January 12, 2013
Edgar Rice Burroughs And The Revolt Against Civilization
A Review Of
Lothrop Stoddard’s 1922 Eponymous Title
Stoddard, Lothrop: The Revolt Against Civilization: The Menace Of The Underman, 1922, New York, Charles Scribner’s Sons, First Edition.
In the name of our To-morrow we will burn Rafael
Destroy museums, crush the flowers of art,
Maidens in the radiant kingdom of the Future
Will be more beautiful than Venus de Milo.
Quoted by Stoddard p. 202
A perennial problem in Burroughs’ studies is what did he believe? Was he a racist? Was he an anti-Semite? Was he an irredeemable bigot? Shall we just say he was not of a contemporary Liberal frame of mind. If you listen to Richard Slotkin author of Gunfighter Nation and a professor at Case Western Reserve at the time he wrote his book a couple decades ago, Edgar Rice Burroughs was an evil man responsible for all the evil in the US from 1912 to the present. Slotkin even sees him responsible for the My Lai massacre of Viet Nam.
Himself a Communist Slotkin can overlook all the crimes of the Soviet Union in which tens of millions were exterminated to find the ultimate evil in the killing of a few dozen people in Viet Nam.
Slotkin, who rampages through his history disparaging any non-Liberal writers as atavistic bigots firmly attaches Burroughs’ name to two scholars, Madison Grant and his Passing Of The Great Race of 1916 and Lothrop Stoddard and his historical studies of the twenties. He considers the two hardly less evil than Burroughs. To someone less excitable, perhaps, or lessLiberal, the two writers have written responsible and astute studies. I certainly think they have.
When I first read Slotkin I rejected the notion that Burroughs had been influenced by either. Ten years on I have to retract that opinion. It is now clear that Burroughs read both while being heavily influenced by Lothrop Stoddard, especially his 1922 volume, The Revolt Against Civilization. While the studies of both Grant and Stoddard would at best supplement Burroughs already developed opinions The Revolt can easily be seen as a template for Burroughs’ writing after he read it. While the study complemented his own developed social and political opinions I am sure that Stoddard’s explication of the history provided Burroughs with many new facts. Based on its opinions that appeared in ERB’s novels I would place the reading somewhere about 1926 or 1927.
Contrary to what some admirers want to make him ERB was what today would be considered a very conservative man, today’s Liberals would be anathema to him. He was decidedly anti-Communist, a Eugenicist, while not bigoted he was not a Negrophile or Semitophile. He was essentially a man with a social and historical outlook that was formed before 1900, a pre-immigration outlook formed while the Indian wars were still in progress. In short he was a man of his times.
Thomas Dixon Jr. to whom he is often compared was one of the most successful writers of the period who carefully examined both the Civil War and Reconstruction as well as the growing Socialist/Communist movement. He was not a bigot as he is always construed but a man of his own people. Burroughs was influenced by his work and thought well of him. He did not abhor him. ERB read many of Dixon’s novels and admired the movie based on his books, The Birth Of A Nation. He sympathized with Henry Ford in his struggle for the welfare of America and read the Dearborn Independent, Ford’s newspaper. In short, Burroughs was a stand up guy.
Now, what evidence is there he read The Revolt Against Civilization: The Menace Of The Underman? Let’s begin with this quote, p. 34 et seq.
Down to that time the exact nature of the life process remained a mystery. The mystery has now been cleared up. The researches of [August] Weisman and other modern biologists have revealed the fact that all living beings are due to a continuous stream of germ plasm which has existed ever since life first appeared on earth and which will continue to exist as long as any life remains. This germ-plasm consists of minute germ cells which have the power of developing into human living beings. All human beings spring from the union of a male sperm-cell and a female egg-cell. Right here, however, occurs the basic feature of the life process. The new individual consists, from the start, of two sorts of plasm. Almost the whole of him is body plasm – the ever multiplying cells which differentiate into the organs of the body. But he also contains germ- plasm. At his very conception a tiny bit of the life stuff from which he springs is set aside or carefully isolated from the body-plasm, and forms a course of development entirely its own. In fact, the germ-plasm is not really part of the individual; he is merely its bearer, destined to pass it on to other bearers of the life chain.
Now all this was not only unknown but even unsuspected down to a short time ago. Its discovery was in fact dependent upon modern scientific methods. Certainly, it was not likely to suggest itself to even the most philosophic mind. Thus, down to a generation ago, the life stuff was supposed to be a product of the body, not differing essentially in character from other body products. This assumption had two important consequences. In the first place, it tended to obscure the very concept of heredity, and led men to think of environment as virtually all important; in the second place, even where the importance of heredity was dimly perceived the role of the individual was misunderstood, and he was conceived as a creator rather than a mere transmitter. This was the reason for the false theory of “the inheritance of acquired characteristics,” formulated by Lamarck and upheld by most scientists until almost the end of the nineteenth century. Of course, Lamarckianism was merely a modification of the traditional ‘environmentalist’ attitude: it admitted that heredity possessed some importance, but it maintained environment as the basic feature.
Now there you have the argument of God in Tarzan And The Lion Man of 1933 nearly word for word. I hink it unlikely that ERB actually read Weisman who published following 1900 and who ERB may never have heard of, so his source was in all probability Stoddard.
Stoddard’s presentation nicely straddles the change of consciousness from the nineteenth to the twentieth century. It sounds a trifle naïve to our ears but was cutting edge at the time. Weisman’s theories were a big step in the direction of the discovery of DNA a short 26 years after Stoddard’s study.
It is important though to remember that more than fifty percent of the US population today rejects the concept of evolution while being more Lamarckian in outlook than might be supposed. We are as a whole not quite as advanced as we think we are.
As a quick affirmation of the influence of Stoddard on ERB on pages 95-96 he gives an account of the famous Jukes family of degenerates that appeared in ERB’s 1932 novelette, Pirate Blood.
Stoddard was well aware of what was happening historically and presently and one can see that he passed that understanding on to ERB. Almost as though writing today, on page 237 Stoddard writes:
Stressful transition is the key-note of our times. Unless all signs be faulty, we stand at one of those momentous crises in history when mankind moves from one well-marked epoch to another of widely different character.
Extremely prescient observation in 1922 while his study has been borne out in detail. The chapter titles give a clear outline of the contents:
1. The Burden Of Civilization
2. The Iron Law Of Equality
3. The Nemesis Of The Inferior
4. The Lure Of The Primitive
5. The Ground Swell Of Revolt
6. The Rebellion Of The Underman
7. The War Against Chaos
As can be easily seen novelists such as Rider Haggard, ERB, Edgar Wallace as well as many others from 1890 to the 20s were grappling with the problems indicated by the chapter titles.
The natural tendency in humans is to be rather lax in mental activity. Precision calls for an active mentality and concentration. Not everyone is capable of this, yet, beginning in the nineteenth century such mental qualities were increasingly necessary. Such disciplines as Chemistry and Physics didn’t allow for personal vagaries or individual style. One couldn’t bend the disciplines to one’s own desires, precise measurements were necessary requiring mental concentration. A little bit off and who knows what might happen. In a way then the Overman and Underman were created. Either you could or you couldn’t and if you couldn’t you slipped beneath- an Underman. Higher civilization was impossible for you.
Burroughs addressed this problem continually. In his character Tarzan he resolved the problem giving his creation a split personality, in a loin cloth he was one man, in a tuxedo he was another. Two separate gorillas in one and always a beast. In real life society split into two possibilities- the Over and Underman.
Worse still scientific methods were able to measure the ineffable, the unseen. In chemistry sub-tiny atoms were able to be detected and their sub-miniscule weights actually measured. Measurement is the bane of the Underman. A Mole contains 6,022 x 10 to the 23rd power of atoms, an incredible incomprehensible number that still might weigh 12 grams or less. Astonishing. Beyond the comprehension hence belief of the Underman. As the process can’t be seen it can’t be believed.
In human intelligence the Englishman Francis Galton began to devise measuring devices of intelligence in 1865 shortly after Darwin announced Evolution in 1959. Thus uncertainty about mental capacity was eliminated. As Stoddard calls it, The Iron Law Of Inferiority. Biology and measuring excluded something like eighty-five percent of the population from the ranks of the most intelligent. Without that high measurement of intelligence 85% of the population was automatically excluded from the possibility of higher attainment while at the same time being prejudged.
Big strapping fellows, all man, were relegated to manual labor while wimps like perhaps, John D. Rockefeller, became billionaires. Not right, the big strapping fellows said, but not measuring up in intelligence, which they couldn’t see, they were condemned to the shovel for life.
Intelligence measuring tests were improved between 1865 and 1920 although not as accurate as could be desired. Men entering the armed forces in WWI were an excellent testing group. Of 1,700,000 tested intelligence levels were fairly accurately determined. It was then discovered that only four and a half percent were very bright with another seven or eight percent bright, while the huge bulk were C+ to C- descending from there.
One imagines Burroughs read this with extreme thoughtfulness.
So, now as the bulk of the good things were going to those who could do, what were those who couldn’t do about it? The great issue since 1789 has been equality; the Underman demanded equality as a first condition. He could organize. He could sabotage. He could rage. And that is what the Underman has done.
The Communist Party was formed. And what was their chief demand? Equality. Absolute equality. As they couldn’t rise to a natural equality then the only other feasible solution was to bring the Superior intelligences down to their level. Thus they raged against that great equalizer, education. Screw science, screw physics, screw chemistry, screw biology. Who needed what you couldn’t see and that especially included intelligence measuring?
One of ERB’s bete noires was the I.W.W.- The Industrial Workers Of The World, syndicalists. Imagine his reaction when he read this:
Viewed in the abstract, technical sense, Syndicalism does not seem to present any specially startling innovations. It is when we examine the Syndicalists’ animating spirit, their general philosophy of life, and the manner which they propose to obtain their ends, that we realize we are in the presence of an ominous novelty,- the mature philosophy of the Under Man. This philosophy of the Under-Man is today called Bolshevism. Before the Russian Revolution it was known as Syndicalism. But Bolshevism and Syndicalism are basically one and the same thing. Soviet Russia has really invented nothing. It is merely practicing what others had been preaching for years- with such adaptation as normally attend the putting of theory into practice.
Syndicalism, as an organized movement, is primarily the work of two Frenchmen, Fernand Pelloutier and Georges Sorel. Of course, just as there were Socialist before Marx, so there were Syndicalists before Sorel. Syndicalism’s intellectual progenitor was Proudhon, who in his writings had closely sketched out the Syndicalist theory. As for Syndicalism’s savage, violent, uncompromising spirit, it is clearly Anarchist in origin., drawing its inspiration not only from Proudhon but also from Bakunin, [Johann] Most, and all the rest of that furious company of revolt.
“Revolt!” This is the essence of Syndicalism: a revolt, not merely against modern society but against Marxian Socialism as well. And the revolt was well timed. When, at the very end of the nineteenth century, Georges Sorel lifted the red banner of Syndicalism, the hour awaited the man. The proletarian world was full of discordant and disillusionment at the long dormant Marxian philosophy. Half a century had passed since Marx first preached his gospel, and the revolutionary millennium was nowhere in sight. Society had not become a world of billionaires and beggars. The great capitalists had not swallowed all. The middle classes still survived and prospered. Worst of all, from the revolutionary viewpoint, the upper grades of the working classes had prospered, too. The skilled workers were, in fact, becoming an aristocracy of labor. They were acquiring property and thus growing capitalistic; they were raising their living standards and thus growing bourgeois. Society seemed endowed with a strange vitality! It was even reforming many of the abuses which Marx had pronounced incurable. When, then, was the proletariat to inherit the earth?
The Proletariat! That was the key word. The van, and even the main body of society, might be fairly on the march, but behind lagged a rear guard. Here, were, first of all, the lower working class strata- the “manual” laborers in the narrower sense, relatively ill paid and often grievously exploited. Behind these again came a motley crew, the rejects and misfits of society. “Casuals” and “unemployables”, “down-and-outs” and declasses, victims of social evils, victims of bad heredity and their own vices, paupers, defectives, degenerates, and criminals- they were all there. They were there for many reasons, but they were all miserable, and they were all bound together by a certain solidarity- a sullen hatred of the civilization from which they had little to hope. To these people evolutionary, “reformist” socialism was cold comfort. Then came the Syndicalists promising, not evolution but revolution; not in the dim future but the here and now; not a bloodless “taking over” by “the workers” hypothetically stretched to include virtually the whole community, but the bloody “dictatorship” of The Proletariat in its narrow revolutionary sense.
Here, at last, was living hope- hope, and the prospect of revenge! Is it then strange that a few short years should have seen revolutionary Socialists, Anarchists, all the anti-social forces of the whole world grouped under the banner of Georges Sorel? For a time they went under different names syndicalists in France, Bolshevists in Russia, I.W.W.s in America but in reality they formed one army, enlisted in a single war.
Now, what was this war? It was, first of all, a war for the conquest of Socialism as a preliminary to the conquest of society. Everywhere the orthodox Socialist parties were fiercely assailed. And these Socialist assaults were formidable, because the orthodox Socialists possessed no moral line of defense. Their arms were palsied by the virus of their revolutionary tradition. For however evolutionary and non-militant the Socialists might have been in practice, in theory they had remained revolutionary their ethics continuing to be those of the “class war”, the destruction of the “possessing classes” and the “dictatorship of the proletariat.”
The American economist, Carver, will describe the ethics of socialism in the following lines: “Marxian Socialism has nothing in common with idealistic Socialism. It rests not on persuasion, but on force. It does not profess to believe, as did the old idealists, that if socialism be lifted up it will draw all men to it. In fact, it has no ideals; it is materialistic and militant. Being materialistic and atheistic, it makes no use of such terms as right and justice, unless it be to quiet the consciences of those who still harbor such superstitions. It insists that these terms are mere conventionalities; the concepts mere bugaboos invented by the ruling caste to keep the masses under control. Except in a conventional sense, from this crude materialistic view there is neither a right or wrong, justice nor injustice, good or bad. Until people who still believe in such silly notions divest their minds of them they will never understand the first principles of Marxian socialism.
“Who creates our ideas of right and wrong?” asks the Socialist. “The ruling class. Why? To insure their domination over the masses by depriving them of the power to think for themselves. We, the proletarians, when we get into power, will dominate the situation; we shall be the ruling class; we shall determine who is right and wrong. Do you ask us if what we propose is just? What do you mean by justice? Do you ask if it is right? What do you mean by right? It will be good for us. That is all that right and justice ever did or ever can mean!
People ask what Burroughs believed? Was he a racist? Was he an anti-Semite? Well, Burroughs’ beliefs can be extrapolated from the above quote as well as Stoddard’s whole book. If Burroughs could have expressed himself concisely he would have written The Revolt Against Civilization. You don’t have to look any further.
There could be no more ardent anti-Communist, anti-Socialist, anti-IWW than ERB. The book was published five years after the Russian Revolution, a mere three years after the narrow quelling of the Communist disturbances of 1919 while in 1922 the Harding administration was putting the finishing touches on the suppression of that Communist revolution in the US. Make no mistake the crimes of 1919 were part of an American Bolshevik revolution. Things would not return to what Harding called normalcy but it would be a reasonable facsimile that would endure until the engineered great crash of 1929 opening the way for the Communist revolution of FDR in the US.
These were perilous times ERB was living in no less than those of today. One can’t be sure when Burroughs read Revolt but many of the same themes almost in quotation were employed in his 1926 novel The Moon Maiden. And from the Moon Maiden he went to the more sophisticated approaches of his great political novels from Tarzan At The Earth’s Core to Tarzan And The Lion Man.
As Stoddard thinks the Underman breeds at a very fast rate while the Overman limits his family the obvious consequence is that people of intelligence decrease rapidly in relation to the Underman. Of course Stoddard has all kinds of tables and charts to prove his point. As this was published in 1922 the results are heavily skewed to prove the English are the top of the heap; a result not uncongenial to Burroughs’ sensibilities.
One imagines that as of induction time in 1917-18 a great many of the recent immigrants at least had underdeveloped English language skills that affected the results but at this point it no longer matters; the general idea has been proved sound.
As we have a war between the Underman and the Overman and make no mistake, as far as Sorel and the Syndicalist/Bolshevik ideology goes it is a war to the knife, it may be asked what Stoddard’s formula for the Overman’s success might be.
This returns us to the Underman’s great fear that science, that is objective analysis supported by an array of facts will condemn him to the virtual condition of servitude. It might be surmised that this is an intolerable but inescapable conclusion unless education and science are destroyed reducing the more intelligent to the masses.
Stoddard then relying on Darwinian and Weismanian evolution and the notion of Eugenics introduced by Francis Galston resolves the problem by ending the reproduction of the ‘defective’ classes, that is, forced sterilization. Forced sterilization was actually employed. It is interesting that he never brings in the issue of race thus on the surface his book is neither racist for anti-Semitic. However as the book assumes that the superior intelligences are English or Nordic the text qualifies as anti-Semitic in Jewish eyes and hence has been placed on the Jewish Index Of Forbidden Literature.
One may be horrified at the Eugenic solution to the intelligence problem but one must be equally horrified at the Underman solution to their Overman problem. Liquidation is more horrifying than sterilization and Liquidation was employed by the Underman in Russia and will be employed again if they can consolidate their gains in the US and Europe today.
The problem is that while being founded in reality it is impossible in execution. The human mind is too subjective to be trusted with such a great responsibility. Many statues were placed on the books commanding forced sterilization and many such were executed.
Schools classes were organized based on supposed mental aptitudes. How objectively I will demonstrate by my own example. Until Jr. High in my home town schools did not systematically differentiate based on mental capacity, however at the end of the ninth grade just before I.Q. testing in the tenth there were three options, Trade School for those deemed not of academic ability, in other words destined for the labor force, and once in high school a division between business, that is white collar, and college prep. This was still a process of self-selection thus I signed up for high school however someone changed my papers to trade school.
Thus when I showed for classes at high school, I was told I was enrolled at trade school. Now, this was the fight of my life, and for it. I was told I was in trade school and to get out. I said I wasn’t leaving and sat down where I waited for four days for the situation to resolve itself. My argument was that the law required that I be given an education and it wouldn’t be at trade school. Whatever the behind the scenes machinations were I was reluctantly allowed to enter but they then insisted it would be business level while I demanded college prep. With an unexplained prescience I was told that I would never go to college so I should be in business. Nevertheless I won that struggle too.
I am sure that if enforced sterilization had been possible at the time I would have been compelled to undergo it.
Now, here’s the kicker. Came time for I.Q. tests and I placed in the upper four percent. I have no idea what the reaction to that was although my critics had to tone down their act. So human passions invalidated the whole Eugenic idea.
In other words there is no equable solution to this terrible human dilemma.
In that sense the solution offered by Aldus Huxley in his famous comic novel Brave New World is of some interest. In Huxley’s story he enlists science, chemistry, to produce different levels of mental competence. The zygote is nurtured in test tubes while at certain levels of development certain chemicals are introduced limiting the development of the fetus. Thus the labor problem is solved by creating classes only capable of menial tasks. The upper classes are bred like race horses to various degrees of excellence. Huxley was tongue in cheek to be sure but, actually the only solution to this otherwise insoluble problem.
Stoddard didn’t introduce any ideas to which Burroughs wasn’t already familiar and in agreement. At best Stoddard’s superb research and explication clarified ERB’s understanding for him. I don’t know how familiar he was with Georges Sorel. Today Sorel is unknown except to specialists although I am beginning to see his name pop up so with the Communist regime of Barack Obama perhaps the way is being prepared for Sorel’s extreme measures of exterminating the Overman.
At any rate I have come to the opinion that Richard Slotkin is correct in thinking the Burroughs had read and was in accord with both Madison Grant and Lothrop Stoddard. However Slotkin evaluates their work through the distortion of his own Communistic lens which is only valid to those of his point of view.
His view does not make Burroughs a racist or anti-Semite. It makes him an objective and accurate observer and analyst of the situation of his time. As indicated above Burroughs absorbed Stoddard’s information, that point of view and used it to create his wonderful works of the late twenties and first half of the thirties. If one bears Stoddard’s book in mind while reading those novels it will make them make great sense while presenting his view of the political and social situation
Of course the novels are not confined solely to dealing with these issues; Burroughs had a much more far ranging mind, both subjectively and objectively.
Stoddard’s The Revolt Against Civilization is a major study as relevant today as the day it was written. The last ninety years have only borne out his theses. The Revolt Against Civilization is well worth a read, perhaps two. At any rate you will have an accurate idea of Burroughs’ social and political beliefs.
September 20, 2011
EDGAR RICE BURROUGHS VS. THE COMIC BOOK HEROES
In the attempt to put together a historical puzzle the missing piece or pieces, the clarifying pieces, appear from time to time. Thus with the release of the movie, Captain America this year a significant piece of the puzzle falls into place that clarifies the role of Edgar Rice Burroughs and his literary creations in the panorama of the twentieth century- the fabulous twentieth century.
It is difficult today to conceive of how the early twentieth century was perceived as a complete break with the Victorian nineteenth. One only has to compare the streamlined Santa Fe Chief in this picture alongside a nineteenth century locomotive to see how the Twentieth Century was perceived as the century of absolute exciting progress. The time certainly justified General Electric’s motto: Progress is our most important product.
Burroughs role in this fabulous century is essentially the story of how Edgar Rice Burroughs created the concept of the super hero on the cusp of the emergent movie and comic book industries. It is in the latter two industries that the super hero found his definition.
Just as in the days of yore mankind projected its needs in the psychological projection of Gods so the twentieth century saw the beginning of the demise of the old gods and the birth of the new. While the creators of the Old Gods have disappeared into the mists of time, and there must have been human creators of the Gods, the creators of the new gods can be easily traced.
The predecessors of the Superheroes can be found in the rise of the mega intellects of the nineteenth century detectives such as Monsieur LeCoq, Sherlock Holmes and arch fiends such as Dr. Moriarty and the French Fantomas. Influenced by such as these Edgar Rice Burroughs created the actual prototypes of the mid-century superheroes in the characters of John Carter of Mars and Tarzan The Ape Man. While John Carter is less well known than Tarzan, who became a household word within a half dozen years of his creation, Carter truly had super human powers having been transported from the higher gravity of Earth to the lower gravitational field of Mars, or Barsoom, as Burroughs renamed the planet.
While not able to leap over tall buildings his saltational powers functioned at a level of efficiency unattained by any other Barsoomian. For a decade or so Burroughs had the superhero field to himself while his lessons sunk in to the minds of those following him.
The two most significant men of extraordinary if not super human powers to follow Tarzan and John Carter were Maxwell Grant’s superb character, The Shadow and Lester Dent’s Doc Savage. Preceding the comic book character Superman by a few years Doc Savage was actually advertised as a superman, undoubtedly in reference to Nietzsche.
Then in the early thirties in addition to movies, in which Tarzan was a stellar attraction, the modern comic book or magazine came into existence. Of course newspaper comic strips had been developing from the turn of the century but the actual comic book was a development of the thirties.
As fate would have it the comic book industry like the movie industry became a province of the Jews.
Thus two streams of influence formed comic book heroes. On the one hand the Jewish writers and cartoonists were influenced by John Carter, Tarzan, The Shadow, and Doc Savage and on the other by a fifteenth century Jewish super creature known as the Golem. This was a creature fashioned from clay, as per Adam of the Old Testament, by a Prague Rabbi named Loewe who breathed life into his creation as God had breathed life into Adam. The Golem was created to wreak vengeance on Jewish victims as a sort of avenger as would be the status and role of the latter day Jewish superheroes of the comic books.
First out of the box in 1938 was the prototype of the rest of the comic book heroes, Superman. Like Burroughs with his creations the two Jewish creators built Superman’s origins from the Biblical story of the Exodus. Tarzan of course was born to noble English parents in Darkest Africa who then died or were killed by the Great Apes while the she ape, Kala, snatched him from the cradle and raised him as an ape.
Superman was born of noble parents on the planet Krypton which was about to be destroyed, and sent on a rocket ship to Earth while his parents died. On Earth he was raised by kindly goy Earth people. Thus we have two different versions of Moses in the bullrushes. Superman, then, combined John Carter and Tarzan.
Superman was a good thing in commercial terms being the equivalent of a literary best seller. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery so that while Superman imitated Burroughs’ great characters a host of comic book superheroes soon trod in Superman’s footsteps. Next in 1939 there was Batman, probably the most successful of the Jewish superheroes, and then in 1940 the temporarily successful Captain America, really the product of WWII, losing his popularity with the end of the war. The most successful of all the superheroes was the strange goyish creation, Capt. Marvel but he doesn’t concern us here.
The above is very interesting I’m sure but what significance does it have; what is its meaning; what is going on? Well, the back story is very interesting indeed. One must remember that our lives are not lived in a social vacuum of unrelated incidents. All is part of a continuum that does not just happen but is created by the participants. All is a drive to attain a desire. The question is who are the participants? As has already been indicated, the Jews and the Gentiles or goyim. From what do those desires arise? Suggestion. Suggestions having been received, when a body of suggestions have been ingested, our minds begin to digest those suggestions. One then interprets the suggested reality according to one’s temperament which itself has been built on a body of suggestions.
