Forty More Years of Adventure
Phillip R. Burger
Dyed-in-the-wool Edgar Rice Burroughs fans still drag the name of poor Edwin Lester Arnold through the mud.
Richard Lupoff's theory of a possible Arnold-Burroughs connection still provokes discussion, if not downright antagonism, within the Burroughs fan community forty years after it was first proposed. Come to think of it, Lupoffs name gets dragged through the mud almost as often as Arnold's because of the sheer audacity of the idea. Burroughs inspired by an obscure Victorian scribbler? Unthinkable! That fans continue to argue over the merits of this theory only highlights the value of Richard Lupoffs book four decades after it first saw print. Either that or those dyed-in-the-wool Burroughs fans can really hold a grudge. Maybe it's a little of both.
I was offered the rather daunting task of filling in those four decades as an addendum to Mr. Lupoffs now-classic study. I first found this book in 1973 when I was thirteen years old, not too long after I had stumbled across Burroughs' works in recent paperback reprints. I'm happy to say that for any thirteen-year-old discovering Burroughs today, Lupoffs study still serves as a marvelous guide to all the wonderful (and the few not-sowonderful) outpourings of Burroughs' fertile mind. Lupoff claimed that he sought to trace “a middle ground between uncritical admiration and unfair condemnation of Burroughs,” a path I will try to follow too. If the “dedicated Burroughs idolator” does not agree with Lupoffs approach, then he or she won't agree with mine. But that's OK, as there is room in the Burroughs doghouse for us both.
Before continuing, I feel I must step up to the plate for the muchmaligned Edwin Lester Arnold. In his introduction to the old Ace Books reissue of Lieut. Gullivar Jones (inaccurately retitled Gulliver of Mars), Lupoff wondered “how a copy of Gullivar Jones found its way from England to America.… The book never had an American edition before now.” That