1st Edition

Mary Kingsley A Victorian in the Jungle

By Olwen Campbell Copyright 1957
    200 Pages
    by Routledge

    The name of Mary Kingsley deserves to be more widely known than it is today. A woman of rare abilities and boundless courage, living in an age when the narrowest Victorian conventions about the duties of daughters in the home still prevailed, she nevertheless achieved fame and distinction as a traveller in the wildest regions of West Africa, a writer, an ethnologist, and an expert on Colonial Government.

    As a young woman, Mary Kingsley had no life beyond the strict confines of her home; not until 1892, when she was thirty, did freedom come to her. Instantly this astonishing young woman began the work, which was to lead her to remote, unexplored regions of ‘the Coast’. Along unmapped rivers, to a study of cannibals, and in England, to a political struggle to which she wholeheartedly gave herself for the welfare of the peoples of West Africa, until her death in 1900.

    In vivid, discursive travel books, Mary Kingsley described her experiences with immense detachment and humour. These lengthy works have long been out of print, but in Mary Kingsley: A Victorian in the Jungle (first published in 1957) Olwen Campbell, by presenting selected extracts, preserves in a concise form the record of these strange adventures. But the adventures themselves are only a part of a remarkable life story. The effects on Mary Kingsley’s character of her oppressive home life are fully brought out for the first time, and some explanation is suggested of a most enigmatic personality. Fresh light is also thrown on her political work, and her character, by a number of extracts from a series of remarkable letters, never before published.

    Part I: Heredity and Environment 1. Early Years Part II: Eight Years of Achievement 2. The First Journey 3. The Second Journey: The Rivers 4. The Second Journey: ‘Going for Bush’ 5. Some Animals and a Mountain 6. The ‘Mind Forest’ 7. The Forest of Politics 8. Books and Friends 9. The Last Job


    Olwen Campbell was a poet, critic, and biographer.