Part III: Zane Grey, Edgar Rice Burroughs And The Anima And Animus

February 4, 2009

 

The ERB Library Project

Zane Grey, Edgar Rice Burroughs And The Animus And Anima

Part III

The Rainbow Trail

Bad Blood In The Valley Of Hidden Women

by

R.E. Prindle, Dr. Anton Polarion And Dugald Warbaby

Texts:

Burroughs, Edgar Rice: Corpus 1911-1940

Grey, Zane:  The Riders Of  The Purple Sage, 1912

Grey, Zane:  The Rainbow Trail, 1915

Grey, Zane:  The Mysterious Rider, 1921

Prindle, R.E.:  Freudian Psycology Updated To Modern Physics, ERBzine, 2004

Prindle, R.E.:  Something Of Value Books I, II, III, Erbzine, 2005.

     The protagonist of this continuation of Riders Of The Purple Sage is named John Shefford.  The appeal of this book and Mysterious Stranger to ERB is evident since John Bellounds and John Shefford are both Johns which was ERB’s favorite male name for both heroes and villains.  Shefford is the hero here while Bellounds was a villain.

     Symbolical of the religious problems of the period Shefford had been pushed into the ministry, some undefined sect, by his parents.  But  he had his doubts.  These doubts found expression in his sermons to his flock.  This may have been just after the Civil War to keep time periods straight.  Not sharing his doubts the faithful threw him out of their church.  So on the religious level Shefford is searching for a belief system.  His old one had been ruined by Science.  So we have the science-religion dichotomy here.

     Shefford’s congregation was in Beaumont, Illinois which is where Venters and Bess of Purple Sage took Night and Black Star and their bag of gold.  They had told their story to Shefford who found Bess strange and wonderful deciding that where she came from there must be others and that he was going there to get him one.  In my youth, they called it Kansas City but this is not the case here.

     When they told him the story of Fay Larkin he decided to go in search of her himself and locate this duplicate of Bess known as Fay Larkin.  We should note that a fay is a fairie, so Fay Larkin is in essence a fairy princess.  Thus Shefford is not only looking for redemption for his Animus but he seeks to reconcile his Anima.  This is not much different from the Hungarian myth where the Anima was imprisoned in bridge footing, here the Anima is imprisoned in Surprise Valley just over the Arizona line in Utah.  Get this, at the foot of the Rainbow Bridge.  How elemental can you get.

     With the blessing of Venters and the unmasked Rider, Bess, Shefford sets out for the desert in search of redemption.  So, we have the religious dilemma of the period caused by Darwin and other scientific advances as the foundation of the story coupled with the Anima-Animus problem of the male.

     The book was published in magazine form as The Desert Crucible.  For the meaning of this metaphor for Grey check out his 1910 novel The Heritage Of The Desert.  For Grey the desert tries a man’s soul either making or breaking him.  The hero of Heritage, John Hare, was a ‘lunger’, that is tubercular, who was healed both physically and mentally in the desert crucible.  In Shefford’s case he tapped his breast and said:  ‘I’m sick here.’ meaning his heart or soul.  I haven’t read a lot of Grey but of what I have read he never deviates much from his basic story; it’s all pretty much the same told from different perspectives.  Shefford will have his heart or ‘soul’ healed just as Hare had his lung healed while finding himself as a man ‘way out there.’  Out There Somewhere as Knibbs and Burroughs would say.

     Pretty much the same notion as Burroughs who believed a return to nature was the solution of the urban problem.  Neither writer was unique in this respect but symptomatic of the times.

     Whereas the desert was lush in Purple Sage under the dominion of the Great Mother, now under the control of the Patriarchal Mormon men viewed through the heartsick eyes of John Shefford the desert is dry as a bone, the water and the Great Mother are gone, all is barren and bleak.

     Even the old landmarks have disappeared.  No one has ever heard of Deception Pass although they think it may have been what is now known as the Sagi.  Amber Spring has dried up.  The town of Cottonwoods razed, only a few walls standing, while nobody reallys wants to discuss it.  Verboten.  No one has ever heard of Surprise Valley, which after all was sealed off from the world.  But the name Fay Larkin does ring a bell.  Hope in the wilderness.

