February 17, 2013
The Sixties: A Comic Book Heaven
Of course, everyone is, and always has been, slightly mad. Still, repressing the unreasonable side of his nature man in the Western world has, since the eighteenth century, built a civilization based on scientific reason and classic Aristotelian logic- the heritage of the Enlightenment. And the result, especially in this country [US] during the past fifty years [article dated 1970], has been a rational society that has made one technological break through after another, from the invention of the pop-up toaster to the ability to land men on the moon. Here, until recently, two plus two had inevitably equaled four, not five, as Eastern mystics suggest, and no one other than J.D. Salinger had been able to imagine the sound of one hand clapping.
–Thomas Meehan- Horizon Magazine, Spring 1970.
Comic books were first sold in 1933-34. Thus the first two comic book generations coincide with those too young to serve in WWII while many of the first generation was obliged to serve in the Korean war while the second generation missed both.
How deeply the mind of the first generation of comic book readers was formed is problematical. Comic books didn’t take their classic form until 1938 when the character of Superman was formed. The number of comic characters proliferated during WWII but as these, i.e. Capt. America, were war specific they fell out of favor after WWII.
The first generation of potential comic book readers, those born from 1933-34 formed the substratum for the sixties when they created rock and roll and the base for 60s pop culture during the 50s. That was Presley, Sanford Clark, Cash, Vincent, Nelson et al.
Following the war those born in 1937-38 and subsequently through about 1943-44 had their minds formed by comic books although not all to the same degree. A significant percentage of them were forbidden to read comics by their parents, perhaps wisely. There were some who indulged themselves indiscriminately. I was one of those. I read them all, avidly. The question is how were we affected?
There was a terrific reaction against comic books. Angry parents fought to have them banned. In perhaps the only, certainly of a very few, successful efforts of censorship, comics were banned in 1954. The survivor, of course, was Mad Magazine published by the worst offender, William C. Gaines. All of the comic book readers plus many of those formerly excluded shifted to Mad thus further polluting our brains. While I never gave up reading the comic books till their banning I did abandon Mad for political reasons after a year or so.
Now, with the exception of Capt. Marvel, and that may only be partial, the comics were exclusively of Jewish origins. Thus we in the US, Britain was excluded, were shown the Jewish point of view without our knowing.
One of the key themes was the all male group of do-gooders. These were some of my favorites. The tops, perhaps, was the very influential Blackhawks comics. The Blackhawks were a group of five ex-WWII pilots who each owned his P-38 fighter and flew around the world, Third World mainly, if I remember correctly, righting wrongs they recognized more quickly and efficiently, that is vigilante style, than organized government could or would. I remember the Blackhawks as terrific, I loved them. The fellowship of the pilots, each with a different character, each loyal to the others was something that I and I suppose every reader wished to emulate, especially the notion of a bonded group of five like minded guys.
Another was called the Daredevil. He had a red and blue set of body tights upper right and lower left red and vice versa for the blue. Weird but that’s the way he was. Daredevil was a surrogate father figure to five orphan boys, same character makeup as the Blackhawks, who righted wrongs in their neighborhood and lived in the same clubhouse. The later musical group The Monkees was probably based on them. The Monkees were short one, being four, which lessened their impact. If they’d had that fifth member I would have been an avid fan although older by then.
Thus in 1954 the origins of Top 40 began on radio. Twenty four hours round the clock seven days a week full time music. An innovation created by the arrival of television. The first generation of rockers were solo artists. Some came attached with a band such Bill Haley And The Comets or Gene Vincent And The Blue Caps who were proto-Blackhawk type groups but mainly they were solo artists with a band not a group. Presley, Sanford Clark and that curious mixture of both, Ricky Nelson.
The societal maturation process was continuing and then in the mid-sixties the Charlatans came down from the hills of Virginia City dressed in movie style cowboy outfits to home base San Francisco and the first group of costumed crusaders a la the Blackhawks burst forth in full flower.
In Britain the situation was somewhat different although coeval with the US. While the US escaped devastation in WWII the South of England was bombarded mercilessly destroying millions of buildings. A good representation of the situation may be found in John Boorman’s I suppose accurate, I wasn’t there, movie, The Hope And The Glory. As Boorman, who was there, portrays it, acres and acres of rubble stretched in every direction. The kids who scavenged and roamed the area are portrayed as little savages. An interesting education for the age cohort that came of age in the fifties.
Those born in the early forties, the core of the second generation of rockers, themselves played in this same although shrinking devastation. But rations were short in hard hit Britain, restrictions were not lifted until 1954. How their psychology was impaired isn’t so clear, although in the mid-sixties a wild party time called Swinging London appeared. Gay abandon one might say.
The group situation there may have been the result of the generation’s discovery of American slave music- Rhythm And Blues. R&B as a new entry to the British music scene met with resistance so that the devotees were possibly forced to form small groups who recognized each other, many wanting to play the music so they naturally formed groups, two guitars, drums, bass and a singer.
At any rate the British invasion of the US consisted of these four and five man groups coinciding with the comic book groups of the US.
Other formative influences other than comics and radio were films and TV. Those all involved a specific point of view repeated ad nauseum or lessons from a know-it-all crusader cum super hero.
Of course we all grew up with Hopalong Cassidy and Gene Autry among others during the forties but with the fifties came the fantastic science fiction movies. One of the most important was The Day The Earth Stood Still with its famous characters Klaatu and Gort. The premise was preposterous but no one got it. Klaatu is an alien landing a saucer in the US. He is here to vet Earthlings to see if the they are ready to enter the intergalactic community in which peace reigns. Alas, Earthlings, you and me, are hopelessly primitively addicted to violence. Klaatu boards his saucer with a sign of benediction delivering a long sermon about shaping up and saying he’ll be back if we ever sort things out. Alright.
Movie after movie repeated the same message until today people actually believe that extra-terrestrials are all peaceful and Earth is the only rogue planet in the universe. Ask anyone. Flying Saucers were portrayed as hovering out there where the communications satellites would soon be. There they carefully studied mankind for any sign of the diminution of violence. Boy, I bet they think they’ve been wasting their time. Imagine circling Earth for seventy years waiting for indications of peacefulness. Obviously they’ve been sadly disappointed while being joined by the Negro Mother Wheel that appeared some time in the seventies to keep them company Hello, Earth calling Mother Wheel.
These movies established the idea that the whole universe except for Earth is highly developed and pacific along with the idea that Earthlings are worthless, hence most people accepted as fact we were being watched by superior beings and found wanting. We were inferior.
The movies established the notion that there were millions of inhabited worlds out there inhabited by superior beings who could travel billions of light years and get to home base in time for dinner. ‘Honey, I’m home.’
Now, at the same time, pulp magazines existed. Monthly editions of Amazing Stories, Astounding Tales and other poured out endless reams of the most astonishing stuff imaginable. Thus, all three, comics, pulps and movies, sci-fi and movies were rushing through our minds, forming expectations. Of course, the number of us who read sci-fi, almost as despised by parents as the comics, was small, but then as TV developed, Rod Serling’s Twilight Zone and Star Trek came along both of which mined the sci-fi stories of the fifties while spreading the notions throughout the entire population. This reduced the intellectual discrimination of the people whose minds were prepared to accept anything.
These years of the fifties were very crowded with the most exciting new developments. TV was perhaps at the top of the list. Bear in mind that cable didn’t exist. There weren’t even three channels in most places including a major market like the San Francisco Bay Area. People didn’t think TV would be profitable. The channels didn’t even broadcast until noon and shut down at ten o’clock prime time. There was no 24/7 TV.
There wasn’t even enough original programming to fill a ten hour day so they ran old movies and almost anything anyone could think up. Arthur Godfrey’s show ran for hours every day.
One of those odd things they chose to fill time was a character called Crusader Rabbit. I don’t know how well remembered the Rabbit is today but he had a profound effect in forming the minds of the 60s generation. Crusader Rabbit was a distant relative of the Blackhawks. While they flew around the world able to determine who were the good guys and who the bad, Crusader Rabbit was a self-righteous little bastard of a vigilante squad who instilled certain little minds with his self-righteousness and made them think they should impose their vision of reality on the world by mounting ‘crusades.’ Hawkeye of the later TV series Mash combined Crusader Rabbit with the Blackhawks.
Now, all this was happening in a short six years from 1950 to 1956. In many ways this was a major intellectual/psychological revolution preceding those revolutions of the sixties.
Equally, if not more important, was what was happening in the classrooms of our schools.
If an astonishing variety of educations was going on outside the classrooms what was going on inside was no less astonishing. I don’t know if everyone saw it the way I did but I had a tough time assimilating what I heard. Of course American superiority and the inferiority of Europeans was standard staple. At the same time we were warned to be humble as bearers of these great gifts and to share them with our inferiors who after all couldn’t help it that they weren’t born Americans. True enough I suppose.
And, because of the success of our own American revolution, barring any negative thoughts caused by the French and Bolshevik revolutions, we were taught, indeed, indoctrinated and conditioned to believe that revolution per se was good, indeed, a blessing. Ignoring whatever may have been going on in the world we were taught to revere the South American George Washington, Simon Bolivar, who flitted from country to country on the whole continent until he came to end of it in Venezuela tossing the Spanish aside like so much chaff. Viva Bolivar, hey? Well, Viva Zapata next.
Well, I came from the orphanage and I had a different idea of right and wrong. Heroes were much scarcer for me than for the kids from normal homes.
By the time we got to high school, 1953-56, teachers were preaching revolution, revolution, revolution full bore. Revolution was everywhere. Minute changes in processed breakfast cereals were described as revolutions. Crusader Rabbit was a revo. Who wasn’t?
The reverence for revolution continued in college too. Another four years of revo, rah, rah, rah followed in college which ended for my class in 1960. Portentous year, what? That was the year our limp President, John F. Kennedy created the Peace Corp. We were eager to share our wonderful achievement so recent college graduates with absolutely no knowledge of the world and inadequate educations sallied forth to tell the world how to do it right. OK? How’s that for arrogance?
Now, there were plenty of revolutions in progress in 1960 and all those graduates from say, 1954 to 1959, were primed for revo. Lived for it, breathed for it. They didn’t even have to be recruited; they went searching for it. Give us revolution, they screamed.
These were years of the magnificent march of progress too. Years of change and hope, revolutions one might say, in all areas of endeavor. The people born from 1938 to 1945 leaped in with both feet and arms flailing. The sixties belonged to us, it was a world that we would make ourselves.
The next age cohort born from ‘46-’53 would be instrumental in forming the seventies, the eighties going to the next age cohort. Of course these cohorts created nothing merely extending the ethic of the 60s’ cohort. The interesting thing is that there was a fairly complete break between us and The Greatest Generation as our fathers have been styled.
Those revolutionary minded teachers of our were mostly born c. 1890 so they were at the tail end of the post-Civil War corps, lived through two world wars and the Great Depression. Our fathers born somewhere around 1918 caught the Depression and WWII while witnessing the Korean War. We younger ones, in the US, avoided that while TV, Top 40 and other assorted wonders made us rather distinct, nothing alike in outlook. Our fathers didn’t really like, couldn’t trust us, and certainly were not going to accord us the dignity of adulthood and the authority that goes with it. So we grew distant from them not really thinking an awful lot of them or giving them our trust. Fuck, they couldn’t even deal with the Mafia.
Politically they kept control during the sixties while culturally and socially we managed affairs. As it was a new beginning of sorts the succeeding age cohorts respected us and what may be called our achievements, sex, drugs and rock and roll, but still maintaining that sense of breakfast cereal revo.
To make the break even sharper, in 1960 the real old guard headed by Eisenhower checked out and an Irish upstart son of a bootlegger, Jack Kennedy, leader of the Celtish Camelot and a guy who could twist the night away even with a bad back, attempted to lead the way.
His best wasn’t very good and he caught a piece of flying lead allowing that pale Texan reincarnation of FDR to see how badly he could muff it. He did a good job of muffing it too.
So, there we were on the brink of 1960 raring to show the world what we could do. Really revo the whole machine? We’ll see.
The psychological background of the sixties as exhibited by the second rock generation from 1938 to 1945 is a major manifestation of an effort begun back in the WWII days. It is the realization of the theologico-metaphysical notion of what Sigmund Freud dubbed the Unconscious. As the quote opening this essay indicates the sixties was the undoing of the several hundred year effort to realize the conscious. We thought we’d seen enough of the unconscious to last much more than a millennium. As the effort was begun before the awareness of the nature of the Un or subconscious the effort was achieved as Mr. Meehan states by the repression of sub-conscious motives not their elimination.
Freud quickly discerned this and he understood the function of dreams that he called the ‘royal road to the unconscious.’ Thus the motto he appended to his volume The Interpretation Of Dreams published appropriately in 1900 is ‘Flectare si nequeo, Superos, Acheronta movebo.” which translated means ‘If I cannot deflect the will of heaven I shall move hell.’
Freud interpreting the conscious mind as heaven chose to deemphasize consciousness in favor of his vision of the unconscious that he interpreted as Hell. Thus, you will find almost nothing in Freudian psychology referring to the conscious mind while he enthrones his Unconscious as the moderator of the human mind. He actually believed that the Unconscious was an agency separate from the body. In theological terms it had a supernatural existence. Thus, he has negated consciousness, or Science, in favor of Religion. As he has rejected God or Heaven then it follows that he embraced Satan and Hell.
As the sixties progressed the generation abandoned consciousness embracing unconsciousness. Time Magazine proclaimed in 1966 ‘God Is Dead’ while Satanism came alive, indeed according to Ira Levin in his novel, Rosemary’s Baby, Satan’s son, Andy, was born in 1966 just as God died. Levin continued his story in 1999’s Son Of Rosemary. Interesting.
It is no coincidence that Freud was both a druggie and a homosexual. Now, the royal road to free the mind of consciousness or Heaven is an obsession with sex and the free indulgence of drugs especially Freud’s favorite, cocaine backed with a pounding jungle beat. Eh voila- the sixties.
Sex, drugs and the hypnotic jungle beat of Rock and Roll. The sex was facilitated by the introduction of the birth control pill and anti-biotics; the amusing Shel Silverstein sang of Penicillin Penny who always had VD. If the girls took the pill both they and their boys were freed from the fear of pregnancies while the ga-ga types had no fear of Venereal disease because the cure was quick and easy by a regimen of anti-biotic pills. Almost paradise here and now and on Earth. For less than a buck you could get a nice big piece of pie too.
Freud had achieved his goal; he had overturned Aryan society.
Freud essentially by fraud allowed us to indulge forbidden appetites and responsibility from forbidden acts, for after all as the conscious mind had no authority and the will of the unconscious was unresistible we had no responsibility for our acts- If it felt good, we did it, as the mantra was. Hence by 1966 we had Richard Speck killing all those nurses in Chicago and Charlie Whitman up his clock tower at UT blowing away his fellow students. Guns aren’t the problem; Freud is the problem.
Hell, Dick and Charlie just wanted to be free. Indeed, freedom in the freest of all societies became a problem to the generation.
Sally Banks in her Greenwich Village 1963, Chapter 5, appropriately titled, Dreaming Freedom, explains her views on what being free actually meant to her and a very large part of the age cohort. She is writing from New York City.
In 1963 freedom was a vital political issue charged with artistic consequences for both the mainstream and avant-garde. Part of the avant-garde’s utopian vision was that liberty could be found within community. But, in fact, the very concept of freedom sets autonomy and the notion of individualism in conflict with the bondedness of community. For social life is a potent source of restraint [suppression of freedom], yet, paradoxically, total freedom would mean the humanly unrealizable (and unbearable) state of complete isolation. Thus there is a deep ambivalence in Western culture toward freedom and social life. The dream of community, itself, may be incompatible with the dream of freedom, a contradiction the avant-garde sought to discover.
The Sixties artists’ constructed an art that re-imagined daily life in terms of achieving both liberation and community. If such a situation proved illusory, in 1963 it seemed necessary- and it still seemed possible given the booming economic infrastructure- to find a model that would make these imaginings concrete.
Yes, people wanted total freedom- that is a disconnect from the reality of having to deal with unpleasant facts- free from all restraints including gravity and mostly free from themselves. The drugs seemed to serve as those releases. Under the influence people could imagine themselves as someone else who ‘really had their shit together‘, miracle men and women able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, move mountains with the wave of a hand, fly through the air like a host of angels but they inevitably came back down where if they were anywhere near a mirror they could watch their bodies disintegrate.
Freedom from reality has its price.
So, the sixties that began with such ‘High Hopes’ to realize ‘The Impossible Dream’ of Camelot began to crash in 1966 just as like a flash of lightning in the sky the realization of those dreams seemed to dawn. As Lewis Carroll said, be careful that your Snark is not a boojum, for you see….
The Truth Is No Defense
The sixties, then, was when the impasse between the Scientific Method came into its latter day conflict with the Theologico-Metaphysical mindset. The T-M system is merely a mental state that not only does not require objective validation but positively rejects it in favor of subjectiveness; what Freud called inner wishful thinking.
While the sciences of sociology and anthropology and biology produced irrefutable, by logical methods, results that ran counter to the inner wishful T-M thinking, as there were no means to refute the scientific results the T-M people merely denied them and forced scientists to suppress their accurate but uncongenial truths.
To ensure that the truths were suppressed and remained suppressed the T-M partisans passed laws making it criminal to express these truths. These laws called ‘hate’ laws were then applied to any who spoke these truths. As the truths were undeniable T-M partisans corrupted the law, common sense, and, one might say, the will of God to declare in a court of law by the judges that ‘the truth is not a defense.’
The truth is not a defense! Think about it. Such a rule of law is the triumph of absolute criminality and ignorance. And this happened during the watch of an age cohort that claimed to love freedom and revolution. Well, it was a revolution, one that enslaves the mind.
Now, in a position to punish those who disagreed with them the beneficiaries of the T-M mentality were able to enshrine their will as the law of the land. As the law was no longer concerned with the judgment of facts as evidence but the religious beliefs of the T-Ms the US at that point turned into a theocracy. The religious left became an established religion running counter to the old dispensation of the Constitution in favor of something not yet codified and something not approved by the former electorate that now became passive and an ineffective annoyance to the new slave masters.
The ruling social ethos in the US when the sixties dawned was the theory of the Melting Pot formulated by the Jewish writer Israel Zangwill c. 1900. According to that theory that had nearly the effect of a law all the disparate social elements forming the population of the US would fuse into one people of uniform American belief.
In 1960 or thereabouts the new theory of multi-culturalism was introduced which stated that each culture should have an autonomous existence. This was the dream, wishful thinking, of the wannabe Jewish Autonomous people. Nothing new, it was their age old dream. Thus the body politic of the US as a matter of principle was fractured into many warring cultures.
While the Melting Pot had always been a fantasy having no real existence in fact multi-culturalism was alive and real and exacerbated in 1965 when the immigration act was reformed allowing unlimited immigration to all the peoples of the world. And if they didn’t come willingly members of the T-M mentality went into the actual jungles of Africa, dragged the natives out, put them on a plane, free fare, and flew them to the US.
What can one say to such zaniness.
The whole notion of freedom advocated by the age cohort was thus negated. Dozens of laws were passed giving these ‘immigrants’ precedence over the rights of the native population, depriving the natives of equal rights. This is a true story. Incredible but true.
And lastly, for this essay we come to the complete overturn of reason in favor of a comic book utopia and the installation of an age of inner wishful thinking caused by the introduction of drugs as a mass phenomenon.
Drugs in the sixties were nothing new. Drugs begin to show up in literature during the nineteenth century Romantic period. Thomas de Quincey’s Confessions Of An English Opium Eater is the first famous confession or novel on the topic. Opium was much used in Victorian England as an ingredient in Laudanum which was given to infants to make them stop crying.
Opium was further reduced to morphine and then heroin. Freud is famous as the promoter of the joys of cocaine, synthesized from the coca plant. As chemistry developed, synthetic chemical drugs such as amphetamine began making their appearance at the end of the century.
Drug labs were busy and soon creating drugs that attacked any area of the brain. LSD was discovered in 1938 and popularized after 1943. Drugs like Miltown and other tranquilizers began filling women’s purses after 1950. Pot and hash had been simmering below the Hot 100 for some time but moved up the charts after 1960. So the whole pharmacopeia was available as the decade began. New formulas would be discovered in the following decades as drugs became part of the entertainment industry.
Drugs of course suppress the conscious mind exposing the raw wiring of the user. They also lower resistance to hypnotic influence. Hypnosis is merely a heightened sensitivity to suggestion. A drugged out population can be swayed by propaganda as no other, which is merely suggestion by another name, in any direction. They can be swayed but you mist control the means to do so. The mass media was the means, namely TV, Movies and records, and it was in the control of Jews with their special agenda.
Thus Movies, TV and Records propagandized a pro Jewish revolution agenda along with its subordinate Negro revolution agenda.
It is strange how all trends worked to favor the Negro/Jewish agenda. Of course, Jews had been instrumental in breaking down Aryan resistance to Negro music. Jewish DJs such as Alan Freed and Cousin Brucie along with Jewish song writers such as the hugely influential Leiber and Stoller and Goffin-King led the assault.
The songs they wrote were performed by Negro artists. While the Jewish song writers were not so familiar with Aryan culture as is supposed it was enough to bridge the Aryan-Negro gap making the Negro performances potable while paving the way for Barry Gordy’s Motown label.
As of 1960 there was virtually no one who listened to or was familiar with Negro Blues. The Blues was brought forward by the British Invasion who apparently listened to that crap. I am always astonished by White Blues artists citing Robert Johnson as a source. There was nothing available by Robert Johnson until 1960 when CBS released its first collection that virtually no one bought. The second collection was released in ‘62 with the same result.
I first heard of Robert Johnson in 1968 when I owned a record store. Many people talked about the Blues but when I started a first rate Blues section the records remained untouched and unsold. I doubt that I ever had a Robert Johnson sale.
I was in a university town and when such Blues artists as Lightning Hopkins were brought to town the ‘séances’ were held in someone’s living room with maybe fifteen people attending, ten of which were girls worshipping blackness. Nevertheless White Blues was popularized by the British, spreading to American performers.
I should point out that White performers of the forties and early fifties such as the Singing Cowboy Gene Autry sang may Blues based songs. Autry’s song The Yellow Rose Of Texas that is of course about a Negro woman.
By decades end the cohort’s fascination with exaggerated notions of freedom and revolution had turned into drug addiction and violence. By the late sixties looney tunes like Bomber Billy Ayers and his female side kick Bernardine Dohrn with their Weatherman organization and the Jewish Defense League and its offshoot the Jewish Defense Organization were killing and bombing at will and furthermore they would get away with it. ‘Free as a bird and guilty as Hell.’ as Bomber Billy Ayers would put it.
So by the end of decade ending with the Caped Crusader, Mick Jagger, at Altamont a comic book vision of reality had triumphed over the real thing. Who can forget Mick Jagger mounted on a giant inflatable cock on stage before sixty thousand people. Now, there was a comic book fantasy. Two and two added up to any number you wanted.
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.
January 1, 2013
Chap. 6, Marianne Faithfull: Faerie Queene Of The Sixties
Orders From Headquarters
This chapter will center around the Global Communist Cultural Revolution phase kicked off in 1968 while being managed by Mao Tse Tung who replaced the Russians as managing director.
The purpose of the CR was to destroy the Bourgeois past replacing it with itself. Hence Ira Levin who wrote Rosemary’s Baby in which Satan’s child is named Andy posited 1966 as the Year One much as the failed new dating of the French Revolution of 1789. ‘89 was the Year One of that Revolutionary calendar. Perhaps in preparation for the CR in 1965 in the US new immigration reform was pushed through Congress that opened the gates of the US to the world, especially Africa, Mexico and the East. By 1968 West and East Asians were flooding into the country. As seems obvious now this was with the intent to subvert and destroy the Aryan hold on the US.
In his song Bob Dylan would sing: In the museums infinity goes up on trial, in an opening blast on destroying past culture as displayed in museums. In China Mao was less timorous as huge gangs of the Red Guards coursed through museums smashing irreplaceable cultural artefacts. They even invaded peoples homes ransacking the houses destroying anything of value. Culture bearers such as college professors or any educated persons were rounded up and sent out to reeducation camps to work at manual labor; tens of millions were murdered outright. Regular people were called before neighborhood re-education cells to confess their bourgeois faults and pledge to Communists faults.
Outside of China local agents were recruited from Communist ranks; college campuses suddenly sprouted Chinese Communist stores selling Mao’s Little Red Book and those pretty little pins sporting a
gold Mao against a red enameled background. Nice work and cheap too. Any campus that hadn’t been disrupted by ‘Free Speech Movements’ now came under attack by the Cultural Revolution. The end result would be Kent State.
As no one knew what was going on the Cultural Revolutionists seized the institutions beginning to establish the tone, the matrix with which opinions would be considered. This was established in subtle ways that few noticed and even they hadn’t a clue as to who or why. The Revolutionists had seized the cultural venues of movies, TV, newspapers, magazines and music, or, recordings. One of the key units in recorded music was the Rolling Stones. Mick was a Communist, at least since his London School of Economics days.
Even before the Redlands Bust he had been bleating that victory was his side’s because ‘they had the kids’ in the palm of their hands. The bust had been a cold douche that rankled Mick to his core. The revolutionists were of the mind set that they were going to fight and win and never lose. Thus the mild reprimand of the bust struck Mick as foul play, an unforgivable insult and injury.
Many people in the US were brought up short when their outrages were tried and sentences passed. I know people who went to prison for their outrageous criminal acts. They were considered martyrs. They couldn’t comprehend what they had done wrong anyway. Of course, by their own revolutionary lights what they had done was right; unfortunately the law, the authorities and the people, who Nixon called the Silent Majority were not of the same mind.
