The Low Brow And The High Brow
An In Depth Study Of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Novels
The Mucker And Marcia Of The Doorstep
Marcia Of The Doorstep ERB’s Serious Literary Attempt
The ten year interval from the writing of The Mucker to Marcia Of The Doorstep were momentous years in the life of Edgar Rice Burroughs. When one looks back on those years from ERB’s personal side and from the societal side one is astonished at the changes both were going through. Both had changed greatly; neither ERB nor the world was the same as it had been before 1920.
While ERB evolved rapidly on the psychological side he was rather slow on the emotional side. He seems to have been slow to adjust to the new demands placed on him. On one level ’Marcia’ records ERB’s inability to handle his newly minted money. ’Marcia’ will record in metaphorical terms, ‘highly fictionalized,’ ERB’s running through a fortune to end in debt by 1924.
The story retells the history of the period from say 1900 when he married Emma to 1924, or his present. He is no longer the person who wrote ’The Mucker.’ That book had wallowed in the low brow. The whole milieu of the story was set in low brow locations from the beginning in the great West Side of Chicago to the boxing milieu of New York City. The story is sort of an ode to the grungy side of life.
The following two novels of what is actually a quartet showed ERB evolving from a completely vulgar low brow guy through the Bridge of ’Out There Somewhere’ tramping in search of himself and the ‘found’ Bridge of ‘Bridge And The Oskaloosa Kid’ who returns to his aristocratic Virginian origins reunited with his Anima. Now returned to polite society in a Bohemian fashion in ‘Marcia Of The Doorstep’ ERB is writing a high brow version of ’The Mucker.’ The coin has flipped from tails to heads.
The milieu has changed from Chicago streets and New York gyms to the parlors of wealthy New Yorkers and the conforts of middle class LA. ERB’s alter ego is now the grandson of a wealthy ex-Senator.
Whereas Byrne felt completely alien on entering Barbara Harding’s New York mansion Dick Steel, a lower class but aspiring to better things suitor of Marcia is introduced by her into the upper class environment where he is quite comfortable and at ease, chatting amiably with no faux pas. So, perhaps the trip from Grand Avenue to Riverside Drive within one lifetime is possible. In this sense perhaps Dick and Marcia are alternate personas for ERB and Emma. I think ERB was struggling to adapt himself to his new circumstances during the previous decade; perhaps the character of Marcia was meant to create his new persona for him. A second beginning as it were.
At the same time, if Marcia’s foster-father Marcus Aurelius Sackett is a version of himself, as he certainly is, then he sees himself as an impractical wastrel who even when handed the means for a prosperous life manages to lose the money. This easily parallels ERB’s own life as he was on the edge of ruin in 1924 when he wrote the story.
He defiantly says of Sackett that he had never learned the value of money and never would which was an accurate prediction of his future course. One has the feeling that despite present hardships ERB thought the money would never run out and that Emma’s financial worries were unfounded. Indeed, this proved to be the case as phenomenal income did continue to come in as comic strips, radio and a new lease on movie life for his Tarzan in an improvement on the film medium in the form or sound that was unthinkable in 1924. Tarzan money came in at a pace more slowly than he could spend it. Until late in life when he became too ill to spend ERB remained one step from the crest of the hill leading to the poor house.
His preposterous attempt to make a fortune as a hog farmer was ending in disaster. Rather than making money on his grade Duroc Berkshires he lost as much as thirty-nine thousand dollars in a single year.
At the same time he had managed to antagonize Hollywood so badly that after a very promising start in films, from 1921 to 1927 no movies of Burroughs novels were made. Thus ERB was cut off from a very lucrative stream of revenue at this critical time. Network radio wa just coming on stream in the twenties while ERB would earn nothing from the medium until the thirties. The comic strip which produced a handsome income stream also came at the end of the decade. As these forms of entertainment were incomparably more lucrative than publishing ERB’s income depending solely on books and magazines was severely curtailed during this period. The twenties then were a comparatively lean period for Burroughs.
I have never seen any evidence as to how the Otis Estate was paid for. The price of $125,000 seems a bargain in the burgeoning LA real estate market even today. Indeed, a friend of Herb Weston’s from LA speculated that ERB paid half a million for it. Whether ERB paid cash or what period of time he made payments so far as I know has never been revealed. Whether he had clear title to the property before he mortgaged it is unknown.
Originally looking for about twenty acres according to his correspondence with Herb Weston, within a couple weeks of arriving in LA he had purchased 540 acres. Typical Burroughs. And what an estate it was. In a letter of 3/14/19 to Weston ERB describes the ranch which was apparently renamed Tarzana from its inception. Thusly, p.83, ’Brother Men.’
Tarzana is a delightful place. We have 540 acres on the State Highway (Ventura Blvd.) - a boulevard running from Los Angeles to San Francisco- in the San Fernando Valley foothills of the Santa Monica Mountains. The place is 23 miles from L.A. shopping district and 13 miles from the ocean- by auto road. The house stands on the top of a hill about half a mile from the boulevard and has- as nearly as I can count them- eighteen rooms & six baths. It is of Spanish architecture built around a patio in which are many flowers and shrubs. The hill comprises some fifteen acres set out in flowers, shrubs and trees. I think there are some two thousand trees of several hundred varieties- many of which were brought from Asia and Africa.
Half a mile up the canyon are the foreman’s house, bunk houses, barns, corrals, etc. I acquired five hundred head of pure bred Angora (mohair) goats, five horses, a cow, forty hens and a bum dog, beside farm implements and $8000.00 worth of iron and concrete piping. There is an abundance of water and I almost forgot a 12 acre grove of olive, lemon, apricot & orange trees, besides 250 English walnut trees.
In addition, during prohibition, the estate came with a fully stocked cellar of the finest liquors and wines.
ERB kept telling Weston Tarzana had drawbacks while Weston kept repeating incredulously: What drawbacks?
Within weeks of purchasing this Garden of Eden developers arrived at his door wishing to develop the City of Tarzana for him.
All the elements of prosperity were there for him. He had five producing orchards plus a large herd of Angora goats. Both the orchards and the goats should have been able to produce a substantial income if managed wisely. Not only was Tarzana a bargain but it should have been nearly self-supporting from day one not including being able to relax with a bottle of old vintage wine at day’s end.
Within two years of Tarzana’s purchase ERB was on the verge of bankruptcy deep into schemes to develop country clubs and sub-divisions in an effort to raise cash. Perhaps such efforts were merely schemes to display his business talents. If so they were nearly as ill-advised as his attempt to commercially raise hogs.
