A Review



George Du Maurier

George Du Maurier

Review by R.E. Prindle

      Du Maurier is interesting as a possible influence on Burroughs.  Du Maurier not only borrows from authors he admires but tells the reader he’s borrowing.  Burroughs borrows without creditation.  The great literature of the nineteenth century was written during Du Maurier’s lifetime.  Thus Alexandre Dumas’ Three Musketeers of 1845 was a new book.  It was also a book that overwhelmed Du Maurier’s imagination while having a later profound effect on Burroughs.  Thus Du Maurier tells the reader his plot is based on The Three Musketeers.  Like Burroughs Du Maurier incorporates several sources in an obvious manner.  He was apparently fascinated by Henry Murger’s Scenes De La Vie Boheme of 1851.  I haven’t read the book as yet but other reviewers say the influence is there.  I pick up an influence from La Dame Aux Camellias by Dumas fils also.  Du Maurier refers to many poets and writers whose writing left him helpless but as I am not that well grounded in many aspects of early nineteenth century literature I can’t identify the influences myself but they are as plentiful and obvious as with Burroughs himself.

     In his own life Du Maurier had aspirations to be an opera singer but lacked the powerful voice.  He then aspired to be an artist but lacked that talent becoming one of the premier illustrators of the century instead.  And then as he felt death approaching he turned to writing.  Thus a failure as a singer, a failure as an artist but success as an illustrator he became a huge success as a novelist.  The careers of his protagonists generally follow the same course.

     He is also a nostalgic writer as he lovingly recreates the scenes of his youth and life.  He always retained the impress of La Boheme living his life in a genteel bohemian style.  I suppose today he would be like an old hippy walking around in a gray pony tail, sandals and the garb of the sixties while making a fortune as a stock broker.

     Thus Trilby opens in an artist’s atelier on the Left Bank of Paris in the Latin Quarter.  The Latin Quarter of his time may be compared to New York’s Greenwich Village or San Francisco’s North Beach of the fifties and sixties.  Du Maurier himself lived such an existence for a couple years at the end of the eighteen fifties.

     We are thus introduced to his three musketeers- Taffy, the Laird and Little Billee.  They are fine comrades living the Bohemian life style much as some upper middle class hippies took to a bohemian life style with torn jeans and the pose of the impoverished in the nineteen-sixties.

     The whole ensemble  is gathered thogether in the atelier for the opening section.  Taffy, The Laird and Billy are letting the studio.  As Du Maurier says on the title page this is a love story.  Trilby O’ Farrell the love interest turns up immediately.  She and Billy love each other but Trilby is classed as a grisette which was apparently the equivalent of a hippy chick who was somewhat free living.  Trilby declassed herself completely by posing as an artist’s model in the altogether or, in another word, nude.  This was no small thing to all concerned although the bohos tended to be a little tolerant.

     After Trilby arrives come Svengali and his sidekick Gecko.  They are musicians.  Svengali is billed as an incomparable musician which is to say performer.  He was a great pianist.  He taught Gecko his violinist everything he knew.

     We are discussing the nineteenth century and nineteenth century views in context.  The story can’t be told any other way.  If the attitudes and opinions of other times and other people offend y0u be forewarned and proceed at  you own risk.  I will bowlderize history to suit no one’s whims.  As Walter Duranty facetiously said:  I write as I please.  Du Maurier, the gentlest of men, nevertheless had well formed opinions.  Svengali is a Jew and pretty much a stereotype of the Jew at the time.  He appears to be a beteljew from the Pale actually although he is said to be German but the accent Du Maurier gives him could just as well be Yiddish as German.  It is important to bear all this in mind because in the contest for the possession of Trilby between Billy and Svengali the latter is going to  obtain her.

     There’s an interesting contrast here the meaning of which isn’t exactly clear to me.  Trilby has a beautiful foot, the kind that drives fetichists wild.  After this first encounter Billy, the consummate artist, sketches the foot on the wall to perfection.  All the others are amazed at the likeness.   This sketch occupies as central place in the story as does Svengali’s hypnotism of Trilby.  Svengali on the other hand demands that Trilby open her mouth wide so he can look in.  Raises your eyebrows when you read this.  Not only does Trilby have a beautiful foot but she has a cavernous mouth that made for an amazing sound chamber, the kind that comes along apparently once in ever.

     The problem is that Trilby can’t put two notes together nor can she even find the note while finding the key is bothersome.  Much is made of her inability to sing as she screeches ludicrously through Sweet Alice, Ben Bolt.  (Ben Bolt was one of the most popular songs of the century on both sides of the Atlantic.  Due to the wonders of the internet if you’ve never heard Ben Bolt you can get a good performance on the net.  I’d heard of the song but never heard it until I checked it out on the net.  Just amazing.)

     Her rendition was a cause of great merriment.  So you have the European sketching the foundation of the girl while the Jew is inspecting the intellectual possibilities.  The Jew will win because he’s at the right end.  As I say the mystery of these images float over my head.  I’m merely making a stab at the meaning.  I know there’s a contest and what it’s about but the symbolism is shaky to me.

     And so the introduction ends with everyone agreeing that Svengali is a cad after he left and all three musketeers falling in love with Trilby.

Svengali Type

   There is much description of the fine times the musketeers have.  One gets the impression that Du Maurier was living the life in the sixties in Paris but such was not the case.  He signed on at Punch in 1860 and thus was working as an illustrtor for them from that date until his death.  He seems to have been familiar with the Pre-Raphaelite painters of London of whom he speaks highly most especially of Millais.  He seems to have been friends with a Fred Walker who he thought was a great artist but who seems to have been lost in the mists of time.  I’d never heard of him anyway but one can find his pictures on the internet.  Du Maurier loved the artist’s life.

     Much of this book as well as the other is a loving recreation of the times and his memory of the times is one of wonderful things.  Very refreshing against the unremitting negativity of modern literature.  The book is set mainly in the sixties but the ‘horrible’ year of 1871 and the French Commune obtrudes.  Du Maurier while recognizing its ugliness nevertheless passes over it quickly with a shrug and back to the good times.  He introduces some additional charming characters but then come the crisis.

     Billy had asked the declassed Trilby to marry him nineteen times and she had always refused because she knew she wasn’t in his class.  After an amazingly wonderful Christmas feast in the atelier Billy asks again.  Trilby, as she says, in a moment of weakness accepts.  When the news reaches Billy’s mother, Mrs. Bagot, she scurries over to Paris from London to check Trilby out.  When she learns that Trilby had posed in the altogether she persuades Trilby to give up her son.

     Trilby leaves town without a goodbye.  When Billy finds out he has his brain fever or a nervous breakdown that prostrates him for weeks.  There was a chance he wouldn’t make it.  He does but with psychological consequences.  He can no longer love while he lives in a deep melancholia.  There are some who know where that’s at.  After he recovers he returns to England.  the wonderful Bohemian rhapsody is over.

     Trilby had left Paris to go to the provinces.  She had a little brother who she was supporting and bringing up who she took with her and who then dies of a fever.  This devastates Trilby who cuts her hair, dresses as a man and walks back to Paris.  Her old haunts have disappeared in the interim so she shows up on the doorstep of Svengali who is but too happy to take her in.  The hypnotized Trilby is a small part of the book.  The next hundred pages or so describe Billy’s wonderful success as a painter and the loss of camaraderie as the young idealists of the Latin Quarter age and lose their affinity for each other.  Charmingly told with just the right touch of heartache.

