Marianne Faithfull, The Faerie Queene Of The Sixties

Chapters I and II


R.E. Prindle

She’s one of those girls

Who come with the Spring

One look in her eyes

Makes you forget everything.

Younger Girl- John Sebastian

The sixties came walking in slowly, hands in pockets shuffling along barely recognized going down the road.  Few recognized that it was a period of god formation.  All the icons of later years came from those days.  John Lennon, Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Mick Jagger.  The comptetion for goddesses was less crowded, Janis Joplin carried too much baggage, Grace Slick had her shortcomings and the rest were wannabes- except for Marianne Faithfull.  She floated through, became entangled with his Satanic majesty, Mick Jagger, crashed and disappeared from sight to reemerge damaged but triumphant.  When she resurfaced it was in another guise bearing little resemblance to the Faerie Queene of he sixties.

Perhaps only in retrospect does she appear as the angel of the sixties.  Only looking back does she stand head and shoulders above the women of the decade.  In her day she aspired to be Guenivere to Mick Jagger’s Lancelot.  High expectations doomed to disappointment.  Buth then the high, even ridiculous, expectations of the sixties couldn’t hope to be more than failed and fail they did.

The sixties were born in the despair of the World War II, the Korean War and the Atom Bomb.  The decade was shaped by the children born from 1934-38 to 1945 most heavily represented by the years of ‘42 and ‘43.  The years had their effect on those nborn in the United States but devastated those of England who formed the backbone of the sixties in both the US and England.  Stunted by ill nutrition the English boys and girls entered childhood in a world of deprivation, millions of bomb craters, square miles of devastation, limited amounts of food that were rationed until they reached their teens.  Nutrition triumphed over genes leaving perhaps a majority stunted almost to the height of midgets.  Then in the mid-fifties they came off rations as the country rebuilt and a degree of prosperity returned.  Thus the favored members of a generation with low or no expectations burst into an energized prosperity, as the flower of the sixties grew and blown in a trice.

Marianne herself was born in 1946, a baby boomer, in one of those ill-starred marriages of the post-war world.  Thousands of young English girls married American servicemen and left the lad of their birth forever.  Perhaps more wisely than they knew as the hundred of thousands of English men who never returned live would have left them spinsters all their lives.  As it was Marianne’s father, Glynn Faithfull met her mother in occupied Austria returning with her to England where Marianne was born.  As might be expected of a marriage made under Third Man circumstances the marriage proved ill matched each partner going their own way.  Thus by 1953 when Marianne was seven and rationing was lifted she divided her time between her two parents.

One ponders the effect this had on the psychological development of the girl.  Her father was one of those strange utopianists who believed the Holy Grail of personal redemption could be found in fucking so he founded some Jim Jones type of sex retreat where all the inmates were encouraged to copulated indiscriminately and freely.

One doesn’t know Glynn Faithfull’s background.  There may have been a couple reasons for this faith in fucking.  A significant underground current was Aleister Crowley and his faith in sex magic.  Crowley and his disciples with figure in

Aleister Crowley

Marianne’s life in the sixties.  His influence would continue to grow during the forties, fifties and sixties.  Perhaps more significant was the sex therapy of the one of the centuries most eminent madmen, Sigmund Freud.  While generally unaccredited for his sexual influence, his sex theories combined with his bizarre vision of the unconscious did terrific damage to the world’s psyche, especially during the fifties and sixties when his notion dominated psychology.

As a young girl Marianne was encouraged to observe the inmates copulate.  They apparently did so in front of open windows in a series of rooms fronted by a ledge or sort of long balcony.  As a young girl her father encouraged Marianne to use this ledge to view the couples at play.  In the innocence of youth she little knew what to make of this although what effect the flickering memories  played in her development she either does not say or doesn’t know.

Her mother removed her from this environment placing her in a Catholic convent school until she was sixteen.  The transition from open sex practices to a chastity minded Catholic education must have provided an unusual contrast in the growing memory bank of her mind.  At least Marrianne was out of harm’s way for a few years.

