heart of Darkness, too, there is an explicit link between "collaborative" narrative structures informing us of who is telling and who is listening, and their implications for the reader/text relationship.  The professional men who assemble to hear the recounting of a secretive and mysterious matter are all representatives of professions, and the effort to try to understand the inscrutable nature of the tale is a palpable one.  “We four affectionately watched his back”,[ci]  as the Director of Companies looks out to sea and they commence the work to be performed in attempting to understand the nature of the story recounted by the narrators of the tale:


It seems to me I am trying to tell you a dream - making a vain attempt, because no relation of a dream can convey the dream-sensation…[cii]


The introduction to She indicates that the protagonists Holly and Leo Vincey set off from their all male Cambridge college to begin the adventure: “It was in this very month something over twenty years ago that, I, Ludwig Horace Holly, sat one night in my rooms at Cambridge...”[ciii]  And even Job confirms that “I don’t hold much with foreign parts, but if both you gentleman are going you will want someone to look after you, and I am not the man to stop behind after serving you for twenty years”,[civ]  demonstrating a quite co-operative attitude from a member of the servant classes. 

     The papers and Marlow’s very handling and distributing them, as well as the act of suppression of the truth from the fiancée are further instances of a type of “‘literary’ collaboration” with Kurtz that, added to his position as a literary man form a clear impression of this aura of literariness, joint endeavour and syncretism.  The fiancée represents a profound influence upon the novella as her presence provides an important background and support to Kurtz's activities in the Congo, although, of course, it represents heterosexual activity.

     The scenario of professional males at their leisure in an all-male society appeals to that inner audience who are the clubbable types, and denotes an ambivalent situation involving hints of sexual relationships.  The ambience of five professional men engaged in a form of fiction for men in a man's magazine read in gentlemen’s clubs as a venue for the telling of masculine adventures has resonances of homosocial activity.  The idea in Conrad that the flood tide of the Thames “had made”[cv]  and the concept that “King Romance” was “come indeed!”[cvi]  suggests an ambience of satisfaction, repose and consummation.  The narrator of the tale in his closed circle of male fellow conspirators works with them to arrive at the meaning of the indescribable events in which they enrol themselves.

     The fictive, imperialist, and homosocial world is predominantly male just as are the circumstances of Marlow's tale-telling on board the "cruising yawl", the Nellie.[cvii].  The circumstances of the telling of both stories where all the characters, except the Intended, the aunt, and the knitting woman are male, give rise to the notion of an exclusive male community engaged in an aura of a club land eroticism that mirrors the ‘club’ that underpinned all of this fiction.  At the end of the novella the Intended is excluded from real knowledge of the circumstances of the tale by the narrator who dupes her into thinking that Kurtz's last words concerned her, but of the truth of the events the narrator is unable to inform her: "But I couldn't.  I could not tell her.  It would have been too dark — too dark altogether...."[cviii]  The imagery contributes to the overall meaning of the story of the novel — that it is “too dark” to tell, too grim, too perverse to be brought into the light of day.  Such darkness occurs in another late-Victorian romance Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde that concentrates on the homosocial aspects of male endeavours and excludes women almost totally in the darkness that was London at that era.[cix]

 Stevenson: Jekyll and Hyde  —  the Double Identity: Respectable by Day, Notorious by Night

 If She and Heart of Darkness concerned a complicated telling of tales, a more straightforward method characterises Stevenson’s writing at the time of the composition of the adventure tale Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1886).[cx]  He was working together on the outline of plots of adventure with Henley, and later with Osbourne.  The genesis of the text was from the pen of a co-authored team about the double existence of a doctor and a charlatan.

     In Dr Jekyll and Mr  Hyde, whilst there are female characters in a story of male identity, the main protagonists are male.  The match girl, who is brutally attacked by men at large at night in a great city, is one such female character.  The question to be asked is "what are these women doing out at night at such an hour?"  They would have incurred the censure of the reader and might be accused of “looking for trouble”.  And what of the men?  Were they susceptible to charges of impropriety?  Why were they out at that time of night?  The answer is clearly that Hyde, and unnamed others, are looking for sexual partners to consummate and thereby assuage their repressed sexual drives.  The kind of misogynist writing Stevenson employs in his murder fiction occurs when Mr. Hyde attacks the match girl in public causing her to flee from her unnatural oppressor; behaviour that throws light on the double nature of the character of Dr. Jekyll:


He walked fast, hunted by his fears, chattering to himself, skulking through the less frequented thoroughfares, counting the minutes

that still divided him from midnight.  Once a woman spoke to him, offering, I think, a case of lights.  He smote her in the face, and she fled.[cxi]


His behaviour is consistent with the modernist concerns of a man who could have a double identity — a doctor by day and a violent criminal by night.  These concerns have been underlined by Judith Walkowitz in City of Dreadful Delight[cxii]  where she indicates how the late Victorian preoccupation with the

double identity of criminals — respectable by day, notorious at night — was an important feature of the nature of the modernist period just beginning to emerge with Stevenson.

