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.
February 23, 2009
Tarzan Over Africa
The Psychological Roots Of Tarzan In The Western Psyche
As the strong man exhibits in his physical ability, delighting in such exercises as call the muscles into action, so glories the analyst in that moral activity which disentagles. He derives pleasure from even the most trivial occupations bringing his intellect into play. He is fond of enigmas, conundrums, hieroglypics; exhibiting in his solutions of each a degree of acumen which appears to the ordinary apprehension as praeternatural. His results brought about by the very soul and essence of method, have in truth, the whole air of intuition.
Edgar Allen Poe- The Murders In The Rue Morgue
…he dreams of the sight
of Zulu impis
breaking on the foe
like surf upon the rocks
and his heart rises in rebellion
against the strict limits
of civilized life.
H. Rider Haggard- Allan Quatermain
Yes! I noticed this dichotomy in the Western soul myself at least two thirds of a lifetime ago. I was always puzzled by it. Why in the midst of plenty and seeming perfection should the Western psyche be so discontented with its lot.
Well, time has passed. Two thirds of a lifetime in fact. After much mental lucubration and travail I now find myself in a position not only to understand it myself but to be able, perhaps, to make it clear to others; perhaps hopefully to you who are looking at this screen.
The problem began we are told, by people who ought to know, about one hundred fifty thousand years ago when our species, Homo Sapiens, evolved from its predecessor hominid, which has never been traced being the famous Missing Link, to begin its odyssey through time and space.
We are told that Homo Sapiens originated in Africa and that Black Africans, or what Tarzan would call savages, were the first Homo Sapiens. We are told, once again, that White people mutated from this original Black stock. This may or may not be so. I am in no position to affirm or deny the fact myself but, if so, there was a qualitative difference as well as a quantitative difference that then occurred. In fact, if one were to judge solely from appearances two sub-species of Homo Sapiens came into existence when the White evolved from the Black. This qualitative difference between the sub-species or what we have been taught to consider races, was noticed by all the early explorers with differing interpretations.
As the English novelist, H. Rider Haggard, who as a man of considerable experience and acumen, put it:
I say that as the savage is, so is the white man, only this latter is more inventive, and possesses a faculty of combination…
Rider Haggard was quite right, both sub-species evolved from the same stock, both had the same emotional makeup, but what Haggard dismisses as only ‘more inventive’ and ‘a faculty of combination’ is precisely that which separates the White sub-species from the Black sub-species and makes it evolutionarily more advanced. In conventional terms invention and a faculty of combination is called the scientific method.
The scientific method is not to be dismissed lightly. It is a faculty of mind that is an evolutionary step in advance of the White sub-species’ evolutionary predecessor, the Black sub-species.
This may be a startling interpretation to you, however if one is to follow the scientific logic adduced by scientists of Evolution the facts follow as day follows night. They cannot be avoided nor can they be explained away. They must be dealt with head on, just as our Attorney General Eric Holder has stated.
The evolutionary step within the Homo Sapiens species is almost tentative to our White minds, not so clear cut as to separate, say, the Chimpanzee species from the Gorilla species. The transition is however in that direction.
In the nineteenth century the cleavage between the scientific mind and that of the savage or first Homo Sapiens mind was beginning to become felt in the Western psyche. A malaise of spirit was created which troubled the soul of Western man. The ‘strict limits’ of scientific civilization versus the seeming naturalness and open simplicity of the African became a dichotomy in the Western psyche.
Haggard was not the first to confront the problem but before I begin at the beginning with who I consider to be the first let me elucidate the problem further by another quote from Rider Haggard.
Ah! this civilization what does it all come to? Full forty years and more I spent among savages, and studied them and their ways, and now for several years I have lived here in England and in my own stupid manner have done my best to learn the ways of the children of light; and what do I find? A great gulf fixed? No, only a very little one, that a plain man’s thought may spring across.
Haggard was quite correct as far as he went. What he failed to understand, ‘in his own stupid way’, was that there was a small gulf over which civilized man thinks he could spring backward without difficulty but from the other side that small gulf appears a great chasm which the completed mind of the first Homo Sapiens can never find a way across.
Edgar Rice Burroughs who read Haggard and was also struck by this really important introductory chapter to ‘Allan Quatermain’ pondered the issue long and hard and resolved the issue in his own mind when he said that the savage mind could never grasp science while only one in a hundred of the White species could, with perhaps one in a thousand being able to advance science. ERB intuited what modern genetics would prove.
This dichotomy between the primitive and scientific mind does not become truly prominent until the mid-nineteenth century. It wasn’t observable to the naked eye before then and only begins to establish itself in literature with the apperance in 1841 of Edgar Allan Poe’s ‘Murders In The Rue Morgue.’
Poe created a whole new genre of literature, not only of the detective story, but of the conflict between what Freud would later identify in his system as the Unconscious and the Conscious mind. Prior to Poe reason, or the forebrain, was the sole approach to knowledge; after Poe awareness of the Unconscious element began its long rise until today it is dominant.
When dissatisfaction with Haggard’s strict limits of civilization began to forcibly intrude into White consciousness, causing the split identity, is not clear to me although it may well have been the introduction of the Age of Steam. Certainly by 1841 the intrusion of the steam railroad was going a long way to condition man’s mind to a rigid one way view of reality as laborers spun out the long steel ribbons along which the great unyielding iron locomotives ran.
The science of steam was unforgiving, with a low level of tolerance for human error, and making no allowance for individual idiosyncracies.
In the days of the great steamboat races on the Mississippi boiler pressure was controlled by a little governor. Greater speed could be attained if the governor was removed allowing boiler pressure to increase. Of course, the inevitable result was the explosion of the boiler and destruction of the steamboat and crew. Even knowing the scientific consequences of removing the governor operators time after time did it in hopes of defeating physics and winning the race.
Thus science seemed ‘unfair’ and the White man’s limited undeveloped understanding began to rebel.
When evolution gave man access to science he reached the limits of what human exertion alone could do. Thus the forebrain was frustrated, driving it back toward the brain stem and the Unconscious. A new scientific frontier was opened thereby- the study of the human mind.
Edgar Allan Poe grasped this significance expressing it in poetic language. ‘Murders In The Rue Morgue’ posits the problem in the form of C. Auguste Dupin who, while using rigorous scientific method is mistaken for being intuitive. The Conscious mind versus the Unconscious.
The Unconscious is always disreputable. It is there that little understood sexual urges and primitive egoistic rituals reside. It is there that the primitive man resides; the savage of Rider Haggard, the Negro of the present day. It is there that the Western psyche rebels, seeking to emerge triumphant over science and understanding. That is the little leap backwards that Rider Haggard saw. In academic writers of the nineteenth century it was called ‘the thin veneer of civilization.’
Thus the initials of C. Auguste Dupin spell CAD, or a slightly disreputable man. A man who thinks only of himself. If Poe doesn’t introduce the notion of the doppel ganger, he certainly defines the role and purpose. Dupin and the narrator are two halves of the same person. They are in fact one personality.
This notion would be further developed in Conan Doyle with his creation of Sherlock Holmes and his doppelganger, Dr. Watson. The notion would be brought to horrifying fruition in the classic tale of the split between the conscious and unconscious minds, Robert Louis Stevenson’s ‘Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde.’
Poe’s narrator being of greater means than Dupin who is seedy and down at the heels rents an old dilapidated house in the Faubourg St. Germain which creaks as lustily as the House of Usher. The house is a symbol of psychological decay. The Faubourg St. Germain is itself a symbol of decay. Formerly the home of the pre-revolutionary elite, since the French Revolution it is the home of shattered fortunes.
The two men, who are inseparable, lock themselves up in this mansion by day with all the curtains drawn, sure sign of intense depression, going out only after dark into what the narrator calls the ‘real night’ as opposed to the night of the soul; the dark Freudian unconscious.
And then two women are murdered in mysterious circumstances. Using all his scientific method Dupin divines the murderer to be an Orang-outang, which was no small feat whether scientific or intuitive. Thus the highest mental powers were symbolically pitted against man’s animal nature.
Poe thus states the central problem of the Western psyche which is still unresolved at this time while still being discussed as much. While Rider Haggard was wrestling with the problem Conan Doyle was writing his Sherlock Holmes stories. Holmes like Dupin is a bit of a cad; not entirely an admirable person. He has placed himself above the law, being quite capable of executing summary judgment on one who might in his sole opinion escape the toils of the law. Holmes companion, Dr. Watson, is a sturdy unimaginative burgher who serves as the example of the unconscious to Holmes’ conscious but scientifically unfeeling mind.
Robert Louis Stevenson takes matters to an even more intense level at roughly the same time. Jekyll and Hyde are in fact one man. Jekyll is the example of what Freud would call the repressed man but one which society calls a disciplined and respectable man. He is in total control of himself but he suspects there is another side to his character which he would like to discover.
Unable to find access to this other side by psychological or rational means, he uses his scientific acumen to invent a potion which releases this demon, Mr. Hyde, concealed inside his unconscious. Hyde is a very destructive character and having been once released he proves impossible to put back in the bottle. He returns unsummoned. Eventually he suppresses Jekyll becoming the sole personality. The jump only works one way.
Thus Stevenson predicted the evolution of the twentieth century. This little cluster of writers bridging the nineteenth and twentieth centuries is very interesting.
In the intervening near fifty years between ‘Murders In The Rue Morge’ and ‘Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde’ science had been revealing nature at a galloping pace placing even greater stress on the Western psyche. Central to the further deteriorization of the psyche was Charles Darwin’s ‘Origin Of Species’ which appeared in 1859 just on the eve of the exploration of Central Africa when the stressed scientific Western psyche confronted its dark unconscious in the form of the African Black man. Thus Africa became the Heart Of Darkness for the White man just as Hyde was the heart of darkness to Jekyll. That little gulf across which he thought he might leap appeared as a gigantic chasm.
The notion of evolution versus Biblical creation not only caused a tremendous social dislocation but the notion of evolution from a lower to a higher, from Ape to White man, placed the Black man or Negro in an intermediary state of development just as Burroughs would later depict the role of Tarzan Of The Apes.
Beginning c. 1860 with the expedition of Capt. Richard Francis Burton into the lake regions of Central Africa the problem began to take a concrete form.
What the White Man found in the interior of Africa startled him. For here the dichotomy between his unconscious and conscious was juxtaposed in reality between himself and the Black African. The Black African seemed to represent unchanged what man had been one hundred fifty thousand years before when he evolved from the hominid predecessor.
For Burton and Henry Morton Stanley who followed him as an explorer the superiority of the White was apparent. In the Negro they saw only the child of nature; men without alphabets, physics, chemistry, astronomy or intellectual attainments of any kind. The Negro was to be pitied, treated paternalistically as a little brother or as the Negro would later be known: The White Man’s Burden, Idi Amin notwithstanding.
The main period of exploration and discovery was ending when Rider Haggard began publishing his great African adventure trilogy from 1885 to 1888.
While Burton and Stanley felt an easy superiority over the Blacks, Rider Haggard took a more disquieted attitude. He was troubled when he noted that for all the White man’s scientific attainments there was no difference in the emotional development of the two sub-species.
And what did he find? A way forward? A great gulf fixed? No. ‘Only a little one, that a plain man’s thought might spring across. I say,’ he said, ‘that as the savage is, so is the white man, only the latter is more inventive, and possesses a faculty of combination…’
Well, indeed. But wasn’t Haggard undervaluing the quality of being more inventive and possessing a faculty of combination? Those two qualities, after all, comprise the scientific faculty which cannot be attained by effort but is evolutionarily ingrained. It is forever beyond the reach of the first Homo Sapiens. Haggard and all other writers recognized that this faculty is what the Africans lacked.
Consider then in one hundred fifty thousand years the Africas were so incurious that they had never observed the heavens. They had no astronomy! When the White split off probably one hundred thousand years ago this is the first science they established. Think about it.
Is this scientific faculty such a small thing? If, in fact, a White man of plain understanding can make the leap backward to a natural state can the Black or natural man leap the chasm to a scientific state of consciousness?
Darwin’s theory of evolution is based on natural selection, actually a form of eugenics, by which he believed new species were evolved. It would appear, however that evolution is caused by genetic mutations and when a species has mutated into the complete expression of itself evolution stops for that species which then becomes, as it were, a living fossil.
Rather than natural selection there is perhaps natural rejection. When a new sub-speices forms with its differences it is more likely that the predecessor recognizes the differences and ejects the new comer rather than the new species recognizing itself and banding together. Consider Tarzan among the apes.
When the White sub-species came into existence perhaps one hundred thousand years ago it is more than probable that the sub-species was rejected by its Black predecessors and forcibly ejected from sub-Saharan Africa.
Thus in the two closest known predecessors of Homo Sapiens, the Great Mountain Ape and the Chimpanzee both species are completed and now await extinction as they are unable to compete with their successor hominids.
Scientists tell us, I have no way of disputing their conclusion only interpreting them, that Homo Sapiens evolved from a predecessor about a hundred fifty thousand years ago. They further tell us that the first Homo Sapiens was the Negro sub-species.
The predecessor, who has disappeared without a trace, unless he is the Bushman, was a completed species; he was incapable of further evolution himself but from him the Negro sub-species of Homo Sapiens evolved.
Now comes the hard part to accept. Science is science; one must either follow its facts or abandon the pretence of being scientific man.
As the first Homo Sapiens was the Negro sub-species, is the Negro sub-species complete as an example of evolutionary development? If the Negro was the first Homo Sapiens then the White sub-species must be evolved from the Negro and as nature is ever groping toward higher intelligence the White must be an intellectual improvement on its Black predecessor. The apparent facts indicate this.
Evolution appears to be always toward a form of higher intelligence. Thus the qualities of combination and inventiveness may be completely beyond the reach of the Black sub-species. The Black may stand in relation to the White as the Great Mountain Ape stands to the Chimp.