     In the meantime and off stage, as it were, Svengali accompanied by Gecko keeps Trilby in a hypnotic trance as he

Henri Murger

teaches her to use her tremendous oral cavity to sing.  While she has the exact equipment to be a great singer she lacks the musical sense and can’t learn it sober.  Svengali instills the musical sense through hypnosis but as Gecko later explains Trilby is merely providing the instrument while Svengali is actually singing through her.  For three years they labor in the salt mines, as they say, performing on street corners or wherever.  Then Trilby is properly trained becoming the rage of Europe as La Svengali becoming bigger and better than such stars as Adelina Patti or Jenny Lind, two real life divas.

     Thus while Billy has lost Trilby’s foot or body, Svengali has captured her soul or oral cavity.  That’s about the only way I can make sense of foot and cavity.

     Now, in real terms the Jews had been emancipated beginning in 1789 by the French Revolution although occuring at different localities in Europe at different times.  With the emanicipation a contest began for the soil and soul of Europe.  Europeans owned the soil but the Jews while originating nothing became the cultural virtuosi of Europe.  Not only in the performing arts but in finance, science and as entrepreneurs.  The soil temporarily remained European but the culture was becoming Judaized.  It was then that Freud made his assault on European concepts of morality.  So Du Maurier has portrayed the situation poetically in a magnificent manner.

     Thus the Jews while offering no Beethovens, Bachs or Mozarts became virtuoso interpreters of the music as performers.  As Svengali says:  Piff, what is the composition compared to my ability to render it.  There you have the exploiter’s motto.  The Allen Kleins and Albert Grossmans of the world suck the talent, as it were, out of their performers or, boys, as they call them, as agents taking nearly everything leaving the actual talent a pittance.

      Nothing changes, this is what Svengali was doing with Trilby or, in another word, Europe.  He was making a fortune while Trilby in her hypnotized state was wasting away.  Oh, Svengali dressed her well but for the sake of his appearance not hers.  When she died, of the fortune  that she had made for Svengali none was left to her.  Except for presents she had received in appreaciation of her singing she had nothing.  They were supposed to be man and wife but, in fact, Svengali never married her.  Here I think we have the real import of the story; the competition for Europe between the Jew and the European.  Having given up the soul of Europe Europeans were losing their very substanc, the soil, or Trilby’s foot.

     Du Maurier is also describing the rise of the artist from a despised menial to the central position in society that they have attained today, especially movie, TV and musical stars.  One only has to look at the position Bob Dylan has attained to see the result today.  Here is a man with no qualities revered as if he was the savior while poised to begin a tour of stadiums at 67.50 a head that will sell out earning him a fortune within a couple months.  Thus as with Svengali he has conquered the soul and wealth of virtually the world.  This is truly astonishing.

     So Svengali is on top of the world.  Despised as a beteljew in the atelier a short five years ago he now has Trilby/Europe and the fortune that goes with her.  Alas, he is sucking the life’s blood from her to do this and she is within weeks of death when the Three Musketeers hearing of La Svengali’s fame travel back to Paris to see her perform.

     Of course they are so astonished at seeing someone who looks like Trilby singing that they can’t believe it is indeed her.  Svengali harbors ill will toward Billy because Billy is always in her heart while her relationship with Svengali is strictly professional.

     The Musketeers and the Svengalis are staying at the same hotel where Svengali meeting Billy can’t resist spitting in his face.  Billy, who is actually known in the story as Little Billee is much smaller than the six foot Svengali but he nevertheless goes after him getting the worst of the fight until Taffy, a giant body builder type, shows up grabbing Svengali’s ‘huge Hebrew nose’  between his first two fingers leading him around by the nose.  Oh, those unintended consequences.  The humiliation is too much for Svengali, he becomes vicious toward Trilby in revenge.  Readying for their London debut he bullies Trilby in front of Gecko, now his first violinist, who stabs Svengali in the neck with a small knife.

     Svengali while wounded is not hurt that bad but his physicians advise him not to conduct the opening performance.  This creates a problem because Svengali must make eye contact to sing through Trilby.

     He takes a box directly in front of Trilby.  But he spots Billy and the other two musketeers in the pit in front of him.  The malice and venom he has toward Billy makes his heart fail.  His face freezes into a risus sardonicus as he sits lifelessly leering at the Three Musketeers, triumphant in death.  Of course Trilby can’t sing a note on her own so that ends a fine career.  Now begins the denouement.  While seemingly superfluous this is a very important part of the story giving it its secondary meaning.

     The Musketeers take Trilby in charge.  No one is aware she had been hypnotized while she has no memory of performing and little of the lost five years.  The situation between she and Mrs. Bagot, Billy’s mother, are now reversed.  Trilby is the great lady while Mrs. Bagot is merely a middle class hausfrau.  One might say Svengali has created the real Trilby.  Mrs. Bagot still hadn’t posed in the altogether however.  Where was Hugh Heffner when you needed him.

     On the surface it looks as though Mrs. Bagot has gotten her comeuppance but as Trilby is the creation of Svengali she would have remained the simple little grisette that Billy loved without him.  She would have remained the foot without realizing the potential of her oral cavity.  Nevertheless this Trilby was Trilby as she should have been.

     The woman was fading fast.  Svengali had drawn the vital energy from her in his exploitation of her.  Mysteriously, just before she dies, a life sized portrait of Svengali is delivered.  The contest between he and Billy is still in effect.  Gazing in the painted eyes of the hypnotist Trilby breaks into song as a final effort in her best manner.

     Billy is grasping desperately for Trilby’s love.  On her death bed he leans close to hear her breath out- Svengali, Svengali, Svengali.  Thus he believes she loved Svengali more than he.  His brain fever is reactivated, he dies.  In grand operatic style the love story ends.  All because Mrs. Bagot was a snob.  But, I think a correct one.  Although, what the heck, Billy was just a boho painter.

     As an anti-climax in a final chapter titled Twenty Year After as tribute to Dumas whose sequel to The Three Musketeers was title Twenty Years After, Taffy takes a trip to Paris where he finds Gecko playing fiddle in a music hall.  He sends a note that Gecko accepts requesting a meeting at his hotel.  There Gecko resolves the mystery filling Taffy in on Trilby’s missing five years.  He reveals that Trilby had always loved Little Billee and never Svengali.

     The reading public then and now has concentrated on the Svengali-Trilby hypnotism aspect of the novel ignoring the rest.  That aspect is actually a very small part of the novel but without it I suppose the story woud have fallen flat.  Even today a manager like Colonel Tom Parker is thought of as a Svengali to Elvis Presley, so the name has come into common usage for someone’s inexplicable control of someone else.

     Edgar Rice Burroughs who had a fascination with hypnotism was probably charmed by that aspect of the story.  In his most detailed reference to hypnotism in Thuvia, Maid Of Mars he seems most influenced by stage hypnotism in which the audience is induced to see what is not there rather than the Svengali type.  Still, Thuvia-Trilby and the relationship between Jav and Thuvia and Thuvia and Tario has some resonances.  I dout that ERB would have been conscious of his borrowing  imagining rather that he was creating the story from whole cloth.

End of Part Two, Go to Part Three the Review of The Martian.


A Review

The Novels Of George Du Maurier

Peter Ibbetson, Trilby, The Martian

Part I



R.E. Prindle


Part I: Introduction

Part II:  Review of Trilby

Part III:  Review of  The Martian

Part: IV:  Review of Peter Ibbetson

     Occasionally a book finds it way to your hand that seems as if the author had you in mind personally when he wrote it.  This one’s for you, Ron.  It is as though his mind is communicating directly with yours over perhaps centuries.  A couple two or three decades ago one such work that came to my hand was The Secret Memoirs Of The Duc De Roquelaure.  I never would have bought it myself, never even suspected its existence, but it came in a bundle of books I bid on at auction containing another book I wanted.

