ALLAN QUATERMAIN Biography - Fictional, Iconical & Mythological characters


Biography » fictional iconical mythological characters » allan quatermain


Allan Quatermain is a fictional character, the protagonist of H. Rider Haggard's                           
1885 novel King Solomon's Mines and its various sequels and prequels. Allan                                 
Quatermain was also the title of a book in this sequence.                                                   
Quatermain is an English-born professional big game hunter and occasional trader                           
in southern Africa. While not precisely anti-colonial in his outlook, he favours                           
native Africans having a say in how their affairs are run, a rather progressive                             
outlook for a Victorian. Quatermain is a quintessential outdoorsman who finds                               
English cities and climate unbearable, and thus prefers to spend most of his                               
life in Africa, where he grew up under the care of his widower father, a                                   
Christian missionary. In the earliest-written novels native Africans refer to                               
Quatermain as Macumazahn, meaning "Watcher-by-Night," a reference to his                                   
nocturnal habits and keen instincts. In later-written novels Macumazahn is said                             
to be a short form of Macumazana, meaning "One who stands out." Quatermain is                               
frequently accompanied by his native servant, the Hottentot Hans, a wise and                               
caring family retainer from his youth whose sarcastic comments offer a sharp                               
critique of European conventions. In his final adventures Quatermain is joined                             
by two British companions, Sir Henry Curtis and Captain John Good of the Royal                             
Navy, and by his African friend Umslopogaas.                                                               
Although some of Haggard's Quatermain novels stand alone, there are two                                     
important series. In Marie, Child of Storm and Finished Quatermain becomes                                 
ensnarled in the vengeance of Zikali, the dwarf wizard known as "The-thing-that-should-never-have-been-born"
and "Opener-of-Roads." Zikali plots and finally achieves the overthrow of the                               
Zulu royal House of Senzangakona, founded by Shaka and ending under Cetewayo (Haggard's                     
questionable spelling of Zulu names is used here). These novels are prequels to                             
the foundation series, King Solomon's Mines and Allan Quatermain, which describe                           
Quatermain's discovery of vast wealth, his discontent with a life of ease, and                             
his fatal return to Africa following the death of his son Harry.                                           
About Quatermain's family, little is written. He lives at Durban, in Natal,                                 
South Africa. He marries twice, but is quickly widowed both times. The printing                             
of some of the memoirs in the series is entrusted to Quatermain's son, Harry,                               
whose own death is heavily mourned in the opening of the novel Allan Quatermain.                           
Harry Quatermain is a medical student who dies of smallpox while working in a                               
hospital. Haggard did not write the Quatermain novels in chronological order and                           
some details conflict. Quatermain's birth, age at the time of his marriages, and                           
age at the time of his death cannot be reconciled to the apparent date of Harry's                           
birth and age at death.