In his attempt to be high brow ERB seems to have been highly influenced by F. Scott Fitzgerald’s ‘The Beautiful And Damned. The choice of the model is interesting. ERB’s first role model, Jack London, had died in 1916; his second, Booth Tarkington was still going strong strong winning Pulitzer Prizes in fact, one for ‘The Magnificent Ambersons’ and another for ’Alice Adams.’ But Tarkington’s mindset belonged to the earlier era. After the sea change of the Bolshevik Revolution and the end of the War a new mood characterized society. The Flappers, the Roaring Twenties and the New Era were coming into prominence.
I find this interesting. ERB picked up on the change immediately attempting to adjust his writing to the New Era. His earlier ‘The Girl From Hollywood’ can also be seen in that light. ERB also honed in on the writer who epitomized the era. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s first novel ‘This Side Of Paradise’ appeared in 1920. The Beautiful And Damned was published in 1922. A short two years later then ERB had recognized that Fitzgerald represented the new direction, bought his book soon after issue and immediately incorporated the book into his work. Between 1922 and ’24 then ERB had recognized that Fitzgerald represented the new direction. Remarkably, rather than condemning the new or rejecting it he readily accepted it trying to emulate it in Marcia. I don’t know about you but I admire that.
If ‘The Girl From Hollywood’ was a hybrid attempt in 1922, in 1923 ‘Marcia’ was conceived and delivered on the new model a year later. Of course ERB was still ERB but ‘Marcia’ is very interesting.
One can’t say for certain how Burroughs saw the progression of his writing career but by 1924 he was no longer stunning the world with creations like John Carter of Mars or Tarzan Of The Apes but was a more predictable quantity. After all, how could anyone actually know what the future held so he was trying to carve a new niche. Originally his puplisher McClurg’s wanted only to publish the Tarzan series, reluctantly beginning to publish the Mars series late in the second decade, so that none other of Burroughs huge output of the teens found its way to book form until the twenties. McClurg’s grudgingly put them in print, then sneeringly sold the plates to him as worthless toward the end of the decade as if to say, we told you so.
As publishers they may have evaluated the other titles as too rough for publication which opinion has some merit. Perhaps without movie revenues to flesh out his income during this period ERB put a lot of pressure on McClurg’s to publish the stuff in a desperate attempt to boost his income. That could explain some of the developing friction between the two.
Of all the titles published in the twenties ‘Marcia’ wasn’t one of them. The book didn’t see print until 1999 when Donald M. Grant took the risk. I find the book fairly interesting;, as a Bibliophile I could do no other, and while not a great novel I think that as a Burroughs title it would have made money without damaging his reputation. There is a great deal to it. I like ‘Out There Somewhere’ and ‘Bridge And The Oskaloosa Kid’ better but I might give ‘Marcia’ the edge over ‘The Mucker.’ In fact, I would. I didn’t think ‘The Mucker’ was among ERB’s best.
Compounding Burroughs’ publishing problems was the fact that he was impetuous in his reaction to the Bolshevik Revolution rushing the condemnatory ‘Under The Red Flag’ to publishers. The novel, or possibly tract, was universally rejected. As originally written the story may have been a polemic which was not suitable for the magazines to which he submitted it. The story may have been too shrill in any event.
As if by magic the Red/Liberal faction appeared from nowhere to dominate publishing, the arts, education, religion and innumerable little rivulets of society. All of a sudden the previously dominant Republican administrations that had been so solidly entrenched since the Civil War was in a minority. They were able to hang on through the Harding, Coolidge and Hoover administrations but then their ideology was completely overturned by the twenty years of treason of the FDR-Truman administrations.
Thus Burroughs identified himself with the minority counterrevoltionary party. Already ridiculed by the publishing world he would find it increasingly difficult to publish over the next two decades. He would be under constant attack both at home and abroad. As he owned the magnificent intellectual property of Tarzan- and really, all his other work pales beside the Big Bwana- he couldn’t be completely disposed of although it should not be forgotten that as the decade of the twenties closed he turned to self-publication. This may have been from greed as he publicly said but it should be remembered that a few blackballed writers like Upton Sinclair who were denied publication through the regular channels also turned to self-publication about the same time.
ERB’s novels of the early twenties apart from the Tarzan and Mars series were 1922′s ‘The Girl From Hollywood and 1923′s ‘The Bandit From Hell’s Bend.’ He complained that ‘The Girl From Hollywood’ was sabotaged, taken off the market, that it was selling well and could have sold better which is undoubtedly true. The novel while not great, is on a par with Harry Leon Wilson’s ‘Merton Of The Movies’ or the Graham Bros. ‘Queer People.’
All three novels were early examples of the Hollywood novel at the time TInseltown was in its infancy and did not yet glory in its immorality. The movies were assuming a central place in American culture. Novel and novel of the times makes reference to the movies or Hollywood. The Grahams’ ‘Queer People’ was a completely negative vision of the movie capitol and is still worth reading. The Queer in the title does not refer to homosexuality but to strange and weird such as Weston referred to ERB. The novel was the Grahams’ way of saying sayonara, as they were run out of town after the book was published. There’s a tribute for ya.
ERB’s ‘The Girl From Hollywood’ falls in between ‘Merton’ and ‘Queer People.’ ERB’s book may have displeased the moguls but because of his standing he couldn’t be run out of town. It is possible they were the people who were interfering with the publication of ‘Girl’ behind the scenes forcing its discontinuation. The filming of Tarzan movies did end about the time of ‘Girl’s’ publication. The hiatus in Tarzan films may have been a result as a punishment. The second half of ‘Marcia’ which is also a Hollywood story is all sweetness and compliments to the film industry so probably ERB was trying to make amends.
His ‘Bandit From Hell’s Bend’ was the first of his two Westerns. As Westerns go it is a good book. Set in Arizona ERB was writing about country he knew. Contrary to his protestations that he wrote as well or better of places he had only imagined rather than seen he writes better of the seen. You can’t take public statements at face value.
Then in 1924 he took up his pen to write ‘Marcia Of The Doorstep.’ This may have been an attempt to write a blockbuster that would alleviate his financial distress. Also he tired of being called a low brow and a hack writer. He put his heart and soul into the book but he was never able to sell it. The book was rejected by every publisher until he finally gave up. Once again, he was possibly denied publication as a punishment.
Is it any good? Well, it’s characteristically Edgar Rice Burroughs. He manages to compress what should have been the final two hundred pages into fifty. Still, while perhaps not great literature, after you’ve read a number of novels of the era I don’t think it compares unfavorably. I think the book could have been published profitably which in business is all that counts. If the public liked ‘The Girl From Hollywood’, ‘Marcia’ should have sold OK. As it is it’s historically valuable.
I don’t regret having read it once nor as a Burroughs scholar do I regret having read it four times. It does improve with each reading. Being no fan of Scott Fitzgerald I don’t consider it much inferior to ‘The Beautiful and Damned’ on which the main frame of Marcia is based.