Mick found this out to his chagrin although he vowed revenge. Like Sigmund Freud and many another if he couldn’t move the higher powers he would enlist the aid of the lower. Thus after escaping his prison sentence the Stones metamorphosed into Satanic sorcerers for the cover of their Dec. 1968 album, Their Satanic Majesties Request.
Mick After A Lifetime Walking Down The Long And Winding Road
The title itself was a play on the Queen’s request on British passports for the visited countries to allow the visitor to pass. Thus in the Freudian sense Mick elevated himself to a competing royal status with the crown as their Satanic enemy. One presumes that being a Stones’ fan was the entre into Satanic circles.
Mick was not new to Satanic ideas. He ran with Bob Fraser and Chris Gibbs while having at least met the US Satanist Kenneth Anger who was associated with the West Coast big daddy of Satanists, Anton La Vey. In addition he was probably already known to Donald Cammell who would star Mick in his film Performance and Marianne in his Lucifer Rising.
In June of ‘68 Mick would be recording his song Sympathy For The Devil in studio while being filmed by Jean Luc Godard for his revolutionary film One+One, retitled Sympathy For The Devil. Sympathy was inspired by Satanic Russian novel titled: The Master And Margarita. The novel had been given to him to read by Marianne.
The Master And Margarita
For the promoters of The Master And Margarita the novel is an astounding mind blower. Maybe if you’re Russian and haven’t been exposed to the stunning variety of truly astonishing unending mind blowing fiction and movies of the US. The cultural scene in Russia was primitive compared to the unbroken line of development in the West where very few limitations, none actually, were placed on expression. Bulgakov has his Satanic girls running around without clothes as though that were something not routine in the West. I mean, beginning in the sixties there was a pornographic explosion. Movies were made that would have made the Marquis de Sade blush. That poor guy was egregiously defamed according to current standards. De Sade’s puerile novels were thrown into the shade. By 1972 a movie like Deep Throat was being shown in legitimate theaters to the general public. How’s that for a cultural revolution?
Before the wars we had Edgar Rice Burroughs whose female characters on both Earth and Mars ran around robust except for a few ornaments. Woo woo Bulkagov.
My god, we had the Shadow and Doc Savage and then in the thirties comic books were invented. Superman was born the same year I was in 1938 but he grew up faster and already had a job by 1948 while I was sitting in the orphanage as a kid. Superman, Batman, Capt. America came in a flood of characters that was unceasing. There were marvels presented every month that exceeded anything Bulgakov can come up with. And then…and then…William C. Gaines at EC Comics (Educational Comics, and what an education it was) came out with Tales From The Crypt with its copycats. You want to talk about mind blowing!!! There I was a ten year old kid permeated with terrific pornographic images, sadistic violence and mayhem that even I said, reading on, they shouldn’t let ten year old kids see this. I don’t know what kind of brain damage they did but I feel OK. But they did and I read every single story. Now that was mind expanding.
Of course the parents of America did catch up with Gaines forcing him to withdraw the comics. Then as if to thumb his nose at the United Parents of America he created the aptly named Mad Magazine. Boy oh boy, those were the days. Never see those again.
And then the science fiction through the fifties. My god. There was school and there was school and the best school was the sci-fi. Arthur Clarke’s Childhood’s End, John Wyndham’s Midwich Cuckoos and its two movies The Village Of The Damned and the sequel Children Of The Damned. I mean, Jack Schaefer and William Tenn. Try to top those two. The movie Dr. Strangelove Or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb. Christ! And for God’s sake the stunning James Bond movies. I could go on an on. The clearly Satanic Bus Stop TV series. Jesus Christ! All the scripts could have been written by Charlie Starkweather. All that and more. Much, much more before 1967 when M&M was published. Since then, I mean, have you seen the TV shows Dexter or Breaking Bad? Hell on wheels, guys, hell on wheels. All men to their battle stations. It’s not that M&M isn’t decent sci-fi/fantasy/horror, but that’s all it is. Doesn’t even compare with Bram Stoker’s Dracula. But, then, maybe I’m over educated. Still, I think of myself as an average All American Boy.
Hey, have you seen A Giant Crab Come Forth? I have. Have you seen a single octopus tentacle demolish the city of San Francisco? I have. Have you seen the eggplant that ate Chicago…I could go on.
I don’t know how deeply or extensively the Russian author Mikhail Bugakov’s novel has penetrated the Western mind. It was certainly unknown in the sixties except to the initiated. Definitely not a best seller. I can’t remember ever hearing of it until the turn of the century when references to it as a literary marvel began popping up in my reading. In 2010 the book was published as a selection of the Folio Society of which I have been a long time member and so I acquired a copy. I have read it twice and while I recognize its purpose I am unimpressed with it as a novel.
Essentially a manual of social deconstruction the book is being heavily promoted in Communist circles. In Russia the book has been turned into a TV series, at least a couple movies and several stage plays for Western consumption.
￼In addition to the book I have acquired a three disc set of Vladimir Bercko’s film version and the TV series. The blurb on the back cover gives some idea of what the book means to its promoters:
…An imagined world where one’s consciousness actually perceives and experiences sorcery. The Master And Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov, the novel on which this film is based, is a rare, mind-expanding pleasure, a journey whenever one takes and reads. The book is about the great, burning, perennial areas of the human predicament, story of the Christ, seen by Matthew, Judas and Pilate; the tale of Faust’s pact with the devil; the confrontation between individual genius and the demands of an ideologically driven State; the meaning of entertainment in society; and the love of man and woman. Bulgakov is an early precursor of the literary genre of magic realism exemplified by the South American writers Jorge Luis Borges and Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
The above seems somewhat overblown to me; about the only thing I would agree to unequivocally is that it is of the sci-fi/fantasy/horror genre. Its actual purpose is as a manual for disrupting society, of cultural upending; in other words, of furthering the Cultural Revolution.
After the novel was finished , in a long post-climax, this passage is inserted into the novel.
…the two blackguards marched down the asphalt path under the lindens straight to the veranda of the unsuspecting restaurant.
A pale and bored citizeness in white socks and a white beret with a nib sat on a Viennese chair at the corner entrance to the veranda, where amid the greenery of the trellis an opening for the entrance had been made. In front of her on simple kitchen table lay a fat book of the ledger variety, in which the citizeness for unknown reasons wrote down all those who entered the restaurant. It was precisely this citizeness who stopped Koroviev and Behemoth.
‘Your identification cards?’ She was gazing in amazement at Koroviev’s pince nez, and also at Behemoth’s primus and Behemoth’s torn elbow.
‘A thousand pardons, but what identification cards?’ asked Koroviev in surprise.
‘You’re writers?’ The citizeness asked in her turn.
‘Unquestionably,’ Koroviev answered with dignity.
‘My sweetie…’ Koroviev began tenderly.
‘I’m no sweetie,’ interrupted the citizeness.
‘More’s the pity,’ Koroviev said disappointedly and went on: ‘Well, so, if you don’t want to be a sweetie, which would be quite pleasant, you don’t have to be. So, then, to convince yourself that Dostoevsky was a writer, do you have to ask for his identification card? Just take any five pages from any one of novels and you’ll be convinced, without any identification card that you’re dealing with a writer? And I don’t think he even had an identification card, what do you think?’
‘…You’re not Dostoevsky,’ said the citizeness who was getting muddled by Koroviev.
‘Well, who knows, who knows,’ he replied.
‘Dostoevsky’s dead.’ Said the citizeness…
‘I protest!’ Behemoth exclaimed hotly. ‘Dostoevsky is immortal!’
‘Your identification cards, citizens,’ said the citizeness.
This passage served as a blueprint for obstructionists. Passing into common use by the late seventies Village Fucks of this variety harassed innocent clerks to distraction. As an instruction manual how then did the book fit into the continuum of the proto-Cultural Revolution from the end of WWI to the present, for there is a question of authorship found here.
The passage concerning Koroviev and Behemoth might well have been written by the Dadaists of the Café Voltaire in Zurich. Their efforts were meant to disorient European culture, knock it off center. Themselves Jewish they were followed by the establishment of the Jewish Critical Theory school in Germany. Critical Theory meant that European customs, ideas and politics were to be denigrated whether virtues or vices as though by superior beings viewing from above and apart. This led to the debunking school of the twenties in the US by which all American heroes were attacked turning their virtues into vices and vices as evidence of ghastly criminality. Eventually the Critical Theorists would leave Germany migrating to the US en masse along with the entire Freudian psycho-analytic establishment. How this must have cheered Hitler.
One then begins to see the similarities between The Master And Margarita and this Jewish continuum. The protagonist of the novel was Satan going by the name of Woland (Woe to the Land) who was a master hypnotist dealing in counterfeiting.
Woland is almost a duplicate of Fritz Lang’s Dr. Mabuse who was also a counterfeiter and a master hypnotist. He also was out to destroy European society. Lang’s first effort was the silent flick Dr. Mabuse: The Gambler of 1922 which it is possible Bulgakov might seen but the events of the Russian Civil War make that improbable. There is no chance that Bulgakov could have seen Lang’s talkie sequel of 1933 The Testament Of Dr. Mabuse in which Dr. Mabuse having been placed in an insane asylum in 1922 has hypnotized his analyst, Dr. Baum, through his writing, into carrying out his subversive schemes. While Bulgakov couldn’t have been influenced by Lang the similarities are so close one may posit a central organization directing the publication of books and movies of this sort. This becomes more evident when one looks for similarities in the US.
In the US a coordinating agency had been founded in 1906 called the American Jewish Committee, the AJC, under the direction of Jacob Schiff and Louis Marshall. Those are two names that don’t mean much outside of Jewish circles but they should. Louis Marshall’s collected correspondence is very interesting.
Now, the Great War of 1914-18 devastated Europe to be following by the greater devastation of WWII from approximately 1938 to 1945. At the same time in the Far East Japan opened hostilities that engulfed and unsettled that area beginning in the 1930s also through 1945. Hostilities continued in China through 1950 between the Communists and the Nationalists aided and abetted by massive shipments of US arms which even though granted to the Nationalists passed directly into Communist hands and then the Korean conflict began that ran through 1953.
In contrast the US and North America were not directly affected by these wars allowing permitting a unique uninterrupted culture to develop.
This period also coincided with astonishing technological advances that only the US was able to take full advantage. Thus radio became a reality beginning in the twenties although it didn’t become commercially effective until the early thirties. Perhaps even more significant was the introduction of sound to movies. The talkies made movies the most effective propaganda tool available until the emergence of television in the fifties.
As is probably not all that well known TV was commercially feasible in the late thirties but WWII postponed its introduction into homes until after the war.
Significantly the first successful talkie was the Jewish themed The Jazz Singer starring Al Jolson. Following that would be the series of films featuring the Marx Bros. Their movies would mesh with the Dada attack in art and the emerging Critical Theory school riding over a bed of Freudian psychology. All were direct attacks on Aryan Culture. As Joseph Goebbels told Fritz Lang when he denied a license to show The Testament Of Dr. Mabuse: No government could withstand propaganda if its kind. The truth of Goebbels statement was proven in 2008 with the US election of the Communist Barack Obama. After decades of the most vitriolic criticism and denunciation of US politics and society by the Left, all of a sudden such criticism was denied the opposition who were described as Domestic Terrorists and denied access to the media with the exception of the internet.
So, from 1930 to 1954 the Marx Bros. systematically mocked and vilified as many social institutions and Aryan mores as they could. In Germany before the wars this was called the Kultur kampf or culture wars, an early version of the Cultural Revolution. And of course the same program was carried on in films in general. Naturally it was all denied but now looking at those same films through the new spectacles provided post 9/11 it all seems clear and apparent. One sees with new eyes. Thus there are great similarities between the techniques of the Marx Bros. and The Master And Margarita.
What I consider the greatest of the Marx Bros. movies, although the Marx Bros. didn’t appear in it, was the movie of the Year One, 1966, A Funny Think Happened On The Way To The Forum starring the very Jewish Zero Mostel. The movie was the ultimate instruction manual for the demolition of society that The Master And Margarita follows very closely. Forum appeared in 1966 in the US while M&M was discovered in Russia the very same year #1. A succession of similarly themed movies followed of which the most significant perhaps was the movie Cabaret.
The question of the provenance of The Master And Margarita remains. Its similarities to the cultural trend of the previous decades is too strong to be coincidental. It is possible that in old religious terms the book could be called a pious fraud, something along the lines of The Protocols of Zion.
The provenance is certainly somewhat suspect. According to the legend that is impossible to adequately check, the novel was labored over for ten years by Bulgakov at which time he realized that Stalin would take the novel as a personal affront insuring that it would never be published while he would end up in the infamous Lubyanka Prison where in all likelihood he would receive a bullet to the base of his skull. No, better to put it in a drawer and forget about it until a better day should a better day ever come.
So who was Mikhail Bulgakov? He was apparently a novelist and a playwright. As improbable as it may seem, during the Russian civil war between the Communist Reds and the Royalist Whites after the Great War ended he was on the side of the Whites. In Revolutionary terminology white referred to the white cockade of the French royalists and not the color or their skin. Nevertheless according to legend he was a favorite of Stalin who actually favored this enemy of the State. Wouldn’t let his stuff be published but still thought him a fine fellow worth preserving. Bulgakov survived all the purges so common to the era.
Time passes, WWII, the rape of the German women, the Atom Bomb, the Korean War, the death of Stalin in 1953 while the precious manuscript sits quietly yellowing in its drawer. I might add that five hundred hand written pages fills a good sized drawer.
Beria and Khruschev follow Stalin followed in turn by Leonid Brezhnev and then this astonishing twist of fate happened. From the Orlando Figes Folio introduction:
After Bulgakov’s death in 1940, the manuscript was hidden in a drawer by Elena Sergeevna until 1966, when, by one of the most ironic twists in Russian literary history, unknown until recently, it was prepared for publication by Konstantin Simonov, one of Stalin’s henchmen in the Writers’ Union who had taken part in the persecution of many writers before the Khruschev thaw. In 1956 Simonov had been made the chairman of the commission in charge of Bulgakov’s literary estate by the writer’s widow, who was an old acquaintance of Simonov’s mother, Alexandra Ivanisheva. (nee Princess Obolenskaya). Simonov then gave the manuscript ..to his ex-wife Evgenia Laskina, who was the working at Moskva (Magazine)…
To make a long story short, Moskva was a failing magazine and as there was great doubt in Simonov’s mind as to whether it would pass the censorship of now premier Leonid Brezhnev’s stringent rule he, I guess, decided to let his ex-wife take the fall if it didn’t pass. Better her than him and a subtle revenge indeed. But, why even take the chance against apparently insuperable odds.
Well, golly, the book did get past some very stupid or traitorous censors and the rest, as they say, is history, although the time line is very tight.
Moskva published Part One in its November 1967 issue doubling its subscriber list Moscow was so bowled over, and Part Two in January 1968. Now, Marianne received a copy of the translation of the American Grove Press imprint, read it, got it to Mick who by the June recording sessions for Sympathy For The Devil had read and digested it. Not much time in there for the Russian publication, translation into English and publication and distribution by the Grove Press, shipment to England and acquisition by Marianne. I mean, what was the big rush for something that might not sell? Therefore I believe something else must have been uppermost in certain minds. As I said earlier this book reeks of a fraud or forgery. Its happened before. The Donation Of Constantine as an egregious example.
The 1997 Hollywood movie Wag The Dog demonstrated exactly how it is done. In Wag The Dog the President of the US asks a Hollywood producer to stage a phony war to shore up his flagging popularity. The producer does this but as Shakespeare wrote: What a tangled web we weave when first we deceive. As the variables unfold in unforeseen manner the producer’s ingenuity is strained but equal to the task. He creates a war hero who while on the way to the ceremony dies. Consequently he manufacturers a sentimental story about Schumacher, the dead would be hero, who they dub Old Shoe.
The producer contacts a couple songwriters, explains his needs and they come up with an old timey 20s-30s type country cum folk ditty. The performance is doctored to sound like a scratchy old 78RPM.
Now, here’s the key point. It is arranged to place a copy of this forgery in the appropriate thirties archive location in The Library Of Congress. Miracle of miracles the forgery is ‘discovered’ becoming a hit generating a worshipful attitude for ‘Old Shoe.’ Old Shoe is buried in Arlington Cemetery, full military honors and mission accomplished.
There you have it- that was a forgery no different than, say, The Donation of Constantine or The Protocols of Zion.
The question then is why did The Master And Margarita surface in Year One in 1966 in time for the Cultural Revolution already begun actually but not announced by Mao until 1968, Year Three.
Quite simply it was necessary to place an instruction manual into the hands of certain key people and agitators. The passage I quoted at the beginning of this chapter is an example of a lesson. Mick received his copy through Marianne and understood. How then did this unknown Russian novel immediately find its way into Marianne’s hands upon publication of the English translation of Grove Press?
I mean, how did the Jewish translator, Mirra Ginsburg, receive a copy immediately after the Russian book publication. I imagine she didn’t. The window of opportunity between January 1968 and end of May 1968 is too narrow. She must have been involved either immediately after the Moskva publication of Part One or possibly even before. Therefore that indicates a plan by somebody.
We know for a fact that the novel as published was not as written by Bulgakov. We are told that several hands altered the text including various censors. A full sixty pages were deleted in Mirra Ginsburg’s translation to be restored thirty years later…to reflect what?
There is plenty of reason then to believe the book was a put up job or, indeed, intended as a disguised instruction manual for easier distribution to interested parties…like Mick.
Mick when he received his copy immediately began to write or conceive the lyrics for Sympathy For The Devil. Satan the key figure in the novel is a master magician and hypnotist. He hypnotizes virtually the entire city of Moscow. As a refresher on continuity lets remember that Dr. Sigmund Freud was a master hypnotist seeking the destruction of European civilization and so was Lang’s Dr. Mabuse who was based on Freud.
We know that Bulgakov couldn’t have been aware of Lang’s Mabuse and I doubt that Bulgakov was much of a Freudian so that leaves forgery as the most probable explanation. As a point of fact the AJC, American Jewish Committee, has employed a stable of writers in the US since at least the thirties to churn out plausibly academic diatribes condemning those they consider anti-Semites. The AJC was global in scope having been active in European politics from its beginning so it would be easy enough to concoct The Master And Margarita either in toto or possibly a revision and claim to have discovered it in a drawer in 1966 The Year One by one Simon-ov in much the same manner that the fictional ‘Old Shoe’ was discovered in the Library Of Congress.
In an interview Mick said that the Master and Margarita influenced the writing of Sympathy For The Devil. In the furtherance of the Cultural Revolution Jean Luc Godard of the French Nouvelle Vague school of film makers made his revolutionary movie One+One, reissued as Sympathy For The Devil filming the Stones recording the song. So the Stones are placed in the heart of The Cultural Revolution.
Mick was fully aware of hypnosis as, actually, were a very great many of the rockers, so that he and Keith set the piece to a Samba rhythm. As Mick said in the interview the Samba is a very hypnotic rhythm. Thus, by creating a hypnotic mode everyone would receive the lyrics as suggestion. The suggestion being that the devil is a good fellow and one should have sympathy for him discarding one’s prejudices. There was actually a strong effort to rehabilitate Satan in the years following Year One. It will be remembered that both Mick and Marianne were tight with the Satanist Kenneth Anger who had a huge LUCIFER tattooed across his chest. Marianne would later perform in Anger’s Lucifer Rising while Mick performed a soundtrack for another of Anger’s offerings.
Mick beginning shortly after Year Three would turn his act into performance art of a highly suggestive nature accompanied by an intentional hypnotic beat with stun gun volume, flashing lights and the stimulated hysteria of the crowd reaction. A proper atmosphere for hypnotic suggestion.
Mick’s vengeance for the drug bust then was to play the Pied Piper to lead the ‘kids’ to their destruction.
Marianne would be a casualty of his mania as she sank into the deepest of depression.
Chapter 7 follows.
Somewhere Over The Rainbow
Zenda, Graustark, Lutha, Barsoom, Jasoom
And Other Improbable Places
Not Found On Any Map
An Analysis Of Edgar Rice Burrough’s Novel
The Mad King
Somewhere my love
There will be songs to sing.
Even though snow now enshrouds
Our hope of Spring.
Somewhere there’s a hill
That blossoms in gold and green,
And there are the dreams
Of all that this world can mean.
We’ll meet there someday,
As Spring springs for you and me.
Adapted by R.E. Prindle
Unchained melodies sweep over the rainbow telling dreams that somewhere must come true. Floating lightly as soap bubbles they pass through air castles caught in an ecstasy captured so achingly be the artist Maxfield Parrish into his visions of gardens of delight.
Where can these gardens of delight exist? What parallel universe? What phantom vision of contentment? What utopias straddle the dividing line between this universe and that where all our dreams come true? Not in real countries but as the fairy tales tell, East of the Sun and West of the Moon. Only in Ruritarian paradises where lives of high adventure can be lived without fear and we always win and never lose. We recover from devastating wounds and smashing blows to the head to walk whole again within minutes. Where? The Zenda of Anthony Hope, the Graustark of Gearge Barr McCutcheon, The Barsoom and Jasoom of Edgar Rice Burroughs as well as his Lutha of his novel The Mad King.
As the youngest of the aforementioned writers Burroughs learned much about the creation of utopias and parallel universes. Graustark was in ERB’s library but the Prisoner of Zenda was not. Graustark made an indelible impression on the young Burroughs that did not fade during his lifetime. Just before the advent of the second world war in his lifetime, faced with frustrated hopes for a better world, ERB wrote his friend Bert Weston lamenting the passing of Graustark.
ERB had over a dozen novels of McCutcheon in his library but, by my reckoning, only two Graustarks. McCutcheon wrote several, his locale being as important to his career as Tarzan’s was to Burroughs. The two books where the first of the series published in 1901, Graustark- The Story Of A Love Behind A Throne and A Prince Of Graustark. The latter was published in 1914 too late to be an influence on Burroughs’ Lutha of The Mad King written at the end of 1913. If he read others of the series between 1901 and 1913 we have no sure record.
In what year ERB read he original isn’t known but I suspect sometime between 1905 when he returned to Chicago from Idaho and say 1910 before he began to write. Graustark and Zenda made quite an impression on him but while those who believe that ERB cribbed his sources too closely find evidence of plagiaism where I can find only an inpiration or influence.
By the time Burroughs wrote The Mad King the Ruritanian romance had already become a genre. The very nature of genre writing is to explore the possibilities of the genre which requires the writer to have read at least the major texts as well as current efforts. The author then tries to write as original a story within the limits of the genre as possible; failing that a good derivative story will do. Writers like Philip Jose Farmer carry it one step farther by making the characters of genre an intellectual reality parallel with physical reality and then write about the fictional characters as though they were historical figures. Of course, that was a later development in genre writing.
Graustark develops the genre created by Zenda. Just as Haggard, Burroughs and other filled Africa with lost cities the concept of Ruritanias where everything went right in face of apparent misfortunes began to change the face of mythical Europe. And why not? Scientific discoveries were changing the shape of the intellect, psychological discoveries were changing ideas of the mind. Something’s gained and something’s lost. It’s that lost something that people want to find again. If it doesn’t exist in reality then it can easily be made to exist in the imagination. You see the little additional leap taken by the Farmers of literature.
Do you imagine that in the face of major shifts of populations into Europe and America that the HSII & III minorities won’t retreat into dreams of a golden age when their culture reigned supreme? You’re unrealistic if you believe it isn’t true. It is precisely this era from c. 1820 to 1920 which will be seen as the current version of the Golden Age just as McCutcheon’s and Burroughs’ generation looked to a some what earlier age when things were as they should be. In a letter to his friend Bert Weston about 1940 looking back to their youths Burroughs lamented that the possibility of Graustark was a thing of the past.
In his youth Graustark was East of the Sun and West of the Moon but in his later years Burroughs could no longer even imagine it.
It was easy to assimilate Graustark to Maxfield Parrish’s painting of a dreamland resembling these paradises of the imagination. From there it is equally easy to include L. Frank Baum’s Oz series as yet another such paradise. These wonderful fantasies revolve around in your mind enhanced by living colors and magnificent sound systems where unchained melodies fill your conscious and subconscious minds. Indeed the MGM move of The Wizard Of Oz filled about the time Burroughs was lamenting the passing of Graustark may have been the tombstone of his era.
Where did it start? Very difficult to put a precise date on this sort of thing but is it a coincidence that saving Anthony Hope all these artists were influenced by the Great White City of 1893’s Columbian Exposition of Chicago? I have hear it said that the Emerald City of Baum’s imagination was a virtual replica of the White City in green. Bill Hillman’s series of articles on the Expo in the ERBzine capture some, a great deal, of the glamour but I fear Bill held himself in too much. The Fair inspired a massive five volume eulogy by Hubert Howe Bancroft, a major historical writer of the day, in which he described the Fair in detail exhibit by exhibit, it was so mind blowing. What dreams of perfection did this marvel on the very edge of civilization unleash?
The Wizard Of Oz and Graustark were issured one after the other in 1900-01. Both books as well as the Expo had a tremendous effect on Edgar Rice Burroughs entering the first years of his maturity.
Baum’s influence is most notably seen in Burroughs’ Minidoka- unpublished in his lifetime.
Graustark, most notably in The Mad King, but echoes of both can be detected throughout the corpus.
There is no doubt that Zenda, Graustark and Lutha are related but the resemblance stops at the family level. If Zenda can be said to be the original of the Ruritarian genre, Graustark and Lutha are not mere imitations. Both later novels can be described as inspired by but not derived from.