    I had the four volumes of the Duc’s life so I read them.  The memoirs were ‘Written by himself now for the first time completely translated into English in four volumes.’  Thus in 1896-97 an intermediary on the same wave length as the Duc and myself provided the means for me to read the Duc’s mind.  Believe it or not the edition was limited to 1000 copies, privately printed of which 500 were for England and 500 for America.  Mine is number 424 of the English set.

     There could have been few who had ever read the Duc and I may very well be the only man alive at the present to have shared the Duc’s thoughts.  Truly I believed he was speaking directly to me over the 400 intervening years.

     I had the same feeling when I read George Du Maurier’s three volumes published from 1891 to 1897.  Curious that the Duc de Roquelaure should have been translated in 1896-97 isn’t it?  Like the Duc George Du Maurier seemed to speak out to me over more than a hundred years to communicate directly with my mind.

     I probably never would have sought out his books except for my Edgar Rice Burroughs studies.  I wanted to check out whether there may have been a connection to Burroughs through the second of the novels- Trilby.  Then browsing the store I came across a Modern Library 1929 edition of the first of Du Maurier’s efforts- Peter Ibbetson.  At that point, I thought, I might as well get the third- The Martian- which I did.  This time over the internet.

     I have now read each title three times as is my habit if I’m going to review a book.  Before moving on to the novels it might be appropriate to say a few words about Du Maurier who may be an unfamiliar name to the reader although he or she may be familiar with the name of his very famous creation, the hypnotist and musician Svengali of the Trilby novel.

     Du Maurier was born in 1834 and died in 1896 so he was ideally situated to view the whole Victorian era.  Indeed, in his own way he was a symbol of it.  As a most famous illustrator of books and an artist satirizing the era for the humorous magazine Punch, he in many ways interpreted English society for itself for nearly fifty years.

     He died of heart disease so when he turned to writing to begin what is his virtual literary epitaph in 1891 it may have been with the premonition of his imminent death.  He sensed that it was time for a summing up of the life he loved so well.  Heart ailments figure prominently in his work.  Indeed he died of a heart attack just after finishing The Martian which began publication shortly after his death.  Thus while portraying the scenes of his life in Punch and other magazines and books he summarized his life and times magnificently in his three novels.

     They are magnificent works.  As every man should Du Maurier loved his life and it was a life worth living.  The novels are wonderful examinations of exotic altered states of consciousness.  In Peter Ibbetson the protagonist is insane, committed to Colney Hatch or some such.  At night in his dreams he finds a way to link his dream with the dream of a married woman on the outside.  She and his dreams meld into one dream in which they live actual alternate dream lives that are as real as their daytime existences.  This went on for a couple decades or more until the lady died.  Very eerie.

     In Trilby in a love contest between the protagonist Billy and the musician Svengali for the hand of Trilby Billy is denied his love for societal reasons while after a sequence of events Trilby falls into the clutches of Svengali who through hypnotism turns her into a Diva.  After his denial Billy becomes temporarily deranged falling into a deep depression which then turns into an equally severe melancholia when he emerges from the mania.  So once again we have a description of two altered states of consciousness.

     In the third and last novel the protagonist is possessed by an alien intelligence named Martia from Mars.  Over the last century she has inhabited thousands of people but only with the hero, Barty Josselin, has she been able to establish contact.  In an absolutely astonishing twist she occupies the body of Barty’s daughter.  Both Barty and the daughter die enabling Martia to unite pshysically, in the spirit world, with her love.  Thus the father and daughter are united which I suppose is the dream of many a father and daughter.  The effect on the reader, this one anyway, is ethereal and eerie.

     Du Maurier injects real life figures into his fiction.  The real personalities of the day lend credibility to the fiction.  Du Maurier involves himself in the stories in ingenious ways.  While one can’t definitely say that Burroughs learned to inject himself into his stories from Du Maurier yet the framing devices in which Burroughs plays himself are very reminiscent of Du Maurier.

     For instance in the Martian the story is  a biography of Barty Josselin told by his friend Robert Maurice who then asks George Du Maurier the famous Punch illustrator to illustrate and edit his book.  So the biography is ostensibly told in the first person by the fictional Robert Maurice while it is illustrated by the real life George Du Maurier who posing as the editor is actually writing the book.  Du Maurier even inserts a long letter of acceptance in which he recapitulates his memories of Barty.

     When one realized this the effect is almost supernatural, especially as with a little background on Du Maurier one realizes that the histories of the protagonists are virtually fictionalized histories of Du Maurier himself.

     Thus while I haven’t discovered a direct connection to Du Maurier ERB is always telling a fictionalized account of his mental states along with a virtual chronicle of his life.  A few points in ERB’s The Eternal Lover bear a very close resemblance to the love themes of Du Maurier especially in Peter Ibbetson and The Martian.

     The Martian itself may have been a major influence on Burroughs’ own Martian novels.  When John Carter, who was always attracted to Mars,stands naked on a cliff face in Arizona with his arms outstretched toward the Warrior Planet the scene is very reminiscent of Barty Josselin leaning with out stretched arms from his window staring at Mars and imploring Martia for her assistance.

     Carter is magically transported to Mars in some unexplained way that may have been no more than an altered state of consciousness much as in the same way Martia inhabited Barty’s mind and body.  Once on Mars Carter finds his lady love, Dejah Thoris, in a manner reminiscent of Barty and Martia.  Obviously other literary influences abound in ERB’s Martian series but at the core very probably is Du Maurier’s story of Martia and Barty.  By 1911 the influence was coming from ERB’s subconscious and he may not have been aware of the resource he was drawing on.

     The question is when did Burroughs read, as I believe he did, the three Du Maurier novels?  As ERB’s first novel, A Princess Of Mars, had to be built on the Martian it follows that ERB read Du Maurier before 1911.  Du Maurier wrote from 1891 to 1896.  His novels were serialized in Harper’s Magazine in the US either before or at publication so Burroughs had the opportunity to read them in magazine format as well as the books.

     Of the three novels, Trilby was an absolute smash being one of the biggest sellers of the nineteenth century.  The sensational story of Trilby and Svengali that everyone concentrated on would certainly have brought Du Maurier to ERB’s attention.

      At the time his own life was in turmoil.  At the time Trilby was published ERB was in the process of leaving the Michigan Military Academy at which he was employed for what he thought was a career in the Army.  Once at his assignment, Fort Grant in Arizona, he would likely have had the odd idle moment to either read the magazine installments or the book.

     As Carter’s transfer to Mars takes place in Arizona there is an association with ERB’s army days and Du Maurier’s The Martian.  Not proof positive, of course, but not impossible or improbable either.  He must then have read the last volume in Idaho when he owned his stationery store there in 1898 and could obtain any book or magazine he wanted, either English or American.

      So these wonderful other worldly stories of Du Maurier gestated in his mind for twelve or thirteen years before emerging from his forehead beginning in 1911.

     I will now review the novels in detail.  These are spectacular, wonderful stories.  First the middle volume- Trilby- then the last of Du Maurier’s works- The Martian- followed by the first, Peter Ibbetson.

The review of Trilby is Part II, call that up.


A Review

Thuvia, Maid Of Mars


Edgar Rice Burroughs.