In discussing ‘Marcia’ I would like to break the book down into components. The first is the cast of characters. ERB obviously intended the book to break him into the big slicks like Collier’s or the Saturday Evening Post. He had heard of fifty thousand dollar paydays to people like Zane Grey. The money would have been especially welcome in 1924. I think the book was good enough for those magazines myself but I wasn’t the editor.
In writing about the New York theatre and Hollywood it was inevitable that Jewish characters should have a central part. Both the New York stage and the Big Screen were controlled by that ethnic group. ‘Marcia’ has a fairly large cast of Jews. Abe Finkel and Max Heimer, both early bi-coastals. And there was Judge Berlanger the attorney from New York. Jews are also discussed by the characters Della Maxwell and the Sacketts. Della is especially caustic.
The immigrant scene was in a state of rapid transition. The dialect comedy had not yet disappeared although with the cessation of unrestricted immigration and the establishemnt of the ADL the type of story was in decline, however the dialect joke persisted into my boyhood when we were suddenliy forbidden to laugh. In 1955-56 my class was assigned reading from Leo C. Rosten’s ‘The Education Of Hyman Kaplan’ which is about a Jewish immigrant in night school. Rosten not only wrote this book as late as 1937 but he rather belatedly wrote a sequel ‘The Return Of Hyman Kaplan’ in 1959.
In ‘Marcia’ ERB makes mention of the Jewish comedy characters Potash and Perlmutter in relation to Finkel and Heimer as movie producers. Potash and Permutter was the creation of Montague Glass from 1909 to 1914. Glass ceased writing the stories in the latter year at the request of the AJC and ADL. The stories appeared in the Saturday Evening Post where ERB undoubtedly saw them. While no book exists in ERB’s library they were collected in a couple volumes of which I have obtained one. For whatever reason Samuel Goldwyn revived the characters for the movies in 1923, 1924 and subsequently.
The first was titled ‘Postash And Perlmutter.’ The second was ‘In Hollywood With Potash And Perlmutter.’ It was undoubtedly this last film that inspired ERB to bring his character Abe Finkel out from New York and unite him with Max Heimer as movie producers. He either reviewed the dialogue in Glass’ stories or remembered it.
ERB grew up with dialect comedy as the immigrants integrated themselves into American society. He would have been familiar with many stage dialect acts including many Jewish ones. The stage was full of plays like ‘Abie’s Irish Rose’ and ‘Potash And Perlmutter.’
These times of his youth were when immigrants were especially greenish. They spoke with accents and characteristic phrasing. They couldn’t be accurately produced without replicating the accents. The great story of the period is that when an Italian push cart vendor was asked: You have no bananas? replied: Yes, we have no bananas today. The phrase was overheard, turned into a popular song and for some reason caught the fancy of America.
The Jews of the period had their verbal mannerisms and ERB copied them in the character of Max Heimer, a shyster lawyer. He is careful to designate Max as ‘Jews of this type.’ His other Jewish lawyer, Judge Isaac ‘Ike’ Berlanger, is meant to balance the Jewish characterization as he is the epitome of respectability speaking perfect English. But balance isn’t the issue.
The anti-Defamation League of the B’nai B’rith had been organized in 1913. The organization then began to censor the media to remove any comment tthat could possibly be considered derogatory to Jews. It is not improbable that Montague Glass stopped writing the ‘Potash And Permutter’ stories at the request of the ADL. He thereafter concentrated on other ethnic groups.
It seems remarkable that ten years later Goldwyn revived the stage play for his movie. As Janis Garza in the NYTimes review comments:
In 1923 he (Goldwyn) decided to make a film of the play (also written by Glass and Charles Klein), which went against the preference of most moguls of the day- they shunned anything Jewish, although most of them were Jewish themselves. The ethnic comedy was Goldwyn’s first as an independent producer.
The moguls didn’t so much as shun Jewish subjects as that the ADL was closely monitoring their activities. Perhaps Goldwyn bucked the ADL because in his insecurity as an independent producer he felt such Jewish self-deprecation would be well received by the gentiles and his own people. If so, he was right.
Is it to be wondered then that ERB probably thought he was on safe ground in his own comic characterization since he was only doing what Jews were doing? After all the immigrant culture in this diverse, multi-cultural paradise was as much his as it was theirs. What does multi-culturalism mean if the cultures can’t be shared by everyone? Exclusivity is not the way.
Still, as I said, balance isn’t the issue. One was supposed to depict jews only of the Berlanger type. So I’m sure one of the principal reasons the book wasn’t published was the character of Max Heimer and his partner Abe Finkel.
At this time the concept of the Melting Pot, which itself was a Jewish invention, was still the immigration ideal although the vision had been all but shattered for the Old Stock side by the Great War. The period through at least 1925 was that of 110% Americanism as a reaction to perceived immigrant disloyalty during the war and since the Bolshevik Revolution. The period also saw the flourishing of the second Ku Klux Klan which was nearing its apogee at this time. Great pressure was being put on immigrants to be ‘American.’
The Jewish battle with Henry Ford had not yet been settled so I imagine Max Heimer drew some unwanted attention to Burroughs.
The beginnings of the concept of the Diversity were taking form in a shift away from the concept of the Melting Pot. Elements of the immigrants who didn’t wish to merge their ethnic identity in a Melting Pot fought back to impose their ethnicity on the old stock, which, after all was only to be expected.
The leaders of the movement were the Jews and Italians both of which the old stock had always feared were unassimilable. Their fears were justified as neither group have been assimilated to this day. Witness the Sopranos.
If one is to have a concept of diversity then perforce each element must have a character of its own; they must be different to a degree that is obvious. If no one is different then there is no diversity. Ergo- don’t you think? Therefore it would be wrong not to depict these differences. Well, it is. Except in the movies for some reason.
At this particular time the Jews were especially sensitive. Hollywood, as Neal Gabler said, was an empire of the Jew’s own. All the important studios were under Jewish ownership. The American Jewish Committee, the B’nai B’rith and its terrorist unit the anti-Defamation League patrolled the corridors of publishers and studios to prevent anything they didn’t want published or filmed. I think ERB’s portrayal of the shyster lawyer Max Heimer fell within the prohibition.
That ERB was innocent of any attempt to defame Jews, or anyone else for that matter, was irrelevant. However in response to accusations his portrayal of the worthy Jewish gentleman in his ‘Moon Maid’ may have been an attempt to conciliate the AJC and ADL.
ERB had previously been contacted by the AJC on May 10, 1919. (See Hillman-Burroughs Bio Timeline 1910-1919). The American Jewish Committee is a killer watchdog outfit operating in conjunction with the ADL. The latter was six years old in 1919. The AJC thirteen. The ADL was already disliked and feared as the Jewish enforcer. The AJC isn’t particularly well known. My aunt who has been active in all kinds of Jewish protests hadn’t even heard of it when I mentioned the agency to her so I’m surprised the AJC itself contacted Burroughs rather than the ADL. I wonder why.