There is only the slightest resemblance to Zenda in Graustark. Subtitled The Story Of A Love Behind A Throne McCutcheon tackles the theme of the superiority of American customs and institutions over those of what both McCutcheon and Burroughs considered decadent Europe. At the time American heiresses were actively seeking titled Englishmen to marry. Winston Churchill was the result of one of one such union.
McCutcheon reverses the roles by making a young American man pursue a Princess of Graustark. (Note the title of Burroughs’ first novel, A Princess Of Mars.) For any seeking a Golden Age of HSII & III Americanism I can heartily recommend both Graustark and McCutcheon. Like two other Burroughs’ favorites, Booth Tarkington and George Ade, McCutcheon was from Indiana, moving to Chicago in 1901. Just in passing it might be noted that another Chicago centered writer, Theodore Dreiser was also a Hoosier.
The hero of the novel, Grenfall Lorry, immediately puts one in mind of the Arrow collar and shirt ads. Richard Harding Davis personified, probably the ideal American male in appearance. One can contrast that ideal with the swarthy, unshaven, sweaty, slovenly type now being offered the public as something to aspire to.
Grenfall has an upper economic class tone, not so plebeian as Joe, Jack or Jim. Throughout the novel he is quick witted impetuous even reckless but because of his audacity, soon to be styled chutzpah, always successful while his European counterparts are vile, slow and cautious and almost certainly would fail but for Grenfall. The answers just seem to come to him from out of the air. It is marvelous. Compare him to Tarzan and John Carter.
Slowly his ways win out in the mind of the Princess. I almost said corrupted her mind for her moral ideals were slowly eroded as integrity becomes less important than gratifying her desires. But then, that too is American, isn’t it? A deal’s a deal only if you’ve got the money to back it up in court in which case a contract is a contract but then again maybe not, depends on the ‘integrity’ of the court.
Graustark itself is a fanciful place in which brash young Americans are deferred to and dreams do come true if one only persists. Can’t give up. Plenty of castles and monasteries hanging on cliffs, thick with donjons and the like. Parrishian bubbles floating in the air, quite charming dream sequences, the feeling that Maxfield Parrish captures so well. Reproductions of Parrish’s work were beginning to proliferte. Howard Pyle was an influence on Burroughs’ illustrator J. Allen St. John as Maxfield Parrish also seemed to be.
While it easy to see the influence of Graustark on Burroughs there is very little resemblance in the two stories to each other. Burroughs retains the love story behind the throne theme in a barely recognizable form. While McCutcheon’s Grenfall Lorry is of the American aristocracy of wealth living in Washington, D.C., Burroughs Barney Custer is a gritty hick from Beatrice, Nebraska, pop, 30 or so. The Mad King was written in two parts separated by nearly a year in real time and an eon in psychological time. The Great War began between the writing of the two halves so that while the Lutha of the first half more closely resembles Zenda and Graustark the second half jumps ahead a century into a new era in time with motor cars and heavy artillery.
The first half may have been written to placate ERB’s wife Emma. By the end of 1913 she may have bitten her nails to the quick while she berated ERB every day for his spendthrift habits. While ERB wrote an ode to Poverty in the spirit of Edwin Hawkin’s song WAR, (spit) Who Needs It?, if you remember the…ah…tune, Emma with three children to feed had endured the period of poverty with different feelings. Now, in 1913, with the money pouring in ERB with breath taking confidence for the future was spending it before he had it or even written books to get it. To Emma it must have seemed a replay of Idaho when ERB gambled away their last forty dollars.
It may have been clear to ERB that he was over the top where the money would never cease coming in, which indeed, turned out to the be case, but to many others including Emma he seemed to be the same old joker who would be back on street soon.
Emma yearned for some security, money in the bank, that ERB was loath to provide. His is an interesting case. No sooner did he begin to have a good year in 1913 than he packed up family and kids and used and headed for the sunshine of San Diego in the most expensive first class manner. This expenditure wasn’t based on savings but in the hope of a future income. ‘13 was an anno mirabilis for ERB during which even traveling and vacationing he was able not only to write but to sell a fabulous number of words. This has been told often but it is so extraordinary, I , who have never received a penny from my writing have difficulty letting it sink in. ERB would later boast, while Emma undoubtedly stood by shuddering, that he literally had to wait for checks from his writing to pay his expenses from day to day. He obviously had an urge to live with one foot over the precipice.
You can understand why Emma was on edge.
Thus in late 1913, while they were anxiously watching the mailbox for a check, I’m sure, ERB sat down to write the first half of this novel, that I believe was meant to placate Emma and let her know that the bozo she though she married was a bozo no more. Not totally reformed, perhaps, but reformed. When Herb Weston wrote at the time of the divorce that no other woman would have put up with ERB’s eccentricities this must have been an example of what he was talking about.
Zenda involved a lot of lookalikes as does Mad King so people assume that Burroughs copied Hope. Maybe, but I don’t think it’s necessarily so. Burroughs with his split personality didn’t have to copy anybody, he was two different people. Burroughs didn’t even disguise that he was talking about he and Emma. He calls the Ruritarian princess Emma. He introduces his friends Bert and Margaret Weston as characters, Bert and Margaret of Beatrice Nebraska where they really lived.
He calls himself Barney Custer. Custer after the failed general of the Little Big Horn and Barney after the famous race car driver, Barney ‘Mile-a-Minute’ Oldfield. B. Custer gets his rig up to 90 per beating old ‘Mile-a-Minute’ by half again. In 1913 that would still be going some. Burroughs can be quite unintentionally comic.
ERB must have known he goofed back in Idaho with the card trick but now that he had found the handle he’d become a new man, a real man, a whole man, a made man, that augured for a bountiful future for Emma so she could now stop treating him like a clown and revert to her pre-card game opinion of him.
But it wasn’t that easy; he’d been a goof for too long. In the succeeding novel Nu Of The Niocene, when Emma had apparently rejected his offer, Barney Custer shows up at Tarzan’s ranch in Kenya but without Emma, escorting his sister Victoria instead.
ERB would give Emma a last chance to take the new him over the old on in Tarzan And The Ant Men when she had a choice between his goofy lookalike Esteban Miranda and the real Tarzan, himself. Emma chose Esteban Miranda thereby sealing her fate.
The choice of the title Mad King is significant. The blow to the head ERB received in Toronto had affected his reasoning so that to others he appeared goofy or mad. His mental state was accentuated by an acute feeling of failure. His father not only told him he was a loser but apparently told everyone else too. ERB’s friend Bert Weston who knew both George T. and ERB says that he often defended ERB to his father. George T. told Weston that ERB was ‘no good.’ Weston defended ERB to George T. by insisting ERB was plenty good but that the goodness hadn’t come out yet. I didn’t have a father, my mother divorced while I was an infant so I don’t have this sort of father problem, but I imagine when your father continually tells you you’re a loser it must have some effect on your attitude.
So when your father detests you, you get cracked on the head and then you lose your wife’s confidence because of the resultant stupidity is it any wonder that when you find not only success but big success and you find not only money but big money you go off your head a bit? But then, even that looks goofy. But she stuck with him; she stood by her man.
ERB even celebrated his dead father’s birthday every year of his life which is beyond me.
Thus one aspect of The Mad King is Barney Custer, the able, confident American. Burroughs continues McCutcheon’s theme of the superiority of the American although both author’s belief in hare brained schemes seems astonishing in this day and age. The other aspect is Leopold the cowardly, ungrateful king of Lutha. Both writers use terms like ‘king’ in a contemptuous manner. Kings are hereditary while any self-made American man is a true and better king in his own right while he can someday be President of the United States if he chooses, or so he believes. Even a hick like Barney.
Emma as ‘Emma’ is confronted with a choice between these two lookalikes. She quickly prefers the self-confident able American Barney Custer, or in other words, the new ERB, but tradition binds her to the despicable King of Lutha. By which ERB means to say, I imagine, that she can forget the old him and accept the successful money making author Edgar Rice Burroughs to whom money is as nothing. Written in late 1914 Burroughs had had another astonishingly successful year. Two in a row, get that, Emma. She didn’t.
If the couple had only ERB’s income from book royalties that were not in sight in 1913 and early 1914 to look forward to for income, I think Emma’s fears might have been at least partially justified. ERB didn’t ever really make that much money from his royalties. Good money but not that good. He could never buy the yacht that other authors had. ERB might have but Emma probably didn’t see the potential of the movies. Probably neither realized at the time the value of the intellectual property Burroughs had created in Tarzan. Had Emma been aware he might have reevaluated her husband. Probably not though.
Mad King breaks off with Barney Custer leaving Lutha to return to Beatrice with his relationship with the Princess unresolved. We are told that Emma read these stories before they were submitted. If so then she could hardly have missed the import of the failure. She either missed the message or disregarded it.
The second half of the novel was written largely in October of 1914 nearly a year later. The World ERB and his fellows had grown up in had now all but disappeared in the smoke of the guns of August. The second half of the novel is dominated by the opening months of the Great War. ERB concentrated on the southern Austrian-Serbian front siding with the Serbs in the battleground Lutha has now become. The novel is taken up with the intrigue of Leopold and Peter of Blentz with the Austrians to turn the country over to them. Barney and Emma and her father are attempting to keep Lutha on the Serbian side while maintaining Lutha’s independence. ERB gives the Serbians some much needed advice on how to conduct the war. He must have been studying the conflict carefully.
As Barney and the King are indistinguishable doubles, they were indeed two aspect of ERB’s own personality, Emma is always in a great deal of confusion as to which double she was dealing with, always hoping it was Barney. Indeed, the Mad King Leopold is killed leaving Barney the last standing. At this point would seem that ERB is telling his Emma: See. The old me you thought was a goof is dead; this is the real me and I want your love and respect.
Perhaps true but it take more than a simple assertion to change a woman’s mind. You have to have patience and wait. Emma Burroughs must not have changed hers quickly enough because in the next story, Nu Of The Niocene, Barney Custer is traveling without Emma, going to Africa with his sister Victoria instead.
One imagines that ERB’s personal Lutha, Graustark or Zenda disappeared in smoke as had the nineteenth century. His hope and dream of entering that magic land somewhere over the rainbow in a land of perpetual Spring would have to be sought with someone other than Emma.
In a very few years he would meet that other hope of another and better world in Hollywoodland which should have been a warning to him as he would learn the hard way that the answer always lies within, as difficult as that may be to recognize. The Rainbow Trail begins on your own two feet.
If birds fly over the rainbow,
Why then, oh why, can’t I?
October 13, 2012
The Ancient Evil:
Diana And The Goddess Tradition
A problem that has been perplexing me for some time is the role of the Goddess Diana as the female archetype for the last half of the Age of Pisces. The adoption of the goddess Diana or Artemis as she was known in Greece signifies a resurgence of the Matriarchy. This is a rather remarkable comeback as the Matriarchy was virtually unknown in the nineteenth century, all but forgotten.
I’m sure the interpretation of Diana’s history and her relationship to Astrology will be met with some dismay as these subjects are not properly understood. Essentially the problem is one of memory; in this case historical and racial memory. Memory on one level is a desire to retain and understand the past whether on a personal or historical level. From the past the future may be predicted. What has gone before will likely happen again. It was this knowledge that made the calendar a necessity. If one has a starting point, such as the shortest day of the year the return of flora and fauna may be roughly known. To make the year more manageable it was divided into seasons and months to mark more easily the passage of the days of the year. This knowledge led to a whole cycle of gods, goddesses and myths. Thus a terrestrial zodiac was derived denoted by symbols appropriate to the seasons. As it was assumed that what happened on earth was a reflection of what happened in the skies the terrestrial zodiac was translated to the stars and thus we have the Astrological Zodiac in which the twelve signs reflect the weather pattern on earth.
Just as there are twelve months in the year so the skies were divided into twelve portions called Ages. The length of the Ages was determined by the Great Year that was of some twenty-five thousand years plus duration. The Great year was determined by the rotation of the earth on its axis as evidenced by the stars of the North Pole.
Each Age has it male and female archetypes. In Greece the Arien Age was presided over by Zeus and Hera. Thus each set of archetypes has a lifetime of two thousand plus years and then they make the long slide to Far Tartary and back again.
The Piscean Age which has become universal began with the male archetype of Jesus of Nazareth while in mid-Age the archetypes where transferred to the female side- Diana in the North of Europe and Mary, the mother of Jesus, in the South of Europe.
While the mechanism used to achieve this is fairly clear the exact process can only be surmised.
While it may be difficult to believe the Astrological Zodiac must have begun development about a hundred thousand years ago being in the fourth cycle at the time of the dawn of the Age of Pisces. Thus as a method of timekeeping the Zodiac has a long history.
One may question the hundred thousand years and yet the Mesopotamian myths mention a past of at least that long. One usually doesn’t credit the ancients with actual knowledge but I think it is time to take them more seriously.
For much of that hundred thousand years during the long Ice Age the level of the Mediterranean was much lower probably being a long valley with a succession of large lakes fed by the Nile and the Propontis while the outflow was at the Pillars of Hercules. As the Med Valley was habitable it must have been inhabited. Undoubtedly a civilization developed that was fairly sophisticated. One needn’t look for extraterrestrials for human development.
Thus when the Ice Age ended returning the accumulated waters to the oceans the waters rose forcing the Valley’s inhabitants to seek higher ground until the sea level became static. While denizens fled to all sides of the Med the civilization bearers occupied Lower Egypt, the emerging Nile Delta. A second area in which civilization in some form must have survived was the island of Crete.
It was on this island that the religious formula that became a basis of Europe was formed. The basis was provided by the Hellenic Greek tribes that began their invasion of the Greek peninsula c. -1700.
The Greek penisula was occupied by an ancient people called Pelasgians. They like the Cretans were descendants of the Med Valley peoples as were the Cretans and Lower Egypt. The Pelasgian religion closely resembled that of the Cretans. The conquering Hellenes imposed their Greek language on them while setting about solving the religious differences into one unifed religion. This was done following a usual pattern.
The Hellenes followed an Aryan Patriarchal model while the Pelasgians and Cretans followed a Matriarchal type.
How much religious development took place between 8000 BC when the waters rose and 2000 BC when things had settled must have been very large. An important thing to remember is that the human mind is continually handling information. Problems of memory have been continually remedied with new storage technologies. They have been continually developed to today’s immense ability to be able to very nearly store entire reality. Every phone call in the world 24/7 can be stored and retrieved at will so that totally inconsequential information is on record but will never be read.
The time lapse between improvements in storage and retrieval were immense in the early days increasing rapidly to the present. The earliest known city, the remains of which date not coincidentally to c. 8000 BC is located at Catal Huyuk in Anatolia which would have been a rural backwater to the Med civilization, but a high degree of communal organization is evident. One imagines the Cretan civilization was similar but more highly developed. There is every evidence that the Great Mother religion was fairly highly developed at the time the waters rose.
The Cretans certainly brought the religion to a degree of perfection. Obviously there is no agreement as to the degree while the substance of religion can be only guessed at.
Presently the Goddess advocates picture the Matriarchy as some kind of golden age of
peace love and happiness. This is not the case. The Matriarchates lived in a period of very primitive mentality. Nor is the female of the species any less bloody minded than the male. The memory of the matriarchate was still strong enough for later males to dismiss the matriarchate as a period that was not too kind to men. Indeed, if one bears in mind that the sacrificial bulls were substitutes for men and that bulls were often sacrificed in holocausts which means a hundred bulls or more then it follows that at one time a hundred men or more were sacrificed to the Great Mother. Obviously this would leave rueful memories in the minds of men.
This memory may have been played out in the tale of Iphigenia At Aulis.
Shall we examine the participants in this drama, Agamemnon, Clytmnestra, Iphigenia and Diana?
Zeus in the apparition of a swan had intercourse with Leda who then lay two eggs. Both bore twins. From one egg Castor and Pollux emerged. These two represent the soltices, Castor, winter and Pollux summer. From the other egg Helen and Clytemnestra emerged. These two represent the equinoxes, Helen the Spring, Clytemnestra the Fall. One might compare Helen to the Cretan Loving Goddess with the erect snakes held hip high and Clytemnestra to the Angry Goddess brandishing the two writhing snakes. Thus the two goddesses are representatives of Diana.
Now Agamemnon was punished by Diana for killing a deer and then boasting that he was a better hunter than she. Agamemnon and the Greeks were assembled at Aulis but unable to sail for lack of wind. A sacrifice was deemed necessary to allay the winds. Ordinarily a male would have been the sacrifice to Diana. Instead Agamemnon sacrificed his and Clytemnestra’s daughter probably in vengeance for his punishment by Diana and the slaughter of all those males during the Matriarchy.
Clytemnestra herself was a representative of the Matriarchy so the story is involved.
While my interpretation might be controversial I think it clear that the Cretan goddess became Artemis/Diana. At any rate it was the Argive (from Argos) mainland goddess Hera who would be chosen as the wife of Zeus. Therefore the Cretan goddess would have lost her consort and been a loose cannon.
Zeus himself was of Cretan origin probably intended to be the annual consort of the Goddess. As religion evolved the characters of the Gods and Goddesses changed so that while there is continuity the attributes and characters change enough so that the religious figures have to be located in time and place.
When the Hellenes, or Greeks, began to arrive the Cretans had already created a political organization known as a thalossocracy, a sea based empire. The islands and at least the coasts from Aegean to Italy were under Cretan rule. The Greeks then challenged the power of the Cretans as well as seeking to impose the Patriarchal religion on the Matriarchy.
This method of taking control was the same as that of all religions replacing another. As in such situations the overcome religion submits to greater power but continues a more or less clandestine existence. Thus the Aryan Greeks converted religious sites such as Delphi to Patriarchal shrines. Where the necessisity existed in Matriarchal strongholds, they apparently attempted to exterminate the Matriarchates. Persecute them out of existence, perhaps, as happened to the Lollards of England.
In this case, Perseus’ assault on the Gorgon Medusa could have signified an all out assault on the Matriarchal stronghold as was the story of the Iliad in which the Patriarchal Greeks waged a ten year war to exterminate Matriarchal Troy. Whether factual or not it is true that when the post-Troy dark age ended the Greeks were in possession of the Anatolian littoral.
Of course the preferred method was by stealth and intermarriage. Intermarriage may have required the extermination of the males to acquire the women which was commonly done. Thus, Zeus’ frequent rapes of women may commemorate such takeovers.
As the assimilated gods appear to have been indigenous the Greeks must have taken over the pre-existing gods while changing them to Patriarchal from Matriarchal. Thus, while Zeus is clearly a Cretan god, probable annual consort of the Great Mother, he was transported to mainland Argos where as a woodpecker he raped the Argive goddess Hera becoming her lord and master, or her husband.
The consort of Hera was Heracles, a sun god. When Zeus took Hera from him as his wife this left Heracles at loose ends without a purpose. The Greeks gave him a new lineage and the role of the champion of the Patriarchy and punisher of the Matriarchy.
In this case Zeus seduces Alcmene in the disguise of her husband Amphitryon impregnating her with Hercules. Just as Heracles was a loose cannon after the marriage of Zeus and Hera the Cretan Great Goddess was without a consort when Zeus left Crete. The problem is what identity was she assigned? When Heracles was born two snakes were sent by the Matriarchy to kill him. The baby Heracles strangled both, one in each hand. Symbolically then the Cretan religion was imagined to be destroyed and possibly its Great Mother murdered.
A great problem however that remains hidden from me is the origin of the Peloponnesian Lady Of The Lake. As the Cretan Great Mother was also a Mistress Of The Animals it is quite possible that she was taken to the mainland from Crete where she became an Artemis and possibly the Lady Of The Lake.
At some later time the Cretan priesthood would be carried from Crete and installed as the priesthood of Apollo at the premier Greek shrine of Delphi. So, how much of the Greek religion was of Aryan origin and how much of the ancient Med Valley religion through its Cretan development isn’t clear but the two must have been extensively intermingled making the Cretan Great Mother a probable Artemis/Diana and the Lady Of The Lake.
I have found no references in Greek mythology to the Lady Of The Lake but the Lady as Vivian turns up in the Arthurian epics of +1000-1300 when they were formulated. In those she is referred back to ancient Peloponnesian times. I haven’t found the sources of the medieval writers but they must have been in possession of some mythological sources that no longer exist.
I would now like to examine the transition from the male archetype of Jesus in mid-Piscean Age to Diana in Northern Europe and Mary, the Mother of God in the South.
Before leaving the Ancients however let me say that having organized a pantheon the Greeks then removed the various gods from their home locales and established their residence on Mt. Olympus deep in the more densely Aryan populations of the North of Greece.
The religion of no one Age is secure because the transition to the next Age is always looming. Just as Zeus had replaced Cronus of the Taurean Age so the Greek male archetype of the Piscean Age, Dionysus, was maturing as Zeus’ replacement.
However, in the long war between Europe and Asia the balance of power was to shift toward the Asians. Dionysus was discarded to be replaced by the Semitic Jew, Jesus of Nazareth. The Jews had quietly been infiltrating Western society while actually contending for pre-eminence in the East and Egypt. This would erupt into the Roman-Jewish wars of the first two centuries AD.
As the early Christians were a purely Jewish sect it is no wonder that when Paul of Tarsus turned the Jewish cult into a universal religion that that religion reflected Judaism to a large extent. Judaism being an intolerant religion that intolerance was replicated in both the Roman Catholic and the Greek Orthodox Churches. The result was that any competing religious views were viciously suppressed. After the fourth century the old Creco-Cretan religion was anathematized on the pain of death.
As would happen in the fifteenth century when the Ottoman Moslems conquered Constantinople and the Greek scholars fled East to India and West to the Roman successor States numbers of the Olympian priesthood undoubtedly fled into the German lands to the North. Just as the Arian priests fled North to escape Catholic oppression where they converted the German tribes so the Olympian priests sowed their beliefs among the Germans. That’s one reason so many Olympian beliefs are found in German folk tales as collected by the Grimms.
As the Lady Of The Lake is a Matriarchal myth it follows that the Cretan priesthood of Delphi sowed Matriarchal ideas among the Germans. It can be little wonder that Vivian, The Lady Of The Lake, appeared in the French chivalric myths created from the eleventh though fourteenth centuries.
Not only that but Vivian represents the Matriarchal resurgence against Catholic Patriarchalism. Vivian of course was none other than Artemis/Diana. It was thus that Diana became the female archetype of Northern Europe in the second half of the Piscean Age.
It would be a mistake to suppose that the Olympian gods died quiet deaths or deaths at all. It is one thing to outlaw a belief system and another to erase it from the memories of those who had used that belief system for two thousand years. The Christians were at best a conquering horde no different from the Patriarchal Greeks who attempted to destroy the Cretan religion. The Catholic Church was no more able to contain the Olympians than the Greeks were able to contain Cretan religion. Just as the Greeks had had to accommodate the Cretans by installing them at Delphi so the Catholic Church had to accommodate Olympians while the struggle never ceased.
Just as the Iliad was part of an immense mythological cycle detailing the struggle between the Matriarchy and the Patriarchy so the Arthurian epics detailing the Matriarchal, Patriarchal and Church as Aryans sects was even more immense and sprawling. The huge corpus of the Vulgate-Lancelot may just be the largest literary work in the world while being only part of the story.
So Arthur being installed at Camelot as the wise and benevolent Patriarchal monarch, Vivian had her home beneath a northern French lake. The problem for her was how to subvert Camelot and restore the Matriarchy. After all the court of Arthur was guided by and protected by the magic of the great magician Merlin. So long as Merlin was on the job Arthur was invulnerable. Vivian’s first task was to eliminate Merlin.
Bear in mind that an ages old system that these participants can have had no knowledge of is being satisfactorily worked out according to the principles of that system. One can understand how active minds could penetrate this arcane system but the miracle is that naïve minds could understand what was intended and how to further it. But then I am participating here in furthering events into the Aquarian Age and am no member of any priesthood; I was just a guy standing on the corner watching the girls go by while reading the odd volume. Do I know what I say I know? I can’t even guess but at the same time I can’t keep from writing as though I do. Blame it on the muse.
Vivian was a cute girl; Merlin was a half daft old man susceptible to a young beauty’s charms even though he knew better. Vivian smiled at him and the wisest dope in the world fell for it. But, isn’t that the way the sisterhood always works. If you’ve got a job to do, keep it zipped up.
Enamored of Vivian Merlin took her into his confidence. He was reluctant to share his magic with her but she coaxed and he caved. Once the wiliest of womanhood had obtained the old wizard’s knowledge she turned on him entombing him in the matriarchal symbol, Mother Earth, where he remains today muttering useless spells in an effort to remove the stone.
Part one of her effort was now achieved. Arthur was unprotected and vulnerable. It was only necessary to find the means and the agent. Vivian already knew the means. Arthur would marry the beautiful but flighty Guenivere. Arthur was old sobersides as he had a kingdom to rule so Guenivere was on the lookout for the dark romantic lead. It just so happened that Vivian had a boy in training who was now about to emerge into lusty young manhood. He was the most perfect knight in the world save one, who was yet unborn and to be his son.
When this lad was a young boy Vivian had lured him down to the lake from whose shores she abducted him taking him to her submarine palace for training. Lancelot became a fairy prince. Now, this is important: Vivian although a virgin was an alpha mother . All those bundles of genes out there who yell and stomp thinking that makes them alpha males aren’t. It’s not in the genes its in the mothering. Look for the alpha female. So, Lancelot was the alphaest of all living males.
As an emblem of her authority Vivian dressed Lancelot as well as the horse he rode out on in shining white velvet. Guenivere’s prince had come.