     Purple Sage took place in 1871, this is twelve years later, hence 1883.  The United States Government, interfering in both religious and sexual matters, declared polygamy illegal in 1882 in response to this Mormon threat.  In the background then is the US tribunal trying to root out the Mormon vice of polygamy.  Time is moving right along on the last frontier.

     In Grey and Burroughs’ real time, this book was published in 1915, the problem would have been a different Semitic intrusion, the Jews, who were manipulating US policy, certainly vis-a-vis Czarist Russia, for their own ends.  Both writers would have been aware of Jewish political activities as well as the Great War that broke out in 1914.  The Mormon-US confrontation may very well be also an examination of the Jewish-Gentile situation which was felt more keenly by contemporaries than the history books wish to tell as well as concern for the Big One in Europe.

     The consequences of the situation described by Grey in Purple Sage would have been a serious one for the Mormon government.  Clearly the situation had been allowed to get out of hand by Bishop Dyer and Elder Tull.  Direct action should never have allowed to develop; it should have been kept more covert as any well managed operation should be.  My god, the number of Mormons and others who died should have been a scandal.  Wars have reported fewer deaths.  The fact that Cottonwoods was destroyed, Amber Spring stopped up, and whatever indicates it was the Mormons who were trying to wipe the past from the history books.  No need to talk about this one.  One may compare this incident to Egyptian history.  When the female Pharaoh Hatshepsut died her name was chiseled off every monument in the land.  The idea that you can change the past by chiseling it out of the history books is current as well today.

     The Mormons did not forget Lassiter and Jane walled up in Surprise Valley but there was no entry to get at them.  Grey, a better writer than astute geologist, hastens erosion in the valley.  More erosion occurred in these twelve years than in the previous two or three thousand.  There were constant landslides and then the really Big One occurred when the canyon wall opposite the cliff dwellings gave way allowing for an entrance but still too formidable for an escape.

     A watching Piute, Navajos are Grey’s noble savages, the Piutes his ignoble savages, Twain excoriated them too, informs the Mormons who invade the Valley seizing Lassiter and Jane.  Lassiter had, of course, left his empty guns outside the Valley eleven years before and was unarmed or, in other words, emasculated.

     The Mormons were going to string the Hammer up from his own sour apple tree when they decide to spare him if he and Jane will give them Fay Larkin for a fate worse than death, that is being given to a Mormon as one of his multiple wives and educated to the faith.  It’s not clear why they asked as Jane and Uncle Jim had no power to refuse.  At any rate, they considered it a square deal.  The Mormons took the girl, apparently leaving Uncle Jim with his hands tied and the hempen noose still around his neck.  Rather ludicrous vision when you think that he was attired in a fairly loose fitting garment made of  jackrabbit hides.

     Thus as the story begins Lassiter and Jane are alone in Surprise Valley, Fay Larkin is being educated to be the youngest wife of a Mormon Elder but as yet untouched, the US Government  is pursuing the Mormons to prevent polygamy and John Shefford is in search of god and himself slogging knee deep through sand dunes in search of an obliterated past.

     Do you believe in magic?  You’re going to have to.

     Because of US pressure the Mormons have gotten very devious.  They have moved their extra wives across the Utah border into Arizona in a village of hidden women called Fredonia which means Free Women, are you laughing yet, apparently in the sexual sense.  An oxymoron if there ever was one as these women were definitely not free.  I find it difficult to follow Grey’s thinking here.

     The Mormons forbid men to visit here while they themselves make periodic visits to their wives and children.  That these are quality time visits is evidenced by the large numbers of children and no resident men.  Hmm, freaky, Fredonia huh?

     Of course supplies have to be brought in by men but these are men the Mormons ‘trust.’  Shefford links up with the trader Willets who is one of the trusted ones who vouches for the stranger Shefford so that he is allowed into the Valley Of Hidden Women.