All society is education, indoctrination and conditioning, in other words hypnotic suggestion. Burroughs was born in 1875 as the scientific revolution was in an advanced stage of development; by 1893 when Burroughs was seventeen the whole of human knowledge and scientific advances was put on exhibition at the Chicago Columbian Exposition. The Expo was probably the high water mark in Western Civilization or, at least, its confidence in itself. The Expo was an unparalleled achievement of human endeavor far surpassing all expos of the nineteenth century with the possible exception of the 1851 London Exposition. Interestingly both were burned to the ground by anti-civilization elements. The Columbian Expo of 1893 was the most powerful element of Burroughs’ education.
Shortly before the boy’s birth in 1875 the character of immigration changed. In 1871 Jews from the eastern European Pale of Settlement began to flood the country until in 1914 possibly half of European Jewry had been transferred to the United States. The great immigration myth is that the immigrants were assimilated into the ‘Melting Pot’ of the United States; nothing could be further from the truth. The immigrants merely transferred their national cultures to the United States where because they were compelled to speak English it appeared that they had been assimilated. In reality the immigrants came to the sparsely populated United States where they established an outremer population on the New Island as the Irish had it, a new Sicily, a new Zion etc. They came in such numbers that they actually were colonists. The old cultures were merely adapted to the new realities and developed along side the Native peoples.
These alien or invading cultures then shaped the development of the United States in their image as much as possible. Thus they were able to blame their cultural shortcomings on ‘America’ while emphasizing their virtues as their own. Hence ‘America’ developed into a sort of dirty word, a catchall for the crimes of the immigrant cultures. This state of affairs was masked until the Great War when the social conflicts came into the open and were immediately subsumed into the Communist ideology after 1917.
Young Burroughs observed this immigration phenomenon or suggestion with misgivings associating himself with Nativist views although he remained independent to our knowledge of association with Nativist organizations. Thus while interpretations of these social suggestions are found through out his early writings the conflict didn’t come to a head until after the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution in what became the USSR as Russia disappeared from the map. With all the national dissidents operating under the rubric of Communism the world was divided into us and them- ostensibly Communism and Capitalism. The dichotomy was created by the Communists. However each national culture could function with representatives in each camp while furthering their parochial objectives.
It was a new world the morning after the Bolshevik Revolution. Burroughs immediately came into collision with the new realities. As this new world was us and them it was possible to hate Communism while retaining virtue in the Capitalist camp. However one couldn’t detest national, religious or racial components even though they may have been Communists. As Communists always denied being Communists one was always dealing with cultural groups that dissembled their Communism.
When Burroughs began his career in literature even as he wrote the movies began to assume a transcendent place in US and world culture. By the end of the second decade it was evident that movies were where the big money was. That’s when Burroughs’ troubles began.
He quickly ran afoul of the Communists who controlled publishing and the Jews who controlled the movies. The Communists wished to suppress all non-Communist writers who refused to put out the Communist message. The Jews wished to discourage all criticism of their activities. Burroughs was marked out as one to be destroyed.
Behind the Communist outrage and obscured by it was the Jewish attempt to realize the Messianic age which assault was begun in Europe and the United States in 1913 and was to continue to 1928 according to Rabbi Abba Hillel Silver. While the assault was violent in Europe emanating from the transformation of Russia to the USSR, in the United States it was more peaceable after the violent year of 1919 while being conducted on a propagandistic and social level buttressed by the doctrines of Sigmund Freud as executed by his nephew and disciple Edward L. Bernays and others. You should become acquainted with Edward Bernays if you aren’t already.
Among the first of these propagandistic efforts was the promulgation of a ‘Jewish Bill Of Rights.’ This document along with a questionnaire was sent to the prominent men and women of America to discover their ‘anti-Semitic’ propensities. Burroughs failed this test so that he was black balled in Hollywood after 1922. The blacklist was broken by Joseph Kennedy and his FBO Studios in 1928. MGM then stepped in with a different approach from blacklisting. They bought the movie rights to Tarzan from Burroughs for much less than a song. Burroughs then was essentially neutralized in 1931 while MGM acquired the supreme super hero Tarzan to shape or mishape as they pleased. Within a few years there were not many who remembered that there was a literary Tarzan. My amazement when I learned there were Tarzan books when I was twelve in 1950 was a revelation of the first order.
The movies were able, of course, to shape all the goy literary heroes from Frankenstein to Sherlock Holmes into their own intellectual mold from then into the present while comic books added Jewish superheroes to displace them.
The planned Jewish revolution hadn’t succeeded by 1928 but the groundwork had been laid leaving the future promising and open. While in the US the Jews were able to sweep all opposition aside even to the extent of putting their creature, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, into the White House for an unprecedented four terms, in Europe unexpected opposition occurred when Wolf Hitler was elected chancellor of German in 1933. While having their creatures Joseph Stalin as Premier of the USSR and FDR in the USA with Popular Front governments if office throughout Europe with the exception of Germany, Italy and Spain, the Jews seemed to be in a position to realize their millennium.
Indoctrination and conditioning was still important in the US thus when sound movies were introduced at the very end of the twenties and the comic book in the early thirties the Jews had two of the most powerful propaganda tools available under their ownership and control.
Their need in the thirties was to isolate and marginalize the Nativist opposition. This would be achieved in the forties wartime conditions when FDR had the prominent Nativists arrested and charged with sedition. At that point the Jews had succeeded in capturing the government and mind of the country although a long mopping up process would be necessary into the fifties and sixties. Thus while Wolf Hitler rounded up Jews in Europe, Jews were rounding up Nativists Americans in the US while advising any dissidents to keep their heads low.
The movies and comic books would play a big role in indoctrinating Americans to believe that the Nativists were Fascists and/or Nazis and not true Americans. It was at this time that Edward L. Bernays succeeded in changing the definition of Democracy from that of individual opportunity to recognition of groups having rights to a share of government based on group identity rather than individual identity. This would be a key concept as the century developed.
After the Bolshevik Revolution the American reaction to Communism was strongly against it. The Communist Party was even outlawed for a time until the Fellow Travelers and Parlor Pinks had the ban lifted. The silent movies of the twenties then were not heavily influenced by the Reds although as indicated the Tarzan movies of Edgar Rice Burroughs were blacklisted. By the thirties the Reds were better organized while with the arrival of sound playwrights capable of producing dialog were needed. The Red exodus to Hollywood began.
The US Communist Party as with all national Communist Parties, was a majority or plurality Jewish affair to the point where an attack on one was an attack on the other. Thus as the thirties advanced the drum roll for US involvement in a war against the Nazis began. This would involve the formation in the US of an opposition led by the America First Committee which was opposed to any involvement in foreign wars as a reaction. As this was opposed to Jewish wishes the America First Committee was designated as Fascist while its putative leader, Charles Lindbergh was designated Hitler’s stooge.
In order to discredit the opposition, no sooner was FDR sworn in than Samuel Dickstein, a Jewish representative from New York, began to agitate for a House Un-American Activities Committee to stamp out Nativist opposition. As Dickstein was a Soviet agent this meant that the Nativist opposition was un-American while the Jewish Roosevelt government were the true Americans. So, the Jews were well on the way to usurping the American identity which the comic book superheroes represented. Dickstein was successful in establishing his HUAC committee in 1938 but the chair eluded him and went to a real American, Martin Dies of Texas, who then used the committee to harass Communists as well as ‘Fascists’ much to the dismay of Dickstein and FDR.
Hollywood in support of Dickstein began turning out anti-German movies and by implication anti-Nativist well in advance of American involvement in 1942. Involvement in the European conflict was of course brought about by forcing Japan to declare war on the US in late ‘41.
The comic book industry forming about 1932 was becoming real by 1938 when the two Jews from Cleveland devised their Golem character Superman followed by Batman and Captain America. The comic book heroes fell in with the anti-German propaganda. If the Jews, British and FDR were not yet openly promoting the war against Germany the tendency was well formed in that direction.
All those comics were openly anti- German with Capt. America socking Hitler on the cover of the first issue. Capt. America was a creation of two Jews from Brooklyn, Joe Simon and Jack Kirby. To quote the Rabbi Simcha Weinstein from his book Up, Up, And Oy Vey!: How Jewish Culture And Values Shaped The Comic Book Superhero:
Kirby and his partner, Joe Simon, worked at Martin Goodman’s Timely Comics, where the mostly Jewish staff openly despised Hitler. When Goodman saw the preliminary sketches for Captain America, he immediately gave Kirby and Simon their own comic book. The character was an instant hit, selling almost one million copies an issue. “The U.S. hadn’t yet entered the war when Jack and I did Captain America, so maybe he was our way of lashing out at the Nazi menace. Evidently, Captain America symbolized the American people’s sentiments. When we were producing Captain America we were outselling Batman, Superman and all the others.” Simon later commented.
Well, not quite all the others, as Whiz Comics Captain Marvel was the best selling comic of both the war years and later forties. Certainly my favorite. As in the years before the war the America First Committee enjoyed overwhelming popularity amongst ‘Americans’ I would question Simon’s notion that Captain America overwhelmingly represented American opinion. As there were six million Jewish ‘Americans’ in the country I might suggest that the response from that culture of ‘Americans’ was more overwhelming than elsewhere. Jews might easily have accounted for sixty to eighty percent of sales.
It is also probable that no real American would ever have invented a corny jingoistic persona like Captain America, in fact, none did. The image was certainly repulsive to me as a child. My prime comic reading years were from 1947 to 1950 and I and my entire generation rejected Captain America while embracing Captain Marvel. Even then Superman was a distant competitor to Captain Marvel which is why DC comics sued Whiz for copyright violation.
All the Jewish comics were openly anti-German, thus the FDR administration, the movies and comic books were fighting for the Jewish ‘good war.’ When Charles Lindbergh pointed this out he was immediately portrayed as an agent of the Nazis whereas he was merely telling the truth while being an ideal American. Philip Roth in his 2004 novel, The Plot Against America, recounts the Jewish atmosphere of the time while he postulates that Lindbergh was elected president in 1940 as a satrap of Hitler. Thus the Jews became the real Americans and the real Americans were totalitarians out to destroy the Democracy the Jews had created.
In his essay in the New York Times of 9/19/04 titled: The Story Behind The Plot Against America Roth says that he is recreating America as it really was in 1940 but that is not so. As Roth lived in a New Jersey Jewish colony he and his family was out of touch with the real America as his fictional brother who had gone to Kentucky tries to tell him.
In fact in the America of the time in which Samuel Dickstein was an evil presence the American Jewish Committee and The Anti Defamation League were paramilitary organizations conducting spying operations against the non-Jewish public. Numerous agents unaffiliated with any government agency crisscrossed society looking for any activity that might be considered against Jewish interests. These forays were gathered together in 1943 under the assumed name of John Roy Carlson and published as an indictment against Jewish ‘enemies.’ Many of them were arrested and tried as ‘un-Americans in 1944. So, Roth’s paranoia is at best unbalanced.
Roth says the idea of Lindbergh’s having been elected occured to him while reading Arthur Schlesinger’s autobiography:
I came upon a sentence in which Schlesinger notes that there were some Republican isolationists who wanted to run Lindbergh for president in 1940. That’s all there was, that one sentence with its reference to Lindbergh and to a fact about him I’d not known. It made me think, “What if they had?” and I wrote the question in the margin.
While this may be how Roth came upon the notion his was not the first such idea. As Paul Buhle and Dave Wagner in their Radical Hollywood of 2002 point out, Donald Ogden Stewart in his script for 1943’s Keeper Of The Flame, Charles Lindbergh is posited as a plotter of a coup to replace FDR in alliance with Hitler. This would have been propaganda to indict Lindbergh for the upcoming trial of the Nativists. I don’t know whether Roth saw the movie as a boy but if he did perhaps the idea festered in his brain for several decades until he was reminded by Schlesinger’s book while his mind was half prepared.
So the actual plot of the Jews to take over the American government was displaced to Lindbergh and the Nativists. The Jewish coup was represented in the comic book character of Captain America. This situation is made clear in the current (2011) movie Capt. America: The First Avenger. Thus Philip Roth and Stan Lee of the comics recapitulate and clarify Jewish activities in the 1933-43 era. Captain America is actually Jewish assuming an ultimate American identity.
The origins of Captain America then emanated from the Jewish dream subconscious of Jack Kirby which was quite different form real Americans. He therefore, as all writers must, made Capt. America in his comic book existence from his own dream fantasies. Thus giving his creation the goy name of Steve Rogers he nevertheless gave him a Brooklyn Jewish origin. As Rabbi Weinstein also a Brooklyn Jew explains, Jews have a sort of dual identity as powerless Jews posing as goys in a powerful goy world. Thus the sickly ineffective Rogers undergoes a scientific experiment that turns him essentially from a 98 lb. weakling into an all powerful goy Charles Atlas without the hard work of body building. I’m sure Kirby saw those ads growing up.
Rogers having now been turned into a Superman had to have a name. Superman being taken Super Jew was out for obvious reasons, or even Super Hebrew, there was no Israel at the time, so Kirby settled on Captain America. Rabbi Weinstein again:
Of course a more literal reading of the costume is that it is the American flag brought to life. Captain America’s star is, after all, five pointed, not six pointed like the Star of David. The flag-as-costume [this is what used to make we boys puke] notion reinforces the ideal of assimilation [Jews ‘becoming’ Americans.] By literally cloaking their character in patriotism, Kirby and Simon became true Americans.
In 1940 there was a desperate struggle going on between the Jews and America First who the Jews styled as American Fascists, I.e. actual Hitlerites. By that line of reasoning the Jews became the true Americans, creators and protectors of genuine American Democracy while Anglo-Americans or Native Americans or America Firsters were out to destroy the great American Dream the Jews had created. This is the theme of Philip Roth’s novel The Plot Against America backdated to this period. The current movie Captain America could easily be subtitled The Plot Against America Foiled.
Rabbi Weinstein again:
Despite the patriotic appearance, Captain America’s costume also denotes deeply rooted [Jewish] tradition. Along with other Jewish-penned superheroes, Captain America was in part an allusion to the golem, the legendary creature said to have been constructed by the sixteenth century mystic Rabbi Judah Loew to defend the Jews of medieval Prague. “The golem was pretty much the precursor of the Superhero in that in every society there is a need for mythological characters, wish fulfillment. And the wish fulfillment in the Jewish case of the hero would be someone who could protect us. This kind of storytelling seems to dominate in Jewish culture,” commented Will Eisner.
According to tradition a golem is sustained by inscribing the Hebrew word emet (truth) upon its forehead. When the first letter is removed, leaving the word met (death) the golem will be destroyed. Emet is spelled with the letters aleph, rem and tav. The first letter, aleph, is also the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet, the equivalent of the letter A. Captain America wears a mask with a white A on his forehead- the very letter needed to empower the golem.
I hope this makes clear that Superman, Batman and Captain America are Jewish in identity and what their purpose is in American society.
Having created a competing line of Jewish superheroes the problem then became how to discredit and supplant the goy super heroes. As should be clear by now what we have going on is a religious war but fought by propagandistic means. In other words the battle field was literature, comic books and the movies. As in all religious conflicts the goal is to displace the religious icons of the other; thus, in early Christian times churches were built on the sites of pagan temples while sacred groves were cut down. Nothing has changed; nothing can change. The Jewish goal was the elimination of ‘Christian’ or goy symbols.
Capt. Marvel was gotten rid of in 1953 when the Jews sued him out of his cape. As I’ve pointed out in my review of Tarzan And The Lion Man, parts 8,9.10, a key text in this colossal battle, MGM attempted to destroy the character as well as Burroughs when they bought movie rights to Tarzan in 1931. They got his birthright for a mess of pottage. It may be coincidental but in 1942 after the success of the Jewish comic book super heroes MGM discarded their lucrative rights to Tarzan to movie maker Sol Lesser presumably as worthless or, at least, of no more interest to them. Of course Lesser continued the franchise with phenomenal success. This necessitated a continued campaign to debase the character continuing today. At the same time that Tarzan is debased the Jewish characters, Capt. America is now one of a group of four ‘Avengers’, hence the double entendre of ‘The First Avenger’, who are increasingly Judaisized, while presented in a positive way in the attempt to marginalize Tarzan.
Now, some seventy years after the demise of the man, the continued demonization of Wolf Hitler is becoming less relevant, even annoying if you’re not Jewish, so in Capt. America Wolf Hitler is demoted to an incompetent dead threat while the scepter is passed to the mega Nazi/anti-Semite recreated in the mental projection of Red Skull or the Hydra. The mythical symbol of the Hydra is well chosen to represent anti-Semitism as no matter how many heads you cut off another one, two or three grow back. The threat never ends and the paranoia is justified.
Thus in the Freudian sense Jews have a dual personality: on the one hand you have the ineffective completely innocent assumed goy persona of Steve Rogers, who is the equivalent of Abel, the Chosen one and the crazed madman Hydra who is a projection of the negative aspects of the Jewish character imposed on the other as the anti-Semite. Thus the Jewish character is always at war with itself in the Freudian sense and hence never successful in its aims.
August 4, 2011
Themes And Variations
The Tarzan Novels Of Edgar Rice Burroughs
#15 Tarzan Triumphant
In The Footsteps Of The Lord
If anything the action of this novel reminds me of Ray Bradbury’s Illustrated Man just as the invasion of Opar brings strong recollections of the last story of Bradbury’s Martian Chronicles. In the latter all the great fictions of mankind, fairies, ogres, and whatnot have been driven from earth by Reason taking refuge on Mars. But as the true condition of Mars becomes known their world crumbles and disappears as there is no place in the universe left for them.
That fate will never overtake Tarzan as he represents very real hopes, dreams and desires of mankind. Even as the old world and old heaven of the Piscean Age begins to heave and crack as the new Age of Aquarius struggles to come into existence, the archetype of the Age is forming around Tarzan. Tarzan will emerge triumphant.
The next two scenes of Burroughs’ tapestry which come to life not unlike the pictures on the tattooed man are as vivid as any scenes Burroughs wrote. The agony of Gunner Patrick when he awakes to find himself alone is palpable. There is even an element of tragedy in his situation if one has sympathy for murderous criminals. Burroughs rather sneers that without his machine gun Patrick is a pathetic figure. But, while the machine gun represents advanced tochnology man’s prowess has always depended on his weapons, whether they be stones, spears and bows and arrows, an old harquebus or the machine gun or stealth bombers and self-guided blockbusters. The fellow with the latest model is always top gun on the block. Without his weapon he is naturally nothing. Even Tarzan would have been a dead man long before this without his father’s knife. What makes Gunner Patrick so reprehensible is that he uses his weapon for injustice rather than justice. Thus without his weapon he is subject to the same injustice he would inflict on others.
Still, he’s our criminal so we have to take his side. One would say he is less criminal than the men who stole Jezebel from him except that out there they live by a different lawless code. As Patrick would say: They ain’t no cops out there.
Law is a matter of the strongest; so Tarzan as the strongest and justest will reestablish Law and Order according to his terms. He acts as the judge and jury which some people with an opposing notion of Law might find offensive or even dangerous to their plans. How much of a coincidence then is it that in Tarzan’s New York Adventure he is stripped of his status as lawgiver and subsumed to a different legal code? No coincidence at all in my mind. The legal decision declaring Tarzan a criminal also showed who was strongest in Hollywood. In fact, in late 1941 and into ’42 Burroughs had been ousted from Hollywood himself, living in exile in Hawaii.
The Golden Girl, Jezebel, had been taken into custody by Capietro but Stabutch has eyes for her. The two men decide to play poker for her, best three out of five. Strange that an Italian and a Russian should be familiar with the quintessential American card game, but there you have it, they were.
Stabutch loses but calls Capietro a cheat.
This scene recalls ERB’s own loss when he and Emma were in transit in Parma, Idaho. While Emma waited upstairs ERB got cleaned of the couple’s last forty dollars in what may very well have been a crooked game. I haven’t played poker a lot but I’ve never been in a straight game, so as a stranger in Parma, the odds are that Burroughs’ game was crooked. He doesn’t say so, of course, but I’d be willing to bet he thought so. The memory was a horrendous one for ERB; it crops up frequently in the corpus. My memory of a Navy game is always with me. In fact, someone I hadn’t seen for forty years brought it up the first thing. These things are like the scar on Tarzan’s forehead.
Capietro and Stabutch fight, one out of one, that Stabutch wins. He then flees with Jezebel. the Gunner who has been gathering his wits above the scene sees the two ride out the gate. He follows in pursuit on foot.
Stabutch and Jezebel put up for the night during which a lion scares their horses away. Hungry the next day, Stabutch stashes the Golden Girl in a tree while he goes hunting. Staking out a water hole he is surprised to see Tarzan drinking. A golden opportunity to accomplish his mission but the strain is too much for his nerves; he misses his shot. Running as fast as he can, Tarzan following torments his victim with a couple of arrows before, as Stabutch begs for his life, putting an arrow through his throat. His throat! I was ready for ‘his black heart’ but was surprised by ‘his throat.’ As a probable surrogate for Stalin who sent him, why his throat? At any rate Tarzan has now completely defeated the Communists; once in Invincible and again here.
Patrick has been miraculously reunited with Jezebel but now all three are captured by the shiftas. The outcome is clear. The faithful Waziri stage a frontal attack on the shifta stockade. Patrick and Jezebel, who have been bound and left in the same tent, free themselves. The hard thing Patrick has been lying on turns out to be ‘his better half’, the machine gun. He then opens up on the shiftas from the rear. No contest.
The final picture in the web then, is the successful bringing together of all the threads and strands which began two thousand years previously in an entirely unrelated event, when Paul was martyred in Rome and Angustus fled for the African hinterland bringing his slave girl with him.
Lord Passmore as it turns out is Tarzan in disguise. He assumed the identity so as not to arouse suspicion. So once again Tarzan displays an effeminate side. A disguise hardly seems necessary for the Big Bwana but as ERB needed the faithful Waziri for the big battle scene finale, perhaps so.
Tarzan at this point seems to be a solo act; there is no hint of Jane awaiting him back in Kenya. Lafe Smith and Lady Barbara are brought together. Thus the bright alter ego of Burroughs is paired up with a member of the English aristocracy who may represent the writer Dorothy Sayers, perhaps a match ERB would have liked in real life.
Already three or four years into his affair with Florence, of which surely Emma was aware, one wonders what she thought when she realized she had been written out of the story. Well, she did turn to drink.
More interestingly, Burroughs’ dark alter ego, Danny ‘Gunner’ Patrick and the Golden Girl, Jezebel are brought together. He is going to leave Chicago taking Jezebel to somewhere in LA to buy a service station. A worthy ambition; for some reason the movie, The Postman Always Rings Twice, pops into my mind. The screenplay for that movie was written by Raymond Chandler who, for no explicable reason, I associate with Burroughs. There must be some similarity between Philip Marlowe and Tarzan. Marlowe did get sapped a lot. Chandler even turns sapping into an art form.
In pairing Jezebel/Florence off with his dark side ERB may be hinting at the direction his relationship with Florence will take. His life with her was certainly different than his life with Emma as he let his hair down and began dressing like quite a dandy, or, perhaps, Lord Passmore.
On that score, in this novel, Burroughs selects his dark side to take the obligatory bashing. One wonders then if he attributes this dark side to the bashing in Toronto. Is he saying that his dark side was the result of the bashing? Did he begin living some sort of double life some few years after he was laid out? Was his character even more erratic than it appears? How much did Emma put up with?
His emphasis on the notion that every man has two characters that may diverge as did Jekyll and Hyde give reason to think so. At any rate the following couple years ERB himself would be leading a double life. As Lafe Smith with Lady Barbara/Emma and as the desperado Danny ‘Gunner’ Patrick with his amour Jezebel/Florence Gilbert Dearholt. Jezebel is certainly appropriately named.
The next two novels explain his own relationship to Florence and Emma. Leopard Men, which I have already reviewed, deals with his opting for Florence while City Of Gold deals with his rejection of Emma. But first some conclusions and organization.
To be concluded in Part 6: Threads and Stands Of The Web
August 2, 2011
Themes And Variations
The Tarzan Novels Of Edgar Rice Burroughs
#15 Tarzan Triumphant
The Born Again Lafe Smith
The time has come the Walrus said
to speak of many things;
Of shoes and ship and sealing wax
Of cabbages and kings.
And why the sea is boiling hot
And whether pigs have wings.
The learned nonsense of Lewis Carrol was never far from Burroughs’ mind. In the long list of influences Carroll ranks fairly high although more disguised than others. Both adventures of Alice as well as The Hunting Of The Snark formed the backbone of Burroughs’ ideology. Thus the entrance to the Land Of Midian in many ways resembles Alice’s descent into the rabbit hole. The sexual implications of the rabbit hole should be self-evident as is the the entry into the Land of Midian.
The Lafayette of Smith’s name refers of course to the revolutionary Marquis de Lafayette who fought against the monarchy in the American Revolution. Recently General Pershing had repaid the debt when, as he stepped ashore in France he grandly proclaimed: Lafayette, we are here. A famous utterance then and now so that it appears that Burroughs is associating freedom and liberation to his alter ego. He might exclaim as he stepped through the hole: I am Lafayette and I am here.