This Dandy, Lancelot, then went to Camelot and was deputized by Arthur to fetch his bride from her father and thus began a liaison with the Queen that would disrupt the famous Round Table resulting in a war between Patriarchal Arthur and Matriarchal Lancelot that brought the kingdom to its knees.
Arthur’s original sword drawn from the stone had been stolen and replaced by Excalibur a sword given to him by Vivian. Thus Arthur originally armed by the Patriarchy was now defended by the power of the Matriarchy or Diana. When Arthur died the sword was returned to the Lady Of The Lake and Arthur was taken to her bourne, Avalon to be tended by the fairie maidens. Symbolically England had passed from the Patriarchy to the Matriarchy; what began two thousand years earlier between the Cretans and the Greeks was now resolved in England in favor of the Matriarchy.
In the South of Europe the female archetype of the Piscean Age was Mary who delivered Jesus to the world in Virgin birth somewhat like Vivian giving virgin birth to Lancelot. At the same time that Diana assumed authority in the North Mary began to be worshipped in a form known as Mariolatry in the South and assumed pre-eminence over Jesus, the male. The contest then shifted to one between the Dianites of the North and the Marionites of the South.
If one assumes that the sexual battle was over by 1300, then the battle of the female archetypes began. That began to resolve itself when Henry VIII separated England from the Papacy rejecting Mary, the Mother of God. Luther did the same for the Germans. This conflict resulted in the horrific Thirty Years War that nearly destroyed the German people. At war’s end Protestants, that is the Dianites, were in control of the North while the Marionites held the South.
Dissension in the North and South was still rife until the Enlightenment broke the power of the Church releasing all kinds of repressed religious views of which the religion of Diana was merely one. One wonders how much of the women’s movement of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries was influenced by the concept of Diana The movement today is heavily influenced by a goddess cult, not Mary, but Diana and probably the Egyptian Isis. One imagines that there must be some continuity.
The interest in both Greek mythology and the Arthurian epics did not wane during the nineteenth century, if anything increasing. Tennyson’s Idylls of the King was a major retelling of the story while the quest for the Holy Grail is an ongoing theme.
The Matriarchy was all but forgotten in the conscious memory of Europe that had become patriarchal on the surface. In mid-century against stiff resistance the Swiss mythologist, J. J. Bachofen uncovered the Matriarchy reintroducing it into intellectual history. The concept was stoutly resisted but a reevaluation of the evidence over the succeeding hundred years has reestablished the knowledge of its existence.
On the popular level the great English novelist H. Rider Haggard toyed with the idea in several significant, even great, novels that have been slighted through a lack of understanding. The most significant of that set of novels, the She saga, has become one of the world’s great classics.
She, or Ayesha, her actual name, means Life was definitely not a mother goddess, as far as we know she had been chaste for two thousand years. Life might be interpreted in the sense of Mistress Of The Animals, so it wouldn’t be unfair to associate Ayesha with Diana. Haggard was no mean mythologist.
He associated with the well known mythologist Andrew Lang with whom he also collaborated on The World’s Desire. He was very well read in mythology, Greek, Egyptian and Israelite. The year after Haggard wrote She in 1888 he followed up with Cleopatra, a very good Egyptian novel. He followed that with the astonishing interpretation of the Helen myth in The World’s Desire of 1890. Within the compass of these three novels he unraveled the meaning of the Hermes/Mercury staff- the Caduceus.
In She Ayesha wore a golden belt composed of two snakes whose heads opposed each other at her waist. They represented the combat between good and evil in Ayesha’s mind. Both natures of the Cretan goddess were united in Ayesha.
By the time Haggard wrote The World’s Desire two years later he had separated the two impulses into two persons. The evil aspect of the goddess was the ruling aspect of the Egyptian princess Meriamun while the pure loving aspect of the goddess belonged to the spirit of Helen whose character was the world’s desire.
Thus the rod of Mercury’s staff represents the spine while the two snakes entwining the rod represent the good and evil impulses who facing each other are at war with each other. In modern psychological terms it could be said the snakes represent the Anima and Animus- the left and right halves of the brain or, in other words, the ovate strand of DNA and the spermatic strand. The wings mean that the whole apparatus is sheltered under the wings of the goddess. It is also quite probable that the points of the chakras are intended by the twining. See my full explication here: http://idynamo.wordpress.com/2009/12/04/a-review-part-iv-she-by-h-rider-haggard/
Hermes/Mercury was one of the old Matriarchal gods who was reborn as a Patriarchal god so that the Patriarchal Mercury bears the Matriarchal emblem of the Caduceus before him thus representing both religious outlooks.
Haggard was the rock on which his near disciple, Edgar Rice Burroughs, built his church. Without saying that Burroughs was an expert Greco-Roman mythologist he began reading mythology at a very early age while his Junior High years were spent at the Harvard Latin school of Chicago where he was placed under a heavy classical regimen. He also continued to read Greek mythology throughout his life while also being interested in anthropology. Thus, while he might not have had the scholarly background of Haggard he must have known enough to follow Haggard’s argument, if not consciously at least in his subconscious memory.
When Burroughs created his fantasy lost city of Opar its goddess, or high priestess, was even named La which is French for She. Whether he was aware he was working with a vision of Diana isn’t relevant as the notion of She/Diana was engraved in what Jung would call the collective unconscious and hence his own.
Ever the Patriarch, Burroughs turned the tables on the Diana/Vivian Merlin story and made La submissive to Tarzan while Tarzan was unmoved by either her beauty or her love.
A sort of version was also told by the very good but now nearly forgotten novelist Robert Hichens in his novel of 1905, The Garden Of Allah. This story in turn influenced Burroughs as well as the much more conscious mythologist Edith Maude Hull who wrote The Sheik in 1921. Today Mrs. Hull’s reputation, such as it is, rests on The Sheik and The Sheik’s reputation on the movie represention of Rudolph Valentino. In point of fact Mrs. Hull’s novel was a study of Diana, the name of her heroine, that follows to some extent the version of Burroughs. (See my full review of The Sheik here http://idynamo.wordpress.com/2007/10/12/a-review-1921s-the-sheik-by-em-hull/)
That Mrs. Hull was a part od some sort of Diana cultish interest is evidenced by this 1920s photo of woman posing as Diana. The collective memory and/or unconscious has kept the vision of Diana/Great Mother alive for a minimum of three thousand years. The Ancient Evil had been transmuted into Freudian psychology.
Today the worship of the Goddess has been revived in the Feminist Movement and is thriving. Indeed, a Matriarchal Revolution has been in progress since perhaps the 1850s and now seems to be rapidly approaching fruition, at least among the Aryans of Europe and America.
Time will tell whither the Ancient Evil will triumph.
Edgar Rice Burroughs
The Accreted Personality
Hours In The Library
As the fabulous Twentieth Century dawned virtually a new world different than anything that had gone before came into existence requiring a new consciousness. As usual some could adapt and some couldn’t. In an evolutionary sense those that couldn’t adapt disappeared, those that could survived while those born into the new world accepted it as normal.
Many authors who were very successful in the old world faded from importance not because what they had to say was necessarily irrelevant but because it was no longer relevant to a changed consciousness. Even if their message was universal it had to be expressed in new terms. Some like Rider Haggard and Conan Doyle trundled right along until they died two or three decades later. Some like H.G. Wells whose contemporary novels lost significance and sales potential even though in Wells case his sci-fi output of the nineties has survived strongly until today. His omnibus volume Seven Science Fiction Novels has been a strong seller for nearly a hundred years. A dozen or so handsome editions adorn the shelves of second hand dealers where they turn over at a quick rate.
Still, around 1900 a new generation of writers began to move onto the literary field; the next wave after the crop of the eighteen eighties. The new writers were mainly in the age cohort of 1865 to 1876 as was Ed but he would make a late start in 1912. Memory is the key to psychology. If nothing goes into the memory nothing comes out so it is important to include only the beneficial as much as is possible. It is for that reason that pornography is pernicious. It has little social value; its main function being to stroke one’s fixations. In these crucial years Ed filled his memory banks with the works of the current crop of writers. He unerringly went, as we all do, to those writers and books that talked around his own fixations thus being capable of being incorporated into his own writing.
While he seems to be almost plagiarizing his sources, by the end of the nineteenth century the body of work available had grown to significant proportions. He was not alone in incorporating his reading into his own work. The reading had become part of the social fabric not much different than trolley cars and the soup cans Andy Warhol would later make famous. Burroughs now is part of our mental furniture and while it may not be pertinent to our writing, images and phrases from what we have read may come out of our pen without our realizing it. Almost like saying for dinner I opened a can of Campbell’s tomato soup.
The thousands of movies and records we have seen and know cannot be excluded from our mental processes. So, just as George Du Maurier named his novel Trilby after that of Charles Nodier of the turn of the nineteenth century patterning his story based on that novel that he admired greatly, why shouldn’t Burroughs in his turn do the same. Such referencing was quite common if you read enough and look for it.
It is difficult to know where to begin in listing Ed’s post-1900 reading but as the South formed such a large part of his consciousness it may be well to start with the apostle of the Lost Cause, Thomas Dixon Jr.
Thomas Dixon Jr. (1864-1846)
Dixon’s social views differed quite wildly from those of his contemporary H.G. Wells. Indeed, Dixon was of the class that Wells said must not be allowed to express their views lest they cloud those of the Revolution in the minds of the proletariat which must be forced to accept the official views of Wells’ Open Conspiracy version of socialism. No dissent was to be allowed. In keeping with this dictum Anthony Slide gave the scare title American Racist to his 2004 biography of Dixon published by the UKentucky Press in an attempt to make sure Dixon was buried and doesn’t rise again.
Be that as it may Dixon was extremely popular in the years before the Bolshevik Revolution going into eclipse after his 1919 movie Bolshevism On Trial. So he was both a Southerner, although not a Virginian, and an anti-Communist giving him special appeal to Ed.
Born in 1864 he was old enough to have been aware during the last years of Reconstruction, hence an eyewitness. The grand tragedy of the Civil War for him was that Aryans exterminated Aryans over a worthless cause like Negro slavery. During Reconstruction the Puritan bigots of the North oppressed the Southern Aryans mercilessly so that Dixon made it his goal to reconcile Northern and Southern Aryans, thus the title of his and Griffith’s 1915 movie titled The Birth Of A Nation, in other words, The Birth Of The Aryans as a Nation.
While slavery was the proximate cause of the war the issue takes a subordinate place in the minds of romanticists of the South such as Ed. Dixie is the home of courtly manners and magnolia blossoms, decency and self-respect.
That notion of a Utopia is still shared by many of us today.
The men who settled Virginia were the displaced younger sons of English aristocrats who gave their flavor to the Cavalier State. They were the epitome of desired manhood, the quality versus the equality- hence John Carter of Virginia. Carter is not only a man but the apex of what a man should be.
Dixon wrote several Civil War and Reconstruction novels, all rather good literature. His most famous trilogy of the conflict was composed of The Leopard’s Spots (1902), The Clansman (1905), and The Traitor (1907). As The Traitor is found in Burroughs’ surviving library it is not unreasonable to believe he read all three and that before he began writing. Dixon wrote two further volumes, The Southerner: A Romance Of The Real Lincoln and The Victim: A Romance Of The Real Jefferson Davis of 1913 and 14 respectively. I’m sure Ed read them both but they were too late to be formative for his writing. I recommend them both highly for a near contemporary history of the events from the perspective of both sides. While it doesn’t seem to be Dixon’s purpose his presentation leaves no doubt in my mind that the assassination of Lincoln was plotted by a cabal of Northern bigots who really wanted to exterminate Southern Aryans replacing them with what they believed to be a pure Negro Republic.
As the Negroes were not welcome in the North these Northern loonies may have believed with Lincoln that Negroes and Aryans could not live together. They probably believed that by ceding the South to the Negroes they had solved the problem. I’m sure it goes much deeper than current research cares to deal with.
Fortunately that didn’t happen. Reconstruction was overturned and the Jim Crow period took form resulting in the current Negro revolution with the threat of a San Domingo Moment.
In addition Dixon wrote an anti-socialist trilogy composed of One Woman (1903), Comrades (1909) and The Root Of Evil (1911). Other than reflecting the attitude of Ed’s thoughts they don’t seem reflected in his own work before 1919 although they may appear in his 1926 novel The Moon Maid.
After the rejection of Ed’s own 1919 anti-Communist tract Under The Red Flag by publishers another work of Dixon’s, The Fall Of A Nation (1916, both book and movie) seem to have been read and seen by Ed. The work would greatly influence Ed’s 1926 novel, The Moon Maid.
So, Thomas Dixon has to be considered a major influence of Ed‘s.
L. Frank Baum (1856-1919)
A second major influence, not inferior to Dixon, was the great creator of the Wizard Of Oz series, Lyman Frank Baum. Although chronologically belonging to an earlier age cohort of writers he only began writing at the turn of the century, turning out his fabulously successful The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz in 1900. It is said that Oz was based on the White City of the Columbian Exposition of 1893 and most likely was. In those days before movies successful books were turned into equally successful plays as was the case with The Wizard; thus at forty-four Baum was launched on a successful literary career. As with so many writers he squandered his millions ending up virtually broke. He didn’t live long enough for the movies to come to the rescue.
The original Wonderful Wizard Of Oz was written as a political satire which content went missing in 1939’s movie, indeed, it was no longer relevant. Baum should have lived so long.
The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz (1900) was followed by The Marvelous Land Of Oz (1904), Ozma Of Oz (1907), Dorothy And The Wizard Of Oz (1908), The Road To Oz (1909) and the Emerald City Of Oz (1910). These were published before Ed began to write so they highly influenced his Martian Chronicles while subsequently issued titles influenced his later work.
Baum grew tired of the series trying to kill it off in 1910’s Emerald City Of Oz but the clamor urging him to write more resulted in the series being resumed in 1913. These titles in order where The Patchwork Girl Of Oz 1913), Tik Tok Of Oz, 1914, The Scarecrow Of Oz (1915), Rinkitink In Oz, (1916), The Lost Princess Of Oz, (1917), The Tin Woodman Of Oz (1918), The Magic Of Oz, (1919) and Glinda Of Oz (1920). There are an additional dozen or so Oz titles but they were commissioned (pastiches) after Baum’s death to Ruth Plumly Thompson and another writer after her. Nice enough but don’t have the spark.
On might say the Wizard far exceeds John Carter in the American consciousness while matching or even, possibly, exceeding that of Tarzan. Without the Tarzan movies the reputation of the Wizard would be as great while that of Tarzan would be significantly diminished.
Baum also wrote a comic strip of stories in 1905 and The Woggle Bug Book in 1905 that Ed may have seen but I haven’t.
One imagines Ed greatly anticipating each Oz book as it was released, stunned by both the stories and the W.W. Denslow and John R. Neill artwork. Always remember that Ed was a failed artist or cartoonist, so the illustration always remained important to him.
Baum like Ed, after having created, an original framework, unmercifully plundered past literature to give substance to his stories. As Ed would follow in his own Symmes’ Hollow Earth stories Baum wrote an entire Oz novel around a version of the Symmes’s theory.
Ed so completely ingested the Baumian parallel universe that it is impossible to conceive of either Helium or Opar without reference to the Emerald City and hence back to Chicago’s White City. John Carter may be conceived of as a male Dorothy off to see the Wizard except that Helium was on Mars. Carter’s accession to the Warlord of Mars may even be seen as a replacement of the Wizard. One suspects that for Ed Baum was the transcendent imagination.
Another important point, as David Adams points out, is that Baum was a theosophist versed in esoteric lore. Baum was among the writers of his day that Ed went out of the way to meet, to introduce himself. It may even be said that he had a relationship with Baum. Ed first introduced himself to Baum in 1913, driving up to Ozcot in Hollywood. The two men were reunited in 1916 during Ed’s stay in LA and again in 1919 for the few remaining months of Baum’s life. He died in May of that year.
So Baum was a central figure in Ed’s career.
George Barr McCutcheon (1866-1926)
Anthony Hope (1863-1933)
The third major figure of the decade succeeding 1900 was one George Barr McCutcheon and his Graustark series. Not so well known today he was a major figure in the early years of the century. Reminiscing in the forties in the midst of the disappointment of a second world war in his lifetime Ed remarked that the people then lacked a Graustark so that Ed added that imaginary land to the Oz in his literary memories.
Born in the same year as H.G. Wells, McCutcheon’s first published title Graustark: The Story Of A Love Behind A Throne appeared in 1901 as the century began. Graustark was some Ruritanian paradise located in some imaginary middle European land of wine and waltzes. While a fine imaginary setting I find the novels unappealing. As usual one has the enterprising American lad among torpid European lumpkins.
Of the six Graustark novels three were published before 1912- Graustark (1901), Beverly Of Graustark (1904) and Truxton King: A Story Of Graustark (1909), and three after- The Prince of Graustark (1914), East Of The Setting Sun (1924) and the Inn Of The Hawk And The Raven (1927). Thus only the first three were part of the formation of Ed’s memories when he began writing.
These three were however buttressed by two novels of Anthony Hope the man who invented Ruritanian romances and on whom McCutcheon undoubtedly based Graustark. Hope began his three dozed novel career with the The Prisoner Of Zenda in 1894 followed by the sequel Rupert Of Hentzau in 1898. It would be truly astonishing if you’ve heard of any of the rest of his oeuvre. I certainly never had.
The content of these novelists was directly incorporated into Ed’s two Ruritanian novels The Mad King and HRH The Rider.
The Mad King was a re-courting of Emma that apparently failed.
Booth Tarkington (1869-1946)
A man who Ed thought was the greatest American writer when interviewed in the teens was the enchanting Booth Tarkington, one of the favorites of my childhood. I was enthralled by Tarkington’s Tom Sawyer figure Penrod (1914) Scholfield and Penrod and Sam of 1916. The other titles I read back when were Seventeen (1916), The Magnificent Ambersons (1918), and Alice Adams of 1922.
Tarkington was a prolific writer turning out four dozen or so novels during his lifetime, some in collaboration with Harry Leon Wilson of Merton Of The Movies and Ruggles Of Red Gap fame along with several other significant titles of the day. Burroughs had Ruggles and couple others in his library.
Born between Wells and Ed, Tarkington’s first novel, The Gentleman From Indiana appeared in 1899 followed by his Monsieur Beaucaire in 1900. A whole series of novels followed up to 1912 including The Two Vanrevels so Ed probably had imbibed a lot of Tarkington before and much after 1912. Tarkington was a major influence on Ed’s novels such as The Oakdale Affair and the Efficiency Expert of the teens while The Ambersons and Alice Adams influences show up in Ed’s 1924 novel Marcia Of The Doorstep.
Jack London (1876-1916)
Robert Service (1874-1958)
H.H. Knibbs (1874-1945)
Certainly not to be neglected as an influence is the still well known and often read Jack London. The making of London as a writer was the great Klondike Gold Rush beginning in 1896. In 1897 London packed his gear and went North. His experiences in the land of ice and snow provided the material that made his name. A stream of short stories and adventure novels erupted through his pen beginning in 1898 while the novels began in 1902. The Call Of The Wild of 1903 spoke to the wanderlust in Ed’s soul. London did everything that Ed wanted to do, he ranged freely over the entire world in his yacht The Snark, interestingly named after the great poem of Lewis Carroll…beware lest your Snark be a boo…. He was an eyewitness reporter of the San Francisco earthquake of 1906, like Ed he was a boxing aficionado, he was ringside as a reporter when Jack Johnson put down the great Jim Jeffries to become the first Negro heavyweight champion.
Ed’s fascination with hoboing had never abated since he mingled with them on Madison, Chicago’s Main Stem, on
which his father’s factory was located. London’s 1907 memoir of his cross country trip with Kelley’s Army, a part of Coxey’s Army in 1894 must have excited Ed enormously. But, Ed was tied to Emma and unable to roam.
In many ways London’s and Ed’s views were in synch as part of the same age cohort. A Negro’s winning of the boxing championship was really too much for either man to bear. London himself was an amateur boxer. The failure of a White man to appear to wrest the championship from the Negro Johnson drove him to distraction as it did Ed. Although living on either side of the country both expressed their anguish at the same time.
London wrote a preliminary study titled The Abysmal Brute following it with a full scale concerning the championship, The Valley Of The Moon in 1913. Ed set down and wrote The Mucker about his own hobo boxer, Billy Byrne also in 1913. One can only wonder how many other stories were written about an imaginary White boxer recapturing the crown.
The second novel of the Mucker Trilogy all but named London as its inspiration. The Return is a very good novel that celebrated the golden age of hoboing.
The novel tied in a number of Ed’s literary hobo sources. In addition to London the poet H.H. Knibbs provided a sort of framing device as Ed wove verses of his great poem Out There Somewhere through the story, essentially basing the novel on the poem. He also included snatches of verse from the Kiplingesque Robert W. Service of The Cremation Of Sam McGee fame.
The Return then might be said to be a celebration of the road based on London’s The Road and poems by Knibbs and Service. Byrne was also probably an attempt to create another series based on The Road to supplement Tarzan but it didn’t take.
Zane Grey (1972-1939)
Grey might be one of the weaker influences before 1910 but Ed was destined to be thought a rival by his publishers. Grey had the magic touch in being able to pitch his is stories toward women thus garnering the big money of the slick magazines. Grey thus earned enough to buy himself a yacht making him the envy of Ed.
Grey began in 1903 with his story of Betty Zane. This was followed three years later by The Spirit Of The Border, then in 1908’s Last Of The Plainsmen. Nineteen nine brought The Last Trail and The Shortstop. The earlier titles were on small imprints while The Shortstop was publishing by McClurg’s, the future publisher of Burroughs. From McClurg’s Grey went to Harper And Bros. who remained his publisher from then on. One wonders if McClurg’s sold his contract to Harper’s or whether they signed him to a one book deal. They certainly tied Ed up contractually so he couldn’t get away.
Grey’s first book for Harper’s in 1910 is the only story to indicate Ed’s readership, The Heritage Of The Desert concerning the Mormons. That influence showed up in 1913’sThe Cave Girl.
I could never get into Grey as a kid although I was given a copy of The Shortstop that I didn’t read then and never have. Still have it though. Grey broke through in 1912 with Riders Of The Purple Sage. The Rainbow Trail and The Mysterious Rider are found in Ed’s library.
I’ve only read Ed’s two Western novels once so I would have to read them again to see how influenced they were by Grey.
Grey’s stuff is alright I guess but the guy’s a real dud writer as far as I’m concerned.
In addition to these major influences Ed also stuffed his memory with reams of poems and magazine articles. The newspapers which were much different then also provided much grist for his mill.
In the background, of course, was Ed’s interest in mythology. He did read Howard Pyle’s four volume version of the Vulgate-Lancelot that appeared after the turn of the century. The two and a half years he spent at Harvard Latin School undoubtedly gave him a good background while in those formative years conditioning his mind to deal with difficult thought processes. After all the mind has to be trained to manage the mass of memories that make the person.
The question during this period is whether or not he read ancient Greek mythology or learned any Greek. I think not. He may have some familiarity with Homer especially the Odyssey on which many of his stories may be based. He was probably familiar with The Labors Of Hercules but I don’t see any evidence of understanding of The Iliad.
The Iliad is important for psychology as Homer introduces the notion of the infinitely powerful mind of Zeus. Zeus could remember everything while having such a powerful mind that he could order the whole of it in sequence while finding his way through any number of conundrums. The only thing he couldn’t do was set aside what was fated.
What goes into one’s memory or mind is of cardinal importance. Trash goes in, trash comes out. Ed filled his memory banks with useful information and wonderful speculative literature. The question, then, is what does one do with those memories now transformed into knowledge. Remembering is the sine qua non but organization is equally important. The mind must be trained. Remembered and organized, then what? Then comes intelligence and application. A flexible intelligence is probably known as imagination. One can combine, rearrange, and recombine one’s memories into new uses. Make meaningful what was formerly incoherent.
Ed well-satisfied with himself remarked that only one in a hundred thousand had a good imagination in which number he obviously included himself among the elite. I don’t know where he got his stat but I’m sure a mind such as his was rare enough. There really aren’t many who can use their mind as he did. One only has to read the Martian writers who preceded him to see the astonishing distance between their work and his. Wells’ War Of The Worlds for instance is a fairly pedestrian work. A missile shot from a cannon on Mars arrives on Earth and some spindly creatures get out who then mount some tripods that begin walking through London spewing some black gas. Fresh at the time but not wildly imaginative. Ed would challenge Wells when he wrote the first third of The Moon Maid. That book was so imaginative, superior to Wells’ First Men In The Moon, as to be the work of a master taunting an obstreperous pupil.
So, when Ed Began 1912 his memory banks were full of experience and stuffed with literature and scientific knowledge that he was able to use so imaginatively that most people were completely unaware of the amount of learning incorporated into his stories.
Part VI chronicles Ed’s life from the beginning of his success to 1920.
April 12, 2012
Edgar Rice Burroughs
The Accreted Personality
The Sea In Which He Swam
“I will tell you my history!
And you, excellent agnostic as you are,
‘Shall minister to a mind diseased,
And pluck out the memory of a rooted sorrow!’
What a power of expression there was in Shakespeare,
The uncrowned but actual King of England!
Not the rooted sorrow alone was to be ‘plucked out’;
But the very memory of it.
The apparently simple here holds complex wisdom;
No doubt the poet knew,
Or instinctively guessed
the most terrible fact in the universe…’
“And what is that?”
“The eternal consciousness of Memory,…God cannot forget- and, in consequence of this, His creature, may not!”
