June 21, 2007
Springtime For Edgar Rice Burroughs
In The Beginning:
The Renascent Burroughs
The psychological release Burroughs experienced when he began to realize the potential he had always felt must have been especially gratifying. In all likelihood he believed he was beginning a new life, born again, as it were. It wouldn’t have been unusual in this circumstance that he wished to dissociate himself from his entire past of failure.
For this reason it is possible that California loomed as the destination in which his new life would unfold. Making the change was difficult and would take him six years to consummate. One asks, why California? Why not Florida, for instance. I think the answer may be in his three most favorite novels: Mark Twain’s Prince And The Pauper, Little Lord Fauntleroy and Owen Wister’s The Virginian. Wister posits the West as a place of redemption and fulfillment while Burroughs youthful visit to Idaho may have had that effect on him. Hence Waldo the consumptive lands on an island as primitive as Idaho was to Chicago and becomes a man. So Burroughs may have viewed his visits in the West.
In the Prince And The Pauper a Prince becomes a Pauper and a Pauper becomes a Prince. In Fauntleroy the unknown princeling discovered his true identity thus exchanging the role of Pauper for a Prince while his alter ego the pauper Dick The Shoeshine Boy is transformed as well and through luck and pluck assumes a role of success in California as a rancher at the end of the story.
The Burroughs born a princeling then disinherited to a Pauper reassumed his role as a Prince but he had been inefaceably declassed hence though now a Prince as Fauntleroy he retains the psychology of the declasse as in the character of Dick The Shoeshine Boy. Dick at the end of Fautleroy moves to California where he finds work on a rach eventually becoming a success as a rancher himself.
It seem obvious that burroughs considered Little Lord Fauntleroy a book of destiny. Thus California would appear as his destiny. I believe that the reason for the six year delay in the actual move was necessitated by a need to combine the Fauntleroy and Dick the Shoe Shine Boy or The Prince and the Pauper into one identity. He had to have enough money to support the appearance of the Prince. I haven’t figured out why he wanted to raise hogs as yet but when he moved he anticipated only buying 20-40 acres which was well within his means, but when he arrived there Colonel Otis’ magnificent estate presented an opportunity to realize both identities in a property he couldn’t resist although he may have known he was acting in an unwise manner.
Even then it may have been possible to sustain the property if his economic situation hadn’t come under attack by the Judaeo/Red/Liberal Coalition in the early twenties.
A second very major p;roblem for him was Emma who now definitely became unwanted baggage. But, he also had the three children who were also as definitely wanted baggage. It is possible that for their sake he didn’t abandon Emma until they were grown.
His Anima ideal was foreshadowed in Dejah Thoris while in Tarzan Of The Apes he creates the stodgy but beautiful Jane Porter as a flesh and blood woman but not an Anima ideal.
The actual split begins to occur in The Return Of Tarzan when Burroughs bursting with confidence realizes that he is about to realize his visions of self-worth. At that point the past and all related to it becomes hateful to him. As might be expected he wanted to put all that behind him. Thus in creating a land of his fossilized past in Opar he also creates a vision of the ideal woman he would like to have in La of Opar. In Return the conflict between Jane and La becomes apparent when La is about to sacrifice Jane on the altar of the Flaming God. That she doesn’t means that Burroughs has elected to stay with Emma undoubtedly for the children’s sake.
But he begins to toy with ideal images in resolution of his sexual dilemma. Another woman becomes a possiblity that didn’t exist before. It would seem apparent that as Burroughs fame grew and he became a desirable sex object to women that opportunities for philandering would present themselves. At one time I believed for certain that he didn’t. Now I am less certain but there is nothing to indicate he did.
Nevertheless he does begin to explore other ideal possibilities. Nadara of Cave Girl can be seen as one of those explorations. Having created other possibilities in La of Opar Burroughs begins to develop the idea with the cave girl, Nadara. She is perhaps the most human of all of Burroughs’ Anima ideals. She is the daughter of civilized French aristocrats raised by a caveman to be a primitive woman. Thus she has none of the civilized inhibitions especially toward sex. Burroughs will now begin a series of novels concerning the sexual relationship well in advance of what he may have heard about Freud.
Once Nadara has accepted Waldo as her mate she is ready to cohabit. Burroughs seems to be advocating this as a sociological ideal; a revolt against the strict limits of civilization. However in a clash of cultures Waldo who is subject to the strict limits of civilization finds it impossible to establish sexual relations unless they have married according to civilized rites and customs. As there is no one in this stone age society to perform these rites Waldo keeps putting consummation off until such an opportunity arises, if it ever shall.
Bearing the psycho-sexual situation in mind an interpretation of The Cave Girl is possible on a number of levels. The story is set in motion with a variation of what will become the familiar ship wreck motif. In this case the Prince, Waldo, is washed off the deck of the ship by a huge wave that deposits him on the strand of a large stone age island in the South Seas. Thus Waldo has to begin life without any survival skills, born again as it were as a new born babe. He has become the Pauper.
At this point it might be best to introduce the major sources for the story that I have found. As usual there are several.
And then I received an email a day or so before this writing from Mr. Caz Cazedessus of Pulpdom Magazine. Having read the first couple sections he pointed out that Mr. J.G. Huckenpohler had written an article in the first Pulpdom issue relating Cave Girl to Zane Grey’s Heritage Of The Desert. I haven’t read Huck’s essay but I have read The Heritage Of The Desert which I have just reviewed. I can see a possible line of argument that shows a number of similarities in the plotting of the two novels.
Heritage was published at some point in 1910 while Cave Girl was written in February-March of 1913. That does leave a sufficient window for Burroughs to have read Grey’s book but it seems a little light especially as Grey was a newish author at the time without a definite reputation. However whether or not he may have read the book earlier it is possible that he read the book shortly before writing Cave Girl having elements of his plot suggested to him.
Thus both Waldo and John Hale, the hero of Heritage, are consumptives or ‘lungers’ as they say Out West. Waldo is from Boston, Hare from Connecticut. Hare goes West to Mormon Country to begin his regeneration while Waldo lands on his island. In both cases a woman is involved and two enemies are overcome by their respective heroes. So, as I say, I don’t know Huck’s argument but I’m sure it’s a good one. There are good reasons to believe that the plot line was an influence, an additional influence, on Cave Girl. Thus Heritage would be another influence on Cave Girl. OK, Caz?
As Burroughs was beginning life over there is also a definite influence from the first eleven chapters of Genesis from the Bible which I will make apparent in my essay.
Another very major influence seems to be the King Arthur mythology. I will make this apparent as I go along. While there is no doubt that Burroughs would have been familiar with Genesis it might do to try the root out his possible Arthurian influences.
While we have at least a portion of Burroughs’ library listed here on ERBzine we should never gorget that while growing up ERB would have had access to the libraries of his brothers as well as that of his father. George T.’s library would have gone back to the 1840s and probably earlier not including the then English classics such as Milton’s Paradise Lost, Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress et al.
One imagines that there were Arthurian titles in the collections, at least Mallory’s Arthur. If the young Burroughs didn’t read the volumes through he would at least have handled them, browsed them and looked at the pictures, if any. We know his brothers recommended the related Greek mythology to him.
Certainly the medieval world was more often discussed in papers and magazines then than in our day. And then Burroughs did like Tennyson having his collected poems in his library. Thus ERB was likely familiar with the poet’s Idyls Of The King dealing with Arthurian stories. And those not following Mallory. Perhaps the most important Arthurian influence was Howard Pyle’s four volume retelling that while similar to Mallory’s differs significantly while Pyle adjusts the story to his own perceptions and moral concepts.
The reputation of Pyle would have loomed large to ERB. There is one Pyle title in his library, Stolen Treasure, but Pyle’s reputation as an illustrator would have drawn ERB’s attention to him. Pyle was the most influential illustrator of his time and perhaps in US history. His disciples were legion including Burroughs’ own illustrator, St. John. Pyle founded what is known as the Brandywine school of illustration.
It should be borne in mind that Burroughs had an aborted career as an illustrator before he began his successful career as writer. Burroughs was very proud of the time he spent at the Chicago Art Institute. So it would seem that ERB would have kept up on Pyle, Maxfield Parrish and others.
Pyle began rewriting the Arthurian story in 1903 completing the last volume in 1910 so Burroughs had plenty of time to ingest and digest the work before he began to egest it. Nor would Pyle and Tennyson be his only Arthurian influences.
I didn’t catch this in time to include the idea in my review of The Lad And The Lion but that story seems to be highly influenced by Pyle’s telling of the story of Percival from Pyle’s second volume, The Champions Of The Round Table. Naturally Burroughs borrows elements rather than the complete story.
Percival, I follow Pyle, was an orphan living in the forest with his mother far from the haunts of men. P. 263, prologue to Percival.
Nor did he ever see anyone from the outside world, saving only an old man who was a deaf mute.
So Burroughs took the hint of the deaf mute and elaborated the idea.
The Lad’s entry into the world follows that of Percival. So also the Lad’s first sight of the desert horsemen replicates Percival’s first view of the ‘angelic’ knights.
As I did mention in my review there is a similarity between lad’s being named Aziz, translated as Beloved, by Nakhla and Percival’s thinking his name was ‘Darling Boy’ as his mother referred to him. If this last connection is valid then Burroughs also read some other Arthurian story as Pyle doesn’t tell his version in that way.
So, as usual, Burroughs mines the literature of the world to tell his story. Just as I was not aware of the influence of Grey’s Heritage Of The Desert I’m sure there are more I haven’t noticed. I may even find more as my essay unfolds.