The letter was not addressed to him in Tarzana but forwarded from his old address at 700 Linden in Oak Park, so the contact may have originated at the end of 1918 or the beginning of 1919. These two years would have been critical for the Jews who became very active in the wake of the Bolshevik Revolution.
The letter requests (demands) that ERB sign a card endorsing a ‘Jewish Bill Of Rights.’ I’m a student of Jewish history but I had never heard of the Jewish Bill Of Rights before reading of it in the Timeline. The Jewish Bill Of Rights was an appeal to end the persecution of and discrimination against Jews. Now, in fact, this ‘request’ was a threat. If you did not sign and return it one must therefore be considered an ‘anti-Semite.’ As an anti-Semite one would need your own Bill Of Rights.
Apparently the AJC sent a copy of the Jewish Bill Of Rights for ERB to read which, according to Hillman and Danton Burroughs ERB did, in some detail. In his reply ERB was ambivalent enough to mark him as at least a latent anti-Semite who bore watching.
On May 21, 1919, fairly promptly, ERB replied that ‘he had always peen perplexed by the intolerance and inhumanity that all religions- Jews, Christians, Moslems, Pagans, etc.- had exhibited toward each other.’ This was not the appropriate response. First, he compared Jews to other religions as equals: secondly, he said that Jews also were guilty of intolerance and inhumanity and thirdly, ERB excludes himself from any religious category speaking down to them as some misguided souls of an inferior mentality. As one of a Scientific Consciousness ERB could do no other- he was above the Religious Consciousness, but his reply must have branded him as a latent or real anti-Semite. There is no freedom of conscience in the Religious Consciousness.
Let me repeat, the AJC is top Jewish watchdog. While the ADL whose director is perforce high profile as the Enforcer, no one is aware of who the director of the AJC is. That ERB was contacted, then, is significant. Either he wrote something the AJC objected to or possibly the agency was winnowing out writers in its postwar offensive. If the Jewish Bill Of Rights was sent to all writers then their replies would identify them as philo- or anti-Semites.
ERB then compounded his error by objecting to clause 6 of this Jewish Bill Of Rights. He found the clause unclear ‘as he always believed that every alien should be expected to read and write in the language of the country to which they were immigrating.’
Every ‘alien.’ Oops!
Without having read this Jewish Bill Of Rights, based on my studies, I opine what clause 6 probably meant was this: At that time, as now, the Jews were seeking complete autonomy in the US, as they had been in Czarist Russia. In 1918-19 they thought they had attained their goal in the Soviet Union. In Russia they had always wanted to make Yiddish an official second language on a par with Russian. This meant that the Russians would have to learn Yiddish. Eventually then Yiddish would displace Russian as the premier language. From Yiddish to Hebrew would then be a short leap. Sound far fetched? Consider, within a hundred years the Jews had wiped the name of Russia from the map. The country was then known as the Union Of The Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republics. Not bad work, huh?
They also hoped to make Yiddish the official other language of the US, much as the Mexicans are working toward doing with their language today, which would eventually displace English to be replaced in turn by Hebrew. In the long run then Yiddish would become the lingua franca of the West eventually the whole world to be succeeded by Hebrew and the triumph of the Revolution. Not as difficult as it might look.
This may be what ERB refers to as being unclear to him. Once again, by questioning, even denying, Jewish goals he made himself a marked man. He had failed the AJC test. He would be carefully watched. Thus his characters of Max Heimer and Abe Finkel probably made his book unpublishable. (See my ERB and FLA Exit The Twenties on ERBzine). As he never tried to publish Marcia under his own imprint that would imply that he finally got the message. The message was forget ‘Marcia.’
As Max Heimer is the male protagonist, Della Maxwell is the female protagonist. She has an importance that might go unnoticed by the casual reader. Della is actually a finely drawn character integrated into the story in a meaningful way. Della represents the Chicago aspects of ERB’s origins. She was from Chicago although her antecedents aren’t clear.
A significant category of books in the library are Chicago novels. One that that isn’t there but which ERB may have read is Theodore Dreiser’s ‘Sister Carrie.’ In Dreiser’s novel Carrie was a young girl down from Wisconsin who was seduced by an older man named Hurstwood. They left Chicago for New York where he slowly disintegrated while Carrie became a star of of the stage.
Della not only had an illicit romance with a married man in Chicago but the fellow was a bigamist also marrying Della. So while Marcia was a doorstep child she was legitimate after a fashion. Della was only seventeen or eighteen when Marcia was born so she couldn’t have older than fifteen or sixteen when she began her relationship with her ‘husband.’ As Della was an experienced actress when she hit the Big Apple she must have been on the stage by at least fifteen at the time she was filling that long engagement in Chicago.
Learning that she was her husband’s second wife she left him going to NYC shortly before Marcia was born. Thus Burroughs duplicates the story of ‘Sister Carrie’ approximately which could be just a coincidence or he might be influenced by Dreiser here.
It doesn’t seem plausible that she could have known the Sacketts before as Burroughs indicates but she apparently did. Knowing them as the finest of the fine she left Marcia on their doorstep.
The next day she arrives as a long lost friend to take rooms with them. Thus while she never identifies herself as the baby’s mother she lives with and has a hand in rearing her child. While Max Heimer gets the story moving on the Animus side Della does the same from the Anima side.
Now, Della bears a great resemblance to a number of Burroughs’ other representations of his Anima figure. For instance, Maud the nursemaid of ‘The Outlaw Of Torn’ or Hetty Penning, the girl thrown from the car in ‘Bridge And The Oskaloosa Kid among others who represent the failed Anima of Burroughs. It is not surprising then, that Della gives birth to the replacement Anima figure of Marcia and is around until Marcia is able to unite with the Animus figure Chase III. Della’s dying letter is responsible for removing the barrier to Marcia and Chase III’s marriage.
In terms of Burroughs’ psychology Della represents the Anima betrayed in his confrontation with john The Bully. Marcia then represents his new Anima (Barbara Harding, Gail Prim, Marcia to match John Chase I, II and III) born from the dishonor of his old Anima- in other words Marcia was born of an illicit romance between Della and a married man.
Marcus Aurelius Sackett as ERB then lives in his house with his wife Clara (Emma), Marcia Aurelia, named after himself, and therefor an integral part of his existence as his replacement Anima and his old failed Anima, Della Maxwell. An interesting solution to ERB’s problem.