Part III-C


Review by R.E. Prindle

Edgar Rice Burroughs

Edgar Rice Burroughs

Civilization And Its Malcontents

     Let us say that for the fifty years or so before the 1920s there was a growing sense of societal malaise.  This malaise was reflected most notably in the creation of  Edgar Rice Burroughs’ psychological projection, Tarzan Of The Apes.   One has to account for the immediate acceptation by society of such an absurdity.  Tarzan, in fact, completely rejected civilization for the life of the  romantic ‘unrestrained freedom’ of the jungle.  The noble savage in fact.

     Thus in a metaphor Burroughs reflected the malaise of his time so brilliantly that his creation was accepted as virtually a real person.  Writers like Grant and Stoddard put the same theme into more scholarly terms.  As noted, contrary to Richard Slotkin’s idea, Grant had little or no influence on Burroughs while the slightly later Lothrop Stoddard whose three relevant works appeared only from 1920 to 1922 could have had no influence on Burroughs’ formative years.   It seems probable that Burroughs did read Stoddard and was influenced by his work but only after his ideas were fully formed.  Even then  The Revolt Against Civilization appeared after Burroughs had examined some of the same problems in his rejected manuscript, Under The Red Flag of 1919.

     The problem of the malcontents and their war on civilization was examined by a number of writers during the twenties and thirties so why Slotkin singled out Burroughs, Grant and Stoddard isn’t as clear as it might be.  Postwar German cinema was intensely concerned with the matter as why should it not?  Germany was under asault by what Stoddard called the Underman.  Nor need Slotkin think Stoddard was alone.  I’m sure there were dozens of forgotten books prophesying the end of the world by one means or another including the Undermen of Communism.


     The Underman, or the Communist, was not even a term unique to Stoddard.  Gustave Le Bon, the French scholar on whose work Sigmund Freud based his study Group Psychology And The Analysis Of The Ego wrote prolifically on the psychological foundations of the Underman.  Freud based his book on Le Bon’s 1895 study  The Psychology Of Crowds.  Unless I’m mistaken he based his 1930 study Civilization And Its Discontents on Le Bon’s 1921 book The World In Revolt: A Psychological Study Of Our Times.

     On the cinematic side the problem was examined in the great silent films The Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari and Fritz Lang’s 1922 film Dr. Mabuse, The Gambler.  Lang would follow that ten years later with the sound film The Testament Of Dr. Mabuse.

     Even though Buroughs’ Under The Red Flag was rejected in 1919 he persisted, rewriting and extending the text into the 1926 story, The Moon Maid.   This story reflects a possible reading of The Revolt Against Civilization but such a reading was much more evident in 1934’s Tarzan And The Lion Man.

     The development of the problem was evident to all these writers which it seems to have escaped Slotkin who attributes the recognition of societal evolution to mere ‘racism’ in the writers.  One thinks that perhaps Slotkin is too involved in his own agenda.

     Rider Haggard enunciated the problem quite clearly in his 1888 novel Allan Quatermain  in which Quatermain grouses about the ‘strict limits’ of civilization compared to the ‘natural’ life of the African Zulus.  It might almost seem that the idea of Tarzan arose in Burroughs’ mind from that observation.  In fact science was undermining all the comforting beliefs that mankind had been settled in for a hundred thousand years.  During that long period characterized by the mental mode of what is called mythopoeic thinking man’s mind devoid of true knowledge projected a vision of reality that resulted in the notion of God.  Thus reasoning from insufficient knowledge man’s mind came up with an erroneous result.  You can’t get out of a mind what isn’t in it; all education is suggestion.

     As Freud was to say, man’s settled view of reality received its three great shocks when Galileo disproved the geocentric notion of the universe, Darwin disproved the uniqueness of man’s position in the animal kingdom and he, Freud, displaced the conscious mind with his vision of the unconscious mind.  Once again Le Bon was there ahead of him.

     Thus as the nineteenth century opened and progressed the bases of mankind’s notions of reality were shattered leaving him emotionally and intellectually bereft of foundations of belief.  Adrift without an anchor.

     As if that were not bad enough the great cataclysm that ushered in the modern era, The French Revolution, was based on the the absolute notion that not only were all men created equal but remained equal in all aspects of their existence.  The advance of civilization would toss this certainty into the trash can of history also.

     As civilization placed greater and greater demands on the intelligence and self-discipline of men and women the incontestable gap between those less intelligent and those more intelligent became more and more obvious.  Thus as the century progressed the notion of the Overman and the Underman began to become clear.

     At the same time the first tentative efforts at measuring the intellectual potential of the individual began to become possible.  Of course the basic inequality of men and women in its physical aspect had always been apparent.  Some men were naturally stronger and better muscled than others.  But, even that was changing. The science of physical culture was making it possible for the 98 lb. weakling to develop himself into a man mountain.  Thus artifically developed srongmen like the Great Sandow ushered in the golden age of the strong man topped off by Charles Atlas who guaranteed he could turn you into a man mountain if you followed his program.

     There was the promise that you could dethrone that bully and kick sand back in his face.  On the other side Francis Galton was originating the first primitive tests to measure intelligence potential.  Burroughs would have seen both proponents during his miraculous summer of 1893 at the Chicago Columbian Exposition.  I mean to say that both facts entered his mind where they could be digested and emerge later.  Nothing can come out of your mind that didn’t go in it.

     And then after the turn of the century Binet devised he first actual IQ test.  Thus, just as Sandow and Atlas could measure the size of muscles, the psychologists became able to measure the intelligence potential.  Those with high IQs were set up; those with low IQs were cooked.  The upshot was that all men were not created equal nor could they ever attain intellectual equality.


     To a very large extent what became the Communist Party recognized the inequality while demanding equality against reason.  Recognizing subconsciously, perhaps, that men could never be intellectual equals rather than try the futile task of raising the less fortunate they sought to destroy education which brings out the inequality but doesn’t create it.   No matter what happens there are always going to be the more intelligent just as there will always be the physically stronger.  As Le Bon points out, if you needed to hear it, nature don’t know from equality.

     Thus the Communist Party devised the well sounding slogan- From each according to his ability; to each according to his need.  Good plan for the needy, slavery for the able.  The needy were organized beginning their struggle to achieve superiority by collective action.  This was accomplished in Russia in 1917.  The battle was joined.

     Just as individuals are created with different capabilities so are peoples and races.  Some can achieve and some can’t.  Slotkin who must be a Communist thus takes offence at what he perceives to be, and is, an attitude of White Supremacy in Burroughs, Grant and Stoddard.  While I am aware there are those who will disagree with White superiority it is nevertheless not an attitude but an evolutionary fact.  That is the reason Communists have Darwin under attack.  While Darwin doesn’t say it, it is the inevitable result of his studies.  Just as it was necessary for the Undermen to destroy education in the hopes of creating intellectual equality so it became necessary to destroy White achievement of the last five hundred years.  The whites must be demonized and made to feel evil and inferior morally.  That is the import of Slotkin’s Gunfighter Nation.

     At that level all three writers are guilty.  As has been stated in Canadian courts- Truth is not a defense.  So there’s nothing to discuss.  Might is right and whoever has the might will prevail.

     It is a fact that all three writers were anti-Communists so it may be assumed that whatever Communists believe, they didn’t.  And why should they?  Might may be right but it can still be nonsense.  Communism is a flawed ideology based on a false premiss.  It always fails wherever it is introduced.  Failure is not evidence of a bad plan in Communist eyes.  One just continues to shovel sand against the tide and pray.  So succeed or fail they always think they can succeed by the same flawed ideology.  The fault for failure lies elsewhere.

