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Natalie Rose

ENGB31_March6 Haggard, King Solomon’s Mines  “to all little and big boys” o boyhood not literally only for boys  more earth-bound than fantasties  imperialism vs romance o 1880’s: “New Romance”  adventure fiction  imperial romance  lost-world romance  Gothic revival  Detective fiction  Scientific romance o Mass-market phenomenon Claims made for the romance as a genre:  More truthful about the human condition than realism (“the Unpleasant Real” [Andrew Lang]) o Realism leaves out any kind of humanity  Narrative pleasure o Realism: “the unrelentingly minute portraiture of modern life and analysis of modern character, the unrelenting exclusion of exciting events and engaging narrative” (Land) o Romance: “the process itself should be absorbing and voluptuous; we should gloat over a book, be rapt clean out of ourselves” (Stevenson) o Imaginative identification of men with boys: “to all the big and little boys who read it”  Boyhood as an escape from manhood  Return in one way or another to childhood  Reconciliation with limitation to reality  Romance champions agency: vs. naturalism and determinism o Adventure  chance  agency o “we must take our chance” o “there is no journey upon this earth that a man may not make if he sets his heart to it. There is nothing, Umbopa, that he cannot do, there are no mountains he may not climb, there are no deserts he cannot cross… if love leads him and he holds his life in his hands counting it as nothing, ready to keep it or lose it as Providence may order”  Quest romance is about action; body not mind o “interest turns, not upon what a man shall choose to do, but on how he manages to do ti; not on the passionate slips and hesitations of the conscience, but on the problems of the body and of the practical intelligence, in clean, open-air adventure, the shock of arms or the diplomacy of life” (Stevenson)  Its about the body and not the mind; focus on the agency  Romance genre: healthy British masculinity  Romance is the genre of healthy, British masculinity o Over-civilisation threatens degeneration; enervates the body politic (ct. Tennyson) o American realist heroes
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