     Grey is incredible, in Purple Sage there was only one woman in Surprise Valley, now in Fredonia there is a whole village of delectable females.  Willets encourages Shefford to mingle with them, get to know them, make them like him, but don’t touch.

     On his way to the ladies Shefford has to pass through the crucible of the desert.  It’s hard work but, boy, your muscles feel good, the air is great too.  On the way Shefford is befriended by the Navajo, Nas Ta Bega, the navvy actually making him his brother.  Say Nas Ta Bega rapidly three or four times and it almost comes out Nasty Beggar. Coincidence.  This is the beginning of Shefford’s new religion.

     For the Navajos religion was material, they worshipped the sun, the rocks, the winds, anything they see or feel.  The natural rock formation, Rainbow Bridge, is their greatest terrestrial god, none daring approach it.

     Shefford meets Mary his first day in Fredonia.  We all know Mary is Fay Larkin and really so does Shefford but he has to make her say it.  As she is his Anima figure they naturally love each other at first sight but as she is the affianced of Elder Waggoner he has to get her away from him.

     This is not 1871, there is no longer any wild gunslinging.  The law is here.  In fact a court of inquiry is taking place in Stonebridge just across the border in Utah.  Interesting how closely Grey follows ancient legends of which he probably had no knowledge.  The Mormon wives are immured in a hidden valley on the other side of the border from Stonebridge not unlike the Anima figure entombed in the bridge foundation on the other side of the river in Hungarian myth.

     The US judge has no luck in making the women admit to being other wives, in fact, to Grey’s horror, they allow themselves to be thought of as prostitutes rather than admit to polygamy.  Apparently the US was unable to prove one case of polygamy anywhere in Utah.  Them Mormons was close lipped.

     Shefford still has to get Fay Larkin away from her prospective Mormon husband.  As with all of Grey’s protagonists Shefford procrastinates and vacillates.  Fay Larkin invites him into her house, obviously on a sexual pretext which he is slow to pick up.  While he is allowing for the information to seep into his brain bootsteps are heard on the porch.  It is not the milkman.  Fay wants Shefford to kill Waggoner but Shefford has strong moral principles against killing for any reason.  As Fay looks imporingly to him for protection her husband is opening the door.  Shefford dives through an open window running as fast as his legs will carry him.

     Grey seems to consider this natural as Shefford has an aversion to killing; strangely, Fay Larkin does not seem to resent his hasty departure leaving her to the mercy of her husband whose intent is to impose a fate worse than death on her.

     In fact, Shefford’s will seems to be paralyzed from here to the end of the story not unlike the paralysis Jane inflicted on Lassiter.  Something about those Withersteen women.  Fay has after all been renamed Mary after the Mother Mary.  Everyone else does things for Shefford as he wanders about in a daze; he seems to be able to do nothing for himself.

     Fay’s husband is found dead on her doorstep the next morning.  She thinks Shefford did it and is pleased; he thinks she did it and is horrified.  Actually the Navajo, Nas Ta Bega, Shefford’s Bi Nai, or blood brother,  did it for him.  Is Grey thinking about the contemporary Jews?  Bi Nai is awfully close to the B’nai of  B’nai B’rith.  B’nai means brother or brotherhood.  B’nai B’rith means Brothers of the Ceremony.  I can’t say for certain but it is the little details that give you away.

     Nas Ta Bega has been doing the legwork for Shefford all along.  He actually discovered that Mary was Fay larkin for certain.  Whereas no one had ever heard of Surprise Valley Nas Ta Bega had found it.  Shefford is too paralyzed to kill Waggoner so n=Nas Ta Bega does it for him.  While Shefford himself could never shed blood and he was horrified that Fay Larkin might have done it he is relieved that Nas Ta Bega did it accepting the gift without any qualms.  Grey is a strange one.

     There is some resemblance here to Daddy Warbucks of Orphan Annie fame where Warbucks himself kills no one but his confederates the Indian Punjab and indeterminate Asp eliminate people by the dozen for him.   Thus Warbucks’ hands are always clean but the job gets done anyway.  Here Shefford remains innocent of the murder shuffling the guilt off to Nas Ta Bega his blood brother.