Marrianne’s mother, Mrs. Faithfull, was an Austrian.  She had witnessed the years of the Anschluss and the Nazi administration of the war years.  Necessarily as the Soviet troops moved in she suffered the horrors of the rape of the German women by the Communist troops.  This event made the Rape of the Sabine women look like a pleasure romp.  History records that when things had settled that there were long lines of pregnant German women before the hospitals waiting their turn for an abortion of a hateful pregnancy.

It was in this environment that Eva met her future husband Glynn Faithfull.  It was possibly love among the ruins in which Marianne was conceived.  Born out of the ashes so to speak.  ;Marianne’s mother Eva was of the Sacher Masoc line; he who gave masochism its name and wrote the Venus In Furs that Lou Reed purloined for the title of his song.  Hard core rock and rollers have been in awe of Marianne’s ancestry as though she had a hand in masochism’s naming.  Sins of one’s distant relatives and all that.

When Marianne escaped or was released from the nunnery she was ill prepared to deal with life on the streets, but then aren’t we all.  So as the sixties dawned this attractive girl with no prospects began to wend her way through life.  The Catholics gave her some vocal training of some sort, perhaps Gregorian chant, so Marianne took up folk singing.  Rather than the subdued tones of A Years Go By she was more of the bellowing Joan Baez variety.  Thus when Andrew Oldham asked John Dunbar if she could sing and John answered yes he was stating a fact.

In John Dunbar Marianne fell into one of the hippest young crowds London had to offer.  Dunbar himself was of a Bohemian mentality and he associated with the future historian of the musical and artistic scene of the sixties, Barry Miles.  Miles has never gotten the recognition he deserves.  To begin with he co-founded the very avant garde Indica Art Gallery with Dunbar.  The Indica lasted only a couple seasons but those were two memorable seasons.

The two entrepreneurs were discovered by Paul McCartney who, I don’t know if active is the right word, took at least an active inte3rest in the gallery which led to John Lennon’s eureka moment with the scourge of rock and roll, Yoko Ono.

In the course of time this led to Dunbar’s being invited to the famous party in which Andrew Oldham is said to have gallantly remarked:  Who’s the broad with the big tits?  Or words very close to that.

It was at that point that Oldham asked the musical question: Can she sing?  To which Dunbar unwisely responded yes.  Marianne, given that she was already a folksinger, sagely pretended to be at sea so that Oldham was afforded the pleasure of coaching her along.  Whether he made it inside the Magic Circle or not he had to come up with a song for Marianne to record.  More at sea over this matter the legend has it that Andrew locked Mick and Keith of the Rolling Stones into a closet, toilet or kitchen and said he wouldn’t let them out until they wrote him a song.  Thus Marianne indirectly is responsible for the Richards-Jagger song writing team with its ill fated effect on popular culture.

With Marianne Oldham struck gold the first time out.  The song Richards-Jagger wrote was a languid ditty titles As Tears Go By sung in a lisping fainting manner by the newly nominated Faerie Queene.  Songs are pretty much ephemeral to the time but within the ephemera of the time both Marianne and As Tears Go By were a very major hit.  In her way Marianne and her song was the sunrise 1964 was waiting for.



…I trusted you and did my best

To make you happy.

Is this what I get for loving you?

Spector, King, Goffin

Marianne was some kind of folksinger cum chanteuse.  She had a high virginal voice.  She came from a Catholic convent school that signified purity to the English public.  In her early interviews she appears shy, modest, and if I may say, virginal.  The very antithesis of the increasing vulgarity of the times.  They set Marianne on a pedestal.

In the early sixties rock and roll had not yet driven every other rorm of music off the field as it would by 1970.  From 1960 to 1964-65 folk music was the dominant musical form although not of the New York purist variety; more along the commercial lines of Harry Belafonte, the Brothers Four, the Kingston Trio and Randy Sparks’ New Christy Minstrels.  Peter Paul and Mary were at their peak not year claiming to ‘love your rock and roll music’ until 1968.  In 1966 the Christies spin off The Association was a big hit.

Apart from sappy team acts he Beatles sparked the rock and roll revival although their wasn’t too much difference between them and the sappy teen acts.  I never did understand what the public revered in them.  Listening to the early Stones recently reminded me why I didn’t like them the first time around either; they sound quite a bit like a bad garage band.  Jagger isn’t much better a singer than Dylan, he couldn’t have been much worse.  But fate is fate and a hit is a hit.  Can’t argue with it.