     In that sense Burroughs was wasting his time assailing this religion of failure with his Under The Red Flag and its successor The Moon Maid.  The only people who would applaud his effort would be we non-Communists but he could never convince anyone with Communist leanings.  Of course that wasn’t well understood at the time.


     If Burroughs were accused of not believing in equality that would be true.  Not only are John Carter and Tarzan superior to any contemporaries on two worlds but Burroughs has a whole hierarchy of value.  John Carter is the Warlord of Mars ruling from the top city  of Mars, Helium.  The races of Mars pretty much reflect those of  Earth and their relative stations.  The main exception is the ruling Red race.  As Whites do and have existed on Mars in Burroughs stories  while at one time being the dominant race perhaps the Red race is some sort of amalgam of the various Eropean immigrants of the United States.  I believe the Green Men represent the American Indian.  Both roam the great plains while being essentially savages.

     Tarzan though always spoken of as being White is described as a bronze giant.  Bronze is a fairly dark metal so that Tarzan and the Red men of Mars may be more or less identical in color.

     Tarzan is the man-god so there are none superior or even equal to him.  Below him come the English who are the cream of mankind.  Perhaps slightly below the English are the French and then the rest of the Whites.  Tarzan himself is psychologically an animal having been raised by the Apes.  Not your ordinary gorilla or Chimp but a species intermediate between Gorilla and the Negro.  Slotkin hasn’t read enough Burroughs to make an intelligent comment but the undeniable attitude of Burroughs is enough for Slotkin to condemn him as an unregenerate bigot.  The reader may believe as he likes.  I have stated my opinion eslewhere and that is enough. Whether any of these opinions of Burroughs influenced American soldiers at My Lai is open to question.  The burden of proof is on Slotkin and he hasn’t provided  it.

     Along with the Undermen however, speaking through Tarzan, Burroughs is heartily discontented with civilization.

      The spectacle of Chicago of the 1890s as a dirty unpleasant place haunts Burroughs.  In contrast to the great White City of the Columbian Expo was what was afterwards known as the Black City of everyday Chicago.  The contrast was so strong and so offensive to the Undermen that within a year of the Expo’s closing the entire White City was burned to the ground with the exception of one building.  Hence perhaps the decayed crimson and gold ruins of Opar and the crimson and gold twin cities of Helium.  One wonders what effect the sight of the ruin of the White City had on Burroughs when he revisited the site sometime after his miraculous summer of ’93.  The mind creates nothing from nothing so there must have been models of the great cities of ERB’s imagination.

     There are points at which Burroughs and Communism have quite similar views.  It will be remembered that Burroughs only reluctantly married and throughout his life expressed discontent with the institution.  To some extent or other ERB must have been an advocate of free love.  Communists would have heartily approved of ERB’s women who went nude except for certain ‘adornments.’  Communists of course want women to be accesible to any man who wants them at any time while they have always advocated bare breasts.

     In many ways when the Communists appropriated Tarzan for the MGM movies it took but slight changes to make Tarzan conform to their ideals.   The MGM Tarzan and Jane were not married.  While Burroughs’ Tarzan was a highly educated on-again off-again sophisticate the MGM Tarzan was a stupid illiterate oaf and one who rejected the attributes of civilization high up there in the Cloud Cuckoo Land of the Mutia Plateau.

     On the essentials though Burroughs rejected the demands of the Underman as The Moon Maid clearly shows.  There was very little in Stoddard’s The Revolt Against Civilization that Burroughs would have disagreed with.  At the same time there was probably very little he didn’t already believe although he had never codified his information as Stoddard had.  Slotkin’s contention that Burroughs was influenced by either Grant or Stoddard is surely wrong.  ERB had already taken hs positions before either men had begun to write.

     Each writer was, in his own way, an advocate of White Supremacy.  It now become clear that White Supremacy has nothing to do with a fringe element in Liberal ideology.  All Whites are White Supremacists in that ideology unless they reject ‘White skin privilege’  whatever that is.   Ayers and Dorhn explain in their recent Race Course In White Supremacy.  Interestingly constructed title.  Nor as Slotkin would have it is the attitude based on mere racial pride and bigotry but on a solid record of achievement unattained by any other people.  The quesiton is not was it right for some people to rule or be supreme because in the nature of things some people will rule and be supreme but which of the peoples are most qualified to be supreme.

     All people have had equal opportunity so that one can only conclude that the race has gone to the most qualified participant.  In the contest the Whites  unified the other peoples against them as must inevitably be the consequence of being the top people.  As they say, getting there is the easy part; staying there is the hard part.

     Slotkin merely represents the envious losers, the Undermen.  who clutch at any firebrand to burn the White House down.  Who is most to be admired and emulated?  Builders or destroyers?

Finis of Thuvia, Maid Of Mars Review


Edgar Rice Burroughs On Mars

A Review

Thuvia, Maid Of Mars

Part III-B


R.E. Prindle

     ERB was born in 1875 before education had been affected by the ideologies of either the Communists or Dewey.  He was given a Classical versus scientific education in his critical Jr. High years.  Thus he must have known Latin reasonably well.

     The current High School system of the US came to fruition only during the twentieth century.  Universal literacy only became realizable a very short time ago.  Child labor didn’t disappear until after the Second World War.  Thus ERB really had a favored childhood.  ERB must have been familiar with memorization and drill; methods of education now highly discouraged.  Therefore his education was directed toward a full consciousness than sink into the inherently criminal unconscious which Communist method prevails today.  As there was no audio-visual culture at that time his was a print mentality through say 1910 when the movies began to have significance.  By 1920, at least, he was fully involved in a print-movie culture hence a more unconscious mode of thinking.  Still, his early training led him to a conscious approach to experiencing and analyzing.

     One can’t know for sure which year he became aware but it is safe to assume 1888-90.  Thus his immediate past extended back to about 1850 just as for me the twenties and thirties form my immediate past.  Yours can be computed as about twenty years before you were born.  As we grow up these years form the topic of discussion we overhear from our elders.

     ERB’s near past then can be calculated as about 1800 so that dying in 1950 as he did his life straddled, as it were, the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.  The nineteenth century was quite stunning in its diversity.  As a boy and young man ERB was alive at the time of ‘the winning of the West.’  His early life was lived in the high tide of ‘Western world supremacy.’  His heroes such as Teddy Roosevelt and Owen Wister epitomized the high tide.  The ‘Scramble For Africa’  of the last quarter of the nineteenth century formed the centerpiece of his literary corpus, that of Tarzan Of The Apes.  Also a key to his world outlook was the American Civil War that ended only ten years before he was born.  While I have found no direct evidence of the San Domingo Moment that occurred at the very beginning of the nineteenth century it is possible that he conflated San Domingo with the Civil War in the Martian series when the First Born, or Negroes, defeated the White Holy Therns nearly exterminating them.  Thus while ERB’s works are ‘pure entertainment’ if you look closely you’ll find some serious historical and social commentary.  If it weren’t there you wouldn’t have the Liberal Coalition condemning him as a bigot.  They do.

     For the purposes of this essay I will use a professor from Case-Western Reserve by the name of Richard Slotkin as a representative of the Liberal Coalition or Communist school.  In his essay Gunfighter Nation he lays the blame for everything he dislikes at the feet of Burroughs and two other writers- Madison Grant and Lothrop Stoddard.  We will get there soon enough but first lets consider the ‘humanitarian’ record of the Coalition.  In one form or another the Coalition and its constituents date back to the French Revolution and hence San Domingo.  Thus the Coalition was born in blood and murder.  Murder on a grand scale, genocide in fact.   The ideology of the Coalition is that of the Communists.  The men Slotkin so roundly condemns are all anti-Communists so the ideological differences are clear.