Across the strand at no great distance is a forest representing the search for self-discovery and realization. On the mragin of the forest at dusk a figure appears. As we will learn this is the beautiful Nadara but Waldo in his hyper-fear and cowardice imagines the form to be some kind of monster of which he is terrified. The monster stands between him and the food and water he needs. In a metaphoric way then he is between the devil and the deep blue sea. He cannot go back and he is afraid to go forward.
In Burroughs own situation as he is making the fateful decision to quit his day job to devote his life to full time writing the meaning of the metaphor is quite clear.
There is also a way of looking at the tale as retelling of the Biblical Genesis. This opening scene may be represented as the Biblical chaos in which nothing is differentiated with the upper and lower firmaments resting on each other. Then a divine wind arose which separated the upper and lower firmaments.
Waldo is a comic figure while the novel itself is intended to be a comic or satiric novel. Thus Waldo who can stand the tension between the devil and the deep blue sea no more runs howling and screaming into the forest to do or die against the monster.
The shrieking may be seen as a humorous representation of the divine wind. Man having been created first as it seems pursues the phantom who turns out to be a woman. Thus Waldo and Nadara represent Adam and Eve.
Waldo’s charge into the wood can also be seen as a representation of Burroughs’ decision to become a full time writer. This must have been as stressful a decision for him as was Waldo’s charge against the demon. Once through the wood Waldo is presented with a sheer cliff that appears to be inpenetrable. So, another barrier presents itself.
Having traversed the forest that was after all fairly narrow Waldo had seen a woman scrambling up the barrier. Rather than pursue her directly Waldo reenters the wood to pick fruit and refresh himself.
This can be seen as Burroughs’ desperate attempt to become a writer. Another view of the strand and the demon of the forest- between the devil and the deep blue sea- is that Burroughs had to make the desperate attempt to redeem his life by writing. Thus that original difficult decision that might possibly be compared to Waldo’s being washed off deck by the wave while now Burroughs is faced with the even more difficult decision of working at it full time. Thus the charge through the woods might represent his giving up his day job.
It would be interesting to know at what point in the story’s composition his father died. What is even more interesting is that his father’s death did not interrupt his writing schedule. In fact in a year packed with traumatic occurrences nothing did; Burroughs continued to turn out his stories at two month intervals no matter what. It is true that he had several incomplete stories in this year which means he hadn’t thought the stories through so that it is possible that while he averted severe writer’s block when he reached the end of his chain of thought he just stopped, resuming the story when he had thought it out.
A prime example would be The Girl From Farris’s that he began about this time finishing it nearly a year later. The Cave Girl was completed at this point while The Cave Man its other half and sequel was completed the following July and August of 1914. It is possible Burroughs was trying to double his monetary return but I think it more probable that he was writing so fast with such a tight schedule that he didn’t have time to worry over completion so he just terminated his story at a convenient point and moved on to the next one that was also only half thought out.
As all this stuff is based on autobiography I am truly astonished that Burroughs was so undisturbed by the happenings in his life that he had so little reaction. I have read of authors who found writing personal stuff so difficult that they were driven to bed for a week or two at a stretch. I have never faced a long stretch like that but I have sought refuge in bed for a day or two a couple times. So Burroughs writing achievement here over 1913, ’14 and ’15 is fairly remarkable.
At any rate having made the decision to become a full time writer as symbolized by the charge through the wood. Burroughs if faced with an unforeseen barrier so he goes back to pick fruit. This could possibly be seen as having written his intial ideas out, that is John Carter and Tarzan, he had to organize his second crop of stories none of which had the impact of Carter or the Jungle God. Grey’s Heritage may fit in here as Burroughs searching for ideas and plot lines may have the read Grey’s stories at this time or just previously.
Led on by the woman Waldo had mistaken for a demon he now faces the new barrier seeking a way through. He has difficulty finding the path but once on it he discovers the opening through the wall. This is a motif Burroughs will use a number of times most notably in The Land That Time Forgot and Tarzan Triumphant, not to mention the entrance to Opar.
Now, all these openings resemble the birth canal or being born again. In the instance of The Cave Girl the result of the rebirth is self-evident as well as perhaps Tarzan Triumphant when he is about to leave Emma for Florence. The Oparian episodes would have to be examined more closely from that point of view especially as the four episodes occur at critical points in Burroughs’ life while involving sexual conflict between himself and Jane/Emma and another woman represented by his Anima ideal La. Thus, in Golden Lion when Tarzan leaves Opar with La to enter the Valley of Diamonds is it possible that he had a dalliance with another woman? One wonders.
At any rate Waldo squeezed through the opening to come out on a wonderland on the other side. There is never a thought of going back. In fact a cave man places himself between Waldo and the opening driving him forward. This could correspond to the flaming sword protecting the entrance to the Garden of Eden which would continue the biblical motif.
At the same time we have a clear reference to Alice In Wonderland or down the rabbit hole. We know Burroughs was familiar with the two Lewis Carroll stories.
Yet another barrier presents itself. Another cliff is before Waldo this one of cave dwellers another favorite motif of Burroughs especially during this period. Burroughs would have been familiar with actual cliff houses from his sojourn in Arizona with the Army while he would have been fascinated with the replica built for the Columbian Expo of ’93. At this point God created Woman as Waldo pairs up with nadara. Thus Waldo’s fears on the strand when he projected the character of a demon on this beautiful and compliant female were totally unjustified. But if Nadara represents the success that had eluded him for so long then his fears born of hysteria were warranted by his past. This is a comic novel at least at the beginning when Waldo begins his transition from the skinny, consumptive academic bookworm to that of a man of Tarzanic proportions. Thus at this stage of the book Waldo is a bumbling buffoon.
Burroughs is obviously ridiculing the Boston Transcendalist school of Ralph Waldo Emerson as Waldo’s name merely leaves off the Ralph and adds the ridiculous hyphenated Smith-Jones. The latter of course has pretensions to nobility but is compounded of the two most plebeian and common English names. Waldo’s name is as comic as Burroughs could make it. Worth a laugh or two on its own.
He may also be making a snub at his fellow students of Phillips Academy when he went East. It is well known that Easterners of the time, if not still, deprecated Westerners. Burroughs would have had to put up with much jesting and ridicule while there so perhaps he is now ridiculing those who ridiculed him.
Also he may be ridiculing his own former self.
Burroughs is fairly hostile to New England throughout his writing. He is positive on the South having more than one hero from Virginia while he is considerate of the middle states. Thus Waldo beginning as an effete New Englander will turn into something resembling John Carter/Tarzan or the Virginian of Owen Wister’s strange novel. Thus if one views Waldo in light of Burroughs three most favorite novels, The Prince And The Pauper, Little Lord Fauntleroy and The Virginian the basic tenor of all the stories is made apparent.
Waldo being pursued toward the cliff dwellings by the cave men with his legs pumping up to his chin and the stick twirling in his hand resembles a scene from a newspaper comic strip. It would seem that Burroughs was an ardent reader of the newspaper Funnies. David Innes Earth Borer was undoubtedly taken from a newspaper comic strip also. This incessant modeling or borrowing may explain a bit of the contempt for his work by contemporaries. ERB comes real close from time to time.
Having paired up with Nadara she and Waldo hold off the cave men slipping away in the night to Chapter 3, The Little Eden, which is a key chapter.
It’s A Lover’s Question
This chapter is so compacted I find it difficult to find a starting point. If Burroughs’ marriage with Emma had not run smoothly from 1900 to 1913 their relationship would become even more stressed from 1913 to 1920. The marriage apparently barely survived a major crisis c. 1918-20 finally being terminated in 1934.
The relationship of ERB and Emma is very difficult to comprehend. It seems clear that ERB had no intention of actually marrying her but wished to keep her on a string. This arrangement was doing well until Frank Martin entered the scene in 1897 or ’98. Martin forced Burroughs’ hand who was then compelled to marry Emma in 1900.
Over the years from 1900 on Burroughs developed an intense antipathy to Emma which expressed itself in its most naked form at the time of her death when ERB did everything but desecrate her grave. There must have been some deep psychological cause for this that isn’t apparent from what we know for sure of the relationship.
Perhaps the most critical event in their lives occurred on that streetcorner on the way to Brown School in the fifth grade when ERB was emasculated by John the Bully. Burroughs was then removed to the girl’s school a few months later. I have no evidence that ERB and Emma were walking to school together on that the fateful day but subsequent literary evidence points in that direction.
As a result of his emasculation it would appear that ERB was fixated in such a manner that he was unable to form relationships with women after that date and that Emma was the only female with whom he retained one. But as she reminded him of that fateful day he both rejected her and couldn’t do without her. Thus he refused to marry her yet didn’t want her to marry anyone else. When circumstances forced him to marry her this may have begun his irrational resentment toward her. As there was no other woman possible for him until the beginning of his psychological liberation in 1913 he may have tolerated her, but just.
Success seemed to liberate repressed areas of his personality and we find him dreaming of an ideal mate quite different from Jane/Emma. If one assumes that John Carter is an idealized Edgar Rice Burroughs although Burroughs projects the role of uncle on him while maintaining a dissociation from him until the end then Carter’s affiliation with Dejah Thoris on Mars would be ERB’s first Anima projection. However Dejah Thoris is more closely related to Jane. In La of Opar and Nadara Burroughs’ Anima ideal shifts more toward a wild or nature woman. This aspect of the ideal is realized in Balza, The Golden Girl of 1933 who is also represented by Florence.
So, in Cave Girl an emaciated, consumptive, over intellectualized Waldo Emerson Smith-Jones mates with the primitive Nadara who still retains the imprint of her civilized parents down by the river in the Little Eden. Thus we have Adam and Eve in the Garden before they leave never to return.
