Master of Adventure: The Worlds of Edgar Rice Burroughs

By Richard A. Lupoff | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XVI
Tarzan's Greatest Adventures

By 1917 Tarzan was a huge success in magazine, newspaper, and book versions, and was well on his way to celluloid immortality, the first Tarzan film being released the following January. Burroughs was now doing extremely well as a writer, selling virtually every word he produced, whether jungle tale, interplanetary or inner-world science fiction, or one of his occasional attempts at other forms of fiction.

When the Jungle Tales were completed he turned away from writing about Tarzan for a time, and after producing two minor works (The Oakdale Affair and one of his rare unsold shorter works, The Little Door) he devoted seven months to the three segments of The Land that Time Forgot. Perhaps it was the success of the film Tarzan of the Apes with Gordon Griffith as the boy Tarzan, Elmo Lincoln as the grown Tarzan, and Enid Markey as Jane Porter, that rekindled Burroughs' interest in the Ape Man. Or perhaps it was the incessant demands of Burroughs' publishers—and his readers—for more Tarzan adventures.

But in August, 1918, Burroughs started a renewed series of Tarzan stories which attained heights of adventure, realism of motivation and atmosphere, and fantastic bounds of the creative imagination not seen in the earlier books of the series (nor, sad to say, in the later ones).

The first of these adventures was not completed until December, 1920, a total elapsed time of over twenty-eight months from its inception. It is published as two books, Tarzan the Untamed and Tarzan the Terrible, but its original appearance was somewhat protracted and more than a little complicated.

Nor did Burroughs work on this adventure continuously from August, 1918, to December, 1920. Between what eventually became the two volumes there was a period of eleven months during which Burroughs wrote The Efficiency Expert and worked on a fragment called The Ghostly Script, that

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