Robert Michael Ballantyne: The Gorilla Hunters

(814 words)

R. M. Ballantyne’s 1861 novel The Gorilla Hunters is the sequel to the more famous The Coral Island and was written as part of the controversy that exploded in London in that year concerning the French-American naturalist Paul du Chaillu’s claim to be the first white man to shoot a gorilla. Ballantyne draws heavily on du Chaillu’s Explorations and Adventures in Equatorial Africa to produce a sensational account of the “satanic” gorilla that blends gruesome depictions of wounded and dying animals with the prim moralising characteristic of his work. The novel was a considerable popular success and contributed significantly to Ballantyne’s growing reputation as among the favourite …

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Miller, John . "The Gorilla Hunters". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 10 May 2007
[, accessed 29 November 2015.]