This also brings up numerical problems. Marcia is explicitly said to have been left on the Sackett doorstep on 4/10/06. The numbers add up to twenty. Twenty is the age ERB’s Anima replacements have to be. Why isn’t clear. Thus Marcia won’t be twenty until 1926. On 4/6/27 when Marcia would have still been twenty ERB began his play ‘You Lucky Girl.’ The commencement of the play coincides with his meeting of Florence Gilbert so Marcia now twenty coincides with Florence who may very well have been intended as the ‘Lucky Girl.’
I don’t know the reason why but numbers in the corpus are significant.
Della is the equivalent of the golden hearted prostitute who first appears in ERB’s work in 1913-14′s ‘The Girl From Farris’s. Della is a hard case but with the good sense Sackett lacks. Psychologically this would be in keeping as, when John The Bully emasculated Burroughs making him a dependent personality he lost the ability to act in his own self-interest always deferring to the wishes of others at critical junctures.
Always the great good friend of the Sacketts Della saves the day from the grave for Marcia and Jack Chase III.
The story’s not bad although the execution may not be up to the highest standards of literary fiction which this story attempts to be. I’ve already given my opinion of Scott Fitzgerald’s influence and I might add that to Edith Wharton of ‘The House Of Mirth’, also in Burroughs’ library, was another signficant influence on Marcia.
The Sacketts while central figures in the book are passive. Things happen to them but they do little to make things happen. The couple is obviously based on ERB and Emma. ERB accurately portrays himself as an unrealistic, good hearted, bumbling wastrel without one shred of common sense. In the splitting of his personality common sense remained with his old Anima which was no longer of any use to him.
Clara Sackett is portrayed as his long suffering but devoted and loving wife. It is easy to imagine that her worries about financial matters were those of Emma herself. Beginning in 1913 when ERB first came into money the stuff had been water in his hands. He had literally gone through a million dollars from 1913 to the time this story was written and was actually deep in debt near bankruptcy. If ERB really wanted to be a businessman he should have gone to night school.
In the story when Mark Sackett receives the money from Chase I Clara is nearly beside herself in fear he will squander this very large sum. In fact the first thing Mark does is draw out some old blueprints for a yacht which he has been cherishing. Clara shudders when she comes upon him studying the plans. She is desperate because the couple is getting older and they have no other savings to fall back on.
Her worst fears are realized when Mark uses the money to organize a Shakespearean touring company. I think we can equate this with ERB’s purchase of the Otis Estate. However the tour is a great success but Sackett is cheated out of not only the earnings of the tour but his original twenty thousand dollars by Max Heimer who he had retained as his business manager. Thus stranded in LA, symbolically, the couple is again penniless.
This was precisely ERB and Emma’s own position in 1924 when Burroughs through his own mismanagement had all but lost Tarzana. I think, then, that Clara Sackett is a fairly accurate idea of how Burroughs perceived his wife.
As in real life the couple begins well but a long decline in their fortunes begins which leaves them destitute. Clara’s jewelry is gone. Pawned and lost just as Emma’s had been in the couple’s dark hour around 1910. The jewelry also figures importantly in ‘Tarzan The Untamed.’ Then Max Heimer extorts the twenty thousand dollars from Chase I which at least get the couple to LA.
Nineteen thirteen’s ‘The Mucker’ had been a low brow novel dealing with low brow themes in low brow millieux. Marcia, a decade later, psychologically light years later, is meant to rehabilitate ERB as a high brow. He has spent the last ten years trying to realize his ambition to be a prince. However as he wrote at the end of ‘The Mucker’, it takes more than one lifetime to travel from Grand Avenue to Riverside Drive. ERB wasn’t going to be allowed to make that journey in this lifetime.
Thus he makes Sackett, which is to say himself, a Shakespearean actor, the ultimate in high brow, of the old cultured school who abjures the low brow flicks. In Chicago Emma had acquainted Our Man with the stage which obviously completely entranced him. I don’t know for sure who ERB modeled Sackett on but in Marcia he trots out his knowledge of the stage by mentioning such stellar lights as Henry Irving, Forbes-Robertson, Julia Marlowe, E.H. Sothern and a few others. Wherever he acquired his knowledge of the stage, I haven’t been able to locate any such books in his library, either the books have been lost or he himself made use of the public library; no computers in those days. On the other hand they’re just names.
Of course, there is one other possible source, always overlooked, that source would be his wife Emma. As a voice student in Chicago Emma would have become steeped in the lore of the theatre. For instance while performing aboard ship Marcia sings ‘The Jewel Song’ from Faust followed by Gottschalk’s ‘The Girl I Loved.’ I could be wrong but personally I don’t believe ERB knew Gottschalk from Yellin. If he had ever heard ‘The Jewel Song’ from Faust it was from Emma’s lips. I will return to this topic in a moment but if this novel doesn’t betray an influence from Emma I don’t know what does.
Yet, again Burroughs amazes by the range of his knowledge. One should always bear in mind that nothing can come out of your brain that isn’t in it. Creativity doesn’t mean that you can invent knowledge, knowledge is the substance of creativity, thus ERB had to do some studying to be able to write this book as well as his others. He must also have had an excellent memory without which study is useless.
In addition to presenting the great names of the theatre ERB is allowed to present himself as a learned and cultured high brow fella. He has spent the last ten years attempting to shed himself of his post-confrontation origins, to return to his interrupted destiny as a prince.
You can feel his yearning for respectability, for an entrance into polite society or at least the pages of Collier’s or The Saturday Evening Post. Hollywood, the then unoffical porn capitol of the world, now officially, was no place to look for polite society but as there are affected people everywhere, it may have seemed so. As the publishers tossed ‘Marcia’ back in his face he wasn’t going to make any grand entrance into society as a result of this book.
After the rejection of ‘Marcia’ Burroughs would be allowed to write nothing but Tarzans and science fiction. Even though his two Apache novels were published in this decade his second Western, which is more than good enough for the genre, was rejected.
ERB was condemned to continue as a low brow writer.
In 1923-24 ERB was treading financial deep water as was Sackett not knowing whether he was going to sink or swim. The move to LA was becoming a financial disaster. His ill-advised plan of becoming a pig farmer was draining him of cash. The hiatus in the production of Tarzan movies meant that he was cut off from the easy movie money which made his intellectual property so valuable. During this period he had to rely exclusively on magazine sales and book royalties which were inadequate for his inflated life style.
As is common with artists who pursue the glamour rather than the substance and as usual with ERB he had spent his earnings as he had gotten them. As Hillman points out in his 1920 Timeline Burroughs incurred phenomenal expenses immediately after acquiring the Otis Estate which was also immediately renamed Tarzana as though ERB had been planning it a long time.
For the year 1920: Tarzana undergoes major renovations: central heating, a three car garage, servants rooms, workshop, a study that doubles as a home school room, a ballroom/movie theatre/playroom, projection booth, swimming pool, golf course, lion and monkey cages, riding trails, hen house, hog pen, dairy barn and horse stalls, maintenance etc.
