Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Theaters of Space and Time: The Museal Novels of H. R. Haggard: King Solomon's Mines, Allan Quatermain, and She: A History of Adventure
by Ilan, Lisa R., Ph.D., University of Louisiana at Lafayette, 2017, 269; 10268566
Abstract (Summary)

The purpose of this dissertation is to establish an alternative method for the critical study of H. Rider Haggard's illustrated novels, King Solomon's Mines (1885), Allan Quatermain (1887), and She: A History of Adventure (1887), as a museal form that anticipates contemporary modes of interactive museums (heritage, participatory, and virtual). The novels, through a process of musealization, connect with many literary tropes, pastimes, hobbies, objects, spectacles, commerce, imperialism, and culture in the nineteenth century. Given that traditional museums are defined as repositories of knowledge, as a form of museum, Haggard's novels function as a repository that reflects the material culture—resources and space (homes, museums, means of production, goods, and products)—that people used to define their culture in the Victorian era. An integral part of the cultural landscape of the nineteenth century, museums are exemplified in part by the immense popularity of collecting (objects and handicrafts), and the success of exhibitionary entertainment (spectacle, theater, and visual immersion) that framed the way in which Victorians viewed the world and themselves. As a museal space, the novels incorporate traditional museum methods of classification (preservation, acquisition, and the storage of objects), characteristics of domestic collecting and home handicraft, with aspects of visually immersive entertainments (spectacle and theater), in an interactive format that provided nineteenth-century patrons with a view of the world without leaving the safety of England.

The participatory format of Haggard's novels suggests a transition from a cultural perception of museums as a one-way form of communication, toward an understanding of museums as a process, in which meaning is a construct of shared interaction. As a result, Haggard's novels reside somewhere between traditional (stationary) museums in the nineteenth century and the introduction of interactive museums in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: DeVine, Christine
Commitee: DeVine, Christine, Geer, Jennifer, Hermann, Robin, Tullos, Mark, Jr.
School: University of Louisiana at Lafayette
Department: English
School Location: United States -- Louisiana
Source: DAI-A 79/01(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: British and Irish literature, Museum studies
Keywords: Adventure, Allan Quatermain, Haggard, H. Rider, King Solomon's Mines, Novels
Publication Number: 10268566
ISBN: 978-0-355-11436-2
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