The problem of male-female relations is a dominant theme in Burroughs’ writing. Indeed the theme is one that preoccupies all writers of fiction in one degree or another. In this aspect Freud is merely a prominent writer on the sexual condition of men and women. He is perhaps more systematic but not necessarily more profound.
For instance Freud asked in a title to one of his essays What Does Woman Want and gives neither a profound nor very thoughtful answer. If he had read E.M. Hull’s 1921 novel, The Sheik, he would have have had somthing of an answer written by a woman. Burroughs did read the Sheik. He understood what Hull was saying. His answer was the major burlesque of the Alalus people of the Tarzan And The Ant Men of 1922. In this charming story of the The Cave Girl he give his 1913 answer to the question of what woman wants in a credible manner.
The answer in this case is age old. The answer was clear from ancient times to E.M. Hull’s clear story. Mostly it would appear what woman wants is a powerful protector willing to perform her will when a problem exceeds her own powers thus recompensing her for the missing X and more especially the missing y chromosome. The latter what Freud called Penis Envy. One can only conclude that woman wants to be whole, to be chomosomally undivided. Thus as a famed LA procuress once said: A woman is only as powerful as the man beside her.
Now, Nadara projects a character on Waldo as her fierce and powerful protector. As love begins in Waldo’s heart the spectre of sex arises in their little Eden in the form of the Black Panther Nagoola. Is it a coincidence that the first syllable of both names is the smae while both end in a long A? Nadara the sexual temptress.
Prompting Waldo she demands whether he could kill Nagoola. That may have a couple meanings. It may mean could he despatch the animal and it may mean can he conquer or control the sexual urge. In Waldo’s case the anwer will be yes to both questions.
He does kill Nagoola in a comedy of errors in this comic novel. In its sequel The Cave Man he will adorn Nadara with the pelt of Nagoola thus making her the physical incarnation of sexual desire. Who says Burroughs wasn’t subtle.
Too desirous of impressing Nadara as a man of prowess he allows her to think he has already killed several Nagoolas.
Very pleased to hear this she says: ‘Good. When we get to my village I want you to kill Korth and Flatfoot.’ Well now, there was a committment that Waldo had no intention of honoring, at least in his present condition.
Thus, we have a demonstration of the thesis that women are responsible for conflict. Woman proposes, man imposes.
As they can’t stay in their little Eden forever they make the trek to Nadara’s people. Waldo is committed to killing the fearsome Korth and Flatfoot. He is terrified to confront them as well he might be. As they approach the village Waldo sends Nadara ahead then legs it out of there.
Thus we have the flight or fight dilemma that is another major theme of Burroughs. At this point in his career he isn’t ready to articulate his feelings as he will later. The dilemma relates to his confrontation with John the Bully in the fifth grade. At that time as Waldo in this story Burroughs elected to run. Now, you will notice that Waldo is with Nadara which is a pretty sure indication that ERB was with Emma that fateful morning on the way to school.
In point of fact either Korth or Flatfoot would easily have killed Waldo at this stage in his career as John would have cremated the much younger Burroughs. When he would later rationalize it there is no dishonor if fleeing overwhelming force which is surely true but has its consequences.
Thus Waldo like Burroughs was sent into the Wasteland. His problem now will be to figure out how to return to kill Korth and Flatfoot to reclaim Nadara.
How Waldo Became A Man
June 7, 2007
Prindle Of The Apes
This is a snapshot of the world as it appeared to one man c. 1960. This was all before the technological advances of the late 70s wiped the old world off the map.
If the reader was born after 1955 it may seem that I am describing a foreign country which in many ways I am.
But, as the wise man said, an unexamined life is not worth living. I hope you like my little memoir such as it is.
Prindle Of The Apes
…he dreams of the sight
of Zulu impis
breaking on their foes
like surf upon the rocks
and his heart rises in rebellion
against the strict limits
of the civilized life.
H. Rider Haggard
from Allan Quatermain
It was the Big Bwana.
Tarzan And The Ant Men
The layers of Prindle’s education as he began his adult life were many. As with no other earlier generation his nervous system had to be organized to differentiate many different forms of experience. Primal of course was the living of his own life: what may be called objective reality. Mixing with his real live memories into a subjective reality in a manner in which they had to be compartmentalized were many forms of pseudo-experience. There was radio which in Prindle’s early life in the forties and fifties was composed of real life news and current events, fictional radio dramas by night, soap operas by day and the fantasy world of pop music. After the advent of Top 40 music radio his listening world converted to the psycho-sexual wailings of the psychologically wounded who made pop music.
The fiction of movies, animated films and the real life portrayals of the news reels entered his mind where they had to be stored and differentiated from his real life experiences as well as categorized as truth or fiction or a combination of the two.
Television added another several dimensions of experience to his young mind. For the first time he could watch actual events as they happened in far off locations like New York or Washington and after the introduction of the coaxial cable about 1950 he could watch or listen to real time events on the West Coast a full three times zones away. What was happening in daylight on the West Coast was relayed to the nighttime Eastern Standard Time.
Thus he could watch an LA Rams game live or view the Kefauver organized crime investigations and the demise of the demigod, Joe McCarthy in the Army hearings.
He watched the Bill Paley/Edward R. Murrow character assassination of McCarthy from which Big Joe had no defense or recourse.
And then there was the printed word. Newspapers and magazines poured out an endless stream of matter of which so much seemed of such timeless quality that he swore he would never forget it. He read the daily poem of Edgar A. Guest which entranced him by the seeming facility of composition while he was disgusted by the maudlin content. Yet day after day, month after month, year after year a new poem of creditable quality appeared.
There were the comic strips of the papers and the comic books of super heroes that stood in large stacks until his mother threw them away. What did any mother ever know? He didn’t understand why but then how much ephemera can one boy, let alone a family, accumulate.
And then there was that great body of literature called Juvenilia. Some was truly drivel like the beloved Hardy Boys written as mere enterainment for immature minds. Yet much of it was great literature which had been degraded over the decades to be considered suitable for juveniles. Not least of these were Dumas’ Three Musketeers and Scott’s Ivanhoe both among the greatest creations of literature. Not that Prindle understood these complex works except on the action level but he was to return to them more than once in the succeeding years.
He read the pulps regularly, magazines printed on the cheapest pulp paper. He read them all: Westerns, Science Fiction (lots and lots of Science Fiction), Detective and True Romance as well as Argosy and True Magazines. His mind was well stocked with the incredible and fantastic yet he never confused fiction with reality. His intellectual life was a feast. The wonder of it all.
The greatest of all his early reading was the stuff that was the staple of B movies. L. Frank Baum, Conan Doyle’s great detective hero Sherlock Holmes who actually exists in most people’s minds on the cusp between fiction and reality. And of course, the one, the only, the most incredible hero of all times: Tarzan Of The Apes.
Around the figure of Tarzan formed the immense and important psychological complex of the Dark Continent. The very heart of darkness, the Africa of both fact and fiction.
He imbibed the mystery of Africa that was no longer believable after the watershed year of 1960 when what was over ended and what would be began. A whole aspect of the education of Prindle became obsolete and slid to the ground like one of the towers of the World Trade Center. There was no better obituary for the European past in Africa than Alan Moorehead’s fine recapitulation issued in that year under the title of ‘The White Nile.’
One associates the history of White rule in Africa as being several hundreds of years in duration so Prindle was astonished to learn that central Africa only came under European dominion between 1860 and 1900. The Scramble For Africa. In fact two life spans of sixty years each bridged the entire era. The whole period could be encompassed by the memories passed down to no more than three generations. In 1960 one man could have remembered the whole history of European discovery and annexation from the Scramble till then.
One of the natives standing in one of those National Geographic photos of 1920 could tell the whole story. At least from his point of view. He would be unable to tell of the impact of Africa on the White Man.
The Heart Of Darkness.
The savage primitiveness of Africa and its art made a deep impression on the European psyche ripping asunder several layers of civilized overburden to reveal the primitive origins of its naked self. At the time this was called ‘the thin veneer of civilization.’ The primal call of the wild beckoned to White men with irresistibility.
The bizarre untutored art of African tribes invaded the European subconscious to call forth wondrous responses. The crude wooden images, the strong primal masks, the scrawled designs all roused the subliminal imagination of Europeans.
About 1960 a recording of a mass by Blacks titled: The Missa Luba, performed by the Luba people of the Lower Congo took White Bohemia by storm. The combination of the primitive Luba recitation and the sophistication of the Catholic Mass was a stunning performance that seemed to unite the subconscious mind of Africa with the conscious mind of the White man. The power of the Missa Luba is undeniable. It is as moving today as it was in 1960.
Beginning in 1959 the Nigerian Ibo writer, Chinua Achebe, writing from the African point of view describes the designs drawn on the bodies of women as beautiful. To a Western eye they merely appear as rude but interesting squiggles. Go through some Geographics of the twenties.
The great explorers wrote the books describing the discovery or rediscovery of the source of the White Nile from which Moorehead drew his account. the great books by Burton, Speke and H.M. Stanley had appealed strongly to an earlier generation of writers. At the fount of imaginative novels of the mysteries of the Dark Continent stood the fantastic H. Rider Haggard. Himself a onetime resident of Natal, South Africa for several years, Haggard’s triumverate of African novels, King Solomon’s Mines, She and Allan Quatermain set the trend of an Africa full of undiscovered valleys, deserts and moutain ranges that could only be reached, even if only in your imagination, by the most intrepid or desperate of travelers. Strange places that time forgot still lived according to the ways of some distant epoch often prehistoric.
