Edgar Rice Burroughs


The Accreted Personality

Part V


R.E. Prindle

Edgar Rice Burroughs

Hours In The Library

As the fabulous Twentieth Century dawned virtually a new world different than anything that had gone before came into existence requiring a new consciousness. As usual some could adapt and some couldn’t. In an evolutionary sense those that couldn’t adapt disappeared, those that could survived while those born into the new world accepted it as normal.

Many authors who were very successful in the old world faded from importance not because what they had to say was necessarily irrelevant but because it was no longer relevant to a changed consciousness. Even if their message was universal it had to be expressed in new terms. Some like Rider Haggard and Conan Doyle trundled right along until they died two or three decades later. Some like H.G. Wells whose contemporary novels lost significance and sales potential even though in Wells case his sci-fi output of the nineties has survived strongly until today. His omnibus volume Seven Science Fiction Novels has been a strong seller for nearly a hundred years. A dozen or so handsome editions adorn the shelves of second hand dealers where they turn over at a quick rate.

Still, around 1900 a new generation of writers began to move onto the literary field; the next wave after the crop of the eighteen eighties. The new writers were mainly in the age cohort of 1865 to 1876 as was Ed but he would make a late start in 1912. Memory is the key to psychology. If nothing goes into the memory nothing comes out so it is important to include only the beneficial as much as is possible. It is for that reason that pornography is pernicious. It has little social value; its main function being to stroke one’s fixations. In these crucial years Ed filled his memory banks with the works of the current crop of writers. He unerringly went, as we all do, to those writers and books that talked around his own fixations thus being capable of being incorporated into his own writing.

While he seems to be almost plagiarizing his sources, by the end of the nineteenth century the body of work available had grown to significant proportions. He was not alone in incorporating his reading into his own work. The reading had become part of the social fabric not much different than trolley cars and the soup cans Andy Warhol would later make famous. Burroughs now is part of our mental furniture and while it may not be pertinent to our writing, images and phrases from what we have read may come out of our pen without our realizing it. Almost like saying for dinner I opened a can of Campbell’s tomato soup.

The thousands of movies and records we have seen and know cannot be excluded from our mental processes. So, just as George Du Maurier named his novel Trilby after that of Charles Nodier of the turn of the nineteenth century patterning his story based on that novel that he admired greatly, why shouldn’t Burroughs in his turn do the same. Such referencing was quite common if you read enough and look for it.

It is difficult to know where to begin in listing Ed’s post-1900 reading but as the South formed such a large part of his consciousness it may be well to start with the apostle of the Lost Cause, Thomas Dixon Jr.

Thomas Dixon Jr. (1864-1846)

Thomas Dixon Jr.

Dixon’s social views differed quite wildly from those of his contemporary H.G. Wells. Indeed, Dixon was of the class that Wells said must not be allowed to express their views lest they cloud those of the Revolution in the minds of the proletariat which must be forced to accept the official views of Wells’ Open Conspiracy version of socialism. No dissent was to be allowed. In keeping with this dictum Anthony Slide gave the scare title American Racist to his 2004 biography of Dixon published by the UKentucky Press in an attempt to make sure Dixon was buried and doesn’t rise again.

Abraham Lincoln

Be that as it may Dixon was extremely popular in the years before the Bolshevik Revolution going into eclipse after his 1919 movie Bolshevism On Trial. So he was both a Southerner, although not a Virginian, and an anti-Communist giving him special appeal to Ed.

Born in 1864 he was old enough to have been aware during the last years of Reconstruction, hence an eyewitness. The grand tragedy of the Civil War for him was that Aryans exterminated Aryans over a worthless cause like Negro slavery. During Reconstruction the Puritan bigots of the North oppressed the Southern Aryans mercilessly so that Dixon made it his goal to reconcile Northern and Southern Aryans, thus the title of his and Griffith’s 1915 movie titled The Birth Of A Nation, in other words, The Birth Of The Aryans as a Nation.

While slavery was the proximate cause of the war the issue takes a subordinate place in the minds of romanticists of the South such as Ed. Dixie is the home of courtly manners and magnolia blossoms, decency and self-respect.

Jefferson Davis

That notion of a Utopia is still shared by many of us today.

The men who settled Virginia were the displaced younger sons of English aristocrats who gave their flavor to the Cavalier State. They were the epitome of desired manhood, the quality versus the equality- hence John Carter of Virginia. Carter is not only a man but the apex of what a man should be.

Dixon wrote several Civil War and Reconstruction novels, all rather good literature. His most famous trilogy of the conflict was composed of The Leopard’s Spots (1902), The Clansman (1905), and The Traitor (1907). As The Traitor is found in Burroughs’ surviving library it is not unreasonable to believe he read all three and that before he began writing. Dixon wrote two further volumes, The Southerner: A Romance Of The Real Lincoln and The Victim: A Romance Of The Real Jefferson Davis of 1913 and 14 respectively. I’m sure Ed read them both but they were too late to be formative for his writing. I recommend them both highly for a near contemporary history of the events from the perspective of both sides. While it doesn’t seem to be Dixon’s purpose his presentation leaves no doubt in my mind that the assassination of Lincoln was plotted by a cabal of Northern bigots who really wanted to exterminate Southern Aryans replacing them with what they believed to be a pure Negro Republic.

As the Negroes were not welcome in the North these Northern loonies may have believed with Lincoln that Negroes and Aryans could not live together. They probably believed that by ceding the South to the Negroes they had solved the problem. I’m sure it goes much deeper than current research cares to deal with.

Fortunately that didn’t happen. Reconstruction was overturned and the Jim Crow period took form resulting in the current Negro revolution with the threat of a San Domingo Moment.

In addition Dixon wrote an anti-socialist trilogy composed of One Woman (1903), Comrades (1909) and The Root Of Evil (1911). Other than reflecting the attitude of Ed’s thoughts they don’t seem reflected in his own work before 1919 although they may appear in his 1926 novel The Moon Maid.

After the rejection of Ed’s own 1919 anti-Communist tract Under The Red Flag by publishers another work of Dixon’s, The Fall Of A Nation (1916, both book and movie) seem to have been read and seen by Ed. The work would greatly influence Ed’s 1926 novel, The Moon Maid.

So, Thomas Dixon has to be considered a major influence of Ed‘s.

L. Frank Baum (1856-1919)

L. Frank Baum- The Wizard Of Oz

A second major influence, not inferior to Dixon, was the great creator of the Wizard Of Oz series, Lyman Frank Baum. Although chronologically belonging to an earlier age cohort of writers he only began writing at the turn of the century, turning out his fabulously successful The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz in 1900. It is said that Oz was based on the White City of the Columbian Exposition of 1893 and most likely was. In those days before movies successful books were turned into equally successful plays as was the case with The Wizard; thus at forty-four Baum was launched on a successful literary career. As with so many writers he squandered his millions ending up virtually broke. He didn’t live long enough for the movies to come to the rescue.

The original Wonderful Wizard Of Oz was written as a political satire which content went missing in 1939’s movie, indeed, it was no longer relevant. Baum should have lived so long.

The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz (1900) was followed by The Marvelous Land Of Oz (1904), Ozma Of Oz (1907), Dorothy And The Wizard Of Oz (1908), The Road To Oz (1909) and the Emerald City Of Oz (1910). These were published before Ed began to write so they highly influenced his Martian Chronicles while subsequently issued titles influenced his later work.

Baum grew tired of the series trying to kill it off in 1910’s Emerald City Of Oz but the clamor urging him to write more resulted in the series being resumed in 1913. These titles in order where The Patchwork Girl Of Oz 1913), Tik Tok Of Oz, 1914, The Scarecrow Of Oz (1915), Rinkitink In Oz, (1916), The Lost Princess Of Oz, (1917), The Tin Woodman Of Oz (1918), The Magic Of Oz, (1919) and Glinda Of Oz (1920). There are an additional dozen or so Oz titles but they were commissioned (pastiches) after Baum’s death to Ruth Plumly Thompson and another writer after her. Nice enough but don’t have the spark.

On might say the Wizard far exceeds John Carter in the American consciousness while matching or even, possibly, exceeding that of Tarzan. Without the Tarzan movies the reputation of the Wizard would be as great while that of Tarzan would be significantly diminished.

Baum also wrote a comic strip of stories in 1905 and The Woggle Bug Book in 1905 that Ed may have seen but I haven’t.

One imagines Ed greatly anticipating each Oz book as it was released, stunned by both the stories and the W.W. Denslow and John R. Neill artwork. Always remember that Ed was a failed artist or cartoonist, so the illustration always remained important to him.

Baum like Ed, after having created, an original framework, unmercifully plundered past literature to give substance to his stories. As Ed would follow in his own Symmes’ Hollow Earth stories Baum wrote an entire Oz novel around a version of the Symmes’s theory.

Ed so completely ingested the Baumian parallel universe that it is impossible to conceive of either Helium or Opar without reference to the Emerald City and hence back to Chicago’s White City. John Carter may be conceived of as a male Dorothy off to see the Wizard except that Helium was on Mars. Carter’s accession to the Warlord of Mars may even be seen as a replacement of the Wizard. One suspects that for Ed Baum was the transcendent imagination.

Another important point, as David Adams points out, is that Baum was a theosophist versed in esoteric lore. Baum was among the writers of his day that Ed went out of the way to meet, to introduce himself. It may even be said that he had a relationship with Baum. Ed first introduced himself to Baum in 1913, driving up to Ozcot in Hollywood. The two men were reunited in 1916 during Ed’s stay in LA and again in 1919 for the few remaining months of Baum’s life. He died in May of that year.

So Baum was a central figure in Ed’s career.

George Barr McCutcheon (1866-1926)

Anthony Hope (1863-1933)

George Barr McCutcheon

The third major figure of the decade succeeding 1900 was one George Barr McCutcheon and his Graustark series. Not so well known today he was a major figure in the early years of the century. Reminiscing in the forties in the midst of the disappointment of a second world war in his lifetime Ed remarked that the people then lacked a Graustark so that Ed added that imaginary land to the Oz in his literary memories.

Born in the same year as H.G. Wells, McCutcheon’s first published title Graustark: The Story Of A Love Behind A Throne appeared in 1901 as the century began. Graustark was some Ruritanian paradise located in some imaginary middle European land of wine and waltzes. While a fine imaginary setting I find the novels unappealing. As usual one has the enterprising American lad among torpid European lumpkins.

Of the six Graustark novels three were published before 1912- Graustark (1901), Beverly Of Graustark (1904) and Truxton King: A Story Of Graustark (1909), and three after- The Prince of Graustark (1914), East Of The Setting Sun (1924) and the Inn Of The Hawk And The Raven (1927). Thus only the first three were part of the formation of Ed’s memories when he began writing.

These three were however buttressed by two novels of Anthony Hope the man who invented Ruritanian romances and on whom McCutcheon undoubtedly based Graustark. Hope began his three dozed novel career with the The Prisoner Of Zenda in 1894 followed by the sequel Rupert Of Hentzau in 1898. It would be truly astonishing if you’ve heard of any of the rest of his oeuvre. I certainly never had.

The content of these novelists was directly incorporated into Ed’s two Ruritanian novels The Mad King and HRH The Rider.

The Mad King was a re-courting of Emma that apparently failed.

Booth Tarkington (1869-1946)

Booth Tarkington

A man who Ed thought was the greatest American writer when interviewed in the teens was the enchanting Booth Tarkington, one of the favorites of my childhood. I was enthralled by Tarkington’s Tom Sawyer figure Penrod (1914) Scholfield and Penrod and Sam of 1916. The other titles I read back when were Seventeen (1916), The Magnificent Ambersons (1918), and Alice Adams of 1922.

Tarkington was a prolific writer turning out four dozen or so novels during his lifetime, some in collaboration with Harry Leon Wilson of Merton Of The Movies and Ruggles Of Red Gap fame along with several other significant titles of the day. Burroughs had Ruggles and couple others in his library.

Born between Wells and Ed, Tarkington’s first novel, The Gentleman From Indiana appeared in 1899 followed by his Monsieur Beaucaire in 1900. A whole series of novels followed up to 1912 including The Two Vanrevels so Ed probably had imbibed a lot of Tarkington before and much after 1912. Tarkington was a major influence on Ed’s novels such as The Oakdale Affair and the Efficiency Expert of the teens while The Ambersons and Alice Adams influences show up in Ed’s 1924 novel Marcia Of The Doorstep.

Jack London (1876-1916)

Robert Service (1874-1958)

H.H. Knibbs (1874-1945)

Jack London

Certainly not to be neglected as an influence is the still well known and often read Jack London. The making of London as a writer was the great Klondike Gold Rush beginning in 1896. In 1897 London packed his gear and went North. His experiences in the land of ice and snow provided the material that made his name. A stream of short stories and adventure novels erupted through his pen beginning in 1898 while the novels began in 1902. The Call Of The Wild of 1903 spoke to the wanderlust in Ed’s soul. London did everything that Ed wanted to do, he ranged freely over the entire world in his yacht The Snark, interestingly named after the great poem of Lewis Carroll…beware lest your Snark be a boo…. He was an eyewitness reporter of the San Francisco earthquake of 1906, like Ed he was a boxing aficionado, he was ringside as a reporter when Jack Johnson put down the great Jim Jeffries to become the first Negro heavyweight champion.

Ed’s fascination with hoboing had never abated since he mingled with them on Madison, Chicago’s Main Stem, on

Herbert Henry Knibbs

which his father’s factory was located. London’s 1907 memoir of his cross country trip with Kelley’s Army, a part of Coxey’s Army in 1894 must have excited Ed enormously. But, Ed was tied to Emma and unable to roam.

In many ways London’s and Ed’s views were in synch as part of the same age cohort. A Negro’s winning of the boxing championship was really too much for either man to bear. London himself was an amateur boxer. The failure of a White man to appear to wrest the championship from the Negro Johnson drove him to distraction as it did Ed. Although living on either side of the country both expressed their anguish at the same time.

London wrote a preliminary study titled The Abysmal Brute following it with a full scale concerning the championship, The Valley Of The Moon in 1913. Ed set down and wrote The Mucker about his own hobo boxer, Billy Byrne also in 1913. One can only wonder how many other stories were written about an imaginary White boxer recapturing the crown.

The second novel of the Mucker Trilogy all but named London as its inspiration. The Return is a very good novel that celebrated the golden age of hoboing.

Robert W. Service

The novel tied in a number of Ed’s literary hobo sources. In addition to London the poet H.H. Knibbs provided a sort of framing device as Ed wove verses of his great poem Out There Somewhere through the story, essentially basing the novel on the poem. He also included snatches of verse from the Kiplingesque Robert W. Service of The Cremation Of Sam McGee fame.

The Return then might be said to be a celebration of the road based on London’s The Road and poems by Knibbs and Service. Byrne was also probably an attempt to create another series based on The Road to supplement Tarzan but it didn’t take.

Zane Grey (1972-1939)

Grey might be one of the weaker influences before 1910 but Ed was destined to be thought a rival by his publishers. Grey had the magic touch in being able to pitch his is stories toward women thus garnering the big money of the slick magazines. Grey thus earned enough to buy himself a yacht making him the envy of Ed.

Grey began in 1903 with his story of Betty Zane. This was followed three years later by The Spirit Of The Border, then in 1908’s Last Of The Plainsmen. Nineteen nine brought The Last Trail and The Shortstop. The earlier titles were on small imprints while The Shortstop was publishing by McClurg’s, the future publisher of Burroughs. From McClurg’s Grey went to Harper And Bros. who remained his publisher from then on. One wonders if McClurg’s sold his contract to Harper’s or whether they signed him to a one book deal. They certainly tied Ed up contractually so he couldn’t get away.

Grey’s first book for Harper’s in 1910 is the only story to indicate Ed’s readership, The Heritage Of The Desert concerning the Mormons. That influence showed up in 1913’sThe Cave Girl.

I could never get into Grey as a kid although I was given a copy of The Shortstop that I didn’t read then and never have. Still have it though. Grey broke through in 1912 with Riders Of The Purple Sage. The Rainbow Trail and The Mysterious Rider are found in Ed’s library.

I’ve only read Ed’s two Western novels once so I would have to read them again to see how influenced they were by Grey.

Grey’s stuff is alright I guess but the guy’s a real dud writer as far as I’m concerned.

In addition to these major influences Ed also stuffed his memory with reams of poems and magazine articles. The newspapers which were much different then also provided much grist for his mill.

In the background, of course, was Ed’s interest in mythology. He did read Howard Pyle’s four volume version of the Vulgate-Lancelot that appeared after the turn of the century. The two and a half years he spent at Harvard Latin School undoubtedly gave him a good background while in those formative years conditioning his mind to deal with difficult thought processes. After all the mind has to be trained to manage the mass of memories that make the person.

The question during this period is whether or not he read ancient Greek mythology or learned any Greek. I think not. He may have some familiarity with Homer especially the Odyssey on which many of his stories may be based. He was probably familiar with The Labors Of Hercules but I don’t see any evidence of understanding of The Iliad.

The Iliad is important for psychology as Homer introduces the notion of the infinitely powerful mind of Zeus. Zeus could remember everything while having such a powerful mind that he could order the whole of it in sequence while finding his way through any number of conundrums. The only thing he couldn’t do was set aside what was fated.

What goes into one’s memory or mind is of cardinal importance. Trash goes in, trash comes out. Ed filled his memory banks with useful information and wonderful speculative literature. The question, then, is what does one do with those memories now transformed into knowledge. Remembering is the sine qua non but organization is equally important. The mind must be trained. Remembered and organized, then what? Then comes intelligence and application. A flexible intelligence is probably known as imagination. One can combine, rearrange, and recombine one’s memories into new uses. Make meaningful what was formerly incoherent.

Ed well-satisfied with himself remarked that only one in a hundred thousand had a good imagination in which number he obviously included himself among the elite. I don’t know where he got his stat but I’m sure a mind such as his was rare enough. There really aren’t many who can use their mind as he did. One only has to read the Martian writers who preceded him to see the astonishing distance between their work and his. Wells’ War Of The Worlds for instance is a fairly pedestrian work. A missile shot from a cannon on Mars arrives on Earth and some spindly creatures get out who then mount some tripods that begin walking through London spewing some black gas. Fresh at the time but not wildly imaginative. Ed would challenge Wells when he wrote the first third of The Moon Maid. That book was so imaginative, superior to Wells’ First Men In The Moon, as to be the work of a master taunting an obstreperous pupil.

So, when Ed Began 1912 his memory banks were full of experience and stuffed with literature and scientific knowledge that he was able to use so imaginatively that most people were completely unaware of the amount of learning incorporated into his stories.

Part VI chronicles Ed’s life from the beginning of his success to 1920.

Edgar Rice Burroughs As A Feral Child


R.E. Prindle


Cronus married his sister Rhea, to whom the oak is sacred, But it was prophesized by Mother Earth and by his dying father Uranus, that one of his own sons would dethrone him.  Every year, therefore, he swallowed the children whom Rhea bore him, first Hestia, then Demeter and Hera, then Hades, then Poseidon~ Robert Graves, The Greek Myths

I. The Father As A Cannibal Figure

     Following Poseidon came Zeus.  In place of Zeus Cronus was given a stone which he swallowed instead.  When Zeus grew up he then castrated Cronus, replacing him.

     While on the one hand an astrological myth denoting the precession of the equinoxes from one Astrological Age to another, on a psychological level the myth relates the fear of the Father that as the strength of his sons waxes his own wanes resulting in an eclipse.

     Different human fathers react in different ways.  Some nurture, some castrate or cannibalize their young.  This is a serious problem for the son.  For instance, what Tom Brokaw, a thoroughly castrated son, is pleased to call The Greatest Generation who were so enamored of their success in WW II, that they chose to emasculate a whole generation rather than surrender or even share power.