The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, is a parable of male sexual crisis. When the ostensibly respectable Dr Jekyll needs a twin partner for his guileful personality, he creates an ambivalent sexual situation which Stephen Heath has taken to mean that the two men are lovers.[cxiii]  Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde were conceived in a dream, and Mrs. Fanny Stevenson so trenchantly criticised the story line in an early draft of the novel that Stevenson burnt the manuscript and then rewrote it, pointing to the influence of Fanny on the text and the position of the text in this drama.  At the time of the writing of this tale of male twinship, Stevenson was actively collaborating with Henley.  Jekyll's double self can be seen as a mirror-image of Stevenson's own collaborative writing career.  In this story the fear of death at the hand of a man, such as in the incident of the match girl, is one of the most moving forces.  The emotion of fear may not be specifically sexual, yet the reversal of sexual attraction is sexual disgust.  There is the incident in which Hyde knocks down and tramples the little girl, as reported by the "well known man about town,"[cxiv]  Mr. Richard Enfield.  Enfield takes an immediate dislike to Hyde:


There is something wrong with his appearance; something downright detestable.  I never saw a man I so disliked and yet I scarce know why.[cxv]


There are concerns here of the bestial and the regressive, which point to the opposite of collaboration and to animal sexuality.  The tale embodies the fear, conditioned by a response to Darwinian evolutionary theory, of the return of the repressed and the savage.  Darwin had suggested that man had evolved from “lower” species: “It is manifest that at least a large number of naturalists must admit that species are the modified descendants of other species.”  There was a late-Victorian debate over whether man carried with him the legacy of his animal background.[cxvi]  The transformation of Jekyll itself is marked by sexual symbolism.  As Hyde grows in size, as he slowly develops in physical feature, it is difficult to avoid the idea that Stevenson is equating this enlargement with a tumescent penis.  "It seemed to me of late as though the body of Edward Hyde had grown in stature as though (when I wore that form) I were conscious of a more generous tide of blood",[cxvii]  he exults, enjoying the sensations of erection and growth.  Conversely, Hyde has only to mix and swallow the draft and, as he returns to the form of Jekyll, Jekyll's hand is "large, firm, white and comely."[cxviii]  It is not easy to avoid here a connotation of tumescence and of detumescence.  That this carried some commercial advantage to the writer is, I would argue, quite likely, for the horror story is heightened in its intensity by this homoerotic element.  Despite the dramatically misogynist symbolism of the attack upon the little girl, the fear and loathing one man can have for another is the reverse of the coin of sexual attraction, yet is a powerful force in the sub genre of psychological fiction for adults.

That collaboration was not always an easy concept with which to be associated is outlined by some remarks of Stevenson where he stoutly defends his position as a collaborative author.  In his essay "A Chapter on Dreams", Stevenson denies the help of "unseen collaborators"[cxix]  and claims that it was all his own work:

 Mine, too, is the setting, mine the characters.... Will it be thought ungenerous, after I have been so liberally ladling out praise to my unseen collaborators, if I here toss them over, bound hand and foot?[cxx]


This reinforces the idea of Stevenson as a rather uneasy co-worker and of collaborators as out of sight, their work often unacknowledged.  Stevenson may not have wished Fanny Stevenson and Osbourne to be accredited as

co-writers with him at that stage in his writing career, and may have wished to spare them the recriminations which collaboration in a work about murder, horror and duality with a subtext of homosociality and eroticism would incur.  Stevenson did not have the same misgivings about his overt collaboration with his stepson, Osbourne, with whom he collaborated later over the production of four works, however.  It is clear that Fanny’s collaboration with Stevenson was extensive, going as far as rescuing his efforts on the first draft of Dr Jekyll from the flames of the domestic fire and ensuring that he re-wrote it.  There is an interesting point here about the domestication of men, when Stevenson’s work is consigned to the flames, and where the domestic hearth is the focus for much of the literary activity. The status of the text here is critical in a work concerning misogyny and the double that is, nevertheless, rescued by Fanny from destruction.  Their joint work on The Dynamiter is acknowledged on the title page as written by Robert Louis Stevenson and Fanny Van De Grift Stevenson, ensuring that the collaboration between partners was acknowledged for posterity.[cxxi] 