Africa was still mysterious and unknown when Haggard began to write in 1885. Central Africa had not yet been explored. General Gordon was making his last stand at Khartoum. Explorers outfitted themselves for treks into Africa at the then legendary Abercrombie and Fitch store in New York City as they sat around explorer’s clubs just before setting out. After his terms as President ending in 1908 Teddy Roosevelt trekked across Africa shooting at anything that moved, big game or small.
I don’t know whether his trek fired the imagination of the greatest of the novelists of Africa but in 1912 Edgar Rice Burroughs began the series chronicling the adventures of the Big Bwana himself, Tarzan Of The Apes.
Tarzan Of The Apes found a place in the imagination of every American male from the series’ inception to the watershed year of 1960 when he was replaced by the Lord Of The Flies. That was a significant transition from what was to what was to be.
Burroughs himself has never had his place in American literature and psychology recognized. From 1912 to his death in 1950 thirty-eight years later Burroughs turned out a total of 22 Tarzan books as well as dozens of other titles.
His creation Tarzan created a life for Burroughs as incredible as the Big Bwana’s. Tarzan’s success in books and movies was such a bonanza for Burroughs that he was able to found a city named after his hero in the San Fernando Valley of California named Tarzana.
In the light of racial events after 1960 the name is ironic, for Tarzan in Burroughs’ invented lingo means White from Tar and skin from from Zan. Must be a joke in Tar meaning White. Tarzan is named White Skin while Tarzana would therefore mean White Skin City. An amusing fact.
Burroughs was very fortunate to begin writing just as the movies came into prominence. Tarzan was a natural for the screen. Many silent movies featuring various Tarzans were made.
The movies incidentally rescued Rider Haggard who had fallen on hard times of destitution.
Burroughs had a marvelous facility for incorporating current developments into his novels. While Rider Haggard relied on time worn themes of Esoterica for his stories Burroughs was very up to date on the latest scientific discoveries. This was sometimes woven into the story completely unawares to the reader such as his answer to the Freudian interpretation of dreams in 1919′s Jungle Tales Of Tarzan. Only after finishing the passage does one realize what one has just read.
This was often done in fantastic juxtapositions. In Tarzan Lord Of The Jungle of 1928 Jim Blake a contemporary New york executive on a photo shoot safari gets lost somewhere North of Victoria Falls where he enters a hidden valley populated by descendants of the Third Crusade of Richard I who became lost ending up in this hidden valley. Finding them dressed in Templar chain mail Blake asks them to lead him to their Director. He has confused an authentic seven hundred year old Knight Templar society with extras from a movie set.
Of course by 1928 Burroughs was very familiar with movie sets of Tarzan. With the advent of sound in 1927 the Tarzan that Prindle’s generation knew was about to hit the screen. The great Olympic swimmer Johnny Weissmuller assumed the role as sound came into existence. This truly Tarzanic figure epitomized the great Tarmangani. Mangani- ape in Burroughs’ talk, Tar= White, Tarmangani, white ape. The role was adapted to feature Weissmuller’s swimming acrobatics. Crocodile fights became much more common.
Weissmuller perfected the triumphant victory cry of the Great Bull Ape which every boy tried to emulate and perfect. Even today the icon of victory is that the victor puts his right foot on the body of his dead victim, beats his breasts with both fists and yodels out the cry of the great bull ape. The jungle was relatively quiet until Tarzan arrived.
Many hours were spent in basements and attics as boys practiced the famous yell. Many were the discussions and arguments over who had mastered it and who hadn’t.
Even movie heroes grow old so it became necessary for Weissmuller to retire. The fierce competition for the job went to a guy named Lex Barker who nobody had ever heard of. Most of us turned our backs on Barker. His own successors in the fifties never had a chance. I didn’t even know there were successors at the time. The role is still assumed but it is just not the same.
The age of exploration was over; social conditions prevented the notion of the Great White Ape ruling over a Black Africa and living on. Dracula, Frankenstein, the Phantom Of The Opera and Sherlock Holmes had long successful careers before them but the Great White Ape vanished like the legendary Africa of old. (Revived on Broadway since I wrote this essay.)
Still, Edgar Rice Burroughs succeeded in creating a mythic character who could take his place alongside the timeless emanations of the subconscious. Few creations have. Homer hit the groove sharp as a knife in the Iliad. The knights of Arthur’s Round Table fill the need. Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes gratifies the itch in spades. Frankenstein, Dracula, the Wolf Man and The Mummy rank with H.G. Wells’ The Invisible Man. They fill specific but limited areas of the subconscious but Tarzan Of The Apes encapsulates the psychic needs of the nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth. A new or improved expositor of the faith is needed now.
No matter that so much of Tarzan is implausible not counting finding Crusaders in contemporary Africa. If one looks closely at Tarzan swinging through ‘the middle terraces’ of the trees of the jungle faster than you and I can sprint a hundred one wonders why no branches impede his swings on his trusty grass rope. While monkeys chatter in the ‘upper terraces’ Tarzan swings through the ‘middle terraces’ to escape an arboreal panther.
But to examine the problem of ‘the middle terraces’ is to miss the point. It is like searching for the historical Arthur and the locations of his twelve battles or trying to find Sherlock Holmes address at 221B Baker Street.
Perhaps Arthur and his twelve battles did exist but they have no bearing on the story. Prindle has stood across the street from the approximate address of Holmes on Baker Street but the reality bears no relationship to the fiction. Prindle looked at the windows across the street for Dr. Moriarty and his air gun but could find no evidence the arch villain had ever been there.
So Prindle disregarded the difficulties of the middle terrace and all other difficulties. He just allowed Burroughs to amaze him. Prindle only read seven of the earliest novels. Over the years the stories and plot lines faded from his mind. He remembered only a few details of the stories and often those inaccurately.
What did stick with him was a vision of Africa. What affected him although the notions had slipped through his conscious mind into the subconscious were the beliefs and ideals of Burroughs as placed in the Tarzan stories.
Tarzan was a very scrupulous man of high ideals. While others might stoop to skullduggery to achieve their ends Tarzan never did. He faced every problem squarely, solved it and acted on the highest principles.
Prindle ‘remembered’ many maxims which he was able to repeat verbatim although he had no idea not only where he got them but that they weren’t his own original thoughts. There were half a dozen from Sherlock Holmes that were actual guidelines for his life. Chief among them was Holmes dictum that whenever you eliminate the impossible whatever remains must be the truth no matter how improbable. Prindle repeated the dictum constantly as his own not knowing where it came from. In rereading Holmes in later life he was startled to come across these dicta word for word.
One of the most astonishing remembrances not from Tarzan but from the movie ‘The Incredible Shrinking Man’ which he saw in 1957 almost shattered him. Prindle had had a dream in which a spectacular image had occurred to him which seemed so original that he was amazed at himself. In the dream the detail was that he was standing before two men holding up a huge Gordian Knot on a large dowel. Standing in front of them Prindle’s only way to cut the knot was to manipulate a huge pair of scissors. The scissors were so large that he could barely raise the handles from the ground let alone open them to cut the knot.
He asked for help from the two men but all they did was hold the knot higher and shake it. Dream Prindle put the scissors under his right arm and leaned on them like a crutch.
This unusual image struck him as something entirely original of which he was very proud. However on reviewing the Incredible Shrinking Man he came across a scene in which The Shrinking Man is battling a spider. The Man is of the size where a needle is an appropriately sized means of defense. On the table beside him is a spool of thread and a pair of small child’s scissors. He drops the needle off the edge dangling from the string. He then tries to use these now huge scissors to cut the string which he cannot do.
Thus this image worked away in Trueman’s subconscious to emerge transformed as an impossible solution to his own psychological problem twenty-five years later. Prindle was forced to ask himself; Is anything truly of one’s own making?
Tarzan in any size, and in Tarzan And The Ant Men he was shrunk to minature, or situation would have been superior to anyone and ever triumphant. He was always magnanimous. Having experienced the entire range of existence from beast to civilized man he never ill treated the African natives or even the prehistoric men and women he met along the way. The Blacks or Gomangani (Go = Black, Mangani = apes) may have been primitive savages but they were worthy of respect as men in every way. The same attitude was true of Rider Haggard. Neither he himself nor his heroes ever referred to Blacks as Niggers.
Haggard’s hero, Henry Curtis, in King Soloman’s Mines even goes native in battle donning the Black’s headdress and gear to take his place in the Black army’s ranks where of course he proved that with or without the veneer of civilization the Englishman was best of all warriors.
The Blacks may have been almost another species but they were always thought of and treated as men among men. This was quite in contrast to Joseph Conrad’s Heart Of Darkness in which the Blacks were seen as sub-human.
In Burroughs’ fantastic Africa the Black natives were only one of many species of hominids. Burroughs himself was very widely read, educated on the up to the minute scientific theories. He was well versed in evolution. He seemed to intuit that there were many vanished varieties of hominids and he peopled his Africa with them back in those hidden valleys.
In Tarzan The Terrible Burroughs has a cave man riding a Tricertops like Alley Oop of the Funnies plus two varieties of tailed monkey-like hominids that undoubtedly came before the cave man but were more highly developed. Of course there is the crown of creation Tarzan himself. As is habitual with Burroughs he introduces the present into the prehistoric past bringing World War I into it with a struggle between a German officer and Tarzan for Jane. Son Jack and his rifle are also on the way. All this going on in a land that time not only forgot but never imagined.
Prindle recalled none of these details but they prepared his mind to deal with scientific realities when it became necessary for him to resolve the issues in his own mind.
The balance tipped in the watershed year of 1960.