     I correspond with David Adams from time to time while doing my writing from whom I sometimes receive valuable input.  I had come to the conclusion that ERB’s father, George T, was a problem for ERB, especially as represented by ‘God’ in Tarzan And The Lion Man.  The new year opened with Hillman publishing Dodds’ feral child collection which clicked in my mind.  The week before ERBzine published my Part III, Two Peas And A Pod of the Tarzan Triumphant review.  David Adams commented favorably on my comments about the Jungian Old Man archetype.  He said in an email to me:

     I agree with your interpretation that “characters like Tarzan and John Carter serve in the capacity of Old Man/Jekyll figures while the actual Old Man figures who are betrayers serve perhaps as Hydelike figures as represented by the father.” (David quoting me.) Those old man figures, early and late, are also cannibals who are hell-bent on eating him up while then spreading the bones across some desert for the hyenas to chew.  Who was that old cannibal with the cancerous face followed by a pair of African wolves? (Jungle Tales of Kipling)

     As can be seen I picked up on the Father figure but adding the cannibal detail adds the needed dimension for full comprehension.

     George T. had been bothering me for some time.  The love-hate relationship ERB had with him is quite obvious, but then it occurred to me that the other sons had the same relationship to their father while George T. appeared to program them all for failure- that is they not surpass him in their lifetime somewhat like Cronus of Greek mythology.  He made them all dependent on him.  The supplicating tone of the letters from college of sons George and Harry is all too obvious.  George T. sending the boys to Yale without the means to support a position would have had the effect of emasculating them relative to their fellow students thus subordinating them.

     Then on graduation he took them into his battery business.  As a businessman in Chicago it wouldn’t be unreasonable to believe that George T. had some relatively influential contacts in town who might have been able to place Yale graduates advantageously but he chose to keep the boys with him and subordinate to him.

     The battery factory proved dangerous for his son Harry who developed respiratory problems from the battery chemicals plus perhaps in psychological reaction to suppression by his father.  He went West to join fellow Yalie, Lew Sweetser, in Idaho.  Son George, who had had enough of working for his father, also fled to Idaho to join Harry and Sweetser.

     None of the three knew enough about the cattle business to survive so that by 1913 when George T. had his basket pulled up all the sons were back in Chicago in various degrees of failure or, at least, lack of success.  As of that date it would appear that like Cronus George T. had swallowed or cannibalized his sons.

     There was a Zeus figure in the bunch who didn’t want to be swallowed and that Zeus figure was ERB.  Like Zeus ERB was the youngest son.  ERB developed independently of his brothers who were approximately ten years older than he.  Thus when they were at Yale ERB was attending grade school.

     As I pointed out in my Books, Burroughs and Religion George T. was especially rigorous in the attempt to emasculate his youngest son.  His effort culminated when he sent ERB to military school.  This was a form of dislocation and rejection that ERB could not bear.  He tried to escape but his father sternly returned him to the Michigan Military Academy.

     The effects of this were that ERB was declassed as he considered the MMA a rich kid’s reform school.  Thus to some extent he was criminalized in his own mind.  His reaction was also seminal in the formation of his two principal characters John Carter and Tarzan.

     His hurt was so strong, his separation from his parents and home so complete that he became psychologically orphaned.  His parents died to him the day he was returned to the MMA.  He adopted the drunken Commandant, Charles King, as his mentor or surrogate father.  While betrayed by his father ERB apparently thought he found a friend in King.  In that capacity King became the model for Lt. Paul D’Arnot of the French Navy.  D’Arnot was the man who tamed the feral boy that was Tarzan introducing him to civilization much as King taught Burroughs how to survive and prosper at MMA.  Or Burroughs remembered it in that manner.  There may also be a literary connection to D’Artagnan of Dumas’ Three Musketeers.

     This makes the period between the arrival of Jane and her party and the arrival of D’Arnot in Tarzan Of The Apes of special interest.  I’m not sure what the period represents in Burroughs’ own life.

     As his creation Tarzan is a feral child it follows that ERB considered himself alone and on his own as a feral child himself.  A romantic notion but one no less real to him.  Thus just as Tarzan’s parent’s died with the baby becoming a member of an ape tribe so Burroughs began a wild and difficult period as his parents died for him.

     These events occurred just as Rider Haggard was becoming famous for his great African trilogy of King Solomon’s Mines, She and Allan Quatermain which ERB undoubtedly read at this time.  Conan Doyle began his Sherlock Holmes mysteries and H.M. Stanley disappeared into an unknown Congo in pursuit of Emin Pasha.  The West to East transit of the Congo impressed ERB greatly as his own heroes later crossed Africa in the same direction.

     Being a complex individual ERB no longer wished to even acknowledge that he had ever had parents; thus his first creation- John Carter.  As Carter only came into existence when ERB was 36 the writer had plenty of time to knock around learning the odd legend here and there.  John Carter then is a version of the Great Historical Bum- the hundred thousand year old man of folklore.

     John Carter could not remember his parents.  In his memory he had always been the same age he was.  In the words of one of my famorite songs, Stewball, he didn’t say he was born at all, just blew down in a storm.  Certainly Burroughs had heard of the Comte de St. Germain who flourished at the time of the French Revolution.  As esoterical cult figure today, St. Germain’s  legend would have been more prominent from 1875 to 1911 than today.  Like Carter St. Germain claimed to have been alive forever.  In Revolutionary Europe he got away with it.  Calgiostro was another Revolutionary charlatan claiming mysterious antecedents who would have intrigued ERB’s imagination.  It seems certain the two would have been topics of conversation in the time before radio, TV and movies so it wouldn’t have been necessary  for ERB to have read anything.

     I doubt if he had read any of the books on Dodds’ list although one never knows but the list goes to show that the feral child would have been a popular topic of conversation.  In my opinion then ERB’s literary future was cast when his cannibal father returned him to MMA.

     He graduated from the MMA in ’95 but either couldn’t or wouldn’t return home staying on as an instructor.  In ’96, just before the summer break which might have necessitated a return home he joined the Army being sent directly to Arizona without passing through Chicago.  Was he avoiding returning home?  One can’t say as in ’97 having found Army life not to his liking he received an early discharge.  He could have kept going, of course, as many of us in his boots did, to LA, San Francisco or wherever but he chose at that time to return to Chicago.  Of course, Emma was calling.

     From ’97 to ’03 or so he worked for his father which he found as difficult as his brothers had.  Fleeing Chicago to Idaho in 1903, when he came back a year and a few months later to do anything (that word anything has some meaning in this context)  rather  than work with his father.  He became one of the poet Robert Service’s ‘men who don’t fit in.’  He had a very difficult few years from 1905 to 1913 bumping along the bottom.

     But then in 1911 he began his rise via his intellect.  He began to write becoming an immediate literary success of sorts.  By 1913 when he was about to become a financial success through his intellectual efforts thus escaping his father’s curse, his father died.  The young Zeus thus never got to castrate his father Cronus.

     One can’t know what would have happened to his psychology had ERB been able to present his father with evidence of his success.  I’m reasonably certain George T. would have belittled  or rejected his success as like Cronus his youngest would have replaced him.  He wouldn’t have liked that.

II.  A Hand From The Grave

     Had that happened and ERB been able to prove himself a greater than his father it is interesting to speculate as to what effect that might have had on ERB’s psychological development.  As it was, a few months after his father’s death he packed up family and belongings and got out of town as far as he could go to San Diego, California and stayed away nine months.  Time enough to be reborn.

     There are numerous examples of betrayers who are cannibals in his corpus, in fact there is so much betraying and cannibalism in Burroughs’ work I find it slightly offensive.  Rather than work up a list, which for the time being I leave to David, I’d rather concentrate on the most spectacular cannibalistic betrayer of the oeuvre, God of Lion Man.

     I know I just wrote about Lion Man but with David’s interpretation of cannibalism I can present a much more cogent image.  David’s much more into Jungian synchronicity than I am but the scene with God presents a remarkable occurrence of synchronicity.  The scene is very complex.

     George T. was born in 1833 so the book was written on his 100th birthday.  Chicago was incorporated in 1833 while it was celebrating its Century Of Progress forty years after the Columbian Expo at the same time.  Both events occurred just at the time that Burroughs realized he had lost control of his ‘meal ticket’ to MGM.

     MGM was undoubtedly a component of God, the Father, being combined with the Chicago that fathered him and George T., his actual father, in his mind.  From these components ERB then creates the magnificent apparition of God as man and beast.  God has the mind of divine power such as had Zeus but is still a Cronus, is, in fact, the ultimate cannibal.

     Tarzan and Rhonda  represent Burroughs’ Anima and Animus so that God has the whole man in his power in its component parts- the X and y chromosomes.  God tells the pair that he is going to use them to rejuvenate himself by cannibalizing them.  The Father’s desire and the Son’s fear.

     If God represents George T. on one side, MGM on another and organized religion on a third then even though ERB thought he escaped his father in 1913 by his intellectual efforts the father reaches up from the grave on his 100th anniversay to claim his son again.

     At this time Burroughs also wrote Pirates Of Venus and Pirate Blood.  Both would refer to the idea that MGM pirated his creation from him while the very despondent Pirate Blood is almost terrifying in its manic depression as the balloon rises and sinks being almost submerged in the ocean or the waters of oblivion, the subconscious mind, insanity, that I believe we can see it as the insanity of despair.  At the end of that story the hero pairs up with a desperate woman who I believe we can read as Florence.  All very transparent really.

     So there Tarzan/Rhonda/Burroughs is trapped in a prison.  He attempts his earlier escape of rising through his intellectual powers, that is, he ascends through a shaft in the roof.  Unlike the first time when he surprised and astonished the world with John Carter and Tarzan, God, the Father, is waiting for him preventing his use of his intellect.  In point of fact Tarzan And The Lion Man was a dismal sales failure thought by Burroughs to be caused by MGM.

     If his previous four previous Tarzans under the Burroughs imprint had been successes it seems strange that the truly excellent Tarzan And The Lion Man should have failed.  Failing proof of sabotage on the part of, say, MGM, one can only say the public taste is fickle or perhaps the innovative dust jacket didn’t look like the usual Tarzan dust jacket and fans just passed it by.  It is also true that the book was a put down of MGM.

     Tarzan/Burroughs sallies forth from his hiding place against superior forces.  He is knocked unconscious.  A sure sign that Burroughs is under supreme stress.  Meanwhile God’s castle, in other words the literary structure of the last twenty years is going up in flames.  The MGM pirates have lifted ERB’s life work.

     He has to finish the story so he turns the tables on God taking him captive and making him do his bidding.  Tarzan helps God recapture his City then abandons him disappearing down the hole of the subconscious to a lower level from when he emerges to be claimed by the Wild Thing- Balza, the Golden Girl, or Florence.

     In a thinly disguised scene Tarzan, unwittingly it seems, wins Balza from her former husband much as Burroughs took Florence from Ashton Dearholt.  The important thing here is that a transition has been effected from one world to another.  The intellectual City of God has been abandoned in favor of a world of the senses.

     It is at this point ERB abandons his own feral boy persona of horses, puttees and other symbols to become a sort of effeminate Dandy.  He now affects tightly fitted fashionable suits almost effeminate in appearance.  He turn into a party animal and if he had been a moderate drinker during his teens, twenties and early thirthies he now becomes almost a lush.

     So, in the end, ERB was probably devoured by the Father in Cronus fashion.  In the Myth Zeus forced Cronus to vomit up his brothers and sisters and he castrated him.  In real life ERB was castrated and swallowed down.

     He put up one heck of a fight that arouses the warmest admiration of him.  One wonders, that if when all is said and done anyone can escape the imprint of those formative years.  Is one’s whole horoscope cast in the womb and those few short months after birth?  Sure hope not.


Four Crucial Years

In The Life Of Edgar Rice Burroughs, Pt. I


R.E. Prindle

Every artist writes his own autobiography. 

Even Shakespeare’s works contain a life of himself for those who know how to read it.

–Havelock Ellis as quoted by Robert W. Fenton

The Great One

     Eighteen ninety-six found Edgar Rice Burroughs confronting the first great crisis of his adult life.  The weight of his childhood experiences pressed on his mind as he turned twenty.  His subconscious mind was directing his actions while his conscious intelligence futilely struggled against it.  He had no plans; nor could he form any.  He was in a state of emotional turmoil.  He obviously did not think out his moves nor weigh the effects of his actions on others.  He was to burn many bridges as he flayed about like the proverbial bull in the china shop trying to find his way out.

     Having graduated from the Michigan Military Academy he had been serving in the capacity of instructor for the previous year.  All his heroes were military men.  He fancied a military career as an Army officer even though he had failed the West Point exam the year before.  Still, he was in a fine position to realize his objective.  Men who could help him were nearby friends.  Captain, soon to be General, Charles King, who had befriended him as a cadet, and the Commandant of the MMA, Colonel Rogers.  All he had to do was to be patient and those men of some influence would surely have obtained an appointment for him.

     They had given a mere boy a position of great trust and responsibility in making him an instructor.  They were military men who judged others in the military manner.  Then in the Spring of 1896 Burroughs did one of the most inexplicable things in a career  of the inexplicable; he abandoned his post.  Without notice to those career officers who were depending on him he resigned his post and on May 13th of 1896 he joined the Army as an enlisted man, a common soldier, a grunt.  Within days he was on his way to his asignment.

     As he was to say of so many of his later fictional heroes: ‘for me to think is to act.’  He oughtn’t have been so precipitate.  He should have thought twice.  He shouldn’t have had to think about it at all.

     If he seriously wanted a military career as an officer he should have known that it is virtually impossible for an enlisted man to rise through the ranks.  Even in the rare cases when this occurs, the enlisted man is always an odd duck between the officer caste and the enlisted men.

     In this case he had not only forteited caste but as far as Rogers and King were concerned he had deserted, the worst crime that a military man can commit.  Both men wrote him off at that time.  Strangely he never understood that his precipitate act would be held against him by those he disappointed.

     Apparently joining in a fit of despair- for me to think is to act- as the date of the 13th would indicate he requested the worst duty the Army had ensuring his desire to fail.  On one level it is almost as though he did have his next move worked out.  Not normally too receptive to the desires or needs of its grunts in this case the Army was only too glad to accommodate him.  Burroughs was sent into Apacheria to a place called Fort Grant in what was then the territory of Arizona.  Neither Arizona nor New Mexico became States until after the turn of the century so Burroughs had actually ‘lit out for the territories’ as Huck Finn would have put it.  There was still some Apache resistance going on, thus ERB was a part of the Wild West.

     According to Philip R. Burger, writing in the Winter 1999 issue of the Burroughs Bulletin, the standard term of enlistment at the time was three years but, as there would be no reason to join the Army except to make it a career, the reasonable assumption for those left behind in Chicago without a word of goodbye would have been that Burroughs was out of their lives.  He was a dead man.

     For those of you who have never joined the services, once you leave you’re out of the lives of those left behind.  Your traditions have been broken.  Even when you come back for leave you are only tolerated as a visitor who will leave, the sooner the better, so you don’t disrupt their lives any longer than necessary.

     Burroughs didn’t even have traditions in Chicago except with a few people.  From the sixth grade on he had a record of broken attendance at a number of schools, from the girl’s school to Harvard School and then back East, to Idaho and on to the MMA.  He would have known but few people well, intimate with none except the lovely Emma Hulbert.

     He could have seen her but rarely over the last years which included high school.  He really had no ties in Chicago.  His relationshlip to Emma dated back to Brown grade school.  At sometime before he began his peripatetic education he began to propose to her.  As he was gone from Chicago all this time it is very difficult to believe that Emma sat home pining.  She must have been dating other boys, however, at the same time she must have been waiting for Burroughs since, at 24, when she married him she was only a couple years from spinsterhood.  She must have been giving her parents some cause for alarm.

     Thus when Burroughs appeared to walk out of her life in 1896 without a word about his intentions one wonders what her response was.  Certainly it was about this time that Frank Martin began to pay his court.  We will learn more of Frank Martin a little later.

     For Burroughs, like so many of us once we were inducted, ERB speedily learned his mistake.  For the men who don’t fit in ‘each fresh move is a fresh mistake.’  He regretted his decision immediately.  For him to think was to act, so from his arrival at Fort Grant he began a petition for discharge.

     As he had been under twenty-one when he joined, he had had to ask his father for his consent.  He now asked him to use his influence to get him out.

     Perhaps we do not have enough information on why he now so desperately wanted out.  In later life this short ten month period of his life would be fraught with great significance in his mind.  Just before he divorced his lovely wife Emma in 1933 ERB took a solo vacation to return to this scene of his young manhood.  That would indicate that Emma and Fort Grant were linked in his mind.

     Two of his Martian novels are associated with the Fort Grant experience.  In his first novel, A Princess Of Mars, John Carter serves in the Army in Arizona, is discharged, then returns as a prospector.  Under attack by Apaches he seeks refuge in a mountain cave in which he leaves his body while his astral projection goes to Mars.  Viewed from one point that’s as neat a description of going insane as I’ve ever come across.

      During his 1933 visit to Arizona, Carter returns to visit a trembling fearful Burroughs in his mountain cabin.  One gets the impression that Burroughs felt like a whipped dog.

     The Apaches made a terrific impression on the young man.  So much so that he could see himself joining them as a Brave as is evidenced by his two Apache novels, The War Chief and Apache Devil.  Then too his two cowboy novels are placed in Arizona rather than in Idaho where one would expect them.

     In his Return Of Tarzan the trip to the Sahara is an obvious reference to Apacheria.  The French government sends Tarzan into the desert rather than the US government sending ERB to Arizona.   In the deseart Tarzan develops a strong liking for the Arabs, much as ERB did for the Apaches.  Tarzan considered becoming a Son Of The Desert just as ERB thought he might become Apache.

     A large part of ERB’s fascination for the military life was based on his respect for Capt. Charles King under whom he had served briefly at the MMA.  King was, I would imagine, a boy’s dream of a dashing Calvalry Officer.  In this wildly romantic period of the Indian Wars, not to mention the proximity of the Civil War, a man who had served at the same time and the same place General Custer must have been held in some awe.  King had also served with and knew Buffalo Bill,  a nonpareil hero of the time and one ERB may have met at the 1893 Columbian Expo.

     Burroughs names two of his characters after Custer.

     On top of all this King was a successful writer of military novels.  He wote an excellent analysis of Custer’s defeat, which is available on ERBzine, as well as a first hand account of the resultant campaign to quell the uprising, Campaigning With Crook.  the latter is a superb recreation of a time and place we’ll never see again.  In just a few words King is able to recreate a Deadwood, South Dakota for which the movies have filmed endless miles of photographs with less result.  His single reference to barbaric cowboys wearing their guns on their hips says more than dozens of Hollywood films.  ERB was also able to capture some of this feeling in his two excellent Western novels as well as his two Apache novels.

     King was prolific writing nearly seventy books in his long career.  I have read only a few, which I find of only of journeyman quality.  King has an emascualted precious style which is reflected in his photographs.  Burroughs enthusiastically said he wrote the best Army novels ever, which may be true, I haven’t come across any other novels of Army life.  among his many novels of Army life are three that deal with the Pullman strike when the Seventh was stationed at Fort Sheridan.  One, An Apache Princess written in 1903 might possibly have been an influence on A Princess Of Mars.

     At any rate King glorifies the officer’s life.  He fooled a young green ERB.  In any event ERB failed to notice the haughty distinctions King drew between the relative status of the officers and the enlisted men.  King had all the prejudices of the officer class seeing the enlisted man as a subhuman species.  Knowing this, as Burroughs should have, I am baffled by his enlisting.

     Perhaps as at the MMA he thought that one entered as a buck private working up to officer rapidly as he had at the MMA.  If so he must have had a very rude awakening.  It couldn’t have taken him long to realize that advancing through the ranks was rare while at the same time a long process for such an impatient lad as he.

     While he was cleaning those stalls he must have had plenty of time to think out his dilemma.  As he thought back over his past actions it must have occurred to him that perhaps he erred in walking out on Colonel Rogers the previous May.  Accordingly on December 2 of 1896 he sent a letter back to Rogers of which the reply is extant.  We don’t know what ERB said but I imagine he was feeling Rogers out to see if he couldn’t get him an officer’s appointment.  Rogers reply was, of course, polite but cool and distant firmly placing Burroughs as oneof the rest of Rogers’ students.  Yuh.  ERB should have thought twice about abandoning his post.