Further, if one assumes, as one must, that evolution has not stopped either with the development of Homo Sapiens or its sub-species the White man, then the White man must carry the genetic makeup for the mutation to the next step of evolution. As only fifty thousand years intervened between the evolution of the first Homo Sapiens and its White successor than the next evolutionary sub-species or species may already be among us. This is what H.G. Wells novel The Food Of The Gods is about. Apparently the evolutionary bud, like a swelling on a tree, may only blossom once and then the sub-species or species is incapable of budding again becoming fixed in form
The question then arises will the next step be to a new species that will make Homo Sapiens a completely inferior species such as now exists between Homo Sapiens and the Chimpanzee or a new sub-species that will merely increase the distance between it and the first sub-species.
If the new mutation increases its intellectual capabilities will it also be able to evolve a new emotional organization that will separate it from Homo Sapiens and its animal nature completely? Or is it possible that the dichotomy between the two under which Western man suffers will increase involving some sort of evolutionary insanity or suicide?
Well, as the nineteenth century drew to a close vitamins hadn’t even been discovered let alone genetics so people muddled along in a dissatisified condition.
The unconscious aspects of man began to predominate over the conscious as Western man confronted with his natural state in Africa began to slip back across the little gulf in admiration of the seeming ‘natural ‘ state of the ‘noble savage.’ This slip backward was aided and abetted by Sigmund Freud’s vision of the unconscious.
Late in the century Thomas Alva Edison invented the movie camiera. This invention was to have a major effect on the rise of the Unconscious or retrogression to the primitive as the dominating factor in the Western psyche. At approximately the same time as the film industry was becoming important Sigmund Freud published his seminal work: The Interpretation Of Dreams. Thus a scientific vocabulary began to come into existence by which the workings of the mind could be analyzed and discussed. the Unconscious became an established entity.
Now, writing is work of the forebrain or in other words, a scientific pursuit, while movie making is a function of the Unconscious. A good story is more important in writing while subliminal drives are the stuff of movies. It is only required that movies make emotional but not rational sense. They follow a different logic.
Edgar Rice Burroughs was to be confused by this difference when he tried to translate his books to the screen. While the early Tarzan films were not unsuccessful they were not all that satisfying; it was not until MGM invented the Tarzan of primal desires impersonated by Johnny Weismuller that the movie Tarzan became potent. However in that guise Tarzan was entirely another creation. His being had become independent of ERB’s mind.
One movie is capable of finding more viewers than a thousand books can find readers. Thus the subconscious began to dominate over the conscious Tarzan.
I am of the opinion that Freud was already aware of the effect of the emergence of the Unconscious as a formative factor in society before he codified the phenomenon in scientific language. After all Freud was subject to the same influences as Poe, Haggard, Doyle, Stevenson and Burroughs.
Freud himself came from an earlier school which delighted in the unrestrained indulgence of the unconscious or passions. In English terms the attitude took form as the Hell Fire Club to which the American Benjamin Franklin belonged. Its motto was: Do What Thou Wilt. Its bible on the continent was ‘Gargantua and Pantagruel’ by Rabelais, while in Jewish circles the credo had been established by Jacob Frank and his descendants. Frank’s position was that man will never be good until he commits evil to his heart’s content. Freud being Jewish was of this school.
These groups of people were quite extreme. Their credo was startlingly expressed in the eighteenth century by Tobias Smollet when his hero, Roderick Random, is introduced into a woman’s home who wrote the following:
Thus have I sent the simple king to hell
Without or coffin, shroud or passing bell.
To me what are divine or human laws?
I court no sanction but my own applause!
Rapes, robb’ries, treasons, yield my soul delight;
And human carnage gratifies my sight;
I drag the parent by the hoary hair,
And toss the sprawling infant on my spear,
While the fond mother’s cries regale my ear.
I fight, I vanquish, murder friends and foes;
Nor dare the Immortal gods my rage oppose.
The above pretty much defines Freud’s intent in his psychology. So long as such sentiments were consciously expressed in print they horrified a rational thinker while remaining strictly an underground movement. But now Freud combined the attitude with the malaise of soul which had been called into existence by the dichotomy of the scientific and unconscious minds.
Freud reduced the mind, including the Unconscious, into scientific terms by which such Rabelaisan attitudes could be discussed and disseminated into polite society as scientific thought rather than eccentric opinion.
Freud despised what he called the morality of the day or in other words, Christian morality. He determined that the main cause of mental illness was the repression of disorderly or anti-social desires. He glorified these base desires as the Ego and proclaimed that where the Unconscious was Ego shall be. This is another way of saying: Do What Thou Wilt.
Thus in the decades following Freud the whole notion of self control and a disciplined mind fell into disrepute as Western man began to revel in his most criminal desires; for the Unconscious which always disregards the rights of others is alway criminal.
So it was that the terrible figure of Dracula who began his rise in the 1890s became the dominant psychological projection of the twentieth century. Dracula is the Unconscious incarnate. Completely despising the rights of others, even their right to life; he sucks anyone’s life blood so that he alone may live.
Like Dupin and the narrator of ‘Murders In The Rue Morgue’ Dracula only comes out in the ‘real night’. In fact, one ray of the sun, in other words, consciousness, will turn him to dust. Light is anathema to him; he must shun the day.
Alongside Dracula the cult of the Phantom Of The Opera has grown into huge proportions being disseminated to polite society by Andrew Lloyd Weber’s opera of the same name.
Talk about conscious and unconscious, the Phantom lives in a sewer, the very home of the Unconscious, where he has installed a huge organ on which he plays the most glorious conscious creations of Johann Sebastian Bach.
Deformed in soul, the deformation has been extended to his exterior in the form of a burned face which he covers with a mask just as one masks one’s interior motives from others. Attracted to the higher things from the depths of his sewer he haunts an opera house directly above where, spying from secret passages, he falls in love with the beautiful opera singer who, initially repulsed by the soul shown on his face gradually succumbs to the lure of the unconscious.
Edgar Rice Burroughs was born into this strange social milieu, as we know, in 1875. Seemingly failing in every thing he did, he had scant prospects in life until at the age of 37 in 1912 his education jelled into the creation of his life, Tarzan the Magnificent.
Tarzan is extraordinary in that he runs counter to the other expressions of the Western malaise. Tarzan is whole and entire. In Freudian terms, where Unconscious was, now Ego reigned and it was good Ego, not the criminal model of Freud.
As Tarzan was, so must have been Burroughs, although I have no idea how he achieved this. It appears, nevertheless, to be true. In fact, whatever Burroughs read or was thinking about he seems to have resolved in Tarzan the mental dilemma which was first formulated by Poe. Further, he acknlowledges Poe’s influence.
We know that Burroughs read and revered the African adventure novels of Rider Haggard. It can be stated certainly that he read the African explorers Capt. Richard Burton and Henry Morton Stanley. Whether he read the other seekers of the source of the Nile, Speke and Baker, I don’t know, as I cannot so state with certainty. It is not impossible that Baker’s wife was a model for Jane.
It is certain nevertheless that the great age of African exploration thrilled him while occupying a prominent place in his daily thoughts.
Being scientifically inclined, he applied his reading in evolution, exploration, geology, psychology and other subjects to the formation of his great creation, Tarzan. As he says, he wrote to amuse and entertain (read: make money) so that he expressed the results of his deepest study in seemingly frivolous tales. Then, while he captured the imagination of the reading public, he offended the critics of ‘serious’ literature who refused to take him seriously. He even found it difficult to find a book publisher even though he was a proven popular success.
Yet he pondered deeply the dilemma propounded by Poe while apparently puzzling out the deeper meaning of Haggard’s introductory chapter to ‘Allan Quatermain.’ Stevenson’s Jekyll and Hyde filled his thoughts.
There is little doubt that Haggard’s hero, Sir Henry Curtis, is a progenitor of Tarzan. One can see Tarzan in the great White English warrior standing tall in a sea of Black soldiers. Sir Henry Curtis leads the Black Kukuana into battle against their foes. The first Big Bwana had come into existence.
Burroughs wants his hero Tarzan to be born in Africa so in 1888 the year ‘Allan Quatermain’ was published and Sir Henry Curtis sealed himself in his valley high in the Mountains Of The Moon, Lord Greystoke and his wife, the Lady Alice Greystoke are abandoned on the West Coast of Africa where, as we know, they both lost their lives but not before Lady Alice gave birth to a son who was then adopted by the great she ape, Kala.
In The Return Of Tarzan the putative successor to Lord John Greystoke is voyaging through the Suez Canal around Africa in his yacht, the Lady Alice, when he is shipwrecked near the exact spot where his father and mother built their tree house in Africa.
To understand fully this sequence in Burroughs’ imagination one has to examine the other source for his creation, Tarzan- Henry Morton Stanley.
There can be no question that before Burroughs wrote Tarzan he had read if not studied the books of H.M. Stanley. And, why not? Stanley’s most important titles are: How I Found Livingstone In Central Africa, Through The Dark Continent and In Darkest Africa.
‘Through The Dark Continent’ is one of the great adventure stories of all time. The conscious living out of Stanley’s unconscious needs and desires is remarkable reading.
One might think that Burroughs’ yacht ‘Lady Alice’ was named after Clayton’s mother, Lady Alice Greystoke. Not so. Burroughs is full of subtle jokes and elaborate circumlocutions. If not Clayton’s mother then how did Burroughs come up with the name ‘Lady Alice’ for the yacht? Well, if you read Stanley’s ‘Through The Dark Continent’ you will find that he carried for thousands of miles through Africa a boat in sections that could be broken down and rebuilt. With this boat Stanley circumnavigated Lake Victoria as well as Lake Tanganyika, then sailed the boat down the entire length of the mighty Congo River. That boat was named the Lady Alice. Thus Tarzan like Stanley was carried by the Lady Alice. That’s a very subtle joke, Son. Stanley himself had named the boat after his Cincinnati fiancee, Alice. During his sail down the Congo she ditched him for another man. In weird synchronicity Stanley ditched the Lady Alice on a bluff overlooking the Atlantic nearly at the end of his journey. What a true coincidence.
As an aside, the psychology of it is very interesting. Psychologically a vessel represents a woman. the Holy Grail which is a chalice represents woman while the blood it contains represents man. Thus you have the man, Stanley in the boat, woman. Stanley’s mother abandoned him as a child. He saw her only once thereafter. Thus, his mother, the most important woman in any man’s life abandoned him. In the Lady Alice, Stanley was obviously carried once again by his mother although I don’t know if her name was Alice also. He then abandoned his boat the Lady Alice.
Stanley didn’t follow the Congo to the sea as is popularly believed but abandoned the river after traversing an incredible series of rapids when he came to an identified rapids at Stanley Pool where, completely exhausted and having reached an explored point, he considered his job done. He had the Lady Alice carried to a hill top where he left it to the elements. Now, in Burroughs mind he may have landed the Lady Alice at the approximate place he thought Stanley had abandoned his Lady Alice. So, Tarzan’s house may have been intended to be on the coast directly below the Lady Alice. That would also make the location in Gabon. In that sense Tarzan was the successor of H.M. Stanley.
One may therefore assume that the Greystokes were put ashore near the mouth of the Congo where the fictional yacht Lady Alice ws shipwrecked within sight, as it were, of the real Lady Alice. That’s how the mind of Edgar Rice Burroughs worked.
On his way from England on the Emin Relief Expedition which forms the content of ‘In Darkest Africa’ just like Lord Greystoke Stanley sailed from England through the Suez to Zanzibar where he collected his porters, sailed with them to Capetown and from thence to the mouth of the Congo. Then Stanley began his incredible journey up the Congo across Africa from West to East into the Northern lake regions where on this trip he located and identified the fabled and thought mythical, snow capped on the equator, Mountains Of The Moon.
Anyone who doesn’t admire Henry Morton Stanley has the heart of a dullard. What a man! What terrific incredible adventures. I’d rather read about them than live them myself but what a story. So thought Edgar Rice Burroughs who never tried to live such adventures either.
Very important to Tarzan is Stanley’s dealings with the various African tribes. Stanley is virtually a single White man leading a faithful band of Negroes just like Tarzan and his faithful Waziri.
Africa was virtually Stanley’s province as it was for Tarzan. Tarzan’s reputation was far famed throughout Africa or at least the areas of Africa through which Stanley traveled. Tarzan doesn’t have much to do with South Africa which has no association with Stanley although Tarzan does travel in North Africa of which Samuel Baker wrote.
Stanley, whose three major expeditions covered a period of about fifteen years must also have become legendary amongst the Blacks. The exploration of Lakes Victoria and Tanganyika coupled with the journey down the Congo must have been the subject of astonished conversation in every village in Central Africa. The more so because Stanley was on scientific expeditions to map geographical features like lakes and rivers which reason no African could ever comprehend.
They could comprehend slaving and ivory buying but they couldn’t comprehend scientific endeavors.
Stanley’s situation in Uganda near the Ripon Falls, the outlet of the Nile from Lake Victoria, with its emperor Mtessa is the stuff of legend for either Blacks or Whites. Stanley, virtually singlehandedly at the head of a band of African natives successfully negotiated months at the court of Mtessa and lived to the tell the tale which I believe few could have accomplished. Then traveling South through areas that had never seen a White man he successully negotiated the circumnavigation of Lake Tanganyika. Both Victoria and Tanganyika are among the largest bodies of fresh water on earth, huge lakes. Then transporting the Lady Alice to the Congo he made the extraordinarily hazardous descent of that enormous and hostile river. This is really mind boggling stuff.
There are too many allusions in Burroughs to the adventures of Stanley to believe that he wasn’t a source for Tarzan.
As more or less an aside there is even a possible allusion to a scene in Burton’s ‘Travels In The Lake Regions Of Central Africa.’ Burton describes in particularly vivid detail an apparition he had while suffering from fever. In a fairly remarkable psychological projection he experienced himself as two different people, not unlike Jekyll and Hyde, who were at war with each other; the one attempting to defeat the best efforts of the other.
In 1857 this psychic manifestation could not be understood. Today it can be interpreted. It would seem that Burton was consciously aware that he seemed to thwart his own projects. He undoubtedly worried about this a great deal but as an unresolved subconscious controls the conscious mind he couldn’t penetrate the mystery.
