Speculative Fictions and the Fortunes of H. Rider Haggard

Francis O'Gorman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter explores a set of finance-related divisions behind novelist Henry Rider Haggard's representations and proposes a fresh relationship between an aesthetic practice and the money markets. Heroes of romances often stand to acquire extensive fortunes, yet Haggard infrequently allows money to be their first motive or their noblest. Haggard's works are connected with another form of financial life in that his heroes are exceptional risk takers. They correspond in this respect with the financial adventurers about whom Haggard also wrote, the speculator and venture capitalist avant la lettre who was struggling to articulate his position at the end of the 19th century as a legitimate agent of economic progress. Plotting the profits of jeopardy, Haggard's fiction was in a more divided relationship with the conflictual discourses of the adventurer than his financial villains suggest. This chapter proposes that these divisions suggest a conflict in late Victorian understandings of speculation and its relation to economic progress itself.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationVictorian Literature and Finance
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780191712951
ISBN (Print)9780199281923
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2010


  • Aesthetics
  • Britain
  • Divisions
  • Economics
  • Finance
  • Henry rider haggard
  • Money markets
  • Speculation
  • Victorian literature


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