     The many, many references to this period of his life point to a great regret later in life that he had left it.  He associated this regret with Emma.  Perhaps the visit of the officer, John Carter, to him in his lonely cabin in the White Mountains of Arizona represents his lost career as an Army officer but was one of the reasons for his wanting to get back to Chicago that he hadn’t dealt with his relationship with Emma?  Did he now learn that in his absence someone else was playing his old love song to Emma?  Someone who Papa Alvin Hulbert much preferred to ERB?

     It would be interesting to  know what Emma thought when her beau just up and removed himself to Arizona.  Perhaps perplexed but still hopeful she sent him her picture on his birthday in September.  Remember me, perhaps?

     Unhappy with his life at ‘the worst post in the Army’, how one’s attitude changes when one’s dreams are realized, he petitioned his father to use his influence to return him to civilian life.

     Surprisingly his father was easily able to do this.  By March of 1897 ERB had his discharge papers in his hand.  He was a free man again.  How many tens of thousands of us would have appreciated such an easy resolution to the problem.


     Our Man still didn’t have a plan.  What we he going to do with his life?  Apparently Colonel Rogers’ reply to his letter didn’t apprise him of the facts of life.  Nor did he seem to realize that once you reject the military the Army has no use for you.  At the time, the US Army was very small, perhaps seventy-five thousand men.  The officer corps was about ten per cent or seventy-five hundred men.  This is virtually a club.  The officers would have known each other personally, by name or by reputation. The same was more or less true of the enlisted men.

     Thus Porges records a letter ERB received in 1936 from one W.L. Burroughs of Charlotte, N.C. who probes:

     This morning an old army sergeant whom I soldiered with back in the nineties dropped in my office and our conversation started at Fort Sheridan, ILl. when the 7th US Cavalry and the 15th U.W. Infantry left that post for Arizona and New Mexico.  He asked me if I remembered Edgar Rice Burroughs of  Troop ‘B’ Seventh Cavalry, said he was discharged during the summer of 1896 at Fort Grant, Arizona account of a ‘Tobacca heart’…will be delighted to know for certain that we soldiered with so distinguished a person back in the nineties.

     Whether true or not these men remembered ERB as a malingerer who obtained a fraudulent discharge.  I interpet ‘Tobacco heart’  to be a feigned ailment which would make ‘so distinguished a person’ a sarcastic and insulting remark.  If W.L. Burroughs is correct then ERB got himself out by reasonable discreditable means rather than through the efforts of his father.   Thus forty years on an Army reputation followed ERB.

     Burroughs replied cooly a few days later ‘…seldom have been in touch with any of the men I soldiered with since I left Fort Grant.’  ERB didn’t say ‘AND GOODBYE.’ but I think that is implied.

     So having committed blunder after blunder it would have been wise for Our Man to reevaluate his position.  Strangely he didn’t do this, hoping against hope, as I imagine to pull that particualr rabbit out of the hat over the next few years.  Good luck, Edgar Rice Burroughs.


     For now he could only think of returning to Chicago.  As we know the Burroughs Boys were ranching up in Idaho.  ERB always wanted to prove that he was a businessman.  Why, I don’t know.  The fact of the matter seems to be that the Burroughs family was particularly inept at business.  Papa George T. had been burned out of his distillery while his battery business was steadily running down, due for extermination about a decade later.

     The Boys would turn to dredging for gold after failing at ranching.  Perhaps one of the reasons they failed at ranching was just this operation coming up.  They had bought a Mexican herd, apparently sight unseen.  They were then in Nogales to receive and transship the herd to KC.  I suspect they lost their shirt.  In less than two years they would be gold dredging.

     The world is full of sharpers.  Out West so many salted gold mines were sold to greenhorns that it doesn’t bear telling.  Frank Harris, the British magazine editor in his autobiography has a great story about how he and his outfit lifted a Mexican herd driving it back across the Rio Grande.  I have no doubt that some Mexican sharpers took advantage of the Burroughs Boys.  They would later buy a salted gold claim.

     The herd ERB put on board the train he describes as no bigger than jackrabbits while probably being less well fed.  The death rate of the cows on the trip back to KC was horrendous, while the survivors became starved and dehydrated.  I don’t think the Burroughs Boys did well on that transaction.  You gotta watch your back or, hopefully, see ’em coming.


     Edgar Rice Burroughs came home.  Perhaps he had now reached childhood’s end.  At twenty-one perhaps he now realized that he had a life to lead.  Perhaps.  If so, it was slow dawning.  But then ERB’s was not an ordinary mind, a normal bean as he would have put it.  No, his was a slow ripening melon.  But then, why should everyone develop at the same pace?  If up to this point I seem to have been overly critical of Our Young Man it’s because there has been much to be critical of;  just as there will be more, but he hasn’t done anything really reprehensible.  Your record may not be much better; mine certainly wasn’t.  He’s a good sort of guy; just a little on the goofy side.  Slow to learn.  He doesn’t seem to catch on.

     However he’s watching.  He’s observing.  He’s ingesting and there out of sight he’s digesting all the information coming in.  Plus, he will give it a brilliant interpretation when he egests it.

     These four years would be of great use to him in his writing career.  Always a subtle psychologist ERB was also a skillful employer of the Freudian concepts of condensation, displacement and sublimation and this before he could have read Freud.  An attentive reading of any of his novels always reveals layers of hidden meaning.  Simply put Edgar Rice Burroughs is the most poetic of novelists.

     His poetic tastes weren’t always elevated.  He did have a copy or two of Eddie Guest in his library.  Edgar A. Guest.  Perhaps forgotten today Guest was a people’s poet.  In the 1950s when I spread out the Detroit Free Press on the floor one of the first things I read was the daily poem of Edgar Guest.  Of course, I thought he had written each one the night before.  I marveled at his facility.  Nice homey thoughts though.

     Burroughs tastes ran to the likes of Rudyard Kipling, H.H. Knibbs, Robert W. Service and others of the jingly-jangly people’s school.  Although he did know enough about a high brow like Robert Browning to consider him a bore.  Rightly from my point of view.  He liked Tennyson, who was considered a high brow, also I suspect Walter Scott, Shelley and Byron.  He frequently hints at Longfellow’s ‘Wreck Of The Hesperus’ while he probably had to read Hiawatha in school

     He knows all the popular stuff of the day like ‘Over The Hill To The Poor House’ too while he had probably read that anthem of doomed labor,  Edward Markham’s Man With The Hoe, too.  If that one didn’t gag him he’s not the man I think he was.

     Song lyrics were big with him too.  On his cross country auto tour he mentions three records by name that his family wore out- of course a battery operated portable played in a field with the plows they called styluses (well, cultured people called them styluses or styli, us near illiterates called them needles) in those days they might have worn out a record in two or three plays.  One song was ‘Are You From Dixie?’, another was ‘Do What Your Mother Did; and the last ‘Hello- Hawaii, How Are Ya?’ I guess he liked songs that asked questions.  I’ll examine the lurics a little farther on down the road but when we’re considering the literary influences don’t forget the poetry.  After all ERB wrote a whole book around the lyrics of H.H. Knibbs ‘Out There Somewhere.’

     Just before he returned to Chicago one of the great newspaper literary lights and poets of Chicago Eugene Field had died- 1895.  Burroughs had a collection of Field’s writings in his library while Field, when alive, hung out at the McClurg’s book store.  Perhaps there were sentimental reasons for Burroughs pursuing McClurg’s so ardently as well as practical ones.

     Another Chicago writer among ERB’s collection of books who was reaching an apex at this time was George Ade.  While these Chicago stalwarts are mostly forgotten now they were considered immortal at the time.  Ade especially is a very clever writer with a real skill at turning a phrase.  His  ‘Fables In Slang’ would have knocked ERB flat.  ERB’s own interest in the colloquial, which is very pronounced, may have been influenced by Ade’s style.

     Another columnist of the period, Peter Finley Dunne, with his Irish dialect stuff written around his character Mr. Dooley doesn’t seem to have made much of an impression on ERB.

     Thus while involved in his attempts to correct his mistake of enlisting he was very attentive and observant of the life going on around him in whatever milieu.

     As I mentioned earlier, when you leave for the military your friends edit you out of their lives.  Returning is not so easy.  Even when I returned on leave, actually almost ten months after I left, people demanded almost belligerently, ‘What are you doing here? I thought you joined the Navy.’  After explaining I was on leave, nearly asking permission to hang around for a couple weeks, I was grudgingly given permission but let it be known that if I wasn’t gone I would have some explaining to do.

     ERB has left a record of his reception by his friends in Chicago.   He had sixteen years to let it run around his mind before he wrote it down.  It came out in Return Of Tarzan which, I imagine might be read as the Return Of Edgar Rice Burroughs.  Actually as Havelock Ellis hints in the opening quote, both Tarzan Of The Apes and The Return Of Tarzan can be read as autobiographical sketches from birth to the marriage with Emma in 1900.

     Burroughs describes his reception in Chapter 23 of the The Return.  The jungle is a Burroughsian symbol for society as in ‘It’s a jungle out there.’  Tarzan in the jungle can be read as ERB in Chicago.  Tarzan is resting in the crotch of a great limb of a jungle giant when he hears a troop of apes approaching the clearing beneath the tree.  The tree is a symbol of security or getting out of or above the tumult.  Trees probably correspond to his imagination.

     Tarzan recognized the troop as his old band of which he is still nominally king.  Having been gone for two years he rightly thinks the dull brutes will have trouble remembering him: 

      ‘From the talk which he overheard he learned that they had come to choose a new king- their late chief (the successor of Terkoz?) had fallen a hundred feet beneath a broken limb to an untimely end.

     Tarzan walked to the end of an overhanging limb in plain view of them.  The quick  eyes of a female (Emma?) caught sight ofhim first.  With a barking guttural she called the attention of the others.  Several fhuge bulls stood erect to get a better view of the intruder.  With bared fangs and bristling necks they advanced slowly toward him, with deep ominous growls.

     ‘Karnath, I am Tarzan Of The Apes,’ said the ape-man in the nernacular of the tribe.  ‘You remember me.  Together we teased Numa when we were still little apes, throwing sticks and nuts at him form the saftey of high branches.’

     ‘And Magor,’ continued Tarzan, addressing another, ‘do you not recall your former king- he who slew the mighty Kerchak?  Look at me! Am I not the same Tarzan- mighty hunter- invincible fighter- that you knew for many seasons?’

     The apes all crowded orward now, but more in curiosity than threatening.  They muttered among themselves for a few moments.

     ‘What do you want among us now?’  Asked Karnath.

     ‘Only peace.’  answered the ape-man.

     Again the apes conferred.  At leangth Karnath spoke again.

     ‘Come in peace, then, Tarzan Of The Apes.’  He said.

     So Tarzan and ERB returned to the fold.  However there were two young bulls who were not ready to receive Tarzan back.  We will find that two young men resented Burroughs’ return.  The resentment of the principal young man would nearly cost Burroughs his life while forcing him to commit to a marriage against his will.

     Thus Burroughs was received back into Chicago.


     He would spend about ten months before he uprooted himself once again to make his second visit to his brothers in Idaho.  I should think that this period in Chicago was perhaps the most idyllic of his life.  He found gainful employment with his father at the Battery Company.  However at fifteen dollars a week it was much less than his allowance had been at the MMA.  However he was living and eating at home so one imagines it was all pocket cash which afforded a certain limited affluence.  He could afford to take Emma out.

     Emma appears to have preferred him but he was no favorite of Papa Alvin and the Mrs.  If Frank Martin had begun to pay his court he was much the preferred suitor.  The son of Col. A.N. Martin who was a millionaire railroad man he was to be much preferred to a penniless Ed Burroughs whose father had apostacized to William Jennings Bryan in the election of 1896.  No, Martin should be given the inside track.  Burroughs was forbidden the house in an attempt to disrupt his relationship with Emma.

     The Hulberts looked askance at Burroughs patchy history.  He was less than promising.  While his father had gotten him released from his enlistment, people are wont to say there’s more to that story than meets the eye.  Plenty of room for rumor, if you know what I mean.  ERB probably had to explain a lot.

     So while he could date Emma he couldn’t go hang around all evening every evening as lovers are wont to do.

     So what did ERB do with his spare time.  He obviously read.  H.Rider Haggard was popping them out two or three a year at the time which is clear from the evidence ERB read.  Jules Verne was alive and producing although much of his production remained untranslated.

     There weren’t any movies or television, however there was the Levee, Chicago’s Sin City.  In later novels ERB would show what appears to be first hand rather detailed knowledge of this area of brothels, saloons and gambling joints.  Burroughs was certainly no stranger to drinking and gambling, whether he frequented brothels may not be known but, if you’re in the area….

      In a city of a million six there were only about forty thousand library cards issued but it is probable that one of them was in the wallet of our investigator of curious and unusual phenomena.  He sure knew a lot of odd details.  One of the big intellectual questions is whether or not he knew of Theosophy.  A volume of William Q. Judge, a leading  Theosophist who died in 1896, is to be found among Burroughs’ books.  His first story Minidoka 937th Earl of One Mile which is concerned with this period while unpublished until just recently makes mention in the descent to Nevaeh of the Seven Worlds which is a reference to either Theosophy, Dante or both.

      Again, hanging around a library one might come across volumes of Dante and Theosophy.  Shoot, Tarzan spent his afternoons in the Paris library becoming discouraged by the surfeit of knowledge to be covered.

     And all around him floods of changes were rolling over him.  The world was moving with breathtaking rapidity.  If a guy wasn’t half crazy already trying to keep up would get him the rest of the way.  Actually these four years were the intellectual bottom, in the musical sense, of the rest of Burroughs; life.  perhaps sensory overload occured culminating with his bashing in Toronto and subsequent marriage to Emma so that he was no longer open to new experiences afater his marriage.  Everything after 1900 was interpreted in the light of this experience.  the interpretations were inventive enough.

     His situation might be compared to that of Zeus and Metis of Greek mythology.  Ordinarily when the Patriarchy took over a Matriarchal cult the event was comemorated in a myth of sexual union.

     In the case of Metis, a Goddess of wisdom, she went down into the belly of the monster like a plate of oysters perhaps meaning the Patriarchy had attempted to stamp the Metis cult flat or eat it up as the Zulus would say.  If so Zeus and the boys had bitten off more than they could chew or digest, as it were.

     Metis lived on in his belly giving him unwanted advice until I would imagine the Patriarchy came up with a compromise solution.  Thus Metis gave birth to Athene who was born fully formed from the forehead of Zeus, which is to say that the cult of Metis was transformed into the cult of Athene.  Athene retained all the attributres of the goddess of Matriarchy but ‘she was all for the Patriarchy.’

     So now with Burroughs; he ingested all this experience which he gave a ‘definite impression of fictionalizing’ to appear full blown from his forehead +- twenty years later.

     Porges reproduces a political cartoon of Young Burroughs on page 68 of the First Edition in which Uncle Sam and John Bull are watching a scene.  One or the other says:  ‘How would you like to be a Russian?’

     In the cartoon Russian soldiers are shooting and bayonetting obvious Jews while the Jews are bombing the Russians.  The villains of the first four Tarzan novels, ‘The Russian Quartet; are two Russians Nikolas Rokoff and Paulevitch.  Thus, if the cartoon was drawn in this period, twenty years later the Russians show up as villains.

     Now, among all the ‘minor’ events like the depression after 1893, the Pullman Strike, Coxey’s Army, Altgeld’s pardoning of the Haymarket bombers, the Sino-Japanese war and such like trivia was the infamous Dreyfus Affair in France.

     This minor event involving a Judaeo-French spy was magnified into an international cause celebre by accusations of anti-Semitism.  Alfred Dreyfus was a Jewish French army officer who was accused of spying for the Germans or of selling information to them.  Originally convicted and sent to Devil’s Island, a few year later after key evidence was tainted or disappeared and key witnesses had died or been discredited the case was reopened and after a terrific media blitz resulting in Zola’s article with the famous title: J’ Accuse, Dreyfus was acquitted.

     The man convicted in his place, strangely enough, was probably also Jewish, one Walsin Esterhazy.  Supposedly of Hungarian descent, at the instance of the chief Rabbi of Paris he was given financial assistance by the Rothschild family.  It would be very unusual in that case if he weren’t Jewish.

     Burroughs must have followed the Affair Dreyfus closely as it unfolded during the lat nineties.  In 1913’s Return Of Tarzan he chose to fictionalize Esterhazy’s end of the Affair in the character of Gernois.  Burroughs must have studied the Affair because Esterhazy actually served in North Africa where he came in contact with German agents.  Of course, Gernois is compromised by our old friend Nilolas Rokoff, the Russian agent.  Thus ERB combines his dislike of the Russians as eveidenced by his cartoon with sympathy for Dreyfus.

     In real life Esterhazy led a dissipated life which, it is said, led him to be a spy.  In ‘Return’ Gernois is led into syping because Rokoff, the hyper-arch villain had something on him.

     In a sort of editorial comment on Dreyfus ERB has Rokoff tell Gernois:  ‘If you are not agreeable I shall send a note to your commandant tonight that will end in the degradation Dreyfus suffered– the only difference being that he did not deserve it.’

     Thus ERB comes down firmly on the side of Dreyfus.

      For those who will misread racial and ethnic attitudes I believe ERB’s attitude in the Jewish-Russian conflict and the Dreyfus Affair should exonerate him, if the need exists, of any charges of anti-Semitism.  Especially in the light of his portrayal of the worthy Jewish gentleman in ‘The Moon Maid’ trilogy.  It would seem that all of ERB’s later attitudes remain consistent with these brought to fruition between 1896 and 1900. 

Continue on to Part II


A Review:

On Tarzan


Alex Vernon

Review by R.E. Prindle

Vernon, Alex: On Tarzan, 2008, UGeorgia Press


     This book reads almost like the cover of The Doors LP Strange Days.  You’ve entered into some kind of literary twilight zone.  This is perhaps the most eccentric book I’ve ever read.  I can’t believe it was actually published- and by a University press!

     Alex Vernon has a PhD and is an Associate Professor at Hendrix College.  Must have been founded by Jimi before he OD’d.  I’m flabbergasted that the guy has a  job.  Average looking Joe from the back cover.  Happy, smiling.  Doesn’t look like he’d be sex obsessed  but it could be a problem for him.

     The phallus on the cover dismayed me but prepared me for the sex driven content.  Zany, zany, zany.  A large phallus rises out of what might be the swamp, symbol of the female, or perhaps jungle growth meant to represent pubic hair.

     When Vernon says On Tarzan he doesn’t mean Tarzan by Edgar Rice Burroughs he means Tarzan as a ‘living’ entity to which history Burroughs is only one contributor albeit an important one,  Philip Jose Farmer almost eclipses Burroughs as a contributor to the Tarzan ethos in Vernon’s mind.  Mainly for Farmer’s outrageous sex episodes.

     Tarzan ethos is about it.  Everything is thrown indiscriminately into the stew pot.  Books, movies, TV shows, articles, even artefacts, Tarzan underwear.  Vernons says he interviewed Bill Hillman at ERBzine although it is difficult to find what he gleaned from the conversation, wait a minute, maybe the reference to the 1893 Columbian Expo.  Bill was probably hot on that topic.

     As literary critic Vernon doesn’t so much analyze as create.  He uses Tarzan body parts from various books and films to create his own monster, and his Tarzan is monstrous.

     As I say he uses his sources as though making a stew; mixing them up to creat a sex driven Tarzan that no twelve year would recognize as his hero.

     Vernon doesn’t seem able to distinguish the motives, the agendas of the various sources who are projecting their own inner world on Tarzan such as Bo and John Derek in their vision of  The Big Bwana.  I didn’t say Banana; I said Bwana.  Melding these sources doesn’t create a ‘biographical composite’ of Tarzan that all can agree on; it is merely the projection of Vernon’s own inner psyche.