Unaware that Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde are one and the same man, one of the novel's characters, reluctant to become involved in the machinations of their twin characters, ventures the opinion, " the more it looks like Queer Street, the less I ask."[cxxii]  The reason for this supposition is that the doctor's anxious friends think that Mr. Hyde has a liaison with Dr. Jekyll and is now blackmailing him.  Jekyll's colleagues call Hyde's office "Blackmail House."[cxxiii]  Jekyll and Hyde's intimacy might seem strange to readers of the novel who do not yet know that Jekyll and Hyde are the same person, and who might, arguably, assume that in view of Jekyll's unexplained intimacy with, and "strange preference"[cxxiv]  for Hyde, that the two men are having a sexual relationship.  Jekyll opines that his two characters are bound together like "two incongruous faggots"[cxxv]  suggesting that they are homosexuals.  Enfield and Utterson share a bond, and that is the bond of silence — “they said nothing.”[cxxvi]

Random violence in the text replaces the urging of "the perennial war between my members".[cxxvii]  The sexual aspect is apparent around the murder of Sir Danvers Carew, "an aged and beautiful gentleman with white hair."[cxxviii]  Hyde represents the lust and sensuality of the lower parts of man — whilst Dr. Jekyll, as he pours out his potion, is that respectable and higher class individual whose "profound duplicity of life"[cxxix]   is soon revealed in the tale.  The contemporaneousness of this story with the development of sexual case studies by Krafft-Ebing[cxxx]  is profoundly revealing.  The debate which was engendered evolved around the question whether sexual perversion is inherited (congenitalism) or is acquired (environmentalism).  In Krafft-Ebing's terms, life is seen as “a never-ceasing” duel between the animal instinct and morality.[cxxxi]   The depiction of Hyde in this form is Stevenson's concept of the higher moral man and the lower animal nature that the human being contains; the elemental stage of the higher being into which it develops.  In Stevenson's text the animal in man lies only barely hidden beneath the surface, and in the shape of “the beast Hyde” is “ape-like”.[cxxxii]  Hyde is portrayed in Darwinian terms and reflects the crucial question of the time, regarding whether man was an animal.  The debate about Darwinism raised the question whether man had on his shoulder a Mr Hyde — the inheritance of his animal nature.

The sub-text emphasises the strange and unusual.  Hyde is foreign and strange, his gentleman's clothes flapping off him, "(this ludicrous accoutrement was far from moving me to laughter.)" [cxxxiii]  In the setting of the novel a street exists where one door is different, and the "queer", unconventional, bad man lives there.[cxxxiv]   The novel contains a chapter entitled ‘Story of the Door’ and it is a question of what happens behind closed doors. It suggests something that does not meet the eye, duplicity, and the shade of doubled writing reflected in a doubled character arising from a “draught” taken in the final draft.  Hyde rushes across his yard, he steals through the corridors, singularly careful to avoid the public gaze.  Delighting in the sensations of becoming Hyde, Jekyll is "suddenly aware that I had lost in stature...  The evil side of my nature, to which I had now transferred the stamping efficacy, was, less robust and less developed than the good which I had just deposed".[cxxxv]

 A further question concerns the absence of women.  From the outset critics have remarked on the maleness of the story.  “The story starts, says Stephen Heath, “from the exclusion of the woman, which is the condition of a questioning of the man and also its limitation.”  It suggests that the specificity of man’s apartness is stretched back into generalisations about his two-fold nature.[cxxxvi]  The absence of women emphasises the separateness of the genre from the former genre of realism.  The title itself is revealing — Strange Case, and has resonances of queerness and strangeness and of medical diagnosis.  It is notable that this is a medical case with some very strange indications, prognoses and prescribed treatment.  Jekyll testifies in the chapter, "Henry Jekyll's Full Statement of the Case", to his two identities as faggotts.[cxxxvii]

 The characterisation concerns professional men — Enfield, Utterson, the doctor, Mr Hyde and Sir Danvers Carew are all middle-class.  Lang, Stevenson's friend, emphasises that,  "His heroes (surely this is original) are all successful middle-aged professional men".[cxxxviii]   The reflection from within the text may have had an autobiographical element in that Stevenson and Lang, too, were successful middle-aged professionals embarking on double writing together.  The writers were afraid that they, too, might be tainted by criminal events, as aristocrats close to the queen had been implicated in a clubland aura of homoerotic adventures, having resonances of the alleged involvement of the squirearchy/ aristocracy/ royalty in the thrill and dread of the affair of "Jack the Ripper",[cxxxix]  which profoundly gripped the imagination of the late Victorians.  A literary critique on the subject attributed to Lang was first published in the Saturday Review of 9 January 1886 and is worth quoting at some length as it throws light on the structure, characterisation and plot of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde:


No woman appears in the tale ( as in "Treasure Island"), and we incline to think that Mr. Stevenson always does himself most justice in novels without a heroine.  It may be regarded by some critics as a drawback to the tale that it inevitably disengages a powerful lesson in conduct.  It is not a moral allegory, of course, but you cannot help reading the moral into it, and recognising that, just as every one of us, according to Mr. Stevenson, travels through life with a donkey (as he himself did in the Cevennes), so every Jekyll among us is haunted by his own Hyde.  But it would be most unfair to insist on this, as there is nothing a novel - reader hates more than to be done good to unawares.  Nor has Mr. Stevenson, obviously, any didactic purpose.  The moral of the tale is its natural soul, and no more separable from it than, in ordinary life, Hyde is separable from Jekyll.