Marianne then entered the lists with a number nine hit in the UK and a number twenty-two in the US.  Her second song Blowin’ In The Wind, didn’t chart while her third, Come And Stay With Me was number four UK and twenty-six US.

She released four LPs in 1965 which is at an exploitative rate.  No one at the time realized that the next wave of pop acts would be extremely long lived.  No one thought that the Beatles, even though they broke up, would go on dominating popular music for fifty years.  No one would have believed that the Stone would be projected a tour fifty years on.  No one could have believed that Marianne would still have a career fifty years on.  So they were trying to gut the goose that laid the golden eggs as soon as they could.  How could anyone at the time have believed that Jagger would become a pop god and Marianne a goddess?  Icons for a generation.  Unthinkable.

The first two UK albums charted at twelve and fifteen while in he US Marianne Faithful charted at twelve.  Her US sales then were somewhere between seventy-five and a hundred thousand copies.  She didn’t make the charts with a new title until 1974s Broken English weakly settling on the US charts at eighty-two.

Prior to 1964 most British bands had little presence outside their native England.  With the arrival of the Boeing 707 in 1959 the US became readily accessible while the vista for global band was opened.  First through the breach, of course, were the Beatles, soon to be followed by Bob Dylan and The Stone and even Donovan.  Most people don’t understand how big Donovan was in the sixties; almost an equal to the Beatles and Stones.  Thus the era of global popularity was inaugurated changing the face of popular music and group economics.  Oddly enough the field was limited to English and American bands for a very long time.

An astute manager with his eye on the future might easily have turned Marianne into a global attraction.  However Marianne after jettisoning Andrew Loog Oldham after her first two single signed with some small minded English putzes who were both incompetents and only interested in exploiting her.  Somewhat like Edie Sedgwick in New York it was all there waiting to be picked up but no one saw it.

It does seem that they saw the image ready for use but ignored it.  Where was that eagle eyed Allen Klein I wonder.  Marianne herself was into Queen Quenivere, King Arthur, the Holy Grail and the faerie aspects of the epic.  The record people got it.  For instance the liner notes on the back of the US Faithfull Forever US release quote from Keats’ La Belle Dame San Merci:

I met a lady in the meads

Full beautiful- a fairy’s child.

Her hair was long, her foot was light

And her eyes were wild.

I made a garland for her head

And bracelets too, and fragrance zone

She looked at me as she did love

And made sweet moan.

I set her on my pacing steed

And nothing else saw all day long

For sidelong she would bend and sing

A fairy’s song.

She found me roots of relish sweet

And honey wild and manna dew

As sure in language strange she said

“I love thee true.”

So there it was.  Everything was in place but the management wasn’t there.

It really couldn’t be seen in 1964 that this was the year of myth making in popular culture, actually ‘64, to ‘66.  Marianne had all the elements to make her as big and long lasting as, say, Bob Dylan.  She already was a myth.

Perhaps Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones surveying the horizon saw this.  Ever envious he may have said to himself ‘This woman is a threat to my supremacy;  I must destroy her.’  I can’t say but he did sidle up to her, pour some wine down between her breasts and with that introduction proceed to seduce her whispering ‘Come stay with me.’  A couple years later he threw the remains aside.

And Marianne plunged into a deep depression.

Somewhere Over The Rainbow

Zenda, Graustark, Lutha, Barsoom, Jasoom

And Other Parallel Universes

Not Found On Any Map

An Analysis Of Edgar Rice Burrough’s Novel

The Mad King


R.E. Prindle

Parrish's Dream

Somewhere my love

There will be songs to sing.

Even though snow now enshrouds

Our hope of Spring.

Somewhere there’s a hill

That blossoms in gold and green,

And there are the dreams

Of all this world can mean.

We’ll meet there someday,


As Spring springs for you and me.