Whites and Blacks presented an insoluble problem to any thinking person coming of age in 1960. That there was and had been racial inequality was an undeniable fact. Prior to 1960 however the general consensus was and had been that racial equality was based on fact and not prejudice. Tarzan had, of course, treated all people of good will well regardless of race as deserving of respect. Underlying his feelings as well as those of American society was the notion that White people were the crown of creation while the yellow and Black peoples, poor fellows, were in fact evolutionarily inferior. The Whites were Bwanas to the lower races and Tarzan in Burroughs’ words was the Big Bwana.
Not their fault so no reason to condemn them but rather to pity them. They were, in fact, ‘the White Man’s burden.’
Prindle never took anyone’s word for anything so he neither sided with those who said all men were in fact created equal or those who said White men were created superior. The question was one to be decided at some future time. The two avenues open to him were personal observation and experience and study.
Of the Negroes with which he came into contact he saw that they were quick at learning manual skills like football and basketball but when it came to perceiving general principles and applying them there seemed to be something lacking in their minds that prevented them from making connections. Not that Blacks couldn’t take an item and perceive different uses for it than that for which it was intended but they failed to understand the underlying principle.
This was true in all fields of endeavor, they seemed unable to move from the specific to the general on their own initiative.
When, looking at Blacks in their home environment of Africa it was obvious that from the moment Homo Sapiens evolved from the Last Hominid Predecessor to the beginning of the nineteenth century when Africa fell under the White Man’s dominion that Blacks had made no advances from the Stone Age. They had merely matured as Stone Age peoples.
They had never discovered the wheel, they had no writing, they had no metallurgy, no plow had broken the African plain, they had nothing but the most primitive social organization. They were in fact untutored savages.
This fact was somewhat puzzling to Prindle as everwhere else in the world with the exception of the aborigines of Australia and the various tribes in backward areas every people had advanced up the ladder of civilization. In fact the most advanced was the White civilization of Euroamerica; regretable to many but undeniable to all.
Whether White guilt prevented acknowledging the fact or not, it was so. The Peace Corps of 1961 created by Kennedy tacitly observed that truth. White superiority was so in every field of endeavor from art and literature to science and mathematics. There was no other people that competed with the White race most especially they of Africa.
Prindle could offer no explanation in 1960 at the age of twenty-two so we will have to use the year 1960 as a fulcrum balancing the past with the future.
A Nigerian Ibo writer began his literary career in 1959 when he published a book entitled ‘Things Fall Apart.’ Chinua Achebe began to explain the Black point of view of what happened when Black and White culture collided in his part of Africa. He directed his polemics at the West as he was from Southern Christian Nigeria and not the Moslem North.
He is not very explicit as to time, dates and location but it gradually emerges from his corpus that his home was on the coast in Eastern Nigeria. The times he describes seem to be between 1910 and 1930. As was Prindle’s experiences with the American Blacks Achebe doesn’t seem to be able to relate the specific to the general; in other words, he has no science. He has a wealth of carefully selected detail but no penetration.
Insofar as the details he does use they appear to be the same as those noted by White observers but seen from the other side. The photos of Africa taken in the 1920s and 1930s which portray a completely primitive people with bizarre body piercing, strange ornaments and squiggly designs on their bodies, strange scars and tattoos are seen as beautiful and exquisite by Achebe. Truly, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
While reading Achebe late in life Prindle’s ideas
formed in his early life were merely reinforced. He could see no reason to change opinions of Africans so eloquently expressed in Mooerhead’s White Nile. Those opinions were edited out in later editions to conform to subsequent notions. Nevertheless subsequent events in Zimbabwe, South Africa and elsewhere merely reconfirmed Prindle’s earlier opinions.
Nor were contacts with Europeans of the nineteenth century the first outside contacts Africans had made. As Moorehead pointed out a map prepared by the Greek geographer Ptolemy in 150 AD clearly and with very reasonable accuracy depicted sub-Saharan Africa from West Africa to Central and East Africa. The course of the Niger in West Africa was accurately shown minus the effluent which remained a mystery until the nineteenth century when the Niger was related to the Oil Rivers at the Bight of Benin. The true course of the White Nile was also depicted although the strong arrogance of academic European scholars forbade their acknowledging the accuracy of any of the ancient writers.
Ptolemy’s information came from Greek traders who penetrated Central Africa from the area of future Zanzibar so we may assume that ancient intercourse with Central Africa had been going on for centuries. Yet African developed little or technology.
The same is true with West Africa for Herodotus records a Libyan expedition which occurred well before his time of c. 450 BC.
The Romans built roads across the Sahara that were well trafficked.
After the ancients the Arab slave traders made descents on Africa continually for perhaps two thousand years or more. Black slaves are common in the Arabian Nights depicting a time of 700-800 AD. By the time Europeans came into conflict with the Arab slavers in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries the slavers were all Moslems.
This fact gave Trueman matter to wrestle with as American Blacks decried the slave trade as something peculiarly American. In fact slavery had been endemic to Africa from time immemorial. In Chinua Achebe’s story ‘Things Fall Apart’ he makes no mention of Moslem slavers or indigenous slavery dealing only with European slavers.
Yet from c1500 to 1830 African slave raiders abducted untold numbers of Europeans from Mediterranean shores who disappeared into the Dark Continent never to be seen again.
The European slave trade was in existence only a couple hundred years after which shame made them abandon the trade. By the time Europeans came into contact with Moslems in Africa they had abolished the slave trade amongst themselves now taking what must have appeared as a hypocritical stance to Moslems in attempting to force them to desist from slaving.
As inhumane as the European slave trade may have been it was peanuts compared to the inhuman attitude of the Moslems. Anyone who has read The Arabian Nights must be struck by the contemptuous attitude of the Moslems toward Blacks. This was certainly reflected in their methods of capture and transportation.
Moorehead quotes Stanley’s account of the great slave roundup he witnessed after he met Livingstone. The Moslem slavers opened fire on the Blacks like Teddy Roosevelt opening fire on the fauna of Africa slaughtering many while dozens of others who took to the river to escape drowned. Once captured the Blacks were marched yoked together hands tied behind their backs for a thousand miles to the coast.
Once there they were packed into decks only eighteen inches apart for the long torrid voyage to Arabia, Persia and India. The torture of being unable to roll over or change your position must have been exquisite not to mention the stench and filth. If it doesn’t kill you as they say it makes you stronger.
There was nothing in the Koran to forbid such practices although there was in the Christian bible. However the very humanity of the New Testament may have placed Christianity at a disadvantage compared to Moslemism.
Moslemism did not call for any changes in social conduct or the organization of society. The introduction of Moslemism left the African social structure intact calling only for a belief in Allah and his prophet Muhammed. Slavery was already endemic to African society so that, strangely, while the Arab slavers annually corralled tens of thousands of Black Africans into slavery or death there was an acceptance rather than a rejection of Arab religion.
Christianity clashed with nearly every tenet of African religion including slavery, polygamy, native medicine men and nearly the whole fabric of African society. Therefore while Moslemism shared most native beliefs the issue of slavery was a man to man thing and not a moral problem.
The European invaders placed themselves in opposition to both. The enslaved Blacks and the enslaving Moslems. While Europeans were successful in eliminating the Moslem slave trade centered from Zanzibar they were never successful in eliminating the slave trade above Victoria Falls. Even today the slavers are active in the Sudan and the Horn of Africa.
At the present time several thousand Somalian female slaves and their masters are transported to Portland, Oregon every year as immigrants to the United States. It is indeed a strange world.
Christianity also tended to destroy the social order of African tribes. The tribes were all small organizations located in specific geographical locales. There was no such thing as nations or countries such as Kenya or what was then Tanganyika now Tanzania. These agglomerations were artificial administrative units set up for the convenience of Europeans.
Thus the natives no longer were able to look to their old center for the resolution of their problems but to White men located in an administrative center far from their own tribal boundaries.
As Christianity made no allowance for native customs the established order had no incentive to adopt the religion unlike Moslemism which required no change of conduct. The appeal of Christianity and the White Man’s Power then was to the disenfranchised and outcast classes. As Achebe’s Thing Fall Apart clearly shows the ‘untouchables’ were the first to respond. Christianity in which all men are equal then made the ‘untouchables’ discard the trapping of their class making them visual equals of the ‘big men’ of their tribes.
As the representatives of the White Christians these native outcasts became the political superiors of the former upper classes. That was the meaning of Achebe’s title: Things Fall Apart.
While the Moslem areas of Black Africa were relatively complacent a huge antagonistic split existed in the Christian areas. The antagonism did not take long to surface. Within less than sixty years from their actual annexation the Central and West Africans had thrown off their White colonial rulers.
The French and English had no real liking for West Africa with its oppressive heat and humidity but the English were more desirous of holding on to the more equable Central and Southern Africa. While it can’t be said that civilian English settlers moved into West Africa they did in Central and Southern Africa. In these areas the Whites resisted Black independence movements more staunchly.
The Europeans bequeathed a national state to men like Kenya’s Jomo Kenyatta who was himself merely a member of a small tribe. He now posed as a national ruler over both diverse Black tribesmen and a unified civilized English population.
The fearsome Mau Mau, a group of natives straight out of Tarzan erupted on the world consciousness in the early fifties as they terrorized and murdered the English settlers in the most primitive manner.
Alan Moorehead didn’t concentrate on the Mau Mau which he obviously found distasteful but the Mau Mau showed the obvious difference between Europeans and Black Africans.
Fifty or sixty years is a very short time to convert stone age peoples to a level of civilization that took many thousands of years to achieve even if the two peoples had been of equal mental abilities.