Under the influence of malarial fever the psychic barriers of the subconscious broke down and his desire was shown to him symbolically by his unconscious mind. Had Burton been psychologically capable of pursuing this insight to its logical conclusion unearthing the fixation on which it was based then he would have resolved his problem and integrated his personality becoming a single unit or whole person. His legs wouldn’t have given out on him as he came close to his goal. Depth psychology was unknown in 1857 so the psychological manifestation remained a mystery to him.
It seems clear that Burroughs was equally impressed by this incident which he later used to create an alter ego for Tarzan called Esteban Miranda. If you recall, Miranda’s inept activities were bringing Tarzan into disrepute. Africa began to wonder.
As the evolution of Tarzan, as I mentioned in my earlier essay, the idea of Tarzan entered the back of Burroughs’ mind bearing a candle which in a pitch black cave is a pretty strong light. This idea was probably an identification with Sir Henry Curtis of Rider Haggard but Burroughs was unable to develop the train of thought when he came to the water barrier in the vaults of Opar.
Tarzan successfully leaped the barrier but Burroughs lost his train of thought when the candle symbolically blew out leaving the idea of Tarzan to gestate in his subconscious. There Curtis slowly combined with Henry Morton Stanley to erupt from Burroughs’ forehead fully formed in 1912 as Tarzan.
Burroughs probably read Stanley in the nineties. His creative juices would have been jogged when Stanley died in 1905. Stanley’s devoted wife gathered several chapters of Stanley’s autobiography of his childhood, composed by himself, then cobbled together the rest of his life from diaries, news clippings and the like.
Stanley’s autobiography was released in 1909. The first Tarzan book was written in 1912. I don’t know when Stanley’s autobiography came to Burroughs’ attention but sometime before 1912 he read it completing the idea of Tarzan in his mind. As Burroughs’ prospectus to All Story Magazine indicates, Burroughs was struggling to combine a number of ideas into the entity that was to become Tarzan.
The publication of Stanley’s autobiography plus the pressure at age 37 of having to so something to merit his high opinion of himself probably forced the jelling of the idea of Tarzan which erupted from his forehead bearing gold ingots like Tarzan emerging from the rock of Opar above the gold vaults.
Burroughs now had the ideal vehicle to give expression to all his social theories. Critics may see Burroughs as a mere shallow entertainer but I don’t. I bought my first Tarzan book the year Burroughs died in 1950 with I was twelve. I continued to buy them until 1954 when I was sixteen. I was totally absorbed in them; not as mere entertainment. I thought Burroughs was writing some pretty heavy stuff even if I missed the much I picked up later when my interests were subconsciously directed to the same social problems that concerned Burroughs. I found to my surprise that Tarzan having entered the back of my mind had formed much if not most of my social thought. I give you the results of my education by Burroughs here.
I find myself amazed by the depth and profundity of Burroughs’ thinking. The ease with which he handled these complex problems without directly identifying them or preaching is fairly amazing. I pointed out in my earlier essay how Burroughs addressed the problem of eugenics in the males and females of Opar.
So he took on the problem of psychic dislocation in the White sub-species in the very nature of his creation, Tarzan.
We know he was heavily influenced by Poe’s ‘Murders In The Rue Morgue’ because he retells the story in the ‘Return Of Tarzan’ in Chaper 3, ‘What happened In The Rue Maule.’ Now this retelling is close enough to be considered borrowing if not plagiarism if his purpose hadn’t been to develop Poe’s theory. Poe was positing the problem; Burroughs was offering the solution.
Just by way of reference; my copies of Tarzan are those of Grosset and Dunlap from the late forties and early fifties. They also have what I consider the finest artwork on Tarzan, a matter of taste, I know.
Where in Poe, Dupin is a human while the Orang-outang a beast, Burroughs combines the two in one. The sub-conscious and the conscious are integrated. Tarzan is at once the most charming and civilized of men but once aroused he quickly reverts to animal ferocity. But he is able to pass back and forth at will, unlike Jekyll and Hyde, and at a moments notice; he is in control of both his animal and human nature.
He even escapes by leaping from the window to a telephone pole, which had appeared since Poe’s time, shinnying up the pole, having had the good sense, or science, to look down first to see a policeman standing guard, he then makes a fairly daring leap, the result of his jungle training, to the roof of the building scampering across numerous rooftops. Tarzan then descends to earth down another telephone pole. There were telephone poles in Chicago but I don’t know whether Burroughs checked to see if there were telephone poles in Paris.
Running wildly for a few blocks he then enters a cafe, successfully cleaning himself up to a gentlemanly appearance in the rest room. Now fully human again he ‘saunters’ down the avenue where he meets the countess as his charming urbane self.
These two stories of Poe and Burroughs are fairly remarkable; one posits the problem which the other resolves. Was either conscious of what the problem was that they were dealing with? The results would indicate yes but in the chapter on the Rue Maule Burroughs has this to say:
‘Tarzan spent the two following weeks reviewing his former brief acquaintace with Paris. In the daytime he haunted the libraries and picture galleries. He had become an omnivorous reader and the world of possibilities that were opened to him in this seat of culture and learning fairly appalled him when he contemplated the very infinitesimal crust of the sum total of human knowledge that a single individual might hope to acquire even after a lifetime of study and research, but he learned what he could.
Surely Burroughs is here reflecting on his own study and research with becoming modesty. His thirty-seven years have not been wasted in idleness. As an omnivorous reader he has acquired some small store of knowledge which he has considered deeply. He does think about the problems of his times. The conflict between the split conscious and unconscious mind of the White man which was commonly discussed as we have seen interested him. Tarzan is simply the result of his cogitations.
Tarzan, born in Africa, the seat of the primitive, reared by Kala a she ape as a pure animal, then progressing straight from his animal nature to the civilized pursuits of study and absinthe he returns to the jungle to experience the intermediate Black nature as chief of his faithful Waziri. This pretty well describes the historical reality of Western man. Then Tarzan rules over Africa as an avatar of science.
Sometime after 1915 when Freud’s body of work began to develop in translation Burroughs must have done a quick study finding, apparently, no difficulty in understanding what Freud was talking about. Further, I think he quickly went beyond Freud’s own understanding, or at least, he applied Depth psychology in a positive way while Freud chose the negative way. Thus Tarzan integrates his personality while Freud exacerbates the separation of conscious and unconscious.
Both Freud’s and Tarzan’s influence grew during the period between the wars. However when MGM preempted the influence of the books in the thirties withe the invention of the movie Tarzan, the great jungle hero began to be lost in the Freudian miasma. The movies turned him into part of the unconscious.
At the same time Africa became a known quantity and while not losing its charm for the Western dichotomy it lost its mystery becoming more commonplace as the Black African absorbed the forms of Western culture. A Black African in a shirt, pants and shoes is just an ordinary Black man. He is no longer the ‘noble savage.’
Then, too, Black resentment at White dominance came to the fore and resistance to the White began along with an offensive for not only equality but superiority.
Thus Marcus Garvey appeared with his Universal Negro Improvement Association. While he was ridiculed in America and had his credibility destroyed he nevertheless laid the ground work for what has followed. His UNIA was truly universal organziaing Blacks in Africa, the West Indies, Brazil and the United States.
At the same time White scholars like Lothrop Stoddard were proposing the innate superiority of the White man. As the science of the time posited one species of Homo Sapiens composed of three separate ‘races’ there were slight grounds to suppose that there were any other than superficial differences between the ‘races.’ There was no basis to differentiate substantial qualities as between two sub-species of different developmental stages. Stoddard and the ‘racists’ were discredited and ridiculed as much as Marcus Garvey had been.
The Second World War intervened suspending discussion for a few years. After the war Freudian thought had taken hold of the psychological community. The founder’s ideas were revered rather than questioned or tested. Freud’s ridiculous map of the mind took on concrete form as students struggled to understand such nonsense as the Id, Libido and Super-ego. Really laughable stuff.
His notions of the unconscious were embraced by the people at large. The ideas of self-discipline and mental training were rejected in favor of avoiding ‘repression.’ The criminal aspects of the unconscious gained the ascendance furthered along by the avatars of the unconscious- movies and movie makers.
As 1960 dawned the Whites began a precipitous slide back across that narrow little gulf, which Haggard saw, toward savagery.
However as there was a difference in the quality of the mind of the White it became apparent that it was not so possible as it seemed to abandon their scientific nature. While the Black without the scientific ‘gene’ could be relatively comfortable in a scientific milieu supported by Whites, the scientific White could not be comfortable in a savage world, He was troubled either way.
Freud had thus injured the sub-species greatly by insisting on the ego occupying the unconscious rather than melding the two halves of the mind by eliminating the destructive elements of the subconscious.
I had taken my Tarzan in subconsciously so that in 1960 when the challenges to White intellectuality became confusing I was able to hold on to my standards if not undisturbed then at least securely. When I later integrated my personality I became proof against the destructive elements of Freudiansim.
Through Burroughs then I identified with his hero Tarzan to save my soul. When I say that Tarzan lives I mean that he was my sheet anchor on the stormiest of seas. It was because of ERB’s creation of Tarzan that I have survived whole and entire. May Tarzan ever prosper and never die. May he have discovered the fountain of youth. Look to the future and keep you eye on the bouncing ball.
January 21, 2009
Edgar Rice Burroughs On Mars
The Chessmen Of Mars
Nobody Gets Out Of Bantoom Alive!
Tara descends in the land of Bantoom ruled by the Kaldanes. I think the Kaldanes can be traced to Baum’s Emerald City Of Oz. In that title Baum writes of a queen who when she wished to change her hair style selected one from a number of heads, removed the head she’s wearing and places a new head on her shoulders.
Unlike the queen the heads of the Kaldanes and the bodies of the Rykors are separate entities.
The Kaldanes exist independently of the Rykors but mount their shoulders to use them essentially as slaves. When their purpose is satisfied they abandon the Rykors or bodies that then, without directing intelligence, just lie or flop around like the proverbial chicken.
The picture ERB presents of them through the first vision of them by Tara is fairly repulsive. It would by itself explain why the Post and the other slicks rejected the story.
Either I’m reading things into the story or ERB is making some very subtle examinations of certain problems troubling society. The three issues I have noted concern labor, sex and evolution.
To take the first.
In the world there are many forms of disagreeable labor that people would rather not do. Much of the industrial labor is hot, dirty and heavy with a lot of unpleasant bending and stooping. Still the job has to get done.
In England once the so-called Industrial Revolution ethos first took place a very large percentage of the work force was essentially bestialized to work the mines and factories, especially the women and children. This is an unightly and unpleasant situation.
In the US and colonial areas African slaves were imported to do the stoop labor. It should be noted as Michael Hoffman points out in his studies that White slavery preceded that of Black slavery. Even at the time of the American Revolution Hoffman found many White slaves still existing the US. A White man was sold to a Negro in Chicago in the 1840s for tweny-five cents.. Africans only gradually replaced the Whites. Thus just preceding Eli Whitney’s invention of the cotton gin after which African slavery exploded there were White slaves in the US.
Slavery is inseparable from Burroughs’ works. He can’t imagine a society without slaves. Chessmen opens explaining the relationship between Tara and her personal slave girl.
Slavery was abandoned in the US at about the same time serfdom was abolished in Europe. The Russian serfs which you can read as slaves were liberated only as the US’ own civil war was being fought. While industrial slavery is too distant in the past for us to imagine it slavery was a very recent phenomenon to Burroughs. He read. He must have been aware of Russia in which the vast majority of the population were slaves as serfs, hence Russia was up to 1861 a vast slaveocracy no different than the US South.
The question then was how to get the hard work done without slaves. The industrial system of the time merely left the population nominally free while paying very low wages making the bulk of the population actual wage slaves.
The hard labor was definitely nothing anyone who could avoid it wanted to do so the industrialists imported vast numbers of laborers at a liguistic disadvantage who then had no choice but to become wage slaves. Burroughs, very sensitive to social issues then, may have thought he was only reflecting the existing situation in his stories. After all this is the period of the horrors of the sweat shops.
This problem preoccupied society so that in 1931 a mere ten years after Chessmen Aldous Huxley wrote Brave New World that presents a different solution than ERB’s. Huxley presents a world of test tube babies in which certain poisons are placed in tubes to create chemically altered humans. The least intelligent of these were the Gammas who were given the least desirable jobs on that basis that they wouldn’t have the brains to complain.
Burroughs solution is somewhat different. The Rykors are essentially slaves; as Greek mythology put it the Rykors were mere bellies with arms and legs, lacking any intelligence whatever they were unable to complain and being deaf, dumb and blind couldn’t revolt.
The slave driver was the Kaldane on their shoulder who directed the Rykor in the unpleasant tasks without consequences to himself. When the Kaldanes came back from the fields at night they abandoned their Rykors and went about their business of thinking, fresh and without fatigue.
Thus ERB has very cleverly solved the problem of stoop labor- the labor the Kaldanes wouldn’t do.
ERB also gives himself room to toy with the idea of sex. He models Bantoom after a beehive which was a common device at the time. He changes the sexual primacy by making Luud a kingbee rather than a queen bee. All the Kaldanes have been hatched from eggs laid by King Bee Luud so Luud is truly the ‘father of his country.’ The jokes are there. Whether ERB was a sly old dog or whether he just wrote this stuff with no humor prepense is up to the reader to decide. Either he was intending humor or else he was naturally one of the funniest men alive.
It seems that all Kaldanes were male while the Rykors were either male or female. Thus any Kaldane could choose to be a man or woman for the day. This may possibly refer back to Greek mythology where Teiresias was the only person who had been both a man and a woman. He was then called on to say who got more sexual pleasure men or women. He thought women definitely. Any Kaldane could have answered as well.
ERB plays with the idea briefly but doesn’t take it too far. As far as the slicks were probably concerned he had so many strikes against him they didn’t even want to look at him. Given their attitude it even seems remarkable that the pulps paid good money for the story. This is really pretty strange stuff and it keeps getting stranger. ERB just skirts the accusation of a deranged mind in this story. Times have changed, of course.