     Over the two centuries plus since the Revolution over a hundred million people have been murdered by units of the Coalition with hundreds of millions more projected for the near future.  Yet Mr. Slotkin proposes to represent our trio as indescribably evil because he attributes the My Lai Massacre in Viet Nam not to them personally but as a direct result of their writings.

     So there we have the basic issues.  The hypocrisy of Mr. Slotkin should be self-evident.

     What was the opinions of Messers Burroughts, Grant and Stoddard that so inflame Mr. Slotkin?

     Quite simply they are conscious, objective scholars as opposed to the unconscious method of Liberal writers.  Liberal views are products of the unconscious and cannot stand up to critical analysis.  The unconscious is selfish and criminal hence wishful.  The attitude is not what is but what I want.

     The high tide of Western world supremacy was ending as it was cresting.  This was noticeable to more acute intellects as early as 1900 and perhaps a decade earlier.  Burroughs hints at this when he describes the Lotharians as an ancient auburn haired White race who ruled a thalassocracy or a maritime empire.  Thus in his hierarchy of Martian races there was an earlier White race than the Therns.

     The Lotharians sailed forth to win Mars for the city at home much as European mariners won the world for Europe beginning with the Portuguese voyages of the fifteenth century,  Columbus and all the sea captains of the glorious age of discovery.  The seamen were only defeated by the stay-at-homes who sabotaged their efforts.

     Burroughs gives a valid interpretation of the age of European exploration and conquest from the fifteenth through nineteenth centuries.  Thus the story of the Lotharians, now shadows of their former selves, is a very poetic rendering of that history.

     The period ended with the 1899-1900 enunciation of the Open Door Policy in China by the American SecretaryOf State, John Hay.  China was in the process of being acquired by the European States at the time which the Open Door prevented thus guaranteeing China’s integrity.  This was a sea change in world politics.  the conquered peoples now began their counter offensive against the West.

      This change was noted by Burroughs, Grant and Stoddard.

      Madison Grant was of the earlier generation of TR while Burroughs and Stoddard were near contemporaries.  Burroughs born in 1875, Stoddard in 1883.  They both died in the same year, 1950.

     None of the three applauded the sea change but lamented it, running counter to Liberal ideology which applauded the change and latterly aroused the ire of Prof. Slotkin.  Thus he and his Coalition fellows demonize the three.

     They were only writers..  Until recently Grant and Stoddard had been all but forgotten.  Grant’s two best known works are The Passing Of The Great Race of 1915 and Conquest Of A Continent of 1933.  His main offence in the eyes of the coalition is that the Great Race is the Nordic race, which implies superiority, and his use of the term Nordic.  There was a tremendous effort at the time to ridicule and deny Nordics and Anglo-Saxons.  This is most notable in the vitriolic work of the bigot H.L. Mencken.  Nordic is a curse word within the Coalition.

     The Great Race is an interesting period piece but seems obsolete in its science.  Conquest is still usable as a guide for the Nordic migrations within the US.  I think it questionable that Burroughs was influenced by Grant who wrote after ERB had already committed himself although as Great Race made a splash it isn’t improbable that he read it.

     Lothrop Stoddard is a different story.  Here is a scholar done a great injury by the likes of Slotkin and the Coalition.  Stoddard wrote several books that might even be considered prophetic.  As noted he was eight years younger than ERB while graduating from Harvard.  Unlike Grant I think Slotkin is right that he was an influence on Burroughs but only after 1920 when Burroughs was fully formed.  It is possible that ERB accessed his research for his own purposes.

     Stoddard’s first book in 1914 was a terrific examination of the San Domingo Moment titled The French Revolution in San Domingo.  while the book was issued too late to affect ERB’s knowledge for use in Thuvia in 1914 events were transpiring that would have put Haiti, San Domingo’s later name, in his mind’s eye.  Beginning in January of 1914 several US warships landed troops in a very disorderly Haiti.  The bankers had precipitated yet another financial crisis by imprudent lending practices.  As was to become customary they called on the US government to bail them out.  In order to insure their loans the taxpayers were called upon to foot the bill.  The occupation of Haiti by the Marines began the next year and that lasted until well into the thirties before the troops were withdrawn.  Having gotten Haiti into trouble the bankers than looted the country for a couple decades.

     Another interesting sidelight in Haiti and the Caribbean was that 1914 was the year that McClurg’s released Tarzan Of The Apes.  Now, Ogden McClurg the ostensible owner of McClurg’s was only a figurehead.  The company had become employee owned after the last fire about 1900.  Ogden McClurg was living ERB’s fantasy life.  He was an officer in the Navy having spent the decade or so previous to 1914 as an operative in the Caribbean during a period when the US was famous for gunboat diplomacy among the Banana Republics.  It’s possible that he often worked undercover as a secret agent.

     ERB’s contact was Joe Bray who actually ran the day to day operations of the firm.  I’ve been told that McClurg had little to or no contact with the authors and indeed, it seems unlikely he could have being out of the country so much, yet ERB seems to have formed a jealous relationship with McClurg speaking of him as though he did know him.  That could only have been between 1914 and 1917.  Ogden was in Europe for three years or so during the war and after while ERB left for LA in 1919.  Deserves investigation.

     Back to Stoddard.  In 1920, 21 and 22 he issued his three most important books, the ones that so infuriate the volatile Liberal Coalition.  The titles were The Rising Tide Of Color Against White World Supremacy of 1920,  The New World Of Islam of 1921 and 1922’s The Revolt Against Civilization- The Menace Of The Underman.

     All three were prophetic and indeed, as of today, the prophecies have come to pass.  The first volume, The Rising Tide Of Color needs no explanation for the violent reaction of the Coalition.  By this time their agencies of the ADL, AJC and NAACP operating under the umbrella of the Communist Party were well able to defame anyone they chose with immunity from prosecution.

     The mere mention of White Supremacy was enough to make them foam at the mouth.  The reasons are clear and they were already formulated by the Revolution of 1792,  Now, we do have the problem of slavery which casts a pall over all discussions.  There is no justification for slavery although the institution still survives having now spread to America and Europe and it will flower everywhere once again before the century is half over.  So, really, the slavery issue is irrelevant.  ERB himself accepted the practice as a universal fact of life; the practice exists in all his stories.  

     Stoddard:  This analysis applies to the US of today as aptly as that of San Domingo in 1792.  “These men’ are the proto-Communist Jacobins of the French Revolution:

     “If you (the San Domingan Whites) are sufficiently united to follow my counsel, I guarantee the salvation of San Domingo.  But, in any case, let no one cherish the hope of mercy from these men, let no one be deluded by their sly tricks of policy; the negroes alone find room in their affections, and all the whites without distinction, all the mulattoes as well, are doomed; all whites are dangerous to their projects, all alike will be sacrificed as soon as these men shall have disposed of the officers, gotten rid of the troops of the line, and become at last the undisputed masters.”

      As San Domingo in 1792, so Euroamerica in 2010.  We were promised change but none has or will ocuur.  Two hundred years later same words, same tune.  So, Slotkin would have us believe that decent self-respecing scholars and writers such as Burroughs, Grant and Stoddard were responsible for My Lai rather than Robespierre,Danton and Murat.  Well, you can fool some of the people all the time….