Edgar Rice Burroughs who was a fairly astute student of evolution seems to have captured the general feel of the evolutionary process. He has his hero Tarzan experience each level of development from animal to Homo Sapiens. Thus Tarzan on one level is a pure beast raised among the great apes of Africa in the tribe of Kerchak by Kala his ape mother. Following Freudian theory Tarzan kills his father Kerchak although he mourns his mother’s death rather than following in his father’s wake.
At the age of twenty he leaves Africa for Europe and America where within the short space of two years he takes on the ‘thin veneer of civilization.’ Well, it was thin, you know.
Returning to the jungle he becomes the chief of a Black African tribe named the Waziri. While for Burroughs the Black Africans are by no means despicable they nevertheless appear to be an evolutionary way station between the pure beasts and the civilized Whites.
Tarzan, of course, inherits the English title Viscount Lord Greystoke so as John Clayton he stands at the apex of civilization as well as evolution as an English gentleman entitled to sit in the House of Lords.
Although the current genetic information wasn’t available to him Burroughs intuited, or accepted, the obvious evolution of the hominid from beast to Homo Sapiens.
While it may be controversial to place the White species at the top of the evolutionary scale there is evidence that such may be actually so. All men may not, in fact, be created equal. Perhaps an unpleasant fact but then nature is not concerned with pleasantness.
It is generally assumed by scientists that because 97% of Homo Sapiens genes are shared by the Great Mountain Ape while the Chimpanzee shares 98% that those two species of anthropoids are evolutionary predecessors of Homo Sapiens. In other words that the earliest hominid predecessor of Homo Sapiens mutated from the Chimpanzee. I don’t know what the actual percentage is but I am sure that fifty percent or more of the genes of the fruit fly are shared by Homo Sapiens. All species most likely utilize fifty percent or more of the same genes as why not if evolution is indeed a fact.Are all the product of evolution? You bet. So what are you going to make of that?
One may assume that if evolution is progressing from the less intelligent to the more intelligent that the process need not necessarily stop at the apex of Homo Sapiens. In fact, there are three obvious main species of Homo Sapiens as well as two or more at the upper end of the scale not so obvious and a couple at the lower end of the scale also going unnoticed.
In coventional parlance if race is admitted as a fact those three divisions are known as races although they may be differentiating species. Scientists tell us that there is only four tenths of one percent genetic difference between the races as though a mere four tenths disproves something. Recent genetic discoveries indicate that genetic mutation is still occurring so that differences are accruing rather than remaining static or decreasing.
If we are going to accept and apply scientific evidence this then raises the issue of which race or sub-species in actuality is the most evolved and bears the evolutionarily active gene line.
It is assumed that the first hominid came into existence in Africa somewhere about two million years ago because the earliest traces of hominids yet found have been found there. Many unwarranted assumptions based on this notion have been made for racist reasons. For instance, because only Blacks were found in modern sub-Saharan Africa it is assumed that this early hominid was also Black or Negro as though there were some distinction in being possibly the same color as the Last Hominid predecessor. In fact no one knows what color the Last Hominid Predecessor was nor is there any way of ascertaining the fact.
The distance between this early hominid who must have been much more closely related to the Chimpanzee following the logic is unknown. Perhaps it was merely half of one percent genetic difference. Perhaps the visual relationship between this hominid and the Chimp and Ape was approximately that as now exists between the Homo-Sapiens sub-species. No one knows.
Homo Sapiens is said to have appeared in sub-Saharan Africa only one hundred fifty thousand years ago.
So far as I know there are no remains existing of the hominid from which Homo Sapiens evolved. Nor is there much of a record for extinct hominids between the remains found in Olduvai Gorge and the evolution of Homo Sapiens. All earlier forms have disappeared. The various forms of another anthropoid, Homo Erectus, all existed alongside Homo Sapiens. Whether they preceded him is not clear but that they became extinct possibly with the passing of the last ice age.
Everyone agrees that the sub-Saharan Homo Sapiens was in fact Black and that the Whites and Mongolids evolved from this Black predecessor. This may be proven true if it is allowed to examine genetics objectively rather than impose subjective hopes on the facts.
However objectivity may be denied because reason suggests that the first species evolved from the Last Hominid Predecessor is probably the least evolved Homo Sapiens intellectually. It is possible that the first evolved Homo Sapiens is physically superior in the animal sense to subsequent mutations.
There may be some physical law that a sub-species once manifested is no longer capable of further evololution. Thus the Great Mountain Ape probably is little different than its two million year old predecessor. The same would apply to the Chimp. Once having attained perfection for its specific limitations a species is as it were fossilized in form. Thus the Black as the earliest Homo Sapiens sub-species is probably as developed intellectually as it was, is and ever will be. Further Homo Sapiens evolution will be carried to conclusion by the Whites. Each step in the evolutionary scale however leaves the others behind as the Chimp left the ape behind and Homo Sapiens left the Chimp behind. Whatever color predecessors may be they must become predecessors and hence less evolved. This is a fact that if you can’t accept then you merely refuse to accept it for ideological reasons and your reasoning is invalid.
One must assume that at some point another evolutionary step will occur creating an entire new species leaving Homo Sapiens behind in the same relation to it as the Chimp is to Homo Sapiens. You must be able to grasp this point.
Politically and socially this conclusion must be unpopular but one either adheres to scientific truth no matter how unpopular or falsehood is allowed to reign.
If one goes from mere appearances it would seem that a hierarchy of intellectual ability leads upwards from the Blacks to the Mongolids to the Whites.
While all scientific achievement may not be attributable to Whites yet all scientific achievment is based on methods introduced by Whites. In an age where all scientific information is shared almost instantaneously Black and Mongolid contributions are miniscule compare to that of Whites. Further no people in the world have made scientific contributions which were not based on White science. Nothing has come from the Orient, nothing has come from the Semitic lands and nothing has come from Africa.
While today Joseph Conrad’s Heart Of Darkness is dismissed for racial and political reasons yet the novel has its basis in fact. The contrast between the European invaders and native Blacks throughout Africa was too pronounced to dismiss. Nor was the difference merely quantative but qualitative too.
There is an ancientness to the Africans. There is the sense that they were and are incapable of rising above the stone age mental processes that characterize them. The Africans seem to have developed stone age thinking to a logical and stultifying conclusion by the time the Whites arrived.
The Uganda described by the earliest explorers was organized in such a sophisticated stone age way that terrifying customs abandoned by Europeans over two thousand years before had fossilized into a permanent and unchangeable way of looking at things.
When Moorehead describes the king of Uganda killing thirty people for the entertainment of a visiting dignitary one has to recoil in horror. Yet in one form or another such was the case throughout Africa.
The delicacy of Europeans prevents their acknowledging certain facts primarily because if they did they would have to accept the truth. Cannibalism was a norm nor did the Africans give up such customs. In addition to the Mau Mau Leopard Men in Kenya in the fifties Moorehead reluctantly concedes that medicine men still donned the skins of the great cats to ritually murder infants at the time of his writing in 1960. Chinua Achebe admits that humans were still sacrificed in times of great need in Nigeria in his time.
Sekou Toure who was the Prime Minister of Guinea after 1960 famed as a poet in France still kept human flesh in his refrigerator like the American madman Jeffrey Dahmer. He explained that there were certain things White Men couldn’t understand. Well, apparently Dahmer could. With that explanation the ‘poet’ was excused while Jeffrey Dahmer who wrote no poetry was sentenced to life imprisonment.
In general the Black nations of Africa have rejected an uplifting Christianity which would force them to change their ways for a more tolerant Moslemism which makes no such demands on them.
Thus the Africa of Tarzan, the National Geographic and the Explorers Clubs passed away by 1960. Moorehead’s interesting book was the epitaph of the period.
Not all Blacks remained in Africa. The forced diaspora of the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries had spread the species throughout the New World from Brazil through the Caribbean to the United States.
The predominant slave populations of the Caribbean quickly politically dominated their areas reducing the White population to an ancillary status without any real rights. Whites lived apologetically on the islands barely tolerated by the Blacks.
There even after extended contact with Whites and White science the Blacks made no advances over their Black brethren in Africa. They remained on the same intellectual level. Anyone who would deny that would deny the Holocaust.
In the United States the story was no different. It is true that from the seventeenth century to emanicipation in 1863 the Blacks were slaves. Still, there were ‘house niggers’ and ‘field niggers’. If the field Black was given no opportunities for education this could not have been true of the household help. Yet by 1960 as Prindle was entering young manhood there was no indication to him that Blacks had made any intellectual advance.
The Black situation was not a small problem to him while as the Black rebellion then in progress developed the problem became of the first magnitude.
The practical effect was a barbarian assault on the institutions of the United States hitorically unparalleled since the incursion of the Roman Empire by the German barbarians which culminated in the fifth century AD.
The result of the invasions in both cases will be the same although the Germans bearing the higher genetic development were able to develop civilization over time. The same will not be true of the Blacks who can only bring civilization down to their stone age level. Sad but true.
Were the Germans capable of intellectual development while Blacks are not? This was a burning question of Prindle’s youth. Were Blacks genetically inferior to Whites or was it merely a question of educational opportunities?
At the time the only means of determining racial intellectual abilities was testing. This was in the form of the IQ test. Whites invariably scored higher on the average than Blacks and not just by a point or two either but the gap ws significant enough to raise wonder.
The Blacks countered that the tests were racially weighted in favor of the Whites. It was suggested that if tests were written in Black patois Whites wouldn’t do quite so well.
But classes were not taught in either Black or White patois but in a good clean English which was the language of the people, land and literature. People from educated families probably had a few points advantage over those from families where intellectual prowess was not quite so demanded but such a fact could not be avoided.