–Maurice Jarre

Adapted by R.E. Prindle

Forever Blowing Bubbles- Maxfield Parrish

Unchained melodies sweep over the rainbow telling dreams that somewhere must come true.  Floating lightly as soap bubbles they pass through air castles caught in an ecstasy captured so achingly by the artist Maxfield Parrish into his visions of gardens of delight. Where can these gardens of delight exist?  What parallel universe?  What phantom vision of contentment?  What utopias straddle the dividing line between this universe and that where all our dreams come true?  Not in real countries but as the fairy tales tell, East of the Sun and West of the Moon.  Only in Ruritarian paradises where lives of high adventure can be lived without fear and we always win and never lose.  We recover from devastating wounds and smashing blows to the head to walk whole again within minutes.  Where?  The Zenda of Anthony Hope, the Graustark of Gearge Barr McCutcheon, The Barsoom and Jasoom of Edgar Rice Burroughs as well as the Lutha of his novel The Mad King.

Maxfield Parrish

As the youngest of the aforementioned writers Burroughs learned much about the creation of utopias and parallel universes.  Graustark was in ERB’s library but the Prisoner of Zenda was not.  Graustark made an indelible impression on the young Burroughs that did not fade during his lifetime.  Just before the advent of the second world war in his lifetime, faced with frustrated hopes for a better world, ERB wrote his friend Bert Weston lamenting the passing of Graustark.

George Barr McCutcheon

ERB had over a dozen novels of McCutcheon in his library but, by my reckoning, only two Graustarks.  McCutcheon wrote several, his locale being as important to his career as the imaginary Africa of Tarzan was to Burroughs.  The two books were the first of the series published in 1901, Graustark- The Story Of A Love Behind A Throne and A Prince  Of Graustark.  The latter was published in 1914 too late to be an influence on Burroughs’ Lutha of  The Mad King written at the end of 1913.

If he read others of the series between 1901 and 1913 we have no sure record. In what year ERB read the original isn’t known but I suspect sometime between 1905 when he returned to Chicago from Idaho and say 1910 before he began to write.  Graustark and Zenda made quite an impression on him but while those who believe that ERB cribbed his sources too closely find evidence of plagiarism I can find only an inspiration or influence.

By the time Burroughs wrote The Mad King the Ruritanian romance had already become a genre.  The very nature of genre writing is to explore the possibilities of the genre which requires the writer to have read at least the major texts as well as current efforts.  The author then tries to write as original a story within the limits of the genre as possible; failing that a good derivative story will do.  Writers like Philip Jose Farmer carry it one step farther by making the characters of genre an intellectual reality parallel with physical reality and then write about the fictional characters as though they were historical figures.  Of course, that was a later development in genre writing.

Life Could Be A Dream, Sweetheart

Graustark develops the genre created by Zenda.  Just as Haggard, Burroughs and others filled Africa with lost cities, the concept of Ruritanias where everything went right in face of apparent misfortunes began to change the face of mythical Europe.  And why not?  Scientific discoveries were changing the shape of the intellect, psychological discoveries were changing ideas of the mind.  Something’s gained and something’s lost.  It’s that lost something that people want to find again.  If it doesn’t exist in reality then it can easily be made to exist in the imagination.

You see the little additional leap taken by the Farmers of literature. Do you imagine that in the face of major shifts of populations into Europe and America that the HSII & III minorities won’t retreat into dreams of a golden age when their culture reigned supreme?  You’re unrealistic if you believe it isn’t true.  It is precisely this era from c. 1820 to 1920 which will be seen as the current version of the Golden Age just as McCutcheon’s and Burroughs’ generation looked to a some what earlier age when things were as they should be.



In that letter to his friend Bert Weston about 1940 looking back to their youths Burroughs lamented that the possibility of Graustark was a thing of the past. In his youth Graustark was East of the Sun and West of the Moon but in his later years Burroughs could no longer even imagine it. It was easy to assimilate Graustark to Maxfield Parrish’s painting of a dreamland resembling these paradises of the imagination.  From there it is equally easy to include L. Frank Baum’s Oz series as yet another such paradise.  These wonderful fantasies revolve around in your mind enhanced by living colors and magnificent sound systems where unchained melodies fill your conscious and subconscious minds.  Indeed the MGM movie of The Wizard Of Oz filmed about the time Burroughs was lamenting the passing of Graustark may have been the tombstone of his era.