     Just as his first of this trio of books prophesied the coming race wars, so Stoddard’s World Of Islam prophesied the current invasion of Euroamerica and the religious wars, for that is what ‘terrorism’ is.  The third book The Revolt Against Civilization has also come to pass as the asault on Western culture, which is to say, civilization continues on an accelerated pace.

     It was this book that had the greatest influence on ERB that would surface in 1934s Tarzan And The Lion Man.  Stoddard is much influenced by the evolutionary theory of Auguste Weis.  Especially the notion of body and germ cells that ERB embraced so enthusiastically  in 1934.  ERB’s interpretation was certainly pure entertainment but based on current scientific knowledge nonetheless.

     As for ERB’s notions he was expressing developed opinions on the social scene under cover of entertainment long before he could have been influenced by either Grant or Stoddard so Richard Slotkin is quite wrong in his prejudicial interpretation of ERB as in ignorant spouter of bigotry based on the other two.

     In fact Slotkin ignores the content of all three men to denounce them as ignorant, uninformed bigots who were nevertheless taken so seriously by gunslinging Americans that by Slotkins own words they caused the My Lai Massacre.   But enough of Slotkin who sabotages his own thesis by confessing to inadequate research.  A much more interesting topic is The Revolt Against Civilization of which it can truly be said that revoltagainst civilization applies to ERB as well as his arch enemies- the Liberal Coalition.

Part III-C will involve civilization and its malcontents.




Edgar Rice Burroughs On Mars

A Review

Thuvia, Maid Of Mars

Part III-A

What We Have Here Is Change


R.E. Prindle

     In the recent American presidential campaign in the US the winner won by promising the inevitable, Change.  A very safe promise as the history of the world is one of change.  Indeed, the life of the individual is one of unending change from the cradle to the grave.  Change is now and forever.  The question is, what response is made to the changes.

     The times of Edgar Rice Burroughs were a period of the most earth shaking and rapid of all.  At the same time most perilous, as the evolution of actual scientific knowledge in all fields was in its infancy and subject to misinterpretation.  One might say in Burroughsian imagery that a series of doors stood before mankind, entering the right door would be more beneficial than the wrong doors.

     Burroughs and others made tantative moves for the right door but others entered by the wrong door drawing most others through with them.  What looked like progress turned into a regression.  To shut up criticism the regressives began to demonize all those of different opinions.  Burroughs was among those.

      Some say he adapted poorly to the flood of change but the peole who do so are so confident in their opinions that to disagree with them is to be accused of being not only wrong but either criminal or insane.  One doesn’t take their opinions too seriously as change will certainly demonstrate their opinions as ludicrous if it hasn’t already.  Nevertheless as they are quite vocal in their condemnation of Edgar Rice Burroughs we have to consider the accuracy of their accusations as well as that of their own viewpoint.  How well do they understand the issues?

     ERB has some interesting observations on the changes occurring in the history, society and racial matters of his times as well as the concealed role of hypnotism in the transformation of that society.  The basis of hypnotism is suggestion.  As ERB say in Thuvia all is based on suggestion and counter-suggestion.  If one conciders life and learning from that angle it presents some interesting possibilites.

     What is learning?  What is suggestion?

     When the child is conceived he must of necessity have a mind with a blank slate.  Freud, Jung and many others seem to seriously believe that newborns can inherit ancestral memories even though there is no one beyond the womb who has ever recalled any.

     In fact without experience or learning that has has been introjected into the mind there is nothing for the mind to consider, hence no cogitation at all.  This mind can only begin to form with the ejection from the womb.  This occurs with a brain still in the process of formation.  The development of the brain can only be considered completed shortly after puberty.

     It seems obvious then that you can’t get out of a mind what isn’t in it.  It behooves society then to begin loading the mind of a child as soon as the child  is capable of handling education.  The education of the mind must be built step by step to provide a firm foundation for the intellectual superstructure.  Whatever is in the mind must come from or be suggested from outside the mind.  There is no internal system of knowledge.  Thus all knowledge is suggested to the child’s mind by his caretakers.  They may be good or bad, well or ill intentioned.  The brain is organized to receive suggestions or, in another word, experience.  The reactive structure may already be in place dut to experiences in the womb and the actual birthing process but the actual learning process begins the moment the newborn emerges from the womb and receives a slap on the bottom to get his lungs started.

     Thus the mind of the child is extremely malleable during the time until about puberty and shortly thereafter.  If education is neglected during this early period and shortly thereafter it is unlikely that the adult can ever make up the lack.  For instance if the basics or reading, writing and arithmetic are not loaded into the brain during this malleable period it is very rare that the skills can be acquired at a later time.

     Thus, as it was always known that the child is father to the man various doctrinaire organizations such as the Jesuits believed that if they could form the education of the child or, in another word, indoctrinte him, they could shape the future in their own image.  In Burroughs’ time the mechanisms of education were more fully understood.  Various schemes were proposed to revise educational methods many of which were just odd or crude, but the better thought to change the direction of society toward a higher ideal.

     The Communists were well are at the time that suggestion was the basis of education.  Lothrop Stoddard writing in his The Revolt Against Civilization of 1922 quotes Eden and Cedar Paul from their book Proletcult of 1921:

     “There is no such thing as “scientific” economics or sociology.  For these reasons…there should be organized and spread abroad a new kind of education, “Proletcult.”  Thus…in a fighting culture aimed at the overthrow of capitalism and at the replacement of democratic culture and bourgeois ideology by ergatocratic culture and proletarian  ideology…”  The authors warmly endorse the Soviet government’s prostitution of education and all other forms of intellectual activity to Communist propaganda, for we are told that the “new education” is inspired by the “new psychology”, which “provides the philosophical justification of Bolshevism and supplies a theoretical guide for our efforts in the field of proletarian culture…. Education is suggestion.  The recognition that suggestion is auto suggestion, and that auto suggestion is the means whereby imagination controls the subconscious self, will enable us to make a right use of the most potent force which has become available to the members of the human herd since the invention of articulate speech.

     I’m sure you can find appropriate application of the doctrine since Stoddard wrote in education, movies, TV, books and phonograph records and CDs.  While I would disagree with the Pauls’ notion of suggestion and auto suggestion the Freudian influence is quite clear.  This would be abetted by John Dewey’s notions on education that deemphasized the educational foundation while directing it more toward ideological considerations, or ‘relatively unstructured, free, student-directed progressive education.’

     God only knows what free, progressive education is but this sort of social engineering was the wrong turn being taken in this era of rapid change.

     So, loading the brain to deal with life’s exigencies is of necessity a slow process. As the brain continues to develop outside the womb there is plenty of room for malfunction.  As man is incapable of creating anything original the education of the child may be compared to the loading of a computer.  First the operating system.  Whether consciously or unconsciously since all man knows is his own brain he has replicated it in his machine.  A computer functions just like a brain, which should astound no one, as man can only devise what he already knows.

     Now, human experience dates back about a hundred thousand years.  I intentionally leave out the African development as it had nothing to do with the education of mankind.   The African contribution is nil.  Education began outside Africa.  Having painfully and laboriously accumulated the huge fund of knowledge it must be entered into the brain of the new being.  This sort of suggestion is called education.  There’s not much room for anything called ‘free’ or ‘progressive.’  Getting it ain’t going to be free, the child has to work like a mule.  This is a slow, laborious process as extensive foundations must be laid down before any superstructure can rise.  Thus years are consumed just to teach the child reading, writing and arithmetic.  With these three tools he can learn anything else.  Inexplicably this fact seems to have been lost sight of in today’s educational theories unless of course the Pauls’ dictum is being followed.