      Apparently Vernon’s approach is a valid historical literary criticism technique in today’s academic environment.  It’s not what you say but who you say it about.  As I say it goes beyond interpretation or revisionism into creating an alternate universe.

     The approach intrigued me.  In that spirit I offer my own creation of Tarzan and a revisionist/creation of history.  In the view of facts as they might be construed by a fanatic with an agenda I offer Tarzan as an agent of  Globalism serving as the first viceroy of Africa.

     Mr. Vernon keeps talking about a colonial period as if such a thing has ever existed.  His professors must have been from the stone age.  As advanced thinkers know what these prehistoric monsters refer to as colonialism was in reality the early stages of what is now recoginized as Globalism.  This how Globalism began. In the very early stages all cultures were relatively distinct, living in separate well defined areas.  The Chinese were in China, Africans were in Africa, Europeans were in Europe.  Further relatively internal distinct sub-divisions can be made on all continents.  It was clear to the most primitive minds, well, actually European primitive minds, that what was needed to…well for whatever reason they had…to make the world a more secure place was Globalism.  Wars were anathema but one couldn’t create Globalism without some really destructive wars so they forged fearlessly ahead secure in the purity of their intentions.  This posited the problem of bringing together in most cases people who didn’t know other cultures even existed, those ‘lesser races outside the law.’

     As I say Europeans were then and are now the promoters of the cause of Globalism.  It’s good for people and it’s good for  the Global Money Trust.  Initially Europe sent out ships and explorers to the four corners of the Earth.  In that far off, almost once upon a, time unlike today local populations were hostile to what they mistakenly called invaders.  Sometimes their resistance involved military force, in other words war; so in self-defense it was necessary to mow the heathens down.  We had screw guns and maxims and they didn’t.  Rather foolish on their part while causing Globalists a great deal of emotional distress.  Almost had a nervous breakdown.  It could have been avoided.  Globalists only wanted peace if they had understood.

     Gradually the peoples of the world learned that they going to have to peacefully interact if even at gunpoint.  But then there was disagreement in Europe.  the Global barriers were being lowered as this beneficent ideology of Globalism was slowly accepted.  As expected there were reactionary elements.  In both cases the criminal Germans were the hard nuts.  They insisted on the right to be themselves rather than submerging their identity into what the Globalists wanted.  Their resistance was futile; Globalists got what they wanted anyway, the Globe be damned.  After the second German petulance Globalists crushed them.  Some wanted to exterminate the whole lot, raze Germany to the ground and turn it into pasture land.  I don’t have to tell you that gentler and more loving heads prevailed.   Globalists gave the African troops leave to loot Strasbourg and rape the German women and let it go at that.  You see, there are some sacrifices we all have to make.

     It is best not to oppose Globalist wishes.  Globalism will be had on their terms or they’ll get rid of ya.  As another example, the Kulaks of Russia opposed Globalist wishes and it was necessary to exterminate them to the man, woman and child.  I won’t tell you the intense emotional pain that incident cost the Globalists, those were not crocodile tears as often alleged.  People won’t be happy unless the blessings of globalism are universal.  That’s what Globalism means, universal.

     Now, one of the great advocates of Globalism was the progressive American ‘fantasy’ writer, Edgar Rice Burroughs.  Fantasy, humph.  As Edgar’s avatar of Globalism he created the character of Tarzan the Ape Man.  The brilliance of the ape man is almost incomprehensible.  As Mr. Vernon points out Tarzan united the fauna being man and beast at one and the same time.  His being encompassed all evolution, unlike the rest of us who are products of only a few of the commoner genes, as he passed through the stages of Beast, Negro and European.  How fitting that Edgar Rice Burroughs should make him the very first Commissar, even Czar,  of Africa.  Yes, he was White.  But only we Liberal White people have understood our manifest destiny to bring all peoples together in Globalism.   Well, yes, there were mistakes and, quite frankly, genocides, but they were necessary and not arbitrary.  They were decided on only after long and careful deliberation.  It was like pruning a tree to make it more beautiful.  When Chairman Mao finished pruning the recalcitrant Chinese there were 50 million branches on the ground, but, what of it?  As Mao himself benignly and poetically, he was a poet you know,  intoned:  ‘So?  Will the flowers not blossom in spring and cool breezes not blow across waving fields of grain.’  Of course they would and as proof they have and will continue to do so.  How ridiculous!  There’s always new babies to replace those gone.  Come on! 

     Edgar very cleverly has that man we now know as a villain, Stalin, seek to replace Tarzan as Commissar because he was in fact too just and too gentle with his charges.  Rather than compelling Africans to hew to the Party line Edgar portrays Tarzan letting the Africans do as they please so long as they didn’t kill each other.  That was in his  brilliant history he called Tarzan the Invincible, and he wasn’t kidding.  It wasn’t unreasonable to send a replacement from Moscow but Edgar perversely has Tarzan defeat his replacement.  You can read about it in Edgar’s history yourself.

     So, Mr. Vernon has expended a great deal of effort to prove the unprovable.  He completely mistakes the reason for the US presence in Viet Nam.  This was not nation building as he has been induced by his professors to believe.  This was a necessary stage in the creation of Globalism.  Today the two halves of Viet Nam have been reunited because of their efforts and Globalism is progressing nicely there, thank you very much.

     A larger problem was to bring China into the Globalist empire..  But that was cleverly done by inducing them to manufacture big screen TVs for not only the province of the United States but the world.  Today they are the Globe’s largest manufacturer of flat screen TVs and tennis shoes  and are assisting in the Globalism of Africa sending their tens of millions of excess personnel to help the Africans enter the Global economy.

     I certainly appreciate the effort Mr. Vernon has put into his project; it is regretable he has been so ill informed about the difference between Globalism and colonialism.  Colonialism is when you occupy a country for selfish reasons; Globalism is when you subject or exterminate a people for the right reasons.

     The Global Cabal is sorry people had to die.  As the old saw says:  You can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs.  Its better to be the hammer than the nail.

     I’m sorry Mr. Vernon but I can’t recommend your book.



A Contribution To The

ERBzine Library Project

Edgar Rice Burroughs Meets Rider Haggard


R.E. Prindle


     Among the very many important influences on Edgar Rice Burroughs, contending for the top spot was the English novelist of Africa, Henry Rider Haggard, frequently named as just Rider Haggard.

     Haggard was born on June 22, 1856 in Norfolkshire.  He died on May 14, 1925.   When Burroughs was born in 1875 his future idol was beginning his stay in South Africa of seven years duration.  It was there that Haggard learned the history of the Zulu chiefs from Chaka to Cetywayo that figures so prominently in his African novels.

     In Africa at twenty, he was back in England at 27.  Even though Science was surging through England and Europe curiously Haggard was untouched by it all his life.  There is not even an acknowledgement that he had ever heard of Evolution in his novels.  Nor was he religious in the Christian sense.  Instead he became well versed in the esoteric tradition leaning even toward a pagan pre-Christian sensibility.  Perhaps very close to African animism.

     One supposes that on his return to England he might have immersed himself in Madame Blavatsky’s Isis Unveiled published in 1877.  He certainly seems to be a theosophical adept in his first two African novels, King Solomon’s Mines and She but he must have been pursuing his esoteric studies in Africa to have known so much.  If so, he is certainly knowledgeable of Zulu and African lore having a deep sympathy for it.  Indeed, he frequently comes across as half African intellectually. 

     Once he began writing he apparently never put down his pen.  I am unclear as to how many novels he wrote.  For convenience sake I have used the fantasticfiction.com bibliography which lists 50, but as I have sixty so there are obviously some missing.  In addition Haggard wrote a dozen non-fiction titles.

     While writing dozens of African novels Haggard also wrote a dozen or so esoteric novels placed throughout the eastern Mediterranean, Mexico and Nicaragua.  These are all terrifically impressive displays of esoteric understanding, breathtaking as a whole.  Usually disparaged by those without an esoteric background and education these volumes are almost essential reading for anyone so inclined.  For those who would deny ERB’s esoteric training and background I refer them to Haggard’s novels.

     The key to understanding Haggard’s thinking and works are a batch of novels exploring the relationship of the Anima and Animus.  Haggard’s quest in which he failed was to find union with his Anima.

     His fictional seeker and alter ego was Allan Quatermain.  Thus the first of his esoteric novels is King Solomon’s Mines, in which he introduces Quatermain establishes his Ego or Animus.  With his next novel, She, he introduces his Anima figure Ayesha otherwise known as She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed.  Early Sheena, Queen Of The Jungle.

     She was much acclaimed as the epitome of the Theosophical doctrine by Madame Blavatsky while C.G. Jung asserted that She was a perfect representation of the Anima figure.  Haggard followed She (1886) with Ayesha, The Return Of She (1905) and the final volume of the trilogy, Wisdom’s Daughter: The Life And Love Story Of She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed (1923).  Terrific stuff, well worth a couple reads each.  She, of course, became the model for Burroughs’ La of Opar.

     Haggard died in 1925 so it can be seen that he was obsessed by his quest for union with his Anima.  Two additional volumes deal with his problem.  The trilogy does not include Allan Quatermain so Haggard had to write his alter-ego into Ayesha’s story.  This was begun in She And Allen of 1920.  You can see that he closer he got to his death the problem became more urgent.  The end of the story was told in his postumously published Treasure Of The Lake (1926).

     Treasure is the most hauntingly beautiful title Haggard wrote.  Just astonishing.  In the novel Quatermain is ‘called’ to travel to a hidden land.  He has no idea why but fate is visibly arranging things so that he must obey.  Terrific stuff.  The Treasure Of The Lake is none other than Allan’s Anima although no longer called Ayesha.  She lives on an island in the middle of a lake in an extinct volcano, She being the Treasure.  Heartbreakingly she is not for Allan.  He is only to get a glimpse of the grail while a character is rescued by Allan who bears a striking resemblance to Leo Vincey, the hero of She who is winner of  the Treasure.  The Treasure is reserved for him.  Thus Allan and Haggard journey back from the mountain’s top having seen the promised land but not allowed to enter.  By the time the first readers, which included Edgar Rice Burroughs, turned the pages H. Rider Haggard had crossed the bar, his bark being far out on the sea.

     Burroughs was impressed.   His 1931 novel, Tarzan Triumphant, is a direct imitation in certain episodes.  Largely on that basis I have to speculate that Burroughs read the entire Haggard corpus at least once.

     The Anima novels of Haggard then are:

1. King Solomon’s Mines

2.  She

3.  Ayesha, The Return Of She

4.Wisdom’s Daughter: The Life And Love Story Of She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed

5.  She And Allan

6.  The Treasure Of The Lake

     The writing of the titles span Haggard’s writing career.

     His first esoteric novels which I heartily recommend are Cleopatra, The World’s Desire (top notch), The Pearl Maiden, Montezuma’s Daughter, Heart Of The World, Morning Star and Queen Sheba’s Ring.

     What most people think of and when anyone thinks of Haggard is his character Allan Quatermain.  The makes and remakes of Quatermain and She movies are numerous.  You could entertain yourself for many an hour.

     Fourteen novels were published during Haggard’s lifetime, the best known being King Soloman’s Mines and Allan Quatermain.  Many people have no idea he wrote anything else.  She, of the first African trilogy, doesn’t include Quatermain.

     Both of the first Quatermains were highly influential on Burroughs.  Tarzan was fashioned to some extent on the character Sir Henry Curtis, the original white giant.  While most people look for the origins of Tarzan in the Romulus and Remus myth of Rome that is only a small part of it that reflects Burroughs’ understanding of ancient mythology.  The models for Tarzan are more diverse including not only Curtis but The Great Sandow who Burroughs saw and possibly met at the great Columbian Exposition of 1893.  The list of titles in the Quatermain series:  (N.B.  It is Quatermain not Quartermain.)

1. King Solomon’s Mines

2.  Allan Quatermain

3.  Allan’s Wife

4,  Maiwa’s Revenge

5. Marie

6.  Child Of The Storm

7.  The Holy Flower

8.  Finished

9.  The Ivory Child

10.  The Ancient Allan

11.  She And Allan

12.  Heu-Heu or The Monster

13.  Treasure Of The Lake

14.  Allan And The Ice Gods

      As I look over the list I find that they were all pretty good.  The trilogy of Marie, Child Of The Storm and Finished, concerning Chaka’s wars is excellent.  The Holy Flower and The Ivory Child are also outstanding.  The Ivory Child introduces the notion of the Elephant’s Graveyard that captivated Hollywood while taking a central place in MGM’s Tarzan series of movies.

     Other noteworthy African titles are Nada, The Lily,  The People Of The Mist and Benita.

     In addition to the Esoteric and African novels Haggard wrote various contemporary and historical novels.  All of them are high quality but mainly for the Haggard enthusiast.  Burroughs may have been influenced to write the diverse range of his stories by Haggard’s example.

     In the current print on demand (POD) publishing situation nearly the entire catalog is available.  The Wildside Press publishes attractive editons of forty-some titles.  Kessinger Publishing publishes most of what Wildside doesn’t and most of what they do but in relatively unattractive editions.  You can search other POD publishers and probably come up with what you want.

     Haggard is wonderful stuff.  You can choose at random and come up with something that truly entertains you.





Themes And Variations

The Tarzan Novels Of Edgar Rice Burroughs

#5  Tarzan And The Jewels Of  Opar

Part V


R.E. Prindle


Du Maurier, George: Peter Ibbetson

Dudgeon, Piers: Captivated:  J.M. Barrie, The Du Mauriers & The Dark Side Of  Neverland, 2008, Chatto And Windus

Hesse, Herman:  The Bead Game

Neumann, Erich:  The Origins and History Of Consciousness, 1951, Princeton/Bollingen

Vrettos, Athena: “Little Bags Of Remembrance: Du Maurier’s Peter Ibbetson And Victorian Theories Of Ancestral Memories”   Erudit Magazine Fall 2009.


     While it is today commonly believed that Sigmund Freud invented or discovered the Unconscious this is not true.  As so happens a great cataclysm, The Great War of 1914-18, bent civilization in a different direction dissociating it from its recent past.

     Studies in the earlier spirit of the unconscious continued to be carried on by C.G. Jung and his school but Freud successfully suppressed their influence until quite recently actually.  Through the fifties of the last century Freud’s mistaken and harmful, one might say criminal, notion of the unconscious held the field.  Thus there is quite a difference in the tone of Edgar Rice Burroughs writing before and after the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution.

     There are those who argue that Burroughs was some kind of idiot savant who somehow knew how to write exciting stories.  In fact he was a well and widely read man of varied interests who kept up on intellectual and scientific matters.   He was what might be called an autodidact with none of the academic gloss.  He was very interested in psychological matters from hypnotism to dream theory.

     The scientific investigation of the unconscious may probably be dated to the appearance of Anton Mesmer and his interest in hypnotism  also variously known as Mesmerism and Animal Magnetism.  The full fledged investigation of the unconscious began with hypnotism.  Slowly at first but by the last quarter of the nineteenth century in full flower with varied colors.  Science per se was a recent development also flowering along with the discovery of the unconscious.

     While Charles Darwin had brought the concept of evolution to scientific recognition in 1859 the key discipline of genetics to make sense of evolution was a missing component.  It is true that Gregor Mendel discovered the concept of genetics shortly after Darwin’s Origin Of Species was issued but Mendel’s studies made no impression at the time. His theories were rediscovered in 1900 but they were probably not widely diffused until after the Great War.  Burroughs knew of the earlier Lamarck, Darwin and Mendel by 1933 when he wrote  Tarzan And The Lion Man.  His character of ‘God’ is the  result of genetic mutation.

     Lacking the more complete knowledge of certain processes that we have today these late nineteenth century speculators seem ludicrous and wide of the mark but one has to remember that comprehension was transitting the religious mind of the previous centuries to a scientific one, a science that wasn’t accepted by everyone then and still isn’t today.  The Society For Psychical Research sounds humorous today but without the advantage of genetics, especially DNA such speculations made more sense except to the most hard nosed scientists and skeptics.  The future poet laureate John Masefield was there.  Looking back from the perspective of 1947 he is quoted by Piers Dudgeon, p. 102:

     Men were seeking to discover what limitations there were to personal intellect; how far it could travel from its home personal brain; how deeply it could influence other minds at a distance from it or near it; what limits, if any, there might be to an intense mental sympathy.  This enquiry occupied many doctors and scientists in various ways.  It stirred George Du Maurier…to speculations which deeply delighted his generation.

     Whether believer or skeptic Burroughs himself must have been delighted by these speculations as they stirred his own imagination deeply until after the pall of the Revolution and Freud’s triumph.

     Burroughs was subjected to dreams and nightmares all his life.  Often waking from bad dreams.  He said that his stories were derived from his dreams but there are many Bibliophiles who scoff at this notion.  The notion of  ‘directed dreaming’ has disappeared from popular consideration but then it was a serious topic.  Freud’s own dream book was issued at about this time.  I have already reviewed George Du Maurier’s Peter Ibbetson on my blog, I, Dynamo and on ERBzine with Du Maurier’s notions of ‘Dreaming True’.  It seems highly probable that Burroughs read Ibbetson and Du Maurier’s other two novels so that from sometime in the nineties he would have been familiar with dream notions from that source.

    Auto-suggestion is concerned here and just as support that Burroughs was familiar with the concept let me quote from a recent collection of ERB’s letters with Metcalf as posted on ERBzine.  This letter is dated December 12, 1912.

     If they liked Tarzan, they will expect to like this story and this very self-suggestion will come to add to their interest in it.

     Athena Vrettos whose article is noted above provides some interesting information from Robert Louis Stevenson who developed a system of ‘directed dreaming’  i.e. auto-suggestion.  We know that Burroughs was highly influenced by Stevenson’s  Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde while he probably read other novels of Stevenson.  How could he have missed Treasure Island?  Whether he read any of Stevenson’s essays is open to guess but in an 1888 essay A Chapter On Dreams Stevenson explained his method.  To Quote Vrettos:

     Rather than experiencing dreams at random, fragmented images and events, Stevenson claims he has learned how to shape them into coherent, interconnected narratives, “to dream in sequences and thus to lead a double life- one of the day, one of the night- one that he had every reason to believe was the true one, another that he had no means of proving false.”  Stevenson describes how he gains increasing control of his dream life by focusing his memory through autosuggestion, he sets his unconscious imagination to work assisting him in his profession of writer by creating “better tales than he could fashion for himself.”   Becoming an enthusiastic audience to his own “nocturnal dreams”, Stevenson describes how he subsequently develops those dreams and memories into the basis for many of his published stories, most notably his 1886 Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde.

     Now, directed dreaming and Dreaming True sound quite similar.  One wonder if there was a connection between Stevenson and Du Maurier.  It turns out that there was as well as with nearly the entire group of English investigators.  Let us turn to Piers Dudgeon again, p. 102:

          Shortly after they met, the novelist Walter Besant invited [Du Maurier] to join a club he was setting up, to be named ‘The Rabelais’ after the author of Gargantua and Pantagruel.  Its name raised expectations of bawdiness, obscenity and reckless living, (which were not in fact delivered) as was noted at the time.  Henry Ashbee, a successful city businessman with a passion for pornography, and reputed to be Robert Louis Stevenson’s model for the two sides of his creation, Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde, denounced its members as ‘very slow and un-Rabelaisian’, and there is a story that Thomas Hardy, a member for a time, objected to the attendance of Henry James on account of his lack of virility.

     Virility was not the issue however.  The members of the Rabelais were interested in other worlds.  Charles Leland was an expert on fairy lore and voodoo.  Robert Louis Stevenson was the author of The Strange Case Of Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde (1886) which epitomized the club’s psychological/occult speculations.  Arthur Conan Doyle, who became a member of the British Society For Psychical Research, was a dedicated spiritualist from 1916.  Henry James was probably more at home than Hardy, for both his private secretary Theodora Besanquet, and brother William, the philosopher, were members of the Psychical Society.

     In many ways  the Rabelais was a celebration that [Du Maurier’s] time had come.  Parapsychological phenomena and the occult were becoming valid subjects for rigorous study.  There was a strong feeling that the whole psychic scene would at any moment be authenticated by scientific explanation.