The “moral” of Stevenson’s “tale” is that man’s double can overpower and overwhelm him at any time if the pressures of a paternalist society and the dichotomies in one’s makeup become too intensive.  The character of Jekyll emerges as a doctor (one who should follow his Hippocratic oath) with a dual nature, a divided identity, both real and literary, yet inseparable for all that.  The intimations of male professional involvement in the story of Dr Jekyll are resonant of the horrific murder stories that caught the imaginations of late-Victorian men which I discuss below. 

     In his aim to rescue the novel from the bedroom and the boudoir Stevenson employs an alternative form which, collaboratively and aggressively homoerotic, evoked those places in an amended form.  His attempt to fashion an ethic of exotic and heated adventure stories could be viewed as that of an erotically imaginative writer with an awareness of the financial implications, because he wrote in popular forms.  In his collaborative efforts with Osborne, he concentrated his attention on fiction for boys in a genre which introduces male desire under the guise of boyish escapism.

     The question of the fantasies beneath the surface of respectability, and the claims of homosexuality which surrounded clubland[cxl]  permeate this canon, the near hysteria of the aristocracy surrounding the emotions arising from the bondings between men that constituted the other side of the presentable face of patriarchy.  Hysteria is a semi-clinical term to denote, among other things, the alleged medical condition surrounding homosexual behaviour and the “double bind of male homosexual panic” Eve Sedgwick has identified as characterising patriarchal attitudes to homosexuality.[cxli]  It is also the fascination with the notion that beneath the professional exterior, something else lurked; the professional exterior of an acceptably respectable Dr Jekyll masked the beast of a repellant Hyde.  There may also have been a link between professionalism and the system in western society that sanctions male bonding.

     Just as Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde can be read as an allegory of late Victorian homosocial hysteria, the discovery and rejection of the idea of the homosocial self, in the novel Dracula, although a later work, Vortelsing lapses into hysteria and it is witnessed by Seward:  “The moment we were alone in the carriage he gave way to a fit of hysterics.... I tried to be stern with him; as one is to a woman under the circumstances; but it had no effect.[cxlii]  But, more than that, the panic is over the fantasies beneath the daytime decorum.  The novella is an account of male hysteria over the revelation of the clubland homoeroticism, and of the peccadilloes of 'respectable' professional class gentlemen in a late Victorian underworld.

 A Homosocial Medium

It has been suggested that it was "inevitable" that these writers "drawn to a common centre from different poles, should become acquainted and their paths should cross frequently."[cxliii]  It was more than that, in that their common centre was a "homosocial" one.  The step forward — to seeing this activity as homosocial — can be understood by looking at the continual evidence throughout the textual and social interactions of their adventure in double writing which becomes more than just two men engaged in a task of writing literature but their engagement in a fiction of homoeroticism.

 Highly equivocal lexical pointers to a homosexual meaning indicate themselves in much of the terminology and the discourse surrounding the Wilde trials, Sedgwick shows.  Looking at the discourses surrounding male homosexual rôles, she suggests that, the “medical and penal discourse of the male homosexual rôle”, has resulted in the danger that we might have freighted them, she says, “more firmly and distinctively with homosexual meaning.”[cxliv]  It is this danger that I continually acknowledge in my willingness to accept, with reservations, the presence of an erotic charge apparent in the discourse of Lang and others.[cxlv]

There is also the question of identification with other males.  Within the heterosexual drama generally, there is a profound separation between identification and desire, especially for males.  The male is thus required to identify with other males but he is not permitted to desire them.  Indeed, identification with, should actually preclude desire for, reasons Jonathan Dollimore.[cxlvi]  Perhaps this embargo helps to explain the conscious attempts these writers make to suppress and control the expression of male-male desire in their discourse yet they palpably fail to conceal it altogether.  But the conundrum in all this is that, by identifying with another male, the homosexual man is denying the existence of the other sex, thereby repudiating the woman.  This too, might explain in some way the constant demonising of the female character in these writers and their inability to make successful characterisations exhibiting normative female sexuality.