Smith is studying the geology of the area when he discovers a cleft in the mountain which he enters. In some ways Burroughs old life ended when the Reds invaded Opar. La was forced out into the the real world when her people rebelled because of La’s fixation on Tarzan. The Big Bwana restored her to her throne having destroyed the rebel chiefs. We are led to believe that La reigned happily ever after even though her manifestation as well as Opar disappear from ERB’s dream world. With the death of his old dream world ERB seeks to find another; one which other people cannot enter. Jungle Girl written shortly after this novel provided one such place in the ancient Khmer kingdoms of Cambodia and Thailand.
Thus Midian is a pale reflection of Opar. While the way to Opar was known to the world, indeed, Zveri, Stalin and the Communists as well as many Africans knew of the fabulous wealth of Opar and where the city was located. They didn’t know where the gold was located because in was in Burroughs’ mind.
Having had his dream world violated ERB creates another but this time the location is so remote and the entrance so difficult, although identical to that of Opar, to find that none but his Anima and Animus figures can find it.
Like the great red and gold city of Opar Midian is surrounded by high cliffs but unlike Opar they are unscalable from either side. No casual visitors are going to get in there. Like the actual city of Opar the only entry is through a cleft in the walls. In Opar once through the cleft one climbs a stairway to enter the ruins. Here, led by his interest in geology Smith enters the cleft in the mountain reft by titanic forces ages ago to follow it deep within the mountain wall. To insure that he continues on down the rabbit hole Burroughs sends a lion in after him blocking any exit should he wish to turn back. Thus the lion as Fate is forcing him to his destiny. The role of the lion in the oeuvre remains elusive to me; I fail to grasp the nuances as well as the essence. The lion may be another side of Tarzan, the Lion Man, who is helpful. On the other hand the lion as an expression of Burroughs’ Anima is extremely dangerous and hateful falling beneath Dad’s knife repeatedly, these are usually female. Still a problem for me.
Following the cleft for some way Smith reaches the end which is a very small hole that he can just force his way through. The symbolism of birth is quite clear; the descent from the womb and the breakthrough to the other side through the vagina.
Both aspects of Burroughs’ Anima are already inside Midian. Lady Barbara parachuted there while Jezebel was born there. Thus, it would seem that the La, Jezebel, Balza figure was native to Burroughs’ X chromosome while Jane, Lady Barbara, Rhonda Terry was an acquired image.
Smith will also be joined by the two remaining Animus figures, Gunner Patrick and Tarzan. All five of his Anima/Animus figures that he acknowledges were then functioning in his dream world. This may have represented his brain or the womb or a combination of both. What seems to be clear is that with the destruction and death of his old dream world he is being born again. The resurrection scene will follow.
When Tarzan enters Midian as when he is entering the cleft of Opar it is necessary for him to manipulate his shoulders through by turning them sideways. Thus there is a clear reference to birth.
Perhaps when Burroughs began self-publication he felt as though he were making a break with his past. Leaving McClurg’s and Joe Bray behind, making a new start as it were, he was beginning a new life. That was probably part of it as was the invasion of Opar by his enemies but I’m sure there is personal development involved that isn’t clear to me yet.
Once inside, convinced that the lion is following him although one believes the small hole would have baffled the lion, Smith finds the convenient tree in front of the hole into which he climbs for safety. Then Smith does exactly what Patrick, the dark side of the ego, will do, he goes down to the lake and gorges himself on water. This could be construed as baptism of the born again man; the living water of redemption.
He then meanders in the direction of Midian. As night has fallen the bonfires attract him.
By this time Lady Barbara after a few refreshing skinny dips waiting for her clothes to dry, Burroughs actually writes these strange interludes, finds her way back to Midian. For some strange reason the Midianites pay no attention to her mind boggling miracles, sometimes you can’t buy a thrill, choosing to disregard the apparent will of their god.
She and Jezebel are condemned to be crucified and burned to death. Both have been placed on the crosses with faggots piled round when Smith and his trusty nickel plated .32 burst upon the scene.
Now we have the resurrection of Smith and his Anima figures. The implication is that the trinity have symbolically died and are now resurrected. This is some fancy footwork.
Imagine the scene: Two crosses are erected. The Anima figures are placed on the crosses. As I imagine it there is a space of four to eight feet between the arms. Smith forces a way to a place in fornt of the crosses as he kicks away the burning faggots between the two crosses. Although not on a cross himself he is symbolically so he and Burroughs assume the role of Jesus Christ in the middle while the Anima figures represent the two thieves, one on either side.
Thus we are playing out a reenactment of the Christian crucifixion that will have a different result.
The Christians are pressing in on Smith. This is yet another version of Burroughs’ confrantation with John the Bully on the street corner. Back then he turned and ran. Now Smith is in a quandary. Christ in the same dilemma turned the other cheek saying: Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.
We have all been taught to revere turning the other cheek. Some even attempt to practice the precept. I’m sure the ploy may work from time to time but in nine times out of ten it won’t. That is more or less the dilemma of the Western world today. it is steadfastly trying to turn the other cheek but every time it does a steel-toed boot gets planted on it.
Thus as Smith is dithering a clear cultured English female voice comes down from the cross saying: You’re going to have to shoot to kill, you know. In other words, turning the other cheek is sure death. Burroughs is especially good at surprise twists like this.
Astonished, perhaps thinking the angel of the Lord had spoken to him Smith complies, firing into the crowd. As the joke is that his aim is so poor he couldn’t hit the side of a barn he is fortunate enough to actually kill someone.
Momentarily stunned by the magical weapon but not overawed the crowd pauses long enough to allow Smith to get Lady Barbara down. Thus Burroughs chooses the older more stately aspect of his Anima rather than the Wild Thing, sex kitten. Perhaps as Florence was out of town ERB temporarily shifted bazck to the Jane Anima aspect. Within a matter of weeks or days he will decide on Jezebel/Balza/Florence when Florence unexpectedly returns and he writes Leopard Men in celebration.
Smith succeeds in lowering Lady Barbara but then Jobab challenges the efficacy of his .32. Smith fires at Jobab point blank missing him. Jobab vindicated rushes Smith knocking the gun out of his hand. Lady Barbara scoops it up, places the muzzle against Jobab’s side where he learns the efficacy of the Colt. Thus the Anima and Animus of Burroughs have now killed a man.
This give the crowd pause once again so that Jezebel is lowered and the Trinity run away. The two Anima aspects and Burroughs’ bright Animus are now whole. The confrontation with John the Bully has been resolved.
They attempt to find the opening but in the process wander into North Midian where they are captured by the fair haired, blue eyed, small nosed but no less superstitious North Midians. They manage to escape.
They capture a kid to eat but in the process the goatherd misses it. What the symbolism of eating the ‘lamb’ is escapes me just now. Smith and lady Barbara are recaptured, taken to the village.
In the meantime Tarzan and Patrick enter the crater. Burroughs now has all five of his Anima and Animus figures in the crater. Tarzan separates from Patrick. The latter comes across Jezebel who had escaped the North Midians. The meeting is apparently love at first sight so the Wild Thing Anima and the killer Animus are united. As they are tired they lay down together. You can draw your conclusions but Jezebel appears to be ready for any ‘beautiful’ man who comes along. Whether a comment on Floence isn’t clear however Burroughs in his mind would be seeing her in his Desperado aspect while she would be his Wild Thing or little Flapper girl.
Perhaps with Smith/Lady B ERB is representing his Dr. Jekyll side, his married status while with Jezebel/Patrick he is representing his Hyde side in his affair with Florence Gilbert.
Jezebel and Patrick leave the crater. On the outside they are spotted by Capietro’s men who bash the Burroughs surrogate on the head leaving him for dead while they carry Jezebel off. This would be the same situation with John the Bully or the bashing in Toronto however it may also represent Ashton Dearholt’s taking Florence out of town for a cooling off period.
Burroughs interjects a comedy routine back in North Midian with a lampoon of religosity over whether Paul had yellow hair or black hair. The upshot is that Smith is to die.
However a pair of eyes are watching the scene. An unknown lurker to the North Midians, Tarzan to us. Tarzan’s own role in this story is his battle with Capietro and Stabutch. Otherwise he functions as a deus ex machina– a God from the machine a common feature of Greek drama to resolve an otherwise unresolvable plot point — to get the Anima figure out of difficulty. He does in this case too.
Then leaving he crater Tarzan escorts the pair to his friend Lord Passmore’s safari leaving them there in safety with the faithful Waziri. Then he goes back to deal with Stabutch and Capietro.
Thus Fate and Burroughs go about weaving their web. The similarity to Penelope of the Odyssey is close with the exception that Burroughs does not unravel the previous day’s work. But one is invited to see this story as a series of pictures woven into the tapestry somewhat like the contest between Athene and Arachnae. One might also compare the novel, in the classical mode, to the Shield of Achilles which is decorated around the edge with a series of pictures portraying the life of the Bronze Age. So Burroughs has woven a series of such pictures into his tapestry. A clever idea and well executed. How many people have ever gotten it except for us is open to question.
So far Burroughs has insulted the Jews and ridiculed religion in general and Christianity specifically. He now turns to the strand of Communism, humiliating them in his dreamworld. It is all well that he should take the attack to them but one is surprised that he either didn’t anticipate a counter attack or didn’t anticipate the direction from which it would come if he was even yet aware that his defenses had been overrun by MGM.
The man was playing with fire without an awareness of real life consequences. It would be amusing to know if a copy of Tarzan Triumphant was rushed off to Stalin. One can be sure that the ADL/AJC/MGM combination had an advance copy perhaps even the chapters as they were being written. It is inconceivable that his enemies had no spy within his organization. That is just the way things are done and had to have been done in this instance. The usual mode is to capture the position of secretary through whom all information passes. That means that ERB’s typist may have been the conduit, Cyril Ralph Rothmund or perhaps even both. I’m betting on Rothmund for sure. I would love to see his finances. He may also have been on the ADL/AJC/MGM payroll was well as Burroughs’. Itr was he who negotiated the contract Burroughs signed giving away the control of Tarzan.
The next picture on the web is the reunion of Jezebel and Patrick followed by the battle of Tarzan and the Communists.
To be continued in Part 5: In The Footsteps Of The Lord
May 8, 2011
Tarzan And The River
Edgar Rice Burroughs In Aspic
When ‘Omer smote his bloomin’ lyre,
He’d heard men sing by land and sea:
An’ what ‘e thought ‘e might require,
‘E went and took- the same as me!
The market-girls an’ fishermen,
The shepherds and the sailors, too,
They ‘eard old songs turn up again,
But kept it quiet- same as you!
They knew ‘e stole, ‘e knew they knowed,
They didn’t tell, nor make a fuss,
But winked at ‘Omer down the road.
An’ ’e winked back= the same as us.
I want a dream lover,
So I don’t have to dream alone.
First published in the Burroughs Bulletin
Spring 2003 issue.
As an author Edgar Rice Burroughs belongs to the generation of writers who wrote between the wars. He is or should be placed beside Scott Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Faulkner, Aldous Huxley, P.G. Wodehouse, H.G. Wells, John Dos Passos and John Steinbeck, among others. Further, of all those authors ERB was the best selling writer in the entire world. His reign came to an end in 1939 and then only after his talent was dissipated. This is a remarkable achievement against some very qualified and important writers. One doesn ‘t often hear of Steinbeck societies. Hemingway or any of the others but Burroughs societies exist in many countries around the world.
I consider myself an intellectual and literary snob, yet I acknowledge ERB as important an intellectual and literary figure as any of the savants mentioned above. ERB did not parade his knowledge and savvy as most writers are wont to do. He incorporated a fairly deep understanding of many contemporary issues without a hint of the lamp. Tarzan Triumphant is a case in point. Obviously the two religious groups in the novel refer to Jews and Christians, but there is no reference to either sect. One is left to infer that the Old Testament crowd led by Abraham, son of Abraham, is of the Old Testament while their rivals are New Testament. In so far as ERB allows the story to involve religious discussion, the moral is ‘a pox on both your houses.’
Even more remarkable is that over the writing of the published twenty-one Tarzans before 1940 all the novels are interrelated. ERB was able to keep his Tarzan facts in order over a twenty-seven year period of writing while being involved in the writing of dozens of other books. In point of fact the Tarzan oeuvre is a roman a fleuve- a river novel.
A River novle is a series of novels which traces the course of a nation, people, a family or an an individual over a period of at least decades. The first novel ever written was a River novel, that was the story of the Greek invasion of Troy.
The two surviving complete books of this remakarble story are Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey. Moreover, many fragments exist predating the events of the Iliad and after.
Perhaps the most prodigious of all River novels is the Vulgate Lancelot chronicling the adventures of King Arthur and his knights. The story runs on for thousands of pages.
In modern times Alexander Dumas’ five volume epic concerning the adventures of the Three Musketeers constitute a River novel. Trollope wrote two, that of the Pallisers and the Barchester series. The model for the twentieth century was Remembrance Of Things Past by Marcel Proust.
Edgar Rice Burroughs has always been treated frivolously, yet the Tarzan oeuvre is a work of some magnitude which does not compare unfavorably with Proust.
Proust’s work looks backward as he relives his life trying to make order of his psychology. Burroughs’ Tarzan oeuvre records his psychological development on a current basis as it evolves year by year.
ERB’s work is characterized as imaginative fiction while Proust’s is considered realistic fiction. In other words, realistic fiction builds on real life experience in real life situations, while the imaginative writer is compelled to ‘invent’ incidents.
Thus while the realistic writer draws primarily from personal experience and observations, the imaginative writer has to draw from published sources of either fiction or nonfiction or convert real life experiences into symbolic form. The latter is more true of science and fantasy fiction. If the science fiction writers of the forties and fifties hadn’t had a couple thousand years of esoteric literature to draw on there would have been little science fiction. Of course the writers so disguise their sources that without an extensive education in esoteric writings oneself the stories seem incredibly original.
Borrowing from every source is extensive. For instance, Arthur C. Clarke’s Childhood’s End is the same story as H.G. Wells’ Food Of The Gods with different detailing. Wells himself extrapolated his story farom Darwin’s Origin Of Species and The Descent Of Man. Darwin of course turned to nature, the ultimate source of suggestion, for his story.
That Burroughs borrowed extensively and sometimes blatantly is of little consequence, especially as his original contributions were so extensive and satisfying. As the opening poem by Kipling indicates, at least he was honest enough to admit of outside influences.
The Russian Quartet, or first four novels, is a tentative beginning to the Tarzan oeuvre. It is possible that the first novel, Tarzan Of The Apes, was just an attempt to express certain ideas about heredity and such related topics that ERB wanted to say with no thought of sequels. The story itself is absurd enough that it seems a miaracle that it was accepted and published. It is perhaps less surprising that it was so readily accepted by the reading public as the great figure of Tarzan rises shining from the pages. One ignores any story telling flaws to get a glimpse of the bronzed forest giant, the great Tarmangani, the jungle god, the Lord of the Jungle, Tarzan. A writer should be so lucky to come up with such an archetypal figure.
Return and Beasts find Burroughs groping for a direction. Beasts is is heavily influenced by H.M. Stanley’s writing on Africa as well as that of Mungo Park, not to mention Edgar Wallace’s Sanders Of The River. The story of Paulevitch’s experience in the jungle was obviously taken from Mungo Park’s Travels In The Interior Of Africa. Beasts itself which also has a lot of Defoe in it, is absurd to the extreme yet somehow redeems itself as one becomes entranced by the outrageous notion of apes and men row-row-rowing their boat down the stream. Somewhere either before the beginning of Beasts or after the end, ERB interweaves the story of Barney Custer and the Mad King and the Eternal Lover to bring his own psychology into the Tarzan character. Thus ERB pictures himself as the Son Of Tarzan in the novel of that name.
Having resolved, after a fashion, his conflicts with this father and somewhere in that tremendous gush of writing having integrated his personality, ERB then turns to himself as the conflicted Animus of Tarzan the Hero and Tarzan the Clown to resolve that psychological dilemma over the next seventeen volumes published during his lifetime.
The Russian Quartet was written over a period of three years. The eight novels between Son and Lost Empire were written over fourteen years. Whether the ‘Lost Empire’ refers to Emma and Opar is open to conjecture. In any event Lost Empire signifies a terminal junction in ERB’s psychology.
Then as the problems of his Animus and Anima resolve themselves ERB rapidly turns out six volumes over four years.
He had difficulty writing Tarzans while struggling with his psychology but wrote quickly once he had made up his mind.
From 1934 in psychologically related volumes to 1938 he published the three additional novels of Quest, Forbidden city and Magnificent. The psychologically relevant Madman was discovered and published in 1964, fourteen years after his death. Perhaps the thought the novel was too personal and painful to publish himself.
As noted “Foreign Legion’ is a propagandistic after thought to the oeuvre.
As ERB didn’t begin writing until he was thirty-six it is fair to say that his writing represents the effort of a mature mind. This is even more evident when one reflects that the majority of the Tarzan oeuvre was written between the ages of forty-one and fifty-eight. Lion Man, which is the culminating volume of ERB’s psychological odyssey was written at the last age.
The novels written between 1930 and 1934 which I consider excellent work and the best of the Tarzan oeuvre are the ones most often dismissed as repetitious. One of the very best, Tarzan And The Leopard Men, is, oddly enough, often dismissed as ‘hack work’. Very strange.
But to return to Opar and move forward from there. From 1912 or 1911 if you consider from the first moment ERB put pen to paper to 1915, things developed very rapidly in ERB’s mind. The rich experience of his lifetime, all his opinions, thoughts and fancies were so compressed within his skull that as I say he erupted with more than the force of Spindletop. It took him three years to cap that gusher and then the flow was strong and steady until 1934 when he realized himself.
Return was written in 1913 when his Anima, La of Opar, first pops up. She then disappears until 1916 when wife Emma apparently sneered at the wealth ERB had laid at her feet. She would not so soon forget the first twelve years of her humiliation.
Her rejection of ERB the Hero must have hurt Burroughs to the quick. Following Return he wrote The Mad King in which after numerous trials and tribulations and after he had disposed of Custer’s inept doppelganger, the Mad King, Barney Custer and the Princess Emma were reconciled. In all likelihood the story was a day-dream of wish fulfillment in the Freudian manner because in The Eternal Lover which followed quickly Barney Custer goes to Tarzan’s Equatorial estate but with his sister Victoria and not the ‘Princess Emma’. His marital relationship is obviously still very troubled. As noted, The Eternal Lover is a myth of the nature of Pysche and Eros, the Anima and Animus.
Interestingly, Boy Jack’s wife, which is to say ERB’s at the end of Son of Tarzan is no longer a princess but the daughter of a general. Emma had apparently been demoted in ERB’s emotions.
In a psychological quandary ERB has Tarzan leave Jane in 1916 to return to Opar and La for more gold to lay at Jane/Emma’s feet. This story is crucial for the rest of the oeuvre. ERB’s dream lover, La, spares his life and offers to marry him or in other words take him away from Jane/Emma. At this point in his life ERB is faithful in body if not in spirit. He declines her offer having his faithful Waziri stagger back to Jane under a load of one hundred twenty pounds of gold each.
Apparently the wealth of Opar of which tons of gold remained to be tapped as well as bushels of the very largest of diamonds (move ahead to the Father of Diamonds in the Forbidden City) is not enough to assuage Jane/Emma’s anger at Ed’s failure for the first twelve years of married life. She rejects ERB’s present income. This must have been a staggering blow for Burroughs who at this point in his life wanted to abandon his clown role for that of the hero.
He had already begun Jungle Tales Of Tarzan, which he managed to finish, otherwise from Jewels of Opar to Tarzan the Untamed there is a hiatus in Tarzan novels for thirty-nine months. For over three years he and Emma were apparently at a stalemate making it impossible for him to write further Tarzan adventures.
When Tarzan returns it is as The Untamed and he and Jane have been separated, possibly for good as Tarzan has no idea where she is; common report is that she is dead.
One may infer that the marriage is all but over. It takes another twenty-three months before Tarzan The Terrible appears. Tarzan goes from Untamed to Terrible. Apparently ERB and Emma are now temporarily reconciled as Tarzan finds Jane in the forgotten land of Pal-ul-don (paladin?) and he, she and Jack go swinging down the jungle trails to return to Equatoria. the family is reunited. But is it?
After the passage of twenty-two months Burroughs follows Terrible with Golden Lion. Now the title Golden Lion is somewhat misleading as the Lion doesn’t play that large a role in the story. The Lion seems to have sprung from Burroughs’ subconscious as a defense against the Lion of Emma. In this story Tarzan leaves Jane for a fairly extended visit to his dream lover, La in Opar. They are together for some time as they adventure into the adjacent lost valley called The Valley Of Diamonds. (Once again, see Tarzan And The Forbidden City.) Possibly the Father of Diamonds represents the Jewel of Great Price which turns out ironically to be a piece of coal. This was after ERB left Emma for Florence.
Golden Lion introduces the great doppelganger of Tarzan, Esteban Miranda. I am absolutely fascinated by this character. Miranda looks, talks and walks so much like Tarzan that not only can’t Jane/Emma tell them apart but Miranda even fools the faithful Waziri.
Golden Lion is paired with Tarzan And The Ant Men. You have to read both to get the whole story.
Esteban Miranda is a London actor, a clown and a cowardly fool. ERB goes to great lengths to deliniate the character of this unpleasant but goofily amiable alter ego.
In the confusion Miranda is captured by a savage tribe of Blacks where he is spared because of his resemblance to Tarzan. He escapes finally although he is a blithering idiot who has lost his memory. Get that! Even Tarzan’s doppelganger loses his memory. I haven’t been able to fugure out ERB’s problems with his memory yet.
He is discovered by the Waziri where he is once again mistaken for the real thing. He is taken to the ranch house where Jane nurses him back to health. Still mistakes him for the real Tarzan, he is about to be embraced lovingly by Jane when the terrible, untamed Tarzan appears through the French windows. Tarzan himself had been off having incredible adventures with the Ant Men returning just in the nick of time.
Here apparently Jane rejects Burroughs the Hero in favor of Burroughs the Clown of the first twelve years of her marriage. This is something which ERB can’t forgive. His resentment turns into a divorce about ten years later.
There is then another long hiatus of approximately forty months before Tarzan returns as Lord of the Jungle with Jane in a very subsidiary role. So in twelve years Burroughs wrote only about five Tarzan novels. Then between 1929 and 1934 he whipped out an additional seven.
The change of pace was caused by the quickening resolution of ERB’s psychological dilemma. He was obviously living his life vicariously as Tarzan.
It is this development of his psychology recorded through Tarzan that makes the oeuvre the most fascinating of River novels.
Let us understand that a writer, any writer, is always discussing his own psychology. this applies both to so-called non-fiction as well as fiction. Properly speaking there is no such thing as non-fiction. The difference between the two is that in non-fiction a writer describes actual events through a prism of so-called objectivity. In other words in writing about Edgar Rice Burroughs I am bound to adhere to the facts of ERB’s life and I cannot invent details to improve the story. However, in actuality I see what my own psychology has prepared me to see. My psychology, that is, in conjunction with my intelligence and emotional perspicuity.
Anyone who has read the autobiography of Frank Harris knows that his favorite adage is that no man can see over the top of his head. Therefore it behooves every man to broaden and develop his experience so that he can stand as tall as possible. In that way he can at least hopefully see over the heads of all his fellows. I was once fortunate enough to try this on a crowded street in Hong Kong where I stood head and shoulders above my fellow Chinese pedestrians. You could see the heads and shoulders of all the American sailors inching slowly along like icebergs in a sea of Chinese.
But seriously, one must develop one’s intelligence and that is exactly what Edgar Rice Burroughs did throughout his life. ERB was an avid reader both of fiction and non-fiction. He makes frequent allusion to Poe, Wells, Doyle and who I think he respects most, Rudyard Kipling. If you have read the great African explorers you will have no difficulty identifying sources. ERB was quick in picking up new titles also. Forbidden City was, I believe, based partially on Digging For Lost African Gods by Byron Khun de Protok published in 1926.
ERB was also forced to respond to hectoring outside criticism. I’m sure he little knew the effect that the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 would have on him personally, but by 1933′s Leopard Men he was thrown on the defensive by what H.G. Wells called the ‘Open Conspiracy’ or the Red Revolution. I will deal with it in the last essay in our series called ‘Star Begotten.’
All of Burroughs stories are many layered if you care to look beyond the surface details. After Golden Lion ERB develops a whole jungle family of attendant animals which follow him through all the stories. Each novel is merely one episode in the life of Tarzan/Burroughs and each leads to the next novel in true River fashion.
This is wonderful stuff. There is no difficulty understanding why Burroughs was the best selling author of his time.
After recording the difficulties of reconciling himself with Emma from 1916 to 1928 ERB reluctantly threw in the towel when he wrote Tarzan And The Lost Empire. The double entendre of the lost empire is explicit in between the lines. It is not only the Lost Empire deep in the Heart Of Darkness but also his dream of building a great empire with Emma. The dissolution of his marriage and his search for a real live La of Opar begins with the book.
At this point he has also come under attack by the Reds who cannot tolerate the success of a Conservative writer. Consolidating rapidly from 1917 to 1923, by this time the Revolution was in control of publishing. They could deny access to new conservative writers, creating the myth that all the best new writers were Communist in faith, but they still had to destroy the reputations of older, non-conforming writers.
I don’t know that any studies have been made of literary or journalistic attacks on ERB, but he responds as though there were many. In 1929 he took time out from his personal psychology to write a major counter-attack against the Revolution with Tarzan At The Earth’s Core.