Barring these natural variations in opportunity the playing field was level for all. The Blacks also advanced the notion that more money was spent per White student than for a Black student. While well received and even believed against clearly visible evidence to the contrary by Whites this argument too proved fallacious.
By 1970 every school district in America was fully integrated. Those in the North and West had been for decades. In fact the same amount of money was spent on every student White or Black. While this fact should have been clear yet Whites and Blacks advanced the opposite notion as fact.
It was also true that all White schools had a better record than integrated schools where the levels were brought down by the Blacks.
Prindle was an independent thinker. He looked beyond the rhetoric at the true facts of education. Beyond education he drew from his personal experience. He noted that no matter how clever or how adaptive a Black might be his intelligence seemed to stop at the training level. They seemed to lack the ability to associate ideas and take the next step forward. This fact was noted by even such a sympathetic observor as Rider Haggard.
There were many, although out of favor and ostracized, who believed that Blacks inherently lacked intellectual ability. Prindle silently concurred with them yet he thought there was insufficient proof to commit himself one way or the other.
Edgar Rice Burroughs had come to definite conclusions as early as 1919. Burroughs was very well read while being absolutely up to date. Most of what he believed was still being put forth by Time/Life books in their series on prehistory although recent advances have invalidated some of Burroughs’ thought while he would have been eager in updating himself.
As Burroughs named it in 1919 the quality to be sought was ‘imagination.’ As he noted the beasts had none at all. He attributed to Blacks a modicum. He thought that only Whites were capable of imaginative flights and this as he judged it was only one in a hundred thousand. That would have been more or less evolutionarily correct.
Since Burroughs time and especially since 1950 the bounds of human knowledge have been moved forward incredibly in all areas. Most importantly for my argument in the field of genetics. With the discovery of DNA in the forties science has progressed to the point where the ‘human’ genome can be read entirely. All twenty-three chromosomes have been completely mapped or soon will be.
The mechanism of mutation or evolution can be understood. And evolution is going on constantly; a mutation that seems to leading to a species of astounding ‘imagination’ or intelligence.
Genetic findings allowed Prindle to put his mind at rest concerning the relative abilities of the three sub-species. It was clear to him that as the first species of Homo Sapiens to evolve from the Last Hominid Predecessor, the Black species stagnated while the Mongolids and Whites contintued to mutate adding intellectual capabilities to their Homo Sapiens shells.
Whatever the genetic difference between Whites and Blacks that difference was expressed in scientific intelligence in Whites while Blacks remained metally lethargic.
It does no good to say that many Whites are mentally lethargic while some Blacks seem to express scientific aptitude. Even if true on an individual basis that has no effect on the general proposition. As of this writing nearly all scientific advancement is coming from Whites. Contributions by Chinese and Japanese are slight involving mainly improvements to existing models and not leaps forward.
The Black species is notably absent in the ranks of scientists.
End of Essay
June 5, 2007
Springtime For Edgar Rice Burroughs
Civilization And Its Discontents.
The period of Burroughs’ life was one of those great pivotal times of civilization. Civilization was in the midst of one of its great metamorphoses, scientific, political and intellectual. Changes which had been building up the last few centuries could no longer be absorbed by the existing religious structure. That structure was no longer viable. Its bursting mode was not only for the new Scientific Consciousness but the increasing scientific examination of the past opened the way for the revival of forgotten forms such as the Matriarchy. Thus along with the inevitable Patriarchal religious reaction the Matriarchy as well as suppressed occult religions forced their way through.
The reaction from contacts between civilizations sent various alien religions and ideologies into the Western leaven.
Confused with these intellectual challenges the agricultural basis of civilization evolved into a technological one. In the mid-teens for the first time in the United States there were more urban residents than there were rural residents.
New demands were placed on consciousness as more precision was required of the human mind. Man had had little difficulty adapting his methods to cycles of the seasons but the adaptation tothe rigors of the assembly line caused him problems.
That there was a backlash from this tremendous succession of changes should take no one by surprise. Adjustments were difficult and critical. In 1930 the founder of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud, published what may be his most famous title: Civilization And Its Discontents in response to this challenge. His notion of who the discontents were and of what they were discontented about is vague, indeed undecipherable.
In my estimation he doesn’t deal with the malaise at all.
On the other hand Edgar Rice Burroughs not only dealt with the malaise but offered a reasonable, if difficult to apply, solution to the problem.
The malaise found many expressions. On the political front the socialists, Communists and anarchists were the most prominent reactionaries. Their activities reached a fever pitch in the first two decades of the Twentieth Century resulting in the two phases of the Russian Revolution of 1905 and ’17. The institutionalized discontents had their homeland after the latter date.
While Freud’s discussion of Discontents sounds generalized by the way he writes he is actually talkiking about himself and the members of his own Jewish culture and their problems with Western Civilization.
Thus Freud’s notion of Discontents falls somewhere between a general malaise and the discontent of the Communists.
The Religious Conciousness of course faced a problem that could only be resolved by surrender or reaction. There was no middle way. The evolution into Scientific Consciousness completely invalidated the religious approach. All religions are based on a false premise and Science exposed that falsity.
The transition to the Scientific Consciousness must be difficult and demanding as so few attain it. In my opinion this is because of the ongoing evolution of the brain. The Scientific Consciousness can apparently only be grasped by the further evolved. This doesn’t mean that those of a Religious Consciousness can’t work with scientific knowledge which requires only basic intelligence and a scientific environment provided by others but they are unable to envision advances.
Thus they find themselves left behind intellectually. It is the same as the difference between high and low IQ. Nothing can be done about that. However the Religious reaction is to attack those of the Scientific Consciousness to lower them to their own level.
The problem was especially acute with Freud and his culture as Science per se invalidated all Semitic religious pretensions. This means all Semites and not just Jews. Neverthless as Jews were embedded in Western Civilization at that time and other Semites weren’t the Jewish culture was ‘discontented’ and was forced to negate science and the Scientific Consciousness.
Led by the Semitic surge of both Judiaism and Moslemism the very serious attempt to bury the Scientific Consciousness through genocide might just succeed.
As I point out in Part VII of The Deconstruction Of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ America the Jewish campaign to ‘abolish the White ‘race’ should be taken very seriously. Just because it sounds preposterous doesn’t mean it’s a joke. A segment of Whites is the bearer of the evolved gene or genes or combination of genes so that if this advance species were destroyed the wild religious reaction would succeed. Sounds just like some science fiction movie doesn’t it? Well, it isn’t.
The Scientific Consciousness created its own malaise in the newly evolving species. As literary and artistic types are always the monitors who pick up these trends first, if they don’t necessarily understand them, we shouldn’t be surprised to find a number of literateurs immersing themselves in the problem. One of the big texts is H.G. Wells important but neglected novel: The Food Of The Gods. In this novel Wells postulates that the emerging scientific Consciousness is a new species of human being. As with the real religious reaction Wells’ predecessor people wish to kill the new species. In earlier times when the world was less populated new or different species of human beings could move away from the old species. Now, the question is what makes Homo Sapiens Homo Sapiens and makes it different from the Last Hominid Predecessor? It is assumed by our scientific community that the Negro is the first Homo Sapiens species having evolved in Africa. This means that the Negro evolved from some sub-human Homo Sapiens predecessor. It’s easy, it has to be. So far no one has been able to produce an example of the Last Hominid Predecessor.
Now, the Negro was not the only, how shall we say, hominid species in Africa. The Negro apparently orginated in West Africa. The rest of Africa was inhabited by other species such as the Bushmen and Hottentots. These peoples are not Negroes and originated in Africa so the question is are they predecessors of the Negroes who we are told are the first Homo Sapiens or are they Homo Sapiens who precede or follow the Negro in evolution. Or, are they a separate non-Homo Sapiens species or are they perhaps the Last Hominid Predecessor. They are not Negroes so a place has to be found for them.
In any event the Negro and Arab combined to produce a new race or sub-species known as the Bantu peoples. The Bantus then invaded the territories of the Bushmen and Hottentots who ranged all of Africa South of the bulge, so we are told, driving the Bushmen before them. As I understand it the Hottentots are now extinct while Bantu pressure on the Bushmen is driving them toward extinction.
At the same time a newer hybrid of Black and Semite is driving the Bantu before it from its base in the Northeast corner of Africa known as the Horn.
So, Wells novelistic problem was that there was no longer a place on Earth for his new species to isolate itself. He was presented with the choice of his new species either displacing or killing off the anterior species or being eliminated itself much as the Hottentots and Bushman have been eliminated by the Bantu and as the Bantu and Negroes are being displaced and elminated by the new Black and Semitic Hybrid.
So this was the problem c. 1900. This solution was repulsive to the existing Religious Consciousness that was psychologically unequipped to deal with this impasse.
As can be seen the Semitic special consciousness does not fear the problem In Africa in Darfur and the South of the Sudan they are actively pursuing genocide. In Euroamerica the Jewish Semitic culture is pursuing or advocating the same resolution of their problem with the White Euroamerican population. Following Semitic actions in Africa it should be clear to American Blacks what is in store for them.
So, Wells dealt with the problem in its political aspect. The internal aspect, the split in consciousness between the old and new was ably handled by a number of writers.