     The bunch heads to Surprise Valley to get Lassiter and Jane out.  It requires pegs and ropes to get into the valley but there they find a very relaxed, one might even say, comatose, Uncle Jim who says ‘Shore’ to everything, for shore.  Very amiable guy for a man with the blood of dozens of Mormons on his hands.

     He and Jane are released and now begins a very complicated escape plan down the Colorado River then through the rapids to safety on the Arizona side.  The Mormons at this stage of history thought that Utah extended to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon although the US authorities thought differently.

     The story effectively ends with the release of  Lassiter and Jane from Surprise Valley.  Shore, it does.  But Grey throws an extra forty pages in the ending mainly to give a description of a boat ride down the rapids of the Colorado which he has apparently taken.  Lassiter and Jane are reunited with Venters and Bess, Night and Black Star back in Beaumont, Illinois.  Shefford finds his Anima, redeems his soul, finds a true religion and lives happily ever after.

2.

     G.M. Farley, the editor of Zane Grey Collector, in his charming appreciation of Zane Grey for the ERBzine says that Grey wrote no fantasy, but these two novels, Purple Sage and Rainbow, are just that, pure fantasy.  Lassiter, Venters and Shefford are archetypes.  Surprise Valley nor anything like it ever existed nor did the Valley Of The Hidden Women.  Both these books are pure fantasy.  If appreciated properly these two books should stand as the cornerstones of Grey’s literary legacy.  Much better than his ordinary cornpone Westerns.  When it come to Westerns I will take those of Burroughs over Grey every day.

     Burroughs is absolutely learned compared to Grey.   The former’s insatiable curiosity is very evident in his writing while Grey gives the impression of having read nothing.  Of course if you’re writing several months out of the year and out to sea for the rest perhaps there isn’t much time for reading.  The contrast between land and water in Grey’s fiction was lived out in his real life.  Psychoogically land represents the hard, dry Animus while water is representative of the creative Anima.  As Roger Miller said, he had too much water for his land which is to say that he was subject to wild flights of fantasy but unable to govern his life.  He also said quite correctly, Squares, that is people with a lot of land, make the world go ’round.  Thus the Mormon squares controlled the situation while ‘hipsters’ Jane and Lassiter ended up buried in the canyon.

     Thus Grey’s concentration on the desert as compared to farmland or the forest is signficant.  The opening scenes of  Rainbow when Shefford slogs through the sand drifts to arrive at a bitter waterhole is significant of his inner barrenness; a nonfunctioning Anima.  Contrast the bitter water with the sweet water Amber Spring of Purple Sage.  When Shefford is united with his Anima figure, Fay Larkin, they travel through harsh desert to leave finally on a raging  torrent washed over with water until they are nearly drowned to land on a hospitable South shore of the Colorado in Arizona not Utah.

     Likewise Grey lived his life between the desert and the sea.  On the sea angling for the big fish a la Jonah or perhaps the fish of wisdom of Sumerian Oannes.

     Certainly the epic is a search for both wisdom and redemption.  Having been disowned by his church Shefford has been set adrift without any new guidelines or directions home.

     As Shefford explains to Fay Larkin:

      “So when the church disowned me…I conceived the idea of wandering into the wilds of Utah to save Fay Larkin from that canon prison.  It grew to be the best and strongest desire of my life.  I think if I could save her that it would save me.  (Right.) I never loved any girl.  I can’t say that I love Fay Larkin.  How could I when I’ve never seen her- when she is only a dream girl?  But I believe if she were to become a reality- a flesh and blood girl- that I would love her.”

     So that Shefford hopes to find redemption in Fay Larkin.  He might indeed love her- if she were a flesh and blood girl as well as his Anima ideal- but the Anima ideal can never become a real flesh and blood girl.  Real women are different.

     Shefford’s situation seems to be that of the Hungarian myth with the Anima trapped in a sealed in valley rather than the buttress of a bridge.  As it doesn’t appear that Grey read or studied much, this understanding must have been a realization of his own situation which he was able to objectify on paper.