While this may appear to be simply a critique of Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, in fact Einstein was as much a political figure as a scientific one. Both he and Freud were prominent agents of the ‘Open Conspiracy’ along with that literary political agent, H.G. Wells, so that Earth’s Core is a counter-attack on his detractors.
Then in quick succession ERB turned out Tarzan the Invicinble, (watch the titles) Tarzan Triumphant, Tarzan And The City Of Gold, Tarzan And The Leopard Men and Tarzan And The Lion Man.
After a long struggle Burroughs quickly resolved his psychological dilemma. He rectified his Animus, disposing of the clown side of his nature while at the same time reconciling his Anima. He divorced Emma while marrying what he fancied was a La of Opar in Florence. The final conflict with Emma is recorded in City Of Gold. The basic idea for City was probably borrowed from Bulfinch’s The Legends Of Charlemagne. In Legends, an enchantress has captured many of the leading palladins of Charlemagne which she has imprisoned in a city of gold. The medieval writers borrowed the story of Odysseus and Circe from Homer.
In Burroughs’ story the enchantress Nemone has ‘captured’ a bemused Tarzan who may escape any time he chooses but he elects to stay around to see what will happen.
Lion Man is notable for the way Burroughs blends psychology, fiction, the movies and how the movies affect the perception of reality of movie-goers. Film, which was developed during Burroughs’ young manhood, had a profound effect on the movie-goer’s ability to distinguish real life from movie fantasy. Burroughs was qite precocious in understanding this. There are earlier references to the matter in his work but here he gives it a full scale examination, both as when the fictional Tarzan replaces the even more fictional Obroski in Africa and when as a Burroughs doppelganger Tarzan mixes on set with the movie people in Hollywood where they fail to recognize him as the real thing, Lion Man is perhaps the most interesting of all the Tarzan novels.
After Lion Man, which both rectifies his Animus and reconciles his Anima, his motive for writing fast and furious disappeared. In fact, his subject matter disappears. He had in effect run out of material. Tarzan’s Quest and Tarzan And The Forbidden City record his lingering problems with his two ladies at the age of sixty-three. You can see why he wrote it as a farce.
Tarzan And The Madman caps the story of his pschological development although he did not publish the novel during his lifetime.
At the end, as is not unusual, he returned to the beginning as in The Mad King. The totally farcical Forbidden City is an example of what his writing might have turned into if he had been allowed to publish under his pseudonym, Normal Bean. As a comic novel, Forbidden City is actually very funny, if absurd, as Tarzan is driven from pillar to post by his two women. This undoubtedly reflects his real life situation. In the end, he says, the fabulous diamond he and everyone else is seeking, the Jewel Of Great Price, is merely a mirage turning out to be as worthless as a piece of coal.
Both Lion Man and Forbidden City seem to have influenced Aldous Huxley, one of the major intellectual writers of the period. His novel, After Many A Summer Dies The Swan (1939), has allusions to Burroughs’ two novels. The theme of ‘Lion Man’ of the mad scientist, God, who reverts to a half-ape, half-man creature is replicated in Swan in which an English nobleman who has lived for two hundred years reverts to an apelike existence.
That the theme may be more than coincidental is the fact that Huxley incorporates an imaginary University of Tarzana into the story. Thus one of the great intellectuals of the period found much of deep interest in ERB’s novels while also reacting to Wells.
Edgar Rice Burroughs was in fact a great literary artist, if a trifle coarse. He is, in fact, a great talent which if the critics fail to realize it, the people don’t.
Surviving a hundred years is no small matter, it takes some talent to do that. Yet, after those hundred years ERB is still an active force in the literary coal mines. Well, it’s not like coal doesn’t burn with a pure blue flame and under pressure turn into diamonds.
April 21, 2011
Tarzan Meets The Wizard
I opened the door…(this was way back in nineteen-fifty when I was twelve years old and bought my first Tarzan book)…and stepped inside the Argonaut Bookstore. This America was in a parallel universe compared to what you see today. What I’m telling you here seemingly happened millions of years ago on another planet in a different universe. Believe me, you couldn’t function in the world I’m talking about.
The Argonaut was downtown. That won’t mean anything to you now, but in those days there were no shopping malls. Things weren’t big and strung out. Downtown was not only the center of activity, there was no other activity. You had to shop downtown. Thus if your store wasn’t located on the four main blocks of Genessee, and two didn’t really count, your store was, as they say, marginalized. The Argonaut was half a block off Genesee but in the center street off the two good blocks on the right side, the left side was a lot weaker than the right. There was a chance someone might turn the corner and see your store. Not too likely though.
The scale would amaze you. This was small. Imagine yourself as you playing with your Lionel electric train. Yeah, it was that small in comparison. Barnes & Noble mega bookstores weren’t even a gleam in a booksellers’ eyes. The thought would have been incredible. It would have taken up one of the two good blocks on the right side. The Argonaut was maybe twelve feet wide and fifty feet deep. Mahogany shelving down one side beginning waist high with storage underneath, nothing there, a couple display tables down the middle, check out to the right. The prop. would have been lucky to take home two hundred fifty dollars a day. So out of a hundred dollars markup he not only met all expenses but lived as a respected business man. As I say, a different world.
The owner dealt only with White people. The only minority was the Black folk and they were confined to the First Ward. The Italians were emerging from their ghettoes in the post-war world so pizza shops were showing as a novelty. The owner only had to stock his shelves for one buying public. Half of his inventory would have been ‘the classics.’ There were virtually no novels published after WWI on sale except for current literature and that was generally considered inferior to the classics.
Great immigration changes were in the air while the last vestiges of the previously dominant English club style were slowly disappearing. Thus the Argonaut was designed to look like it might have been Lord Greystoke’s personal library, mahogany, dark woods and all.
I was only two years out of the Orphanage and feeling my way to some sort of identity. I would never find it in my old home town, it wasn’t there.
I hadn’t ever bought a book at the Argonaut before, as an Orphan I would have been shooed out in the most unkindly manner. As it was the classiest and only real book store in town I was anxious with anticipation. The library at the Orphanage had been my refuge, a very nice library too, as big or bigger than the Argonaut and all kid’s books. The other orphans viewed it as The Black Hole Of Calcutta so I had always had the place to myself. Donations to the Orphanage were terrific so I was familiar with the whole range of children’s books from Raggedy Ann And Andy to my favorites, the Oz series. In those days I was mystified by the change of authorship after the first dozen books but I was quick to note the inferior style of his successors.
I don’t remember any Tarzans or other Burroughs.
I was a free rover back in the Orphanage days so I knew about the Argonaut as it was across the street from the magazine store where I bought my Blackhawks, Daredevil and Plastic Man comics. They were only a dime so all I had to do was pick up five bottles with a redemption value of 2 cents each and I was in business; but now I was going to spend a dollar. Don’t know where I got it.
I had scouted the place and knew where everything was so when I entered and looked down the long row of shelves stocked with what would now be a miniscule library I knew to turn left just inside the door to the space alotted to Juvenile Literature. Tom Swift and the Rover Boys among others were still available but nobody bought them. Stiff stuff. Swift was too stiff for words. I never could enjoy the stuff although the oldtimers swore by him. And there next to the Oz books was Tarzan. There were only about eight of them available at the time along with five of the Martian series.
The Burroughs stuff was all put out by Grossett and Dunlap, my favorite publishers. Something about the paper and the binding. There were several other publishers who put out classy kid books, Cupples And Leon. They had the look and feel that made you feel like a man on the way. Now the Barnes and Noble Juvenile section, bigger than the whole Argonaut, is a pile of indoctrination in generally offensive looking and feeling volumes. Lot of ‘em made in China. Chinese don’t know a thing about paper and books. I’m glad I spent my youth in that other universe.
Back then you could buy Whitman Co., Racine, Wisconsin, abridgments for fifty-nine cents if you didn’t have a dollar. I could never get over why Whitman’s were published in Racine when everything else was published in New York City. I’m sure there was some weird reason. I had my dollar in my hand. I focused my concentration in a steady beam and was intensely glancing from title to title comparing the dust jacket illustrations when, as though from afar, faintly a voice partially intruded into my conscious to say: ‘I’m Jason, can I help you?’
It was so faint I didn’t really hear it, the voice merely brushed past my concentration; then I felt what I thought was a very hard tap on my shoulder. Wincing, I looked up.
‘I’m Jason, can I help you?’ he said more imperiously, left hand on hip with his left leg resting on the tip of his shoe.
‘Help me do what?’ I asked uncomprehendingly.
‘Find the book you’re looking for?’ He replied with a condescending, well, not a sneer, but you know what I mean.
At the same time I realized that although I wanted a Tarzan book I didn’t have any idea which one was the best to start with.
This guy Jason as I surveyed him in my pre-teen way was a pretty impressive guy He was an easy six feet. I was about four feet ten, imperially slim (a phrase I’ve always wanted to work in) dressed to the nines in a collegiate cut suit, blue button down oxford cloth shirt (still the only kind of shirt material), and rep stripe tie. (Never liked rep stripes, prefer paisleys and foulards). He was good looking, he could have stepped out of an Arrow shirt ad or modeled for one of those German postage stamps of the late thirties. God, those Leyendecker ads were just awesome.
Jason would have been a killer with the girls too, if he had just come unstuck from himself. But, heck, if I looked like that I might have been satisfied with myself too.
He stood there leaning on the counter with his right arm, his left arm cocked on his hip and his right leg across his left leg. God, I’ve never seen a pair of pants with a crease like that and I never will again. I’ve never been able to get it and I’ve bought more suits than Huey Long who couldn’t get that crease either.
I can say that I was overawed by Jason.
‘I wanted to buy a Tarzan book.’ I began timidly. ‘Do you know anything about them?’
‘Do I know anything about them?’ He said with a knowing chuckle as he brought his bent fingers up for a minute examination of his nails. ‘I should think so. I’ve read them all.’
‘OK. Which one. I’ve got my dollar.’
‘Which one?’ He asked irritatingly. He had this annoying habit of repeating your question as well as his now constant steady admiration of his finger nails. He did have a good manicure. A manicure of any kind was a rarity in our town. Hair cuts were pretty common. First he would do one hand and then the other. Sometimes both at once. He was something to watch. Enjoyed preening for me too.
‘Hmm. For you?’ He said musingly as though I were a special case. ‘Well, you know, there’s only eight available out of twenty so you can only choose from those eight. I’ve got them all, every one. Had to go to second hand stores which I’m loath to do but this case called for an exception. Those eight are new though. I’ve thought about the Tarzan novels a great deal. I divide them into three categories for convenience. The first four I call the Russian Quartet, the next eight I call the Jungle Rhapsodies and the eight after them, Political Undertones.
These eight are all from Grosset and Dunlap and they’re all that’s available new. The titles Burroughs self-published are all out of print…
‘What do you mean Russian Quartet?’ This was the beginning of the McCarthy Reaction and I was a pretty keen anti-Communist, or about to become one.
‘Well, it seems to me that Burroughs concieved the first four volumes as a unit without plans to go further. Of course, the first volume introduces Tarzan but then he used the literary devices of the two Russian nihilists who are after Tarzan to continue the story through volumes two and to four. He kills off the last Russian in Son Of Tarzan and then leaves no room for a continuation of the series.
The Quartet is probably written in too literary a style for you. Burroughs was trying hard to follow the rules of fine literature in the Quartet.’
‘What happened then?’
‘What happened then?’ There he went again bringing up both sets of nails for scrutiny and adopting that wide apart stance of that famous picture of Burroughs flexing his muscles.
‘I think he was at a loss what to do next. I think he had written out his original conception of Tarzan. I mean, Tarzan was virtually a moribund old man at the end of Son of Tarzan.’
‘Yeah, but you said there’s a whole bunch of other books.’
‘His original conception, I said. About this time he went way out West in Hollywood, where I’m going soon, I’m going to be a big movie star with my looks, where he met L. Frank Baum. Baum wrote a number of the Oz stories, have heard of him?’
‘Of course I have.’ I snuffed, deeply offended that anyone would think I didn’t know who L. Frank Baum was. Ozma of Oz was the first book I ever read on my own.
‘Uh huh.” He said, condescendingly looking down his nose, but impressed. ‘I think that he and Baum had some long walks and summer talks and Baum gave him some pointers. Baum was older than Burroughs. He was born in eighteen fifty-fix and died in nineteen-nineteen just after he passed the torch to Burroughs, so to speak.’
‘How do you know when L. Frank Baum lived and died, I wonder?’
‘It’s my job to know these things.’ He smiled condescendingly. ‘Just like Burroughs was born in eighteen seventy-five and died the day before yesterday.’
‘You’re kidding me, now?’ I said, unwilling to be taken in.
‘I kid you not, kid. Day before yesterday he breathed his last breath. Expired, just like that. As I was saying, Baum probably told him to make Tarzan and Africa over on the model of Dorothy, the Wizard and Oz. That way he could move Tarzan North, South, East and West just as Baum did with his characters in the Oz series. Oz has its metropolis of the Emerald City and then the outlying areas where all these odd creatures live.
Burroughs listened. So in the fifth Tarzan book, Tarzan And The Jewels Of Opar, the story changes from a more or less realistic vision of Africa to one of hidden cities, lost empires and strange mythical locations like the giant boma of the Ant Men or Pal-ul-don. Tarzan, as the Wizard, works out of his estate in East Africa as a substitute for the Emerald City.
By adopting Baum’s formula Burroughs was able to keep his series going until he died, the day before yesterday. His writing style changes too, from formal to Baum’s loose…’
‘Gridley,’ Came the voice of the proprietor, ‘You’ve got a customer over here if you can spare the time.’
‘What am I, a grilled cheese sandwich?’ I thought resentfully looking over to the cash register where I saw a man holding a copy of James Jones’ From Here To Eternity. ‘Oh, that’s different,’ I rationalized. That was worth two-fifty in this man’s Democracy so I could see why he was going for the big money first.
Jason grabbed a copy of The Jewels Of Opar, thrust it in my hands and said: ‘Here, kid, start with this one.’
I was leery of the Russian Quartet for obvious political reasons while Jason had said that Jewels Of Opar was like Oz so taking his expert advice it was my first Tarzan.
This guy having purchased his James Jones walked over me like I wasn’t there, didn’t even look down, he was only about five-six too. I put my Tarzan and dollar on the counter, received my bagged book in return.
‘Come again, kid.’ Jason said flippantly as I opened he door.
‘I guess you’ll be off to Hollywood starring in movies before then.’ I waved. ‘I’ll be back.’ Then it was down Genesee and back to home, the proud possessor of my first Tarzan book that I still have.
Last I time I checked they were selling the same book for forty-five dollars without a dust jacket. Mine still has an excellent jacket.
November 1, 2010
Themes And Variations
The Tarzan Novels Of Edgar Rice Burroughs
#14, Tarzan The Invincible
Part 9: Politics
The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.
–L.P. Hartley- The Go Between
I would like to take a moment to organize the content and direction of the Tarzan oeuvre within the context of Tarzan The Invincible and Tarzan Triumphant.
It is close onto a century now since Edgar Rice Burroughs burst onto the international literary scene. He was not literarily well regarded by the intelligentsia. In the language of the time he wrote adventure novels. They were thought of as sub-literary. In our times after literature has evolved from Burroughs’ time into its various genres that didn’t exist as such back then he would more properly be designated as a fantasy or sci-fi writer.
Even though very great minds wrote ‘adventure’ stories their efforts are usually classified as sub-literary, relegated to the teen section. There has certainly never been a more profound writer than H. Rider Haggard nor is his literary style inferior in any way to the pretensions of literary fiction. Conan Doyle, H.G. Wells, Edgar Rice Burroughs all had a great deal to offer. If it is necessary to say so their work has remained popular while most literary heavyweights of the past are unknown and unread in non-specialist circles today.
Edgar Rice Burroughs is not usually accorded the dignity of being ranked with even the above adventure writers. It pains me to say it but I think the literary consensus is that Burroughs is a semi-literate lightweight trash writer with no other value than ‘entertainment’ or a diversion for men and women who haven’t quite grown up yet. I receive sniggers and raised eyebrows whenever I am forced to admit I write what I hope are scholarly essays on Edgar Rice Burroughs. I have to scramble to find any scrap that will give me a little dignity. But that’s not the way I see it myself. The way I see it is that there are two groups of people who do take Burroughs seriously. The small group of which I am a member that sees something of value lying like a huge diamond in the tall grass and a much larger group of Left-Liberals who quite correctly see Burroughs as a threat to everything they wish to believe.
Burroughs’ publishing career has not been well researched or examined. The research I have done leads me to believe that ERB was exploited while his career was sabotaged by McClurg’s from the start. Although MClurg’s seem to have had no intent to promote his work from the beginning they nevertheless tied him up with a contract that went on forever. Compare it with MGM’s contract twenty years later.
Ten years after ERB’s death with the firm of McClurg’s on the edge of bankruptcy ERB, Inc. had to buy out the contract. This is all so contradictory it boggles the mind. Rather than attempting to maximize sales and therefore profits McClurg’s took the opposite approach of minimizing sales while reducing profits both for themselves and ERB to the lowest possible level. If it hadn’t been for the movies Burroughs’ benefits from his efforts would have been minimal, a fraction of what they should have been.
From 1914 to 1919 politics do not seem to have been involved; there is some other reason for McClurg’s behavior. Then from 1919 to 1924 ERB’s relationship to the Liberal Coalition took form. His Under The Red Flag of 1919 let the Reds know where he stood politically. Also in 1919 he was felt out by the American Jewish Committee for his stance on Semitism. He failed this test by taking an insubordinate stance. So from 1919 to 1924 he seems to have been under attack from the Left. He remained defiant through his Marcia Of The Doorstep with its very reasonable criticism of Semitism but then he seems to have been ovewhelmed by economic pressures that were exacerbated by his own poor decisions.
While McClurg’s should have been supportive of their, or what should have been their walking gold mine, they strangely continued to get in his way.
Burroughs wanted his reissues to be sold at a dollar but G&D and McClurg’s adamantly insisted on 50 cents which gave ERB a very small return. Why McClurg’s should have resisted higher prices that would have doubled their own income must remain a mystery. A dollar doesn’t seem unreasonable to me but there seems to have been the intent to restrict Burroughs’ income as far as possible.
By the late twenties the Liberal Coalition was also actively interfering in Burroughs’ career. There seems to have been a blacklist against making Tarzan movies from 1922 to 1928. As Hollywood was controlled by the Coalition it was possible to restrict Burroughs’ income from movies to zero.
The blacklist was broken in 1927 when Joseph Kennedy’s FBO Studios made a Tarzan film. ERB also began searching for another publishing arrangement. Not finding anything satisfactory he took the last ditch recourse of self-publishing. He established the Burroughs imprint. As this act was taken just as the stock market crash took place the move was fraught with dangers.
Now freed from publishing restraints does it seem like a coincidence that the first title under the Burroughs imprint was Tarzan The Invincible? Or, with its success it was followed by Tarzan Triumphant? Perhaps taking vengeance for 1919′s snub of Under The Red Flag, Tarzan The Invincible is a full scale attack on the Communism in general and Uncle Joe Stalin in particular.
Perhaps also responding to 1924′s rejection of Marcia Of The Doorstep the succeeding novel, Tarzan Triumphant parodies the Jewish religion while making some not so subtle comments about big noses and receding chins. Either book would be difficult for the Liberal Coalition to misunderstand.
While Burroughs would publicly proclaim that he undertook self-publication because he was too greedy for high royalties, certainly tongue in cheek, privately he complained that McClurg’s refused to promote his books, turning them over immediately to reissue houses depriving him of his just royalties. I’m sure the industry understood the irony of his first reason while the second is true.
Tarzan The Invincible is both a defense and a counterattack. Burroughs himself said that defensive wars could never be won. One must take the offensive. With Invincible he was doing just that in what was in fact a literary and cultural war.
The power arrayed against him was terrifying. The Reds could prevent the publication of his books through regular channels. I believe they did. ERB publicly said he took up self-publication in the relentless pursuit of the dollar. What else could he say? One doesn’t go around saying people are out to get you. That’s giving your enemies ammunition.
Ask, is it a coincidence that the first novel under the Burroughs imprint is a direct attack on Liberal Communism? A work that almost certainly would not have been published by any mainstream publisher, including McClurg’s. There isn’t a Freudian in the world who believes in coincidence. I sure don’t. Burroughs launched his publishing effort in 1930 the year after the depression began in 1929. The guy was either crazy or knew something other publishers didn’t wish to acknowledge.
When he met his former publisher, Joe Bray, of McClurg’s afer the crash he sneeringly told Bray who was complaining about business that he was doing very well with the Burroughs imprint and he was. In the height of the depression Burroughs’ books turned a profit. That was a profit no publisher seemed to want. McClurg’s certainly never exploited this literary gold mine.
Was it political? Well, Burroughs’ first publishing venture certainly was. And remember that Tarzan The Invicincible must have caused a reaction. The Reds had to say among themselves omething like ‘Don’t worry we’ll get that bastard yet.’ It had to be, nor did his even more sneering Tarzan Triumphant smooth anything over. Think about this for a moment; let it sink in, this is open warfare. There must have been a retaliation. What was it? The Reds did not cease their campaign of vilification during his lifetime nor have they ceased to this very day nor will they cease until either the Reds or Tarzan is triumphant.
I have discussed Richard Slotkin’s Gunfighter Nation several times previously. Slotkin in his book tries to pin responsibility for the My Lai massacre in Viet Nam on Burroughs. He uses nearly seven hundred pages of fine print to try to prove that My Lai was the inevitable result of Burroughs’ writing. The guy’s got a job at a prestigious university too.
While one can discount the hysteria of Liberal academics heavily no one necessarily attacks someone they do not consider a threat. So what Bibliophiles have to ask themselves is whether there is a basis for the Liberal reaction or not?
I think my analyses of Tarzan books so far shows that Burroughs had a much more serious political intent than is commonly thought. Underneath the buck and wing, the old soft shoe of the entertainer is some very serious thought and reflection. Also his means of expression itself is the very antithesis of Liberalism.
Burroughs’ writing does reflect the sea change in world history noted by such academic analysts as Madison Grant and Lothrop Stoddard. Whether ERB ever read these thinkers or not there is no conflict between their conclusions and his own. ERB is of the same mindset so on that basis Slotkin is correct. None of the three writers is eiher wrong or evil it’s just that Liberals think any opinion but their own is inherently evil in intent and ought to be censored. I say censor the censors.
Liberalism is a religious reaction to the Scientific Consciousness. Their core constituent, Judaism’s sole purpose is to defeat Science and reimpose the religious yoke of absolute conformity to its religious ideal. As I’ve noted, American Liberalism which evolved from the quasi-Hebrew sect of Puritanism is in complete accord. Combined of fundamentalist Christians, who pursue an Old Testament program not much different from the Liberal agenda and the insurgent Moslem fundamentalists, the challenge to Science and all that Burroughs represented is formidable.
The determined effort to plow the concept of Evolution under is a supreme threat to the whole Scientific Consciousness. Of course, the Liberals talk peace, while as the Old Testament proclaims, peace, peace, everyone talks peace but there is no peace. There is no peace anywhere on earth and there never will be.
Burroughs realized that war was inevitable. He decried the disarmement movement and applauded preparedness. In Triumphant he makes the wry comment that the Chicago underworld gunner, Danny Patrick, and his fellow criminals believed in pareparedness, always having a gun with them.
Burroughs was brought into a world of conflict, nor so far has the world disappointed his expectations. As he says the only good defense is a terrific offense. Defensive wars cannot be won. I believe he has been proven right there too. Whether you’re looking at John Carter, Tarzan or any of his protagonists you will see that they never barricade themselves. They are always on the offensive, nor do they hesitate to kill as part of that offense. My god, Tarzan ripped a man’s head off in Ant Men. His Beyond The Farthest Star posits a world of never-ending war. Prefigures the Cold War in its way. Any concept of ‘peace’ is merely a temporary cessation of hostilities; war by other means. The Liberal, Slotkin, may lament such a reality but being a man of ‘peace’ making endless appeasements and concessions to belligerents can end only in disaster to oneself. There aren’t any Americas left to bail civilization out; that possiblility ended with WWII.
I think it fair to say that in today’s war situation versus the Moslem and Mexican invasions ERB would take the aggressive position of throwing them out. As the Shona state explicitly, and believe me the Mexicans and Moslems are no different from them, if you need to hear it from an African there are those who dominate and those who are dominated, which is another way of saying perpetual conflict. Either Americans will dominate Mexicans and Moslems or they will be subservient to them. Need anyone go further than to look at the condition of both Matabele and European in Shonaland? It is a given that Burroughs would rather dominate as Tarzan does at the end of Invincible. If you’ve got to fight you might as well win.
Let us never forget that Burroughs participated in the opening of the frontier and he saw its closing. He lived through the two most devastating wars in history. One must fight or die was the lesson he learned. Tarzan still lives.
And then we must deal with the persistent charge of racism brought against ERB. One finds it difficult to understand what Liberals mean by the term ‘racism.’ There is nothing more inherent in human nature than pride in one’s own kind. In that sense all peoples are racist. What then? Racism is the natural state of affairs. Certainly Liberal heroes like Robert Mugabe and the Shona are as racist as could possibly be, yet, he and they are Liberal heroes. There must be something else going on.
