Plucky female writer makes life-threatening choice

See Africa and die?

Writers & Writing

Wonderful review of a book — Something of Themselves: Kipling, Kingsley, Conan Doyle and the Anglo-Boer War — about three literary figures in S. Africa during the Boer War. It’s in a fascinating new find, Air Mail.

The review has one of them, Mary Kingsley, picking a tropical continent — in which she could do anthropology — to meet her father’s bequest requirements.

Africa it was. Owing to “the high attrition rate amongst Europeans,” her liner sold only one-way tickets.

Go to Africa, my friend, and in those days (probably) never come back.

She did return, however, and wrote her book (expose, apparently), Travels in West Africa, published in 1895. In that year she returned, dying at 38 of typhoid fever while nursing Boer prisoners during that war.

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