 The act of concealment has been habitual by the homosexual as a result of the patriarchal and homophobic atmosphere surrounding the homosexual male.  There is a need to identify with groups and to retain that identity within the group at all costs, making an effort to avoid exclusion from the group.  This may go some way to explain the need for these writers to maintain the bonding ties which they did.  All of this — dissembling, evasion — produces a false identity which, if successful, may be more convincing to those outside the group than those inside it.  What may occur in homosexual groups is a transference of guilt feelings where the man, feeling that he has something to be guilty about, transfers his feelings into some other activity whether it be literary collaboration , or artistic endeavour.

The symbiotic relationship between the novel of masculine action and the increased flow of fiction for boys is partly evident.  Whether the flow of fiction for boys resulted from the pressure created by the number of works available to be read or was in itself created by an avid reading public is problematic.  There was an emphasis placed on the maleness of the world that the late Victorians inhabited, a world in which masculine collaboration through bonding played an increasing part, and its homosocial content may have contributed towards its economic success. 

The tension formed by the debate between romance and realism was misrelated to what was occurring in the minds of Haggard, Lang, Henley, Stevenson, Kipling and James — they concerned themselves with the theories of adventure writing, but were unable to conceal the passions that arose between them.  This strain was reflected not only in the intellectualisation about epic style, but in the writing of a number of the texts that I look at, not least in an apparent torridness in the writing which resulted from these co-operative ventures throughout the late nineteenth-century.  In the novels, Heart of Darkness, She, and Jekyll and Hyde, homosociality fraught with danger is the substantive theme of the work.  Although not openly controlled, the authors attempt unsuccessfully to conceal its expression through the use of euphemistic language and evasion unless, of course, they were merely being bawdy.

In producing works through literary collaboration authors devised structures that would deliver their stories to the reader through a pattern of male orientated situations in which a homosocial atmosphere is evident.  In his closed circle of male friends the narrator engages in roles from which females have been excluded.  It is a circle engaged in a play version of empire that produced novels of the kind of The World’s Desire co-written by Haggard and Lang that I next examine.



[i]Andrew Lang, "Realism and Romance" The Contemporary Review 5 November 1887.

[ii]  Andrew Lang, The Poetical Works of Andrew Lang, ed. Mrs Lang, quoted in P. Beresford Ellis, H. Rider Haggard: A Voice from the Infinite (London: Routledge, Kegan Paul, 1978) 119.

[iii]  Lang,  "Realism and Romance," Contemporary Review  69.

[iv] Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Between Men: English Literature and Male Homosocial Desire (New York: Columbia University Press, 1986) 13.

[v]  Lancelyn Green, Andrew Lang, 129.

[vi]  Julia Wedgwood, Contemporary Review 49 (April 1886): 594 - 95

[vii]  Alice Brown, "Study of Stevenson", (Boston: Copeland and Day, 1895), quoted in J. Hammerton, "Stevensonia" (Edinburgh: John Grant, 1907) 187.

[viii]  H. Rider Haggard, "'Elephant Smashing' and 'Lion Shooting'" African Review, 9 June, 1894: 7.

[ix]  Rider Haggard,  “About Fiction” Contemporary Review 51 (1887): 383.

[x]  Haggard, “About Fiction”, 384.

[xi]  To Haggard, 24 July 1886.  Quoted in Morton Cohen, Rider Haggard: His Life and Works  (London: Hutchinson, 1960) 182.

[xii]  To Haggard, 24 July 1886.

[xiii]  Haggard, She, 143-44.

[xiv]  Haggard, She, 129.

[xv]  Haggard, She, 120.

[xvi]  Haggard, King Solomon's Mines, 394.

[xvii]  Haggard, King Solomon's Mines, 310 - 11.

[xviii]  Haggard, King Solomon's Mines, 310.

[xix]  Haggard, King Solomon's Mines, 310 -11.

[xx]  'The Other', a term derived from Lacan, in whose psychoanalytical theory it means that which initiates desire in one by a lack of that element in oneself.  See Jacques Lacan, Écrits: A Selection (London: Tavistock, 1977).

[xxi]  Haggard,  Child of Storm, 333.

[xxii]  ibid.

[xxiii]  Haggard,  Child of Storm, 333-334.

[xxiv]  Haggard, She, 121.

[xxv]   Conrad,  Heart of Darkness, 60.

[xxvi]  ibid.

[xxvii]  Haggard, The Days of My Life, 84.

[xxviii]  See Simon Frith, "Literary Studies as Cultural Studies" in Critical Quarterly, 34  1. (1992): 14.  Q. D Leavis, G. Singh ed. Collected Essays, Vol I (Cambridge University Press, 1983).

[xxix]  E. M. Forster, Aspects of the Novel (Cambridge University Press, 1927) quoted in "Flat and Round Characters and Point of View", Twentieth Century Literary Criticism David Lodge ed. (London: Longman, 1972) 137.  Forster states that, "in their purest form they are constructed round a single idea or quality."