Marie Corelli- The Sorrows Of Satan
There can be no mind without memory. While I personally believe that the unborn infant does have inchoate memories obtained in the womb, let us just say that the memory banks begin to fill with birth. With memory comes an ability to analyze, that is compare, memories. As an example when I was lying on my back in my crib looking at the room for a long time (read, a couple months ) and all I saw were incoherent geometrical forms, angles and triangles, circles and whatever one moment as I looked on in amazement these geometric forms cohered into three dimensional objects forming walls and ceilings, While I didn’t know the names for lamps and lampshades, the lamp in the corner became one. And that was by unaided instruction.
Then they stood me on my feet and my education began in earnest. From that point an infant has to memorize vast amounts of information while somehow learning how to manipulate it for use. By the time you get to school they’re cracking your brain with masses of information.
The basis of mind is memory, that is to say the mind is nearly vacant at birth like an unprogrammed computer. The matrix for memorization is there but the content has yet to be loaded. While loading a computer is a matter of minutes filling a mind takes a lifetime with the crucial years being the first twelve. Zeus in the Iliad had a mind of infinite power and it is the duty of every individual to develop the power of his mind to as close an approximation as Zeus according to his ability.
Strangely the psychologists of the period failed to realize this, although the philosopher Carus came close. Freud himself seems to ignore the basic role of memory while some novelists of the last quarter of the century grasped it. George Du Maurier’s wonderful novel, Peter Ibbetson, is a marvelous exposition on the nature of Memory. Marie Corelli’s Sorrows of Satan is likewise built on the nature of memory. In short, without memory we are nothing, without the ability to remember as a child we can amount to nothing, while in old age if we lose our memory we become a vegetable without any purpose. Our existence is really a story of how we accumulated our memories and what we did with them.
There are also kinds of Memory. Experiential memory forms the basis of which much of the content is what the nineteenth century American sociologist Graham Sumner called Folkways. The ways one’s people do and see things that we begin to acquire at birth naturally, or perhaps unconsciously. This memory is supplemented at age five or six with organized education- school. Education is a very hard and painful thing requiring periodic restructuring of the brain when enough knowledge is acquired to demand a change of scale. No wonder fair numbers of people fail this rite of passage. Education gives or should give one a means of interpreting one’s acquired knowledge and experience, hence the importance of reading, writing and arithmetic.
Matters have changed a great deal since the nineteenth century with the development of various forms of media so that the child is bombarded with propaganda that he probably can’t evaluate properly so that the pre-school years have become very dangerous to him. Burroughs didn’t have that problem.
Ed was born into the world in 1875 so that his youth and young manhood was lived in the horse and buggy world shaping his ideas of reality. This would force a severe adaptation to the changes of scale, folkways and technology after 1900. In the sense of H.G. Wells’ novel Men Like Gods the world passed through an interface into a parallel universe where horses and buggies disappeared to be replaced by motor cars and an unparalleled wonder- the airplane. I get ahead of myself. Ed’s mind had assumed its form by 1900 so let’s see, if we can, what he saw, as his memory received its input.
Today we look at his novels of lost world after lost world and sneer at it as an overused literary device. But consider:
To give it a convenient date, the Western consciousness went through a change of scale about 1795. Philip Farmer, the American sci-fi writer picked this date to begin his fictional Wold Newton Universe. The change was the beginning of what might be called speculative fiction. Mary Shelley’s influential book, Frankenstein, would possible be the earliest or very early example.
Oddly enough this very period saw the introduction of the historical novel in the works of the Scotsman, Walter Scott, perhaps the greatest novelist who ever lived. In my book he is. Thus we have a sense of the past and vision of the future emerging as the Western mind set. The historical novel itself is an exercise of racial memory so that along with the change came a realization of the racial self as well as the individual self, an expanded consciousness.
The Western mindset was changed, had been changing, the changes of which took shape during the French Revolution, preceded by the Age of Reason which melded into the scientific outlook.
Hence, when Napoleon, for whatever quixotic reason , invaded Egypt in 1799, he took along a contingent of scientists, who did not exist before that time, to catalog the wonders of that ancient civilization. This was the first of the Lost Empires to be discovered by Europeans only 76 years before Ed was born. And what a Lost Civilization. All had been hidden from Western eyes by the veil of the Moslem occupation of what were traditionally Western lands. But now, the Pyramids, Luxor, the Great Sphinx! The last was celebrated by Shelley’s mind in his great poem Ozymandias nineteen years later:.
I met a traveler from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert…Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And whose wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed:
And on the pedestal these words appear:
‘My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my work , ye Mighty and despair!’
Nothing besides remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.
The European mind was astounded, dumbfounded, amazed beyond measure. This was also the time that the Arabian Nights or alternatively The Thousand And One Nights of Scheherazade was placed in the European canon of literature. And the Egyptian hieroglyphs, so inscrutable, concealed the mystery of this amazing ancient people that preceded the Israelites of the Bible. Yet thirty years later Champollion of France decoded the hieroglyphics and revealed their meaning to the amazement of the world.
So vast were the Egyptian treasures of memory that year by year more astounding tombs were opened, hundreds and hundreds of mummies were discovered, legend after terrifying legend revealed this amazing past until the discovery of King Tut’s tomb in the 1920’s more or less put an end to this terrific hundred and twenty year voyage through mankind’s memory. The curse of the Pharaohs haunted the Western imagination well into the thirties with many movies, the technology unheard of in 1799, exploited the fantasy. Marvel of marvels. The curse of the Pharaohs.
Nor did archaeology stop in Egypt. Heinrich Schliemann, a German enthusiast, defied the experts and uncovered the site of Homer’s fabled Troy, the lost civilization of the Iliad. The Iliad that incredible legend of 800 BC turned out to be based on fact. The Greek Myths themselves shape shifted from incredible fantasies to be myths based on actual events. So actual that Schliemann leaving Troy traveled to the Argolid of Greece and unearthed the marvelous lost civilization of Mycenae, revealing a shaft tomb containing what might have been a death mask of the fabled King Agamemnon of the Iliad.
Oh yes, this is old hat to us now but imagine the gasp of astonishment then. And, it didn’t stop with Schliemann’s discoveries either. The walls of Nineveh, the capital of the Assyrian Empire too were exposed to the light of day with their thousands of cuneiform tablets that once again were almost miraculously translated to reveal that amazing civilization thought to be a figment of the imagination of the Jews but now found real.
These discoveries went on an on and on. Even impoverished Africa contributed the memory of the Malagasy Empire of South Africa with its remains of Zimbabwe.
The British captains returned from India bearing tales almost too marvelous to be comprehended. Read General Forlong’s magnificent Rivers Of Life. The jungles of Southeast Asia gave up many incredible remains including Angkor Wat.
Burroughs is thought to have taken the concept of the lost civilization from that great English author Rider Haggard and while he read Haggard’s works, definitely influenced by them, he really only needed his newspaper to be astonished on, shall we say, a daily basis?
Thus year by year Ed’s memory banks filled with truths made even more incredible by having been the stuff of repressed memory for centuries even millennia.
And then there was the War Between The States and Reconstruction. The Indian Wars post States Rights. How to take all this in. This was not a static period or a simpler happier time as many so fondly imagine.
Ed’s father George T. was an officer in the Civil War serving from the first Bull Run to Lee’s surrender at Appomatox. While soldiers don’t like to talk about their experiences surely little Eddie must have gotten some stories while the Grand Old Army of the Republic, the GAR, would have been prominent marching in parades and having a general political presence at a time when the politicians waved the bloody shirt as having fought.
Ed himself was born two years before the crime of Reconstruction, with all it attendant horrors for the Southerners, so while not having any real memories of the period he would have been aware of it as the following Jim Crow period developed. Romancing the South was prominent through the First World War dissipating in the twenties and thirties and disappearing after WWII. On his 1916 cross country auto tour on which Ed took a portable record player along one of three songs he played over and over was Jack Yellin’s Are You From Dixie?, a favorite of mine. Yellin himself was a Lithuanian Jew who came to the country at five in 1900 and by 1915 was able to write a song reflecting the feeling of the country such as this:
Hello there Stranger, how do you do,
There’s something’ I want to say to you,
You seem surprised that I recognize
I’m no detective I just surmise,
You’re from the place that I’m longing to be,
Your smiling face just seems to say to me,
You’re from my homeland, my sunny homeland,
Tell me, can it be?
Are you from Dixie, I say from Dixie, where the fields of cotton beckon to me,
I’m glad to see you, tell me, I’ll be you and the friend I’m longin’ to see.
Are you from Alabama, Tennessee or Caroline
Any place below that Mason-Dixon line.
Are you from Dixie, I say from Dixie, ‘cause I’m from Dixie too.
It was way back in old ‘89,
When I first crossed that Mason-Dixon line,
Gee, but I long to return
To those good old folks I left behind.
My home was way down in ol’ Alabam’
On a plantation close to Birmingham,
And there’s one thing for certain, I’m surely flirtin’
With those southbound trains.
Pretty incredible for someone who probably still spoke with a Jewish accent. Goes to show how pervasive the sentimental vision of the South was. The Uncle Remus stories of Joel Chandler Harris kept the vision alive until it ended shortly after WWII when Walt Disney produced his remarkable Song Of The South. That movie is now banned because Negro objectors wish to deprive us of our cultural heritage even though the movie presented Blacks as so adorable you just had to love them running counter to all the facts as evidenced today.
Ed’s attitude is probably best expressed in the War Between The States/Reconstruction novels of the great Thomas Dixon Jr. and reinforced by D.W. Griffiths’ great movie The Birth Of A Nation.
Because Dixon points out several unpalatable facts about Northern conspirators who fomented the War and almost certainly conspired to assassinate Lincoln after the War because he wouldn’t crucify the Southern Aryans and attempted to impeach Lincoln’s successor, Andrew Johnson for the same reason, who also resisted their villainous genocidal schemes. Dixon has been slandered to the point of being a veritable non-person, however he wrote very good novels. His diptych The Southerner and The Victim about Lincoln and Jefferson Davis respectively is really must reading for the period.
So John Carter of the Mars series was a Virginian as well as most of Ed’s heroes while he also translates his ’father’ from the Union ranks to those of Virginia. Probably based on memories of Massachusetts’ Phillips Academy he invariably excoriates New Englanders.
Ed’s memories of the War and Reconstruction while learned second hand were a very important part of his mental furniture.
Not inferior to Lost Civilizations and the Civil War to Ed’s mind were the very exciting events of the Scramble For Africa of the last quarter of the century. The Scramble of the European States for colonies in Africa also involved the stories of the searches for Livingston and the sources of the Nile, H.M. Stanley, Richard Burton, and King Leopold of the Congo Free State and many, many exciting stories, real life adventures and adventurers that wouldn’t be believable is they weren’t documented. The imaginary adventures of John Carter on Mars pale before them. I’m sure the character of Carter owes more to them than has been recognized. Certainly the Tarzan adventures couldn’t have been written except for the memory of these great explorers and the events of the Scramble which ended only a few years before Ed began writing.
The incredible story of King Leopold of Belgium is certainly one of the most amazing stories of all time. Originally the Congo was not a colony of Belgium but the personal property, private domain of Leopold, thus Tarzan’s claim to hegemony of all Africa. In addition to the Congo Leopold annexed Katanga while also acquiring Rwanda-Burundi and almost the whole of the Southern Sudan otherwise known as the Anglo-Egyptian province of Equatoria. Unlike most of the other colonies, once the bicycle and its wheel was developed, the discovery of rubber in the Congo made the Congo a cash cow.
Rubber at that time was collected in the wild, later grown on plantations in various locations, then replaced by synthetic rubber made from garbage during WWII. The methods of collecting the rubber were brutal as the Negroes were forced to search the wilds and punished in they didn’t make their quota.
While it’s true that Leopold sanctioned this, Whites anywhere in Africa regressed from civilization to the level of native cannibals. Kurtz of Heart of Darkness was based on a real person. Thus the French in what became French Equatorial Africa were guilty of as heinous crimes as those in the Congo but Leopold took the brunt of the criticism. The Congo Free State was given to Belgium as a gift after the turn of the century. The Tarzan series thus is a memory of the period. The attitude prospered until the thirties when realities obviated the colonial past.
In the post-MGM series of Tarzan pictures filmed by Sol Lesser all the stories take place in Lost Civilizations while the actors, savages and all are White, no Black Africans at all.
Another building block of memory not inferior to the others was the development of science in the nineteenth century. The key event for Ed Burroughs was the introduction of Evolution by Charles Darwin in 1959. Ed uses several strands of biology in his corpus. He knows the earlier work of Lamarck as well as that of Darwin and later evolutionary contributions of Gregor Mendel and the germ theory of August Weismann and his contribution of the Weismann Barrier that Ed apparently rejected.
Thus contrary to the popular conception that Burroughs was some sort of idiot savant. He kept up on current developments well aware of the Curries’ discovery of radium when he began to write. The awareness of radium poisoning was not yet known as he seems to be unaware of it.
Although it is not generally accepted he was also very well informed on the development of psychology. There is no reason that he couldn’t have known of Charcot while he was well up on hypnotism, an essential part of Charcot‘s method. Psychology before Freud preempted the discipline which was a fairly broad loosely defined subject. The field was also open to any and all investigators not yet preempted by the medical profession.
While it is generally believed that Freud discovered or invented the unconscious, this is not so; he merely defined the unconscious to suit his purposes and then by dint of shouting loudly and continuously managed to impose his view as orthodox driving all other understandings off the field. In fact he managed to make his interpretation, almost fabrication of psychoanalysis, the gold standard of psychology.
Psychology was split off from philosophy rather late gaining momentum only during the eighteen eighties.
The most significant aspect of psychology that Ed exploited was that of the split personality which
he embraced to an astonishing degree. He seems to have gotten the notion from Robert Louis Stevenson’s great little novelette, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Stevenson got there before H.G. Wells or otherwise Wells would likely have appropriated the genre as well as interplanetary warfare, vivisection, invisibility, time travel and futuristic dystopias, all of which were of inestimable influence on the plastic memory of Edgar Rice Burroughs.
While Ed certainly tried to out-wow these amazing writers perhaps the closest he came was the little recognized story, The Eternal Lover, the title of which is often changed to the Eternal Savage, which completely misses the point. This story was even answered by Kipling and Haggard in their Love Eternal. Eddie was moving in fast company.
He was familiar with many novelists writing in psychological genres including George Du Maurier with his three incredible novels, William Morris of Notes From Nowhere fame and several other interesting but not compelling novels, as well as, I believe, some few novels of Marie Corelli who was working the psychological memory games.
Thus, by the time Ed began writing in earnest in 1911-12 he had a well defined notion of contemporary psychology. One must always bear in mind that Ed read continually and was omnivorous in his choice of reading material. While not of the University he had the more random reading habits of the autodidact.
Having two remaining topics of memory to cover, literature and immigration I think I’ll deal with that of literature first saving immigration for last.
The nineteenth century was the unfolding of the Aryan mind, an age of self-realization and the beginning of the effort to attain full consciousness. This is the story of psychology from then to now. The search for awareness was carried on in medical circles, philosophical circles and literary circles. Psychology was transferred from philosophy into medicine and science in the last half of the century. The quest for awareness was no more prominent than in literature. The German Romantics were the first in the field to explore the nature of the mind. Men like E.T.A Hoffman, La Motte De La Fouque and Charles Nodier represented psychological ideas in their fiction. These are significant but overlooked works.
There have always been stories and storytellers. First in poetic form then evolving into prose. The Greek novels of the Hellenic period are just great. Papryus was expensive and copying by hand was laborious and also expensive. With the invention of paper and moveable typeface and the printing press, books became more economical and multiple copies into the hundreds or thousands feasible. This meant that more people of diverse backgrounds could find their way into print. The key form of expression was poetry but prose gained ground. Then in the mid-eighteenth century the modern novel form took shape to explode after 1795.
Perhaps the first great novelist was Walter Scott who, himself began as a poet. His long poems such as The Lady Of The Lake and Marmion are still great reading although out of style along with Scott himself. What do I care about what’s out of style? Do you? Nevertheless Scott became the model for such mid-century greats as Alexandre Dumas, Balzac and Eugene Sue.
Scott and the great French novelists were also influenced by the Gothic novelist Mrs. Ann Radcliffe who wrote her romances in the last quarter of the eighteenth century.
There are a myriad of authors, now forgotten except by the scholar or enthusiast who seeks their charm. George Borrow while an eccentric turned out a few worthwhile novels, Thomas, Peacock, Pierce Egan, G.W.M. Reynolds Mysteries Of The Court Of London is a fabulous five thousand page, ten volume novel of the period. Everything you’ll ever need to know. Charles Dickens and all the great novelists of the mid century wrote scores of interesting worthwhile novels now nearly slipped through memory. Of course there is only time and room in the mind of we moderns who are bombarded daily by radio, songs, film and TV plus tens of thousand of books appearing annually, for so many old books. The need for selection is paramount while the changing social and political situations are relegating the world of pre-9/11 to the historical dust bin. Still the treasures are there buried like Long John Silver’s gold for those who care to dig. Let’s hope you’re one.
As I have noted, after Darwin in 1859 and the rise of psychological sensibilities, of which Darwin was ignorant, changed for the upcoming generation who took the stage in the eighties. The great modern genres were in embryo. Jules Verne had already begun his scientific romances that were influential while he continued writing into the twentieth century. His books are now heavily bowdlerized because his acute observations of the reality he perceived are no long thought proper by our modern social Mrs. Grundys.
Camille Flammarion, the very great French scientific neo-romantic writer made the space travel and planetary romance popular beginning in the sixties at the same time as Verne.
In 1880 Percy Gregg published Across The Zodiac which is erroneously credited as the first Martian romance beginning the long fascination with the Red Planet for which Burroughs was for so long credited. It was in the mid-eighties that a major influence of Ed’s began to publish and continued to publish at the rate of two or three volumes a year for nearly forty years, the great, wonderfully imaginative Henry Rider Haggard. A most versatile writer now known mainly for his African novels as the Scramble was in process. Haggard also wrote a half dozen great ancient Egyptian lost civilization romances that are well worth reading along with a couple Hebrew volumes of the Roman wars that are exceptional. It appears that Ed read most or all of Haggard.
The year after Haggard’s King Solomon’s Mines, Stevenson published his great scientific psychological thriller, Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde. A key fact for Ed’s mental development is that these novels that are considered classics today were published during Ed’s lifetime or the decade or two before his birth so these really startling and amazing novels were as fresh in their impact as, say, a Rolling Stones record in the sixties and seventies. One imagines schoolboys gathering in knots and talking about them excitedly, much as we did about the latest sci-fi pieces in the fifties. While we know that Burroughs read these books we can’t be sure when but I imagine that to have read these books he must have done most of them close to the publishing date or they couldn’t have been part of his mental furniture by the time he began to write in 1911-12. And he had a lot of reading to do.
The Sherlock Holmes of Conan Doyle who began his career in 1886 also which continued intermittently for twenty-five years or so dazzling Ed’s mind. Doyle as I see it was also dealing with a split personality. Holmes and his alter ego are essentially two aspects of the same personality. Watson belongs to the pre-scientific past while Holmes is the scientific thinking machine devoid of sympathy. Watson takes the sentimental side. In addition Doyle introduces a third personality element in the criminal mastermind Moriarty who is a sort of Hyde to Holmes Jekyll, hence his is the social negative to Holmes positive.
Jekyll and Hyde and Holmes and Watson were introduced in the same year of 1886 as Marie Corelli’s Wormwood that also deals with the splitting of personality. As these books couldn’t have been influenced by each other one has to assume that the notion of split or multiple personality was being bruited about. Corelli seems to have attended Charcot’s demonstrations so that all psychological roads lead back to the Salpetriere.
There is no clear evidence that Burroughs read Corelli but as she was among the best selling and most sensational authors of the period I have little doubt myself that Ed followed his unerring instincts at least sampled her work.
Another author plowing the same furrow that Burroughs read for sure was George Du Maurier whose first novel, once again dealt with a split personality. In his novel, Peter Ibbetson of 1891, his character has a childhood in France which was very happy. Through the death of his parents he was sent to an uncle in England who while providing generously for Peter’s education nevertheless was cold while being disgusted at Peter’s rejection of his ideas of manhood. Peter’s glowing childhood expectations were dashed throwing him into a deep depression. Now let’s catch up on Burroughs’ development and I’ll return to Du Maurier later in another context.
Now, Burroughs’ loved three novels that he read and reread six or seven times by 1920. They were Mark Twain’s The Prince And The Pauper, Frances Hodgson Burnett’s Little Lord Fauntleroy and Owen Wister’s The Virginian. Ed was led unerringly to the three novels that dealt most explicitly with his mental fixations. The first two were published during Burroughs’ childhood while the last was published shortly after the turn of the century in 1902.
Two of these three books relate to Burroughs life from birth to age twenty in 1896 with the last relating to the next period. One’s favorite books, songs or music are always going to relate to psychological needs developed during your early years. You may or may not have realized their psychological importance. It can’t be said whether Ed knew why the books were his favorites or not. All three relate to the blighted hopes of his youth. As far as I can recall all of Ed’s books tell the same story as these three in variation.
All three tell of a young prince who is disinherited and then after a series of adventures comes into his own again. In Twain’s Prince And The Pauper we have the double, or split personality of the Prince and the Pauper. Identical in appearance. By some literary magic the two exchange places with the Prince trading roles with the Pauper. In the end the Prince reassumes his proper role.
In Burnett’s Little Lord Fauntleroy one has the boy who is the son of a Lord, thus being a little Prince, growing up in America in straitened circumstance who then is discovered and comes into his inheritance and true identity. He has a sort of double in a newsboy who follows him to England before moving to California where he becomes the successful manager of a ranch thus foreshadowing Ed’s flirtation with and move to California where he bought the Tarzana estate.
The Virginian of 1902 does not properly belong to his childhood but follows the same theme with the addition that the hero meets his true love and has an idyllic wilderness honeymoon. Shortly after reading the book he took his young wife Emma West to Idaho in what seems like an attempt to live the book. Emma was the wrong girl and the wilds of Idaho the wrong place.
It would seem then that Ed was highly influenced by what he read. He was also able to retain an accurate remembrance of the stories in his memory. The period from 1896 to 1911 was also filled with literature that furnished his mind for the literary tasks ahead of him.
So, in addition to the truly great literature of Dumas and Sue, Verne and Haggard, he was drawn to the interplanetary adventure. Like Freud who appropriated the long history of the Unconscious to himself so Burroughs absorbed and transcended the thirty years or so of previous interplanetary adventure to himself. Just as one erroneously thinks Freud invented the unconscious so one thinks Ed Burroughs invented the Martian interplanetary romance. No so. Earlier examples are constantly being discovered. At this time the earliest Martian novel is considered to be the one by Percy Gregg entitled Across The Zodiac published in 1880.
Greggs’s novel is written in the high Victorian style reminiscent of Anthony Trollope or just any of the crop of English writers of the 1820 or so generation so that the emphasis is sort of pre-scientific and stuffy unlike Burroughs’ writing which began after the invention of cars and airplanes, movies, phones and the whole works. Probably for that reason Burroughs displaced all other Martian writers with the exception of H.G. Wells’ War Of The Worlds. Even that which was on the edge between the Victorian and Edwardian periods relates more to the past than to the future.
There is a question as to which of these books Ed may have read. I think it not improbable that if he had heard of them he would have sought them out. Nor would, say, Percy Greg’s Across the Zodiac be as obscure in Ed’s day as it is now. There would have been not a few people who were familiar with such a book to refer Ed to it. As an inveterate magazine and newspaper reader there is no reason he might not have come across a reference. After all he did read Popular Science and Popular Mechanics both of which originated in the last quarter of the century. So, while it cannot be said for certain I think it probable that he was familiar with most of the Martian literature so that when he began A Princess Of Mars he knew what the landscape should and shouldn’t look like and knew what to avoid.
He was early introduced to the idea of the double and multiple personality through Jekyll And Hyde. The book was a clear cut example of split personality. The puzzle of a divided personality fascinated Ed while the literature of the subject is fairly extensive with numerous writers discussing it in various manners of doubling. From 1886 to 1900 many outstanding examples appeared that given Ed’s attraction to the sensational he would definitely have heard of while when reading those works and Ed’s works the same themes and even details are recurrent in both. Thus, while I have never read of Marie Correli’s name being mentioned in connection with Ed’s work she manages that same dark, murky sensibility in connection with personality dissociations. She was one of the best selling authors from 1886 to 1900 so there is no chance Ed hadn’t heard of her.
While he may have read Corelli it is certain that he read all three of the novels of George Du Maurier- Peter Ibbetson, Trilby and The Martian.
The first, Peter Ibbetson, 1891, follows Ed’s usual formula of a happy childhood disrupted by an untoward event. In this case having been brought up in France, his parents died and he was sent to an uncle to be brought up in England, thus a personality divided by French and English identities with the latter unhappy.
Now, Du Maurier concentrates on the need for memories. As he says, quite rightly, without memories what is a man. Nothing. Just a vegetable. Ibbetson, then, chronicles his childhood French memories while abhorring his current English situation. The crisis comes when Uncle Ibbetson insults Peter’s mother; Peter then murders his uncle.
Before he did Peter meets his childhood sweetheart, Mimsy, now married as Mary, the Duchess Of Towers. The childhood affection was sincere but she is now a married woman. Peter would have been hanged for the murder except for the intervention of Mary and her powerful friends and then is given life without parole.
Before Freud appropriated the topic for his own ends the Unconscious was thought to be a source of great intellectual riches with incredible paranormal, that is to say supernatural powers. At the same time dreams were improperly understood while also thought to have paranormal powers attached to them. Du Maurier invented something called Dreaming True while at the time Lucid Dreaming was a hot topic. Lucid Dreaming is when you consciously invade your dreams without waking and direct the dream’s course. Robert Louis Stevenson, who died in 1894, said that he wrote many of his stories while dreaming lucidly. They read like it too. Ed Burroughs, also, was interested in Dreaming True and Lucid Dreaming and said that he too took his stories from his dreams. If you read Burroughs with Lucid Dreaming in mind you can trace those influences too.