Liberals themselves are responsible for passing racial laws that would have staggered the imagination of Adolf Hitler. Someone who they say they despise. Whereas Hitler called his laws what they were, Liberals are more adept at disguising their intent, still they appropriately call their laws ‘hate’ laws which is exactly what they are. The unspoken assumption behind them is that ‘White’ males ‘hate’ everyone who is neither White nor male, excluding homosexuals, and that they therefore have to be socially isolated and denied.
The apparent belief is that only White males are capable of ‘hating’ while the rest of the world is a loving brother and sisterhood. Of course such a notion leaves the Moslem attack on the Twin Towers unexplainable as well as the Shona extermination of Black brothers like the Matabele.
Hey fellas, it’s the exception, even multiple exception that proves the rule, isn’t it?
I have no doubt that ERB would have been opposed to such ridiculous racial laws no matter what language was used to disguise them. He does seem to have been aware of the dangers of the evolutionary collision of the human species. ERB was an evolutionist. His novels explore evolutionary possiblities in enormous variety and detail. While much of his speculations and jokes seem ridiculous in the light of current knowledge, at the time of composition most if not all of the speculations would have appeared to be not that far fetched, even possible.
At the least Burroughs was on the side of Science at that time when the controversy really raged, while even today over fifty percent of Americans reject evolution in favor of religious explanations, that’s one hundred fifty years after Darwin, while the Moslem invasion of the world is rapidly spreading the slime of superstition over scientific knowledge. As I understand it, it has progressed so far that I could be put in jail in France, Germany or Austria for blaspheming the prophet and Allah by referring to their atavistic religion as ‘the slime of superstition.’
Within just a very few years since 9/11 an intolerant superstition like Moslemsism has overturned the scientific attitude of the Enlightenment. May Georges Chirac burn in hell forever and a day. If President Obama doesn’t back off, him too. Don’t any of these guys listen to what people are saying about them?
As I have noted, by the second decade of the twentieth century more sensitive minds perceived the sea change in the relationship of the various human species. Among these, in fiction, were Sax Rohmer with his Fu Manchu stories and Edgar Rice Burroughs. Prominent in non-fiction were Madison Grant with his Passing Of The Great Race and Lothrop Stoddard ‘s Rising Tide Of Color.
At the risk of repeating myself, I flatter myself that at least some Bibliophiles have been reading my stuff for the last few years, let me place a quote from Darwin here that clearly explains what happens when similar species compete for the same territory on the same economic basis. Darwin: On The Origin Of Species, Chap. III, Para. Struggle For Existence- Struggle for life most severe between individuals and varieties of the same species:
As species of the same genus have usually, but by no means invariably, some similarity in habits and constitution and always in structure, the struggle will generally be more severe between species of the same genus, when they come into competition with each other, than between species of distinct genera. We see this in the recent extension over parts of the United States of one species of swallow having caused the decrease of another species. The recent increase of the missal thrush in parts of Scotland has caused the decrease of the song-thrush. How frequently we hear of one species of rat taking the place of another species under the most different climates! In Russia the small Asiatic cockroach has everywhere driven before it itx great congenor. One species of Charlock will supplant another, and so in other cases. We can dimly see why the competition should be most severe between allied forms, which fill nearly the same place in the economy of nature; but probably in no one case could we precisely say why one species has been victorious over another in the great battle of life.
As we are certain that Burroughs read the Origin Of Species we can be sure that he read the above passage. If it struck him as forcibly as it strikes me then we share the same basic outlook on life and the passage shaped his way of looking at the intra-genus conflict between Homo Sapiens species.
As most agree that Homo Sapiens has an African history of 150K to 200K years, most assume, and this is only an assumption, that the First Born of Homo Sapiens were black because the indigenes of Africa today are black. This may or may not be true, we have no way of knowing, but let us assume it is. There are no people in Africa today who can absolutely trace their descent unbroken from the Last Hominid Predecessor or the first specimen of Homo Sapiens. No one knows what the individual looked like or what his mental constitution was compared to the various African races of today.
It therefore follows that over that course of a very long history peoples have been exterminated to make way for others innumerable times. One wave of rats, one wave of cockroaches after another have succeeded for a moment only to be replaced by another in due time. This is how evolution and nature work. Homo Sapiens is not outside either history or nature and it is foolish to act as though it were. One must understand the natural process and adjust one’s actions to it.
To use the Shona example. The Shona are not indigenous to the soil. At one time they must have exterminated and displaced a predecessor people in what they now consider ‘their’ territory. Beginning about 1830 the Ndebele Zulu as an incoming wave of new people began to exterminate and displace them. There is no difference between this Ndebele invasion of Shonaland and the Moslem and Mexican invasion of the United States. Nature is red in tooth and claw. What can one say?
Had the Matabele, to use the Ndebele’s other name, not been interrupted by another wave of incoming people, the Europeans, (color and race have no real bearing on this issue of Nature and evolution) the Zulus, (the Matabele were Zulus) would have completed the process and today the Shona would be at best a memory. But the succeeding wave of Europeans did come crowding after the Matabele. So far Darwin’s thesis is correct. One species of rat drives out another. Had the Europeans behaved normally they would have exterminated their predecessors and driven them before them.
But then evolution throws in a clinker. The Europeans were evolutionarily more advanced than the Blacks. While the fact that the evolution of the human species is continuing is clear from the visual physical evidence, scientific research has proven it beyond any quibble. So, even though those at the turn of the century lacked the evidence to prove their case they were right. The most obvious evolution is taking place in the brain and it is not taking place in all human species. Only one species is evolving while the others are now sterile. Hard thing to accept but it’s true. Thus Europeans had developed consciences that prevented them from doing what Nature commanded them to do. Instead they set themselves up as a parasite class believing they could control the Blacks without special intermixture forever.
As Burroughs would have noted this put them on the defensive and no defense outlasts a good offense as the Shona have proven. Thus the Shona having been given a breathing space reorganized, regained the initiative and won the dominant position. They are now doing the natural thing exterminating or driving out both the Ndebele Zulu and the Europeans. If you won’t fight or can’t, you lose everything.
So, you have the Darwinian struggle for existence presented to you in plain terms in a human context that cannot be misunderstood. No rats or cockroaches as necessary examples. One must be intolerant of other species. One must be a ‘bigot’ as the Shona are or go under.
Now, not having the will and perhaps no longer having the power to do as Nature commands Europeans attempted to retreat, to withdraw within their own territories. As anyone knows they all come out at the first sign of weakness. One would have to be stupid or utopian not to realize that. As a sonsequence Europe and America are being invaded by the other human species in the Darwinian sense. I mean, folks, they call evolution science. Science means knowing. Anyone who does not act on certain knowledge is foolish or, perhaps, too religious.
However in the first two decades of the twentieth century the Liberal ideology was formed by the weakest and lamest members of Western civilization. Not understanding actual differences between the human species, even denying them on religious grounds, they used conscience as a weapon to first emasculate themselves, and I mean this in the literal sense, and then they shamed those who knew better into silence.
Among those silenced were Grant, Stoddard and Burroughs. Although all these men were initially very influential telling Americans the nature of evolution and its consequences their reputations were dismantled. By the beginning of WWII Grant and Stoddard were regarded as mere ‘racist’ cranks.
It is time to debunk the debunkers. The wheel has turned. Bunk is bunk and shouldn’t be tolerated by anyone.
Burroughs who hadn’t left himself quite so open was provoked into acts of defiance so that sanctions could be applied against him as much as had been done to Henry Ford. Ford is another whose reputation should be rehabilitated much as Khruschev rehabilitated the reputations of various Communists after the death of Stalin. The tool preferred by the Liberal Coalition to discredit someone was the charge of ‘anti-Semitism’, a religious charge be it noted.
The most potent weapon in the Liberal religious armament is the term ‘anti-Semite.’ It is used liberally usually combined with Fascist to defame and control an opponent. Oddly enough they couldn ‘t make it stick on Burroughs. Even Slotkin in Gunfighter Nation only hints that ERB might have anti-Semitic tendencies.
I know it is unpleasant to discuss the Semitic issue but I think the time has come to discuss the issue head on especially as Burroughs was and is involved to a much more serious degree than might be apparent at first blush. The problem of Asia, from whence the Semites come, and Europe has roots in prehistory. Indeed it is a tale of two species. This is one of those eternal conflicts that will not be settled until one side annihilates the other much as the Shona are doing in Zimbabwe to their competitors.
In ancient days both the European Greeks and the Mediterranean Egyptians were in a constant conflict with what the Egyptians referred to as ‘vile Asiatics’, the Greeks as ‘barbarians.’ The Asiatics were vile not on the basis of race but because of the differing view of life of the two species. As regards the Egyptians and the Semites one or the other had to be exterminated. If you know anything of Egyptian history you will know that few true Egyptians still survive. The Semites have exterminated the true Egyptians.
Thus the related species of HSII, the Egyptians and HSIII, the Europeans found the Semitic species unassimilable. We are back to Darwin’s competing species of rats and cockroaches. In the religious terms in which the problem is usually stated one says the animosity is racial or in other words, moral; in scientific terms one says that it is genetic or special. In other words, the problem is much deeper than mere surface appearances. It extends to the genetic development of the brain. The Semite cannot understand as any other human species understands and vice versa.
Thus the current problem in the Sudan between Negroes and Semites which is genetic or biological can only be resolved by the extermination or expulsion of the other. The whole course of this new African conflict can be projected historically and scientifically. It may be delayed but it cannot be stopped. Compare it with the Shona in Zimbabwe. There is no question as to what course the conflict will take.
Why Liberals choose to make an issue of Darfur while they ignore the South Sudan and Zimbabwe and South Africa where genocide is also going on is known only to themselves. It is absolutely necessary to analyze the matter in scientific rather than emotional or religious terms. These are not matters of race but species. The mental capabilities of the Negro, the Semite and the European are different and irreconcilable. An unpleasant fact, perhaps, but true.
The conflict between Europe and Asia or the Semites and Indo-Europeans began according to legend with the Semitic abduction of the European woman Io from Argos. The history of the Mediterranean in ancient times was the perpetual warfare between Europeans and Asiatics or Semites. At one time the Semites seemed to be besting Europeans and then turn about. For the long Hellenic and Roman period the Europeans seemed to have won. But, and this is a big but, they failed to exterminate or drive the Semites out. A very bad mistake.
Two things happened. The Jewish Semites began a peaceful infiltration into Europe which came to a head in the long Jewish Wars that lasted from 66 AD to 135 AD. The Jewish Semites were militarily defeated in their homeland but came to spiritually dominate Europeans through the Judaeo-Catholic religion.
None of this struggle went unobserved by the Semitic peoples of the Arabian penenisula. In the seventh century the Arab or Ishamelite, to use the Jewish term, branch of the Semitic peoples led by Moslem ideology which had its base in Jewish ideology overran North Africa, large parts of the Eastern Mediterranean into the steppes of Asia and over the Hindu Kush into India. More or less following the path of Alexander. The Indo-European Persians, now known as Iranians, were Islamized or Semitized which they remain today. They were stultified hence their ridiculous position today.
The southerly Egyptians, the native Copts, are on the verge of extinction or what the modern world fondly describes as genocide. There are few surviving true Egyptians today.
Thus the Hellenic-Roman hegemony was reversed.
The Semitic Arab incursion into Europe which was a continuation of the multi-thousand year conflict between Europeans and Semites was defeated by Charles the Hammer at Tours in the heart of Europe. Over the next nearly thousand years the Moslems were expelled from Western Europe but they advanced in Eastern Europe.
From the expulsion of the Moors from Spain in 1492 the southern Med if not the Med itself was controlled by the Barbary pirates. During that period Europeans supinely submitted to a slave trade that greatly resembled that of sub-Saharan Africa. Even as Negroes were being transported to the Americas countless Europeans were captured on European soil, transported to Africa and enslaved. So, the Africans have no cause to complain of Europeans. Some people whine some people don’t.
No one European State was strong enough or determined enough to clear the seas of the Moslems while they were unable to concert a united attack. The piracy and enslavement continued until France annexed Algeria in 1830. Rightfully so.
In Darwinian terms it is quite clear that the struggle was one of the replacement of one population by another. Thus when France conquered Algeria it behove them to either exterminate or drive out the existing population replacing it with Europeans. They ought to have relentlessly warred on every North African people until North Africa was once again European.
The attempt to coexist was a defensive war that could only end in defeat. The defeat was adjudicated by General De Gaulle in the nineteen sixties. The French stupidly and erroneously thought the war was over, but in reality the momentum shifted once again to the Semites.
As noted by Lothrop Stoddard the Wahabi Moslems went onto the offensive. No longer able to comptete militarily with Europeans they resorted to guerilla warfare, something the West now chooses to call terrorism, combined with an infiltration of Europe using their reproductive capabilities as a weapon. The situation now is a replica of the 3000 BC infiltration of Sumer. Hence the balance of power of the age old war between the Semites of Asia and Europeans has once again shifted toward the Asiatics.
As the Libyan, Moamar Qadaffi gloated in May 2006 there are fifty million Moslems in Europe. Europeans have the option of fighting or submitting. He knows whereof he speaks. As the war will now be conducted on European soil with the certain loss of the entire cultural superstructure of the last two thousand years there seems little chance of any European resistance. Notre Dame will be renamed and become a mosque.
If there is resistance then Burroughs’ prophecy of a flattened Europe turned Black over the centuries is a distinct, nay, certain probability. In addition to their submission to the Wahabi Arabs, Europeans seem incapable of resisting the Black Moselm invasion from sub-Saharan Africa. Thus once Blacks and Moslems have the strength they will undoubtedly follow the ancient plan of killing the men and keeping the women. Need I point to Haiti after the slave rebellion as an example? Within three or four generations both Arabs and Europeans will be absorbed into Black Africa.
Any discussion of the problem is now impossible in Europe as the blackest censorship has been imposed on dissent. Astonishing that the enlightenment could disappear just like that, isn’t it? Anyone who dissents from the Semitic program is liable to imporisonment, heavy fines or both. The term Semite includes both the Jewish and Arab branches.
Once the Moslem are powerful enough to direct the European military it will mean the end of Israel as that State will be completely encircled by Moslem powers with irresistable might and control of all land, sea, air and satellite communications.
With European technological war materiel at their disposal the Moslems will be able to isolate the United States by depriving it of oil or with the huge and growing population in the US sabotage any war effort if threatened. Let’s have a round of applause for the brilliant leadership of Chirac, Blair, Bush and Obama not to mention the morons of the US Senate.
Burroughs foresaw the results of the West’s waffling before the Communists, the Moslems and perhaps the Africans but he was prevented from examining the problems too openly for fear of bringing the Liberal Coalition with its charges of anti-Semitism down on his head. Both he and Henry Ford were having a tough fight for survival. W.R. Hearst.
Burroughs had already called attention to himself by questioning a survey sent him by the American Jewish Committee in 1919. It seems apparent the survey drew his attention to Jewish matters which he had ignored up till that time. This resulted in the character of Bluber in Tarzan And The Golden Lion as well as several characters in 1924′s Marcia Of The Doorstep. As the AJC would have considered these characterizations ‘anti-Semitic’ the publication of the book was prohibited. Censored as it were.
Probably as a result of questioning the AJC survey he was put under surveillance. While a number of movies had been made from his books, in 1921 movie making from his novels ceased reducing his income potential drastically at a very critical time in his finances. For whatever reason there was a hiatus in the production of Tarzan films that lasted until 1928. It is only fair to assume that Tarzan had not lost his box office appeal which is the usual Hollywood cover for blacklisting. One also imagines that Burroughs would have leapt at any movie money. Indeed, in 1922 the Stern Bros. and Louis Jacobs, a trio of Jewish movie makers, tied up the rights to Jungle Tales Of Tarzan and Jewels of Opar for $40,000. This was a very decent sum to spend yet the movie makers made no effort make the movies, they were content to tie up the titles. Whether Burroughs was being disciplined for being ‘anti-Semitic’ or not can’t be determined for certain at this time.
Hollywood was notorious for being a Jewish industry. W.R. Hearst was one of the few goys making movies. D.W. Griffith was being increasingly marginalized. In the interim then, the noted ‘anti-Semite’ Joseph P. Kennedy, the father of the future president John F. Kennedy, formed or bought FBO Studios. The story of this multi-cultural struggle for dominance has never been adequately researched for obvious reasons, but what with the Ford conflict with the Semitic Jewish culture flaring in the foreground it is not unlikely that there was a great deal of maneuvering in the background. It will be noted that when RKO was formed which incorporated FBO Studios the R for Radio came from RCA and KO for Keith Orpheum were retained while FBO was deleted. The R and KO were Jewish concerns while FBO had been a great goyish disrupter.
Nevertheless, as Burroughs was blacklisted by Hollywood which the Hollywood historian Neal Gabler describes as a Jewish empire, it is noteworthy that an ‘anti-Semite’ broke the blacklist making Tarzan movies again. It would have been the equivalent of Dalton Trumbo being allowed to script movies under his own name again in the 1960s.
The blacklist broken, the Stern Bros. and Jacobs then decided in 1928 to exercise their rights to the two Tarzan novels to release Tarzan The Tiger and Tarzan The Mighty. Calling Tarzan a tiger may have been a slam at Burroughs who erroneously introduced tigers into Africa in the magazine version of Tarzan Of The Apes.
The silent era of movies over, MGM produced the first talkie of Tarzan in 1932. Watch the dates.
Now, in both Tarzan The Invincible and Tarzan Triumphant Burroughs takes undisguised hits at Communism, pointing fingers and naming names; in Triumphant he continues his open attack on Communism and covertly ridicules the Jews in his portrayal of Midians with their enormous noses and receding chins. Both attributes are well known caricatures of Jews. Was this a gratuitous insult or was he responding to insults to himself?
If he had been given courage by the presence of Joseph Kennedy and FBO Studios then he might have relaxed his vigilance a little. However his open and blatant attack would not have been unresented by Judaeo-Communists. While Hollywood had always been run by Jews, by 1930 Communists had also made much more serious inroads than is usually admitted. In other words, ERB’s well being in this multi-cultural war zone depended on his sworn enemies. As both a goy and counter-revolutionary ERB was an odd man out. It could not possibly be any other way.
There can be no question that he would have to be gotten for what could only be seen as egregious insults to both Communists and Jews. In fact, the two were nearly one. The question then was how best to get Burroughs short of outright assassination. The blacklist had already been broken by Kennedy but possible a movie could be made to make ERB’s great creation ridiculous. Destroy him in that way, you see.
Thanks to technological marvels like DVDs it is now possible to study old movies at will. I have a sets of most of the films. I have viewed Tarzan Of The Apes a number of times.
Bearing in mind that Burroughs was in a struggle with both Communists and Semites as exemplified in 1930′s Tarzan The Invincible and 1931′s Tarzan Triumphant while being surreptitiously listed as an anti-Semite by the American Jewish Committee, I think it worthwhile to speculate on the intent of Louis B. Mayer and Irving Thalberg’s productions.
Having watched the movie a number of times while bearing books Invincible and Triumphant in mind I have come to the conclusion that the movie’s ulterior motive was an attempt to ridicule the Big Bwana into oblivion. We all know that ridicule is a most effective weapon, especially when it can’t be answered. It was undoubtedly thought Tarzan could be destroyed in this manner.
MGM did not negotiate to obtain rights to any particular story but, and this is important, they bought the right to use the characters as they thought fit. Thus as the movie poster picture in Bibliophile David Fury’s book Kings Of The Jungle on p.63 published by McFarland, it is stated that the movie is ‘based on the characters created by Edgar Rice Burroughs.’ In other words, this is not the Tarzan of Invincible and Triumphant. Oh no, no. This is Tarzan The Defeated, Tarzan The Buffoon.
The vision is no longer Tarzan Of The Apes but Tarzan, The Ape Man. A subtle but important shift in emphasis. Tarzan is no longer a man raised among apes he is a man who is an ape. The fabulous brain of Tarzan which allowed him to master reading and writing with the aid of only a picture book, that allowed him to learn new languages instantly has now been replaced by an inarticulate moron who does five minutes of ’me Tarzan, you Jane.’
This was free love in the jungle between a hunk and a babe. Apparently it slipped by unnoticed at the time until it was picked up thirty years later by an astute librarian. Tarzan and Jane are no longer married in the movies, Jane just began cohabiting with Tarzan because he was such a handsome hunk. Fortunately she, he, or both were infertile. Thus Tarzan was subtly defamed, his universality removed. His audience constricted by that much.
Having slipped this bit past the censors, as incredible as it may seem, in the next movie, Tarzan And His Mate, not wife but mate, you know, a live in, MGM included the famous nude swimming scene that did not get past the censors.
Both these items would have had the effect of defaming Tarzan and constricting his audience. A certain type of viewer would be offended by these items and refuse to see the movies while another type would gratified by such items and drawn to the movies but lower the quality of the audience moving Tarzan toward porn. Thus by degrees Tarzan movies would gain the reputation as porn flicks. Porn is porn even if it is Tarzan so you aren’t going to let your kids eat popcorn in front of dirty movies nor are legitimate first run theatres going to show them. At least, not then.
Thus MGM was well on their way to making Tarzan porn before the censors forced a change in plan. There was nothing Burroughs could have done about this as he, or rather his office manager signed away all his rights to his character.
The MGM poster then portrays Tarzan as a criminal freak:
Mothered by an ape- He knew only the law of the jungle- to seize what he wanted.
The ‘to seize’ is in attention grabbing italics.
Mothered by an ape is ambiguous and meant to be repulsive. It could mean that Tarzan was fathered by a human on an ape or it could be so obscure as to be meaningless. If you were familiar with the books you could probably guess what was intended but if you weren’t who knows what it could mean to you. Remember the first volume, Tarzan Of The Apes, was no longer in print even in 1930 so the original story couldn’t even be bought. The later volumes don’t recapitulate his birth and raising so there may have been actually few who knew the whole story. We are led to believe that the MGM Tarzan is completely lacking in morality. If he wants something he just steals it. Not the Tarzan I would want to emulate.
The director was W.S. Van Dyke who had just had a major success with his Trader Horn, another African picture. That one had been phenomenally successful and Tarzan is billed as “Another Miracle Picture directed by W.S. Van Dyke, Creator Of “Trader Horn.” Van Dyke was certainly not the creator of Trader Horn as the movie was adapted from the book by Trader horn, there was such a man, thus in a way Tarzan, The Ape Man is subordinated to W.S. Van Dyke and Trader Horn.
What is called ‘the adaptation’ is done by someone called Cyril Hume. As the dialogue was written by Ivor Novello I presume that both the storyline and the alterations to Tarzan’s character can possibly be attributed to Hume.
There is little on Hume on the internet but a New York Times review that was cribbed from All Movie Guide. It says ‘…During the 1920s, Hume proved a worthy rival of Fitzgerald with such lost generation novels as Wife Of The Centaur and Cruel Fellowship.’ An interesting couple of titles in relation to this Tarzan movie. The review then goes on to say ‘…During the 1930s , he was the principal writer of MGM’s “Tarzan ” films, bringing prestige to these escapist exercises by treating them with dignity and respect…’ That’s one man’s opinion anyway.
As we all know the attributed movie writer frequently has very little to do with the finished script so we will assume that Hume’s script went through many revisions by many minds with perhaps different agendas than his. One wonders why Ivor Novello, who was a well known playwright of the time was broght in to do dialogue. Apart from the Tarzan yell, with which Novello is given no connection, that seems to be the major portion of the dialogue along with the famous ‘Tarzan-Jane’ sequence, there seems to be little dialog that an amateur couldn’t have written.
The net result is a movie that seriously demeans Tarzan as conceived and portrayed over fifteen novels. In order for their ridicule to be successful MGM did have to produce a movie that someone would go see. They were apparently successful beyond their wildest hopes or fears as the movie was described as a ‘surprise’ hit and an enormous grosser. Now MGM was stuck with the character.
If it was a surprise hit then one can discount the publicity that the movie cost a million dollars to produce. There are no well-known stars in the movie, while much of it is footage left over from Trader Horn which had already been amortized with the rest being shot on lot. If the movie cost MGM a quarter million I would still be astonished.
In their attempt to ridicule Tarzan they were too clever by half. The character of Tarzan may not have that of the books but audiences still found it satisfying, especially the yell.
Those of us who have read the books have always been uneasy with those MGM movies although Johnny Weismuller was perfectly cast in the role of the Ape Man.
So, while the NYT reviewer may believe Cyril Hume brought ‘prestige to these escapist exercises by treating them with dignity and respect’ there are dissenting opinions other than mine.
Another interpretation was that of the first movie Tarzan, Elmo Lincoln, who commented to ERB “the house seemed to think it was a comedy. Why do they portray Tarzan without dignity?…with the right treatment and portrayal, Tarzan could a romantic, thrilling character, and still have the sympathy of his audience…I don’t like to see him treated as a clown…”
Elmo Lincoln and I both see the MGM version in the same light, while I have to question the interpretation of the NYTimes writer. I think Lincoln was right, the movie was a comedic effort meant to defame the persona of ERB’s great creation and thus destroy Edgar Rice Burroughs. After all ERB, Inc.’s publishing arm was dependent on sales of Tarzan’s.