[xxx]  R. L. Stevenson, "A Gossip on Romance" The Works of Robert Louis Stevenson Vol. 9, (London: Chatto and Windus, 1911) 140.

[xxxi]  Henry James, "The Art of Fiction", Longman’s Magazine September 1884. 502-21.

[xxxii]  Robert Louis Stevenson, "A Humble Remonstrance", The Works of Robert Louis Stevenson, Tusitala ed. Memories and Portraits (London: Heinemann, 1924).

[xxxiii]  James, "The Art of Fiction", 502-21.

[xxxiv]  ibid.

[xxxv]  Peter Keating, The Haunted Study: A Social History of the English Novel (London: Secker and Warburg, 1989) 301.

[xxxvi]  Rider Haggard, "About Fiction," Contemporary Review 51 (1887): 172.

[xxxvii] Indeed, for Foucault the notion that the Victorian era was characterised by the repression of sexuality is not as tenable as perhaps it may seem for, a long way from repressing sexuality, Foucault argues that late-Victorian culture actually “produced, multiplied and dispelled it” See Judith R. Walkowitz, City of Dreadful Delight: Narratives of Sexual Danger in Late-Victorian London (London: Virago, 1992) 39.

[xxxviii]  Heidi Hartmann,  "The Unhappy Marriage of Marxism and Feminism: Towards a more Progressive Union", in Sargent,  Women and Revolution,  1-41.  14.

[xxxix]  See Sedgwick, Between Men 13.  See also Stephen Orgel, "Displacing Homophobia" The South Atlantic Journal, 1990.

[xl]  Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick,  Epistemology of the Closet (London: Penguin, 1991) 187.

[xli]  R. W. Connell describes four main definitions of masculinities - essentialist definitions that define the core of the masculine and hang a definition on that, positivist social science whose ethic defines what men actually are, normative definitions that recognise the difference between men as a bloc and women as a bloc and offer a norm – masculinity is what men ought to be, and semiotic approaches defining masculinity through a system of symbolic difference in which masculine and feminine locales are contrasted.  Essentially, masculinity is defined here as non-femininity. 

     If there is a line of other qualitative research on maculinities, it could be on bonding and masculinities with special regard to “the process by which male homosexuality became encoded at the turn of the century in specifically literary terms, and the ways in which this nomenclature informed the sexual practice and figurative procedure of modern writing.”  Ph.D thesis.  “The Ruling Passion: Modern Homosexual Allegories and the Elaboration of Empire”  Lane, C. J. W. 1992, A8J.  London, Queen Mary and Westfield College, 44-9083.

[xlii]  For what Buchan's grandson, James Buchan, describes [London Review of Books, 17. 24

August, 1995: 18.] as "a straightforward and loyal" life see Andrew Laurie, John Buchan: The Presbyterian Cavalier (London: Constable, 1995).

[xliii]  One such example dealing with the North American Indian may have been  James H. McCulloh's  Researches, Philosophical and Antiquarian Concerning the Aboriginal History of America (Baltimore: F. Luces Jnr., 1817) 332.  Chapter 1 dealt with "The Complexion and Physical Appearance of the Aboriginals of America."  See Appendix 1.  The Mounds &etc of North America.

[xliv]  Rider Haggard, King Solomon's Mines  (London: Collins, 1885; New York, Dover ed. 1951) 254.

[xlv]  John Buchan, The Thirty-Nine Steps (London: Blackwood, 1915).

[xlvi]  John Buchan, Greenmantle (1916) (London: Penguin, 1956) 91.

[xlvii]  Buchan, Greenmantle, 90.

[xlviii]  Buchan,  Greenmantle, 91.

[xlix]  Buchan,  Greenmantle, 93.

[l]   Ian Gibson, The Erotomaniac (London: Faber, 2000).

[li]  Buchan, Greenmantle, 202.

[lii]  Buchan, Greenmantle, 191.

[liii]  Haggard, She,  129-30.

[liv]  Haggard, She, 96.

[lv]  See Haggard, She, 65.  See also Haggard, King Solomon's Mines, 254.

[lvi]  Steven Marcus, The Other Victorians: A Study of Sexuality and Pornography in Mid- Nineteenth Century England (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1964).

[lvii]  Haggard, King Solomon's Mines, 254.

[lviii]  ibid.

[lix]  Rider Haggard, "About Fiction" Contemporary Review 51 (1887): 381.

[lx]  Rider Haggard, The Ancient Allen ( London: Cassell, 1920).

[lxi]  Rider Haggard, Eric Brighteyes (London:  Longmans, Green, 1891).

[lxii]  Rider Haggard, When the World Shook, Being an account of the

adventures of Bastin, Bickley and Arbuthnot (London: Cassell, 1919).

