Stella Fregelius H. Rider Haggard

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Kindle Edition

260 pages


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Stella Fregelius  by  H. Rider Haggard

Stella Fregelius by H. Rider Haggard
| Kindle Edition | PDF, EPUB, FB2, DjVu, talking book, mp3, RTF | 260 pages | ISBN: | 4.35 Mb

At the beginning of his 25th novel, Stella Fregelius (1903), H. Rider Haggard deemed it necessary to offer an apology to his public. In this brief foreword, the author warns prospective readers that Stella is not one of his typical tales, and one with few exciting incidents. Indeed, those expecting the typical Haggardian mix of lost races, African adventure, big-game hunting, massive battle scenes and historical sweep may be disappointed with this book.

However, I feel that Rider Haggard need not have bothered with an apology, as Stella Fregelius turns out to be one of his most beautifully written, deeply felt and truly romantic works.The story here concerns one Morris Monk, a British inventor who is trying, when we first meet him, to perfect a device that he calls an aerophone (it seems, from the description, to be a bulkier version of todays ubiquitous cell phone).

As his name implies, Monk is a scholarly man with little to no interest in women. Soon, however, he is coerced into marrying his wealthy first cousin (dont ask), Mary, as a means of saving his familys debt-ridden estate. Trouble is not long in coming, when Morris saves the life of the eponymous Stella from a shipwreck in the North Sea. As in Haggards earlier novel Mr. Meesons Will (1888) and the later Benita (1906), a shipwreck does play a pivotal role in this story. This shipwreck scene and its aftermath, by the way, constitute the only true action set pieces in the novel.

It doesnt take too long for the reader to realize that Morris and Stella are soul mates, which situation leads to all sorts of Edwardian mishegas, including [WARNING: SPOILER AHEAD!!!] Stellas death. And it is here that the novel reveals its true purpose, that of showing us that there are loves that survive beyond the grave, and that a spiritual connection is so much more important than the physical and temporal. Toss out your Harlequin paperbacks, ladies- this story is a TRUE romance!

The theme of eternal love was one that Haggard returned to repeatedly, from his very first novel Dawn (1884), through all four She novels, and elsewhere. He himself was involved with a soul mate who he just happened to NOT be married to, and thus one can understand why Stella meant so much to him.

This novel is somewhat reminiscent of his Jess (1887) and also his Beatrice (1890), in that it deals with a married man who finds his perfect match...elsewhere. All three tales end tragically, but in Stella Fregelius, at least Haggard holds out the hope of a happy ending in the form of a blissful afterlife.

The scenes in which the bereaved Morris attempts to communicate with his lost Stella are truly touching, and are written in some of Haggards most beautiful, lyrical prose. This is also one of the most symbolic and metaphor packed of all Haggards novels(at least, of the two dozen that Ive been fortunate enough to have read), and contains many passages that the reader may want to peruse over and over, or at least underline for future reference.Filled with warm and touching characters- featuring a few genuinely exciting scenes- and crammed with Haggards thoughts on life, love, religion and the afterlife, Stella Fregelius is a wonderful read.

And certainly nothing to apologize for! I hope that Haggard felt, when he reread this finished work, something akin to the sentiment that Stella describes in one scene: I have done something- it is good- it cannot be changed- it is a stone built forever in the pyramid of beauty, or knowledge, or advancement.



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