Then there is the matter of the evolution of intelligence. This is a perennial topic in science fiction. At the presentt time the ultimate intellect is usually portrayed a as giant head on a spindly unathletic body incapable of much but feeding itself.
At the time it was thought that the mind and body were two separate things. In the fifties when I grew up wrestling with the idea Burroughs’ key Martian novels were available from G&D but I never read them. I was scandalized that Burroughs would write anything but Tarzan novels. It didn’t seem right to me that he would write anything else.
So, Burroughs tackles the mind/body relationship by completely separating brain and body. These brains were anaerobic, they could exist without oxygen. This was by design because when the oxygen plant will have failed and Mars changed from a dying planet to a dead one the Kaldanes were going to retire deep into the mars and live out their existence thinking. Bye bye Rykors.
ERB explains this quite succinctly. Evolution on Mars:
You do not understand…It is too big for you to grasp, but I will try to explain it. Barssom, the moons, the sun, the stars were created for a single purpose. From the beginning of time Nature has labored arduously toward the consummation of this purpose. At the very beginning things existed with life, but no brain. Gradually rudimentary nervous systems and miniscule brains evolved. Evolution proceeded. The brains became larger and more powerful. In us you see the highest development; but there are those of us who believe that there is yet another step- that some time in the far future our race shall develop into the super thing- just brain. The incubus of legs and chelae and vital organs will be removed. The future Kaldane will be nothing but a great brain. Deaf, dumb and blind it will be sealed in a great, wonderful, beautiful brain with nothing to distract it from eternal thought.
Right. I saw the movie. It was called Hitler’s Brain and it was a great one. Burroughs always seems to have figured out the entire B movie and sci-fi catalog. If I didn’t know better, and I don’t, I’d think his writings have been cribbed for the movies from his day to this. Burroughs is surely one of the most influential intellects from his time to the present. He is a baffling phenomenon, no one wants to give him credit but theyuse his ideas constantly.
The passage quoted is a fair synopsis of the course of evolution while dealing with a debating topic of his day and ours.
It’s quite clear ERB put everything he had into this effort.
Having landed in a Bantoom that might be compared to Baum’s Land of the Munchkins, although a rather disquieting comparison. Baum is actually a very strange writer. the Shaggy Man Of Oz left me very uneasy. I remember as a child a woman lamenting the book because she thought it would make it easy for weird old men to lure little girls away. The book was weird as was The Emeral City Of Oz. Burroughs takes weirdness a stride or two beyond those books. There’s always this uneasy quasi-pornographic feel behind his stories.
Tara is baffled by the overseer Kaldanes and slave Rykors working in the field. She waits until nightfall to go in search of food coming very close to the hive. Burroughs will develop this image shortly in Tarzan And The Ant Men. Night falls and the Banths come out. Tara can’t understand why these Martian lions are so plentiful in the valley. Shortly she will learn the reason is that the Kaldanes throw the dead and worn out Rykors into the fields for the Banths. It’s just gruesome little details like this that probably got ERB his reputation for being too far on the edge. Doesn’t bother us though, does it?
Now, a Banth steals up on Tara but God is on her side, she’s got a head start for the ubiquitous tree. Here we have two ambivalent images in Burroughs. Tree and lions are symbols of both safety or danger.
On the one hand Burroughs finds comfort and safety in trees, most conspicuously in the Tarzan stories. There all Africa with the exception of some lands deep in the Sahara is covered by one giant forest with conviently low branches unlike the picture we see of Baobobs and whatever. Tarzan is at home in the trees moving faster and with more ease than you and I trudging along on the ground.
If there’s danger in the lower terrace Tarzan moves up to the middle terrace or even the upper terraces where the little monkeys play. If he has a quarrel with Jane he has favorite trees in which to spend the night. He is sometimes treed as he was in Tarzan At The Earth’s Core. Here Tara is treed in a close replica to the treeing of Schneider in Tarzan The Untamed.
In that story Tarzan took Schneider to an enclosed natural bowl with a creek trickling into a cave. In the center was lone tree and a hungry lion. Tarzan viciously placed Schneider in the tree. It was up to Schneider to evade the cat when thirsty finding his way back up the tree in a game of cat and mouse.
Burroughs replicates the scene here. Tara drinks from the stream then being chased up the tree by the Banth who keeps watch till morning before stalking away.
So here the tree is both safety and a trap. Perhaps as ERB’s financial troubles developed he felt like Schneider so he replicated the situation with Tara as himself.
Martian rosy fingered Dawn appears. In trying to get back to her flier Tara is captured by the Kaldanes. The episode of her capture is well done as she discovers the secret of the Kaldanes and Rykors. Her captor is a Kaldane named Ghek who is to become a principal actor in the story.
Tara’s descent into the hive gives Burroughs time to philosophize and ruminate before Tara is taken up to her near brush with a fate worse than death at the hands of the Rykor of Luud.
At the beginning of Chapter VI ERB ruminates on the rough treatment given him by the literary mavens:
What the creature had told her gave Tara of Helium food for thought. She had been taught that every created thing fulfilled some useful purpose and she tried conscientiously to discover just what was the rightful place of the kaldanes in the universal scheme of things. She knew it must have its place but what that place was it was beyond her to conceive. She had to give it up. They recalled to her mind a little group of people in Helium who had foresworn the pleasures of life in the pursuit of knowledge. They were rather patronizing in their relations with those whom they thought not so intellectual. They considered themselves quite superior. She smiled at the recollections of a remark her father had once made concerning them, to the effect that if one of them ever dropped his egotism and broke it it would take a week to fumigate Helium.
It appears that ERB is smarting from the rejection of the literary types even though he longed for their approval. ERB himself chose not to parade his knowledge as literary types are wont to do, not that I would ever do that myself, while ERB can claim to be well read while profound enough in his writing and observations.
Eugenics, for instance, was under attack from its origins although widely accepted at this time. There is something offensive about it to the human spirit while the notion would certainly be socially abused if given free rein. ERB cleverly skirts the issue here while affirming the benefical results that could be achieved. Following the above quote he notes the superb physical condition of the Rykors and says that they had been bred to perfection. In other words they are the product of eugenics the same as thoroughbred horses or pedigreed cats and dogs. Being bodies without minds, in other words not complete humans, anyone who caught it probably took no offense. The closer you get the better ERB looks.
In the descent into the hive Tara idly hums an air which completely charms Ghek who asks what the noise is that Tara is making. She then sings for him which overwhelms Ghek’s senses thereby definitely preserving her life. Impervious to female beauty Ghek is transported by music. Universal language you know.
This will figure into the story soon. Tara is expected to fatten up to make a good meal for the Kaldanes who fatten up certain Rykors to make a good lunch. Thus ERB interjects the ever present theme of cannibalism. Away from the air and sunshine Tara is pining away so she pleads to be allowed to go outside. Luud grants this. Tara tries to escape, is caught and taken to Luud to meet her fate which encounter follows shortly.
Gahan in his pursuit of Tara had fallen from his flier into the arms of the storm. This is interesting. Always heroic he was trying to rescue a companion who was caught in mooring lines flapping beneath the flier. In the effort the wind catches a line with a heavy buckle at the end giving Gahan/Burroughs the obligatory bash between the eyes. He loses his hold but rather than plunging directly to mars the wind catches him like a leaf carrying him along with it. Then after a series of ups and downs gently deposits him on the crimson sward.
Impossible you say? No, it is not. ERB refers to a story he had read somewhere at sometime in which a baby caught up by tornado had been carried miles from its home and deposited gently on the ground unhurt where it was found. These things all sound preposterous; they have happened.
In a clever handling of time differentials while Tara was going through her travails that lasted weeks Gahan at almost the same time Tara landed in Bantoom picked himself up from the sward hundreds of miles away and began walking in the direction he hoped was toward Gathol. Thus weeks later he arrives in Bantoom at the precise moment to observe Tara’s escape attempt. Not bad.
Not only that but having decided to rescue the Red Woman he didn’t then recognize he discovers the flier, kills a Banth or two and drifts, no propeller, directly over the wall of Luud encountering Ghek who fretting for his life agrees to take him to Tara on condition that he can leave with them. No problem.
As they are making this deal Tara is struggling to preserve her…oh…integrity. Luud has set his headless but magnificently built Rykor on her while always a voyeur, he watches.
Luud has a powerful mind. He has not hypnotized Tara but is able to control his brainless Rykor while not being attached. This means that by remote control he is able to connect to the spinal nerve ending of the Rykor. Good stunt.
Gahan and Ghek enter just as the Rykor is poised for the downward thrust. ERB comes close here.
Gahan is warned to avoid eye contact but fails to do so becoming hypnotized. Hypnosis is a significant theme in Burroughs’ work. In this case he seems to be influenced by George Du Maurier’s novel Trilby with its great character Svengali. In that story the heroine has no musical talent but Svengali is able to hypnotize her into becoming a second Jenny Lind. The key point is that while Trilby is singing Svengali must make eye contact from his theatre box. When contact was broken Trilby immediately began croaking not knowing a note from a hat box.
ERB does a reverse variation here. It become apparent that Gahan is entranced by Luud and all is lost. But in holding Gahan Luud had to relax his hold on his Rykor who went limp (no pun intended) releasing Tara. The quick minded Tara knowing the hold her singing had on Ghek immediately bursts into full throated song trilling out that wonderful old Martian standard- The Song Of Love.
Thus ERB reverses the Trilby/Svengali scenario. Tara’s singing dissolves Luud’s hold on Gahan and it’s all over for Luud.
An exciting chase scene and battle and the three comaradoes are drifting off to meet another fate in another freak city. This one is called Manator.
The Bantoom story thus becomes a preliminary tale to the main story.
January 15, 2009
Dark As Dungeon Way Down In A Mind
We’re on a bad motorcycle with the devil in the seat
Going ninety miles an hour down a dead end street.
My correspondent replied to my post Bob Dylan The Reactionary. An excerpt:
Poetry is a funny thing: it bypasses the cerebral when it is best IMHO…Poetry is nonsense, making the nonsense of mortality a bit more bearable for a moment in time.
I suppose that’s a valid reflection. There has been some debate as to whether song lyrics are poetry. In a lyric’s effort to condense experience into the fewest possible words my own thinking is that they are of the essence of poetry whether or not one considers them ‘true poetry.’
I certainly carry innumerable song lyrics around in my head while very little ‘true poetry’ has had the same effect on me. A great many of the lyrics are Country and Western and what passed for Folk. I find references in Dylan of the same importance of favorites that I have.
I recently ran Hank Snow’s Ninety Miles An Hour Down A Dead End Street on Rhapsody and was surprised to discover that Dylan had actually recorded a heavily edited version as a religious gospel dirge. Don’t get the connection but if Dylan says so…
The part of the lyric that has always struck me the most forcefully is the line: We’re on a bad motorcycle with the devil in the seat going ninety miles an hour down a dead end street. I apply the line to all kinds of situations including the present political quagmire. Dylan seems to emphasize the illicit love affair. Doesn’t really matter, the point is that that little piece of ephemera had a profound influence on us. Dylan resurrected the song fifty years on while I use the image that appealed to me in my writing frequently. Poetry? Well, I think maybe.
There are a couple of other country classics that live in my mind by Merle Travis: Dark As A Dungeon Way Down In A Mine and Nine Pound Hammer. I always imagined those were folk songs dating back to the 1880s or something but Travis wrote as late as 1947. The relevant quotes for me:
It’s dark as a dungeon way down in a mine
Where the wind never blows, and the sun never shines,
Where the dangers are double and the pleasures are few.
Roll on buddy, don’t you roll so slow,
Tell me, how can I roll when the wheels won’t go.
This nine pound hammer is a little too heavy
For my size, boys, for my size.
The first quote is from Dungeon, the latter from Nine Pound Hammer.
For myself I always gave the lyrics a psychological twist saying ‘mind’ for mine. Roll on buddy referred to my habitual procrastination, psychological blockage preventing action. Had problems. Solved ‘em. Are these songs poetry? They are in my mind. I make all kinds of things out of them even the innocuous line:
It’s a long way to Harlan,
It’s a long way to Hazard,
Just to get a little brew. boys,
Just to get a little brew.
I’m not thinking of booze either as in ‘My Buckets Got A Hole In It.’ Can’t buy no beer.
I’m sure Dylan cherishes both those songs. They’re the classics that people in the know know. They don’t call us cognoscenti for nothing. Roll on buddy…
As a last example before I get to the gist of this thing is the song ‘Grand Coulee Dam written by Woody Guthrie a man I really despise- damn it. But talent will out and while I have my prejudices I’m no bigot. For me this lyric is as poetic as you can get.
Well, the world holds seven wonders that the travelers always tell,
Some gardens and some towers, I guess you know them well,
But now the greatest wonder is in Uncle Sam’s fair land,
It’s the great Columbia River and the big Grand Coulee Dam.
She heads up the Canadian Rockies where the rippling waters glide,
Comes a-roaring down the canyon to meet the salty tide,
Of the wide Pacific Ocean where the sun sets in the West
And the big Grand Coulee country in the land I love the best.
Uncle Sam took up the challenge in the year of thirty-three,
For the farmer and the factory hand and for all of you and me,
He said, “Roll along, Columbia, you can ramble to the sea,
But river, while you’re rambling, you can do some work for me.”
Now in Washington and Oregon you can hear the factories hum,
Making chrome and making manganese and bright aluminum,
And there roars the Flying Fortress now to fight for Uncle Sam,
Spawned upon the King Columbia past the Big Grand Coulee Dam.
In the misty crystal glitter of that wild and windward spray,
Men have fought the pounding waters and met a watery grave,
Well she tore their boats to splinters but she gave men dreams to dream
Of the day the Coulee Dam would cross that wild and wasted stream.
Nice stuff from my point of view. Doesn’t get any better than that. The song gave me dreams to dream. If you want to hear the best rendition ever by Lonnie Donegan click this:
My verdict is that good lyrics are good poetry while bad poetry doesn’t necessarily make a good lyric.