       Du Maurier was obviously well informed of various psychical ideas when he wrote Ibbetson.  In addition he had been practicing hypnosis since his art student days in the Paris of the late 1850s.

     So this was the literary environment that Burroughs was growing up in.  As Bill Hillman and myself have attempted to point out, ERB’s mental and physical horizons were considerably broadened by the Columbian Expo of 1893.  Everything from the strong man, The Great Sandow, to Francis Galton’s psychological investigations were on display.  The cutting edge of nineteenth century thought and technology was there for the interested.  Burroughs was there for every day of the Fair.  He had time to imbibe all and in detail.  The Expo shaped his future life.  That he was intensely interested in the intellectual and literary environment is evidenced by the fact that when he owned his stationery story in Idaho in 1898 he advertised that he could obtain any magazine or book from both England and America.  You may be sure that he took full advantage of the opportunity for himself.  As this stuff was all the rage there can be no chance that he wasn’t familiar with it all if he didn’t actually immerse himself in it.  Remember his response to Kipling’s The White Man’s Burden was instantaneous.  Thus you have this strange outpost of civilization in Pocatello, Idaho where any book or magazine could be obtained.  Of course, few but Burroughs took advantage of this fabulous opportunity.  It should also be noted that he sold the pulp magazines so that his interest in pulp literature went further back than 1910.

      In addition ERB was enamored of the authors to the point of hero worship much as musical groups of the 1960s were idolized so he would have thirsted for any gossip he could find.  It isn’t impossible that he knew of this Rabelais Club.  At any rate his ties to psychology and the occult become more prominent the more one studies.

     It seems to me that longing as he did to be part of this literary scene, that if one reads his output to 1920 with these influences in mind, the psychological and occult content of, say, the Mars series, becomes more obvious.  He is later than these nineteenth century lights so influences not operating on them appear in his own work making it more modern. 

     At least through 1917 the unconscious was thought of as a source of creativity rather than the source of evil impulses.  If one could access one’s unconscious incalculable treasures could be brought up.  Thus gold or treasure is always depicted in Burroughs’ novels as buried.  The gold represents his stories, or source of wealth, brought up form his unconscious.  The main vaults at Opar are thus figured as a sort of brain rising above ground level.  One scales the precipice to enter the brain cavity high up in the forehead or frontal lobe.  One then removes the ‘odd shaped ingots’ to cash them in.  Below the vaults are two levels leading back to Opar that apparently represent the unconscious.  Oddly enough these passageways are configured along the line of Abbot’s scientific romance, Flatland.

     In Tarzan And The Jewels Of Opar the gold is taken to the Estate and buried replicating the vaults.  Once outside Opar and in circulation, so to speak, the ingots are accessible to anyone hence the duel of Zek and Mourak for them.  The first gold we hear of in the Tarzan series is brought ashore and buried by the mutineers.  This also sounds vaguely like Stevenson’s Treasure Island.  The watching Tarzan then  digs the gold up and reburies it elsewhere.  In The Bandit Of Hell’s Bend the gold is stolen and buried beneath the floorboards of the Chicago Saloon.  Thus gold in the entire corpus is always from or in a buried location.  These are never natural veins of gold but the refined ingots.

     Not only thought of as a source of treasure during this period  the unconscious was thought to have incredible powers such as telekinesis, telepathy and telecommunication.  One scoffs at these more or less supernatural powers brought down from ‘God’ and installed in the human mind.  As they have been discredited scientifically Western man has discarded them.

     On the other hand Western Man deludes himself into accepting the oriental Freud’s no less absurd assertion that the unconscious exists independently of the human body somewhat like the Egyptian notion of the ka and is inherently evil while controlling the conscious mind of the individual.  This notion is purely a religious concept of Judaism identifying the unconscious as no less than the wrathful, destructive tribal deity of the old testament Yahweh.  Further this strange Judaic concept of Freud was allowed to supersede all other visions of the unconscious while preventing further investigation until the writing of C.G. Jung were given some credence beginning in the sixties of the last century.

     In point of fact there is no such unconscious.  The supernatural powers given to the unconscious by both Europeans and Freud are preposterous on the face of it.  For a broader survey of this subject see my Freud And His Vision Of The Unconscious on my blogsite, I, Dynamo.

     This so-called unconscious is merely the result of being born with more or less a blank mind that needs to be programmed.  The programming being called experience and education.  The maturation and learning process are such that there is plenty of room for error.  All learning is equivalent to hypnosis, the information being suggestion which is accepted and furthers the development of the individual.  Learning the multiplication tables for instance is merely fixing them in your mind or, in other words, memorizing them.  All learning is merely suggestion thus it is necessary that it be constructive or education and not indoctrination or conditioning although both are in effect.  Inevitably some input will not be beneficial or it may be misunderstood.  Thus through negative suggestion, that is bad or terrifying suggestions, fixations will result.  A fixation is impressed as an obsession that controls one’s behavior against one’s conscious will, in the Freudian sense.  The fixation seems to be placed deep in the mind, hence depth psychology.  Thus when ERB was terrified and humiliated by John the Bully certain suggestions occurred to him about himself that became fixations or obsessions.  These obsessions directed the content of his work.

    To eliminate the fixations is imperative.  This is what so-called depth psychology is all about.  The subconscious, then, is now ‘seprarated’ from the conscious, in other words the personality or ego is disintegrated.  The goal is to integrate the personality and restore control.  Once, and if that is done the fixations disappear and the mind become unified, integrated or whole; the negative conception of the unconscious is gone and one is left with a functioning conscious and subconscious.  The subconscious in sleep or dreams then reviews all the day’s events to inform the conscious of what it missed and organize it so that it can be acted on.  No longer distorted by fixations, or obsessions, the individual can act in his own interests according to his abilities.  The sense of living a dream life and a real life disappears.

     That’s why experience and education are so important.  What goes into the mind is all that can come out.

     But, the investigation of the unconscious was blocked by Freudian theory and diverted from its true course to benefit the individual in order to benefit Freud’s special interests.

     So, after the War ERB forgot or abandoned the wonderful notions of the unconscious and was forced to deal with and defend himself against Freudian concepts.  The charactger of his writing begins to change in the twenties to meet the new challenges of aggressive Judaeo-Communism until by the thirties his work is entirely directed to this defense as I have shown in my reviews of his novels from 1928 to 1934.

     Tarzan And The Jewels Of Opar then reflects this wonderful vision of the subconscious as portrayed by George Du Maurier and Robert Louis Stevenson

     Then the grimmer reality sets in.


End Of Review.


Themes And Variations

The Tarzan Novels Of Edgar Rice Burroughs

#5: Tarzan And The Jewels Of Opar


R.E. Prindle

Part 1:

On The Road To Opar


     I have put off reviewing this Tarzan several times.  I like it but I find it difficult.  This may have been the first Tarzan book I read, probably in 1950.  While I have always liked Tarzan And The Ant Men and Tarzan The Terrible Opar was always my favorite.

    Of course in 1950 one’s choice was limited to eight or ten, not including the first, so I read the later novels only recently.  Tarzan And The Lion Man is my current favorite.  Opar was written in 1915 about a year after the commencement of The Great War, the occupation of Haiti and war scares with Mexico.  This was also after ERB’s first spurt that ran from 1911-1914.  The latter year emptied the pent up reservoir containing the residue of his early reading and experiences.  That period may be described as ERB’s ‘amateur period.’  The latter part of 1914 began what may be described as his professional life as a writer.  The spontaneous automatic period was over; he had to think out his stories.  That meant he had to do some new reading.  Opar coincided with his completion of reading Gibbon’s Decline And Fall Of The Roman Empire.  What effect that may have had on Opar I’m not sure.

     At the foundation of ERB’s approach to his stories are the three titles of Twain’s Prince And The Pauper, Burnett’s Little Lord Fauntleroy and Wister’s The Virginian.  After 1914 he would refer to Jack London and write a series based on the style of Booth Tarkington.  While he continued to produce during the twenties, the period was also one of intense reading that produced the magnificent stories of the early thirties.  That need not concern us here.

     While his favorite three books were the rock on which he built his church, the Oz stories of Baum contribute to the superstructure as they do so prominently in Tarzan And The Jewels Of Opar.  The second chapter is even titled:  On The Road To Opar.  ERB only left out the yellow brick and changed the Emerald  City to Opar.  It is clearly indicated that Opar is based on the Emerald City.

      Rather than being emerald Opar is red and gold.  La, the high priestess of Opar can be considered a combination of Baum’s Ozma and Rider Haggard’s She.

     The Baum connection is strengthened by the fact that, as I believe but can only conjecture at this point, Burroughs visited Baum at his Hollywood home during ERB’s residence in Southern California in 1913.  One guesses but it is probable that ERB got some pointers from Baum on how to keep the Tarzan series going as Baum was producing volume after volume of Oz stories.  In point of fact Baum had run out of ideas in 1910 attempting to close off the series.  He was compelled to restart the series in 1913 at the insistence of his fans.

     Burroughs had effectively closed the Tarzan series with The Son Of Tarzan.  Son is a favorite of a lot of people but for me it’s pretty much a rehash of the first three stories; I call the four The Russian Quartet after the villains of the series.  Tarzan was already old in Beasts Of Tarzan but by Son he had to come out of retirement.  There was no future then, so the Big Bwana had to be reborn.  The old Tarzan ended with Son; the new Tarzan began with Jewels Of Opar.  A fine new beginning it was.

     The Ballantine edition of 1963 prefaces the story with a quote titled:  ‘In Quest Of A Lost Identity’, that might easily be changed to ‘A Search For A New Identity’, for in fact, Burroughs old identity had been lost when he gained success and riches.  ERB wanted to go forward not back:

     Tarzan staggered to his feet and groped his way about among the underground ways of Opar.  What was he?  Where was he?  His head ached, but otherwise he felt no ill effects from the blow that had felled him.  He did not recall the accident, nor aught of what had led up to it.

     At last he found the doorway leading inward beneath the city and temple.  Nothing spurred his hurt memory to a recollection of past familiarity with his surroundings.  He blundered on through the darkness as though he were traversing an open plain under a noonday sun.

     Suddenly he reached the brink of a well, stepped outward into space, lunged forward, and shot downward into the inky depths below.  Still clutching his spear, he struck the water and sank beneath its surface…

     Tarzan loses his memory at great stress points in Burroughs’ life.  They take place at Opar in underground caverns surr9unded by a wealth of gold.  One might think then that they are related to Burroughs’ financial success and through La to his sex life.

     One must bear in mind that ERB came into the beginnings of his success just as he was edging into the mid-life crisis.  Given a reasonable amount of money in 1913 he reacted in a nouveau riche manner.  Remembering back to 1899 and his private railcar trip to NYC and back he tried to relive it with Emma.  His trip with Frank Martin troubled his memory.  He recalled it 1914 when he took the job on the railroad in Salt Lake City.  In 1913 he packed the family aboard with all his belongings and rode out to Los Angeles and San Diego.  He may very well have rented a whole Pullman car for himself and family that would be equivalent to a private car but we don’t know for sure at this time.  We only know that he was fixated on a private car and that he rode first class.

     We can be sure that he was realizing all his dreams as fast as he could earn the money to pay for them or perhaps before he had the money.

     He was moving through uncharted territory thus ‘he blundered on through the darkness as though he were traversing an open plain under a noonday sun.’ 

     ERB has his eyes wide open but the unfamiliar demands being placed on him were equivalent to darkness:  he couldn’t be sure whether he was making the right decisions.  ‘What was he?  Where was he.’  This is a dilemma of the newly successful.  And then by late 1914, early 1915 he realized that he was in over his head.

          Suddenly he reached the brink of a well, stepped outward into space,  lunged forward, and shot downward into the inky depths below.  Still clutching his spear, he struck the water and sank beneath the surface…

     What?  Of course.  McClurg’s released the first Tarzan as a book in 1914 treating the release in what seems a peculiar way.  The contract had been signed, apparently perpetual and unbreakable, ERB, Inc. only bought it out in the fifties, so he must have realized that he had been had.  He committed the same error in 1931 when he signed his contract with MGM so he didn’t learn much over the years.

     His contract would certainly have been a contributing factor but there may have been other sources that put him in over his head.  It is significant that Tarzan didn’t drop his spear; he was still capable fo defending himself.

     Now, one would have to believe that Burroughs was at least famous in Chicago.  By 1917-18 Tarzan was a household word recognized it seems by everyone.  It would be odd indeed if sexual temptations weren’t placed before him.  Literary groupies surrounded authors then as groupies did musicians in the ’60s.

     La herself is a repressed sexual image while the novel abounds in sexual images.  Perhaps signficantly when the rutting elephants charge the priests of Opar Tarzan takes refuge in a tree high above the ruckus.  Even then the rutting elephants try to uproot his tree to bring the Big Bwana to earth but do not succeed.  One may infer that while temptation was strong ERB remained faithful to Emma.

     However by 1918’s Tarzan The Untamed, note the title, Jane is killed while Tarzan’s eye immediately wanders forming a near dalliance with another woman.  It was also at this period that ERB walked out on Emma.  As told in Tarzan The Terrible, note the title, and Tarzan And The Golden Lion Tarzan and Emma were separated through those two novels and Tarzan The Untamed.

     So, Jewels of Opar may be describing the dark side of success when the master tempter attacks you at your most vulnerable plus Burroughs was in full blown mid-life crisis by 1914-15.

     The forces of change were shaking him like a terrier shaking a rat.  His situation was terrible and wonderful at the same time.  So, with Tarzan And The Jewels Of Opar he launched himself on his career as a professional writer.

Part 2.

     The novels of Burroughs previous to Opar had flowed from his experience and early reading.  The reading had provided the framework that ERB fleshed out with his interests, ideas and experience in essentially an allegorical form.  David Adams quite justly points out that Burroughs relies quite heavily on a fairy tale format although it took me a long time to recognize it.    ERB’s wonderlands are lands of enchantment as much as that of Mallory’s and Pyles Arthurian England.  That is certainly clear in this book.

      Now Burroughs has to actually invent and construct a story from scratch.   Once again he relies on his reading.  The first chapter titled The Belgian And The Arab encapsulates his reading and perhaps watercooler discussions of the Belgian administration of the Congo with the depredations of the Arab slaver Tippu Tib as gleaned from Stanley’s two tremendous adventures, Through The Dark Continent and In Darkest Africa.

     In the first Stanley encountered Tib on the upper Congo, Lualaba he calls it,  when Tib was just beginning to extract the Congo tribes for slaves.  A few years later Stanley encountered Tib on his way across the Congo from the West to East.  By that time Tib was halfway across the Congo basin toward the West depopulating it on his way.  In this story Achmet Zek is based on Tippu Tib while Albert Werper, the Belgian, meets him well into the Congo moving up river as in Stanley’s In Darkest Africa.

      Werper, as a Belgian, epitomizes King Leopold of Belgium’s administration of the Congo.  For a few decades the entire Congo Free State as it was then known was his personal possession Tippu Tib or no.  As such he had to make it pay and make it pay he did.  Rubber was the engine of that prosperity.  As the tree was not yet cultivated as Firestone would in Malaya, the Africans were required to collect balls of rubber from the wild.  Not naturally inclined to collect rubber some harsh disciplinary measures were required to give them incentive.  One method if they failed to bring in their quota was to cut off their right hand.  Seemingly counter-productive it was nevertheless effective although there were a lot of Africans walking around with only a left hand.   In Leopold’s defense the method was suggested by Africans themselves. 

     Leopold made money but incurred the hatred of Africans while giving himself an atrocious reputation in Europe and America.   The Belgians removed the Free State from his administration after which it became known as the Belgian Congo.  Thus Burroughs unites two men of evil reputation in the Belgian Albert Werper and the Arab Achmet Zek.  They naturally conspire evil.

     ERB also leans on Joseph Conrad’s Heart Of Darkness for his opening episode.  Heart Of Darkness was Conrad’s most famous work  and it may be said his reputation has been founded on it.  A sensation when published it is or was still widely read today.

      The opening scene takes place at the Stanley Pool where the Congo begins its descent from the plateau.  Perhaps the post was the nascent Stanleyville.  Werper commits his crime then flees into the jungle where he is captured by the Arab Achmet Zek/Tippu Tib.

     The Belgian and the Arab are two of a kind forming a natural partnership with Zek being the senior partner.  Zek may have been able to carry on his depredations without hindrance except for the Great White Lord of the jungle, Tarzan.  Thus Burroughs rectifies the situation in his imagination.  Prior to Werper Zek had no way to reach the Big Bwana but with the European Werper he has an entree.

     Jane, of course, will be captured to be taken to the North to Algiers or Tunis to be sold into a Moslem harem.  That would have been a nifty trick from the Congo to the Mediterranean.  The walk alone might have taken a year or more.

     So, as the chapter ends the plan is to kill Tarzan giving Zek a free hand and capture Jane.

Part 3.

     Chapter two ‘On The Road To Opar’ introduces what will be a recurrent theme in Tarzan’s life- insolvency.  In this case the Big Fella has made a bad investment, not unlike Burroughs’ habit, and been wiped out.  Being now impoverished he has to recruit a new fortune by taking several hundred pounds of gold from the vaults of Opar.

     Tarzan justifies himself:

…the chances are that they inhabitants of Opar will never know that I have been there again and despoiled them of another portion of the treasure, the very existence of which they are as ignorant of as they would be of its value.

     Thus, the Zen question, are you stealing from someone if you take what they don’t know they have or its value somewhere else?  I would be interested in ERBs justification of what seems to be a felony.  After all Tarzan isn’t going to show up with a brassband and waving banners; he’s going to sneak in and out hopefully unnoticed.  It’s too late to ask now.

     The raid on Opar may have reflected ERB’s financial condition after 1913-14’s stay in San Diego.  He had to write another Tarzan novel to recoup his finances.

     As Tarzan is about to leave, Zek and Werper have concocted their plan.  Werper is to gain admittance to the household under guise of being a lost great white hunter and prepare the way for Zek.  Werper posing as the Frenchman Frecoult overhears Tarzan and Jane discussing Opar quickly realizing there is more at stake here than killing Tarzan and selling a White woman into a Sheik’s harem in the North.

     He warns Zek while following Tarzan on the road to Opar.

     Chapter 3 is titled The Call Of The Jungle.  As On The Road To Opar reflects Baum’s Oz stories so the Call Of The Jungle resonates rather well with Jack London’s Call Of The Wild.  the jungle that Tarzan inhabits is a wonderful place, no bugs, no mosquitoes.  In Africa the land of fevers that would still be unknown if Europeans had not invaded the continent Tarzan never has one.  We know that ERB read Stanley.  That explorer speaks of no romance of the jungle.  For him it was a dark dank horrible place he couldn’t get out of fast enough.  He not only suffered terrible fevers but so did everyone else.  Yet in Burroughs’ imagination the jungle becomes a paradise.

     Perhaps that might reflect thte lost paradise of America conquered by industrialism and cities.  Perhaps in its way it represents the White City of the Columbian Exposition as opposed to the Black City of industrial Chicago.  Idaho vs. Chicago; something of that order.

     Now hungry Tarzan kills a deer with his favored bare hands method plunging Dad’s knife deep into its heart.  Dad’s knife and plunging it into the heart of its victim.  There’s an image.  ERB had a terrible relationship with his father.  Perhaps he visualized the relationship as his father killing him with heartaches.  Haven’t actually worked out the meaning yet.  Interrupted by a lion he retreats to a tree with a haunch between his strong white teeth.  Another sexual image.  Now, here we have another psychological problem.  Tarzan is a very unforgiving guy, petty even.  Having been disturbed in his dinner which surely must have been a frequent occurrence in the jungle, he is not going to let the lion eat his kill in peace.  Up in his convenient tree he finds another tree nearby bearing hard fruit.  Not the soft mushy kind but hard.  He bombards the lion until it leaves the kill.