Where did it start?  Very difficult to put a precise date on this sort of thing but is it a coincidence that saving Anthony Hope all these artists were influenced by the Great White City of 1893’s Columbian Exposition of Chicago?  I have heard it said that the Emerald City of Baum’s imagination was a virtual replica of the White City in green.  Bill Hillman’s series of articles on the Expo in the ERBzine capture some, a great deal, of the glamour but I fear Bill held himself in too much.

The Fair inspired a massive five volume eulogy by Hubert Howe Bancroft, a major historical writer of the day, in which he described the Fair in detail exhibit by exhibit, it was so mind blowing.  What dreams of perfection did this marvel on the very edge of civilization in Chicago unleash? The Wizard Of Oz and Graustark were issued one after the other in 1900-01.  Both books as well as the Expo had a tremendous effect on Edgar Rice Burroughs entering the first years of his maturity. Baum’s influence is most notably seen in Burroughs’ Minidoka- unpublished in his lifetime. Graustark, most notably in The Mad King, but echoes of both can be detected throughout the corpus. There is no doubt that Zenda, Graustark and Lutha are related but the resemblance stops at the family level.

If Zenda can be said to be the original of the Ruritarian genre, Graustark and Lutha are not mere imitations.  Both later novels can be described as inspired by but not totally derivative of. There is only the slightest resemblance to Zenda in Graustark.  Subtitled The Story Of A Love Behind A Throne McCutcheon tackles the theme of the superiority of American customs and institutions over those of what both McCutcheon and Burroughs considered decadent Europe.

At the time American heiresses were actively seeking titled Englishmen to marry.  Winston Churchill  was the result of one of one such union. McCutcheon reverses the roles by making a young American man pursue a Princess of Graustark.  (Note the title of Burroughs’ first novel, A Princess Of Mars.)  For any seeking a Golden Age of HSII & III Americanism I can heartily recommend both Graustark and McCutcheon.

A Sky Ablaze

A Sky Ablaze

Like two other Burroughs’ favorites, Booth Tarkington and George Ade, McCutcheon was from Indiana, moving to Chicago in 1901.  Just in passing it might be noted that another Chicago centered writer, Theodore Dreiser was also a Hoosier. The hero of Graustark, Grenfall Lorry, immediately puts one in mind of the old Arrow collar and shirt ads.  Richard Harding Davis personified probably the ideal American male in appearance.  One can contrast that ideal with the swarthy, unshaven, sweaty, slovenly type now being offered the public as something to aspire to. Grenfall has an upper economic class tone, not so plebeian as Joe, Jack or Jim.

Throughout the novel he is quick witted impetuous even reckless but because of his audacity, soon to be styled chutzpah, always successful while his European counterparts are vile, slow and cautious and almost certainly would fail but for Grenfall.  The answers just seem to come to him from out of the air.  It is marvelous.  Compare him to Tarzan and John Carter. Slowly his ways win out in the mind of the Princess.  I almost said corrupted her mind for her moral ideals were slowly eroded as integrity became less important than gratifying her desires.  But then, that too is American, isn’t it?  A deal’s a deal only if you’ve got the money to back it up in court in which case a contract is a contract but then again maybe not, depends on the ‘integrity’ of the court.

Graustark itself is a fanciful place in which brash young Americans are deferred to and dreams do come true if one only persists.  Can’t give up.  Plenty of castles and monasteries hanging on cliffs, thick with donjons and the like.  Parrishian bubbles floating in the air, quite charming dream sequences, the feeling that Maxfield Parrish captures so well.  Reproductions of Parrish’s  work were beginning to proliferate.  Howard Pyle was an influence on Burroughs’ illustrator J. Allen St. John as Maxfield Parrish also seemed to be.

Dreaming A Little Dream

Dreaming A Little Dream

While it easy to see the influence of Graustark on Burroughs there is very little resemblance in the two stories to each other.  Burroughs retains the love story behind the throne theme in a barely recognizable form.  While McCutcheon’s Grenfall Lorry is of the American aristocracy of wealth living in Washington, D.C., Burroughs Barney Custer is a gritty hick from Beatrice, Nebraska, pop, 30 or so.