And that doesn’t include three cars for the garage, his pedigreed grade Duroc Berkshire swine, horses and other live stock which consumed enormous amounts of money with no return as ERB knew little or nothing about farming or stock raising.
ERB went into this with the romantic notion of getting back to the land. Herb Weston warned him about the attitude advising him that if he himself were to go into farming he would run the farm as a factory with strict cost/return controls. One wonders whether ERB ripped out the fruit and nut orchards to make room for the golf course. I suspect so.
As was predictable by mid-year 1922 ERB was seeking a loan to cover his losses. He realized he lacked the know how and skills to run a profitable working farm so in January of 1923 as per Hillman’s Timeline he ‘…disposes of his livestock and farm equipment in an auction.’ It is also significant that a couple months later on March 2nd he incorporated himself as Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc. The move may have been for the economic reason of reducing taxes but perhaps an even more compelling reason was the defensive one of placing his most valuable assets beyond the reach of his creditors in case he had to declare bankruptcy. As all his copyrights and literary assets as well as the other properties of the corporation would be beyond the reach of his creditors.
The strategic move may also have prevented his creditors moving on him as what was left as assets was more trouble than it was worth. His creditors may have thought it better to let him try to dig himself out since the property would ultimately be theirs anyway than to incur the expense of disposing of the real property themselves.
However as Burroughs could no longer use the income accruing to the corporation the question is where did he get the money to retire his personal debts. You know, the problem really needs some explanation.
Burroughs was desperate for cash. Looking longingly across LA to Santa Fe Springs and Signal Hill with their spectacular oil strikes ERB attempted to find oil in Tarzana. Unfortunately there isn’t any in the San Fernando Valley.
It is to be noted that Chase III gets involved in oil schemes in ‘Marcia.’ This aspect of ERB’s finaglings should be examined more closely too.
In what I would call near desperation ERB came up with schemes for his El Caballero Country Club and subdividing Tarzana. He was renting sites on the ranch to movie companies for productions. This sort of income would have been separate from his salary as an employee of ERB, Inc. All such oil or real estate income could be applied to his personal debt.
Turning his home into a clubhouse necessitated his moving from the ranch to LA. By early 1925 he was forced to borrow $200,000.00 to stay afloat. Thus ERB could tailor John C. Fremont’s quip: ‘When I came to California I was penniless…now I owe two millions of dollars.’ to his own situation.
Incredibly ERB’s magnificent earnings of the last ten years of a million or so had been turned into a debt of 200,000 dollars. That’s some work; not everyone can get loans of that magnitude.
‘Marcia Of The Doorstep’ rather faithfully portrays this course of events. The Sacketts begin moderately prosperous sinking into some real povery when they are rescued by the virtual gift of Max Heimer. One can read that as his first income from novels. Sackett, like Burroughs, has little idea of the value of money. He spends it as fast as he gets it then loses everything. The Sacketts are dead broke.
Interestingly they learn of their impoverishment in San Francisco the town from which Billy Byrne was shanghaied. I am unfamiliar with ERB’s connection with Baghdad By The Bay. While Byrne went to sea the Sacketts find their way to LA. ERB talks of leaving the land of fog for the Sunny Southland so he must have had some experience with SF.
Sackett is too proud to go into movies so he exhausts his few resources being ultimately turned out of lodgings by his landlady in a fictionalized account of ERB’s actual situation in Tarzana.
Now arises a problem with Emma that probably contributed to ERB’s divorcing her. P. 222:
Marcus Aurelius Sackett found that three hundred dollars did not go very far in Los Angeles. Even a modest room was expensive and food was as high as in New York- also Marcus Aurelius Sackett had not yet learned the value of money. He never would. After he had invited several old friends to dine with them at the Montmartre Clara had taken what was left from him and put him on an allowance that was barely sufficient to cover cigars and carfare. It was the first time in their married life that Clara had taken the reins into her own hands; but as she told Marcus, she didn’t purpose being thrown on the charity of a strange city any sooner than was absolutely necessary.
After having watched her new husband gamble away their last forty dollars in 1904, gone through the first real money they had seen in 1913 and now watching their assets disappear in 1924 it appears that Emma took matters in hand to take control of finances from ERB.
While ERB was probably confident that the money would always come in they couldn’t have been sure of it nor guessed at the substantial amounts that would always be on the horizon. Are to this day. Besides giving money to ERB was like giving matches to a pyromaniac. The guy didn’t even put it in his pocket before he spent it. Also I’m not sure that Emma wasn’t entitled to a little more sayso than ERB allowed her.
Clara Sackett is portrayed by ERB as an inveterate reader of novels. She is always putting a novel down. He makes a point of indicating this. This was probably true of Emma also. So, let us assume that Emma had good literary sense. ERB always gave his stories to Emma to read before he submitted them. She was kept on the payroll after the divorce as a reader. Further, let us assume that an ERB manuscript looked something like ‘Tarzan And The Forbidden City’ which an uncharitable reviewer might say was a collection of notes. There is a noticeable decline in the quality of ERB’s writing after the divorce.
Now suppose that, while not actually taking a hand in the writing, Emma provided editorial skills to whip a manuscript into shape. Every writer can use a good editor and I suspect ERB more than most. Thus if Emma had provided editorial skills and services, I don’t say she rewrote anything, over the years she may have had more of a hand in ERB’s success than one thinks. Bear in mind I don’t say she did any of the writing or affected the imaginative quality of the stories, only that she was active possibly as a contributing editor.
So, Marcia is a highly fictionalized account of ERB’s exodus from Chicago and the four year debacle to 1925.
I think that if you squint your eyes and let your imagination view the story you will find a fairly accurate portrayal of ERB and Emma. Of course he left out the squabbles. Emma comes off extremely well. Perhaps ERB’s subconscious appreciation of the woman got the truth from him.
Within the context of Burroughs, ‘Marcia’ is really an incredible story. The amazing thing is that with all these financial worries ERB was able to not only continue to turn out his two books a year but to keep up on his reading. The library contains a large number of books that were purchased in these years and read.
Apparently the strain was great enough that ERB didn’t have time to maintain his correspondence with Herb Weston. From June 1919 to August 1926 there is a hiatus in the correspondence. Either Weston lost the letters or ERB was too stressed to write.
Central to the story are the Chases- John Hancock Chase I, II and III. The initials JC are the same as both John Carter and John Clayton. Here we have a total of five Johns so ERB’s fixation with John The Bully is given a positive twist. If ERB didn’t change his own name to John he gave it to his supreme heroes.