     The lion slinks off after his own game, a lone African witch doctor.  Tarzan doesn’t care if the lion kills the African but just as his dinner was disrupted he wants to punish the lion by depriving him of his.  So just as the lion mauls the African Tarzan jumps on the lion’s back and kills him merely for interrupting the Big Guy’s dinner.  You know, that’s capital punishment for a very minor offence.  This is a little excessive to my mind.

     What does it say about ERB’s own state of mind?  Was he also unforgiving and draconian in his revenges?  ERB himself mostly stood in his relationships as the African to the lion.  There is a certain irony in the symbol of MGM being Leo The Lion.  In his last major confrontation with MGM, Leo mauled ERB pretty badly.  There  was no room left for revenge in that struggle.

     The mauled witch doctor had appeared in Tarzan Of The Apes.  He recognized Tarzan but was unrecognized by the latter.

     In his youth he would slain the witch-doctor without the slightest compuncition,  but civilization had had its softening effect on him even as it does upon the natives and races which it touches though it had not gone far enough with Tarzan to render him either cowardly or effeminate.

     From this we may infer that ERB believed Europeans and Americans to have become effeminate and cowardly.  Perhaps so.

     The witch doctor reminds him of Mbonga’s village of the old days when they made Tarzan the god Munango-Keewati and now he makes a prophecy:

     …I shall reward you.  I am a great witch-doctor.  Listen to me, white man!  I see bad days ahead of you…A god greater than you wil rise up and strike you down.  Turn back, Munango-Keewati!  Turn back before it is too late.  Danger lurks ahead of you and danger lurks behind; but greater is the danger before.  I see…

     And then characteristically he croaks.  Werper was behind and Opar ahead.  But what was danger to the Big Bwana; danger was his life.  Of course ERB could have been talking about himself as well.  Certainly by this time ERB must have realized that success and fame was going to be no bed of roses.  He needed more money to continue his new life style.  Could he get it now that his first spurt was finished.  He had been warned by his editor Metcalf that most pulp writers had success for a couple years but then exhausted their sources.  He must have feared that he was already there. 

     A new period of anxiety loomed before him, probably debt behind.  As Tarzan is about to lose his memory, stress may have been addling ERB’s brain.  Nevertheless impelled by necessity- onward.

Part II in another post.


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


If Pigs Had Wings

Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Three Trips West


R.E. Prindle

Edgar Rice Burroughs

     During the years 1911 to 1919 ERB visited Southern California three times, once in 1913, again in 1916 and his final visit in 1919 when he established himself there.  The question is why, what motivation did he have for those visits.

     After 1911 life began to move very fast for ERB in dizzying leaps of change while all the time his mind disgorged a lifetime’s worth of stories based on his reading and experience from 1875 to 1911.

     One of the most important influences of this early period was the OZ books of L. Frank Baum.  The whole Mars series of Burroughs can be seen as the transportation of OZ to Mars as filtered through Burroughs’ mind.  John Carter can easily be seen as the Wizard while Dejah Thoris is perhaps Ozma rather than Dorothy.

     Baum while not a native Chicagoan lived in that city at least through the nineties.  In 1900 he began to turn out his OZ stories that so impressed ERB.  Then he moved to San Diego, California which city he left for Hollywood in 1910.  At that time Hollywood was just a town on the outskirts of LA.  The movies didn’t arrive until 1914 so the films had no bearing on Baum’s choice to live there or ERB’s visit.  I believe that one purpose of ERB’s visit was to present himself to Baum with his own stories as an entree.  There is hard evidence that at this time ERB made a trip to LA to see Baum and I believe it certain that he did.

     Now, it is debated whether Burroughs ever had any interest in Theosophy.  David Adams, so far as I know was the first to suggest he did.  Once again we’re on thin ice in saying that he learned something of it most likely during this visit but the ice isn’t all that thin.

     Baum himself had been a card carrying Theosophist since about 1883, his mother-in-law much longer.  there are those who argue that the OZ stories are virtual treatises on Theosophy.  They make a good case.  It follows then that Burroughs must have imbibed a good deal of Theosophical talk from Baum, including discussion on Madame Blavatsky if not beginning in 1913 then at least in 1916 when we do have a record of his visiting  Baum.

     In San Diego in 1913 ERB first stayed in Coronado across the Bay from San Diego.  Across the narrows from North Island just above Coronado is Point Loma.  The Point Loma Theosophical Society under the guidance of Katherine Tingley had a spectacular campus reminiscent of the Columbian Exposition of ’93 in miniature.  Tingley built the first Greek Theater in America there.  I should think it impossible that ERB and Emma didn’t visit the campus at least once.  With ERB’s curiosity in religion I think it probable that he spent some time there familiarizing himself with their texts in emulation of his own hero, Baum.

     Also by 1913 Max Heindel’s Rosicrucian Society had been in operation for several years in Oceanside just a skip from Point Loma.  I can make no claims that ERB also took Rosicrucianism in but a man of his interests may easily have done so.

     Baum was one reason for Burroughs to visit San Diego in 1913 which was also his earliest opportunity.

     ERB’s mental turmoil in dealing with success was exacerbated in the first quarter of the year by the death of his father.  I’m sure this event had a terrific impact on ERB.  His was a difficult relationship with his father.  While ERB regretted his father’s death I suspect he rejoiced in it too.

     According to Herb Weston, George T., the father, humiliated his son by publicly declaring that he was worthless.  Thus on the one hand ERB created an ideal father figure in John Carter, but way off on Mars.  He also created an evil fatgher figure in the deaf and dumb looney who tortured the Lad of Lad And The Lion.  that book was written over March and April of 1914 almost exactly a year after his father’s death.

     Perhaps his father’s death caused a reaction where he had to get far away from the memory of that hateful father.  After writing The Lad And The Lion on the anniversary of his father’s death, as it were, he was able to return to Chicago.

     Another reason for his leaving for San Diego may have been the need to rectify and reverse the disastrous trip with Emma to Idaho in 1903.  In that instance they packed their furniture and all their belongings to go West.  The trip to Idaho may have been in emulation of  Owen Wister’s Virginian in which the Virginian and his wife lead an idyllic existence away out there.  The experiement ended in disaster a year later when after serving as a railroad dick in Salt Lake City while trying to run a boarding house  the couple was forced to sell their belongings at auction although returning to Chicago first class.

     The failure nearly disrupted the marriage while apparently causing ERB no end of personal grief.  As he did in his stories ERB believed that by reversing the results by a subsequent action he erased the actual occurrence of the first.  Thus in 1913 once again the family now of five packed all their belongings including their second hand car and traveled first class to Los Angeles as the only rail service into San Diego was from LA.  It should be noted here that the IWW or Wobblies invaded San Diego in 1913 so ERB was probably present at that debacle which is worth reading about.

     After some months in San Diego the couple once again sold all their belongings including the second hand car before returning to Chicago.  This time ERB could return in comfort knowing that he was solvent in Chicago. On his return he bought the same car, a Hudson, that his hero Baum drove.

     Still, a very strange interlude.

     Once back in Chicago ERB remained there in what sounds like one the finer houses of  the city for two years until 1916 when he returned a second time to San Diego.

     Tremendous events occurred between his arrival back in Chicago and his second departure for San Diego.  Of course, the Great War broke out shortly after his return.  I don’t mean to say that the war didn’t overshadow everything else but I don’t think it over shadowed everything else in ERB’s mind.

     There were at least two other events of signal importance for Burroughs not including the Jack Johnson Affair.  These were busy times.  The first was the creation of the Panama Canal that was completed in 1913, opened in 1914.  The canal overwhelmed ERB’s mind.  A few years later he and Emma would voyage through the canal, the only trip outside the US with Emma of which we have knowledge.

     The second was the announcement of the construction of the Lincoln Highway from NYC to San Francisco.  The highway was dedicated in 1913 but would not become a reality until long after ERB decided to make the trip in 1916.

See http://lincolnhighway.jameslin.name/history/part1.html

     In 1912 there were almost no good roads to speak of in the United States.  Tje relatively few miles of improved roads were around towns and cities.  A road was “improved” if it was graded; one was lucky to have gravel or brick.  Asphalt and concrete were yet to come.  Most of the 2.5 million miles of road were just dirt, bumpy and dusty in dry weather, impassible in wet weather.  Worse yet, the roads didn’t really lead anywhere.  They spread out aimlessly from the center of the settlement.  To get from one settlement to another, it was much easier to take the train.


     According to the Association’s 1916 Official Road Guide a trip from the Atlantic to the pacific on the Lincoln Highway was “something of a sporting proposition” and might take 20 to 30 days.  To make it in 30 days the motorist would need to average 18 miles an hour for 6 hours per day, and driving was only done in daylight hours.  the trip was thought to cost no more than $5 a day per person, including food, gas, oil, and even “five or six meals in htoels.” Car repairs would of course, increase the costs.

     Since gasoline stations were still rare in manyparts of the country, motorists were urged to top off their gasoline at every opportunity, even if they had done so recently.  Motorists should wade through water before driving through to verify the depth.

     So ERB;s little caravan seems to have been a wise precaution.  J.C. Furnas in his book Great Times says that 60 days for the trip was a more likely figure so ERB wasn’t  too out of line in what seems like an overlong journey.  Furnas born in 1906 probably remembers something of the hoopla first hand.  He remembers the route terminating in San Diego which was where ERB ended up at any rate.

     The trip was obviously a first rate adventure for which ERB was prepared but which he didn’t care  to repeat.  Of course his children who were free of cares enjoyed things immensely.

     An object influencing ERB’s decision to make the trip was the Panama-Pacific Exhibition in San Diego in 1916.  The opening of the Panama Canal benefited California directly.  The route whether from the East Coast or Europe was shortened immensely.  Thus both San Francisco and San Diego had exhibitions.  the one in San Francisco ended in 1915 so many of those exhibits shifted to San Diego.  One can’t expect the San Diego Expo to rival that of the great Columbian Expo of 1893 but I suppose it was still something.   There was one exhibit that probably had a profound effect on ERB’s future.  Furnas, Great Times, p. 186:

The also highly California purpose of the whole doings was candidly to promote settlement and land sales in this relatively undeveloped corner, as the most original feature was what the advertising called “moving, throbbing, real life” demonstrations.  That instead of just showing the latest farm machinery in an Agricultural Hall, here was an impressively extensive model farm with the machines actuallyout there plowing, cultivating, ditching.  For the other kind of farmer, here was a model five acres to show what irrigations could do to intensive cultivation-orchards of walnuts and four different fruits with all kinds of garden truck flourishing between the rows of trees and a model farm family inhabiting a model California bungalow with such fancy modern gadgets as an automatic electric pump and a vacuum cleaner.

     Sounds like it might have given ERB ideas that came to fruition three years later.

     We know for sure that ERB made the trip in 1916 to Hollywood to visit L. Frank Baum.  Baum called his residence Ozcot after his famous wonderland.  I’m sure ERB was very impressed so that it comes as little surprise that he named the estate he bought in 1919 Tarzana.

     A question I would dearly like answered is did ERB make a trip to San Francisco in either 1913 or 1916?  San Francisco appears in a few novels from The Mucker to Marcia Of The Doorstep always with negative connotations.  It would be nice to know what if anything happened to sour ERB on Baghdad By The Bay.  It will be remembered that Billy Byrne was shanghaied from San Francisco in 1913’s The Mucker when ERB was already in California.

     At any rate the family returned to Chicago to spend a year or two before they made the final move to California in 1919.  In 1917 the US entered the war.  ERB had earlier tried to enter the fray as a war correspondent but was refused.  Now he found a place in the Illinois National Guard as a Major.  He stands so proudly in his uniform, an officer finally after all those years.

     The war brought out an aspect of his character that may have caused him harm hastening his departure from Chicago.

     ERB was acutely aware of having a split personality or, as he put it being two different people a la Jekyll and Hyde.  While one finds a reflection of a deep thinking man in his novels many of his actions reveal a very gauche side to his character.  I have read very few of his public pronouncements that show him in a truly positive light.

     The writing of his anti-German story The Little Door which was presented with little approval from his publishers being rejected by all.  The amazingly prescient Beyond Thirty was also coldly received.  Even his published writing found tough sledding from time to time.  It seems that both Metcalf and Bob Davis of Munsey’s had mixed feelings about him.  The manner in which Davis writes to him I find fairly insulting.  Of course, as time went on publishers wanted only Tarzan stories from him accepting anything else only grudgingly or even, in two notable cases rejecting the stories outright.  Nor was ERB ever accepted by the Chicago literary establishment.  Chicago in the teens had a vibrant literary scene to which ERB rightfully belonged yet the only literary club he was able to join was the White Paper Club that any scribbler or wannabe could join.  There was something in the character of ERB that obviouslyput people off.

     Porges, in discussing ERB’s wartime activities is openly ambivalent about this.  Porges describes some of his actions as ‘interperate.’  Something I wish he hadn’t done at the this period that I think was inconsiderate was, as Porges says, p. 288:

     In this and other articles Ed revealed how he had been influenced by the wave of public suspicion directed at German-Americans.  He admitted that his methods for selling Liberty Bonds may not have been ethical:  “We went out in selected groups decked out in all the panoply of war and armed with a bunch of yellow cards each of which bore the name of some suspected German sympathizer… He endorsed this as a way to “spear a Hun right here at home.”  (Italics mine)

     Only suspected.  That’s something I wish a hero of mine hadn’t done.  while no one probably said anything to him in wartime I suspect there were repercussions after the Armistice.  Many people who hadn’t before probably looked at him askance.  His wartime actions were too at variance with his more thoughtful writings.  Of course, so far I’m about the only critic who perceives the deep reflection in his stories.  Most people then probably thought his novels were pure balderdash.  Still he was a best selling author whose main creation had become a household word within six years or less and has since become one of the best known literary characters in the world.

     Nevertheless not too long after the Armistice ERB upped stakes making his third and final trip West.  His send off by his Chicago clubmates at the White Paper Club was less than sterling to my mind.  The cover of the menu showed a pig with wings flying West.

     This was ostensibly in reference to his statement that he was going West to be a hog farmer.  Still the phrase ‘when pigs have wings’ is usually a negative reference.  I can’t escape the notion that there was an element of ‘good riddance’ in his farewell party.

     Regardless of how ambiguous his position in Chicago had been he left the Chicago phase of his career behind in January of 1919.  It was a new world in the morning when he arrived in LA.  But strangely it soon took a Chicago turn.  Tarzana awaited him


A Review

The Low Brow And The High Brow

An In Depth Study Of Edgar Rice Burroughs’

The Mucker And Marcia Of The Door Step

Part III


R.E. Prindle

Background Of the Second Decade Social And Political



     I have been criticized for discussing material that seems to bear no relationship to the work of Edgar Rice Burroughs.  The social milieu in which a man lives and works directly affect what and how he writes.  He will react within that milieu whether he can understand and articulate it or not.

     ERB understood much.  He understood the main conflict of his times- that between the Religious and Scientific Consciousnesses.  How he understood it is one thing, its exact nature is another.  The battle was not necessarily put into the terms of science versus religion.  On the objective level science had more prestige while on the subjective level religion had the upper hand creating a dualistic conflict.  As Voltaire said:  No one ever willed himself an athiest.  The same can said of Science.  The usual terms employed in the conflict was that of  spirtiualism versus materialism.  So those two words were supercharged masking the real conflict.

     While religion retained great strength in this period science was so strong that religions had to adapt to science, thus one had the ecumenical Congress Of Religions in Chicago in 1893 during which a common plan of resistance was discussed.

     One reaction to Science was American Liberalism.  Liberalism is in fact a religion founded on beliefs rather than facts.  American Liberalism developed out of the Puritan faith of New England.  The Puritans believed themselves  to be the successor of the Hebrews of the Old Testament as the Chosen People of God.

     Two very interesting studies have appeared in the last couple decades which illuminate the English background of the United States.  One is David Hackett Fischer’s Albion’s Seed; the other is Kevin Phillips’ The Cousins Wars.  Both illustrate the continuity of behavior of the colonists between England and the Colonies.  That continuity began with the Norman invasion of England in 1066 and continues through the strange Liberal mentality of today.  Burroughs who was of the ‘Conservative’ mentality had to struggle with the forces of Liberalism in his day.

     When the Normans invaded England they enslaved the Anglo-Saxon inhabitants.  Anyone who has read Ivanhoe by Walter Scott has the image of Gurth with his iron colar inscribed on his memory.  This piece of arrogance was to have serious consequences in both England and America.

     The Normans occupied the Southern counties of England which Thomas Hardy caled Wessex, while the brunt of slavery fell on the East Anglian counties.  The insult of slavery was burned into East Anglian memories along with a desire for revenge made more savage by the the religious certitude that they were the Chosen People of God.

     The East Anglians, of course, revolted against the Norman Church Of England, emigrating to North America where they settled in the States of New England.  New England = New Anglia.  In England they fought the English Civil War against the Normans.  Puritan Roundheads against Norman Cavaliers.  It then became the turn of the defeated Cavaliers to emigrate to North America.  They chose to go to Virginia where they gave the colony its Norman Cavalier character and nickname.  The ancient enemies were now divided North and South.

     As Fischer points out, slavery by the Norman descendents in England had disappeared only about a hundred years before the English Civil War.  The Cavaliers now revived slavery in their Southern colonies.  First they brought indentured servants from England who were slaves subject to the whims of their masters for a stated period of years that could easily be extended.  Then African slavery was introduced.  For a period of time both White and Black slaves worked side by side in the fields with the Blacks gradually displacing the Whites.

     The New Englanders looked with fear and loathing on the Norman Virginians, who as they saw it, now resumed their old habits.  It was here that the American Civil War was conceived.  The Puritan New Englanders after having first rejected the king in the American Revolution which their East Anglian forebearers  had failed to do in England then turned to agitating a war against the Norman Cavaliers of the South, whose ancestors had enslaved them, on the basis of an anti-slavery abolitionist program.

     Just as they had succeeded against the Crown where their forebearers had failed they succeeded in absolutely crushing the descendents of the Normans.  This punishment of the Cavaliers was the most severe of any since 1066.  Thus subsequent US history with its notion of unconditional surrender was formed.  This was a vicious attitude formed from the same feeling of defeat.

     To return to the East Anglians in England to explain the American Liberal mindset.  Shortly after printed books became readily available  the East Anglians bought Bibles adopting the Old Testament notion of the Chosen People by substituting themselves for the Hebrew Children.  A British Israelite group formed calling the English people the new Chosen People.  Indeed, the British throne is believed to be in lineal descent from that of King David of Old Israel.

     Thus there were at least three Chosen Peoples in existence from the fifteenth century on- Jews, the English and the Puritan New Englanders.  New England became Greater New England as the Puritans multiplied spreading across the Northern tier of States.

     A psychological characteristic of Chosen Peoples is that they upload their needs and wishes to an imaginary god in the sky then download the same needs and wishes back to themselves as the Will Of God.  Thus they say not my will but they will be done, O Lord.  The faithful thus become justified sinners.  Any criminal act can be justified as the Will of God which it is the duty of the faithful to perform  This also creates a double standard because what is right for themselves in the eyes of the Lord is forbidden to others.  The children of Israel can exterminate other peoples with impunity, but it is wrong for other peoples to even defend themselves against the children of the Lord.  Serious stuff.

     These ends and desires are accepted then as a messianic or utopian goal.  It is the duty of the Chosen People to impose God’s Will on the rest of the world.  To resist that Will is evil making the non-believer a dastard, a heretic, an infidel, an anti-Semite or whatever.

     In the United States the Will of the god of the Puritans was transformed into Manifest Destiny, which in turn metamorphosed into the triumph of Democracy as defined by the Chosen People of America, who in turn metamorphosed from Puritans into Liberals.

     As a chosen people and as a result of the Civil War the Liberals identified with the victims who needed their help.  Thus the Civil War was fought in their minds by a virtuous people acting out the Will of God to rescue unfortunate victims from a malevolent White minority.  In the case of the Civil War it was the Negro slaves.  As the century and Liberalism developed the umbrella of help was extended to all the ‘enslaved’ or colonial peoples of Europe which is to say all the colored peoples of the world.  It was not enough that injustice as perceived by the Liberals should be corrected, but that the perpetrators should be condignly and brutally punished unconditionally in the name of and by the Will of their God, which is to say the projected desires and wishes of a self-appointed Chosen People.