     Once the foundation has been laid, a form of suggestion and actually hypnosis, the child, now a student, must be taught how to manage and interpret what he learns at an increasingly rapid pace.  Unfortunately there will be children left behind; any other expectation is fatuous, some are just brighter than others.  Managing and interpreting comes from within the experience of the organism.  Here’s the real problem because the same data will by analyzed differently and produce different results and opinions.

     Along with learning factual matters the child must at the same time develop emotionally and psychologically.  Nasty work.  This is a difficult part.  As the child has little ability to understand and even less ability to accurately analyze it he has to reason from faulty premisses.  This ignorance of reality is what forms Freud’s notion of the unconscious or Id.  Correcting this unconscious to consciousness is the conversion of Freud’s Id to Ego.  A child misinterprets suggestions.  Some become fixated in his un- or subconscious.  The fixations are what distort consciousness from the subconscious interfering with the integration of the subconscious and the conscious.  While the child is made more conscious in his ability to understand and reject harmful suggestions these fixations like post-hypnotic suggestions control his responses.  The fixations must be exorcised which is the intended function of the psychoanalysis of Freud and Jung.

     Once again, suggestion is everything outside your mind.  Your mind cannot function without these suggestions because there will be nothing in the mind to function.  Be carefull of what you put into your mind or, at least, that you do put something of value into it.  Whether ERB realized this or not, his ideas of hypnosis and suggestion indicate he might have, he pursued a program of continuing education all his adult life.  At the time of writing Thuvia he was working through Edward Gibbons’ Decline And Fall Of The Roman Empire, a vast minefield of amazing and truly educational suggestion.

Part B follows.



Exhuming Bob XIX: Bob And Karl


R.E. Prindle

A Spoof.

     Hey man.  Come on over here.  I’ve got the Ruminatin’ Blues and I’m going to ruminate all over you.  You’ll be able to take home a bucket or two.  Now dig this, I’m sittin’ at my computer and up comes this site Karl Lagerfeld’s Guide To Life. It pops up on my computer.  I thought it was a virus or somethin’ but it turns out to be a message to me from Bob.

Lagerfeld, The Guide To Life
Lagerfeld, The Guide To Life


     This things turns out to be, if you can believe this, Bob Dylan’s 6548th Dream.  Putting my Freudian training to immediate use I begin to study the number .  Notice the 654 desecends by one unit that makes three then the last digit 4 is doubled to make an increase of four that adds up to seven.  Pretty heavy huh?   Next I added up 65 & 48 and the number was 113.  Wow! I knew I was on to something..  Then I added up all four numbers seqentially and get this- 23.  That’s right, 23!  Twenty-three skiddoo.  Get it?  This was a personal message from Bob Dylan to me.  Wow!  That internet is somethin’ else, isn’t it?

     I take a look at the picture of Lagerfeld showing me his ass and I can tell you I’m less then impressed.  Moving down the page I notice the guy has turned around.  Dig this, this can’t be a coincidence, he’s wearing the same dark glasses I do.  Boy howdy, hey?  And he looks like a guru from beyond the farthest star.  So do I.  Now I’m really getting excited.  The only thing separating me from this new reality is the darn computer screen.  I can’t get through it. I try but I can’t figure it out.  Doesn’t matter which key or combination of keys I press.

     Aw, shoot, I’m forgetting the most important part, Bob Dylan’s dream.  Mr. Cool is going to relate directly to me.

     The thing is written in some kind of mysterious code, some kind of hip patois, New Yorkese or whatever.  Dylan has been commanded apparently by his guru Lagerfeld to commit his thoughts to this blog.  Wow, I said to myself, this Lagerfeld has the force behind him.  Imagine telling Bob Dylan what to do!

     Now, we all know that Dylan says that what he writes has no objective meaning.  He says he writes meaningless stuff that is understood differently by whoever reads it.  That must be why I think his stuff is heavy, because I’m a really, really heavy guy. I don’t have the look down yet, like this Lagerfeld guru, but I ‘m working on it.

     Dig this quote:

    And here’s a song I wrote, uh, some time ago back when I was raking in these blondes, man.  Could say I was raking in the pennies.  (Pennies. Get it.  Pennies are heavy.  Bob was heavy.)  I was doing more than raking these chicks though.  If you dig.

     Do I dig?  I’ll say I dig.  A super sleuth am I actually so I really dig, raking in the blondes has several covert meanings.  Bob’s a poet, but, hey, that’s one of the things I do best, too.  So Blonde on Blonde was released in ’66 so he wrote the poem that follows in ’66.  Sharp deduction don’t you think?   Blonde on Blonde means one blonde after another, heaps of ’em.  Bob’s probably the cocksman of the century.  So Bob’s got his dick out and  he’s not wavin’ it to the empty air…if you dig.   No sir, Bob is planking those blondes.  He was actually known for his generosity with his dick.  One time Liam Clancy was out touring so as a friendly gesture Bob went over and planked Liam’s wife so she she wouldn’t be so lonely.  That’s the kind of guy Bob is.  Yeah.  Now that’s friendship, isn’t it?

     Back when he was young he did more than rake blondes chicks he says.  I don’t know what ‘more than rake’ means.  Maybe S&M or something really exciting like that.

     Further along Bob get deep into the dark meat.  See what I mean about me bein’ a poet too?   He wouldn’t touch anything else.  Did the whole darn chorus line.  Get real heavy with one of the back up singers, married her and had a little ebon baby.  Nobody’s seen him though.  He didn’t even grow up to be a soul singer as far as I know.  Lived in Tarzana- yeah.

     I’m going to tell you though I don’t think I woulda published Dream #6548.  23 skiddoo, indeed.  I’d a been outta there before the door hit me on the ass.  Back in those days of blondes Bob was heavy, well he was heavy in a lot of ways but he was heavy into drugs, too.

     Check this quote out:

…I spotted some kids…and I walked right over to them.


I said kids, “could I interest you in some visions?”

Some visions of Johanna, someone’s gonna get stoned;

They asked me if it tasted kinda like a milkshake

I said yes, and took out some pills

Then a policeman came most hurriedly

And arrested me on account of free love…

Bob And The Little Children

Bob And The Little Children

     What is one to think?  I know this Lagerfeld guru is a way out guy.  I used to buy his soap and boy was it slippery.  It was the slickest soap I ever used, almost couldn’t hold onto the bar and it was huge too.  Lagerfeld is suspected to be completely sexually liberated too, as well as everything else.  I mean, man, this guy is free, free as the breeze, free as the Fourth Of July, like, look up free in the dictionary and his picture is the definition.  So, I guess that means he won’t stop at nothin’ and he’s Bob Dylan’s guru.

     Don’t know what he’s tellin’ Bob but I wouldn’t even make bad jokes about corrupting innocent little kids as a candyman.  Speaking of candy, here’s another quote:

“Oh” said the boy, as I gave him a lolly

And offered him a ride in my Cadillac car…

Now at this point the boy’s mother comes in,

And she’s waving and wailing at me like I done something wrong.

     I don’t know who Bob’s been fraternizing with, other than Soapy Lagerfeld, and I know there is no meaning to anything Bob writes except what I think it means but then if the only meaning is what I think then that meaning must be true, Freud again, and since it means what I think it means I wouldn’t have published it lest someone think I’m serious.

     Probably just some unconscious posturing but a position I wouldn’t want to assume.