Now as to the lyrics to Highwater by Dylan that my correspondent referred me to that I discussed in the post: Bob Dylan The Reactionary.
As the lyric touched my correspondent’s psychology I tackled the lyric from a different angle as the way I was interpreting it may not have reflected his. For all I know this doesn’t either but I think it’s interesting.
The lyric in question:
Well, George Lewis told the Englishman, the Italian and the Jew
You can’t open up your mind, boys, to
every conceivable point of view
They got Charles Darwin trapped out on Highway 5
Judge says to the high sheriff, I want him dead or alive
Either one, I don’t care
The format Dylan uses here is that of the genre of old jokes that begins something like this: A Protestant, a Catholic and a Jew… then moves on to the punchline. Dylan’s presentation can be interpreted as flip so he is probably thinking of the verse as a joke.
As I said in my previous post George Lewis represents a Black, the Englishman as Science or Darwin, the Italian Catholicism or Christianity and the Jew Judaism. Four different conceivable views that can’t be held simultaneously no matter how open you think your mind is.
These are four crucial irreconcilable conflicts in Dylan’s mind while they probably represent the major psychological dilemma of most White or Jewish people.
The problem is especially acute for Dylan who was indoctrinated into Jewish Lubavitcher beliefs for his Bar Mitzvah while having
been brought up from infancy on Hillbilly music, Country if you prefer, which is quintessential Christian music whether sung in church or honky-tonk. Those good old boys live with their religion even when they’re robbing banks so even with0ut going to church Dylan has a strong Christian background. He did sing a sexual anthem like Ninety Miles An Hour as a hymn. Ponder that for a minute.
So Dylan has had to reconcile his dual religious beliefs seeming to have come down on the side of his Lubavitcher Judaism which is no surprise. He then has to do something about his religious vs. scientific or evolutionary beliefs. Darwin doesn’t go with Judaism. He centers the problem on Darwin as Science. Here he has made the decision to imprison or kill Evolutionary beliefs. Dead or Alive, either way, Judge says, he don’t care. Having eliminated Science and Christianity we have Judasim and the Blacks on the racial issue. Dylan has subordinated himself to the Blacks on the racial issue and is willing to take the inferior position. While he believes he has resolved these for him difficult problems they still trouble him or he wouldn’t be talking about them. Strange.
Why did my correspondent associate me with the verse? He says: Just thought of you and the line(s) for some reason. My correspondent seems to be wrestling with Dylan’s problem himself. As I have written on all four topics fairly extensively and I know the correspondent has read lots of my stuff I suppose the lines suggested me. The song isn’t good poetry and not even good lyrics but if it succeeded at least on my correspondent’s level one would have to concede that lyrics are poetry. The better the lyric the better the poetry. And now for a little circular logic: The better the poetry the better the lyric.
January 14, 2009
Bob Dylan The Reactionary
As I say I haven’t listened to anything by Dylan since ’66. Not exactly true, I have listened to and watched a couple of newer items on You Tube or wherever but I hope I won’t be judged too harshly on account of a chance listening like that.
What I mean to say is a correspondent sent me a quote from a song called Highwater- for Charlie Patton.
I’m more clear now on why I haven’t listened to later Dylan because I didn’t think the song was very good. The Poet Laureate of Rock can surely do better than that. The song was from an album called Love and Theft. I’m not sure which half of the equation this song represents.
As the quote has religious overtones perhaps my correspondent was reacting to the recent examination of Dylan’s religious attitudes in the movie by Joel or perhaps to some religious essays on Dylan I’ve written like for instance, Lubavitcher Bob. Beyond that I don’t know what he could have meant.
From the lyrics it looks like Dylan takes himself quite seriously as a man in black. I thought the lyrics were pretty nonsensical as represented by these three lines:
Well, the cuckoo is a pretty bird, she warbles as she flies
I’m preachin’ the word of G-d, I’m puttin’ out your eyes
I asked Fat Nancy for somethin’ t’ eat
Well, I’m not going to struggle too hard to unravel the deep inner meaning of those lines, let Charlie do it, but I am taking Dylan literally on the middle one. As a man in black he is preachin’ some word anyway- G-d, the D-vil or somewhere in between. Not always easy t’ tell.
But back t’ the quote my correspondent sent that does have probable religious overtones. Since it’s expressed so cryptically of course, it’s all deniable:
Well, George Lewis told the Englishman, the Italian and the Jew
You can’t open your mind, boys,
to every conceivable point of view.
They got Charles Darwin trapped out there on Highway 5
Judge says to the high sheriff, I want him dead or alive.
Either way, I don’t care.
In this song of unlimited non-sequiturs this verse can almost be read to make sense.
In the next verse which may make it related, or perhaps not, Dylan says he’s a preacherman so we’ll assume Dylan is speaking Biblically. He is a Bible scholar you know as well as a Lubavitcher. Dylan always blazes new trails, don’t he?
OK. I don’t know who George Lewis is supposed to be. There’s a couple Black musicians by that name so let’s assume a Black man is ‘tellin’ the Englishman, Italian and Jew what’s what. Nobody can believe three things at one time so the wise thing would be to bet on the Jew if you want to win, win, win. That last is a parody on a line or two from the old folk song Stewball for those who didn’t recognize it. I almost didn’t.
We will assume that Darwin and Evolution are meant by the Englishman, the Pope and Catholicism by the Italian while the Jew needs no explanation. Might be Dylan, I don’t know. Two, Pope and Jew, are religious while Darwin is Scientific and his science demolishes religion. “The King takes the Queen every time’ to quote a new folk song by Larry Hosford. So the Pope and Jew are out to get Darwin in order to preserve their folly. Thus they have Darwin trapped out on Highway 5. Why 5? Why not 61? Dylan must have been cruising the highway from LA to Seattle at the time looked out the window of the bus saw a sign saying I5 so he said ‘That rhymes’ and put it in.
Dylan trapped on Highway 5 is filler so to the Judge i.e. Biblical authority tells the high sheriff- high sheriff sounds real wild west, don’t it, I knowed you’d think so- he wants Evolution/Darwin brought in dead or alive. OK. So as Dylan believes that the Bible is literally true and the veritable word of G-d proceeding from his own lips then it follows that Dylan is anti-Evolution and Darwin. Must be or we’ve got ourselves a contradiction here. Dylan is thus first cousin to William Jennings Bryan who persecuted Scopes way down there in Tennessee where they make that sippin’ whiskey. Hence Dylan is a reactionary rejecting the truth, as Woody Allen would say, for G-d.
Well, brav-, but a big raspberry for B-b if that is what he meant. Who can say? It’s poetry. Of sorts. A bigger raspberry for my c-rresp-ndent who should learn to say what he means without pinching his heroe’s words.
Highwater everywhere. He’s a drowning man.
May 20, 2008
Themes And Variations
The Tarzan Novels Of Edgar Rice Burroughs
#18, Tarzan And The Lion Man
Part 7 of 10 Parts
First published on the ezine, ERBzine
The City Of God
The first to the Falls, Rhonda was then spotted from the plateau by some of the Apes of God.
Now begins the story within the story. A long short story or novelette that is as fine as anything in Fantasy or Science Fiction. This story is the eighteen caret ruby in the diadem of the Tarzan series. That this story should have gone unrecognized for over seventy years is incredible.
Not only is it objectively stunning but the subjective richness is beyond measure. Just as some background on the number of influences on the story let us begin with two, both of which are interconnected in ERB’s mind.
The novel by Mary Shelley, Frankenstein, had a profound effect on ERB’s mind. He apparently read it early which is to say before 1900. The possibility of creating life had interested him from the beginning of his corpus while references to it are interspersed throughout. One of the greatest of his creations, the great physician and scientist Dr. Ras Thavas, will succeed in creating life five years hence in The Synthetic Men Of Mars but will botch the job terribly.
In this story Burroughs’ character, God, doesn’t create life but he manipulates genes to create a whole new species. Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein in 1818 and in 1931 Universal made the definitive movie. That was two years before Burroughs wrote Lion Man so it is reasonable to assume the movie had an effect on him.
IMDb provides a quote from the movie that may have inspired ERB; I don’t think there is any doubt that he saw this seminal horror film.
Henry Frankenstein: Look! It’s moving. It’s alive. It’s alive….It’s alive, it’s moving, etc.
Victory Moritz: Henry- in the name of god!
Henry Frankenstein: Oh, in the name of God! Now I know what it feels like to be God!
The 1931 Frankenstein is stil an overwhelming experience to watch over seventy years later. For the audiences of 1931 it must have been overpowering. The fabulous castle of Dr. Frankenstein was surely an inspiration for the castle of Burroughs’ God. What Burroughs did with the inspiration is as astonishing as both the Shelley original and the movie.
In the news also at the time for over a period of a decade or more was the spectacular career of John R. ‘Goat Glands’ Brinkley. This is an astonishing story. I rely mainly on two accounts: Vishwas Gatitonde’s excellent article “Magic Men’ in BB New Series #59 and the account in Wlofman Jack’s autobiography. Wolfman Jack’s autobiography slipped by unnoticed but is one of the great autobiographies of the second half of the twentieth century, probably the twentieth century and possibly of all time.
Also see on the internet:
Grift, Goats and Gonads by Scott McLemee
Kansas State Historical Papers- John R. Brinkley
Border Radio Quackery by Gene Fowler and Bill Crawford
The Goat Gland Doctor by Joe Schwarcz, PH.D
The medical practices of God involve gland transplants along with genetic implanting or splicing. Over the years based on a foundation of Frankenstein ERB had built up a magnificent fantastical scientific edifice of life creation based on Evolution.
There can be no doubt that he read and thought about the subject a great deal. He was very well informed on evolutionary matters. He was a well educated, thoughtful, intelligent man contrary to nearly every opinion about him. His ideas as presented in Lion Man are probably as far as he could take them based on the knowledge of his time. The discovery of DNA was only a little over a decade away, actually made a few years before he died. One wonders what he would have made of it. Even then ERB’s notion of ‘germ cells’ with their indestructability contains the essence of DNA so ERB was on the right track in his thinking. I’m going to handle this out of order as the ideas explain what follows better.
ERB was familiar with the use of cannibalism to ingest certain qualities of slain warriors. Thus it was thought that to eat the brains of especially intelligent people transmitted that intelligence to oneself. To eat the flesh of a brave man made oneself also brave, etc.
From there to cellular therapy is a short step. Even though there was probably no one who believed in the physical benefits of human cannibalism this side of Africa when it came to animals parts intelligent men threw common sense out the window.
Cellular Therapy arose at the end of the nineteenth century. Joe Schwarcz explains:
Charles-Edouard Brown-Sequard, a noted French physiologist, had shocked the medical community by injecting himself with the crushed testicles of young dogs and gunea pigs. Afterwards he claimed that he had regained the physical stamina and intellectual vigor of his youth. Many men availed themselves of ‘La Methode Sequardienne’, but once the placebo effect was filtered out little remained. In Vienna physiologist Eugen Steinach proposed that youthful vitality could be restored by increasing levels of testosterone. the easiet way to do this, Steinach said, was through vasectomy. Sperm production wasted testosterone, and if the channel leading from the testes to the ejaculatory duct were tied off, then blood levels of testosterone would rise. Brinkley may also have heard of the work of Serge Vorenoff, a French doctor who was stirring u a storm of controversy with his experimental gland transplants. Vorenof had been a physician in the court of the King of Egypt, and there he had spent a great deal of time treating the court eunuchs, who suffered from a variety of illnesses. He hyposthesized that maintaining active genital glands was the secret of health. As proof, he cited his experiments with an aging ram into which he transplanted the testicles of young lamb. the ram’s wool got thicker, and his sexual vigor returned. Voreneff then went on to transplant bits of monkey testes into aging men; he claimed success, although he could offer no scientific validation of his claim. In America the stage was set for the meteoric rise of J.R. Brinkley.
Brinkley began to transplant goat glands into the testicles of his patients. As he began his career in the early 1920s radio made its appearance as a commercial entity. On the qui vive Brinkley realized its potential to increase his business and spread his gospel. He bought the first radio station in Kansas in 1923, his practice was in Melford, His call leters were KFKB- Kansas First-Kansas Best- as bold a claim as his medical ones. He was actually a fine broadcaster transmitting Country Music, weather, farm reports and other items of interest as well as infomercials for his medical practice. This notoriety brought the AMA and government down on him. By 1930 he had had both his medical and broadcasting licenses revoked.
Now, here’s where the man showed his innovative brilliance. This really got him attention. Nothing daunted he moved down to fabled Del Rio, Texas, Brinkley created the fable, across the Rio Grande from Villa Acuna. His radio station in Kansas was small, a mere 1000 watts, although probably non-directional.
In Mexico without US regulations he was able to build a boombox of 75,000 to 100,000 non-directional watts. This was later incresed, if this is believable, to 500,000 watts and tahen to1,000,000 watts according to Fowler and Crawford who really should know.
Alright. When I grew up in Michigan in the 1950s I could clearly pick up the successor Del Rio station after dark when its power was only 250,000 watts. Wolfman Jack who worked the station tells an amusing story of his arrival. Driving through the desert to the transmitter he noted that all the cars parked there had left their headlights on. This mystified him but then he learned that the wattage was so powerful that headlights glowed in consequence. The air crackled around him. At a half million and a million watts people must have levitated.
So, Dr. Brinkley was much in the news all these years so that ERB as Gaitonde suggests couldn’t have missed him. While in our time there is no reason to mention La Methode Sequardienne yet with Brinkley being reviled it is quite possible ERB came across a discussion of cellular therapy in his reading which did mention these earlier experiments.
ERB has God, a formerly handsome Englishman, create a hybrid hominid between a gorilla and a human. God himself has regressed being a hybrid human/gorilla. p. 133:
“What is this strange purpose we are to serve?” asked Rhonda.
“It is purely scientific; but it is a long story and I shall have to start at the beginning,” explained God.