John Hancock Chase I as the name implies is of fine Old Stock. John Hancock was one of the preeminent heroes of the American Revolution who wrote his name large on the Declaration Of Independence so that King George could read it without his spectacles. Thus the Chases are connected with the Puritan founding fathers. He was also originally from the South, Baltimore, and lives in New York thereby uniting the country from New England and the Middle States to the South.
How old he is isn’t clear. He lost his wife in childbirth forty-six years previously which would have been c. 1875-76 depending on whether the story commences in 1922 or not. If he maried at thirty that would make him eighty-nine in 1922. Probably still had that old ramrod military bearing but definitely an Ancient Mariner. In 1924 he would have been 91. If one assumes he married young at twenty make it 81 which is also plausible. An element of Chase I’s character may be that of George T., ERB’s father. He was born in 1833 so that if Chase I was born in 1833 he was eighty-nine. A little old but I’m betting on a birth date of 1833.
Still another source may be that fine old Southern gentleman portrayed by Thomas Dixon, Jr. in his novels. Chase I is from Maryland so that he is from the South living in New York City. That ERB does not make him a Virginian may mean he was not of the first water as was John Carter. Anent Carter, the Carter’s were in real life one of the first families of Virginia. However it is interesting that his antecedents cover the Puritans, the Cavaliers, and the middle colony of New York. Thus in a Dixonian sense he has reunited the country, ‘The Birth Of A Nation’, in the person of Chase I, healed all those Reconstruction wounds.
Another possible interpretation is that while ERB professed to love his father there was enough resentment to demote him to Maryland. As Baltimore appears frequently in the corpus while there is no indication that Burroughs visited the city its importance may be simply as the place Poe died. Burroughs would likely have been familiar with the poem ‘The Streets Of Baltimore’ commemorating Poe by the ever prolific Anon. The poem, by the way, can be found in the collection entitled ‘The Best Loved Poems Of The American People’ available since 1936.
Burroughs was probably familiar with most of the poems, athough perhaps not the book, as the poems are written mostly in the galloping rhythmic style of Kipling that ERB himself emulated. While Burroughs was influenced by novels and non-fiction one should never forget the cornpone verse and song lyrics he loved that may have had as much or more influence on him than anything else. He indirectly references many poems such as Will Carleton’s ‘Over The Hill To The Poor House.’ At about the time he was writing this book he was honored by a visit from ‘Uncle’ Walt Mason who wrote prose poems in the same galloping rhythm. He was apparently so infatuated with Mason’s stuff that he visited the writer at his home in Emporia, Kansas on his 1916 cross country trip. Thus poets like Mason and H.H. Knibbs, who he also made a point of looking up- Robert W. Service, Kipling and others may have been as influential on his development, or moreso, than writers like London or Tarkington even. He could have looked up Zane Grey who had a place in Pasadena but he never did. I am convinced he would have looked up London but for the latter’s untimely death.
In ‘Marcia’ he names the captain of the Lady X ‘Danny’ Dever after Kipling’s poem of the same name. It is quite possible that many of his characters can be traced back to well known poems or those that are obscure or forgotten. Verse was everywhere in thos days from the pages of pulps to newspapers. ERB had a copy of Edgar A. Guest’s newspaper verse, which was syndicated, in his library so the guy obviously loved paperly verse. Eugene Field. Get yourself a copy of ‘The Best Loved Poems Of The American People’ and familiarize yourself with them.
The Boy stood on the burning deck,
Whence all but he had fled:
The flames that lit the battle’s wreck
Shone round over the dead.
Felicia Hemans- Casabianca
Think about it.
If Chase I was influenced by ERB’s father while being a Southern Gentleman from Maryland where did the Southern influence come from: Very popular at this time was Thomas Dixon, Jr. and his Reconstruction novels- The Leopard’s Spots, The Clansman and The Traitor. ERB had a copy of ‘The Traitor’ in his library, while it would seem likely he had read the first two volumes of the trilogy and certain that he had seen D.W. Griffith’s 1915 movie adaptation of the trilogy- The Birth Of A Nation.
A large part of the Southrons alive would have experienced Reconstruction and its Jim Crow aftermath. the victors hadn’t yet written the censored history of the period so opinion was as yet quite varied as ‘The Birth Of A Nation’ indicated.
Chase I resonates the fine old Southern Gentleman in Dixon’s novels. It is quite possible then that Burroughs has moved one of Dixon’s Southern gentlemen North to New York City. This may possibly have been meant to humanize the Northern industrial magnate of whom Dixon is as caustically critical as any Gustavus Myers. And on sounder grounds too.
Chase I may then have been a portrait of the type of father ERB would have liked to have had. Cultured, wealthy, kind and generous but stern.
Chase II, who as a married man, lives in his father’s house along with his young son, Chase III, gets into a problem with a woman that isn’t explained very well. Chase II at some celebration drank so much that he blacked out for nine hours. Max Heimer somehow picked him up in this drunken condition taking him to his own apartment. Heimer had apparently been living with the woman Mame Myerz for several years. Although she later states that she wasn’t home that night Heimer concocts a scheme in which she was supposed to have conceived a child by Chase II. Nine months later Heimer returns to begin blackmailing Chase II. Unable to bear the shame Chase II shoots himself.
Obviously Mame Myerz is Jewish. The correct spelling of her name must have been Meyers or Meiers but perhaps ERB didn’t have the courage to make both her and Heimer clearly Jewish or perhaps she changed the spelling of her name to avoid appearing Jewish as was commonly done.
Ever on the qui vive it is this story that Heimer exploits sixteen years later when he learns Marcia was left with the Sacketts on about the same date, 4/10/06. If you note, those numbers add up to 20. Pretty Freudian, huh?
Chase II then, represents ERB’s failed Animus on the street corner with John the Bully while Mame Myerz blends with Della Maxwell as the failed Anima. Burroughs despises his failed Anima but as part of himself he can’t hate it. His Anima representations always start out as ‘bad’ girls but he then rehabilitates them. Perhaps by separating out Mame Myerz from Della Maxwell he can vent his hatred twice removed.
Chase III born of his failed Animus represents ERB as he would like to have been. Tall, clean limbed, clean living, thoroughly clean. The emphasis on clean is probably because John The Bully besmirched ERB’s Animus making him feel dirty as did Norman in ‘The Outlaw Of Torn.’ Rather than making Chase III an Army officer, for some reason ERB makes him a Naval officer. However, stationed in Hawaii. The Islands were becoming a fixation of Burroughs probably influenced by Jack London’s stories of the Islands. The Islands will figure importantly in ERB’s later life. All roads are trending toward Hawaii.