     Utopian literature which flourished after the Civil War is the direct result of this Messianic fervor.  Utopian literature abounds in England, Greater New England and with the jews.

     Having then succeeded in crushing the Cavaliers of the South the Liberals attempted to demean, belittle and abuse the White South in the most draconian manner.  The period of Reconstruction is the blackest hour in American history.  The Whites were stripped of civil rights having the Negroes placed over them as masters.  The Whites, so far as possible, were expropriated of all property through taxation when not stolen outright.  The Whites, of course, reacted by forming the first Ku Klux Klan to protect their lives and interests.   Reconstruction lasted until 1877 well nigh into the twentieth century.  The South was impoverished and set back for at least a century and may still be recovering today if such is possible under the present Liberal regime.

     All factual references to Reconstruction have been obscured by references to the KKK but in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries memories of Liberal crimes in the South were fresh and bleeding wounds.  As is well known Jim Crow was the inevitable result of the attempt to crush and bury the White South.

     As the nineteenth century progressed and utopian literature flourished the Puritans, now Liberals, identified with all the ‘oppressed’ which is to say colored peoples of the world against the European conquerors.  Everywhere America sided with the natives against Europeans.  In a feeling of total frustration Charles De Gaulle would remark:  America is a White country, but it acts like a colored country.

     At about mid-nineteenth century Jewish utopian messianists under the direction of Karl Marx formed the Communist Party.  Thus Jewish utopian messianism spread from England- Marx was based in London- throughout Europe to the world.  As Communism also opposed Western colonialism, although not Communist colonialism, these two powerful agencies worked to upset the Western hegemony of the world.  As someone will always have hegemony of the world what appears on the surface as ‘justice’ is merely the transfer of power to another agency and hence new ‘injustice.’  As of this writing it appears that the beneficiary of American and Communist efforts will be the Chinese.  This shift has already happened but has not yet been officially acknowledged.  Thus the result of the Liberal and Communist quest for ‘social justice’ will be merely to place Europe and America’s neck under a Chinese yoke rather than the other way around.  Obviously the Chinese god is not the same as the Utopian God.

     During the period of Reconstruction as the Liberals were punishing the Southern Whites and rewarding the Negroes immigration from Eastern and Southern Europe began in earnest.  While the Irish and Germans had created their own set of problems yet culturally they were close enough to the original Anglo-Saxon colonists to be, after a fashion, readily assimilated.

     But with the congeries of nationalities from East and Southern Europe came many and diverse customs and languages.  Assimilating them into Anglo-Celtic-Teutonic America was not so easy.  Thus groups of Americans resisting immigration arose.  The Know Nothings fought the Irish but this was different.

     The Liberals could then pathologize the anti-immigration people as ‘nativists’, later White Supremacists and other derogatory terms.  They could afirm their own virtue against these people as they had against the Southern Whites.  When the power base of restrictionists took form in the South as the second Ku Klux Klan this only served to show the perfidy of Southern Whites in a new shade.

     The Liberals then allied themselves not only with the interests of Negroes but with the immigrants to form the Liberal Coalition which was to dominate American society from the Second Decade to the present.

     Already British and Puritan utopianists, they were now joined by the Jews who from 1870 to 1914 represented the largest nationality of immigrants.  Both the Liberals and the Jews were Bible based.  Liberals considered Jews as the successors to the Biblical Hebrews if not Hebrews themselves.  While Roman Catholics distanced themselves from Hebrewism the Protestant sects derived directly from the Old Testament considered themselves neo-Hebrews so they were quite willing to defer to what they considered paleo-Hebrews.  Thus the two versions of utopianism were joined.  Both forms of Hebrewism accepted anti-Semitism as the greatest vice.  The foregoing discussion has been a good account of what Semitism is:  that is a belief in one’s own divinely appointed role as the arbiter of the world’s fate.

     So far as I know neithr Semitism or anti-Semitism have ever been adequately defined so for the purposes of this paper anti-Semitism will be defined quite simply as the denial of the Semitist’s self-appointed role as the agent of God on earth.

     As one of a Scientific Consciousness  such a denial seems hardly necessary but as most people are of a Religious Consciousness there it stands.

     Needless to say Burroughs was of the Scientific Consciousness therefore per force an anti-Semitist although he would never have understood his position in those terms.

     As can be seen Judeo/Liberal/Utopianism is a religious matter that will defy reason.  It is a matter dependent upon a subjective, spiritual belief system.  It is beyond the reach of logic.  Never argue with them.  The adherents cannot be argued with, they must humored.  Reigions are revealed not thought out.


     The nineteenth century also saw the rise of Science which is an objective materialistic sysem, conscious not subconscious, based on facts and reality.  It doesn’t take a genius to spot that the religious systems and the scientific systems are incompatible; one must subordinate or destroy the other.  Now, seriously folks, this is war to the knife.

     Knowledge is hard won and built up slowly while revealed religion is complete and entire at conception.  While the former is subject to trial and error the latter is seemingly pat- it is God’s own Word.

     As Freud pointed out the religious consciousness received three main blows.  The first was that the Universe was heliocentric rather than terracentric; the third was the malleable construction of the human mind as defined by psychoanalysis.  These two could be religiously managed; nothing had been revealed that couldn’t be manipulated to religion’s use.  The middle blow could not.  That was the concept of Evolution as enunciated by Charles Darwin.  Thus it was clear except to the most entrenched religionist that the world was not created by God in 4004 BC as Bishop Ussher stated but evolved beginning somewhat over four billion years ago.  There’s an incompatibility there that cannot be swept under the carpet or even ignored.

     Make no mistake: science and religion are at odds in the struggle for the human mind.  Writing in 1829 the incomparable Edgar Allen Poe expressed the problem in his brilliant poem:

Sonnet – To Science

Science! true daughteer of Old Time thou art!

Who alterest all things with thy peering eyes.

Who preyest thus on this poet’s heart,

Vulture, whose wings are dull realities?

     How should he love thee? or how deem thee wise,

Who wouldst not leave him in his wandering

To seek for treasure in the jewelled skies,

Albeit he soared with an undaunted wing?

Hast thou not dragged Diana from her car,

And driven the Hamadryad from the wood

To seek a shelter in some happier star?

Has thou not torn the Naiad from her flood,

The Elfin from the green grass, and from me

The summer dream beneath the tamarind tree?

     In addition to driving the Hamadryad from the wood, science also pulled God down from the heavens and exposed the fraud.  Freud showed God to be merely a projection of human desires.   How could religion counter the claims of Science?

     I do not single out any specific religion whether Christian, Jewish, Moslem or whatever.  All religions evolved in human consciousness and represent a phase of development in that evolution.  A phase of evolution but not its end.  Dig it!

     It then became necessary for religionists to absolutely deny Evolution.  In their favor was the fact that Darwin not merely but only enunciated the concept, but had no infallible proofs of the process.  Thus relgionists could say silly things like:  Do you really believe human being, you, actually descended from an ape? and be fairly convincing.  Most people were ashamed of such an ancestry.  Nobody asked the monkeys how they felt about the comparison.

     Inherent in Evolution is the idea of speciation.  Thus every time a species evolved there was a chance that it was an improvement on previous manifestations.  Between the Chimp and Homo Sapiens I are innumberable steps which have since disappeared.  If that were true then religious concepts which insisted that God created Man whole and entire without evolving were false.  If Creation was false than Religion was false.  There were many who empowered by the concept of Evolution and reasoning from appearances made the claim that was called ‘race’ rather than species.  The genetic differences between the ‘races’ were not yet clear.

     Until fairly recent times and the rise of genetics there was no infallible evidence to indicate speciation.  Today there is.  From 1859 when Darwin enunciated Evolution through the period under examination here, the second decade of the twentieth century, anyone asserting speciation could be ridiculed and destroyed as a bigot by the religionist.  Evolution itself was attacked and undermined in the thirties by the Boasian school of Anthropology which is still vital today.  (See Kevin MacDonald, The Culture Of Critique, 1998, 2002).

     In this period the Evolutionist was in a minority position.  Thus when Burroughs came down so strongly on the side of Evolution in his Tarzan series it is very surprising he created no uproar and there is no evidence the series was noticed on that account.

     It appears that Burroughs took the broad approach to these social problems.  He could see both sides of the issue deciding on the merits of the case rather than the ideology of the situation.  As has been noted he was quite capable of changing his mind on vital issues when presented with convincing evidence, i.e. life on Mars.  He was a true scientist.


      Perhaps around 1910 it began to dawn on a significant number or people for the first time that unlimited and unrestricted immigration was causing unexpected and irreversible changes in the social fabric.  The war on Anglo-Saxon ideals, institutions and customs was well underway.  Such reactions had been a recurring feature of American society but now there was no West to escape to.   In addition industry had reshaped the cities.  Farm machinery was reshaping farming practices reducing the need for farmhands so that country boys migrated to the cities. By mid-decade for the first time more people lived in the cities than on the land.

     These changes were unwelcome and uncomfortable to a lot of people creating a malaise.  Those who viewed Reconstruction for the horror it was as well as those who considered themselves Old Stock were pathologized by the Liberals but their views found expression in books and articles but usually on the defensive side as with Jack London’s Valley Of The Moon and not on the aggressive side which would be visited by condign punishment as heresy.

     If one mentioned immigrants at all it was possible to discuss only positive attributes.  The Liberal turned a blind eye to the aggression of home countries preferring to see these home places too as victims who needed their protection.  As Chosen People the Liberal sees himself as naturally superior to the ‘victims’ but does not perceive his supposed superiority as ‘racism.’

     An honest and well meaning writer like Homer Lea who had actually been in the Orient and learned of Japanese plans first hand was pathologized and dismissed as a crank although his prognostications were based in fact as Pearl Harbor was to show.

     Some feelings are vague and can’t be articulated.  Even as a child I was disquieted by the notion that everyone came to america to escape oppression or to seek religious freedom.  I saw but couldn’t articulate the two facedness of this notion.  Only in the last decade or so have I found the means to acquire the necessary knowledge and developed modes to express it.

     Quite frankly the US was used as a haven for many, many revolutionary groups.  Perhaps the American Revolution  caused most Americans to look upon all revolutions as beneficent.  I couldn’t and can’t see it tht way.

     American ‘malcontents’ were told to shut up while a malcontent could come from anywhere else in the world and be honored for resisting repression.  I mean, criminals, murderers, mere disturbers of the peace in their own countries.  Cranks.  East Indian malcontents gathered in San Francisco to plot against the British Raj.  Sun Yat Sen lived in LA where he raised funds and was lionized.  Homer Lea was recruited by Sun Yat Sen to serve as a general in the Chinese Army.  Lea’s story may have been the influence that charmed Burroughs into seeking a place in the Chinese Army.

     The United States not only knew of the malcontents’ activities but even tolerated them perhaps abetting them.  The US role in European history has been that of a spoiler.  Looking upon all colored peoples as victims needing their help Liberals could do no other than work for their interests against the Europeans.

     One of the more disastrous actions was John Hay’s Open Door policy in China.  At the time in the 1890s the European States were about to partition China into spheres of influence.  What the result would have been is anybody’s guess however the world would probably be much different today.  Hay’s Open Door policy scotched the partition with the result that China remained a unified State.  Of all the turning points one can find in history this is undoubtedly a turn in the tide of fortunes for the West.  Subsequent to the Hay policy Chinese revolutionaries were hosted in California.  Mexican gun runners operated from the US during the Mexican Revolution as Zane Grey records in novels like The Light Of Western Stars and Desert Gold.

     Of course the Irish who called Ireland the Ould Sod and America the New Island acted as one people divided by an ocean.  Funds and guns were raised in America and used in Ireland against the British.  In the unrestricted immigration of the time Irish revolutionists moved back and forth across the Atlantic.  If arrested in Ireland they claimed American citizenship and were released to return to the US.

     In 1919 a most egregious example occurred which received no reprimand from the US, while England didn’t even bother to file an objection.  Eamon De Valera, the future premier of Ireland escaped the British to be smuggled to the US where he functioned openly.  William K. Klingaman tells the story in his popular history ‘1919’ of 1987:

     Eamon De Valera, meanwhile, had been smuggled out of Ireland and into the United States, where he was touring the major cities along the East Coast, drumming up financial support for Sinn Fein and the Irish Republic.  His reception was nothing short of spectacular.  De Valera was given the presidential suite at the Waldorf; the Massachusetts state legislature received him in a special joint session; forty thousand wildly cheering supporters turned out to hear one of his speeches in Boston; and the press seemed to love him wherever he went.  After all, he was excellent copy, and news of English injustices in Ireland always sold plenty of papers.  As the Nation noted with bemusement, “He gets a front-page spread whenever he wants it, with unexampled editorial kindliness thrown in.”  The tall, very thin, dark Irishman brought no message of peace and goodwill to the United States, however.  Now that the Peace Conference was over and freedom-loving Irishmen still remained enslaved under the British yoke, De Valera told an enthusiastic audience in Providence, “the war front is now transferred to Ireland.”

     So, while the Irish were embattled on the Ould Sod, the Irish of the New Island had enough influence and power to baffle any objections either in the US or England.  They were truly functioning as a state within a state in the US and as revolutionists on the Ould Sod.  Thus the US influence in international politics was unique indeed.

     The Italians also functioned as emigrant workers of Italian citizenship before the War and were an irredentist population within the United States with many colonial beach heads.  After the war, assuming the continuance of unrestricted immigration Mussolini attempted to shift the cost of medical treatment for wounded Italian soldiers by sending them to the US for free medical treatment.  This is astonishing stuff that gets no notice in history books.

     Of course, the most famous instance of dual citizenship of a divided homeland is that of the Jews.

     A ship landed in the seventeenth century in New York City, New Amsterdam as it was known then, bearing a hundred plus Sephardic Jews from Brazil.  The next immigrant cadre were the German Jews mainly from 1830 to 1850.  These two immigrations were small compared to the influx of millions of Jews from the Pale of Settlement usually known as Polish or Russian Jews.  From 1870 to 1914 they came in increasing numbers.  As I have detailed elsewhere the intent to transfer the whole population of Jews from the Pale to the United States was aborted by the outbreak of the Great War.

     Jews had always been forbidden Great Russia.  However during an expansionist phase Russian annexed the Ukraine, Byelorussia and the North.  The annexed areas became the Pale Of The Settlement along with the Polish Jews acquired by the first partition of Poland.  Thus Jewish nationalism came into conflict with Russian assimilationism.  The Russians, of course, were sovereigns of the land while the Jews were a stateless nationality.  The Russians along with the rest of their acquired  peoples attempted to Russify the Jews.  These along with Poles, Letts, Estonians, Lithuanians and whatever resisted Russification.  In point of fact, the Czars had bitten off more than they could chew.

     Had the Russians been facing mere dissident peoples they may have been able to manage them.  But, along about mid-nineteenth century the political ideology of Communism provided a framework within which all peoples could combine thus submerging their national identities for their political goals.  It is true that fifty to sixty percent of all Comunist parties were Jewish but the remainder which was substantial, wasn’t.  As part of its ideology Communism discouraged nationality so it was possible for numbers of all nationalities to work together.

     The Russians became the adversaries of the Jews, the Czar their bete noir.  Thus a remendous undeclared war existed between the Communist Revolution, usually called just The Revolution and the Russian government and people.

     By the time the Jewish emigration to America began in earnest in the 1870s the Jewish mind was conditioned by this warfare.  Now, all Israel is one.  Therefore the German Jews who had preceded the Jews from the Pale prepared the way for those from the Pale.  Whole industries were immediately controlled by Jews.  The male and female garment industries being the prime example.  The work force of these industries was almost entirely Jewish.  Thus the infamous sweat shop may be said to be of Jewish origin although it is usually used to defame the United States.

     The whole garment industry of the country then was controlled from New York City.  We’re talking big money with a lot of it flowing into Jewish agencies sometimes euphemistically called charities.  This money in turn fueled worldwide Jewish warfare on Russia.

     The Equitable Insurance fraud for instance was caused by the international banker Jacob Schiff who as administrator looted the Equitable of a couple hundred million dollars to finance the Japanese in the Russo-Japanese war of 1903-05.  The Japanese could not have fought the war without that money.  Thus Schiff and his people paved the way to Pearl Harbor.

     While the Russians had their hands full in the East Schiff and his fellow Jews engineered and financed the First Russion Revolution.  The signing of the Russo-Japanese Peace Treaty was done at Portsmouth, New Hampshire ostensibly by then US President Theodore Roosevelt but under the watchful eyes of Schiff and his fellows.

     As I have said simply because a people emigrated doesn’t mean they renounced their original identity.  Witness the Irish.  As is clear from their intent to evacuate the Pale in favor of America the Jews retained their Eastern European interests.  This would be even more manfest after the restriction of immigration at the end of the War.

     Like the Irish who used American citizenship to negate the laws of England the Jews used their American citizenship to thwart the interests of Russians, or the Czar as they put it.

     The Russians forbade Jewish traffic over their borders in an attempt to contain Jewish subversion.  If you were in, you were in, if you were out you were out.  In line with European concepts of nationality this was workable.  But Jews resident in America using their US citizenship, in this instance, demanded to be treated strictly as US citizens but of the Jewish ‘religion.’  Thus, they said Russia could not refuse them entrance on the basis of their ‘religion.’

     The US with its polyglot population all with US citizenship whether Irish, Jewish, Italian or whatever had to insist on the rights of all US citizens.  Thus Jews were able to travel freely across Russian borders to coordinate Jewish actions to subvert the Russian State.  As I have pointed out, after the Revolution the name Russia was dropped from the State name as it became the Union Of Soviet Socialist Republics governed almost exclusively by non-Russians.

     The B’nai B’rith had been around since 1843.  Then the American Jewish Committee was created in 1906.  Within seven years Jewish influence had increased so signficantly that they were able to direct US policy to the extent that diplomatic relations were broken off between Russia and the US in 1913 the year the Liberal Coalition elected Woodrow Wilson as its first president.  From 1913 to 1933 the US had no diplomatic relations with Russia/USSR.  It is interesting that relations with a legitimate government were discontinued by Woodrow Wilson and resumed with an illegitimate government by his disciple Franklin Delano Roosevelt.  On of his first acts as President.

     In 1913 the B’nai B’rith created its terrorist arm the Anti-Defamation League.  So there was actually a dual drive to acquire control of the USSR and the USA which one might add came very close to succeeding.  And this be a very small but dedicated number of people.

     As I point out in Part IV in 1919 the AJC  contacted Burroughs undoubtedly amongst a host of others to endorse a Jewish Bill Of Rights.  The program was in place by 1920 when this segment of my study ends.

     As can be seen the unofficial role of the United States in world affairs was an unsettling and disturbing one of the inactive aiding and abetting of revolutionary movements from China to India, across the border into Mexico while actively aiding if not abetting the Irish against England and aiding and abetting if not supporting the Jewish war on Russia.

     To the American Liberal all these revolutionary efforts were being conducted by victims.  Hence Liberal efforts at directing American policy were in the interests of any revolutionary group which includes the Socialist and Communist parties.  This Liberal attitude continues worldwide to the present time.

     Within the United States these ‘victims’ were gathered together under the aegis of the Liberal Coalition.  All dissenters whether anti-immigrationists, nativists or whatever were pathologized as mentally unstable people.  Insanity then becomes a religious attitude complementary to terms such as heretic, infidel or anti-Semite; terms not to be taken seriously.

     Liberalism is a religion thus assuming control over institutions of hgher learning.  The University system of the United States was turned from one of educational insitutions into religious seminaries.  The American university system of today is a religious system of Liberal seminaries.  Only the correct religious view is permitted, any other is penalized.