     In many ways this then is exactly what Burroughs was searching for as most of his novels are Anima/Animus novels although ERB did not have such a clear grasp while being much more involved with the psychoses of the subconscious.

     And then there were the other two themes: the search for the realization of manhood, or the escape from emasculation , and finding a new religious identity.

     As noted, Grey thought the desert brought out manhood.  His trip West with Buffalo Jones a few years before Purple Sage must have been a real eye opening experience.  The Grand Canyon with its contrast between desert and water must have really inspired the author.

     Thus Shefford, before he finds his Anima first learns to be a man ‘way out there.’  The test of manhood involves the carrying of a large stone that proved Navajo manhood.

     A few passages:

     “Joe placed a big hand on the stone and tried to move it.  According to Shefford’s eye measurements the stone was nearly oval (egg shaped), perhaps three feet high, but a little over two in width. (Big egg)  Joe threw off his sombrero, took a deep breath and, bending over, clasped the stone in his arms.  He was an exceedingly heavy and powerful man, and it was plain to Shefford that he meant to lift the stone if that were possible.  Joe’s broad shoulders strained, flattened; his arms bulged, his joints cracked, his neck corded, and his face turned black.  By gigantic effort he lifted the stone and moved it about six inches.  Then as he relaxed his hold he fell, and when he sat up his face was wet with sweat.

      Lucky he lived through that.

            “Try it,” (Joe Lake) said to Shefford, with his lazy smile.  “See if you can heave it.”

            Shefford was strong, and there had been a time when he took pride in his strength.  Something in Joe’s supreme effort and in the gloom of the Indian’s eyes (Nas Ta Bega) made Shefford curious about this stone.  He bent over and grasped it as Joe had done.  He braced himself and lifted with all his power, until a red blur obscured his sight and shooting stars seemed to explode in his head.  But he could not even stir the stone.

“Shefford, maybe you’ll be able to lift it some day,”  observed Joe.  Then he pointed to the stone and addressed Nas Ta Bega.

     The Indian shook his head and spoke for moment.

     “This is the Isende Aha of the Navajos.” explained Joe.  “The young braves are always trying to carry this stone.  As soon as one of them can carry it he is a man.  He who carries it farthest is the biggest man.  And just so soon as any Indian can no longer lift it he is old.  Nas Ta Bega says the stone has been carried two miles in his lifetime.  His own father carried it the length of six steps.”

     So, manhood consists of lifting a stone, carrying that weight.  It would seem to me that pale-faced education would have less to do with being built like Louis Cyr or Man Mountain Dean.  I, myself, don’t feel any less a man because I can’t lift a 350 lb. rock.

     Talking about fantasy:  If the stone were moved two miles in Nas Ta Bega’s lifetime while his mighty father movied it six toddling steps, if only ten percent  of the Navajos were big enough to move the stone then the Navajos should have been as populous as the sands of the desert.

     As as a Patriarchal Mormon Joe Lake could lift the stone, as a Matriarchal Gentile Shefford couldn’t and it was impossible for the completely emasculated Indian, Nas Ta Bega, what we have here is a lesson in masculinity.

     For myself, I’ve carried that weight for decades but I wouldn’t waste my time and kill myself by trying to lift some rock.

     The search for manhood and faith went on but we’re getting closer if no less ridiculous.  Another quote,  Shefford to Fay Larkin:

     “Listen,” his voice was a little husky, but behind it there seemed a tide of resistless utterance.  “Loss of faith and name did not send me into this wilderness.  But I had love- love for that lost girl, Fay Larkin.  I dreamed about her till I loved her.  I dreamed that I would find her- my treasure- at the foot of a rainbow.  Dreams!…When you told me she ws dead I accepted that.  There was truth in your voice, I respected your reticence.  But something died in me then.  I lost myself, the best of me, the good that might have uplifted me.  I went away, down upon the barren desert (Oh Dan, can you see that great green tree where the water’s running free…) and there I grew into another and a harder man. Yet strange to say, I never forgot her (Water) though my dreams were done.  (Clear) As I suffered and changed I loved her, the thought of her- (Water) more and more.  Now I have come back to these walled valleys- to the smell of pinon, to the flowers in the nooks, to the wind on the heights, to the silence and loneliness and beauty.”