The Mad King was written in two parts separated by nearly a year in real time and an eon in psychological time.  The Great War began between the writing of the two halves so that while the Lutha of the first half more closely resembles Zenda and Graustark the second half jumps ahead a century into a new era in time with motor cars and heavy artillery. The first half may have been written to placate ERB’s wife Emma.  By the end of 1913 she may have bitten her nails to the quick while she berated ERB every day for his spendthrift habits.  While ERB wrote an ode to Poverty in the spirit of Edwin Hawkin’s song WAR, (spit) Who Needs It?, if you remember the…ah…tune, Emma with three children to feed had endured the period of poverty with different feelings.

Now, in 1913, with the money pouring in ERB with breathtaking confidence for the future was spending it before he had it or even written books to get it.  To Emma it must have seemed a replay of Idaho when ERB gambled away their last forty dollars. It may have been clear to ERB that he was over the top where the money would never cease coming in, which indeed, turned out to the be case, but to many others including Emma he seemed to be the same old joker who would be back on street soon. Emma yearned for some security, money in the bank, that ERB was loath to provide.

His is an interesting case.  No sooner did he begin to have a good year in 1913 than he packed up family and kids and used car and headed for the sunshine of San Diego in the most expensive first class manner.  This expenditure wasn’t based on savings but in the hope of a future income.  ‘13 was an anno mirabilis for ERB during which even traveling and vacationing he was able not only to write but to sell a fabulous number of words.  This has been told often but it is so extraordinary, I , who have never received a penny from my writing have difficulty letting it sink in.

ERB would later boast, while Emma undoubtedly stood by shuddering, that he literally had to wait for checks from his writing to pay his expenses from day to day.  He obviously had an urge to live with one foot over the precipice. You can understand why Emma was on edge. Thus in late 1913, while they were anxiously watching the mailbox for a check, I’m sure, ERB sat down to write the first half of this novel, that I believe was meant to placate Emma and let her know that the bozo she thought she married was a bozo no more.  Not totally reformed, perhaps, but reformed.

When Herb Weston wrote at the time of the divorce that no other woman would have put up with ERB’s eccentricities this must have been an example of what he was talking about. Zenda involved a lot of lookalikes as does Mad King so people assume that Burroughs copied Hope.  Maybe, but I don’t think it’s necessarily so.  Burroughs with his split personality didn’t have to copy anybody, he was two different people.  Burroughs didn’t even disguise that he was talking about he and Emma.  He calls the Ruritarian princess Emma.  He introduces his friends Bert and Margaret Weston as characters, Bert and Margaret of Beatrice Nebraska where they really lived.

Barney Oldfield Behind The Wheel

He calls himself Barney Custer.  Custer after the failed general of the Little Big Horn and Barney after the famous race car driver, Barney ‘Mile-a-Minute’ Oldfield.  B. Custer gets his rig up to 90 per beating old ‘Mile-a-Minute’ by half again.  In 1913 that would still be going some.

Burroughs can be quite unintentionally comic. ERB must have known he goofed back in Idaho with the card trick but now that he had found the handle he’d become a new man, a real man, a whole man, a made man, that augured for a bountiful future for Emma so she could now stop treating him like a clown and revert to her pre-card game opinion of him. But it wasn’t that easy;  he’d been a goof for too long.

In the succeeding novel Nu Of The Niocene, when Emma had apparently rejected his offer, Barney Custer shows up at Tarzan’s ranch in Kenya but without Emma, escorting his sister Victoria instead. ERB would give Emma a last chance to take the new him over the old one in Tarzan And The Ant Men when she had a choice between his goofy lookalike Esteban Miranda and the real Tarzan, himself.  Emma chose Esteban Miranda thereby sealing her fate.

The choice of the title Mad King is significant.  The blow to the head ERB received in Toronto had affected his reasoning so that to others he appeared goofy or mad.  His mental state was accentuated by an acute feeling of failure.  His father not only told him he was a loser but apparently told everyone else too.  ERB’s friend Bert Weston who knew both George T. and ERB says that he often defended ERB to his father.