By 1932 the troublesome ERB had learned which side his bread was buttered on so he publicly endorsed the MGM movies, after all this was big money, bigger than any other souces of income combined. It may be said then that just as Henry Ford recanted and apologized for offending the Jewish Cultural entity in the ongoing culture wars so Burroughs bent the knee to Liberal suzerainty.
As ERBzine reports, privately Burroughs had other thoughts:
Daughter Joan Burroughs revealed: “Dad found it hard to reconcile himself to the movie versions of the Tarzan stories and never did understand the movie Tarzan. He wanted Tarzan to speak like an educated Englishman instead of grunting. One time we saw a movie together and after it was over, although the audience seemed enthusiastic, my father remained in his seat and kept shaking his head sadly.”
So Burroughs and Lincoln both resented the screen adaptation based on the Tarzan ERB had created.
There was nothing Burroughs could do about it. His rights had been signed away by his agent Ralph Rothmund. Rothmund must have been aware of the tension between Burroughs, Communists and Jews, yet he essentially gave the courthouse away. He placed Burroughs in the hands of his enemies. He gave Tarzan to MGM stripping Burroughs of his only weapon and asset. Why? Did he contact MGM or did MGM contact him? Why did he negotiate behind Burroughs’ back presenting him with a fait accompli? Why not tell his employer, ‘I’ve got this deal worked out with MGM. Do you want to take it?’
Presented instead with a check, Our Man seduced by vain desires went out and bought five Packard automobiles. Ah, ERB…
Did he repent of this deal? I believe so. Trapped by the contract his only way of retaliation was a futile one through his novels.
Can it be a coincidence that Tarzan And The Lion Man written over February to May of 1933, published by ERB, Inc. in book form on September 1, 1934 (Septimus Favonius BB#55 p. 34) ridiculed MGM, Irving Thalberg and Trader Horn. The second MGM movie Tarzan And His Mate was released on April 16, 1934. Bear these two dates in mind, the movie was released five months before the book leaving time for a revision of the book text.
Certainly severely wounded by the MGM adaptation of Tarzan Burroughs had been beaten. He had lost the culture war between himself, the Communists and the Jews. Having lost control of his character in the vital field of movies his only recourse was to lampoon MGM in a book which he did in Tarzan And The Lion Man. Strangely his illustrator St. John chose this book to experiment with an unrepresentative cover that was believed to have killed sales. Thus this magnficent achievement was undersold.
Lion Man recounts W.S. Van Dyke’s movie making in Africa, telling it in a ridiculing manner. MGM’s version of Tarzan is portrayed by a character named Stanley Obroski, perhaps a takeoff on Johnny Weismuller, who is a pale imitation of the real Tarzan. Burroughs makes a careful comparison showing what a joke the MGM Tarzan was. In a fit of pique he kills the fake Lion Man off.
One of the more interesting characters is Balza- The Golden Girl. After escaping from the Valley of Diamonds she joins the movie company where she cavorts about in the nude. This scene has baffled me but if one remembers that in Tarzan And His Mate Maureen O’ Sullivan is stripped by Tarzan followed by the nude swimming scene, the novel makes sense. ERB had seen the movie in April of 1934 possibly an earlier studio screening and incorporated the changes in his text for the 9/1/34 release date.
So his retort against MGM while ineffective made for what must rank as one of his very best efforts.
Just as an aside note that while this struggle was going on in Hollywood Adolf Hitler became Chancellor of Germany in January of 1933; Franklin Delano Roosevelt became President of the United States in March of ’33.
One of FDR’s first deeds was to recogtnize the USSR regime of Joseph Stalin. In late 1933 a chubby little ex-draper’s assistant acted as a go-between for Stalin and Roosevelt. Having first visited Stalin, H.G. Wells carried his messages to Roosevelt. Thus under the very eyes of the world some very important communications were passed back and forth. Nineteen thirty-three was also the year the former draper’s assistant wrote his Shape Of Things To Come.
These things can’t be stated with absolute certainty but the character of God– the formerly handsome Englishman in Lion Man, is certainly based on the pompous little H.G. Wells.
Thus while I at first objected to Slotkin’s accusations against ERB, barring the My Lai stuff, I think I am beginning to see ERB’s relation to the cultural wars between Communists, Jews, Liberals and Conservatives. there is more going on here than meets the eye.
But let us look at some of the religous aspects of this interesting situation. The religious war between Semitism and the Astrological Religion as represented by Tarzan Of The Apes.
October 31, 2010
Themes And Variations
The Tarzan Novels Of Edgar Rice Burroughs
Red, White And Black
Now we get to the ostensible story which is the Red assault on Italian Somaliland. If few people today understand the partition of Africa by the European powers it might be well to recap the situation a little. The two big players were France and England with Spain and Portugal picking up some early real estate to be later joined by the bit players, Germany and Italy. The German possessions were stripped from them after the Great War and given to England.
This novel takes place in the Horn Of Africa or the Northeast corner facing the Arabian Peninsula and the Indian Ocean. The area contained Ethiopia otherwise known as Abyssinia, the only independent State in Africa save Liberia whose independence was guaranteed by the United States.
Ethiopia was bordered by Italian Eritrea and French and British Somaliland on the North, Italian Somaliland on the East, Kenya and Uganda on the South and Anglo-Egyptian Sudan on the West.
The Galla tribe with whom ERB became fascinated had been driven about by the Somals occupying lands mostly in the interior of Ethiopia after the manner of the Middle Eastern Kurds, where they were constantly in conflict with the Ethiopians and the Somals on the border. ERB deals with the Ethiopian-Galla situation in Tarzan And The Mad Man.
The Red camp is located in Ethiopia several days march from the border of Italian Somaliland. Opar which is nearby must now be located in Ethiopia.
The Reds have assembled an international cast of characters or in other words a multi-cultural outfit. Their multi-cultural nature will prove to be a liability rather than an asset as indeed it must in real life.
The organizers are Russian or Soviet Communists of whom there are four, Peter Zveri, the leader, Zora Drinov, Paul Ivitch and Michael Dorsky. They are joined by an American agent acting as a double agent, Wayne Colt.
Burroughs casually mentions that the expedition was put together in the United States by Zveri operating on both coasts. As Burroughs is writing a novel he wisely declines to preach or analyze, he is, as he says, an entertainer. As I who do function as an analyst pointed out in Marcia Of The Doorstep that the US had been used as a safe haven by every conspiratiorial revolutionary group on the planet. Burroughs is noting the same thing but only in passing as part of the story. If one is not attuned to such details they slip right by without significance as do the dots and dashes of the Morse code to the uninitiated.
The group is also composed of a Filipino Red, Antonio Mori and a Mexican revolutionary Miguel Romero. These people form the core group. Affiliated with them are the Moslem Arabs of Abu Batn who appear to have been recruited from the Mahgreb, perhaps Algeria, where some of Tarzan’s early adventures occurred. They do not appear to be Black Arabs of the Horn. While appearing to be Communists they remain Moslem Arabs whose real motive is to drive the Christians or Nasrany as they call them out of Africa. This means Whites of no or any religious affiliation.
Zveri has also patched on the Bantu tribe of Kitembo, the Basembos. This is because Kitembo has actually been to Opar, the only member of their party who has. Kitembo doesn’t appear to be a true Communist but is a former powerful chief from Kenya who had been displaced by the British. He comes from a place on Lake Victoria which should make him a Luo but for reasons perhaps not pertinent I tend to think of him as Kikiyu probably partly based on someone like Jomo Kenyatta who already had notoriety by 1930 although Kitembo’s history is close that that of the Unyoro Chief Kaba Rega whose story Burroughs was definitely familiar with from the memoirs of Samuel Baker.
Kitembo is interested only in recovering his past dignity augmented ten fold. All that becomes irrelevant when he deigns to lay his hands on Zora.
We should remember that Burroughs is writing in 1930 not 2010, so many things that are more or less clear to us now were undetermined at that time while understandings and motivations were quite different then from today and as those of today will be fifty years hence.
For one thing Africa was still a land of mystery where one wouldn’t have been too surprised if someone had discovered a lost civilization, a strange anthropoid- perhaps the so-called Missing Link, very real to the imagination at the time- and any number of things. One of the great losses of my childhood was the recognition that Africa was known; that nothing truly wonderful would be discovered in the world again. All was now cataloguing.
Abercrombie and Fitch who had built a very lucrative business outfitting ‘explorers’ or safaries, having not yet turned to teen porn, lost its raison d’etre as did all the ‘Explorer’ clubs where grown men sat around in khaki Safari gear drinking and dreaming. All that was left for me and my generation was Trader Vic’s and he’s gone now. The miracle is that the National Geographic found a way to survive when they could no longer portray exotic, naked, painted savages with necks supported by copper rings, plates in the upper lip and that. Now of course they don’t have to go as far for such exotica as Whites imitating the Africans sport massive tattooing suported by all kinds of nose rings and body piercings.
So, in 1930 Burroughs’ story still had a degree of probability. Especially in the way he joined contemporary politics to nineteenth century Africa. In one reads closely this is quite a story, a true tour de force.
Not only do the Arabs and the Bantus have their personal motivations apart from Communism, so we learn does Peter Zveri. The streak of individualism is not extinct in his collective mind, he sees the opportunity to make himself Emperor of Africa in Tarzan’s stead. Apparently Soviet intelligence has been keeping close tabs on the doings of the Big Ape Man because Zveri knows of Tarzan’s ‘fool dirigible trip’ believing him absent from Africa and possibly dead as no one has heard from him for the past year. This was before Google Alerts too.
Indeed Tarzan drops as from the clouds into a clearing filled with great apes as the story begins. Just coincidentally Jad-Bal-Ja and Nkima happen to be in this exact part of Tarzan’s estate of Africa at the same time. Zveri then is very disappointed to learn that his nemesis is back. As well he might because he has engaged himself mano a mano with the Big Bwana and Africa, believe it or not, is not big enough for both of them.
In his examination of Communism, multi-culturalism and human nature Burroughs is at his incisive best. Remember few of these stories go over a hundred ninety-two paperback pages. These are tremendously condensed stories. They’re somewhat like a zipped file with megabytes compressed into kilobytes. To really get the stories you have to unzip them and let them expand in y9ur mind. Don’t be deceived by their seeming simplicity.
The various cultures involved in this plot are only loosely held together by Communist ideology. The plot eventually falls apart because the cultures see through the phoniness of the Communist ideal. Zveri himself isn’t even that sincere a Communist as he intends to use the gold of Opar to make himself a third world power as Emperor of Africa. In the end Communism is a fatuous dream,whether utopian or dystopian is up to you.
Burroughs does not emphasize his opinions, he merely tells his story. My conclusions as to his intent are derived from the result of the story. In the end Communism fails because of internal contradictions while the big Bwana is invincible retaining his position as Guardian or Emperor of Africa. Not one world of preachment.
Wayne Colt in his rather absurd trek across Africa arrives too late for the first assault on Opar. He does happen into camp in time to spot the shaking tent and rescue Zora from Jafar, the Indian Communist, with Tarzan’s help. After killing Jafar Tarzan turns his steps to Opar traveling in a bee-line through the Middle Terraces he handily arrives before the first expedition which had left some time before him.
Let me take a moment to discuss Burroughs’ Africa. In the first place these stories are combination dreamscape, fairy tale and mythmaking. His Africa bears no more relation to this planet than Arthur’s Camelot bore to Medieval England. I find it tiresome for scholars to try to find the ‘real’ history of Arthur’s career. Arthur may have a loose connection to real historical events but the story, a great one, is a projection of psychological needs. There isn’t any such thing as a Holy Grail. No knights ever went in search of it.
In the same way Burroughs’ Africa is a psychological projection hopefully leading to his Holy Grail. There are no lower, middle or upper terraces in a nearly uniform jungle in the real Africa. Anyone who tries to find them will be severely disappointed. Such things are merely inventions of Burroughs’ dream world. I am glad he shared it with me, you and the millions.
The frequency with which the characters run into each other way out there is also impossible but in Burroughs’ dreamscape, his fairy tale, his myth, it happens all the time. There is no sense in arguing the impossibility. If you find it too offensive to your sensibilities then the oeuvre is not for you. One just accepts that these are fairy tales and in fairy tales things like this happen all the time. It’s a fantasy, fantastic things go on.
I try to fathom the psychological intent so while I may smile and jest at some impossible details it is only at the naive dream details and not the serious intent of the story. In our time these stories would have been taken at warp speed to another galaxy where in that context all things would be possible. But, that would be pure fiction hence unbelievable. I never did take Star Trek seriously, in fact, I refused to voluntarily watch it. Burroughs’ Africa can still be located on a map of the world connecting psychological reality with temporal reality in a very satisfying blend.
So, as this series is a roman a fleuve or River Story, Tarzan ruminates on his previous visits to Opar as he strides across the hot dusty desert, where the rain never falls, toward the fabled gold and red domes and turrets in the distance.
La’s love for him which began in Return Of Tarzan has caused dissension between her and her people. She has retained her position only through the active intervention of Tarzan. Defeating the revolution that had ousted her in Tarzan And The Golden Lion the big Bwana had replaced her on the throne guarded by the Bolgani of the Valley of Diamonds and the semi-human Gomangani. It is interesting to not that the Oparian revolution occurred after the Russian. Might be a connection.
As he approaches the city he believes that the Oparians appreciated his defeat of Cadj and that they love and respect him so that his reunion with them will be joyous. Not so. In the interim the Oparians who hate and resent Tarzan have deposed La putting her in a foul prison in the vast underground maze of dungeons of Opar. Passing back through the narrow cleft, bounding up the stairs, Tarzan is surprised to find himself attacked by the howling Frightful Men. The Man of the Steel Pate receives another frightful blow which lays him out.
He wakes to find himself the captive of Oah and Dooth. He is placed in a cell the details of which I have already related above.
I haven’t plumbed the signficance of Tarzan and La being imprisoned together while the city is attacked by the Communists unless the dreamworld of Opar represents a sanctuary that is now invaded in the attempt to destroy Burroughs’s literary career. In that event it might be necessary for the Anima and Animus to be together. This story also harks back to the invasion of the Emerald City in Baum’s story The Emerald City Of Oz.
In any event the various strange screams and noises from within Opar unsettle the superstitious Blacks and Arabs who lose their nerve refusing to enter Opar. The Blacks believe in spirits and the Arabs in jinns both of which they fear more than living men. Thus Burroughs is contemptuous of both cultures.
Zveri and his Russians are too cowardly to enter themselves. The only one with the nerve is the Mexican Miguel Romero who gets very good reviews from ERB. Miguel retreats in the the face of the horde of Frightful Men but he is very cool about it.
Returning to camp the Arabs are now disaffected having words with Zveri. The arrival of Colt and Mori puts a little heart into Zveri so that a second attempt on Opar is determined leaving the Arabs to guard the camp.
Tarzan and La escape from Opar between the two assaults becoming subsequently separated. Zveri takes the Blacks and Communists with him. Being left behind dissolves the Arab affinity with the Cause. Never good Communists, being interested only in ejecting the Nasrani from Africa, they decide to disappear into the desert.
About this time La wanders into camp. Sacking the camp, Abu Batn and his Arabs leave with the two women whose value in the North he knows full well. The Arabs are out of the story. The Communist coalition is breaking up. As Burroughs points out the goals of the two are not the same.
Back in Opar Zveri finds it impossible to force his Africans into service while he and his Russians remain cowards. Colt behaving bravely, as only an American can, along with Miguel Romero penetrates to the sanctuary where they are faced by the Frightful Men. Perhaps in a comment on American tactics Colt fires over the heads of the Oparians while the Mexican, Romero, fires directly into the mob.
Why when Americans go to war they are reluctant to do the dirty work of killing is beyond me. The reluctance to engage the enemy in Viet Nam cost us that war. The reluctance to do what we have to do in Iraq is costing us that war. Perhaps we think we can hide behind a wall of steel as our technology wars for us while we imagine we can remain safe. Our punishment of our own soldiers for merely humiliating the enemy must be unique in the annals of warfare. And they wonder why no one wants to join the Army.
Romero who shoots to kill is able to escape while the pussy footing Colt is downed by a thrown club and captured. A thrown club! Once again a Burroughs’ surrogate takes a blow to the head, but how does one survive a thrown club?
Just as Colt and Zora exchange partners in the jungle so now Colt takes Tarzan’s place in jail. Here, he is befriended by a nubile beauty, Nao, rather than as La did Tarzan and, pephaps as Florence was doing for ERB. Afer killing to free him Nao is left behind as Colt disappears into the dusty desert. Not a very thoughtful thing to do as Nao would certainly be discovered.
Zveri returns to his devastated camp to be handed a letter notifying him that Colt is a double agent. Abandoning any thoughts of Opar the Communists concentrate on their mission which is the simulated invasion of Italian Somaliland.
As they are about to leave Tarzan returns Zora to camp. Coldly dropping her off without a word he climbs onto a branch to spy on the conspirators. His leopard skin shorts are mistaken for the real thing. Here we go again. the shot at the imagined leopard grazes the Big Guy’s skull putting him out of commission for a full day. So that is at least two knockouts for Burroughs’ surrogates plus this concussion. Tarzan’s frequent lapses of attention become more intelligible.
Zveri wants to take advantage of his opportunity and kill Tarzan but Zora intervenes so Tarzan is bound which leads to next day’s episode when Dorsky threatens him only to be annihilated by Tantor.
The charming fairy tale between Nkima, Tantor, Tarzan and the Hyena then takes place which is a repeat of the same scene in Jewels Of Opar.
Nkima then goes in search of the Faithful Waziri to aid Tarzan while the Big Fella begins his campaign of terror against the Communist conspirators.
His strategy is to separate Kitembo and his Basembos from Zveri and his Communists. To do this he plays on their superstitious natures. A mysterious voice comes down from the trees, in other words, the sky, telling them to go back. In the meantime Little Nkima has recruited the Faithful Waziri who arrive to help out not with spears and bows and arrows but modern repeating rifles. Arranging themselves in front of the advancing Communists hidden in the tall grass -this stuff grows six feet high- they give the appearance of being many more than they are. Burroughs doesn’t make it clear how they can see the Communists through the grass while the Communists can’t see them but as Tarzan usually navigates pretty well even in total darkness I’m probably making a bigger problem out of it than it is.
Zveri does a rapid advance to the rear which act of cowardice completely destroys his credibility. Dorsky is dead while Romera and Mori renounce their Communism. Zora reveals she’s only in it for the revenge because Zveri had murdered her family twelve years earlier in the Revolution while, as we are aware, Colt is an American agent. This leaves only Zweri and Ivitch who I believe represent Frank Martin and R. H. Patchin, ERB’s old nemeses in Chicago.
Returning to camp Zveri spots Wayne Colt. Calling him a traitor he fires point blank missing while the bullet grazes Colt’s side without breaking the skin. That was a close one. Before Zveri can fire again he is brought down from behind by Zora. Burroughs replays scenes like this over and over with different variations. Just as the constant bashings on the head his surrogates take reflect his own experience in 1899 so must all these conflicts between his surrogates and another man and his surrogate woman reflect his situation with Frank Martin and Emma. In each instance in one way or another the woman rejects the other man. Thus Burroughs ‘fictionizes’ his own situation.
So now Zora kills Zveri so that she and Colt can bridge that gap.
As a sidekick Ivitch/Patchin is allowed to leave Africa. In point of fact Martin died some time before Burroughs although not until after 1934 while Patchin survived both.
Tarzan in the meantime escorts La back to Opar where he reinstalls her on the throne this time doing the sensible thing of eliminating Oah, Dooth and all their sympathizers. One must believe there will be no more trouble in Opar. In any event Opar disappears from the oeuvre.
Tarzan then returns to the camp to dispense justice as becomes the Lord Of The Jungle.
As the story ends the ‘invincible’ Tarzan seems to have solved all the problems confronting he and Burroughs in 1930. The Big Fella has not only thwarted Zveri but defeated Stalin and the whole Soviet empire.
As the exchange between Zveri and Romero explains it: pp. 183-84:
“Which proves,” declared Zveri, “what I have suspected for a long time; that there is more than one traitor among us,” and he looked meaningly at Romero.
“What it means,” said Romero’ “is that crazy, harebrained theories always fail when they are put to the test. You thought that all the blacks in Africa would rush to our standard and drive all the foreigners into th ocean. In theory, perhaps, you were right, but in practice one man, with a knowledge of native psychology, which you did not have, burst your entire dream like a bubble, and for every other harebrained theory in the world there is always the stumbling block of fact.”
Thus Tarzan not only defeats Zveri, Stalin and the Soviets but he disproves the whole Communist ideology as a harebrained theory.
On top of that the Invincible One restored order in Opar while putting his personal life to rights by separating out Colt and Zora or Burroughs and Emma and Tarzan and La or Burroughs and Florence.
The succeeding novel Tarzan The Triumphant- Invincible, Triumphant- will rescue the Russian situation while its successor Tarzan And The City Of Gold disposes of Emma/Jane/Zora/Nemone by her self-immolation while its successor Tarzan And the Leopard Men bring Kali/Florence and Old Timer/Burroughs together. The series climaxes with Tarzan And the Lion Man when Burroughs 2 kills off his early self, Stanley Obroski, or Burroughs 1 to come into his own, or so Burroughs supposes. The rest of the series is playing out the aftermath of the divorce from Emma and the marriage to Florence.
As could have been predicted the marriage to Florence was less than satisfying.
So, perhaps, Burroughs’ solution to his personal dilemma is based on a harebrained theory itself which fell to earth on ‘the stumbling block of fact.’
For the moment however Tarzan has saved Africa from the Communist menace and perhaps the World.
Pt. II: H.G. Wells, Sigmund Freud, Edgar Rice Burroughs And The Development Of Contemporary Sexual Attitudes
August 22, 2010
H.G. Wells, Sigmund Freud, Edgar Rice Burroughs
And The Development Of Contemporary Sexual Attitudes
To put our three protagonists into perspective: Sigmund Freud The eldest of the three was born in 1856, Wells in 1866 and Burroughs, the youngest in 1875. All three were heavily influenced by Charles Darwin and the various theories of Evolution. While today Darwin is touted as the sole source of evolution he was in fact one of many voices as the theory of evolution developed. Thus all three spent their formative years in the latter half of the nineteenth century. Freud was 44 as the century turned in 1900, Wells 34 and Burroughs 25 each neatly spaced 10 years from his predecessor.
Wells was the first to make the leap into prominence followed by Freud and then Burroughs. All three men were desperate to find fame and fortune. Freud even advtertised he’d sell his soul to do it.
Wells came from close to the bottom of the social ladder. His parents eked out a living as shopkeepers without commercial abilities on the edge of London. Wells’ father was an able cricket player who gained his self-esteem from that sport. The parents split up. His mother went into domestic service. She placed young Wells as a Draper’s assistant- a clerk in a dry goods shop. As one might well believe Wells rebelled at this dead end destiny in life. Possessing a good brain Wells began a series of educational maneuvers that led to his being a student of T.H. Huxley, an apostle of Evolution. A science career seemed to be opening for Wells but he was led away by his sexual needs. He married a cousin with whom he was a boarder in her mother’s house only to discover her Victorian notions of male-female sexual relations differed widely from his. He divorced her taking up with a fellow student. She was an able financial manager so he put her in charge and began chasing skirts. It didn’t seem to bother his wife Catharine who he renamed Jane. After a series of hairy but educational employments Wells began to find success in journalism and writing. With his story The Time Machine he broke into the bigtime giving Jane some real work to do. Quickly following The Time Machine up with his succession of sci-fi novels by 1900 he was assured of a lifetime income.
It was well because his work after 1906 while prolific was unlucrative except for 1922′s Outline Of History. There was a winner. The Outline was his second great break setting him up for the rest of his life along with the science fiction. Ah, those Seven Science Fiction Novels. And, of course, his close to amazing collection of short stories. There was another gold mine. Jane raked in the cash and Bertie, for that was how he wished to be called, spent it.
He associated himself with the socialist Fabian Society of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century with their ‘advanced’ sexual notions. Why the old Hetaerist notion of promiscuity is considered ‘advanced’ is beyond me. At the same time Bertie claimed to be a Feminist. The women’s Matriarchal movement was very active from mid-century on. His Feminism, however, was concerned only with eliminating chastity thereby allowing any man access to any woman at any time, anywhere. Purely Hetaeric, although Wells wouldn’t have understood his ancient roots in that manner.
It was when Wells turned to his sex novels that he put his reputation in jeopardy. After his intial spate of sci-fi his reputation slid, the only bright spot being The Outline Of History. While his later novels, tend toward the tedious and require a certain determination to read through they are almost always redeemed by the social context. I like Wells and don’t mind the stuff too much but I can’t recommend it very strongly. It’s a matter of taste, either you like Wells or you don’t.