“And here the dreams came back and she is with me always.  Her spirit is all that keeps me kind and good, as you say I am.  But I suffer and I long for her live.  If I loved her dead, how could I love her living!  Always I torture myself with the vain dream that- that she might not be dead.  I have never been anything but a dreamer.  And here I go about my work by day and lie awake at night with that lost girl in my mind.  I love her.  Does that seems strange to you?  But it would not if you understood.  Think.  I have lost faith, hope.  I set myself a great work- to find Fay Larkin.  And by the fire and iron and the blood that I felt it would cost me to save her some faith must come to me again…My work is undone- I’ve never saved her.  But listen, how strange it is to feel- now- as I let myself go- that just the loving her and the living here in the wilderness that holds her somewhere have brought me hope again.  Some faith must come, too.  It was through her that I met the Indian, Nas Ta Bega.  He has saved my life- taught me much.  What would I have ever learned of the naked and vast earth, of the sublimity  of the the vast uplands, of the storm and night and sun, if I had not followed the gleam she inspired?  In my hunt for a lost girl perhaps I wandered into a place where I shall find a God and my salvation.  Do you marvel that I love Fay Larkin- that she is not dead to me?  Do you marvel that I love her, when I know, were she alive, chained in a canon, or bound, or lost in any way my destiny would lead me to her, and she should be saved?’

      Wow!  You get old Zane wound up and he’s hard to stop.  This guy must have been a terror with the girls.  Dazzled ’em.  Stars in their eyes.  Remember from eight to seventeen Fay was locked up in Surprise Valley where with the passing years Jane and Uncle Jim spoke less and less as they slowly became as clams.  Now as an eighteen year old girl with absolutely no human intercourse and Jane and Jim weren’t speaking  she has been undergoing a heavy course of indoctrination in Mormonism while being isolated in her cabin.  Could she understand this torrent of words from Shefford?  Think about it.  She’s a nature girl from the Stone Age moving into the nineteenth century in the twinkling of an eye.

     It seems pretty clear to us, astute in varying degrees, that Shefford is going to find salvation in Fay but how about religion.  Once again, bear in mind that Grey has displaced the contemporary situation in 1915 back to 1883.  In that way he doesn’t have to deal with all those troubling immigrants while the major religious war between the Semites and Gentiles can be discussed under cover of the conflict between the Mormons and the Gentiles.  Polygamy might be compared to the Semitic concept of the Chosen People.  End either one and the source of conflict would disappear.

     Just as Jane and Lassiter have reverted to the Stone Age so Grey goes to his noble savages, the Navajos, to find Shefford’s religious solution:

     The Navajo, dark, stately, inscrutable, faced the sun- his god.  This was the Great Spirit, the desert was his mother, but the sun was his life.  To the keeper of the winds and rains, to the master of light, to the maker of fire, to the giver of life the Navajo sent up his prayer:

Of all the good things of the earth let me always have plenty.

Of all the beautiful things of the earth let me always have plenty.

Peacefully let my horses go and peacefully let my sheep go.

God of the Heavens, help me to talk straight.

Goddess of the Earth, my Mother, let me walk straight.

Now all is well, now all is well, now all is well, now all is well.

Hope and faith were his.

     Hope and faith may be the essence of religion.  As I say, I doubt if Grey read much but he has certainly captured the essence of mythology.  The bit about the sun as keeper of the wind and rains is astute.  As Grey said, the Navajo religion was materialistic.  Pantheistic too, perhaps.  There is nothing spiritual here just a prayer for plenty of what makes life enjoyable for the Navajo combined with the essence of morality which is to talk and walk straight.  Quite admirable really.  I can imagine the ERB was very nearly in awe as he read it.  Of course, by 1915 ERB had already smashed the old religious system on Barsoom supplanting it with his own vision of the man-god but I’m sure he concurred with Grey.

