Master of Adventure: The Worlds of Edgar Rice Burroughs

By Richard A. Lupoff | Go to book overview
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The Backs of Old Letterheads

To this point I have minimized discussion of Edgar Rice Burroughs' most famous and successful creation, Tarzan. I have mentioned a few occasions of his writing Tarzan stories between other works in order to establish continuity, and substantial space was devoted to Tarzan at the Earth's Core because of that book's being part of the Pellucidar series.

However, Tarzan certainly deserves extensive consideration, and the next several chapters will be devoted to the Tarzan books.

First of all, it may be well to dispel a few false impressions. In 1917 the first Tarzan motion picture was produced, and from its release the following January an unending stream of Tarzan features in various adapted media have “educated” hundreds of millions of children and adults the world around to certain “facts” regarding the Ape Man, many of which are simply not in keeping with the character as created by Burroughs.

A few examples:

Tarzan is an American who lives in a crude tree-house in an African
jungle. His jungle-law mate, Jane Parker, is the daughter of an English
trader. Their adoptive son Boy was so named in preference to Tarzan's
suggestion of Elephant. Boy was found by Tarzan and Jane in the
wreckage of an airplane.

Conversation in the Tarzan ménage is severely limited by the Ape
Man's miniscule vocabulary and proportionately small intellect.

and so on, and on, and on. But a reading of even the first few of the
many Tarzan novels offers this information regarding the matters discussed

Tarzan is an Englishman, one of the wealthier members of the House
of Lords. His African home is a large and prosperous plantation.


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Master of Adventure: The Worlds of Edgar Rice Burroughs


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