In the beginning. God appears to have been a medical student back in England with a strong interest in biology. p. 134:
“I had always been intrigued by Lamarck’s investigations and later by Darwin’s. They were on the right track, but they did not go far enough; then shortly after my graduation, I was traveling in Austria when I met a priest at Brunn who was working along lines similar to mine. His name was Mendel. We exchanged ideas. He was the only man in the world who could appreciate me, but he couldn’t go all the way with me. I got some help from him; but doubtless, he got more from me; though I never heard anything more about him before I left England.”
ERB gives us a fair amount of information here. He is familiar with the Frenchman Lamarck of the eighteenth century who centered on heridity. A red flag goes up on Darwin because if God left England in 1859 he would have known nothing of Darwin who published that year. In any event while Darwin’s Origin Of Species sheds light on the mechanics of the variations among a species I can’t find any evidence of how species themselves evolve. ERB is also familiar with the genetics of the monk, not priest, Gregor Mendel, who published in 1866 sending a copy to Darwin which the latter dismissed as irrelevant. However, Burroughs through God seems to have taken Darwin less seriously than Mendel.
He imples that Mendel was on the right track with his peas but that following the same line of reasoning God went well beyond him which indeed he did. Mendel was disregarded in 1866, his revival beginning in the year 1900. So Burroughs in 1930 is keeping up his reading.
Burroughs then goes on to explain God’s theory of heredity. His theory is not all that bad. It shows Burroughs obviously doing some reading and thinking on the subject. p. 134:
“In 1857 I felt that I had practically solved the myster of heredity, and in that year I published a monograph on the subject. I will explain the essence of my discoveries in as simple language as possible, so that you may understand the purpose you are to serve.
“Briefly, there are two types of cells we inherit from our parents- body cells and germ cells. these cells are composed of chromosomes containing genes- a separate gene for each mental and physical characteristic. The body cells, dividing and multiplying, changing, growing, determine the sort of individual we are to be; the germ cells remaining practically unchanged from our conception, determine what characteristics our progeny will inherit, through us, from our progentors and from us.
“I determined that heredity could be controlled through the transference of these genes from one individual to another. I learned that these genes never die; they are abosolutely indestructible- the basis of life on earth, the promise of immortality through all eternity.
It appears that ERB’s main concern is heredity and indeed genealogy was important to him. While his information is a clumsy account compared to what has been learned since then, given the times ERB was quite advanced. He doesn’t have the handle on DNA which is a decade or so in the future, Watson and Crick published in 1947, but in the germ cells he’s on the track of the right idea. The notion of the body cells is, of course, superfluous.
But now God runs up against a brick wall when he publishes his theory in 1857. Remember Mendel’s discoveries were still eight years in the future while so far ahead of their time that they will be disregarded for thirty-four years.
I don’t know what horror films have been released by this time, Dracula and Frankenstein for sure, but here the plot seems very familiar, possible Burke and Hareish. Unable to proceed in a legal manner because of society’s obtuseness God turns to criminal means, but quite novel crime.
As he has detemined that germ cells are immortal he raids the tombs of Westminster Abbey extracting germ cells from Henry VIII and his court and entourage. Thus he has a little time capsule when he is discovered and flees England to avoid blackmail. He decides to conduct his experiments on gorillas in Africa. He finds the greatest concetration of gorillas in Africa, and hence on earth, in the valleyof diamonds. In something like seventy years he converts pure gorillas into a hybrid of gorillas and humans capable of speech and human cognition. They build his magnificent City of God for him which must have been quite new when Tarzan arrived.
As they are bred from the genes of medieval Englishmen the effects of Lamarckian heredity are evident as they speak a medieval form of English and replicate the City called London after its medieval progenitor. Following Burroughs’ earlier thought in Opar the gorillas accept only beings born in gorilla form with human attributes. Sports and mutations are expelled. the other are, of course, the result of Mendelian genetics that are beings with odd combination of genes.
God was born in 1833, the same year as Burroughs’ father, thus in 1933 he is one hundred one years old. Some forty years back or so as he realized he was aging so he decided to splice in the body cells of young gorillas in a form of cellular therapy to rejuvenate himself. This worked well in preserving his youth but unfortunately the more gorilla body cells he spliced in the more gorilla-like he became, so that when Tarzan and Rhonda meet him he is a grotesque hybrid, more intellignet than the gorilla hybrids, but reverting rapidly to pure gorilla. Serious problem.
God is very pleased to capture two such fine looking human specimens as Tarzan and Rhonda because by splicing in their body cells he will be able to resume his human shape in some style.
So Burroughs has been developing his ideas in a creditable scientific way. While it’s true his actual science is speculative he is employing some fairly sound reasoning on the matter that may not have been too dissimilar from the tack taken by Stalin’s scientists, while creating a human-ape hybrid has apparently been a timeless fascination. It is said that our own scientists have succeeded in actually creating a chimp-human hybrid but that the specimens have been destroyed. I haven’t any confirmed proof that such has been done but rumors are around.
Having given a reasonable scientific explanation of the gorilla hybrids and God’s purpose for Tarzan and Rhonda, Burroughs with his usual ghoulish delight introduces his favorite topic of cannibalism. He informs the two that after satisfying his need for body cells he intends to eat them thus imbibing their characteristics. He also says that he will extract several glands from Rhonda for some special purpose.
I’m not exactly clear on what cannibalism meant to ERB. It seems he associates it with his father who was particulary hard on Burroughs in his youth which ERB may have interpreted as being eaten alive by his father. As we have God, cannibalism and his father associated here his father may be the reason for the recurring reference to cannibalism is his work.
The female glands recur again in Tarzan’s Quest where the Kavuru chief Kavandavanda requires female glands for his immortality pills and Vishwas Gaitonde finds the subject mentioned again in Tarzan The Magnificent.
So when Rhonda arrives at the Falls and is spotted from above by the seeming gorillas, she is actually spotted by a clone of the real fifteenth century Lord Buckingham in his gorilla guise.
Now begins a series of astonishments, jokes and twists such as are found in few novels. As I mentioned, today much of this is old hat, but in 1933 this was startling fresh and new. At this point we are unaware of the hybrid nature of the gorillas. The following passage then was not only startling to Rhonda but to us. p. 94:
(Rhonda) felt very small and alone and tired. With a sigh she sat down on a rounded boulder and leaned against another piled behind it. All her remaining strength seemed to have gone from her. She closed her eyes wearily, and two tears rolled down her cheeks. Perhaps she dozed, but she was startled into wakefulness by a voice speaking near her. At first she thought she was dreaming and did not open her eyes.
“She is alone,” the voice said. “We will take her to God- he will be pleased.”
it was an English voice, or at least the accent was English, but the tones were gruff and deep and guttural. The strange words convinced her she was dreaming. She opened her eyes, and shrank back with a little scream of terror. Standing close to her were two gorillas, or such she thought them to be until one of them opened his mouth and spoke.
“Come with us,” it said; “we are going to take you to God;” then it reached out a mighty, hairy hand and seized her.
There’s a shocking opener to the twilight zone between R2 and R3 as ERB prepares the curiosity of the reader for what is perhaps the most amazing story he ever told.
Rhonda, physically and emotionally exhausted by the terrific events of the past few days, slips into a trance in the middle of Africa only to be brought out of it by voices speaking Enalish saying they are taking her to God. What can that possibly mean? When she opens her eyes she sees two gorillas are doing the speaking.
That’s something else, isn’t it? Had they been on the screen could they have competed with King Kong that was released in that year of 1933? Out of King Kong came 1949′s Mighty Joe Young while the public’s fascination with gorillas continued until Planet Of The Apes which, if it doesn’t owe anything to Burroughs’ story, develops the theme ad absurdam. Kong, Young and Planet Of The Apes, Stalin’s experiments all owe their origins to the Tarzan oeuvre.
Burroughs raises the theme to heights that have never been surpassed. Combining the human gorillas with the City of God was incomparable genius.
With the background clear let’s take a leap into the future.
The City Of God
The whole thing seemed like a hideous and grotesque nightmare,
yet it was so real that she couldn’t know whether or not
she was dreaming.
Lion Man p. 95
In taking the ‘germ cells’ of individuals from the time of Henry VIII, as the cells were cloned with those of the gorillas the hybrids cloned the environment they knew. While clones have no mermory of a previous existence, in the popular imagination they do. Thus in the paranoid classic movie The Boys From Brazil of 1978 the number of clones of Adolf Hitler all exhibited the supposed conditioned responses of the original which they could not have experienced themselves.
At the same time ERB cleverly replicates the political situation between God, Church and Henry VIII. When Rhonda was captured, two gorillas named the Dukes of Buckingham and Suffolk quarrel over whether she is to be taken to Henry VIII or God. As we still have no idea of what is going on we are as mystified as Rhonda.
And then as Rhonda tries to order her bobbled brain she realized she could communicate with these improbably English speaking apes. p. 96:
Now she had an instant in which to think clearly, and with it came the realization that she had the means of communicating with her captors.
‘Who are you?” she damanded. “And why have you made me a prisoner?”
‘The two turned suddenly upon her. She thought their faces denoted surprise.
“She speaks English!” exclained one of them.
There’s a neat turnabout similar to when Tarzan addresses Buckingham in Mangani and the gorilla answers him in English. The gorilla exclaims, “She speaks English.”
Then follows an explanation of God, Henry VIII and Cranmer that only succeeds in confusing Rhonda further as she seems to be in some costume play in which for some inexplicable reason actors clad as gorillas are acting out a play about Henry VIII. She pinches herself to no avail. She is awake. This isn’t theatre, although Hamlet soon would be played in Nazi uniforms which is just about as ridiculous.
The gorillas take her to Henry VIII where we will leave her until she is joined by Tarzan.
While Rhonda escaped theArabs Naomi had been recaptured. In company with the Arabs she is brought to the canyon that leads to an easy ascent of the plateau according to the map. As the ascent becomes steep they leave the horses with Eyad going ahead on foot. Awaiting them at the crest is Stalin’s dream corps. Throughout the oeuvre one is always amazed at the disregard for their own well being the apes exhibit. They charge in story after story with complete disregard for their own well being. Always a signficant portion are left on the field of battle but the survivors never complain while Tarzan complacently accepts their sacrifice as his due.
So here, barehanded against the Arab firearms the gorillas launch a wave attack reminiscent of the Chinese in Korea that doesn’t stop until all the Arabs are dead. No regard at all for casualities. No wonder Stalin thought Burroughs was on to something. While the apes perform as they have always performed in Tarzan stories the difference here is that these are not mere apes but hybrids with human intelligence. If Burroughs was aware of Stalin’s experiments was he laughing at the Great Commissar? Is this battle a reference to Stalin? One can’t be positive of course but I am sure that the character of God-the formerly handsome Englishman- is partially based on H.G. Wells who was associated with Stalin.
Naomi was with the Arabs. She is captured by Buckingham who asks her how she got away from God; she is identical to Rhonda so Buckingham naturally confused her for the latter. The Apes sense of smell was not as developed as Tarzan’s. I’m sure the Big Bwana would have smelled the difference immediately.
ERB is now dealing with his sexual problems. Of the three women involved with the City of God- Naomi, Rhonda and Balza, it is necessary to sort out which woman represents what to ERB. As Naomi is weak and vacillating she obviously represents Emma. Rhonda who is strong and self-willed seems to represent ERB’s Anima ideal or in other words, La of Opar. La disappears from the oeuvre after Tarzan The Invincible of 1930 but as Tarzan and Rhonda in God’s prison replicate Tarzan and La in the Lion’s den of Invincible it seems probable that ERB has transported La from the fantasy world of Opar to the mere imaginary world of the movies. This leaves Balza- The Golden Girl- who probably represents Florence, but we will deal with her in the appropriate place.
ERB has now gotten the two women, the Arabs and Tarzan to the Falls. Orman, West and the safari are assembling at the base of the Falls so, having dissolved his story after the Bansuto attack ERB has now reintegrated it.
After a series of adventures during which Buckingham kills Suffolk, Tarzan appears to rescue Naomi killing Buckingham. At this point in Burroughs’ psychology he assumes the identity of his ordinary self and that of Tarzan into one being. As the movie people have never seen Tarzan they assume that he is Stanley Obroski his identical twin. Tarzan does not correct anyone but allows them to believe he is Stanley.
As I perceive it then ERB has now deluded himself into believing that he is Tarzan. Those who know him still perceive him as Ed Burroughs. He has no choice but to let them believe that because if he attempted to impose his delusion on them he might have been committed. Thus for a period of about five to six years from 1934 to 1939-40 Burroughs perceives himself as Tarzan but capitulates in Tarzan And The Madman giving up his illusion of being the Big Bwana. In Lion Man he describes Tarzan as a madman so the two novels are linked by the concept of madness.
After writing Madman Burroughs left California for Hawaii where he forced Florence away from him. WWII came along which saved him from himself. After the war he went back to LA to die. It is interesting that he didn’t choose to live in Tarzana but bought a house in Encino that backed against the Promised Land. thus like Moses, with whom there was a connection made in Tarzan Of The Apes, ERB was destined to view the Promised Land but not enter it.
In Lion Man he is flush with the hope of being able to live out his fantasy. He is now a few months from abandoning Emma so symbolically he returns Naomi to the safari at the Falls from whence she disappears from the story.
Only Rhonda and Balza will figure in the rest of the story. Emma is no more although Jane will appear again in Quest probably as Emma’s replacement Florence. In Magnificent Florence is mentioned only anonymously as Tarzan’s ‘wife.’ ERB is definitely struggling.
Having delivered Naomi to the safari Tarzan then reascends the plateau in search of Rhonda and the City of God.
The City Of God
Every one of us, I believe, is possessed of two characters.
Often time they are so much alike that the duality is not noticeable,
but again there is a divergence so great
That we have the phenomenon of a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
in a single individual.
E.R. Burroughs- The Swords Of Mars
Tarzan And the Lion Man was followed at the end of 1933 by the Mars story The Swords Of Mars which features the return of John Carter. ERB had taken a vacation from Emma returning to the scene of his own early adventures- Arizona. Not coincidentally in the White Mountain of Apache country. ERB’s motivations are sometimes obscure. He was in the Army in Arizona in 1896-97 which was before he married Emma. So he took his leave of absence from Emma to a place before he married her. Setting the clock back, so to speak, somewhat reminiscent of The Eternal Lover.
