Master of Adventure: The Worlds of Edgar Rice Burroughs

By Richard A. Lupoff | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XVII
Last Tales of Tarzan

After the return of the Ape Man from Pellucidar at the end of Tarzan at the Earth's Core, the series began to run downhill very badly. Somehow Burroughs' store of inventions for the Ape Man seemed to have become exhausted and we are told by his son Hulbert that ERB did, indeed, grow tired of grinding out the vast volumes of Tarzan adventures that he had been producing for almost twenty years.

To this point I have largely avoided the psychological approach to criticism, except in the very general sense that Burroughs' fondness for superior men doing great deeds in exotic settings was a natural and obvious reaction to the general failures and frustrations of his own life prior to 1912. In the overall view, however, I have dealt with Burroughs' characters, settings and events as simple fictional characters, settings and events. I believe that this is the most valid view of them, and it was certainly Burroughs' own view of them.

Still, one might well speculate that the idea of carrying Tarzan back into the bowels of the Earth was symbolic of the author's wishes for his famous brainchild, and the fact that Burroughs had Tarzan become lost in Pellucidar may also be considered an expression of his inner wishes as well as a plot device.

But when Tarzan re-emerged from the inner world, his next adventure was recorded in a story written as Tarzan and the Man-Things, serialized as Tarzan, Guard of the Jungle, and published in book form under the previously discarded title Tarzan the Invincible. Again, the title itself may be regarded as symbolic of Burroughs' own feelings toward his most famous creation. The publisher for this new book, in 1931, was Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc., and the new address was Tarzana, California, the location of the Tarzana ranch. Tarzana now had its own post office, serving a portion of the town of Reseda. Tarzan the Invincible was the first book published by the author's corporation,

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