So, and now this seemed possible at the time and may seem possible to some today, Peter and Mary agreed to establish mental contact and Dream True. That is to say that they would each enter into one another’s dream together. This they succeeded in doing thus each led a double life. Now, in the very nature of things, they could not dream of anything that was not in their memories. Thus, they could only dream for instance of chairs they had seen, places they had been, only that of which they had memories. Du Maurier intuited that mind was wholly memory. Nothing comes out that didn’t go in.
As they had read of prehistory they could travel back through time into prehistoric situations. Everything went well for twenty-five years until one day the dreamgate was closed. Peter couldn’t enter from his end. His worst fears were realized. Mary had died.
His disappointment unbalanced his mind so that he went insane. He was removed from the prison to the asylum, his memories in disorder. I suppose Du Maurier meant shizophrenic in which one’s memories are so painful they became confused, working against each other so that the mind can’t function properly.. Over time he became reconciled to the reality and regained the use of his memories. And then one night while Dreaming True he sat by a dream river when Mary, released from heaven as a very special dispensation, appeared to him, explained the situation and told him they would meet in heaven.
The second novel, Trilby, one of the most celebrated of its time deals with the iconic hypnotist, Svengali, evil but potent, who exploited Trilby, a memory creation Du Maurier borrowed from the novel of the same name by Nodier, the Romantic. Hypnotism will play a significant role in Ed’s work. And finally the third novel, The Martian, inspired Ed, and his mind focused on Mars.
Du Maurier’s Dreaming True meshed with Stevenson’s Lucid Dreaming as a source for obtaining material unconsciously. It is clear that Ed was heavily influenced by Stevenson having read most if not all his fiction. It seems probable that he would have read articles about his hero who spoke freely of his Lucid Dreaming technique. Thus when Ed said he found his stories in his dreams there is no reason not to believe that he was familiar with these dream theories and their source in the unconscious.
Lin Carter believed and I concur that Ed also read novels by William Morris of News From Nowhere fame who writes dreamlike stories bearing some relationship to those of Ed.
I intend to pause at 1900 continuing on with Ed’s life experiences to 1911, but to close on this theme, this next book appeared shortly after 1900 but is very much a product of the pre-industrial period before 1900 so I include it here.
In England during the last quarter of the century the spiritualist movement gravitated from the US to England and even Germany where it was treated as a science to be investigated, hence the plethora of novels like those of Du Maurier and Marie Corelli.
Not only was the unconscious thought of as a repository for multiple personalities but even the fantastic notion of past lives. Thus people sprang up who believed, or said they did, that they could remember previous incarnations. This notion was also helped along by the appearance of Hindu and Buddhist missionaries in Britain and the US with their notions of reincarnation.
Among these imposters was a Swiss woman using the name of Helene Smith whose supposed lives were recorded by the psychologist Theodore Flournoy. Now, he conducted a serious scientific investigation of the woman’s claims. That Flournoy could allow himself to be so deluded demonstrates the psychological novelty of the Unconscious.
Miss Smith was a shop girl who was much displeased with her situation so she began to fantasize. Using the spiritualist movement as a stepping stone Flournoy made her famous. She would have done much better to turn her fantasies into novels much like Ed would but she enjoyed the attention her past lives claims got her. She chose three past identities, one as an Indian Princess, another as a Martian and the third as Marie Antoinette. Of interest here is that she invented a Martian vocabulary that only she could translate. Burroughs himself followed a few years later with his own vocabularies of various provenance including African Ape, the first and once universal language.
There is no reason to go into the details of her debunking, the point here is that it is thought that Ed read Flournoy’s account: From India To The Planet Mars. Certainly he would create three ‘past lives’ as identities to explore his own fantasies- Mars, an imaginary Africa and the Earth’s Core. The late life Venus stories can be discounted. By c. 1900 then the foundations of his novels had already entered his memory banks where they bubbled under his conscious mind where he could work on them both consciously and unconsciously letting them slowly ferment.
Terminating the nineteenth century were two works by the deviser of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud. The first was his Interpretation Of Dreams and the other, The Psychopathology Of Everyday Life. The true significance of these books are overlooked but they both deal with the primacy of Memory as the basis of mind. Reminiscences as he would say.
As Freud noted that the problem hysterics suffered was not biologic but the distortion of memories or reminiscences, so both his two volumes deal with the distortion of Memory in ‘normal’ people. Freud must have thought he was normal as he used himself as a subject in both books.
As Freud grasped, dreams are based not only on memories but the distortion of memory by one’s fixations. That is, a fixation of a memory too hurtful to face so that it is fixated in the form of the hurt from which point it constellates similar subsequent memories and even shapes them and one’s actions to conform to its fears. So, from reminiscences of hysterics Freud had moved on to the memories of dreams and parapraxes.
Even more prescient was the study that followed a couple years later: The Psychopathology Of Everyday Life. The book is ill-titled, being somewhat off putting although very easy reading, but of even more significance than his dream book. This was the study that gave rise to the term ‘Freudian slip’. It is a study of parapraxes and how one’s memory interferes with another memory to blot it out. Strangely Freud missed the import of the significance of Memory taking it more or less for granted.
Freud’s analysis of parapraxes such as forgetting a word you commonly use was superb. He demonstrates significantly, from his own example, how unpleasant memories that one might associate with a word cancels out the ability to recall the word. In other instances one means to say one thing but let out one’s true intent by saying another.
Thus the subconscious whether in dream distortion or waking distortion affects one’s life, clashing with the conscious. The memories one has, the subconscious, one’s true desires emerge against one’s will. Of course, practice can eliminate or reduce word substitutions which is done by sharpening one’s conscious efforts to deny entrance to the sub- or Unconscious. In the struggle to unify one’s consciousness, that is, as Freud would put it, have your ego fill the space occupied by the Id- a later name for the Unconscious one must eliminate the interface. The only successful method is to integrate one’s consciousness so that the mind functions as one unit however perfectly or imperfectly. This is rare but it can be done by searching for and recognizing the significance of one’s fixations. Forget the term Depth Psychology; that’s a misnomer.
Barring that the choice is to recognize the influence of the unconscious and try to pose an impervious barrier to its influence in the sense of W.E. Henley’s famous poem, Invictus (The Unconquerable) Henley wrote the poem in 1875 although the title was added later by an editor, so that one may be sure that Ed knew the poem and used it as bedrock as so many of us have. There are interpretations, I give mine:
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeoning of chance,
My head is bloody but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms the horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find me, unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishment the scroll,
I am the master of my fate.
I am the captain of my soul.
There is a temporal interpretation as well as a psychological one. I am interested in the latter. D.H. Lawrence is quoted by Rudiger Gorner in his essay ‘The Hidden Agent Of The Soul’: “The novels and poems come unnoticed out of one’s pen.” This is true. One has conscious intentions but as one writes trancelike, hidden meanings emerge from the pen allowing for different interpretations of the words. Whether Henley had a conscious understanding of the unconscious psychological meaning of his words, the psychological interpretation fits. That’s all I can say.
‘Out of the night that covers me…’ In Greek mythology the night is construed as female, that is, the unconscious, the unknown, as with the depths of the sea, another female symbol. Daylight was considered as conscious and male as one can clearly see. The Night, is uncertainty and darkness when the goblins come out. It was feared. Henley clearly interprets night that way: …black as the pit from pole to pole. In other words he is in the grip of the unconscious with not a glimmer of light from one end to the other, he might have added, and from East to West.
But Henley is defiant of the darkness. He thanks whatever gods may be for his unconquerable soul. In other words, come what may he will not tamely submit. ‘Black as the pit…’ In my own hour of darkness, one of them, in my own hour of need, sometime in my teens, I gathered courage from Henley’s pen to fight that mountain of despair. I’m sure that Burroughs did too.
‘In the fell clutch of circumstance, I have not winced nor cried aloud. Under the bludgeoning of chance, my head is bloody but unbowed.’ I’m not sure of the wincing but I have been strong enough not to cry out loud. Henley had his problems. He contracted tuberculosis of the bone and at seventeen had a leg removed at the knee. The doctors wished to take his other leg too but Henley stoutly refused. Thus he lost a leg but rather than succumb to despair his ‘head was bloody but unbowed’ under the ‘bludgeoning of chance.’
The first two stanzas were all there was of significance for me at the time while, for myself, I have considered it a two stanza poem but it continues with Henley’s rejection of the gods and of heaven and hell, both subconscious projections. ‘Beyond this place of wrath and tears, looms but the horror of the shade’. I interpret shade as nothingness. ‘And yet the menace of the years find, and shall find me, unafraid.’ A fine show of bravado just in case. Henley certainly spoke for Burroughs and I suspect for a great many of you, us.
And then a dismissal of consequences: It matters not how strait the gate, how charged with punishments the scroll… It don’t bother me none, he says. And why? Here comes the clincher, that line that gets ya, because: I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul. Damn right! And that’s called Positive Mental Attitude. Life isn’t worth living without it.
So Ed hangs in there, head bloody but unbowed, waiting for the turning of the tide. As the proverb goes: It’s a long road without a turning.
In closing this part let me remark that Ed was very fond of popular poetry of the Kipling kind. For those interested, I’m sure someone may be, there is a compilation called The Best Loved Poems Of The American People compiled by Hazel Felleman first published in 1936, in print since then, of which every poem I am sure was known to Burroughs. A poem couldn’t be too schmaltzy for him, he even has the collected Edgar A. Guest in his library. These bits of poetry were as essential to furnishing his memory as anything else he read.
The history of immigration in the US is the least understood and most misrepresented topic in US history. The history of immigration has invariably been written by Liberals or immigrants themselves so the story as taught in schools is rather one sided. The Key text is Gustavus Myers The History Of Bigotry In The United States. If you’ve read that you’ve got the official story. Just for the record, on my mother’s side I’m Polish and Pennsylvania Dutch; on my father’s side solid Scotch-Irish from the Kentucky hill country, both grand parents. I’m a hillbilly boy with a Polish accent. My name, Prindle, is usually thought of as English so I have the field covered. I have been subject to the all the discrimination currently employed against the English.
In discussing Ed’s point of view he thought of himself as pure English while on his father’s side he was English with an Irish admixture and on his mother’s side, Pennsylvania Dutch. Amusingly in the twenties he wrote his mother-in-law asking for Emma’s genealogy. Mrs. Hulbert, aware of Ed’s vanity on the issue, sniffed that Emma was English on both sides.
The first immigration problem was, of course, the Irish and if I may say so, with good reason. I rather favor the Know Nothing side of the argument. The animosity during Ed’s youth between English and Irish was intense. Apropos of Ed and John the Bully who was Irish I think the following probable. The Burroughs had two Irish maids, young women, before whom I suspect Ed put on airs about being English and therefore superior to the Irish. I think this got on the girls’ nerves so that they got an Irish kid to terrorize Ed and put him in his place. Otherwise I don’t see John waiting on a corner for a kid four years his junior who he couldn’t possibly have known. The consequences were more than the girls could have imagined.
After the Irish came the Socialists of the failed Revolution of ‘48- The Forty-eighters, another of Ed’s bete-noirs. Mostly German they contributed to Ed’s disgust of Germans when he saw them marching through Chicago under their red flag. The Haymarket Riot of 1887 also made a big impression on him especially as his father attended their execution.
Up to 1871, post-Civil War immigration had been Northern European which was thought to be compatible with the Old Stock, at least in retrospect. Prior to the Civil War, industry in the US had been more or less of the cottage variety, recalled by Longfellow in ‘Under the spreading chestnut tree, the village smithy stood…’ But, with the invention of the steam engine on steel rails in 1830 a much larger scale of industry was required. Bessemer process steel, rolling mills and what all that also called for a greater concentration of labor.
To obtain that the industrialists moved further East into Europe recruiting from other than Nordics. At the same time the Jews of the Pale (the prototypical ’Eastern European’) discovered America quickly advancing from a trickle of immigration to a flood. Thus during Ed’s youth the character of Chicago changed year by year, unnoticeable consciously until the Great War. Then in the nineties the Italians added the US to their migratory circle. For at least a hundred years the Sicilians had been migrant labor in Europe, going North during the summer and returning South in winter.
Their first Western addition was Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil. In the days of sail the circuit lasted a year or two as they could follow the sun North into Brazil, and Central America. With the reliability of steamships it was possible for them to return home more frequently and cheaply in steerage. Then in the nineties the Sicilians discovered New York and the US, which they added to their circuit.
They were never true immigrants being more of what were disparagingly called Birds Of Passage. They came for the money. In most years prior to the Great War nearly as many returned to Sicily as arrived. The Great War stranded them in the US but post-war Mussolini still considered them Italian citizens and so did they.
The Americans, never a very realistic people, believed that all these immigrants were on the same political and psychological wavelength as themselves, hence that the immigrants would assimilate overnight. The world war was an eye opener when all loyalties overrode American sympathies. A howl of pain went up from Teddy Roosevelt when he realized the reality and exclaimed against the ‘American boarding house.’
Of course, the history books tell it quite differently but, in fact, there was as much sympathy as not for Germany. Not everyone saw the English as innocent. The Irish who sided with the Germans in both wars were on the side of whoever was fighting England, hence if the US officially sided with England they were less than loyal to the New Island.
Chicago itself during Burroughs’ time as now had a remarkably low percentage of Old Stock, on the order of only 15 to 20%. So the babel of other tongues and accents must have offended him more than they did John Rocker of our time who was sent back to the minors for observing the fact in New York City. The second Black List one might say, but unbacked by a rehearsed voice of objection such as the Communists had in the forties and fifties.
Ed had his prejudices as every man must, Old Stock, immigrant or what. He observed the Revolutionary activity in Eastern Europe with a wry eye taking the side of neither the Jews or Russians. He definitely added the Russians to the Germans as objects of distaste. The villains of the first four Tarzan novels would be Russian. The early novels have been heavily censored so his attitude toward the Jews requires early editions to unravel. There appears to be no animosity to them but as an anti-religionist he had to find their religious beliefs as ridiculous as any of the three Semitic religions. There doesn’t seem to be any problem with the Jews until they caused it in the aftermath of the War but that’s slightly in the future and will be dealt with at that time.
It is enough to say that Ed was proudly Anglo-Saxon as he should have been and that whatever his beliefs on immigration he endured the immigrant nations stoically. At present there is no evidence that he took an aggressive stance toward them as many of his countrymen did. But, listen, I was in the orphanage and I have a very good idea of what aggression is and it didn’t just come the Old Stock. My immigrant brothers were in there too. We were told to take the alleys and stay off the city streets or take a beating. These were seven, eight and nine year kids these grown men were threatening and some of the kids did take a beating although I never did. I know where discrimination is at. So what.
Part IV will continue Ed’s temporal life from 1886 to 1911-12. Part V will review his reding from 1900 to 1920. Part VI will pick up from where Burroughs Rides the Rocket Pt. I left off. There will probably be four or more additional parts but I don’t have blocked out yet.
April 3, 2012
Only The Strong Survive
An Examination Of Bridge And The Oskaloosa Kid
As Created By Edgar Rice Burroughs
(Alternate Title: The Oakdale Affair)
Into The Mysteries
(Some capitalization appears in the text that has no significance. For some reason it just showed up. I didn’t do it)
Burroughs does a good job in the Holmesian sense in this book enclosing mysteries within mysteries. The central mystery is who is committing the crime wave in Oakdale. Having learned from his mentor, Conan Doyle, Burroughs skillfully withholds details to enhance the suspense then disclosing them to reveal the mysteries. The organization of the scheme of crimes gradually unfolds to show that the real Oskaloosa Kid is one of the perpetrators. So we have a clever doubling of a sweet girl posing as the vicious criminal The Oskaloosa Kid. This is obviously a transfer of his Anima identity from the male De Vac/Oskaloosa Kid to the resumption of a female identity for his Anima through the fake Oskaloosa Kid/Gail Prim.
The girl who was seen with the criminals could have been Gail since she had disappeared without a trace never having arrived at her destination. Gail was not the girl seen with Reginald Paynter, who was robbed and murdered, and the crooks. That person was Hettie Penning who was ejected from the car speeding past the abandoned Squibbs place by the real Oskaloosa Kid. Thus symbolically De Vac/Oskaloosa Kid returns his Anima to Bridge/Burroughs.
As indicated Hettie Pening represents the dead early Anima of Burroughs who has here been resurrected. As in all cases of Burroughs representation of his failed Anima she appears to be a ‘bad’ girl but in reality is merely misunderstood. He compensates for himself.
Bridge himself is a mystery man and double. He is a hobo but with great manners and an excellent education. He is definitely a member of the Might Have Seen Better Days Club. The real club was organized by Burroughs when he served as an enlisted man in the Army in 1896.
In this case Bridge is in actuality the son of a wealthy Virginia aristocrat who has left home because he prefers a life on the road. In the framing story of a Princess of Mars Burroughs portrays himself in his own name as a Virginian. In reality Burroughs was declassed at eight or nine by John the Bully and by his father’s subsequent shuffling of him from school to school finally sending him to a bad boy school that Burroughs describes as little more than a reformatory for rich kids.
If one looks at his career he was on the move quite a bit. During his marriage he seldom lived in one house for more than a year or two then moved on.
Just as Bridge will assume his proper identity at the end of the novel so through his writing Burroughs has abandoned the shame of his hard scrabble years from 1905-13. In a sense he is assuming his proper identity with this novel.
Bridge and the Kid joining together at the fork in the road, one is reminded of Yogi Berra’s quip: When you come to a fork in the road, take it, in this case the less traveled dirt road.
I read word for word frequently dwelling on the scenes created. Burroughs is a very visual writer. Standing at the fork in a driving Midwest summer lightning, thunder and deluge storm they can hear the pursuing hoboes shouting down the road. Ahead of them is a dark unknown and a house haunted by the victims of a sextuple murder.
Indeed, Burroughs describes almost a descent into hell, or at least, the hell of the subconscious.
Over a low hill they followed the muddy road and down into a dark and gloom ravine. In a little open space to the right of the road a flash of lightning, followed one imagines by either the crash of deep loud rumbling of the thunder of perhaps if over head the sonic boom of the air splitting and closing, revealed the outline of a building a hundred yards (that’s three hundred feet, a very large front yard) from the rickety and decaying fence which bordered the Squibb farm and separated it from the road.
There are those who say Burroughs doesn’t write well but in a short paragraph he has economically drawn a verbal picture which is quite astonishing in its detail. The house is a hundred yards from the road. In the rain and muck that might be a walk or two or three minutes or more.
A clump of trees surrounded the house, their shade adding to the utter blackness of the night.
That’s what one calls inspissating gloom. One might well ask how any shade can add to utter blackness but one gets the idea. There is some intense writing thoroughly reminiscent of Poe but nothing like him.
The two had reached the verandah when Bridge, turning, saw a brilliant light glaring through the night above the crest of the hill they had just topped in their descent into the ravine, or, to be more explicit, the small valley, where stood the crumbling house of the Squibbs. The purr of a rapidly moving motor car rose above the rain, the light rose, fell, swerved to the right and left.
“Someone must be in a hurry.” commented Bridge.
There isn’t any better writing than that. Another writer can say it differently but he can’t say it better. Just imagine the movie Frankenstein or Wolf Man when you’re reading it. Burroughs did as well in less than the time it takes to show it.
A body is thrown from the speeding car a shot following after it. Bridge goes to pick up the body.
Thus the mystery and horror and terror of the dark and stormy night has been building. Bridge carrying the body which may or may not be alive asks the Kid to open the door.
Behind him came Bridge as the youth entered the dark interior. A half dozen steps he took when his foot struck against a soft yielding mass. Stumbling he tried to regain his equilibrium only to drop fully upon the thing beneath him. One open palm extended to ease his fall, it fell upon the uplifted features of a cold and clammy face.
Yipes! What more do you need? Cold and dripping, half crazed from fear, overwhelmed by the thought he might be a murderer the Kid’s hand falls on cold and clammy dead flesh. Bridge is standing there with maybe another dead person in his arms. The Kid is also aware that the murderous hoboes are hot on his trail.
If that doesn’t get you then somehow I think you can’t be got.
Not yet finished Burroughs builds up the tension. Striking a match from the specially lined water proof pocket of Bridge’s coat they find a dead man wearing golden earrings. Obviously a gypsy but while staring in unsimulated horror they hear from the base of the stairs of a dark dank cellar the clank of a slowly drawn chain as a heavy weight makes the stairs creak.
This is too much for the nerves of the Kid. Burroughs brilliantly contrasts the terror of the unknown in the basement with the fear of the dark at the top of the stairs. You know where that’s at, I’m sure, I sure do. In a flash the Kid chooses the unknown at the top of the stairs to the horror in the cellar.
What do you want?
The hoboes are still slipping and sliding down the descent into the ravine of the subconscious. Horror in front, terror behind. There is absolutely no place to hide. Nightmare City, don’t you think? How could anyone do it better? What do you mean he can’t write? Put the scenes in a movie and everyone in the theatre would be covering their eyes. Itd\ would be that Beast With Five Fingers all over again. Maybe worse. Never saw that one? Check it out. Peter Lorre. Terrifying. Of course I was a kid.
The clanking of the chain recreates an incident in Burroughs’ own life when he had a job collecting for an ice company. He called on a house and while he was waiting he heard the clanking of a chain coming slowly up the driveway. Waiting with a fair amount of trepidation he saw a huge dog dragging the chain appear. ERB backing slowly away forgot about the delinquent bill.
In this case the chain is attached to Beppo the dancing bear but Bridge and the Kid won’t know that until the next day.
They retreat into an upstairs bedroom. Here what Burroughs describes in capital letters as THE THING and IT pursues them. I remember two movies one called The Thing and the other It.
Just when the thing retreats the murderous gang of hoboes enters the house. Wow! Out of the frying pan and into the fire in this night of terrors as the lightning continues to flash and the thunder crash.
Discovering the dead man and as the bear begins moving again four of the hoboes flee while two who were on the staircase being trapped in the house flee into the same bedroom as Bridge, the Kid and the girl, Hettie. Shortly thereafter a woman’s scream pierces the lightning and the thunder then silences as the storm settles into a steady drizzle.
The rest of the night is one tense affair between the murderous hoboes and the Bridge and the girls. Not a moment to catch your breath.
In the morning when they go downstairs the mystery increases when they find the dead man gone and nothing in the cellar. If they’d had Tarzan along he would have not only been able to smell the bear but to tell whether if was black or brown.
After a brief confrontation Dopey Charlie and the General are driven off. Bridge’s relationship with the Kid is then deepened. Even though all the Kid’s reactions are repulsive to the manhood of Bridge he feels his attraction to the seeming boy growing stronger.
Not since he had followed the open road with Byrne, had Bridge met one with whom he might care to “pal” before.
This brings up an interesting hint of latent homosexuality. My fellow writer, David Adams has objected that in my analysis of Emasculation as applied to ERB is that he should have been a homosexual but wasn’t.
There are degrees of emasculation and there are various degrees of psychotic reaction to it. I don’t say and I don’t believe that ERB was a homosexual but there was a degree of ambiguity introduced into his personality by his emasculation. I have touched on this in my ‘Emasculation, Hermaphroditism and Excretion.’
Here we have another example of it as Bridge is experiencing some homoerotic emotion which is very confusing to him as he has never wanted a ‘pal’ before. In hobo lingo I believe a ‘pal’ has a homosexual connotation.
If Burroughs took his ‘inside’ information on hoboes from Jack London’s The Road then Bridge is the sort of hobo London describes as the ‘profesh’, the hobo highest in the hierarchy of hobodom. London always thought of himself as a quick learner, so one doesn’t have to award his statement too much credibility but Burroughs apparently took him at face value.
As London describes the ‘profesh’ he has been on the road so long he knows all the ropes. Unlike the unkempt bums he realizes the importance of a good front and always dresses neatly. But he is hardened and capable of committing any crime.
While Bridge is obviously intended to be a ‘profesh’ he is neither criminal nor does he dress to put up a good front.
Another category of hobo London lists is the ‘road kid.’ These are young people just starting on the life of the road. The ‘profesh’ would often take one of more of these road kids under his wing as his fag, as the British would say, or in Americanese, a ‘pal.’ In other words a homosexual relationship. Thus this displays ERB’s sexual ambiguity which David couldn’t locate in my psychological analysis of ERB’s emasculation. In this case the ambiguity will be resolved and explained when we learn that the Kid is the beautiful young woman, Abigail Prim, and both Bridge and Burroughs heave a sigh of relief.
Nevertheless ERB is discussing homosexuality in an open and natural way that couldn’t be missed by the knowing and which may be unique for its time. But then, remember that one of ERB’s hats in this story is that of the Alienist, so that in these pages we are deep into the psychological abstractions and Doyle’s mystery stories as influences.
Now comes the time for breakfast. Someone has to ‘rustle’ grub. We have already learned in ‘Out There Somewhere’ that Bridge doesn’t rustle food, he rustles rhyme. Nothing has changed. The Kid goes out to get breakfast and when she comes back with the goods, true to form Bridge bursts forth with several snatches from H.H. Knibbs which surprisingly the demure Miss Prim recognizes. What has she been reading?
How might this apply to Burroughs’ own life. Let’s look at it. Burroughs was enamored of How to books but in his heart he must have considered them a fraud. Willie Case will soon pick up his copy of How To Be A Detective which he finds completely inapplicable to his circumstances. He also has the good sense to throw the book away reverting to his native intelligence which may be a subtle comment on How To books by Burroughs.