Just as Tarzan and Stanley met in Lion Man so while about to go to sleep, O.B.- The Other Burroughs- hears the door open, the clank of a man in war gear walking across the floor; terrified like an adolescent in a bad dream, O.B. is relieved and pleased when John Carter, back from Mars, greets him. A real Jekyll and Hyde situation. Thus as with Tarzan and Stanley the two Martian aspects of Buroughs are reunited but not melded. John Carter then tells O.B. a bedtime story as though Burroughs were a child again. I’m not that familiar with the Mars stories but there must be a connection to Lion Man and the MGM situation. This must be true because this is the novel in which the opening letters of each chapter spell- TO FLORENCE WITH ALL MY LOVE, ED. One assumes then that although the decision to leave Emma was difficult to make, ERB made the final decision in the Arizona mountains.
So now a few months earlier Tarzan/Stanley makes the journey to the City of God where he will be reunited with his Anima ideal, Rhonda -La of Opar- in prison. Thus his whole person both Anima and Animus are locked up by MGM.
Rhonda had been taken to Henry VIII by Buckingham and Suffolk. The city was called London, the country England and the river The Thames. As ERB jokingly smirks- The English always take a little bit of England with them wherever they go. Pretty funny, actually.
Here the events of Henry’s reign are being reenacted. As the apes are clones of Henry and his court who replicate their times one wonders whether each succeeding generation will be stuck in this one period of history reenacting it over and over until the end of time. Once again I am reminded of The Eternal Lover. ERB seems to be obsessed by the idea of time.
Rhonda was first placed with the wives of Henry, a week later being moved to a cell in God’s castle where Tarzan found her when he too was captured.
For now he was moving through the night until he came up against the ten foot high wall surrounding the City of London and within it the City of God. Here we have the historical confrontation between the spiritual and temporal powers. At the least the story is a very humorous parody of the religious situation of Henry VIII. Once again ERB ridicules religion and this is done so cleverly and with such genius.
But there are many levels of meaning. Earlier I mentioned that the capture of Tarzan may have been meant to replicate ERB;’s capture by MGM. In that sense then the City of God might represent MGM which boasted that it had more stars then Heaven. So there is probably a joke there too.
On the other hand, God is described as a formerly handsome Englishman. The only candidate for that role I can come up with is ERB’s bete noir, H.G. Wells. I think that I have adequately documented the literary feud between Wells and Burroughs. Wells began well with his scientific romances. While not as fresh and stunning as they were at the time of issue they still hold up well today. Even though ERB denied having ever read Wells I think that claim can be dismissed out of hand. ERB, then, would have been as impressed with Wells’ early romances as anyone else. Then when Wells began his campaign of defamation and ridicule which is most clearly represented in his Mr. Blettsworthy On Rampole Island he fell from favor in Burroughs’ eyes, hence the grotesquely deformed ‘formerly handsome Englishman.’
As much as I like Wells he does pontificate. Like all Liberals he has a difficult time distinguishing his opinion from truth, right and wrong, or reality. While he does sometimes make a hit in his prophesying he is mostly wrong. Backing the Worker’s Paradise of Stalin’s USSR was certainly wrong and more than enough to discredit him in the staunch anti-Communist Burroughs’ eyes.
Wells probably shook Burroughs’ faith in the glory of England which had been a keystone of his secular faith fromt he beginning. Thus, combining MGM, Stalin and the USSR and Wells, Burroughs packages all the troublemakers of this perilous time for him into one big box with a bigger bow on top.
As his story could have no effect on his situation let us hope it was at least cathartic for him. When Tarzan ends up in the cage with Rhonda that about epitomizes Burroughs’ situation vis-a-vis MGM, Stalin and Wells. There are so many coincidences here that the brain revolves like a turret. Was it wholly coincidental that Wells showed up in Hollywood at the end of ’35 to visit fellow Red Charlie Chaplin just as Burroughs was completely boxed in because of his Guatemalan adventure?
Isn’t it amazing that Burroughs met his fate in Guatemala, the scene of the adventures of his early hero General Christmas and also the scene of some of the adventures of Ogden McClurg who was killed shortly after this return from the area in 1926? It may be truly coincidental but the further one digs very often the more dirt one turns up.
Burroughs may have felt confident he could write his way out of this box just as he was able to escape by self-publishing in 1930; perhaps he thought he could escape this time by making his own movies. If so, a little analysis would have shown him that the rules had drastically changed. Especially as he had signed the rights to represent his character Tarzan away.
Coincidental with the release of the MGM Tarzan movies which preempted the nature of Tarzan from literature came the decline in Burroughs’ own literary powers. Whereas in 1930 he was able to respond to the challenge with a series of top novels, after Lion Man there is a preciptious decline in the the quality of is work. While the later novels have their charms for Burroughs’ admirers they do lack commercial appeal.
By 1935 also Burroughs had antagonized radio which had become the major source of his income so that that medium was closed to him during his lifetime. With publication revenues declining and the comics by Burroughs’ own admission producing a pittance, ERB had only one major source of income left and that was the moves. MGM had him over a barrel.
MGM might have produced a whole series of Tarzan films along the lines of the Charlie Chan movies as Burroughs reuefully remarked but they chose instead to issue only four movies between 1932 and 1939. Obviously the makret would have borne more. The limited release schedule kept EBB on a short financial tether.
It is said that events cast their shadow before them so that it is possible, if not probable, that Burroughs foresaw the shape of things to come even as he wrote Lion Man.
In 1930 when the Reds invaded his dream land of Opar ERB abandoned that fantasy. The fabled city ceased to exist in his imagination while disappearing from the oeuvre. Now in Lion Man it appears that the enemy had captured the castle while building a ten foot wall around it with Tarzan/Burroughs on the outside. Thus Burroughs’ dream of separating himself from the world by a tne foot wall has been inverted in his imagination. He wasn’t keeping the world out; the world was keeping him out.
In the novel succeeding Lion Man, The Swords Of Mars, when the mad inventor Fal Sivas quails at taking hsi invented spaceship to the Martian moon Thuria the following exchange takes place between he and John Carter:
“But you built this ship to go to Thuria,: Carter cried. “You told me so yourself.”
“It was a dream,” he mumbled; “I am always dreaming, for in dreams nothing bad an happen to me.”
Fal Sivas can be taken as an alter ego of Burroughs. The Sivas probably refers to the Hindu god Shiva or Siva with whom Burroughs had become a devotee or developed a fascination for. Thus while his heroes Tarzan and John Carter are men of action Sivas/Burroughs or any other combination is not.
So in Lion Man Burroughs is desperately trying to become the man of action rather than the dreamer. The problem now is that ERB himself is past the point of no return. He has been walled out from the City of God.
In dreams however Tarzan enters the Heavenly City by a fantastic feat of strength that recalls Burroughs’ 1890-1920 infatuation with the Strong Men such as the Great Sandow.
The wall which Tarzan fancies was built to keep out lions i.e. the Lion Man has sharpened stakes pointing downward. p. 124:
…he leaped for the stakes. His hands closed upon two of them; then he drew himself up slowly until his hips were on a level with his hands, his arms straight at his sides. Leaning forward, he let his body drop slowly forward until it rested on the stakes and the top of the wall.
That seems to be an impossible feat of strength except in dreams, but then by this point Tarzan thinks he is dreaming. This might as well be an MGM movie lot such Burroughs spent five weeks on. Here the dream faces a sort of reality. As though pasing through a movie set as ERB must have done during those five weeks Tarzan comes to the steps leading to the Heaven of God. this Stariway to Heaven, Jacob’s Ladder.
As if to accent the relationship to MGM he passes the Apes of God who are dancing and partying. The scene will be replicated at the foot of the Falls when the movie company duplicates this scene thus strengthening the connection with MGM.
Tarzan begins the long climb up the Stairway to Heaven. The fire flares illuminating him on the steps but the apes below don’t notice- high above on a parapet of Heaven, God does. Note the resemblance to the move castle of Frankenstein. A man of action God quickly prepares a trap.
In real life the trap was probably the promise of the contract and money. ERB blames the movies for being duplicitous, which is definitely true, still, he had had a dozen or more years to work out the conditions prevailing on his own. After all, by 1932 he had proven product to sell. The public had even given a profit to some pretty crummy movies so that had he taken the time, acted on his own conditions, rather than just signing for a few quick bucks he might have retained a position of some control, made himself an equal partner. So, while MGM did betray him he might have been able to manage the situation.
Tarzan enters the castle to be confronted by six doors of which only #3 is open. Depending on how you count them there were six to eight major studios, thus the six doors may represent the Studios of which only MGM was willing to deal with him. Remember he had been blacklisted since 1922, the blacklist having been broken in 1928 by Joseph Kennedy.
Tarzan descends the stairs as heedlessly as Burroughs signed the contract and like Burroughs he finds himself trapped. The nose of noses sniffs the air and detects the delicate scent of a White woman. He has found she whom he sought, Rhonda.
The Confrontation With God
Now Tarzan is reunited with his Anima ideal in the person of Rhonda formerly La of Opar. That Rhonda can be associated with La is because this scene is a replication or double of Tarzan and La in the lion’s den of Invincible. There La and Tarzan were imprisoned in a cell beneath Opar. They escaped the cell in a duplication of their escape from this prison. In Invicible there was a runway within which the lion fed. A shaft led upward to a room in a tower. There the old man who betrayed them discovered them.
In this case a breeze passing over the floor indicates an air shaft to Tarzan. This is probably borrowed from Rider Haggard’s King Solomon’s Mines although it will soon if not already be a staple of the movie genre. Tarzan locates the shaft in the ceiling in a corner of the cell. He and Rhonda ascend it to the opening in front of which God is talking to some gorillas. Thus the scene virtually duplicates Invincible. La and Rhonda must be associated in ERB’s mind.
As an aside Burrughs uses a variation of this scenario in The Swords Of Mars when John Carter is imprisoned. There are beams some twenty feet ot so above the floor to which Carter leaps. He takes a position above the door dropping on his keeper when he enters.
At this point in the story Tarzan and Stanley Obroski may be considered to be reunited as one persona. Rhonda, who has never seen Tarzan, addressed the person in Stanley’s guise as Stanley. ERB has a little fun as he has Tarzan play along.
As he says in Swords, he is convinced that every man has a dual Animus, that is two different aspects, sometimes nearly identical but sometimes as different as Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Thus at this point his mind is impressed with Shelley’s Frankenstein and Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde. He had read both novels before 1900 while both stories were released as movies in 1931. So the stories are very fresh in his mind.
Tarzan/Obroski may be considered of the Jekyll/Hyde variety. There is little doubt that Burroughs saw the pair and himself that way. Thus Carter and Fall Sivas in Swords may also be seen as two sides (Jekyll/Hyde) of the same persona. Tarzan does not try to convince Rhonda that he is not Stanley, but in the Jekyll side of the persona he astounds here with Hydelike feats compelling her to reevaluate him.
There are undoubtedly snippets of other horror movies here that ERB has seen also but I can’t remember the titles or dates. There was one about two Scottish body snatchers Burke and Hare which I think I can detect here and another about a mad doctor who operated on the brains of abducted victims that shows up here and in Swords that was called the Black Sleept or somesuch. The latter would have had a castle along these lines as well as Frankenstein. Of course, which of that ilk of movie didn’t? Burroughs is combining an astounding number of influences here both literary and cinematic but both combined.
Thus, having availed himself of ‘such a God given opportunity’ to find Rhonda he is imprisoned with her. The joke was ERB’s. You know, God left the doors open- God given opportunity. I chuckled softly to myself as I read.
After an exchange of repartee between Stanley/Tarzan and Rhonda God makes his appearance. Not exactly what one would expect God to look like. In fact it is almost amazing that the fundamentalist Christians didn’t create an uproar. After all according to the Old Testament man was created in God’s image. There’s a laugh. Here’s the image. p. 128:
It had the face of a man, but its skin was black like that of a gorilla. Its grinning lips revealed the heavy fangs of an anthropoid. Scant black hair covered those portions of its body that an open shirt and a loin cloth revealed. The skin of the body, arms, and legs was black with large patches of white. The bare feet were the feet of a man; the hands were black and hairy and wrinkled, with long, curved claws; the eyes were the sunken eyes of an old man- a very old man.
The Scopes Monkey Trial had only been about seven years before. So here Burroughs is making sport of God with a sort of reverse evolution. God is a cross between a man and a gorilla. Yet ERB led such a charmed life that his mockery or parody of God created no comment. If he wanted to start a ruckus to promote his book sales he failed miserably.
God might have been half ape but he had a whole hearted sense of;humor. Overhearing Tarzan say that he had come for Rhonda his opening comments are mock injury. p. 128:
“So you are acquainted?” He said. “How interesting! And you came to get her, did you? I thought that you had come to call on me. Of course it is not quite the proper thing for a stranger to come by night without an invitation- and by stealth.
“It was just by the merest chance that I learned of your coming. I have Henry to thank for that. Had he not been staging a dance I should not have known, and thus I should have been denied the pleasure of receiving you, as I have.
“You see, I was looking down from my castle into the courtyard of Henry’s palace when his bonfire flared up and lighted the Holy Stairs- and there you were!
Burroughs is justly criticized for the occasional bit of wooden dialogue but I find the confrontation with God very well written. The constantly mocking tone of God is carried off very well. Tarzan’s indignation is very well executed. The influence of Shelley, Stevenson and the various movies is seamlessly blended into a very tightly executed scene.
All this is done in a very few pages while it is a remarkable bit of writing.
God hints at his motives for their use for him. p. 129:
“…I shall keep you for a while for the pleasure of conversing with rational human beings.