Wells major themes are outlined in the last of the Seven Sci-Fi Novels- In The Days Of The Comet- when he shades into the sex novel. In my estimation this is a very fine book as utopian novels go. After Tono-Bungay and When the Sleeper Wakes it may be my favorite. The turn of the century was a hey day of the utopian novel with the dystopian novel being introduced. If you like the genre many fine ones were written: News From Nowhere by William Morris. I came to Morris late in life but if you like the mystical utopian or quasi-utopian novel Morris has a lot to recommend himself including several utopian forays. I’m sure he influenced both Wells and Burroughs; Edward Bellamy’s Looking Backward is another fine example of the period. They’re all bushwa but fun to read. Utopian novels are usually a projection of the author’s own needs and desires into which all humanity is to conform. Usually by some miracle all humanity becomes reconciled to living in universal harmony with no unseemly disturbances of the temper. Museums and lecture halls flourish while dance halls and crime atrophy. Culture is much more elevated. To the most casual observor such an utopia is impossible without an alteration of the human brain. Only one utopianist I have read has addressed that problem and that one is H.G., our Bertie.
In The Days Of The Comet was published in 1906 at the time that Halley’s Comet was due to make its scheduled seventy-five year fly-by in 1910. It was projected to pass very close to the earth which it did unlike its 1985 appearance when you had to know where to look for it. Indeed, the comet came with trails of glory so bright you could read newsprint by it at night.
Thus Wells uses the comet as his agent to change the physical structure of the human brain. Wells fails to mention any change to the brains of the lesser animals and insects. Perhaps the lion really did lie down with the lamb. Before the comet, or the Big Change as the passing was referred to, people’s brains were as ours are now; after the Change they all resembled that of H.G. I am in sympathy with Wells; I fancy that one morning I will sally forth, flick my finger tips a couple times, say abracadabra and the people of the world will be tranformed into clones of myself. What’s holding me back is that I don’t know which will be the Big Morning and I don’t wish to be seen as an eccentric or worse who failed to take his medicine by repeatedly trying and failing. You know, out there flicking my finger tips into the empty air.
But, Wells had it worked out. The comet came trailing this tail of green gas. As the comet passed the gas enveloped the earth much like a magnetar, I suppose, knocking people out for several hours while the gas did its work. When England came to the world was changed and everyone thought like Wells. Sort of the same thing that was thought would happen when Obama was elected. The Magic Negro would save us all.
Actually the Comet reflected a change in Wells own circumstances. In 1898 when Wells published The War Of The Worlds he was balanced between hope and despair. He was close to financial independence but not quite there. Thus in WOW the tone is between hope and despair. The world is invaded by Martians who destroy everything in their path, themselves being destroyed by a virus taken in through their beastly habit of drinking human blood. One neglected detail is that the projectiles they arrived in trailed some green clouds. The last projectile had a larger one so that perhaps Wells was going to develop the notion but then couldn’t work it in. He did have the Martians project a black gas that killed people though.
By 1906 his success was assured, he was shooting his pistol off around London having several sexual affairs so his outlook was brighter and, hence, that of the planet, so the novel describes the transition from the evil old world to the brave new one In other words, Wells had passed from poverty to affluence.
Sex is the issue here.
Before the Comet Willie, the hero, was courting his childhood sweetheart Nettie from whom he expected to be her sole sexual companion. In the weird old world sex was exclusive. They had committed themselves to each other as children which remained a claim in Willie’s mind.
However Willie is a poor boy with no prospects. Nettie is courted by the rich guy’s son, Verrall with whom she runs off. Willie treks 16 miles to see her only to find she has abandoned her parents’ home in company with Verrall. Well, Willie’s not going to endure such treatment from Nettie or take that from Verrall so he steals some money, buys a revolver and a train ticket to track them down and shoot them dead. You see, in the days before The Big Change that was the way things were done.
In the meantime the Comet is getting closer, C-hour is near, and war breaks out between England and Germany, this is eight years before 1914 so Bertie exhibits his prescience. The details are well handled so we have the increasing color of the green cloud and the flash and boom of the big navel guns as the climax takes place by the seashore. This was really nicely handled.
Willie tracks the couple down to a Bohemian enclave on the East Anglian coast. Nettie and Verrall had gotten married so it seems rather odd that they searched out a Bohemian enclave. So, as the battle rages and the green cloud descends on the earth Willie is chasing the couple down the beach firing his pistol wildly. This is the moment of the Big Change. Everybody gets gassed for a few hours then arise, born again, in a new heaven and a new earth. Utopia!
The same device is used a few decades later in the great movie The Village Of The Damned. A good device. It won’t go stale.
In the new world, new rules and reasonings apply. Nettie no longer has to choose between Willie and Verrall. She can have both…and more.
As Willie comes to he hears groaning. The groaning is coming from a prominent politician who was out bicycling at two in the morning when the green fog descended and fell off his bike as he conked breaking his ankle. Thus Willie makes a connection changing the direction of his life allowing him to become prominent in the establishment of this brave new world. Thus he later meets Nettie and Verrall on equal terms.
Nettie informs Verrall that she wants a menage a trois with Willie to which, in this best of all impossible worlds, Verrall compliantly agrees. Later Willie marries making the arrangment a menage a quatre. Neato! Was this all? No…
In the frame for the story it turns out that the story teller is Willie. In the Frame Wells comes upon this white haired old dude, Willie, writing this memoir. He has pages clipped in fascicles of fifty that Willie allows the editor, H.G., to read.
Finishing the last fascicle the author asks if Nettie had sexual relations with others. The white haired dude replies somethng like this: ‘Oh, heavens, yes. Hundreds. You don’t think a beautiful girl like Nettie wouldn’t attract numerous suitors do you?’
So there you have it. In the brave new world the woman of Wells’ dreams is a mere sex object who spends her life being pawed by, shall we say, all comers. A Hetaerist’s dream. This is Wells’ sexual program. At this point he began to lose readers. Too avant garde; you don’t want to get too far out in front of the pack. In addition to the sexual proselytizing of his novels he carried his didacticism to extremes advancing educational theories for instance. For over a hundred years we’ve been told our educational system is faulty. New systems have succeeded new systems. After over a century of tinkering are people better schooled? No. They’re worse. There’s only one way to learn and that’s the drudgery of study. Not every mind is prepared to do that, somebody’s going to be left behind. Wells’ notions as everyone else’s is what they think they would have liked. No study. Lots of play.
At any rate carrying all these utopian notions Wells passed through the horrific war years to have all his expectations disappointed. Not surprisingly his mind broke and he went into a deep depression. First he tried the God trip and when that failed he embraced the Communist Revolution in Russia. He essentially became an agent of Moscow. As a very prominent writer he was a desirable acquistion for the Revolution. As a major theorist and propagandist he had an entree first to Lenin and then after 1924 when Lenin died, Stalin.
In 1921 he interviewed Lenin and received his instructions. the Soviets had a system of State prostitution. These women were assigned as agents to service writers while spying on them for Moscow. In 1921 he met Moura Budberg for whom he fell. At that time she had been assigned to manage a consular agent, Bruce Lockhart, who along with the agency was in process of being expelled. Wells became intensely jealous of Lockhart because of this connection badmouthing him from then on. In any case Moura Budberg was assigned to Maxim Gorky then living in exile in Italy with whom she stayed until Gorky was enticed back to the USSR at which time she was reassigned to shepherd Wells.
Now Wells became a Soviet literary hatchet man. It was his job to interfere and discredit writers who refused to propagate the Party line. Among these was Edgar Rice Burroughs who had proclaimed his anti-Communism with a tract or study titled Under The Red Flag of 1919. Publishers refused the piece. Wells anti-Burroughs campaign was so discreet that my discovery of it three or four years ago was the first mention of it. I repeat the story here for those who have not read my earlier essays.
In the first place all these writers read each other. Kipling and Haggard for instance read each other as well as writers like Wells and Burroughs and vice versa. They could pass disguised messages in their novels. As Burroughs was the last of these writers to begin writing and that in US pulp magazines in 1912 that may never have reached Europe while his book titles only reached print in 1914 after the Great War began and were only the Tarzan titles until the end of the decade Wells may not have read Burroughs until 1918 or slightly after. Nevertheless Burroughs influence shows in Wells’ 1923 effort Men Like Gods. This book also ridicules Burroughs.
Men Like Gods takes place in a parallel universe. There is some resemblance to the Eloi of The Time Machine. For the first time Wells’ characters are nearly nude. This was the only time he ever did this so he was probably under the influence of Burroughs whose characters never wore clothes or only minimally.
Burroughs apparently picked up the references or had them pointed out to him. In any event in 1926 he wrote The Moon Maid in answer to Wells, The First Men In The Moon. Wells’ book was pretty clumsycompared to that of Burroughs who demonstrated his imaginative superiority by running circles around Wells. The second part of the story was a rewrite of Under The Red Flag that was a direct challenge to the Soviets. By 1926 of course Stalin was directing the USSR.
Wells then countered with an undisguised attack that portrayed Burroughs as insane. This was Mr. Blettsworthy On Rampole Island. Here Wells parodied a pulp magazine story not yet in book form, The Lad And The Lion, and the last third of The Land That Time Forgot. Burroughs returned the fire with Tarzan At The Earth’s Core and Tarzan The Invincible that featured Stalin himself as a character.
At about this time Moura Budberg was assigned to Wells as a concubine as Gorky had returned to the USSR. This was to cause a falling out between Wells and Stalin while perhaps leading to Stalin’s assassination in 1953.
Burroughs’ entire series of novels from Tarzan At The Earth’s Core to Tarzan And The Lion Man deals with Wells and the Reds. The Communists attacked unrelentingly on several fronts probably robbing Burroughs blind in royalties while trying to squeeze off his sales. His British publishers did just that. Although it appears that they refused or were reluctant to keep his titles in print Alan Hodge and Robert Graves in their history of the twenties and thirties, The Long Weekend, twice refer to Burroughs’ great popularity, once in the twenties and once in the thirties.
In Germany the Communists attacked ERB for his anti-German comments in books written during the war
years thereby destroying that lucrative market. The Soviets never paid royalties anyway so there was no monetary effect from that market. In the US Burroughs had troubles with his publishers McClurg’s and Grossett & Dunlap who seem quite hostile to in the correspondence in the archives at ULouisville. ERB left McClurg in the late twenties going through two more publishers before winning the battle by publishing under his own imprint. Thus by 1930′s Tarzan The Invincible, note the title, he seemed to have won the battle if not the war.
However sound had come to the movies in 1927-28 which rearranged the playing field. Rather than just being ‘flickers’ they were now more on a par with literature while being even more influential. With sound the movie version of a story took pecedence over the book, heck, it took precedence over history. Thus the movie version took precedence as the canon over the book, the latter became an adjunct that few read in comparison to those who saw and heard the movie. As the movies paid in one lump sum what it might take years to dribble in as royalties authors were willing to give the devil a cut to have their novels produced. Books could be issued in their thousands of titles a year but there were only a couple hundred movies released in a year. The number of producers had been consolidated from many to a few after the shakeout of the twenties, hence combines like Metro, Goldwyn and Mayer, Radio-Keith-Orpheum- RKO- and the combine of Twentieth Century Pictures and William Fox.
MGM was of course top dog by far. There was no vacuum there but the Commies moved in anyway soon taking over de facto control. When Burroughs published his own books, quite profitably, he had slipped the noose but only temporarily. As a strategist he did poorly. In 1931, because Burroughs didn’t ever bother to dread his contracts, MGM finessed his meal ticket, Tarzan, from him thereby making him financially dependent on them. Even though they might have exploited the Tarzan character by making two or three movies a year and zillions of dollars they chose to make only six movies between 1931 and 1940 thereby keeping Burroughs on a short financial lease while depriving him of hundreds of thousands of dollars in income. Remember that at the same time Roosevelt after 1933 drove the income tax rate as high as 90% so there was some difficulty forcing a grin in those trying times.
This is a good story and I covered it in some detail in my ten part review of Tarzan And The Lion Man, expecially parts 6-10 to which I refer you if you’re interested. Wells and Burroughs bickered back and forth although it appears that Burroughs lost heart after Tarzan And The Lion Man. By that time he knew he had been had. He did concede defeat in the issuance of a book version of The Lad And The Lion in 1935; a notice to both Wells and Stalin. The story was a short one so while leaving the old story as a notice to Wells who had mocked him and the story in his Blettsworthy novel, Burroughs interpolated chapters with a story mocking the Communist Revolution in Russia. Then he retired from the field.
However he gives Wells a grand slam in the story of ’God’ in the middle of Lion Man. That is a great story within the story however I wasn’t clear on its relation to Wells at the time so I will give a modified version here.
Now, Burroughs had a remarkable mind. He was able to carry the story lines of hundreds of books he had read in his head retrieving details whenever they suited his needs. He was always conscious of what he was doing but he wrote pastiches anyway.
The story of Tarzan and God mocks Wells’ The Island Of Dr. Moreau. Burroughs had already used Moreau in his 1913 novel The Monster Men plus he wrote around the theme repeatedly. Moreau itself plays around with the Frankenstein theme which also figures prominently in Burroughs’ literary antecedents.
Remember that Burroughs is able to combine numerous details of other books into one composite figure so that Wells is only one source for the character of ‘God’ in Lion Man. For our purposes one may assume that when Tarzan talks to God (smirk) it is equivalent to Burroughs talking to Wells. Gone is the transcendant confidence of Tarzan The Invincible and Tarzan Triumphant. However the coup of the capture of Tarzan in 1931 when Burroughs signed away his rights to the movie representation of Tarzan to MGM had stripped Burroughs of all defences and he himself was now trapped in a cage at the mercy of MGM, Wells and Stalin. During Tarzan’s movie history dating back to the late teens Burroughs had always complained, making a nuisance of himself because the studios weren’t following his stories closely. Now, he had given MGM the right to create their own stories. ERB was dissatisfied with the representation of Tarzan but the character was so good that even though MGM tried they couldn’t destroy it.
Nevertheless they were in a position to substitute the movie Tarzan for the literary Tarzan in the public mind and they did. For me and many others the discovery that there was a literary Tarzan came long after we had been viewing Tarzan movies. We invariably found the literary Tarzan superior. For now Tarzan/ERB was imprisoned in a cell. The best ERB can do is to come up with a better Moreau story than Wells.
So, ERB creates a mock London, England in the wilds of Africa with a replica of the court of Henry VIII peopled by mutated gorillas. By 1930 when this story was written ERB was probably as well informed about evolution as anyone. He had kept up his reading becoming as knowledgeable concerning genetics as any but researchers. Thus while thirty years earlier Moreau had been clumsily experimenting with vivisection ‘God’ had used the lastest genetic techniques that ERB can devize to convert gorillas into a cross between apes and human beings. The apes of God are human in all but appearance. There are many jokes concealed in this episode, apes of God perhaps being one. Wyndham Lewis used the term apes of God as a synonym for writers so he may be calling Wells as God and writer an ape. ‘God’ himself who has exchanged ape genes with himself is now half ape. See, a joke. Whether Wells recognized his portrait isn’t known.
Tarzan sets about to escape but as there is no escape from his real life situation ERB merely burns God’s castle down disrupting one supposes the USSR. Perhaps gratifying to the imagination but futile for changing his situation. No longer in control of his creation Burroughs creative powers begin to atrophy.
Thus Stalin triumphed over his literary adversary. Perhaps Stalin despised writers for he set out to humiliate Wells after the defeat of Burroughs. As noted the State prostitute Moura Budberg had formerly serviced Maxim Gorky while after his return Budberg was assigned to Wells. H.G. had fallen hard for Budberg apparently seriously in love with her. Stalin called Wells to Moscow in 1936 when Gorky was on his last legs, about to die. Budberg was also in Moscow but when Wells asked to see her she told him she was called out of town. In a rather malicious ploy Stalin arranged for Wells to see Gorky and Budberg together as, of course, she wasn’t out of town.
Wells was completely destroyed unable to penetrate Stalin’s duplicity, or at least believe it, at the time. However when it finally sank in he had no more means to retaliate than Burroughs so he wrote a book too- The Holy Terror. In that book, the ruffian leader of the revolution, or Stalin in real life, has lost the ability to lead the revolution and has to be discreetly removed. A conspiracy is set afoot. A doctor’s plot in which the leader is artfully removed by medical means. I am unaware of how much influence Wells may have had to incite others to achieve his result. At any rate the War intervened making it inexpedient to dispatch Stalin while Wells died in 1946 before he could reactivate the plan.
It may be coincidence but Stalin discovered a doctor’s plot in the early fifties that he was able to foil. However Khruschev and Beria and others poisoned Stalin at a dinner in 1953 thus removing this singularly successful but troublesome dictator.
The turmoil of the thirties may have derailed Wells sexual program somewhat but sexual matters were still moving in his desired direction. Sexual matters had been loosened a great deal but there were still miles to go.
In Part III I will deal with the key mover in sexual matters, Sigmund Freud who was the second of the three to reach prominence. Thus Burroughs the third to arrive on the scene and the last to leave will be saved for the last part.
Themes And Variations
The Tarzan Novels Of Edgar Rice Burroughs
#14 Tarzan The Invincible
Part VI of X
Inside The Gates Of Opar
Life is just too short for some folks,
For other folks it just drags on.
Some folks like the taste of smokey whiskey
Others think that tea’s too strong.
Me, I’m the kind of guy who likes to ride the middle
I don’t like this bouncing back and forth.
Me, I want to live with my feet in Dixie
And my head in the cool blue North.
–Jesse Winchester: Nothing But A Breeze
And now we come to the heart of Edgar Rice Burroughs. One reason he is literarily disdained is that the story is not the story. Porges, p.524:
As the story progresses the perceived theme of a worldwide conspiracy is abruptly abandoned. Burroughs in his contempt for the communists refuses to allow them to be sincere even in their Marxist goals.
This is not true. Porges has misconceived the story. To quote the sixties Jewish revolutionary Mark Rudd: The issue is not the issue. By that Rudd meant that the Jews had created a diversion to mask the true issue which was the establishment of the Jewish culture as top culture or dictator in this multi-cultural world.
Burroughs intent is exactly the same as regards Tarzan. True, Burroughs has contempt for Communism but that is merely a frame story and a side issue. The true issue is that Tarzan’s authority as guardian of Africa is being challenged on the spot. The duel is between himself and Sveri mano a mano. He discredits the collectivity through the individuals. Thus at novel’s end Tarzan sits in state as Guardian or Emperor disposing the fates, godlike, of the remaining conspiritors. Magnanimously he allow Paul Ivitch (Paulevitch) to be escorted out of Africa rather than be thrown on his own resources that would have resulted in his certain death.
The issue within the issue, as always, is Burroughs attempt to resolve his psychological difficulties. Thus one has the Colt-Drinov combination, possibly reprsenting ERB and Emma, an episode within Opar of Nao who may represent Florence releasing him from the prison of his marriage to Emma, and Colt-La, the Anima and Animus problem. Tarzan and Colt change partners so that La nurses Colt and Tarzan nurses Zora. But to that in the next section.
While one expects a pure shoot out with the Communists, Tarzan is not going to defeat them by direct action but by a terrorist campaign of which Tarzan is the jungle master.
To compound the problem Burroughs confuses realism with dreamwork. This is not a realistic novel but a dream fantasy. It was said that Burroughs wrote out his dreams which has a basis in fact. The scenarios may have originated in his sleeping dreams but then he modifies them in day dream style while consciously molding the story for political and commercial purposes. A writer does need readers.
To give a basis for comparison for the dreamwork I’m going to play Freud here and offer up a dream of my own; it is similar to Burroughs’ in many way. Since integrating my personality I don’t have wonderful dreams like this anymore. As Jung correctly surmised when one integrates the conscious and sub-conscious minds memory destroys the symbolic basis of your dreams. I can analyze the common place dreams I have now even as I dream them. Something is lost, something is gained, but it might be of lesser value. I think I like the mysterious flavor of the smokey whiskey even though the water I have to drink now is better for me.
In my dream I began on the edge of a vast desert dotted with a few oases while far off in the distance twenty years away, rather than miles, away in the the distance a great white shining mountain arose. The distances were so vast they were measured not in miles but years. Indeed, the years of my life. I had to traverse the vast desert reaches between the oases. Each oasis merely refreshed me for the next perilous journey. Having traversed the years I came to the great white shining mountain. One might compare it to the tor containing the treasure vaults of Opar out on its desert. These are symbols common to multitudes.
I then came to the white shining mountain which might compare to the city of Opar. Censorship prevented me from climbing the mountain at that time. In other words in the control of my subconscious, consciousness was denied me. I approached the mountain from the back where I noticed a trickle of water leading into and down the mountain. I tried to drink the water but as it ran through a pure salt bed it was too salty. Unlike Burroughs who was in the pits of darkness I was always bathed in a clear light which came from nowhere.
I followed the little stream down the subterranean path into the mountain. Thus I had all land and no water, a barren psychological situation. Following the cave down I came to a series of gates made entirely of steel. I hesitated to go forward but there was no going back. I was impelled into one of the gates which turned into a chute that spilled me out onto a steel floor where unseen hands seized me pushing me into a steel room as the steel door slammed shut. Like Tarzan beneath Opar I was a prisoner with no seeming way out.
As I looked around I realized that this was a laundry room. All steel, of course. While I had no food I now had sinks full of water. My situation had been reversed from all land to all water, from the pure masculine to almost pure feminine. Where before I was barren now I was spilling over with wisdom. I knew I had to get out of there reasonably soon or I would starve to death. There was impenetrable steel all around. But I had plenty of water. Too much water. Looking around I spotted ventilation ducts along the ceiling. I conceived the notion that I could drink lots of water then urinate in the ducts which would create a foul odor that would be distributed throughout the rooms above. They would search for the source of the odor thus opening the door of my prison.
The ducts were difficult to reach but I was able to urinate in them. As I expected voices came down the duct asking ‘What is that smell?’. The door to my prison opened inward so I stood to the side that opened waiting. Sure enough a couple maintenance men flung the door open bursting into the room. I slipped out the door behind them unnoticed.
I now descended still further until I came to a bank of elevators. One door was open for which I made a rush. The elevator was packed with boys I knew from high school. With doubled fists they pushed me back refusing to allow me in the elevator with them. Mocking me as the doors closed I was left alone way down there.
There was a flight of stairs but censorship prevented my using them. I waited in vain for another elevator. As with dreams I next found myself at the back of the mountain but the path into the mountain had disappeared so I now had to climb The Great White Shining Mountain.
If, like Burroughs, I were writing a story I would provide a plausible story line for my escape but I’m not. I’m merely transcribing a dream.
The reason the mountain shone was because it was covered by snow several hundreds of feet, possibly thousands, thick. As previously the water in the stream was too salty to drink now it was frozen. The sun shone brightly, not only brightly, but brilliantly, as I began my climb. I had left the subconscious for the conscious as I strove for the light. The climb was long from the back of the brain to the forebrain but not tiring. Apart from the barrenness of the snow I was enjoying myself. Would it be too offensive a pun if I said I enjoyed being high? After a long climb I came to a precipice past which I could go no further. Nor could I go back.
As I studied my position I looked down this sheer precipice to the desert thousands of feet below. There was snow all the way to the desert floor. Down there, way down there, I could see the tiny ant-like people in the barren sands doing obeisance to the moutain which they apparently treated as a god.
Looking down the sheer face of snow I could dimly perceive the outlines of a great face carved in the snow. This god, then, retained all the water behind his visage that could make the desert bloom. Just as I had used water to escape the prison of my subconscious I conceived the notion that I could release the water and make the desert bloom freeing the people from their bondage.
Now, this was hard snow. I had no trouble walking the surface without breaking through while if the snow didn’t give way as I jumped on it to destroy the snow god I would plummet several feet into the desert. Neverthless I leaped up landing on my bottom. The snow gave way as I rode the avalanche several thousand feet down the mountain side to land on the desert floor while I destroyed the god who had been impounding the water.
Many streams now flowed out from the mountain. The desert bloomed turning green and bursting with flowers. Now that we have a comparison let us examine Burroughs’ great dream of Opar.
Opar first found expression way back at the end of 1912 and the beginning of 1913. Appearing at the end of The Return Of Tarzan the story was included in Burroughs’ fourth published story and fifth written story, the Outlaw Of Torn had been written but not published yet.
As with Invincible the story of The Return was not the story. The story was what Burroughs hung the details of what appeared to be the story on. Hence Return was rejected by Metcalf Burroughs’ first editor at Munsey’s who undoubtedly couldn’t understand it. This is the novel in which Tarzan makes his first raid on the fabulous treasure vaults of Opar. Burroughs will continue his wonder stories of Opar through three more books. Each return occurs at a crucial point in his life.
That Opar is a dream location is proven by the topography of the location. It is not too dissimilar to any dream. The jungle grows right up to the base of towering mountains behind which Opar is hidden. On the other side of these it is a dry dusty desert exemplifying Burroughs’ life as the twenty year desert in my dream did mine. Entry into the valley in this story is through a narrow defile apparently several thousands of feet high above which the peaks of the surrounding mountain range tower several thousand feet more. This entry also closely resembles that of Haggard in King Solomon’s Mines. Haggard is never far from Burroughs’ mind as he writes his stuff.
Working your way down into the dreamscape is considerably more easy than climbing it. And then off in the distance rose the shining red and gold domes and turrets of Opar. A dream city if there ever was one. One is reminded of the two great literary and psychological influences on Burroughs, H. Rider Haggard and L. Frank Baum. Of Haggard’s work beyond King Solomon’s Mines I have Heart Of The World and People Of The Mist most readily called to mind. It might be appropriate to mention that Freud also read some Haggard. He specifically mentions Heart Of The World and She but I suspect he probably read others as well. Opar might be a ruined version of Baum’s Emerald City of Oz. Opar is red and gold while from a distance its ruination is not obvious. Mine was a shining white mountain. Burroughs probably tinkered with his to make a good story better.