For a good introduction to the contrast between the Scientific Consciousness compare Holmes and Watson in Conan Doyle’s stories. In this essay I will concentrate on three others as well as Freud- H. Rider Haggard, Joseph Conrad and Edgar Rice Burroughs. Not coincidentally, I think, all three writers place their most important work in Africa. Haggard as the earlier writer rising to fame in Burroughs’ youth quite naturally had a great influence on the younger man, although I think Burroughs would have written of Tarzan and Africa with or without Haggard’s influence. The appeal of Africa is the contrast between the civilized White and the primitive Black. The two aspects of White consciousness. I hope to tackle this problem in more detail in my next essay, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Sigmund Freud And The Holy Grail.
There was nothing clearer to the English explorers, as well one might note as to the Southern planters of the US, than that there was a gulf between the intellect of the African and that of the White man.
Haggard expressed this difference in his novel Allan Quatermain. I’ve used the quote before but I will include it again here to keep the problem clear before us:
All this civilization what does it come to? Full forty years and more I spent among the savages, and studied them and their ways, and now for several years I have lived here in England, and in my own stupid manner have done my best to learn the ways of the children of light, and what do I find? A great gulf fixed? No, only a very little one, that a plain man’s thought may spring across. I say that as the savage is, so is the white man, only the latter is more inventive and possesses a faculty of combination; save and except also the savage as I have known him, is to a large extent free from the greed of moey, which eats like a cancer in the heart of the white man. It is a depressing conclusion, but in all essentials the savage and the child of civilization are identical.
The great Liberal H.G. Wells was also clear on this difference. The nature of the gulf was the Scientific intellect of the White and the non-Scientific intellect of the Black. The question is how large did these nineteenth century men perceived the gap to be. Haggard in his Allan Quaterman, quoted above perceived the gap to be small while if one is to judge by the distance between Tarzan and the Africans Burroughs perceived it be not only large but insurmountable. Haggard thought the gap easily bridged while judging from Tarzan Burroughs thought it unbridgeable.
It should be noted that Haggard was of the Old Religious Consciousness while Burroughs was of the advanced Scientific Consciousness. Of the two men Haggard writes from the experience of having viewed Africa or at least South Africa first hand. Everyone talks of Africa as though it were a county in Kansas whereas it is a huge continent of many diverse cultures. But, perhaps as the cultures seem to share the same level of consciousness perhaps that is the justification for speaking of Africa and Africans as a single unit.
Haggard lived in South Africa for several years as a young man while he was an astute historian and anthropologist. As a mythologist he was of the most gifted. His understanding is astonishing. He was quite familiar with all the Black peoples from the Zulus, Swazis and Basutos tothe Hottentots, Bushemen and Griquas. His judgements of the various intellects seems quite reliable. His writing is of most interest for the current rage of Zulu interest. His actual story telling ability is beyond compare.
Now, this is difficult to speak of because of the ideological stance of the Liberals and their Religious Consciousness that take the procrustean stance of trying to fit facts and reality into ideology whether they can be conveniently forced or not. They are currently anti-White and pro-African even going so far as to call for the genocide of the White species as I pointed out in the Deconstruction Of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ America. This is more than evidenced in their support of the genocide being executed in South Africa by the Shona chief robert Mugabe and the Bantu peoples of the Union of South Africa.
There’s not much evidence that Haggard was interested or even aware of the theories of evolution which, if I may be so daring, it seems clear that Burroughs either was at the beginning of his career or became so as he aged aware of all the various strands of evolutionary theory. Thus Haggard comes across as more humane while Burroughs is more accurate.
A third opinion on the nature of the situation was provided by Joseph Conrad in his novelette: The Heart Of Darkness. One can’t be sure how much contact Conrad had with the situation he describes, but the influence of the primitive African mentality had the effect of dragging down the White intellect. As the advance in intellect was not so pronounced as Haggard noted the attraction of the primitive was so strong that many Whites retrogressed. Conrad’s hero Kurtz was an ivory buyer in the heart of the Congo. Through fraternization with the African he indeed loses his ‘thin veneer of civilization’ going native. On his death bed in viewing his period in the interior he exclaims ‘The horror, the horror’ and then ‘Exterminate the brutes.’
In point of fact if, as we are told, Homo Sapiens originated in Africa and the Negro is the departure point from the Last Hominid Predecessor which may be the Bushman or Hottentot then if this departure occurred c. 150,000 years ago, at the time the African came into contact with Whites he had made no move toward becoming civilized. Nor was he inclined to when given the example.
When H.M. Stanley interviewed the Uganda chief Mtese, that chief was incapable of visualizing anything other than trading. As he said he noticed that goods traded by the Arabs, who were first in the area, all came from Europe so he assumed that Europeans were more clever than the Arabs however he had no inclination to acquire the knowledge or skills. Nor have Africans attempted it to this day.
As unpleasant as it may be to deal with facts or accept the science of the matter it is nevertheless necessary to consider that in the course of evolution the African brain has evolved to a certain level and stopped much as all the Hominid Predecessors did. Although Bruce Lahn of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute has been silenced his researches made it clear that the human brain was still evolving but not in all human species, only one.
It should be clear to even the most prejudiced observor that Robert Mugabe the Shona leader of Zimbabwe is in way over his head while as savage in his methods as any character Joseph Conrad could create. Nor is the reason unclear to certain Africans.
Writing in the Kampala Monitor of February 7, 2007 in an article entitled Uganda: Why Black People Have Remained Backward by Elias Biryabarema the author examines the problem:
Uganda has been fairly stable long enough. The conditions for an economic takeoff have been there for 20 years. Mr. Musevini has enjoyed generous goodwill from nearly all the world’s rich governments. Their largesse has poured in ceaselessly and in hefty amounts.
Uganda should have taken off. We haven’t. We’re stuck. And so is Tanzania, Sudan, Ethiopia, Mali, Burkina Faso, Kenya, Eretria, Malawi, Congo Republic and pretty much all of Black Africa, excluding the regions sole economic power, South Africa. This led me to pose a question to myself: Can Black people build prosperous societies?
Just about every reason- from slavery, colonialism, neo-colonialism to inequitable world trade rules- cited for the backwardness of Black African nations has been so debunked that it has now become necessary to look beyond the realm of such contemporary explanations.’
Mr. Biryabarema concludes that Africans ‘only rise and touch a low ceiling.’ A disheartening realization but a cruel fact of nature because of the progression of evolution.
So Africa came to represent an attractive past to Whites while the psychical split caused by the evolving brain caused them discomfort too. The brain had not evolved far enough to make a clean break with the animal past. What was Man, all species to do? Haggard relapsed into nostalgia. A longing to go back while nevertheless retaining his cranial development. His hero, Allan Quatermain while retaining his intellectual superiority to the Africans attempts to establish his kinship with his ‘Black brothers.’ Thus he takes a ‘Liberal’ attitude toward African/White relations that while seemingly humane has resulted in the atrocities against Whites being perpetrated by the likes of Mugabe and the South African leaders.
One shudders at Conrad’s Kurtz’s exclamation to ‘exterminate the brutes’ and yet the choice has turned out to be exterminate or be exterminated, while Africans have inexplicably opted for the latter. What can one say?
Burroughs on the other hand working from a philosophical point of view came up with a different solution. Nor is it entirely impracticable on the intellectual level. Both he and Freud begin from the same base. Both are reacting to the inhibitions and repressions placed on Man by civilization.
Burroughs seems willing to accept the ‘thin veneer of civilization’ in certain places and under certain conditions but he demands the right to be able to move freely from the primitive to the civilized state. Thus when Tarzan takes off his clothes he also removes the ‘thin veneer of civilization.’
The basic problem for Haggard, Conrad, Freud and Burroughs is that they wish to retain the advantages of the intellectual aspects of civilization; none of them wish to opt for the ‘low ceiling’ of the primitive. They all wish to retain their advantages while indulging their primitive ‘natures.’ In some way each has to remain superior to the primitive state.
One can contrast this attitude with Mugabe of Zimbabwe and the ANC of South Africa who seem to be edging in the direction of removing all vestiges of the civilized state. They seem to be opting for a nostalgic return to the their savage past. They must have some understanding of the results of their destructive acts against civilization but choose to ignor them.
Conrad says simply- exterminate the brutes. Haggard adopts an avuncular attitude toward perpetual children. Burroughs assumes the role of…well…a god. Freud wishes to assume the role of plantation owner. The problem is insoluble except by the Shona method of ‘exterminating the arrogant bastards.’
For Burroughs as well as for Freud sex seems to be the key. Burroughs position is difficult to fathom. In all his cultures, societies and civilizations, and he creates a great many, nudity or near nudity is the ideal although as he is writing for popular consumption his characters remain sexually unexited and incredibly chaste under the most provocative conditions. Freud of course had everybody going at it like bunnies.
In Cave Girl Burroughs’ hero, Waldo Emerson Smith-Jones is the example of the over intellectualized man of extreme and enervating culture. Quite the opposite of Burrughs who obviously feels he has reached an ideal balance between the intellectual and the physical.
Waldo is meager then and consumptive when he lands on the island. He is obligatorily cowardly. He will find his Anima ideal in Nadara who is the antithesis of the civilized Jane being both nude and perhaps the most obviously sexually unihibited of any of ERB’s female characters. Burroughs contrasts her natural uninhibited sexuality with the inhibited sexuality of Waldo. There is a nice comparison with Freud possible here. Also with the Burroughs corpus there is room for an analysis of Nadara, La, and Balza.
During the course of his stay on the island , the natural primitive life will flesh Waldo out, build him up, give him conficence and make him courageous as well as curing his TB. Of course he never loses his intellectual attainments while using them to better his opponents and improve his situation. Thus neither Haggard, Conrad, Freud or Burroughs is able to resolve the conflicts of the discontents caused by civilization. As attractive as the primitive is it must remain an intellectual ideal.
Go to Part 3.
In The Beginning.
During the course