“I have not seen any for a long time, a long, long time. Of course I hate them nonentheless, but I must admit that I shall find pleasure in this companionship for a short time. You are both very good looking too. That will make it all the more pleasant, just as it increases your value for the purpose which I intend you- the final purpose, you understand. I am particularly pleased that the girl is so beautiful. I always did have a fondness for blonds. Were I not already engaged along some other lines of research, and were it possible, I should like nothing better than to conduct a scientific investigation to determine the biologial or psychological explanation of the profound attraction the blond female has for the male of all races.”
Burroughs doesn’t tell us how blonde Rhonda and Naomi are, whether they are platinum blondes like Kali Bwana or merely blondes. Of course today ERB would be censored for his handling of the sexual and racial preferences for blondes but it is a recurrent theme in his writing and one worth studying.
Having piqued our curiosity as to his purpose for the couple God leaves to check up on Henry. p. 130:
“Come back here!” (Tarzan) commanded. “Either let us out of this hole or tell us why you are holding us- what you intend doing with us.”
The creature wheeled suddenly, its expression transformed by a hideous snarl. “You dare issue orders to me!” It screamed.
“And why not?” demanded the ape-man. “Who are you?”
The creature took a step nearer the bars and tapped its hairy chest with a thorny talon. “I am God.” it cried.
There you go. The cat’s out of the bag.
The scene is dramatically successful while the reader is now left to guess the model for God. We are told that he was a formerly handsome Englishman now deformed as a hybrid ape-human. The city is London, the territory is England and the river is the Thames. A reasonable place to look would be among the English. Who among the English is bedeviling ERB? H.G. Wells is the only one I can think of. Regardless of whether Wells considered himself a Communist or not he is sailing his craft so close to the wind that it is impossible to distniguish between the two. At the very least Wells is throughly subversive. If anything he resents not being in Stalin’s place. So Burroughs must consider him Communist.
To my mind then, Burroughs is mocking Wells much as Wells mocked Burroughs in ‘Blettsworthy.’ God has delusions of grandeur and so does the highly pontificating Wells. My vote for the model is Wells.
One also notes that in the last of the MGM Tarzan movies, 1942′s Tarzan’s New York Adventure, Tarzan is captured by the circus roustabouts and thrown into a mobile cage. The camera then pans around to front which identifies the cage as a lion cage. One thus has the joke of the Lion Man in a lion’s cage. A final thumbing of the nose at Burroughs exiled in Hawaii. MGM then dropped what had been a very lucrative series. Strange behavior indeed.
God then returns to give his history as detailed earlier in the essay. While for some reason everyone, fans and detractors alike, wants to think of Burroughs as a semi-literate boob who is coincidentally a ‘master of adventure’ yet both in content and exposition, God presents his story in a masterly way. In 1930 there may have been few of his readers who had ever heard of Mendel and possibly Lamarck, although one hopes all had heard of Darwin. So it is possible that a reader might have been puzzled by the inclusion of Darwin while dismissing Larmarck and Mendel as fictitious. Of course if you’re reading strictly for fast-paced adventure you may not notice the details even though they are far from concealed.
God also clears up the mystery of the map. Surprisingly the map is not a stage prop but authentic. In fact, God made it about seventy years previously. It seems that he had been in love with a women back in England but she preferred wealth to being the wife of an impoverished scientist.
This may be a coincidence but that is the premise of the plot of H.G. Wells’ In The Days Of The Comet. Perhaps it was a message to Wells in case he hasn’t gotten it yet. But then God discovered the immense number of diamonds in the valley so he wrote the girl promising her riches beyond imagination. He had employed a native runner to take the letter to the coast to mail it but since he had never had a reply he wondered if it had ever been received. Now it came back to him. A simple but inventive twist.
When God leaves this time Tarzan sets to work to escape. Following the draft across the floor he finds the air shaft. Just as in Invincible he sends La up first now he sends Rhonda up first. As in the earlier story they are trapped at the top.
Looking through the entrance to the shaft they spy God and some gorillas in front of it. Their escape is spoiled. Now begins the Gotterdamerung.
The City of God
Burroughs now has both aspects of his Animus with his Anima trapped in the tower unable to go foward or backward. God and his gorillas stand in anticipation before the opening. Burroughs has been stalemated. At this point one aspect of God must be MGM and its contract.
ERB has spun out his fantasy in a plausible way to this point, but now he has to find a way to resolve his dilemma. As he is daydreaming and this is a mad dream, as Fal Sivas says in Swords, in dreams nothing bad can happen to you. In this bind something bad can happen to ERB. He can lose his grip on reality. In that way he becomes mad or insane which is what the story is about.
In speaking of Henry God might also be speaking of ERB. p. 143:
”You all forget,” (God) cried, “that it was I who created you; it is I who can destroy you. First I shall make Henry mad, and then I shall crush him. That is the kind of gods humans like- it is the only kind they can understand. Because they are jealous and cruel and vindictive they have to have a jealous, cruel and vindictive god.”
There’s a lot information in that quote. It refers to the ancient Greek saying: Those who the gods would destroy they first make mad. So we have an excellent joke here. The incredible mind of Burroughs can conceive humor in the midst of the blackest despair.
He is talking of the Yahweh of the Old Testament while he quite soundly understands that god is a psychological projection of the mind of his creator. In a masterly grasp of Freudian group psychology, whether he knew it or not, he realized tha the people have created a god in their own image and not vice versa. Trapped in the tower this is a real agonized cry of despair before losing his grip on reality.
I don’t mean to say that ERB went stark raving mad but he edged into a fantasy world at least once removed from the fantasy he had been living since 1912. For the period of his marriage to Florence he can only be described as spaced out. Bear in mind that it’s going to get worse as he gets trapped into his movie production experience.
The Masenas in The Swords Of Mars make the threatening moves on John Carter who keeps backing away. Only too late he realized he had maneuvered himself where they wanted him. The Masenas were cat-men, i.e. lions who had two mouths. In a sly way Burroughs is caricaturing the Jews of MGM and their mascot Leo the Lion. The upper mouth which is sort of pursy and purring to seduce one, is above a lower mouth that is all teeth and no lips to rend one. So he is saying that he is dealing with two-faced people. While the upper mouth is assuring, the lower rending mouth is ever ready to destroy you.
Tarzan realizes that he has no choices left but to stay put or rush God and the gorillas. Alone he would have had a chance of success but with Rhonda in tow he is lost. This is an interesting reflection on the relationship of the Animus to the Anima. I’m at a bit of a loss to explain this.
God had sent for Rhonda to be told that she was not in the cell. Knowing that Tarzan was in the air shaft it followed that Rhonda was too as neither could have escaped the cell otherwise. He orders smudge pots to be lighted to smoke them out. Thus Burroughs acknowledges that his own situation is untenable while he has no solution. The only one left is the Samson like effort of pulling the temple down on his own head destroying both himself and his enemies.
God’s plan backfires as he sets his own castle afire. Unable to stand the smoke any longer Tarzan rushes out to be felled by a blow from one of the apes. At this precise point ERB goes mad or loses his mental balance. I don’t believe there is a Tarzan novel in which the Big Bwana isn’t knocked on the head at least once. In this case when he gets up he won’t have lost his memory but he will be a different man, another round of emasculation.
Once again he is separated from his Anima. Rhonda is spirited off to Henry. God and Tarzan are trapped on the patio as the castle becomes engulfed in flames.
This chapter is appropriately titled ‘The Holocaust.’ In its way everything that ERB had hoped and dreamed goes up in flames with God’s castle. Heaven is reduced to ashes.
Tarzan has his trusty rope so he can escape over the parapet to the roof of a lower level. God begs him to save him which Tarzan reluctantly does.
Tarzan, one has difficulty in styling him the Big Bwana in this emasculated state, reverses the actual situation between Burroughs and MGM by placing the rope around God’s neck putting him on a short tether. Henry is now in full revolt. Tarzan agrees to help God in exchange for his help in recovering Rhonda and letting them leave. Perhaps Burroughs was asking MGM for a release from his contract. Let by Tarzan the forces of God defeat Henry.
I’m not clear who Henry represents or if he is meant to represent a real individual. Aware of his defeat Henry abandons his wives for the blonde White woman, Rhonda. He has a secret subterranean escape route. Thus Burroughs, who through Tarzan stormed the gates of Heaven, the heights of consciousness, has first returned to earth and now slips back into the subconscious. In all probability then, his attempt to integrate his personality had failed while coming so close.
Henry had followed his tunnel to emerge into the valley of diamonds and mutants. Here he encounters a lion. Throwing Rhonda down he runs from the lion which we all know is the exact wrong thing to do. Rhonda then escapes.
Tarzan emerges from the tunnel just as the lion is rending Henry. So Henry perishes. Tarzan sets off into the valley of diamonds in pursuit of Rhonda or, in another word, his Anima.
The City Of God
The Golden Girl
While one is astonished that there was no uproar because of ERB’s treatment of God, Heaven and the gorillas, one is even more astonished that at no time since 1912 was ERB ever under attack for his views on evolution. The oeuvre is a veritable compendium on the various possible results of evolution yet no one ever said a word nor has to this day.
In LIon Man which treats of evolution in perhaps his most daring way yet, his effort is met with stony silence. God, in his creation of the hybrid gorillas according to the logic of Gregor Mendel, had a large number of sports and variations. The ‘normal’ hybrid apes refused to accept these either killing them or driving them from their society.
God laments that the tendency to exclusivity, or like to like, was such a strong characteristic of the new species that he could do nothing to break the hybrid’s attitude. This must be a wry comment on those who wished to break down racial and special barriers.
Apart from the role of White women in racial politics, which ERB through God has already commented on, there is not, nor will there ever be, inclusivity of different races on the pshysiological level nor even on the intellectual level of religion.
Thus the theme of separation in this spurious London, England was a variation on Opar where normal males were killed producing the ape-like male Oparians, while only the beautiful females were preserved. In this case the rejected hybrids, who bear some resemblance to the Hormads created by Ras Thavas, have taken up residence across the Thames. Among them, as one might suppose, Mendelian genetics predicts, were two human looking specimens. The male who was perfectly human in form had a gorilla mind; the female although rumored to have a gorilla mind in fact was a perfect human in mind while also possessing a normal human form.
She is the mate of the human looking male as kind mates with kind. Tarzan, having recovered Rhonda, finds Balza, which means Golden Girl, being abused by her mate. He rescues her but the trio is set upon by the whole tribe of mutants.
Balza explains to Tarzan that having defeated her former mate Tarzan has claimed her for his own. She is his, will-he or nil he. She then becomes hostile to the Anima figure of Rhonda.
So now we have a difficult psychological situation. Burroughs, who believes that every man is of a dual personality, has first united the two Lion Men and has now killed off one half of the duality leaving Tarzan as a single psychological unit. Not integrated but half a man so to speak. This is in violation of his stated belief which he has clarified no further. At the same time Balza seems to be driving his old Anima figure of La/Rhonda away, replacing her. Thus this Wild Thing becomes both Burroughs’ Anima ideal and human woman. We have single with single, or half with half. Now we have a single Animus, the Lion Man, Tarzan and Wild Thing as his Anima and woman. This is quite a combination. That would certainly explain the nature of the next several years of ERB’s life when he seems to run completely off the rails.
He expresses this in his work of the thirties in different ways. The Venus series is born out of this conflict in the second half of 1932 subsequent to the release of the movie Tarzan, The Ape Man. John Carter does reappear at the end of 1933 in The Swords Of Mars but Burroughs in the Venus series creates a much lesser man than either Carter or Tarzan; Napier is a pale shadow reflecting Burroughs neo-emasculated state.
In the first venus volume Napier heads for Mars in his rocket ship. Mars or the Greek Ares is the manly planet. But now suffering from his further emasculation Burroughs no longer feels capable of competing with men on Mars. Thus Napier has miscalculated the influence of the Moon, or female influence, which bends his trajectory sending him to the female planet Venus instead. In terms of classical mythology with which Burroughs was very familiar the Moon represents the feminine principle, while Venus, the Roman form of the Greek Aphrodite, represents the force of Love. Thus in symbolical terms ERB/Napier is diverted from the Manly principle of Mars by the female principle of the Moon and sent to the planet representing domination by the feminine principle of Love. Napier is not a warrior.
In Lion Man, written a few months after The Pirates Of Venus Tarzan follows his female Anima principle, Rhonda, into the valley of diamonds, where he is attached to The Golden Girl, Balza. In Burroughs’ terminology diamonds represent the realization of his sexual hopes. So Rhonda in this instance can be taken to represent Napier’s moon who leads him to Balza, the planet Venus or Florence. Burroughs is now severely handicapped in his conflict with MGM. In this chapter of Lion Man when he catches up with Rhonda comes across Balza being beaten by her man, the sport with the human appearance and gorilla brain. Balza had been misrepresented earlier, actually having a human brain. She now attaches herself to the emasculated Tarzan.
In their flight from the mutants- Tarzan running away again- they discover a pit full of diamonds. Presaging Tarzan And The Forbidden City in which the father of diamonds is a piece of coal, the huge pile of diamonds has lost any value to him. Thus Burroughs senses in 1933 that love is going to be a serious disappointment.
As a matter of fact in his psychological malaise Balza/Florence seems to have lost any value to him. He leads the women to the foot of the Falls where they rejoin the movie company who are living riotously. Their dance is a double of the Dum Dum like dance of the gorillas. Not a favorable comparison, perhaps indicating that man has not advanced much from the apes. Leaving Balza to become a movie star Tarzan returns to the jungle to find Stanley dead, thus the dead Stanley is rather unaccountably accepted by the movie company who return to LA. The whole story becomes a sort of mirage which, while we know it did happen, never happened.
ERB as a writer has now completed Ring 2. He completes his Ring construction by returning to the site of Ring Left 1, Hollywood as Ring Right 1. As Holtsmark notes he has followed the classical mode of Homer. He has not only done that but written his most perfect example. I find Lion Man masterly on all levels, in fact, ERB’s Magnum Opus.
A year after the movie company returned to the US Tarzan himself undertakes a visit to the film colony of Hollywood.
Go To Part 8, More Stars Than There Are In Heaven