[lxiii]  Andrew Lang, William H. Davenport Adams ed., Essays in Little

(London: Henry, 1891) 44.

[lxiv]  Rider Haggard, Allan and the Ice Gods (London: Hutchinson, 1927).

[lxv]  Andrew Lang, Tales of King Arthur of the Round Table.  Adapted from

the Book of Romance by Andrew Lang (London: Longman, no date).

[lxvi]  Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness  Norton Critical Edition.  Robert Kimbrough ed.,  (New York: W. W. Norton, 1988) 11.  Subsequent references are to this edition.

[lxvii]   Joseph Conrad, "A Personal Record" (London: J. M. Dent & Sons, 1912) 13  quoted in Conrad, Heart of Darkness, 148.

[lxviii]  See David Jarrett, "Bruno Shulz and the Map of Poland", Chicago Journal. Spring. 1994:  255-270, for an imaginative tour de force of how some maps represent a kind of unpicking of culture's own maps of itself.

     Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak also concerns herself with maps where she mentions that the imperial project had come to assume that “the earth that it territorialised was in fact previously uninscribed”, so therefore a world, at the fundamental level of mapping, “inscribed what was presumed to be uninscribed.”  Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, ed. Sarah Harasym, The Post-Colonial Critic: Interviews, Strategies, Dialogues  (New York: Routledge, 1990).

[lxix]  Conrad, Heart of Darkness, 68.

[lxx]  Joseph Conrad,  “Author’s Note” in The Secret Agent (London: Dent , 1923) 2.

[lxxi]  See Joseph Conrad, Letter to Edward Garnett, 20/1/1900.  Joseph Conrad, The Collected Letters of Joseph Conrad, Frederick R. Karl and L. Davies eds. (Cambridge University Press, 1983-1990) 2 247.

[lxxii]  Rider Haggard, She (London: Collins, 1887; New York: Dover ed., 1951) 58.  All subsequent references to She are to the latter edition.

[lxxiii]  Haggard, She, 58.

[lxxiv]  Haggard, She, 57.

[lxxv]  Conrad, Heart of Darkness, 57.

[lxxvi]  Conrad, Heart of Darkness, 70.

[lxxvii]  Conrad, Heart of Darkness, 55.

[lxxviii]  Haggard, She, 57.

[lxxix]  Conrad, Heart of Darkness, 55.

[lxxx]  As Kipling explains it, “The way collisions come about is this … for to meet and I suppose nautically to copulate with other iron and steel …” Letter, Kipling to Henley, 31 December 1896.  Conrad, Heart of Darkness, 55.

[lxxxi]  Zohreh T. Sullivan, "Enclosure, Darkness, and the Body: Conrad's Landscape."  The Centennial Review.  25:1. 1981. 59-79.

[lxxxii]  Conrad,  Heart of Darkness, 56.

[lxxxiii]  Conrad,  Heart of Darkness, 51.

[lxxxiv]  Conrad,  Heart of Darkness, 26.

[lxxxv] Conrad, Heart of Darkness, 32.

[lxxxvi]  ibid.

[lxxxvii]  Conrad, Heart of Darkness, 56.

[lxxxviii]  ibid.

[lxxxix]  Nina Pelikan Straus, “The Exclusion of the Intended from Secret Sharing in Conrad’s Heart of Darkness”.  Novel, 20: 2 (1987) 123-137.

[xc]  Haggard, She, 65.

[xci]  Haggard, She, 63.

[xcii]  Conrad, Heart of Darkness, 65.

[xciii]  ibid.

[xciv]  Conrad, Heart of Darkness, 66.

[xcv]  Haggard, She, 166.

[xcvi]  Conrad, Heart of Darkness, 66.

[xcvii]  Conrad, Heart of Darkness, 7.

[xcviii]  Conrad, Heart of Darkness, 11.

[xcix]  Conrad, Heart of Darkness, 10.

[c]  Conrad,  Heart of Darkness, 7..

[ci]   Joseph Conrad, ed. Robert Kimbrough, Heart of Darkness (New York: W.W. Norton, 1988) 7.

[cii]  Conrad, Heart of Darkness, 30.

[ciii]  Haggard, She, 63.

[civ] Haggard, She, 38.

[cv]  Conrad, Heart of Darkness, 76

[cvi] ibid.

[cvii]  Ibid.

[cviii]  Conrad, Heart of Darkness, 76.

[cix]  See Daniel Pick, “Terrors of the Night. Dracula and “degeneration” in the late Nineteenth Century”.  Critical Quarterly.  Winter, 1998.  See also Bram Dijkstra, Idols of Perversity.  Fantasies of Feminism.  Evil in Fin - de - Siecle Culture  (Oxford University Press, 1982).