ERB always considered himself of the executive class. After his humiliating experience trying to sell door to door he never attempted it again. Instead as a master salesman he preferred to write how to sales manuals for others to use as they went door to door selling his line of pencil sharpeners or whatever while he sat in the office waiting for orders. Hence in his own life he was the ‘rustler of poetry’ or manuals while others rustled grub in the door to door humiliation of the actual selling. Here the Kid will do the door to door gig. ERB always makes me smile.
In this case in what may be a joke the Kid just buys the goods from the homeowner reversing the roles.
There are those who insist Burroughs can’t write but I find his stuff wonderfully condensed getting more mileage out of each word than anyone else I’ve ever read. Just see how he describes breakfast.
Shortly after, the water coming to a boil, Bridge lowered three eggs into it, glanced at his watch (an affluent hobo) greased one of the new cleaned stove lids with a piece of bacon rind and laid out as many strips of bacon as the lid would accommodate. Instantly the room was filled with the delicious odor of frying bacon.
“M-m-m-m!” gloated the Oskaloosa Kid. “I wish I had bo- asked for more. My! But I never smelled anything so good in all my life. Are you going to boil only three eggs? I could eat a dozen”
“The can’ll only hold three at a time,” explained Bridge. “we’ll have some boiling while we are eating these.” He borrowed the knife from the girl, who was slicing and buttering bread with it, and turned the bacon swiftly and deftly with the point, then he glanced at his watch. “Three minutes are up.” He announced and, with a couple small flat sticks saved for the purpose from the kindling wood, withdrew the eggs one at a time from the can.
“But we have no cups!” exclaimed the Oskaloosa Kid, in sudden despair.
Bridge laughed. “Knock an end off your egg and the shell will answer in place of a cup. Got a knife?”
The Kid didn’t. Bridge eyed him quizzically. “You must have done most of your burgling near home,” he commented.
The description of the breakfast between the time Bridge looked at his watch and when the three minutes were up was delightfully done. I could smell the bacon myself while I especially like the detail of swiftly and deftly turning the bacon with the knife point. The knife seemed to have disappeared between the bacon and knocking the end off the egg.
Nice details aren’t they? You’d almost think Burroughs had actually done things like this for years. There’s enough blank spots in his life that he may have had more experiences of this sort than we know about. Take for instance the three days in Michigan between the writing of Out There Somewhere and Bridge And The Oskaloosa Kid. He says it took him twelve hours by train on four different lines to return to Coldwater from Alma. It is not impossible that he was hoboing back for the experience. He knew that he was going to write Bridge And The Kid next; might he not have been picking up local color?
Likewise in Bridge And The Kid he mentions the road from Berdoo to Barstow with seeming familiarity. Had he met Knibbs and the two embarked on a few days road trip as the expert Knibbs showed him some of the ropes?
I don’t know but there is something happening in his life which has not been explained.
Perhaps also the hoboism which appears in 1915-17 in his work when by all rights his success should have permitted him entry into more exalted social circles symbolized a rejection by so-called polite society. If so, why? Certainly the serialization of Tarzan Of The Apes in the Chicago paper must have raised eyebrows when people said something like: Is that the same Edgar Rice Burroughs who’s been tramping around town for the last several years?
After all people live in a town where a reputation is attached to them whether earned or not. In reviewing the jobs Burroughs had after he left Sears, Roebuck there is a certain unsavory character to them. Indeed, one employer, a patent medicine purveyor was shut down by the authorities while ERB then formed a partnership with this disgraced person. Where was Burroughs when the authorities showed up to shut the business down? I make no moral judgments. I’m of the Pretty Boy Floyd school of morality: Some will rob you with a six gun, some use a fountain pen. Emasculation is the name of the game.
It is certainly true that many, perhaps most, of the patent medicines of the time were based on alcohol and drugs therefore either addictive or harmful to the health. Samuel Hopkins Adams was commissioned by Norman Hapgood of Collier’s magazine to write a series of articles exposing the patent medicine business in 1906.
http://www.mtn.org/quack/ephemera/oct7.htm . A consequence of the articles may very well have been the shutting down of Dr. Stace. I think it remarkable that Burroughs didn’t distance himself from Stace at that time.
Even as Adams was presenting his research on patent medicines Upton Sinclair was exposing the hazards of the Chicago meat packing industry whose products were no less hazardous to the public health than patent medicines. Sinclair’s book, The Jungle, as well as perhaps Adams’ articles resulted in the Pure Food And Drug Act of 1906.
The products of meatpackers were so bad the British wouldn’t even feed them to their Tommies. That’s pretty bad.
So, if the Staces of the world were criminal and ought to be put out of business then by logic so should have the Armours and Swifts but what in our day would be multi-billion dollar industries don’t get shut down for the minor offence of damaging the health of millions.
One can’t be sure of Burroughs’ reasoning but his writing indicates that he was keenly aware of the hypocrisy of legalities. Perhaps for that reason he stuck by Dr. Stace.
However Stace was put out of business and the Armours and Swifts weren’t. While I applaud ERB’s steadfastness I deplore his lack of judgment for surely his reputation was tarred with the same brush as Dr. Stace.
When society figures may have asked who this Edgar Rice Burroughs was they were given, perhaps, a rundown on Dr. Stace and patent medicines as well as other employments that seem a little murky to us at present. I’m sure the ERB was seen as socially unacceptable. Thus Bridge who has lived among the hoboes has never partaken of their crimes so there is no reason for society to reject him especially as he is the son of a millionaire.
In any event ERB left Chicago for the Coast returning in 1917 then leaving for good at the beginning of 1919. Life ain’t easy. Ask me.
As Bridge, the Kid and the putative Abigail Prim were finishing breakfast the great detective Burton pulls up in front of the Squibbs place. Burton is obviously a combination of Sherlock Holmes and Allan Pinkerton. We have been advised of the Holmes connection in the opening paragraphs of this book. ERB describes Burton thusly:
Burton made no reply. He was not a man to jump to conclusions. His success was largely due to the fact that he assumed nothing; but merely ran down each clew quickly yet painstakingly until he had a foundation of fact upon which to operate. His theory was that the simplest way is always the best way. And so he never befogged the main issue with any elaborate system of deductive reasoning based on guesswork. Burton never guessed. He assumed that it was his business to know; nor was he on any case long before he did know. He was employed now to find Abigail Prim. Each of the several crimes committed the previous night might or might not prove a clew to her whereabouts; but each must be run down in the process of elimination before Burton could feel safe in abandoning it.
That’s a pretty good understanding of Doyle’s presentation of Holmes. ERB did learn Holmes’ dictum that it was necessary to read all the literature on the subject to understand the mentality of one’s subjects. Burton did demonstrate some acumen in his arrest of Dopey Charlie and the General. He deployed an agent fifty yards below and fifty yards above to converge on the two criminals while he approached from the front. Either Burroughs had been doing some reading of his own or he picked up some experience or information from elsewhere.
Another keen point was when Burton went back to where the hoboes had been hiding to dig up the evidence they had concealed that would lead to their conviction for the Baggs murder.
It’s little details like these that always make me wonder where Burroughs picked up this stuff. He does it all so naturally but one can’t write what one doesn’t know. He must have been a curious man, good memory.
So Burroughs has a a pretty good understanding of the methods of Sherlock Holmes. It must be remembered that ERB was reading these stories as they first appeared not as we do as part of literature. Holmes, O.Henry, Jack London, E.W. Hornung, these were all fresh new and extremely stimulating with a great many references and inferences which are undoubtedly lost on us. Even in Bridge And The Kid ERB’s reference to the Kid’s bringing home the bacon is a direct reference to a quip the mother of the ex-heavyweight champion of the world Jack Johnson made just after he won the championship from Jim Jeffries: He said he’d bring home the bacon and he’s done it. I don’t doubt if many caught it then but I’m sure the phrase has become such a commonplace today that only a very few catch the reference and share the laugh.
Doyle’s stories such as A Study In Scarlet dealing with the Mormons and The Valley Of Fear dealing with the Molly Maguires would have had much more thrilling immediacy for ERB than they do for us. Also Burroughs has caught the essence of Holmes which was not so much the stories as the method of Holmes.
I have read the canon four times and while I could not reconstruct any of the stories without difficulty, if at all, maxims like- When you eliminate the impossible whatever remains no matter how improbable must be the truth. – have lodged in my mind since I was fourteen guiding my intellect to much advantage. So also the dictum to read all the literature. Not easy or even possible, but the more one has read the or read again the more things just fall in place without any real effort. You have to be able to remember, remembrance being the basis of all mind, of course. Holmes has been like a god to me.
If you wish to learn a source of Burroughs’ stories then all you have to do is apply the above methods; it will all become clear.
Burton moves the story forward as his appearance causes Bridge who isn’t sure what the status of the Kid and the putative Gail Prim is, elects to avoid the great detective even though they are friends.
The trio slip out the back into the woods following a track leading to ‘Anywhere’. Burroughs in a masterful telling catches the feel of a Spring day on a recently wetted trail littered with the leaves of yesteryear. Ou sont les neiges d’antan?
They come upon a clearing where a gypsy woman is burying a body. By this time Bridge has solved the mysteries of the previous evening.
The girls make noises upon hearing the clank of a chain in a hovel causing the gypsy woman to look around. Rather than spotting the trio she spots Willie Case hiding in the bushes who she drags out.
The gypsy woman, Giova, is as good a character as Bridge, the Kid, Burton and the hoboes, but my favorite of the story is Willie Case, the fourteen year old detective. While to my mind ERB presents Willie as a thoroughly admirable character, he nevertheless vents a suppressed mean streak not only on Willie but on the whole Case family.
ERB doesn’t let his mean streak show very often, it lurks in the background, but he lets it loose in this book. He must have been under personal stress.
He describes Willie as having no forehead and no chin, imbecilic traits, literally beginning with the eyebrows and ending with the lips. A freak of nature, a real grotesque. That means that Willie was a real ‘low brow’ as Emma accused ERB of being, even a no brow. Is it a coincidence that Emma called ERB a low brow or that the literati thought ERB wrote ‘low brow’ literature?
In point of fact Willie strikes me as an intelligent boy. He analyzes the situation always being in the right place at the right moment. Burton himself pays him a high but sneering compliment then cheats him out of the promised reward of a hundred dollars but in the manner McClurg’s published his books Burroughs was cheated out of a large part of his reward.
I don’t say that’s the case but if so it fits the facts.
In any event ERB treats the Case family meanly; they might almost be prototypes of Ma and Pa Kettle of the Egg and I or the meanly portrayed characters of Erskine Caldwell’s Tobacco Road. Jeb Case behaves very reprehensively at the lynching although once again he merely reported the facts that the Kid gave Willie. The Kid did tell Willie that he had burgled a house and killed a man. So, perhaps ERB created some characters that he could kick around as he felt himself being kicked.
And then we have the gypsy woman, Giova. She and her father are not only pariahs in general society as gypsies but because of her father they even have been cast out by the gypsies. Her father was a thief from both general and gypsy society. The former may have been laudable in gypsy terms but the latter wasn’t. They make, or made their living by thieving and cadging coins with Beppo, their dancing bear. Beppo of the evil eye.
Burroughs presents Giova as being sexually attractive with lips that were made for kissing, in echo of the refrain from Out There Somewhere. Here we may have a first inference that Emma was in trouble; the kind of trouble that would have ERB leaving her for another woman a decade or so hence. There are numerous rumblings indicating the trend not least of which was ERB’s fascination with Samuel Hopkin Adams’ novel, Flaming Youth of a few years hence and the subsequent movie starring Colleen Moore.
Bridge is now on the run with three women and a bear and he hasn’t done anything wrong to get into such hot water. One woman his emergent Anima, one, his rejected Anima, and the last a longing for a woman whose lips were made for kissing. Wow! This is all taking place in a ravine that opens into a small valley too.
All this has been accomplished in a compact one hundred pages. One third of the book is left for the denouement that Burroughs scamps as he usually does.
Giova decks them all out as gypsies which must have been an amusing sight to the Paysonites as this troop of madcaps complete with dancing bear in tow troop inconspicuously through town. Surprised they didn’t call out the national guard just for that.
As the story draws to a close ERB contributes a wonderful vignette of low brow Willie dining out at a ‘high brow’ restaurant called the Elite in Payson. The idea of Willie being conspicuous in a burg like Payson which we big city people would refer to as a hick town good only for laughs is amusing in itself. You know, it all depends on one’s perspective:
Willie Case had been taken to Payson to testify before the coroner’s jury investigating the death of Giova’s father, and with the dollar which the Osklaloosa Kid had given him in the morning burning in his pocket had proceeded to indulge in an orgy of dissipation the moment that he had been freed from the inquest. Ice cream, red pop, peanuts, candy, and soda water may have diminished his appetite but not his pride, and self-satisfaction as he sat down and by night for the first time in a public eatery place Willie was now a man of the world, a bon vivant, as he ordered ham and eggs from the pretty waitress of The Elite Restaurant on Broadway; but at heart he was not happy for never before had he realized what a great proportion of his anatomy was made up of hands and feet. As he glanced fearfully at the former, silhouetted against the white of the table cloth, he flushed scarlet, assured as he was that the waitress who had just turned away toward the kitchen with his order was convulsed with laughter and that every other eye in the establishment was glued upon him. To assume an air of nonchalance and thereby impress and disarm his critics Willie reached for a toothpick in the little glass holder near the center of the table and upset the sugar bowl. Immediately Willie snatched back the offending hand and glared ferociously at the ceiling. He could feel the roots of his hair being consumed in the heat of his skin. A quick side glance that required all his will power to consummate showed him that no one appeared to have noticed his faux pas and Willie was again slowly returning to normal when the proprietor of the restaurant came up from behind and asked him to remove his hat.
Never had Willie Case spent so frightful a half hour as that within the brilliant interior of the Elite Restaurant. Twenty-three minutes of this eternity was consumed in waiting for his order to be served and seven minutes in disposing of the meal and paying his check. Willie’s method of eating was in itself a sermon on efficiency- there was no waste motion- no waste of time. He placed his mouth within two inches of his plate after cutting his ham and eggs into pieces of a size that would permit each mouthful to enter without wedging; then he mixed his mashed potatoes in with the result and working his knife and fork alternatively with bewildering rapidity shot a continuous stream of food into his gaping maw.
In addition to the meat and potatoes there was one vegetable side dish on the empty plate, seized a spoon in lieu or a knife and fork and – presto! The side dish was empty. Where upon the prune dish was set in the empty side-dish- four deft motions and there were no prunes in the dish. The entire feat had been accomplished in 6:34 ½ , setting a new world’s record for red headed farm boys with one splay foot.
In the remaining twenty-five and one half seconds Willie walked what seemed to him a mile from his seat to the cashier’s desk and at the last instant bumped into a waitress with a trayful of dishes. Clutched tightly in Willie’s hand was thirty-five cents and his check with a like amount written upon it. Amid the crash of crockery which followed the collision Willie slammed check and money upon the cashier’s desk and fled. Nor did he pause until in the reassuring seclusion of a dark side street. There Willie sank upon the curb alternately cold with fear and hot with shame, weak and panting, and into his heart entered the iron of class hatred, searing it to the core.
The above passage has many charms. First, it is an excellent piece of nostalgia now, although at the time it represented the actuality, thus, as a period piece it is an accurate picture of the times. And then it is excellent comedy as well as a a parody as I will attempt to show.
One has to wonder if ERB really thought the Elite was a pretty fine restaurant. If so, one wonders where he took Emma and kids for a night out. Not too many gourmet Chicago restaurants served breakfast for dinner. Ham and eggs with mashed potatoes? Reminds me of the Galt House Hotel in Louisville where a ‘starch’ is served as a side dish. What exactly was this side-dish Willie wolfed- stewed tomatoes? The dessert prunes- dessert prunes?- was a nice touch too. Dessert for breakfast? Another nice quality touch at the Elite was the cup of toothpicks. Of course, those were the days cuspidors were de riguer so what do I know, maybe the Palmer House had a cup of toothpicks on the table too. I know they had cuspidors.
It does seem clear that little Willie was far down the social scale of little rural Payson. They had electric street lights, though. I’m not even from New York City but I would find the Elite, how shall I say, quaint and charming? Of course, New York City is not what it used to be either. Can’t fool me in either case; I’ve dined out in Hannibal. Good prices. Bountiful. Plenty of side dishes something that I’d never seen before.
I’m sure I’ve been in Willie’s shoes, or would have been if he’d chosen to wear them, too, so I have a great deal of sympathy for the lad. A man with a dollar has the right to spend where and as he chooses. Damn social hypocrisy!
In addition to the charm and light comedy ERB interjects a little parody of Taylorism and mass production into the mix.
For those not familiar with Frederick W. Taylor and his methods I quote from
Taylor wrote “The Principles of Scientific Management in 1911. These principles became known as Taylorism. Some of the principles of Taylorism include (Management for Productivity, John R. Schermerhorn, Jr. (1991)):
Develop a ‘science’ for every job, including rules of motion, standardized work implements, and proper working conditions.
Carefully select workers with the right abilities for the job.
Carefully train these workers to do the job, and give them proper incentives to cooperate with the job science.
Support these workers by planning their work and by smoothing the way as they go about their jobs.
Taylorism which led to maximum efficiency also give the lie to the unconscious of Sigmund Freud, or at least puts it into perspective. If the twentieth century has been the history of the devil of Freud’s unconscious it has also been the century of the triumph of the god of conscious intelligence. The question only remains which will triumph.
One of the recurring themes in ERB’s writing of the period is efficiency. Indeed, a couple years hence he will write a book entitled The Efficiency Expert.
It was the age of efficient mass production which required standardized motions and produced terrific results where applied as at Henry Ford’s marvelously efficient factories. Ford brought the task to the worker in well lighted clean factory spaces at a level which required no time consuming, fatiguing and unnecessary lifting or bending. Plus Henry Ford blew the industrial world away by doubling the going wage for unskilled labor. He changed the course of economic history singlehanded. He achieved more than the Communists or IWW could have accomplished in a million years earning their undying enmity. He may in one fell swoop have defeated the Reds. They sure thought so.
But, go back and review how Willie organizes his repast for consumption. Taylor-like he eliminated all non-essential motions then with maximum assembly line speed-up he gets production into one continuous stream.
A comic effect to be sure but there is even more comedy in the parody of the assembly line and Taylorism. I’m sure ERB intended it just that way.
Willie may be a joke but there is a certain flavor to be obtained by filling a continuum of food, mouth and time. Such an opportunity for enjoyment may present itself once in ten years or so. Willie saw his opportunity and seized it which he does throughout the story. Willie is OK with me.
I have eaten that way but I now reserve the method for ice cream and highly recommend it. My last opportunity, they present themselves but rarely and can’t be forced, was several years ago when I was insultingly offered a half melted Cherries Jubilee. The dish was of a perfect consistency for assembly line consumption. I saw my chance and like Willie, I took it. I kind of distributed cherries and ice cream chunks in the creamy stew, got mouth in the right position and cleaned the bowl in sixty seconds flat, reared back gripping the bridge of my nose, honked a couple times as the freeze seized my brain and then took a few minutes for consciousness to return. One of the great natural highs in this drug infested time. I tell ya‘, fellas, they was all lookin’ at me but I am much beyond the iron of class hatred. If they can’t take a joke…well, you know the finish. So I think Willie Case did the right thing.
Clumsy waitress to get in his way anyway. Fourteen hours on the job was no excuse.
Willie didn’t feel guilt for too long though, for what ERB calls a faux pas, it put him in the right place at the right time to see Giova and her dancing bear fresh from Beppo’s own slops. How could ERB be so cruel to a dumb animal- the bear, not Willie-, one that was going to save the heroine’s life- both the bear and Willie.
After having had dinner and refreshments Willie still had 20 cents left from a dollar of which he spent 10 cents for a detective movie and had ten cents left over for a long distance phone call to Burton in Oakdale after he spotted Giova and her dancing bear when he came out of the movie theatre.
He followed Giova to Bridge and the girls, fixed their location then called Burton. Not only did Willie spot the fugitives but so did the four leftover bums. Dopey Charlie and the General were impounded for the Baggs murder while we will learn that the real Oskaloosa Kid and the putative Gail Prim remain as well perhaps as the true identity of L. Bridge.
Burroughs is full of interesting details. The hoboes are gathered in an abandoned electrical generating plant which had formerly served Payson but had been discontinued for a larger plant servicing Payson from a hundred miles away. We don’t know when that might have happened but electrical generation and distribution was relatively new. The consolidation into larger generating units was even newer. Samuel Insull, whose electrical empire collapsed about1938 had begun organizing distribution in 1912 when he formed the Mid-West Utilities in Chicago absorbing all the smaller companies such as this one in Payson obviously.
I find details like this the exiting part of reading Burroughs.
The murderous hoboes set out to rob and kill Bridge and the Kid while Sky Pilot and Dirty Eddie elect themselves to return the putative Gail Prim who we will learn is actually Hettie Penning, thus doubling ERB’s Anima figure and connecting the latter to the former.
One is put in mind of the Hettie of H.G. Wells’ novel In The Days Of The Comet. Both Hetties exhibit the same traits. While it may seem a slender connection, still, ERB has so many references to other authors and their works that the connection is not improbable. For obvious reasons ERB always insisted he had never read H.G. Wells. Wells? Wells, who?, but how could he not have?
Bridge and the girls would have met their end except that Willie Case’s call brought Burton on the run who arrives in time to save their lives. Unfortunately Beppo of the evil eye meets his end after having done Burton’s job for him much as Willie always did.
In between the girls, the ‘boes, Bridge and the coppers Burton has a full load so he drops Bridge and Kid at the Payson jail. Willie Case had not only solved the case for the ingrate Burton but saved the life of Gail Prim posing as the Oskaloosa Kid. In a heart wrenching scene little Willie seeking his just reward is cruelly rejected and cheated by the Great Detective. I don’t know, maybe I read too closely and get too involved. Or, just maybe, ERB is a great writer.
It’s all over but the shouting and along comes the mob howling from Oakdale for the blood of Bridge and the Kid. I tell ya, boys, it wuz close. Burton arrived in time but not before Bridge with a well aimed blow broke Jeb Case’s jaw. What did those Cases ever do to ERB I wonder?
In the end Hettie Penning is identified, clearing up that mystery. Burton is able to tell Bridge’s dad who has spent $20,000 looking for him that he is found. It may even have cost less for Stanley to find Livingston. Of course there was a lousy rail system in the Congo in Livingston’s time. Bridge is united with Gail obviously prepared to renounce the roving life. Thus the promise of Out There Somewhere is redeemed. Bridge has found his woman.
Thus on paper, at least, Burroughs is reunited with his Animus in gorgeous female attire. No more men in women’s clothes or women in men’s clothes.
Bridge And The Kid is a very short book, only 152 pages in my Charter paperback edition of 1979 (Septimius Favonius BB #24. Charter didn’t see fit to include a date.) Although first issued in book form so late as 1937, it was reprinted in 1938 and 1940 so there must have been some early readers however when reprinted in 1974 there could have been few who remembered it.
My fellow writer, David Adams wrote a short review in the same issue #24 of the Burroughs Bulletin, October 1995, in which he also recognized the importance of this book to the corpus:
It may come as a surprise that anyone could possibly think of calling the novelette, THE OAKDALE AFFAIR, a major work of such a prolific writer as Edgar Rice Burroughs, but I found it to be such an animal…
I am unaware that any other than Mr. Adams and myself have reviewed the book. To sum up:
There seems to be an obvious connection to Jack London in the Bridge Trilogy (I prefer Bridge to Mucker because the latter draws reproving stares and no one today knows what a mucker is. It sounds slightly obscene.)
Mr. Adams, who is more of an authority on Jack London than myself, I’ve only begun to read London as a result of Bill Hillman’s series of articles in ERBzine, which posits a strong connection between Burroughs and London, and not the other way around, feels the novels have a great deal to do with London. The connection seems to be there but I have only begun to read London’s relevant or major works.
What ERB’s attitude towards London may have been which seems ambiguous isn’t clear. Burroughs never wrote about London and never mentions him explicitly. There are many points of disagreement between the two politically and socially. Burroughs does seem to have liked London and his work although what he read or when he read it isn’t clear. There are no London titles in his library.
The second major influence in the novel is the problem of hoboism connected with the IWW and labor unrest.
In the background Burroughs is working out his Anima/Animus problem.
The whole is framed in the form of a rather magnificent detective story patterned after Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories with a dash, perhaps a soupcon, of E.W. Hornung thrown in.
Attention should be paid to the psychological aspects.
Many of ERB’s favorite themes such as the efficiency expert are also thrown in. Nifty historical details like Samuel Insull’s electrical empire are added to the mix as well as Taylorism.
If anything ERB was too efficient, too economical in his use of words. The Book could easily have been fleshed out another sixty or hundred pages with no loss in the marvelous immediacy of the telling. If anything the story is too condensed. I found myself pausing over each description to recreate a mental image of the depiction. I was willing to do so and the personal reward was great. How much ERB was the creator of my vision of the story and how much my own as collaborator isn’t clear to me. Perhaps ERB just outlined the story ‘suggesting’ the scenario, expecting the reader to ‘customize’ the story as he reads along. This may be the first ‘inter-active’ novel. If so, Burroughs may be an even more innovative and greater writer than he is commonly thought to be.
