The Story of an African Farm (1883) marks an early appearance in fiction of Victorian society's emerging New Woman. The vel follows the spiritual quests of Lyndall and Waldo, who each struggle against social constraints in their search for happiness and truth: Lyndall, against society's expectations of women, and Waldo against stifling class conventions. Written from the margins of the British empire, the vel addresses the conflicts of race, class, and gender that shaped the lives of European settlers in Southern Africa before the Boer Wars. This Broadview edition includes appendices that link the vel to histories of empire and colonialism, the emergence of the New Woman, and the conflicts between science and religion in the Victorian period. Contemporary reviews are also included.
Patricia O'Neill is a Professor of English at Hamilton College, Clinton, NY.