[cx] Robert Louis Stevenson, The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (London: Dent, 1886).

[cxi]  Stevenson, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,  94

[cxii]  Walkowitz, City of Dreadful Delight, 123.

[cxiii] .. Stephen Heath, " Psychopathia Sexualis: Stevenson's Strange Case",  Critical Quarterly  28 (1986) 28.

[cxiv]  Stevenson, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, 34.

[cxv]  Charles Darwin, Introduction to The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex (London: 1871). Available. Online. .  Accessed 21. 07. 11.

[cxvi] Stevenson, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, 88

117  Stevenson, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, 88, 89.

[cxviii]  Robert Louis Stevenson, "A Chapter on Dreams" in The Essays of Robert Louis Stevenson ed. Malcolm Elwin, (London: Macdonald, 1924) 440.

[cxix]  Robert Louis Stevenson, "A Chapter on Dreams" in The Essays of Robert Louis Stevenson ed. Malcolm Elwin, (London: Macdonald, 1924) 440.

[cxx]  Robert Louis and Fanny Van De Grift Stevenson, The Dynamiter Available.  Online. Accessed 16. 07 11

[cxxi]  Stevenson, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, 33.

[cxxii]  Stevenson, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, 33.

[cxxiii]  ibid.

[cxxiv]  Stevenson, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, 82.

[cxxv]  Stevenson, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, 8.

[cxxvi]  Stevenson, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, 82.

[cxxvii]  Stevenson, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, 46..

[cxxviii]  Stevenson, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, 81.

[cxxix]  Stevenson, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, 81.

[cxxx]  R. von Krafft-Ebing, ed. Robert H. V. Ollendorff, Psychopathia Sexualis:  The Sexual Offender (London: Lovecrest Books, 1967).

[cxxxi]  Krafft-Ebing,  Psychopathia Sexualis  fifth ed., trans. C. G. Chaddock,  (Philadelphia and London: F. A. Davis, 1892).

[cxxxii Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, 78.

134  I am grateful to A. L. Kennedy for this insight.

[cxxxv]  Stevenson, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, 84.

[cxxxvi]  Heath, "Psychopathia Sexualis", 102.

[cxxxvii]  Stevenson, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, 82.

[cxxxviii]  Unsigned Review,  "Mr Stevenson's New Story  *  Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.  By R. L. Stevenson.” [Andrew Lang].  (London: Longmans, 1886)."  The Saturday Review 9 January 1886: 55.

[cxxxix]  Martin Howells and Keith Skinner ascribe the murders as did, originally, the journalist Stephen Knight, to Sir William Gull, physician in ordinary to the queen and Sir Robert Anderson, allegedly assisted by a coachman, John Netley.  The suspicions of royal involvement and complicity in these horrific murders have been drawn to the attention of the reading public by a number of investigations.  Martin Howells and Keith Skinner, The Ripper Legacy: The Life and Death of Jack the Ripper  (London:  Sedgwick and Jackson, 1987);  Terence Sharkey,  Jack the Ripper: 100 Years of Investigation  (London: Ward Lock Ltd, 1987); Martin Fido, The Crimes, Detection and Death of Jack the Ripper  (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1987); Walkowitz, City of Dreadful Delight, 143.

[cxl]  The connection between claims of clubland homosexuality and specific authors has been made by Martin Seymour-Smith.  See Seymour-Smith, Rudyard Kipling (London: Macdonald, Queen Anne Press, 1986).  Max Saunders suggests, about the issue of Ford Madox Ford’s human relationships, that “Ford’s thinking about relationships between men brings together two related anxieties.  First, that his male friendships might be – or might appear - homosexual.  And secondly, that an artist is not a “proper man” – that is his sensitivity and impressionability might be - or considered to be- effeminate.”  Max Saunders, Ford Madox Ford: A Dual Life (Oxford University Press, 1996) ii 239.

[cxli]  Sedgwick, Epistemology of the Closet, 189.

[cxlii]  Bram Stoker, Dracula  (London Arrow Books, 1954).  

[cxliii]  Cohen, Rider Haggard, 190.

[cxliv]  Sedgwick, Epistemology of the Closet, 203.

[cxlv]  The unspeakable nature of homosexuality for pre-nineteenth century readers is reflected in texts in which it is a secret incapable of elucidation.  In the Hebrew tradition homosexuality has been as roundly excoriated as has been bestiality.

 In Boswell, Christianity,  it has been referred to as “that sin which should neither be named nor committed.” And homosexual activity also was designated, “the detestable and abominable sin, amongst Christians not to be named.”

[cxlvi]  Jonathan Dollimore,, Sexual Dissidence: Augustine Augustus to Wilde, Freud to Foucault (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1991) 158.