March 6, 2012
Edgar Rice Burroughs
The Accreted Personality
The post-French Revolution period begins the rapid development of the Aryan mind. The Enlightenment laid the foundation of that development. Shortly after mid-nineteenth century the French astronomer, Camille Flammarion, was able to announce that Astronomy and Psychology would be the key disciplines of the future. The break with the religious consciousness of the past ten thousand years or so would be fraught with immense dangers, dangers which we are still combating.
The social ideology of the present asserts that all people are of the same stage of mental development. This is, of course, absolute nonsense. There are still hundreds of millions if not a billion or two who still maintain a stone age view of the world. Nor are all of them in other parts of the world, a vast number are here in the Americas and Europe. In addition there are billions still enmeshed in a religious consciousness while only perhaps a hundred million or two have actually evolved into the scientific consciousness. Hence we have the terrifically repressive attempted subversion of science by the Semitic religions.
So, it should be clear at first glance that not all people are equally developed or endowed nor are all cultures of the same value.
The French scientist and neo-romantic novelist Camille Flammarion noted mid-nineteenth century that the two most important intellectual disciplines for the future would be Astronomy and Psychology. I think that has proven true.
A major discovery of the century was the notion of the split or multiple personality. A term currently in use is Dissociation. Neither is accurate. I advance the term Accretive Personality. That is one’s personality is made up of many personality variations as a result of growth and experience. In periods of stress it is quite easy to escape oppressive reality by slipping into what is essentially an alternate reality or a parallel personality, if you will.
This was not a new phenomenon, merely the shock of recognition. In Greek mythology, for instance, when the stress of the mid life crisis hit, the hero went through a period of madness, that is to say he adopted a parallel personality until he was able to reorganize his mental attitude to new realities.
In Europe, under the stress of an insane quasi-Semitic religion in which Satan took a prominent role, it was common for the stressed to become ‘possessed’ by demons or, in other words, to split the personality. That is the person showed a parallel personality. The transition point to the beginning of secular understanding came when Dr. Anton Mesmer matched his secular method of exorcism against the ecclesiastical method of exorcism and won. So one might say that modern psychology derived from the problem of the dual personality- the Jekyll and Hyde effect. However dual or multiple personality was not recognized as such until announced in Jean-Martin Charcot’s clinic at the Salpetriere hospital in Paris in the mid-eighties.
Charcot studied hysterics. Hysterics are dealing with a lot of stress, hence escape through an alternate personality would be an easy choice. Charcot and the Salpetriere aren’t exactly household words so let’s take a moment to explain the situation in which modern psychology was born.
It is also necessary to bear in mind changes in scale. What is good for one stage of growth is not good for another. As the scale of things progresses from tiny to small to medium to large to huge to gigantic new forms have to be adopted to suit the new circumstances. These transition points are difficult to adjust to but once adjusted to are considered so normal that those who resisted the old change are equally resistant to adapt to the next level. Of course the young of each scale is born into it and has no adaptation to make although they will at the next change of scale.
Thus the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Era masked to a very large degree a major change of scale so that after Waterloo a seemingly complete break with the past had taken place. It was a new world in the morning. So in the years leading up to the Great War another change of scale had taken place that masked the new world that popped into place in the twenties. I picked up the concept from that astute observer, H.G. Wells, who noted the emerging change in scale at the turn of the century. That great ship, the Titanic, that went down in ‘12 may be considered as representative of that change.
Thus with the change of consciousness that actually took place in 1795 the new consciousness became clear after Waterloo. Gone was the religious notion of ‘possession by evil spirits’ to be replaced soon by the concept of multiple personality. Thus whereas in the past the insane had been treated as raving beasts, chained to walls and whatever a Dr. Pinel at Paris’ Salpetriere began a more humane treatment with an attempt to understand the causes of insanity. The approach was parodied amusingly by Edgar Allen Poe in his story The System of Dr. Tarr and Professor Fether in which the inmates revolted and took over the asylum.
The Salpetriere was a large compound of several acres with thousands of residents, mainly women from whom the subjects who became the hysterics that the great Dr. Jean-Martin Charcot began to study as a neurologist, as the early psychiatrists were known. The field of Psychology is divided in two. On the one side psychiatrists who must be MDs and who believe mental ailments are biologically derived and hence to be treated medically with drugs or, one shudders to think of it, operations like pre-frontal lobotomy or electric or insulin shock ‘therapy.’ Psychologists, who are PhDs with little or no medical training treat neuroses and psychoses as malfunctions of reason caused by experiential traumas.
Charcot as an MD originally sought biological causes for the hysteria he studied although he was coming around to a psychological viewpoint just before he died in 1893. Thus from being chained before Dr. Pinel released them these women, hysterics, while being confined to the Salpetriere were given freedom of movement within the hospital with its flowers and walkways making for a much more pleasant environment for them and one unobtainable to them on the outside.
Now, the great Dr. Anton Mesmer introduced hypnotism to Europe as a discipline in the years just before the Revolution. Naturally something so new and seemingly revelatory did not find immediate acceptance, indeed, it was treated as nonsense. Nevertheless people of learning, doctors, persisted in experimenting with it. Thus, when Charcot came to be the director of the Salpetriere, to the dismay of his profession he introduced the practice in his treatment of his hysterics and thus legitimized its use. Hypnosis, too, was new and little understood.
The essence of hypnosis is suggestion and Charcot did not understand suggestion. The rival hypnosis school led by Auguste Liebeault and Hippolyte Bernstein at Nancy to the East of Paris was aware of the effect of suggestion but not necessarily the nature of what it was. Actually suggestion is whatever enters the mind and is accepted. If one wakes to a beautiful sunny morning it is suggested to oneself that the day will be a good day. Acting on that suggestion, post-hypnotic one might say, one will try to make the day a great one to hang onto that feeling. The mind is naturally open to suggestion as it must be; in an active mind one can discriminate to some extent as to what suggestions will be accepted and which rejected. Under hypnosis in which the mind has been put into a passive state the ability to discriminate and reject has been greatly reduced so that a hypnotist can plant a suggestion that then becomes what Charcot’s associate, Pierre Janet, called an idee fixe, or in other words, a fixation that will remain in your mind until executed. This notion may be imparted by a human agent, books, movies, radio or any medium that is capable of influencing the mind. One must be aware of this. It isn’t necessary to have a hypnotist standing in front of you saying ‘look into my eyes.’
As I say, Charcot was convinced that hysteria was biological, that is to say caused by a lesion to the brain, so that while he hypnotized his female subjects at the Salpetriere he wasn’t aware of the nature of suggestion.
Now, the eighteen seventies and eighties were terrifically exciting at all levels. They did things differently then. As has been said: The past is another country; they do things differently there. The past is never to be judged by current standards although the latter are useful for comparison. Thus when Lister suggested that antiseptics ought to be used in the operating room his suggestion was stoutly resisted although true and nearly universally accepted today. On the other hand Evolution although true is more stoutly resisted today in a religious reaction than it was in the last quarter of the nineteenth century so don’t feel all that superior.
While Charcot was arguing with himself as to whether hysteria was biological or mental, in the mid-eighties two of his associates easily grasped that hysteria was a mental problem. These two were Sigmund Freud and Pierre Janet.
Freud at that time, 1886, was making the transition to psychology from medicine. He was an MD. Charcot was not alone in dealing with mental matters. The understanding of dreams for instance was developing rapidly. When Freud published his Interpretation Of Dreams in 1900 he cited dozens of competent researchers dating as far back as the 1860s. In 1886 alone two novels dealing with the subconscious and split personality were published, Robert Louis Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde and Marie Corelli’s Wormwood. Corelli cites Charcot as an influence so she very likely had attended his semi-public presentations of hysterics under hypnosis at his hospital.
Going back further, Freud, a German Jew, was undoubtedly familiar with the psychological work of the German romantics. At any rate he spent about four months at the Salpetriere studying Charcot’s work and methods. It is likely that the foundation of his psychoanalysis was laid there. While Charcot was struggling to determine whether hysteria was biological or mental, Freud, himself a neurologist, was able to perceive that, as he later put it, hysterics were suffering from reminiscences. In other words they fixated on past experiences which dominated their minds and behavior.
Pierre Janet, Charcot’s student and associate, came to the same conclusion probably at the same time. He expressed the problem more accurately when he determined that hysterics suffered from one or more idee fixes, that is a fixed idea or, in other words, a fixation centered around a specific past event or events.
Indeed, all the women at the Salpetriere had been battered and brutalized by life with no means of self-assertion or resistance. Unable to express their own will they retreated into ineffective hysterics finally ending up as semi-insane in Charcot’s hospital.
Now, split or multiple personality. No one, especially these women, have the personality they are born with. Over the course of our lives circumstances require us to respond in different ways, sometimes a personality is overwhelmed with a consequent personality adaptation or change and in extreme cases, insanity.
All very well, but what happens to the original and/or various personalities that were submerged. It is impossible for them to vanish from the mind so they must live on submerged by a more powerful personality impulse. Depending on the individual then, everybody must have at least one alternate personality. Stevenson and Corelli were demonstrating this in their novels.
The good Dr. Jekyll had had a wild streak in his youth that he forcefully repressed to become the totally respectable man of medicine. But, he longed for his rough and rowdy days so in Stevenson’s story he invents a potion, I’m sure whisky would have been just as effective, that allows him to free his original personality. In the course of his experiment the earlier personality suppresses the later one assuming control of Jekyll’s mind. Much the same thing happens in Corelli’s novel. Thus we have personality accretion.
Charcot’s hysterics, because of the side show atmosphere the Good Doctor created, became world famous, a sort of show people. Charcot even took them on the road for demonstrations and, heaven forbid, loaned them to other doctors for experimentation.
It was during one such loan in 1888 that Jules Janet, Pierre’s brother, made a startling discovery. He was experimenting on Blanche Wittman, the Queen of Hysterics, when having hypnotized her into what Charcot called the first state, instead of progressing to the second state, he decided to put her into a deeper trance. At that point Blanche was able to dissociate her personality from her normal state to what I assume was her original personality. She turned into a happy effervescent bubbly girl. In other words she had stripped every accreted personality adjustment to return to the period before society violated her womanhood.
One might ask where this personality came from? It is not necessary to assume either the supernatural or the paranormal. The personality did not come from outside her but was merely an early personality that had been submerged and denied existence by repeated abuse. If Jules Janet had pressed on he might have found three, four or more variations of Blanche Wittman. Indeed, when Charcot died in 1893 Blanche ceased having hysterical attacks and became quite normal assuming yet another personality although it was not recognized as such. She then took responsible employment at the hospital until she died under tragic circumstances.
Thus during one’s life one assumes many variations as one’s personal circumstances dictate. And one expresses them in many different ways. As an example of personality accretion I am going to use the history of the American fantasy and science fiction writer, Edgar Rice Burroughs. He has especial value as his biography is well developed and he has talked voluminously about his mental states through his large body of fiction which is all autobiographical in nature.
Part II follows.
November 26, 2011
The Prague Cemetery
Tracing The Racial Memory
For what is history but the attempt to remember or reconstruct the racial past and therefore one’s own pre-history. For as the ancients said: The unexamined life is not worth living. Where better to begin than with the origins of life.
The key fact of existence on earth is that the planet is a huge dynamo generating an electro-magnetic field. In other words the core of the planet is moving at a different rate of speed than the outer layers. There could be no life without this fact. The movement of the core also generates a combination of the elements hydrogen and oxygen we humans call water which is extruded to the surface creating the oceans.
Isaac Asimov describes the human body as big sack of water where H2O comprises very nearly the whole body. So, in contradiction to the ignorant Semitic model ‘dirt’ has no part in the composition of the body.
It is said that the early atmosphere was 100% hydrogen. Thus the extrusion of water and its evaporation must have freed oxygen atoms. As air is 21% oxygen, that fixes the origin of life at the time when oxygen displaced hydrogen in the atmosphere to the extent of 21% at which level it remains today. That also means that if the percentage varied by very much life as now constituted could not survive.
All matter can be deconstructed into its constituent chemical atoms, primarily four gases. While hydrogen and oxygen are the bases of life forms, a dozen or so other trace elements are used in the amounts that were in the sea when life began. All were therefore dissolved in water. It therefore follows by a chain of those atoms proto-life was formed. As life is activated by electricity it follows that electricity was imparted from the electro-magnetic field, the sun or possibly activated by an electrical charge from lightning in conjunction with the electro-magnetic field.
Thus life, a single cell, was formed in the ocean waters which as everyone knows is salty. Hence human are salty. From then in some mysterious process not yet discovered the single cell evolved into all the myriad forms of life that have been and are. At some point ocean forms evolved into land forms which became increasingly complex until one has the human form the most evolved and complex of all. Just because the process can’t be described in full as yet doesn’t mean that Evolution isn’t a reality.
The World Island, Pangaea, is said to have to have begun breaking up 250 million years ago. The planet is said to be about four billion years old so in all probability the land mass was not the same for that entire time period. Pangaea was an intermediate period. As the planet is essentially a top spinning freely in space all the rules of physics pertaining to tops apply.
If you have a water filled top with solid bits in it when you spin the top the solid bits will be drawn to the upper hemisphere. This is what happened to the land mass of the earth. The rotational stresses were such that the surface cracked into large plates that began drifting North. Hence today the land mass forms a circle around the North Pole. Above Russia and Siberia long transverse islands have pulled away from the main mass to gravitate further toward the Pole.
Africa occupies the central position of Pangaea so that as the continents moved they were essentially split off from Africa. Asia moved up and curved around the Pole. The Atlantic Rift separated North and South America moving them to the North and West. India split off moving East and North to collide with Asia forcing the great transverse mountain range of the Himalayas up. And of course Indonesia and Australia trailed out across the ocean to their current stations. Antarctica was drawn South to form that Pole.
As the parcels separated whatever life there was must have traveled on their respective parcels. Thus, even though it may be said the life began in Africa the various life forms must have evolved separately on their land masses.
There have been several mass extinctions not least of all that which occurred at the end of the last ice age when, for instance, many life forms including horses, mastodons, saber tooth tigers and possibly humans disappeared from the Americas. Huge death rate. The remains of least tens of thousands of mammoths were killed and in Siberia and the American North frozen quickly enough and permanently enough to preserve their flesh which was still edible, although gamey, when the bodies were unearthed in recent times.
As this disaster occurred as recently as probably ten thousand years ago it must have left a memory trace in the traditions of humans
We are told that Homo Sapiens came into existence about 150- 200 thousand years ago in Africa. This may possibly or probably be true but it cannot be stated positively. What can be known is that the earliest remains of Homo Sapiens have been found in Africa. At any rate at the beginning of the Age Of Leo dawned, Ages are how the ancients kept track of immense reaches of time, every part of the Earth bore some human population. These populations were in different evolutionary states. The least evolved human species was in Africa. The East of Asia was populated by Mongols who are evidently a sterile branch of the human species. Europe had a population but not a large one of Neanderthals and various human races while the population flooded out of the previously exposed Mediterranean Basin gathered around the shores of the sea, most notably at the effluence of the Nile.
Now, the ancestors of the Folk of which Eugene Sue speaks were centered somewhere in Central Asia probably around the Aral Sea. This was the great hive from which the Aryans were to spread across the World.
There are many, many legends of these distant times such as Atlantis, the land of Mu and Shambala., the last of which was located in Central Asia. These legends must have some basis in fact; the imagination of man is incapable of creating anything out of whole cloth; whatever man believes must have been suggested to it by actual circumstances.
While little is known of the actual origins of the Aryans that can be ascertained as fact is that beginning around the year 2000 BC the Aryans began to move out of their hive lands. We know that they moved West into the Middle East and South into India. There is no reason not to believe that bands or hordes didn’t also move East into China.
The first migrations into India and the West did so with a fully developed religious system or world view, a Weltanschauung. This means that the system and view were well developed in the Hivelands before the Aryans began their migrations. Thus the similarities between the Hindu religion and the Homeric religion were probably deviations from the old time Hive religion adapted to their specific new conditions.
It is possible that there was cross fertilization between India and Greece but since the entire North from Greece to Northern Europe to Iran/Persia and India were invaded and dominated by the Aryans I think it is just as likely that the core beliefs were common to all the Aryans shifting forms to adapt to religions established in the occupied areas.
Thus while I can offer no proof, I think it probable that Shambala did exist and that it was the Aryan home citadel. In legend Shambala was on an island in the middle of a lake in what is now the Gobi Desert. At the end of the ice age both the Caspian and Aral seas were much more extensive than they are while the Gobi may have been wet also. It seems more probable that a temple city may have been on an island of either of those two more expansive seas. Still the legend is the legend. Increasing desiccation would in any event have forced population dislocations in Central Asia. In any event about the year –2000 the Aryans began to move. However they were located, whether strung out from the Himalayas to the Caspian or whatever, one branch crossed the Hindu Kush down into India. Wherever the Aryans went they wrote these huge long Weltanschauungs, at least after writing reached them which they don’t seem to have had on their own.
Because the Indian books were written in Sanskrit and because Sanskrit was determined to be the most ancient Aryan language words common to the Aryan languages were said to be derived from Sanskrit. This needn’t be the case. I think it more likely that since all Aryans derive from the same stock the language was their common inheritance from the Hivelands. Thus while there may have been contacts between Greek and Indian the similarity more likely reflects the common religious heritage of both peoples. Thus, the Indian Aryans wrote their huge corpus while at about the same time the Greeks were composing their own version of the national epic in Greece and Troy.
Over the centuries the various hordes descended into Persia and Anatolia while when the Scyths appeared in Southern Russia they were then nomadic rather than settlers. Assuming that the Aryans of the Shambala period were sedentary it follows then that climatic conditions forced the Folk into a different economic niche. That the Scyths were of the same Aryan stock as the Greeks is evident from their metal working.
After the Scyths we have the Celtic migrations many of whom ended up at the End of the World in Ireland. Along the way they caused havoc in Anatolia where they were known as the Galatians, harassed the Greeks, gave the Romans the willies from their settlements on the Po and finally became the Gauls of what would become France then came the German tribes who would establish themselves in Northern Europe.
When the Aryans migrated into more populous areas they lost their identity. Probably mere hordes, those who reached China were completely absorbed just as later Jewish migrants to China being few in relation the Chinese were also absorbed. Depending on the size of the Indian contingent they were able to shape the mores of the India with its huge Black population but were absorbed racially. The caste system came into existence as a result of the Aryan’s desperate attempt to maintain racial purity.
Even in the Middle East the Aryan influence has been diluted and all but extinguished. The Aryans of Iran are now adherents to the alien Semitic religion of the Arabs.
Over several centuries the Aryan tribes were able to conquer the Romans but in the process destroyed the Roman Civilization bringing about the long social reorganization of society known as the Dark or Middle Ages. It is here in the German or Frankish conquest of France that Eugene Sue must begin his novel of The Mysteries Of The Folk.
It’s a pity the novel has never been translated into English because Sue must cover the whole of European history including the period of the Crusades. The Indian and Greek epics had long been written when the now European Aryans began the third great national epic, the story of Chivalry of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table. This is one huge story. The Vulgate-Lancelot alone runs to several thousand pages with numerous very long branches.
Now, the roots of the Arthurian epic still date back to the Homeric epic while receiving input from myths and legends from the Aryan Hivelands. There is then continuity from the very beginning, so to speak.
The Arthurian epic is a curious European recreation of the Indian books and the Homeric cycle with a Semitic add layer of course. In addition to curious crises at the intra changeover of the Piscean Age. We are not talking of the personal astrology of the newspapers here. Astrology was once a serious part of astronomy. We are talking of the great Astrological religious system that began development eons ago. If you wish to believe Sumerian mythology or sources it has vague memories of tens of thousands of years previously. I have no reason to question the veracity of these Sumerian sages. An age, of course, is one twelfth segment of the Great Year of 25 thousand something years. Thus after the cycle of twelve ages Pisces will once again return. The symbol of Pisces is of two connected fish swimming in opposite directions, perhaps indicating Dionysian androgyny. Thus halfway through the age the archetype of the age changed from the male domination of Jesus to the female archetype of Mary in Southern Europe and Diana in Northern Europe. This actually happened.
In the South Mariolatry emerged while in the North Diana replaced Merlin in Pagan circles. According to the legend Vivian (Diana, Artemis) The Lady Of The Lake, charmed Merlin into revealing all his magic to her. Once she obtained it she threw a hex on Merlin entombing him either under a rock or in a tree. Thus Diana replaced Merlin as the pagan archetype of the Piscean Age. Artemis in Greek, Diana in Latin and Vivian with the Norse, the Virgin Huntress, Mistress Of the Animals and The Lady Of The Lake who abhorred the company of men, became Northern Europe’s ruling archetype or Anima while the Virgin Mother became that of the South.
Having eliminated Merlin, Vivian then kidnapped Lancelot as a boy (because she was the Virgin Huntress and couldn’t bear her own son) taking him to her enchanted palace beneath the lake where as the Alpha female she taught him to be a preeminent knight or the Alpha male in Arthur’s court. Arthur was a creature of Merlin but lost the use of the latter’s magic when he was entombed. Thus Arthur was unprotected against Vivian’s purloined magic.
As Lancelot was Vivian’s or Diana’s creature there had to be conflict between the two halves of the Piscean Age. That was naturally caused by a woman, Arthur’s flirtatious wife, Guinevere. As a result the golden age of the Round Table came to an end.
The Arthurians were acquainted with some Homeric traditions that I have not found in the mythological sources. Thus the Arthurian cycle was a continuation in the mold of the Homeric cycle. Vivian or Artemis in Greek, was traced back to the Greek Peloponnese or Lacedaemon. Lacedaemon means the Demon or Lady Of The Lake. So Diana, in Roman Myth or The Lady as she appears in Dumas’ Three Musketeers. But, I can’t find any extant record of the myth.
Arthur and his characteristics can be traced back into the Caspian and Aral Hivelands of the Aryans so that the three traditions come together in the Arthurian cycle of Europe. The cycle also combines Gallic legends of Britain bringing in that great Aryan race.
This is the rich stew then that Eugene Sue had to work with in his mysteries of the Folk. My ancestors and yours. The Arthurian cycle was active from c. 1060 to 1300. Malory is a late compilation. When the Crusades ended and the Templars were suppressed the period ended. Thus the second half of the millennium began.
We will skip the intervening history until the great European upheaval of the Enlightenment and French Revolution.
The Jews In Europe
As Eco’s story is centered around the Jews concerning the Protocols of Zion and the Dreyfus case it will be necessary to say a few words concerning their history to set the stage.
I hope I have demonstrated the persistence of the racial memory in my brief tracing of the movements of the Aryans. Their motif is the scientific explanation of nature which they have pursued with varying success in all their movement from the Hivelands to India and Great Britain and from there to North America and Australia and New Zealand. The scientific goal has never been lost sight of.
There is no other people on Earth with a stronger racial memory and an inflexible but criminal will than the Jews while at the same time, like the Aryans, they have recorded their goals in print. They too persist doggedly in the attempt to realize their plan.
Briefly the place and time the tribe came into existence can be pinpointed if their writings are accurate. That place was Ur of the Chaldees and the time was the transition from the Age of Taurus to the Age of Aries c. 2000 BC. Their pedigree goes back no further than that. They are an artificial Semitic creation; they have no roots in antiquity.
Challenging the authority of the Chaldean astronomers the Jews were expelled from Ur for their impertinence. Thus they were born of disappointed expectations; their future was cast; they were doomed to disappointed expectations.
However they knew how to push their luck to the limit; call it chutzpah.
Skipping over two thousand years of conflict we find the Jews established throughout the Roman Empire challenging the Romans for supremacy. Defiant of Roman authority even in the capitol Rome, the Jews taxed their fellows sending the gold to Jerusalem which they established as their capitol contra Rome. Hence the famous Rome-Jerusalem dichotomy. While their prophet Jesus counseled them to cede temporal authority to Rome- render unto to Caesar that which is his and unto God his own- open rebellion began which was crushed, the people killed or dispersed, Jerusalem leveled with Jews being forbidden to set foot in the city again. An early version of the final solution.
Briefly, we next find the Jews in Spain. Here the Roman Catholic Church has established itself and for superstitious reasons granted the Jews an invaluable monopoly, that of loaning money at interest. A one of a kind gift. Wheedling their way into another monopoly, that of being royal tax farmers, they did indeed farm their Spanish cattle, not unlike the Greek and Italian situation today. This was an intolerable situation that took a long time to culminate but in 1492 the Jews were expelled from Spain. This was a crushing blow for them.
Due to the Spanish expulsion and various other expulsions Jews migrated into the sparsely inhabited area of Eastern Poland which then included Byelorussia and the Ukraine, later to be called the Pale Of The Settlement.
Then, the worst catastrophe ever hit the tribe. The Northern Europeans began to assert their birthright of free inquiry while at the same time rejecting the Judaeo-Christian incubus. It was called the Enlightenment. Aryan scientific thought asserted itself against the Semitic stultification throwing the Semitic religions- Christianity, Judaism and Moslemism- into an atavistic status of a prior and lower intellectual state.
The Enlightenment would quickly result in the French Revolution which was to change the course of both Jewish and Aryan history. With the Revolution came the emancipation of the Jews. They were placed on an ‘equal’ footing with the Europeans. Emancipation was more quickly achieved in France while in Central Europe it moved in stages reaching fulfillment after the 1848 revolution.
It was then that Europeans became aware that equality was a one way street; it was not what the Jews were after. In the reaction about 1875 the German Wilhelm Mars invented the term anti-Semitism and the stage was set for the Protocols of Zion and the Dreyfus Affair.
In the wake of the Revolution Eco’s heroes Eugene Sue and Alexander Dumas were born whose novels filled Eco’s imagination and memories with their fantastic works.
We’ll move in that direction in Part III.