Now, the fabled Thebes of Greek mythology had seven gates. Cities Of The Sun had up to a hundred. Opar doesn’t have any. The entrance is a narrow cleft in the wall on which on entering this narrow 20″ gap for which Tarzan had to turn his massively broad shoulders sideways and then immediatley climb a flight of ancient stairs. This appears to be a reverse birth story in which Tarzan is reentering the womb, an impossible feat, but then, Tarzan goes where even devils fear to tread. Try some of the books of the psychologist Stanislav Grof. There’s definitely a sexual image that requires a little thought to understand. Hmm. No gates but a narrow cleft too narrow for the shoulders and a flight of steps leading back into the what, womb? Whose cleft? ERB mother’s, Emma’s, possibly Florence’s by this time, or that of his Anima figure? Well, the last is waiting for him inside the domed inner chamber of this sacred city who is aptly named La, which is French for She. ‘She’ was Ayesha the heroine of Haggard’s novel She. I’m sure Burroughs is not writing consciously here.
At this point Tarzan is accompanied by fifty of his brave and faithful but superstitious Waziri. In fact, in this story as Tarzan goes through his incarnation of a Black savage he is Chief Waziri, eponymous head of the Waziri. P. 42:
As the ape man and his companions stood gazing in varying degrees of wonderment at this ancient city in the midst of savage Africa, several of them became aware of movement within the structure at which they were looking. There was nothing tangible that the eye could grasp- only an uncanny suggestion of life where it seemed that there should be no life, for living things seemed out of place in this weird, dead city of the long dead past.
Dead city of the long dead past. That’s what dreams are all about, one’s own long dead past. Thus the ridge separating the lush live jungle from this dry, dusty plain eight years wide was Burroughs own dead past. I suggest the mountain range, perhaps sixteen thousand feet high, represented ERB’s confrontation with John the Bully when he was eight or nine. On the jungle side was his early life as a Little Prince while on the dry dusty side was his blighted, blasted life after John. Opar represents his ruined mind inhabited by the suggestion of life and the Queen of his dreams the beautiful High Priestess of the Flaming God, the woman of indescribable beauty, La of Opar.
La is obviously a combination of Haggard’s She and L. Frank Baum’s Ozma Of Oz.
Tarzan is seized by the Frightful Men, bound and gagged and left lying in a courtyard at high noon. The rays of the Flaming God bear down on him. Whether this is merely part of an ancient Oparian religious rite or whether Tarzan becomes the chosen Son of theSun a god among men, isn’t clear to the reader. The Oparians have their own ideas.
Burroughs describes this rite in a really masterful way. The maddened murderous Oparian who disturbs the ceremony just before Tarzan is to be sacrificed is nicely handled. Believe me, I feel like I am there. As La looks down on Tarzan’s form on the altar she recognizes the One, the Son of the Sun, the One for which she is destined. Once again, Haggard’s She.
Freed in the melee caused by the crazed Oparian Tarzan is taken down to the Chamber of the Dead by La where she hides him. As she said nobody would look for him in the Chamber of the Dead. This Chamber answers very well to the laundry room of my dream. Tarzan/Burroughs is in a stone dungeon with walls fifteen feet thick, fourteen in Invincible, in total darkness while I was in a steel room with no exit but bright light. These locations answer to the rigid confines of one’s owned damaged psyche. There is no way out but there is, there has to be. While palpating this stony prison at the back of the cell Tarzan discerns a flow of air coming through. This scene is a replication of one in Haggard’s King Solomon’s Mines while becoming a B movie staple. The big Bwana discovers some loose stones. He is able to dislodge these creating an exit through the fifteen foot depth of stones of the fortress wall. Somehow Burroughs has worked his psyche to give himself a chance. Once beyond the foundation walls, free of the Chamber of the Dead (I once dreamed I was looking for my soul in the House of the Distraught) but act among the living, Tarzan feels his way down this long dark corridor. One can’t be certain of ERB’s age when he achieved this escape. As it takes place just before Tarzan marries Jane the time might have been 1898-99. Perhaps when he was in the stationery business in Idaho. Perhaps something he read acted as a lever. Apart from Darwin’s Origin Of Species I would venture to say he read Eugene Sue’s Mysteries Of Paris a copy of which is in his library while traces of it are here in his earliest work.
Sue’s rare mentality permeates every page of this first visit while Sue’s extraordinary consciousness is everywhere apparent throughout ERB’s entire corpus. Burroughs himself is absolutely incredible in the manner he associates with numerous other writer’s intellects, seemingly simultaneously within a given passage or even sentence. Myself, Adams, Hillman, Broadhurst, Burger and others have written extensively on these influences. Hillman even goes so far as to virtually twin Burroughs with some of his major literary influences. Burroughs does make all these writers his virtual doubles.
I have stressed Sue’s influence in several earlier essays. I can only urge you to read Sue’s Mysteries Of Paris- a big three-volume work and too short at that- which Burroughs in his own reading found a life changing experience. Possibly he did read it in 1898-99. I found it a life changing experience; I’ve never been able to free myself of its influence, while it appears that Burroughs couldn’t either. A lot of the late nineteenth century writers make reference to Eugene Sue. H.G. Wells based the beginning of an early novel on Sue. The remnant remains only as a short story.
Sue wrote from outside the bounds of sanity. Privately I consider him insane but so brilliantly rational as to transcend the very meaning of insanity. He’s a dangerous writer. His last work was confiscated by the French authorities. It undoubtedly had such a private personal sense of morality that I am sure it would have undone society much as the pornography from Hollywood has undone ours. DeSade and Restif De La Bretonne, who in some ways Sue resembles, were mere unbalanced pornographers who disturb only the disturbed. Sue’s vision of morality is coldly clear, it forms the basis of Tarzan’s but is always on the side of reason and virtue. This fact makes it no less dangerous to a weak mind or that of the obsessive-compulsive Liberal. Still, only the strong survive. I heartily recommend you take your chance.
Tarzan freed from the prison of the psyche, was he insane? was I? or were we merely trapped by a device of other’s making? I can’t say but ERB’s sanity after he escaped was conditioned by that of Eugene Sue. I, of course, rise above all influences.
Progressing down the corridor Tarzan comes to the First Censor. He finds a gap in the floor into which he might have fallen had he not been careful. He would have fallen into the unknown but he would have been alright. He would have fallen into water which in his condition would have been life-giving water rather than dangerous or perhaps he might have drowned in the waters of the subcoscious or Oblivion.
In high school I had a teacher who used to chalk a half dozen slogans on the black board, one each morning. The only one I remember is ‘when you reach the end of your rope tie a knot and hang on.’ I did this for a couple decades then one day I let go. The joke was on me. There was nowhere to fall. I was only a fraction of an inch from a solid surface. However Tarzan culdn’t have known this since he didn’t fall in, this time. He would three years later.
By chance he looked up where he saw some light entering to discover he was at the edge of a well. Yes, you see, the water of life. He dimly descried the other side fifteen feet away which was child’s play for him to leap. Thus he passed the First Censor. Mine was at the elevators which I apparently merely disregarded.
Continuing on for some time in total darkness, so far that he believes himself outside the walls of Opar he enters the treasure vaults. These vaults are filled with what appears to be forty pound barbells of solid gold. Now, this gold is old. So old that no Oparian knows that it is there nor do any old legends even mention it. This is an intriguing part. The gold was mined millennia in the past after the sinking of Atlantis. This raises the question of what did Burroughs know of Atlantis and did he believe in it? I can’t answer the sources of the former but I’m betting on Ignatius Donnelly as one of them. As to the latter I believe he did. He mentions Atlantis in Invincible with a confidence and familiarity that convinces me that over the eighteen years since Return he has read and thought enough to convince himself of the reality of the lost continent. He appears to accept a mid-Atlantic location.
The gold represents the income he’s receiving for his stories. The stories spring from his dead past. That the vaults are outside Opar indicates he freed his mind from its prison or that the money comes from outside the prison, i.e. his publishers. That the gold is Atlantean indicates that his stories are based on his own ancient experience. In other words he is mining his past already completed as ingots or accomplished facts.
What experience then catalyzed his ability to write? I believe that from 1908-10 when he read L. Frank Baum’s Ozma of Oz, Dorothy And The Wizard Of Oz and The Emerald City Of Oz he found a means to express himself. These books bypassed his last censor allowing him to write Minidoka. That book was not suitable for publication but it freed his genius so that he immediately followed it with A Princess Of Mars.
Now, outside the gates of the Emerald City/Opar in the midst of the equivalent of Baum’s Great Sandy Desert he found the handle on his own destiny.
Tarzan locates the fifty faithful but superstitious Waziri loading them up with two forty pound ingots each and points them toward the coast.
At the same time Fifty Frightful Men from Opar who are tracking him discover Jane instead. Dreamy enough for you? Given a choice between Tarzan and Jane I’d take Jane and so did the Fifty Frightful Men.
So now Jane’s on the altar under the sacrifical knife of La. Skipping the irrelevant details La discovers Jane is Tarzan’s beloved. Interesting confrontation between Tarzan/Burroughs real life woman and his Anima. La is shattered as Tarzan rejects her for Jane.
This is a key point in the oeuvre. This is what makes the novels so repulsive to the literary mind. The story is not the story; the issue is not the issue. Opar is the story within the story that will be told in four short parts over eighteen years. So we have part one here without any indication the story will be continued. A segment of the story is just plopped down into The Return Of Tarzan, sort of irrelevantly.
Weird style actually. I’m not even sure it works, but it nevertheless must be effective else why would the stuff still be in print a century on. You’re on your own, Jack, I can’t even attempt to solve that one. Not today anyway.
The next novel examining this psychological is the 5th novel of the oeuvre, Tarzan And The Jewels Of Opar of 1915.
At this point Tarzan, a profligate if there ever was one, has run through the two tons of gold the fifty faithful Waziri brought out and is broke. Two tons of gold in three years. Think about it. He needs to make another run on Opar.
The character of the series changes with Jewels Of Opar from the character of the Russian Quartet, the first four novels. They not only have an Oz influence but they become Ozlike. Burroughs apparently drew on The Beasts Of Tarzan as the foundation for what is essentially a new series.
After writing five Oz stories, in the sixth, The Emerald City Of Oz, Baum attempted to abandon the series. He closed the series off with the news that there will be no more communication from the fairy kingdom. Because Oz has been invaded three times now, what with the advent of airplanes that will be able to spot Oz from the air Ozma is making the kingdom invisible. Is it coincidence that Opar disappears from the oeuvre after the third invasion?
Baum’s Emerald City Of Oz appeared in 1910. It was the last of the stories to be datelined Coronado in his prefaces. When he was forced to begin writing Oz stories again in 1913 they were datelined Ozcot in Hollywood. In 1910 Hollywood was just a pleasant Los Angeles suburb. The movies didn’t begin to make Hollywood the center of the world porn industry until 1914.
Whether Burroughs knew that Baum left Coronado in 1911 isn’t known but I find it signficant that when he went to California in 1913 his first choice of residence was Coronado where he perhaps thought he would be close to Baum who afer all had a close connection with Chicago. Baum wasn’t in Coronado so Burroughs moved across the bay to San Diego.
The question then is: did Burroughs make a pilgrimage to Ozcot to see Baum in 1913? I have to believe he did. Tarzan was one heck of an entree such that Baum could hardly refuse to see ERB. How long or how often the men met then is conjectural but I think it was long enough for Baum to give Burroughs some tips on fantasy writing. Already an ardent admirer of the Oz books Burroughs would have had no trouble accepting advice from this master.
Thus when Burroughs returned to LA and Ozcot in 1916 it is certain that they met while they were probably already familiar with each other. In 1919, when Burroughs moved to LA permanently, Baum was on his deathbed so there was no chance to renew the acquaintance. I also believe that Baum’s Ozcot influenced Burroughs in naming his own estate Tarzana.
In any event Tarzan returns to Opar in 1915. Except for the first visit when Tarzan following the directions of the old Waziri, chief of the Waziri, visited Opar to take the gold, in the rest of the visits he is battling interlopers who wish to steal the gold from him. It might pay to look at the nature of the intrusions and the intruders.
In 1911-12 Burroughs had for the first time in his life come into more money than he could spend, only for a brief moment of course. Thus Tarzan removes the gold more on a whim not really knowing what to do with it. One might think this a strange attitude for one who had tasted the night life of Paris; but a foolish conisistency is the bugbear of small minds as one of those venerated old timers once said. I don’t wish to be thought of as small minded so we’ll let the observation pass.
By 1915 having lost his two tons of gold in some bad investments Tarzan has better learned the value of money or, at least, the absence of it. And so, perhaps, has Edgar Rice Burroughs. One can see the ghost of old George T. shaking his head muttering: ‘When will that boy ever learn?” Well, George, it would take more time than allotted to him.
After 1912 Burroughs had created something of value. That value could be stolen or at least exploited. In 1914 McClurg’s offered him a publishing contract. Nicely crafted it gve all the advantages to McClurg’s and none to Burroughs. Burroughs undoubtedly did not understand the legal implications of what he signed. I can’t explain this but McClurg’s made no effort to merchandise a sure fire hit. They didn’t even publish the full fifteen thousand copies called for in the contract. They released the book to reprint publisher A.L. Burt after p;rinting only ten thousand copies themselves. Explain it how you will but there was a guaranteed huge absolutely visible market waiting for book publication. Syndication in newspapers had guaranteed the book’s success. So why did McClurg’s willfully refuse to take advantage of such a deal?
Burroughs probably had stars in his eyes at the prospect of 10-15% royalties on hundreds of thousands if not millions of books. Instead he got comparatively nothing. The royalties from Burt were miniscule and to be shared 50/50 with McClurg’s. You can imagine Burroughs’ disappointment as a golden future became brass before his eyes.
Back to Opar. Tarzan entered the vaults before his faithful Waziri who were warriors and would act as bearers for no other man. Alone Tarzan made six trips from the vaults to the top of the tor bringing up forty-eight forty-pound ingots. That’s 320 lbs. per carry for a total of 1920 lbs or nearly a ton. According to Freud, and I believe him, all numbers are significant, although I don’t have enough information to delve completely into the meaning of these numbers. The Waziri then brought up fifty-two ingots. some two of the fifty got stuck with carrying two ingots or two went back for one more. That made slightly over a standard of 2000 lbs.
Tarzan’s forty-eight ingots are roughly half of the total that undoubtedly represents the fifty-fifty split with McClurg’s. At the time Ogden McClurg, the son of the father who built the company, Alexander McClurg, was the nominal head of the company. The firm was actually owned by the employees since about 1902, which Burroughs probably didn’t know. The man he dealt with, Joseph Bray, was probably the real head of the company. Actually Ogden was away from the company for long stretches on adventures in Central America and WWI so that he would have been unfamiliar with the day-to-day workings of the company. Burroughs, however, formed a grudge against Ogden McClurg. I suspect that the Belgian villain Albert Werper is based partly on Ogden McClurg while also being an alter ego of Burroughs. So, a story behind the story is how Ogden McClurg stole ERB’s royalties.
At the same time Tarzan spurns La for a second time so the Anima-Animus story of Tarzan, Jane and La continues. La has Tarzan within her power but in the life and death situation love triumphs over her hurt so she spares the The Big Guy. Not without consequences. The Fifty Frightful Men, or what’s left of them after the maddened Tantor tramples a few, led by Cadj, who now makes his appearance, feel betrayed repudiating La. Thus is begun the conspiracy to replace La which will be the focal point of the next two visits. You know, love or hate, I don’t know which is to be feared the most.
In the next visit in Tarzan And The Golden Lion Tarzan has gone through his second two tons of gold. That is four tons of gold in roughly ten years plus the Jewels of Opar that our spendthrift hero has managed to go through. Four tons of gold! That’s 128,000 ounces of gold. At today’s price of over a thousand dollars an ouce it works out to 128 billion dollars and change. My friends, that is prodigality. Good thing there was more where that came from, hey?
Of course a lot of the loss came from loans to the British Empire to float the Great War. But like certain other borrowings, to which Burroughs may be making an allusion, the Empire had no intention of repaying.
Once again this sort of excess had brought Tarzan to the edge of bankruptcy not unlike ERB in 1922. Just as creditors were besieging ERB for money so some private individuals led by a former employee, Flora Hawkes, attempt to extract the gold from Opar. Tarzan first fails, then recovers not only the gold but the bag of diamonds. The significance of the jewels is explained in the Tarzan and Esteban Miranda story contained in Tarzan And The Ant Men. That story is a duplicate Jewels Of Opar with different details. The history of the Jewels Of Opar also duplicates the history of Tarzan’s locket in Ant Men. If you’ve found something good don’t hesitate to use it more than once.
Fifteen years after the visit in Jewels Of Opar and eight years after the Golden Lion/Ant Men the scene returns to Opar, where once again others are to make a run on Tarzan’s private bank at Opar. Apparently Tarzan has them baffled from the start as, although they know there are treasure vaults at Opar, they have no idea where they are. It appears the Communists have read the earlier books, but not with close attention, nor did they bring their copies along with them to bone up during all those idle moments in camp. Playing cards is alright after reading, but time better spent before. You can see why these dodos failed.
Burroughs had read his Oz stories. One can’t be sure whether he ever reread the stories or whether he was working from twenty year old memories. There are similarities here with the Emerald City Of Oz of 1910. In that book Baum attempts to end the series. He says that it will be the last communication from Oz. It too involves an invasion of Oz by the Nome King and his horrid allies. In Baum’s story Ozma refused to defend her Communist State, predating Russia by seven years, but arranges it so that the invaders who are tunneling beneath the Great Sandy Desert emerge in front of the fountain of the Waters of Oblivion. The fountain has apparently been spiked with LSD as the drinkers get lost in a world of their own returning through the tunnel without a fight. Perhaps the first military use of drugs in history. An excellent fairy tale, hey?
Burroughs’ Communists make two attempts to enter Opar. Circling the city unable to find any gates to Burroughs dreamworld they do find the narrow cleft in the wall. Spooky sounds and happenings disconcert the Blacks and Arabs of this multi-cultural coalition so that any concerted action is frustrated. Although the Russians and the Mexican, Romero, enter, only Romero has the courage to penetrate beyond the courtyard. The Russians are arrant cowards who flee at the sound of the first Oparian shriek.
Returning to base camp they find that Wayne Colt, having tramped the breadth of Africa, has joined the group.
A second attempt is made. The superstitious Arabs refuse to return being also disgusted by Zveri’s lack of leadership and cowardice. Taking the six Communists and the Blacks Zveri returns to Opar for a second attempt. While absent from the base camp the coalition begins to come apart as the Arabs desert the cause, looting and burning the camp while taking the two White women with them. La has joined Zora but more on that in the next section.
The second expedition fares no better than the first for the same reasons. On this attempt both Wayne Colt and Romero enter the sanctuary where they are engaged in a serious battle with the Frightful Men. Colt is felled by a thrown bludgeon that knocks him down but doesn’t crush his skull. Romero retreats, Colt is dropped unconscious before the high priestess, now Oah and Dooth. Cadj was destroyed by Jad-Bal-Ja in Golden Lion so Dooth has taken his place.
If La is the good mother aspect of the male psyche, Oah is the bad or wicked mother. Still beautiful but not quite as much so as La.
She orders Colt taken to a dungeon to await the full moon or some other propitious moment to sacrifice him.
Oah’s plans will be foiled because among those present is a nubile young maiden named Nao who falls head over heels for Wayne at first sight. Burroughs describes Nao as having entered the first bloom of womanhood. To me that represents a fourteen-year old girl. Indeed, Nao is fresh as a flower.
One remembers Uhha who accompanied Esteban Mirands in Ant Men was specifically mentioned as being fourteen. So the ages fourteen, nineteen and twenty have special female connotations in Burroughs’ stories. As Freud rightly says people should only be held responsible for their actions and not their thoughts. Certainly there is no mention of Miranda having relations with Uhha while Nao had to be content with watching Colt disappear into the night after she released him from prison, murdering a man, be it noted, to do it. All that Priestess sacrificial training with knives comes in handy.
It will be remembered that ERB is said to have begun proposing to Emma when she was in the first bloom of womanhood at fourteen. So it is probable that the memory is associated with Uhha and Nao.
Colt as Burroughs alter ego thus allows Burroughs to visit Opar and have his fling with Nao as Colt while Tarzan has his with La. there’s a sort of joining of the two aspects of Burroughs’ Animus much as there was with Esteban Miranda and Tarzan in Golden Lion/Ant Men as well as Werper and Tarzan in Jewels Of Opar.
Tarzan himself returns to Opar before the first expedition of the Communists.
It has been eight years and four novels since Tarzan visited the fabled red and gold city of Burroughs’ dreams. Tarzan has a number of misconceptions of his relationship with the Oparians. The high priest Cadj who had become a problem in Jewels Of Opar was killed by Jad-Bal-Ja in Golden Lion. La had been replaced on her throne with the Bolgani of the Valley of Diamonds as her body guard and the Gomangani, who had no thin veneer of civilization at all, as her slaves, I guess. Tarzan then sees himself as an Oparian benefactor, not unlike the US in today’s Iraq, who will be received as a friend. Our hero shows himself a poor psychologist.
With a light springing step he turns sideways to enter the cleft, bounds up the stairs to enter the inner sanctum where the howling Frightful Men bash him over the head yet again. Tarzan could have been tagged Skull Of Steel to survive all these bashings with very heavy clubs and grazing by full metal jacket bullets. I tell you, man, I’d reather read of adventures like this than live them.
Coming to, Tarzan is surprised to find Oah as High Priestess with Dooth as her High Priest.
‘Where is La?’ Tarzan asks.
‘Dead.’ Replies Oah. ‘Throw him in the dungeon.’
Back to the pits of Opar for the Big Bwana where one imagines his sensitive nostrils will be grossly offended.
Once again Tarzan escapes his prison. Seeking a way out he is spotted by some hairy bandy-legged men. Fleeing down an endless corridor flanked by doors he chooses one and enters. Whew! What an aroma assails his sensitive nostrils. He is face to face with a half starved lion. The Big Guy hears the hairy men rushing down the corridor just as the lion springs. The door opens inward, unlike most prisons but apparently commonly in dreamscapes, so Tarzan opens it and steps behind it. As the lion springs past him he slams the door which was not too swift a move as the bar falls locking him in. He has the comfort of hearing the lion tearing up the Frightful Men but the stench of the lion’s den for once is so powerful it disguises the aroma of a White woman at the back of the cell. Surprise! La isn’t dead she’s been palling around with this lion for a while. Fortunately as in Ant Men there is a door between her inner cell and that of the lion that she can open. They built prisons differently back then.
So, the Animus and Anima are reunited but in prison once again. As in all dream sequnces there is a way out.
There’s a lot of shuffling about; this one is fairly complicated. In order to bring food to La at the back of the cell it is necessary to first feed the lion. There is a corridor across the front of the cell. a barred gate separates it from the lion’s den while La’s cell with its unlocked door is at the back. The corridor leads to a little chamber that is open from above. The lion’s food is thrown down after the gate has been lifted and closed somehow. While the lion is feeding in this corridor the attendant picks his way among the lion piles and puddles to take the food back to La. The chow must be tasteless in this overpowering stench.
Tarzan investigates then raising the gate for La when she advises him that the Oparians are coming back with the lion. This is very fast work by the Oparians so you can see the stuff is dreamwork. Tarzan raises La into the opening following her.
They follow the winding staircase until they enter a chamber that is the highest point in Opar. Thus they have ascended from the subconscious to the conscious. Here La once again confesses her love for the Beast of Beasts. The Big Guy is still not interested.
As they are plotting a way to get down from the tower they hear someone ascending a ladder. As the fellow pops his head above floor level Tarzan seizes the guy by the neck. My first reaction was to think that this was the Old Stowaway from Tarzan And The Golden Lion who would now be sixty-eight. Apparently not although Burroughs makes him sound different from one of the Frightful Men.
The old boy assures Tarzan and La that he is faithful as he as wellas most of the Oparians pine for the return of La. Plans are made for La to return to her throne. The Old Boy was a master of deceit however. Oah, Dooth and the Frightful Men who are still very angry with La and Tarzan are waiting for the pair when they enter from behind the curtain. A little Wizard of Oz touch. Humor, I think.
Tarzan might well have voiced the words of Marty Robbins in El Paso:
Many thoughts ran through my mind
As I stood there.
I had but one chance
And that was to run.
And run the Big Bwana did in a scene that was almost as comical as when he ran from the Alalus women in Tarzan And The Ant Men.
Breaking through the ring of Frightful Men Tarzan tosses the slower La over a shoulder and rapidly puts one of his clean limbs before the other. The bandy little legs of the Frightful Men are no match for the Big Bwana. Shouting epithets like: Good riddance of bad rubbish and Don’t come back again if you know what’s good for you. they snarlingly turned back to the City of Red and Gold.
Far across the dusty plain Tarzan and La climbed the ridge separating Opar from the outside world. First outside the gates of Opar in 1915s Jewels Of Opar chasing after Tarzan, once again in Tarzan And The Golden Lion to rescue Tarzan, La now makes her longest and most hazardous stay in the great wide world.
Part Seven follows.