What sections of her longer book did Kingsley omit from the abridged version?
If you have read the National Geographic 2002 edition edited by Anthony Brandt, which portions do you note the editor has omitted, and what reasons does he give for his selection?
What are some features of the tone of Kingley’s introduction? Here, and throughout, what are some qualities of her self-presentation?
Who does she see as her Victorian audience, and how does she draw them into her narrative? (personal tone, jokes, advice [as in her suggestions for avoiding danger in Africa, 210], appeals for tolerance)
How would you characterize her sense of humor? Does it have a certain shock value? (understated, unexpected [158[, indirect, coy, bird's eye view)
How would you describe features of the book’s style? (coyness, personification, indirection, use of the unexpected , dramatic accounts of incidents) What kinds of allusions are used?
What is the effect of the frequent use of the grammatical second and third persons? Of dramatic recountal of incidents? Of her use of colloquial/native terms, as in "palaver"? (206)
What seems to have been her motive(s) for travelling to Africa? What seems to have been her views of the life of a Victorian gentlewoman?
How does she present herself as a woman? For example, how does she describe situations which might reasonably have been expected to evoke a fear of rape?
Does she seem to identify with the women she meets on her trip? Are there instances in which she seems to view herself as a “white man,” and if so, what might motivate this self-identification?
What types of scenery does Kingsley find beautiful? What feelings do lovely mountain views and flora inspire in her? Does she admire scenes which might not seem equally beautiful to others?
What does she claim is the effect which sublimity in scenery has on her? (96) Does this desire for dissolution of individuality resonate with other aspects of her persona and life?
What seem to be Kingsley's views on religion? What does she mean by “fetish”? (45) Why do you think she chooses this term, rather than “religion” or “world-view”? What are some aspects of the “fetish” which she collects? (133) What reasons does she give for her attraction to African spirituality? (214)
What are Kingsley’s views on evolution? (29) On religion? What types of observations does she make on scientific phenomena?
What comments does she make on her own clothing and that of the natives she encounters? (she preserves flounced skirts; men wear loin cloths)
In what ways does she confirm her authority as a knowledgeable traveler? (exact details an direct witness-responses; knowledge of earlier accounts, 59) What is her response to earlier explorers and travelers?
How does she describe native songs? (97-98) What seems the peculiar feature of African music? What are some features of African stories, and what example does she give? (237-38)
What purpose is served by her frequent allusions to Victorian sayings, authors, and cultural icons? (e. g., her comparison of herself to Sarah Bernhardt) What is the effect of her allusions to Victorian artists such as G. F. Watts (Titans) or "Mr. Morris"? (familiarizes)
Does the narrative have a "plot" or pattern? If so, what are some of its features? What carries the suspense of the narrative? (dramatic incidents and descriptions , moments of danger, unexpected drollery and asides [irony 162, coyness 166, humor 202])
To what extent is the threat of death important to her narrative? How does she use this for dark humor, self-representation, and the creation of suspense?
What attitude does she express toward African missionaries? (35) Traders?
What actions by foreign colonizers does she believe will be most beneficial for Africans?
How does she portray gender among the Africans? What is the tone of her descriptions of African women? African men? Do her reactions seem generally favorable? Condescending?
On what grounds does she defend polygamy? (203-204, black trader with multiple wives; in general her attitude toward sexual matters is neutral or coy, 204)
What are some features of African stories, and what example does she give? (237-38)
What views does she seem to hold toward evolution, and toward natural science in general? (29, ways of nature are arbitrary 161)
How do the final sections of the book differ from earlier ones? Are there ways in which her descriptions become more focused, respectful, and knowledgeable about native culture as the book progresses? (202-204)
In her view, how can a European maintain "power" in west Africa? (by self-respect, 214, not by threats) What is her view of the use of revolvers? Would this have been a relatively enlightened view at the time?
What in her background had prepared her for an interest in scientific exploration? What types of observations does she make on scientific phenomena?
Do we see her collecting specimens? (fish are presented in an appendix) Does she manifest interest in the origins of the items she encounters?
What is your view of her excursions into anthropology? Do these reflect some of the features of the anthropology of her time? (collection of facts seems to lack guiding principles of selection or interpretation)
What opinion does she express regarding African languages? (233, lumps them together) Can her views be based on extensive knowledge? What account does she give of “trader English” (233-34, comic example)
According to Kingsley, what are some different classifications of native “spirits,” and what purposes do their presence serve within their cultures? (242)
What view does she take toward cannibalism? (points out its purposes and limiting rules, jokes 204, cannibalism among Fans, 215) Would you describe her attitude as neutral? Against what typical Victorian reactions are her remarks directed?
Often Kingsley makes comparisons between Victorian social customs and those of the various African tribes. What conclusions does she draw? What, for example, is the intended effect of her comparison of an African quarrel, trial, and potential cannibalism with the practices of a Victorian bankruptcy court? (179)
What attitude does she express toward the men (called “boys) with whom she travels? According to her account, are they as courageous as she? (she is more courageous, expresses attachment to her Fan guides, mixed with amusement and exasperation)
Would you describe Kingsley as modest, or alternately, as self-promoting? To what extent does she admit to emotions of anger or fear? (if she has them!)
Are there aspects of her life and thoughts which are not shared with the reader? Which she herself may not care to understand? As the narrative progresses, are there more moments of self-revelation? (remarks on her favorite reading in narratives of dangerous travel, 213; final scene of rest, 365)
Are there aspects of this narrative which seem poignant? Unexpected for a travel narrative? Do these intensify as the book progresses?
What are features of the book’s final scene? (sublimity, exoticism, peace, 365) In general, what are Kingsley’s merits as a travel writer?