Thus, Marcia, his Anima replacement and Chase III, his new Animus, meet in paradise on the waters of his subconscious. Marcia first sees Chase III rising from the waters, as it were, as he climbs over the side of the yacht. I asume the yacht is anchored in Pearl Harbor although ERB makes it appear to be on the open ocean. Chase III then takes Marcia to the land for her first time. Thus ERB and Florence honeymooned in Hawaii while they later lived on the Honolulu side of Pearl. There is an interesting passage in Marcia on pp. 237-8 where the sailor Crumcrow, the name indicates his worthlessness, soliloquizes as he spies on the pirate camp:
“That Bledgo…Say, that guy’s the toughest nut I ever seen. Talk about hard boiled! Gee! Hard boiled is soft alongside o’ him. I wonder what he’d say if I walked in there right now. Probably knock my block clean off. Wisht I’d kept my bazoo shut. They’re havin’ a good time there an’ we ain’t never had a good time in our camp- nothing but watch and work. I’m sick o’ work. that guy Chase gives me a pain. Nothin’ but work and watch, an’ you can’t kick ’cause the damn boob does it himself. I’d like to be an officer. You’d bet your pants I’d not work or watch either. What do I have to work for him for? I ain’t in the army no more. And say, wouldn’t it give you a swift pain the way I say ‘yes, sir’ and ‘no, sir’ him an’ salute him. Every time I see that guy’s mug I snap to attention. Gee! It makes me sick. I don’t know what makes me do it, and he hit me once, too, knocked me coo-coo- the dirty —–.”
That’s a quick encapsulation of ERB’s life between John The Bully and his brief army career. Bledgo here represents John The Bully beside whom a hard boiled egg is soft. Forty years later the memory of his confrontations with John is as green as the day it happened. And rightly so, John changed his life.
ERB also changed the status of his own life when he entered the Army forsaking his chance to be an officer. Thus Chase III represents ERB as he would like to have been who orders the shadow of his former self around. ‘You used to be in the army?’ Chase asked Crumcrow.
Crumcrow then deserts to John/Bledgo’s side passing out of ERB’s life, hopefully.
By 1924 ERB was rebooting his life and able to see his earlier character from a distance.
ERB put a lot of loving care into the creation of Marcia. Late in the book he actually describes her as Cinderella. That fairy tale figure began life well but was dispossessed being turned into a servant girl who swept the ashes from the fire. Her innate role of a princess was discovered by the Prince because of her unique foot which retored her to her true position. Something like the unique birthmark that identifies the real Prince.
As ERB’s Anima figure there can be no doubt that ERB is recapitulating his own history. He makes Marcia impossibly sweet and beautiful but then novels are filled with these sweet and beautiful women who are so difficult to find in real life.
Everyone loves Marcia while she fits in everywhere, perhaps as ERB wished he did. Only sixteen when she is adopted by the Ashley’s, grown men like Banks von Spiddle and Chase III fall head over heels in love with her. Although she came from an impoverished stage actors background she is able to adapt to high society manners in a trice and without any glitches, unlike Billy Byrnes. Born to the manner and manor as they say. The Ashleys invite her to take a trip with them on their yacht where it seems as a tyro sixteen year old she might be slightly out of place. Marcia however has the social aplomb and sophisticated patter of a woman much older than herself.
As with Billy Byrne and Barbara Harding, Marcia and Chase III are marooned on a desert island. Chase III and Harding change places while Marcia assumes in her relationship to Chase III that of Byrne to Barbara.
The Samurai are replaced by Bledgo and the IWW malcontents. Bledgo is the shadow of John the Bully who continues to haunt ERB’s imagination. He is knocked unconscious as Marcia and Chase III try to evade him. His end is unknown as it is not known whether he sailed with the pirate crew or not nor is it any concern. Thus ERB hopefully disposes of the hateful memory of John and his former self in the shape of Crumcrow; maybe he has exorcised their files from his memory banks. He hopes so.
ERB’s Anima an Animus are reunited climbing the slopes of the mountain spiritually cleansed by the torrential driving rain. The rain storm of course remains a symbol for sexual passion. This is terrific stuff; ERB has his moments.
Across the crest they are reunited with the society people from whom they had been separated by John the Bully, symbolically represented by their taking different boats during the disaster at sea. The people of his former existence had landed on the other side of the island.
Marcia’s seeming happiness is delayed when in Manila she receives Berlanger’s letter advising her that she and Chase III are brother and sister.
Fleeing her lover on the eve of their reunion/wedding she takes ship to California on which is a movie director who…
But I will save that for the play by play description of the book in Part V.
The essentials of her role have been dealt with.
The writing of Marcia was a virtual financial disaster for ERB. He had taken a whole year to write it while the fifty thousand that he hoped to receive never materialized. The year returned nothing to him at this very critical juncture in his finances. The experiment was so costly he never tried it again.
In 1066 and succeeding centuries the Norman conquerors enslaved the Anglo-Saxons of East Anglia which was an affront deeply resented. Take a lesson.
In the sixteenth century when the printed Old Testament became universally available the East Anglians identified with the enslaved Hebrews of Exodus. They elected themselves as a Chosen People and developed the compensatory Utopian attitude of inherent virtue as a Chosen People of God.
In the seventeenth century New England (Anglia) was settled by emigrants from East Anglia. Not just English but East Anglians. Virginia was settled by descendents of the Norman conquerors of 1066. The Virginians once again chose slavery as their method of labor. First indentured White people then Africans.
While Utopian ideals developed in New England the abolitionist movement began which resulted in the Civil War/War Between The States, war between regions or actually war between ideologies. There was no chance the South was going to discontinue slavery anytime soon no matter what anyone says.
In revenge for 1066 the Cavaliers (Whites) of the South were absolutely crushed giving up all rights by surrendering unconditionally.
The nascent Liberal Party of Puritans elevated the Africans over the Cavaliers thus establishing a protectorate over the ‘victims’ which is characteristic of the faith while establishing their power over dissident Whites. Thus the Liberals ultimately aligned themselves with all colored revolutionary movements in the world against White European conquerors.
Within the United States they viewed immigrants as ‘victims’ of the Old Stock pathologizing the Old Stock as ‘bigots’ no better than Cavaliers of the Old South. All opponents to their Liberal religious ideology which included the intellectual mindset of Science thus became wrong headed vile ‘bigots’ who had no right to live. After the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 the utopian Communist ideology became their politics; call it Socialism it all comes out the same.
As Edgar Rice Burroughs was not a Liberal, not a Communist and not religious but Scientific he unwittingly placed himself in opposition to the Liberal Coalition. On that basis a serious attempt was made to abort his career while subsequently an attempt to erase his name and work from history is being conducted.
Thus the twenties ushered in a new changed era fraught with new adjustments which were misunderstood or not understood at all. Burroughs’ career after 1920 has to be seen in the light of this concealed antagonism that he had to counter without being clear as to the causes.
Part V of The Mucker and Marcia Of The Doorstep follows in another post.