Late Victorian quest romance has recently attracted renewed attention from critics. Much of this interest has centred on its politics of gender, and its vision of Empire. This book prefers to view the genre in the light of debates within the then nascent sciences of Anthropology and Archaeology. Starting with a discussion of the nature of romance, it goes on to interpret the encounters with lost or buried pasts. By describing encounters with remote places and times, so it argues, these authors were asking their readers disconcerting questions about humankind, and about their own culture’s institutions and beliefs. The book ends by considering the implications of such a view for the whole colonial enterprise.