     Then Grey sums up the turbulent Colorado:

“Life was eternal.  Man’s immortality lay in himself.  Love of a woman was hope- happiness.  Brotherhood- that mystic ‘Bi Nai” of the Navajo- that was religion.

     Yes, as they passed under the Rainbow Bridge at the foot of the rainbow it all become clear.  What happened later when reality hit I don’t know.

     Grey’s formula reads well:  Life in the general sense, in whatever form, will last for a long time but hardly eternally.  ‘Man’s immortality lay in himself’ is difficult to parse.  Not exactly sure what that means.  ‘Love of a woman was hope- happiness.’  Possibly, if he’s talking about a reconciliation of the X and y chromosomes into a unified whole but for an old philanderer like Grey he should amend his statement to love of any or many women, a quick one in other words.  And the mystic and grand “Bi Nai.’  Yep.  That was religion.

     I imagine ERB was goggle eyed when he finished this one and lovingly patted it back on the shelf.

     The good things of this world had come the way of Grey and Burroughs in abundance.  Grey was able to ‘get back to the land’ six months of the year while testing his manhood like Ahab landing the big fish on the seas the other part of the year.  I used to love those travelogues on Saturdays when they showed those heroes trolling the seas for swordfish off Florida proving that had to be a real man to land those big fellas.

     Then they would show the little woman standing proudly by her catch towering over her.  They fished ’em out by the time I was in a position to prove my manhood.  I’ll have to take up skydiving or bungee jumping; to heck with climbing Everest.

     Burroughs also got back to the land in a big way.  Some of the letters in Brother Men, the collection of his and Herb Weston’s letters are quite delightful as ERB exults about planting every known species of vegetable while raising most of the better known food animals in great quantities.  Just that he couldn’t figure out how to make a profit at it.  All expense the way he went about it.  That wasn’t according to plan.

     In their own way both Grey and Burroughs retreated from the social realities of their day both in their fiction and in their lives.  Depending on how one defines fantasy both men retreated into fantasy rather than deal with an uncomfortable reality.  At the same time both tried to come up with solutions to the pressing social and relgious problems of their times in fiction.

     Of the two I much prefer Burroughs because of his wider ranging intellectual interests as well as his highly developed sense of humor.  There isn’t one grain of humor in Grey; the man is deadly serious all the time; he must have played shortstop in baseball.

     Times change.  I find nothing enduring in Grey save the Purple Sage/Rainbow diptych and that because of his amazing portrayal of the Anima/Animus problem.

     Burroughs has a certain quality to what he does.  Herb Weston in Brother Men seemed put off by ERB’s Mastermind Of Mars.  the novel first appeared in Amazing Stories; Weston thought the story was truly amazing.  So do I.  I can’t explain exactly why I think Mastermind is an enduring story because on one level it isn’t a very good book; yet on another, while Ras Thavas is a great character there is something being said which still escapes me but seems important.

     As Grey and Burroughs are representative of the period 1890-1910 just let me say that I really love this period of history in the United States.  I like most of the writers and Burroughs and Grey are two of my favorites.  They probably read each other but their intellects were so disparate that I doubt if they could have gotten along if they had met.

     Fortunately this is a moot point as they didn’t.

     Happy trails to you hoping that if you look you can find Surprise Valley and The Valley Of The Hidden Women.  Just don’t take your guns to town, Son, leave the Bad Blood at home.

 

    

    

 

    

 

 

 

One Response to “Part III: Zane Grey, Edgar Rice Burroughs And The Anima And Animus”


  1. I never masturbated when I was 10-12. Never made love when I was 17. My dominating, impinging mother and silent sheep father had taken my soul and made me my mother’s surrogate spouse (except for sex). When I tried sex in college–pure frustration and embarrassment all around. Eighteen years later, at age 36 I got my first full erection. Now that’s emasculation. I got it only because I used sexual surrogate therapy and went bankrupt. Now I’m a father of an 8-year-old. So much lost time and money. My dad and I trying to be rich and/or famous or like Tarzan, or Batman, or Paul Newman or Superman to please my mother. Please visit my blog at http://crush.typepad.com (emasculation-blues)

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