George T. told Weston that ERB was ‘no good.’  Weston defended ERB to George T. by insisting ERB was plenty good but that the goodness hadn’t come out yet.  I didn’t have a father, my mother divorced while I was an infant, so I don’t have this sort of father problem, but I imagine when your father continually tells you you’re a loser it must have some effect on your attitude. So when your father detests you, you get cracked on the head and then you lose your wife’s confidence because of the resultant stupidity is it any wonder that when you find not only success but big success and you find not only money but big money you go off your head a bit?

But then, even that looks goofy.  But she stuck with him; she stood by her man. ERB even celebrated his dead father’s birthday every year of his life which is beyond me. Thus one aspect of The Mad King is Barney Custer, the able, confident American.  Burroughs continues McCutcheon’s theme of the superiority of the American although both author’s belief in hare brained schemes seems astonishing in this day and age.

Idylls Of The King

Idylls Of The King

The other aspect is Leopold the cowardly, ungrateful king of Lutha.  Both writers use terms like ‘king’ in a contemptuous manner.  Kings are hereditary while any self-made American man is a true and better king in his own right while he can someday be President of the United States if he chooses, or so he believes.  Even a hick like Barney.

Emma as ‘Emma’ is confronted with a choice between these two lookalikes.  She quickly prefers the self-confident able American Barney Custer, or in other words, the new ERB, but tradition binds her to the despicable King of Lutha.  By which ERB means to say, I imagine, that she can forget the old him and accept the successful money making author Edgar Rice Burroughs to whom money is as nothing.

Written in late 1914 Burroughs had had another astonishingly successful year.  Two in a row, get that, Emma.  She didn’t. If the couple had only ERB’s income from book royalties that were not in sight in 1913 and early 1914 to look forward to for income, I think Emma’s fears might have been at least partially justified.  ERB didn’t ever really make that much money from his royalties.  Good money but not that good. He could never buy the yacht that other authors had.

ERB might have but Emma probably didn’t see the potential of the movies.  Probably neither realized at the time the value of the intellectual property Burroughs had created in Tarzan.  Had Emma been aware she might have reevaluated her husband.  Probably not though. Mad King breaks off with Barney Custer leaving Lutha to return to Beatrice with his relationship with the Princess unresolved.

We are told that Emma read these stories before they were submitted.  If so then she could hardly have missed the import of the failure.  She either missed the message or disregarded it. The second half of the novel was written largely in October of 1914 nearly a year later.  The World ERB and his fellows had grown up in had now all but disappeared in the smoke of the guns of August.  The second half of the novel is dominated by the opening months of the Great War.  ERB concentrated on the southern Austrian-Serbian front siding with the Serbs in the battleground Lutha has now become.

The novel is taken up with the intrigues of Leopold and Peter of Blentz with the Austrians to turn the country over to them.  Barney and Emma and her father are attempting to keep Lutha on the Serbian side while maintaining Lutha’s independence.   ERB gives the Serbians some much needed advice on how to conduct the war.  He must have been studying the conflict carefully. As Barney and the King are indistinguishable doubles, they were indeed two aspect of ERB’s own personality, Emma was always in a great deal of confusion as to which double she was dealing with, always hoping it was Barney.

Indeed, the Mad King Leopold is killed leaving Barney the last standing.  At this point it would seem that ERB is telling his Emma:  See.  The old me you thought was a goof is dead; this is the real me and I want your love and respect. Perhaps true but it take more than a simple assertion to change a woman’s mind.  You have to have patience and wait.  Emma  Burroughs must not have changed hers quickly enough because in the next story, Nu Of The Niocene,  Barney Custer is traveling without Emma, going to Africa with his sister Victoria instead.

One imagines that ERB’s personal Lutha, Graustark or Zenda disappeared in smoke as had the nineteenth century.  His hope and dream of entering that magic land somewhere over the rainbow in a land of perpetual Spring would have to be sought with someone other than Emma. In a very few years he would meet that other hope of another and better world in Hollywoodland which should have been a warning to him as he would learn the hard way that the answer always lies within, as difficult as that may be to recognize.  The Rainbow Trail begins on your own two feet.

If birds fly over the rainbow,

Why then, oh why, can’t I?