     Now, the Liberals who derived from the Puritans were an Old Testament biblical group who considered themselves the successosrs of the Hebrews as a Chosen People.  Beginning in 1870 the original Chosen People began their invasion.  It was like two Napoleons meeting in an insane asylum.  Each considered the other an imposter.  But the Jews had the whip hand over the Liberals as they quickly controlled the communiations media gradually eliminating anything seditious to its belief system.  As I explained earlier any writing that casts doubt on the claims of Judaism is anti-Semitist.  Americans were conditioned to view anti-Semitism as the worst possible crime deserving imprisonment or expulsion from the body social.  What we really have is the reimposition of the medieval Catholic Church in the form of Judaism.  Having seized control of the political system of the United States by 1920 the other important object was the discrediting of Science.

Hast thou not torn the Naiad from the flood,

The Elfin from the green grass, and from me

The summer dream beneath the tamarind tree?

     And Poe might have added:  God from his heaven/ pleasant summer dreams of chosenness from our minds.  Yes, Science was the great enemy, the great anti-Semite.  It is not particularly well known but Jews are more anti-evolution than even the Christian fundamentalists of Tennessee in the twenties or the Kansans of today.  Evolution absolutely denies the fact that the world was created by god 4004 years before Bishop Ussher or the year 5778 or whatever of the Jewish calendar.  Make no mistake the notion of the world having been created by god recently is fundamental to Semitic religions.  Once it is disallowed the basis of the Semitic religions ends.  You can see why they fight so hard against Science.

     Science still being the problem religion was cloaked in its guise.  The scienfific Socialism of Marx is little more than Talmudic Judaism.  Freud’s exaltation of the subconscious is little more than an assault on the conscious rational thinking that makes Science possible.  Einstein’s preposterous notion of the ‘fabric’ of Time and Space among others is a disguised attempt at imposing faith.

     All of these movements came to fruition in the Second Decade.  Einstein’s theories were supposedly proven during an eclipse of the sun in 1919 during which it was ‘confirmed’ that the light of distant stars streamed around immovable bodies.   I mean, the Greeks said it:  What happens when an easily resistible force meets an immovable object?  It flows around it just like water around a rock suspended in a stream.  Boy, you have to be a genius to figure that one out- wrap it up in the facric of Time and Space and send it as present to God.

     So, the problem still remained what to do with the ‘pathological’ types who gave the lie to the Judeo-Liberal doctrine?  Science and Religion cannot co-exist.  This is a sea change in human consciousness comparable  to the transition from the Matriarchal to the Patriarchal.  Good will is not the problem and cannot solve the problem.  In 1943 Gustavus Myers devised the current method of interpreting American history in his book The History Of Bigotry In The United States.  He thus provided the means to pathologize the non-Judeo-Liberal people.  They became irrational, insane, evil bigots.  So then one has the people of the book the Judeo-Liberals on one side and ‘bigots’ on the other.  So, Moslem-Infidels, Semites-anti-Semites, and Liberals-Bigots.  It isn’t rational, it’s religious.  Virtue goes with the one; criminality with the other.  Once you are accused there is no argument.  Confess your heresy and take your punishment.  The role model is the Inquisition of the Catholic Church.

     Myers began from the beginning hitting his stride with the Know Nothing Party of the 1850s.  He essentially made all immigrants victims in the Liberal sense by depicting them as virtuous innocents insanely treated by American ‘bigots.’  Hence the title of his book.  His school took root and flourishes today.  Oscar Handlin, John Higham, Richard Slotkin.

     Handlin’s stuff is irrational.  John Higham’s Strangers In The Land is valuable but skewed.  The skewing can be easily unscrambled.  But Richard Slotkin’s Gunslinger Nation is of importance to Burroughs and our theme here.  The first 225 pages of Slotkin’s book lead up to a denunciation  of Burroughs as the premier bigot of American literature actually making him responsible for the My Lai massacre in Viet Nam.  The first 225 pages are worth reading although you can throw the rest of the book away.

     I’ll get back to the scientific aspects of the issue in a minute but, first, as Slotkin concentrates on the Western movie in American culture let’s take a look at one of the premier efforts in the genre, John Ford’s The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence.  The movie was scripted by James Warner Bellah and Willis Goldbeck or, since this is Hollywood, men who would answer to those names. They are probably jewish.  The film perfectly inllustrates the Liberal dogma.

     John Wayne plays the Liberal lead as Tom Doniphon, strange name, along with his noble Negro sidekick, Pompey.  Lee Marvin plays a deranged psychopathic Anglo named Liberty Valence.  Jimmy Stewart plays the long suffering representative of the Law, Ransom- Rance- Stoddard.  Rance is an adjunct to Tom Doniphon.  Liberals = The Law, Bigots (Liberty Valence) = the outlaws.

     Tom can be seen as the abolitionist, justice seeking Liberal aiding the victims.  He is on the side of the victims of Liberty Valence (read, say, the KKK) which is the whole town except himself.  Tom has his negro valet while he helps all the cute immigrants in town still being aloof from the Southwest town’s sizable but segregated Mexican population.

     The scripters assigned the odd name of Liberty Valence to Lee Marvin.  Liberty is a positive virtue while Valence means strong- strong for freedom.  There is little positive about Valence.  He is in fact a psychopathic killer who terrorized the town of law seeking innocent sodbusters.  He actually becomes insane when he extends his whip handle just beating the tar out of his victims.  Valence is employed by the evil cattlemen (read, say, The South) above the Picket Wire (a river).  Why the cattlemen have sent Valence to the town isn’t clear.

     As the representative of the Old South and also any stray anti-Semitic clans who may happen to be about, Valence is especially offended by the peaceable but effeminate Rance Stoddard, who at one point actually wears an apron, the man who is bringing THE LAW West of the Pecos or at least below the Picket Wire.  Apparently the ranchers don’t need no law above the Picket Wire.  Valence harasses and bullies Stoddard who is usually protected by the omnipotent Tom Doniphon but comes a time when   Stoddard realizes he has to fight.  After all a man’s a man for all that.  Don’t know what for though, either his honor or life  or maybe to move the plot along.  Liberty is goading Rance into a gunfight that will be plain murder, as quite frankly, Rance don’t know how to handle a gun and Liberty does, oh boy.

     As the gunfight is filmed from behind Rance it appears that he actually guns Liberty down freeing all the victims of his menace. (The Law vs. The Outlaw; The Liberal vs. The Bigot, The Semite vs. the anti-Semite.)  Thus Rance brings the law to Shinbone, that’s the ridiculous name of the town.  You can see why Liberty terrorized it.

     Later we will see the same gun battle rotated ninety degrees to the right.  Ol’ Tom isn’t going to let Liberty gun down Rance, and also he doesn’t want Rance to be guilty of bloodshedding so he takes the guilt on hisself as he knowed he would.  He and his faithful Negro sidekick cum African gunbearer Pompey (This may be the reason Cassius Clay changed from his ‘slave’ name to Mohammed Ali, another slave name) are standing in an alley opposite Liberty’s left side.  Tom is in the middle of the side street, Pompey bearing the gun, stands against the side of the building.  With breathtaing precision just before Liberty shoots, Tom, in that awe inspiring quitet uncontradictable authority of his says like the Great White Hunter of Africa:  Gun, Pompey.  The ever faithful Negro flips the rifle across to Tom who snatches it from mid-air with is right hand, puts it to his shoulder and snaps off a head shot through the temple that killed Liberty Valence.  (Evil disappears from the town.)

     In order to kill Valence Tom had to shoot him in the left side of his head yet none of the dumbheads of the town wonders how Stoddard accomplished this miraculous feat.

     At any rate Rance is known as the man who shot Liberty Valence.  The old peace loving legalist is carrying his burden of blood guilt pretty well until he is nominated to be the new Congressman from the Picket Wire/Shinbone district (There’s a joke in there somewhere isn’t there?) and from whence he can put those damnable evil, bigoted ranchers in their place.  But damn it, he’s got blood on his hands; how can he serve the people in Washington since he is impure?  This mght have ruined a very promising and lucrative career and perhaps a good movie but Tom takes this moment to tell Rance the True story of the man who shot Liberty Valence.  Rance had to be told this.

     ‘Hot diggity-dog!’ Exclaims Rance trampling over Tom in his hurry to be the next and first representative for Picket Wire.  There may have been gold in them thar hills but it was as nothing compared to the gold to be found in Washington D.C.

     Like a good myth the movie can viewed on several different levels.  At face value the story is the story.  It doesn’t take much to view the film as a satire while on another level as a black comedy, or a wry commentary on the difference between the way things appear and the way they really are.

     But on the allegorical level in which I am viewing the story it allegorized the Judeo-Liberal vision of America.  Tom/ Rance represents their vision of themselves while Liberty is ther vision of bigots/anti-Semites.  I don’t know about the writers but John Ford was certainly able to see it that way.

     As a religious metaphor the movie expresses the Judeo-Liberal vision of itself.  That vision can only be realized if science can be disposed of because science, the truth, is the greatest anti-Semite of all.  As Poe realized Science disposes of the idea of God.  Without god there is no Judaism or Liberalism.  One or the other has to go.

     As I have said technological applications of science weren’t actually a threat but Evolutionists like Gall,  Darwin and Dalton were.  Gall was the man who first enunciated a theory that the different areas of the brain controlled different actions or responses.  In Steven Pinker’s terms he discovered the brain was more than a meatloaf.

     Darwin proposed the idea of evolution while Francis Galton proposed the idea of Eugenics.  As I said before, revealed Religion arrives complete and entire being a product of the imagination no different than Tarzan Of The Apes.  Science has to be built up step by step.  Gall, Darwin and Galton took the first developmental steps and while true in their limited way were easy to attack.

     Gall’s exploiters developed the theory of Phrenology which is of course unsupportable so If anyone has heard of Gall he is immediately discredited for Phrenology, something he didn’t do.

     Going into the Second Decade Darwin and Galton had great credibility, if being in minority positions, although Eugenics was very well received by every shade of the political spectrum from far left to far right.  Richard Slotkin bases his attempts to discredit Edgar Rice Burroughs and all non-Coalition writers over Evolution and Eugenics.

     Edgar Rice Burroughs is usually considered a fantasy writer.  One could hardly consider the writer of the Mars, Venus, Pellucidar and Tarzan series anything else.  Fantay writers are not usually taken very seriously being relegated to the non-literary end of of the fiction spectrum.  So then, one asks, why does a Myerian Judeo-Liberal like Richard Slotkin devote so much effort to prove that Edgar Rice Burrughs was ultimately responsible for the My Lai Massacre?

     The simple answer is that Burroughs is one of the most influential mind forming writers of fiction, worldwide, of the Twentieth Century…and counting.  There have been serious efforts to designate Burroughs as a bigot and an anti-Semitist.  The editions of the copies you read have actually been bowlderized.  Slotkin’s Gunslinger Nation is a serious attempt to pathologize Burroughs.

     Gunslinger Nation Is the third volume of a trilogy on violence in America, a never ending tiresome concern of the Coalition.  Slotkin is more at home in the nineteenth century of the two first volumes than he is in the twentieth century of this volume.  He should have suspended his pen after the second volume.

     He not only has a shallow appreciation of his theme but he admits it.  The remaining 400+ pages succeeding those on Burroughs are based, I suspect, on one time viewings of several hundred Western movies.  At least he says he’s seen them.  His analysis of categories within the genre and individual films leaves much to  be desired.

     He admits that he read no, or very few, Western novels from 1900-1975 because the field is so vast no one could be expected to do it.

     His nineteenth century material, if skewed in interpretation, is admirably presented.  By rotating the images 180 degrees one can obtain a fairly accurate picture of his subjects.  His presentation on Buffalo Bill and his Wild West was really quite good.  His views on Fenimore Cooper and the Dime Novelists were attractive if prejudiced.

     By the time he gets to Burroughs of whom he has cursorily read a dozen novels or so he is both uncomprehending and imcomprehensible.  He has made no effort to understand the man yet he comes to preposterous conclusions.  As Burroughs was of the Scientific Consciousness which gives the lie to the Religious Consciousness Slotkin attacks on the scientific level.

     He attacks through Gall, Darwin and Galton.  The Liberal Coalition using its religious mentality is able to condemn in others what it applauds in itself.

     The mentality is quite capable of including Burroughs, Henry Ford and Adolf Hitler in one breath as though all three men were on the same level.  What they call crimes in others they call virtues in themselves.

     Thus, during the French Revolution a factory was organized in Paris to make footwear from the skins of murdered aristocrats.  The fact has been suppressed while the story of the lampshades made from the skins of enemies of the Fascist State is held as inhuman.

     The great hero of the Revolution, Victor Hugo, writing in his novel 1793 during the 1860s about the massacres in the Vendee quite bluntly states that those people were in the way of the realization of the Utopian Communist State and had to be removed.  What was fact in 1793 was true in the 1860 mind of Victor Hugo, exercised by the Communists after 1917 and by extension is still applicable today.  Yet all other exterminations are evil in the Coalition mind.  Their own religion justifies their actions as justified sinners.

     During the second and third decades Galton’s ideas on Eugenics had become the vogue.  The use of Eugenics by Hitler and the Nazis is used to discredit the concept and yet Reds of all hues including H.G. Wells and George Bernard Shaw were enthusiastic Eugenicists.

     Joseph Stalin, the greatest Red who ever lived, rather amusingly embraced Eugenics.  (see:  http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/print.cfm?id=2434192005 )

     In the 1920s before Hitler, Stalin ordered his scientists to breed a new super warrior.  “I want a new invincible human being, insensible to pain, resistant and indifferent about the quality of food they eat.”

     You can see where this leading I’m sure.  Apparently Stalin had been reading Burrughs’ Beasts Of Tarzan because he ordered the scientists to cross a human and an ape to create his New Order warrior.  Imagine a couple divisions of these shaggy haired ape men trudging through the snow behind a line of tanks with a AK 47 in one hand and a frozen banana in the other.

     At any rate Slotkin wishes to link Burroughs up with these ideas that Liberals themselves promoted.  As the second decade wore on a number of writers dealt with these emerging problems of the age.  The two most prominent American bete noirs of the Judeo-Liberals are Madison Grant and his Passing Of The Great Race of 1916 and Lothrop Stoddard and his The Rising Tide Of Color of 1920.  As these men are scientists they were labeled ‘bigots’ which is to say heretics or anti-Semites by the Liberal Coalition.

     It is not impossible that Burroughs may have read these books but there is no indication he did so so that there is no confirmed connection between he and Grant and Stoddard.  As I read Slotkin he believes that Burroughs is complicit with both Madison Grant and Stoddard.  Further there is no doubt Slotkin believes all three men are bad with evil intent.  As the Scienfific findings of these men contradict the religious tenets of the Myersian Liberal Coalition I suppose Slotkin can do no other.  How he manges to lump Burroughs in as an evil malicious bigot seems a stretcher.

     In the first place although the findings of Grant and Stoddard are offensive to Slotkin and the Liberal Coalition they nevertheless show the honest unbiased scientific results of the research of honest scholars who are no less decent and honorable than any of the Liberal Coalition.  Grant’s work is an essay into proto-genetics for which subsequent learning shows no fault.  Stoddard’s work is an excellent faultless political analysis which has been borne out by subequent developments.

     While the Liberal Coalition has chosen to pathologize and demonize all three of these writers their opinion should just be waved aside, disregarded as irrelevant.  Their opinions should be marginalized.  Grant and Stoddard are good and honorable men.

     When I first read Slotkin’s analysis of Burroughs I was outraged and then baffled.  I rejected the criticism but as Slotkin obvously believes this stuff although he poorly documents it his notions were filed in the bck of my brain while I began to search for his reasons.

     From a scientific point of view Slotkin has no basis for his claims but when one lays the Judeo-Red-Liberal matrix over the science all becomes clear.  This is a conflict betwen Arien Age religion and twentieth century science.

     If one looks closely at Burroughs one will find he has embraced science and rejected religion thus immediately becoming classified as a bigot/anti-Semite in their eyes.

     While Burroughs was from the North he is not in full sympathy with abolitionist and Liberal ideals.  he appears to reject the harshness of their attitude toward Southern Whites.  As in Marcia, John Hancock Chase from Baltimore living in New York City seems to be an attempt to reunify the country according to the ideas of Thomas Dixon, Jr.  and his Reconstruction novels and D.W. Griffith’s movie The Birth Of A Nation.  To merely be sympathetic to Southern Whites is to deny the victimhood of the Negroes which arouses the animosity of Liberals.  Burroughs has thus identified himself as a ‘bigot, heretic, anti-Semite’.  He is plainly the enemy of the Liberal Coalition.

     And, then, while Burroughs didn’t join organizations like the A.P.A.- American Protective Association- still, like his fellow writers Jack London and Zane Grey he regretted the passingof Anglo-Saxon dominated America.  He hated to see the Old Stock in decline.  Thus in the Myersian sense he becomes pathologized as a ‘bigot.’  From the Liberal point of view Burroughs is clearly guilty and should be banned from literature.  Put on the Liberal Index.  However one has to accept the Liberal point of view to think so.

     He rejects all religion but as to whether he specifically singles out Catholics, Jews or any other sect I don’t believe that there is a shred of evidence.

     One can’t read with his contemporaries eyes so perhaps what isn’t so clear now leaped out of the page then.  Burroughs ruminations on Eugenics, especially in the pages of Tarzan And The Jewels Of Opar, may then have been more obvious to them than to us.  But at the same time his opinions wouldn’t have been offensive to them.  As the Liberals accepted Eugenics then as readily as anyone else it would seem that the present emphasis on Burroughs’ fascination with the subject arises primarily from the Liberal rejection of their own past although it is still possible that what contemporary Liberals accepted in themselves they rejected in others as they do today.

     While I originally rejected the notion that there was any reason to suspect Burroughs of being an ‘anti-Semite’ I think that if one is looking for indications from the Coalition point of view one can find them.  As I point out in Part IV the American Jewish Committee contacted him in 1919 while there are passages in Marcia Of The Doorstep that the Coalition could construe as anti-Semitism and for which Burroughs was possibly punished.

     Finally Burroughs as a follower of Teddy Roosevelt rather than Woodrow Wilson might have been suspect.  The period after the Great War when it became evident that a very large percentage of the immigrants did not really consider themselves American’s caused TR to remark that America had become merely an international boarding house.  Quite true but who would have thought anything else was possible?  Today the term ‘international boarding house’ might be interpreted as Diversity or multi-culturalism. TR was head of his times.

     The period ending in 1919 also represented the changing of the guard.  Buffalo Bill died in 1917 taking hs mythic Wild West with him to the grave.  He also represented the end of the first America.  The Anglo-Saxons who had won the West.  Of course the winners of the West were not nearly so Ango-Saxon as represented but in general it was true.  There are almost no non-Anglo-Saxon names in the novels of Zane Grey other than Mexican.

     Also in 1919 TR himself passed away just as he was scheduled to be the Republican Presidential candidate for 1910.  His loss was keenly felt by Burroughs and his friend Herb Weston.  I doubt TR could have adapted to the new problems America was facing even as well as Warren G. Harding did.  How TR might have interpreted the challenge to American Democracy of the Liberal Coalition isn’t too obvious.



      In 1066 and succeeding centuries the Norman Conquerors enslaved the Anglo-Saxons of East Anglia which was an affront deeply resented.  Take a lesson.

     In the sixteenth century when the printed Old Testament became universally available the East Anglians identified with the enslaved Hebrews of Exodus.  They elected themselves a Chosen People and developed the compensatory Utopian attitude of inherent virtue as the Chosen People Of God.

     In the seventeenth century New England was settled by emigrants from East Anglia.  Not just English but East Anglians.  Virginia was settle by descendents of the Norman conquerors of 1066.  The Virginians once again chose slavery as the method of labor.  First indentured White people then Africans.

     While Utopian ideals developed in New England the abolitionist movement began which resulted in the Civil War-War Between The States.  War between regions or actually a war between ideologies.  There was no chance the South was going to discontinue slavery anythime soon no matter what anyone says.

     In revenge for 1066 the Cavaliers (Whites) of the South were absolutely crushed giving up all rights by surrendering unconditionally.

     The nascent Liberal Party of Puritans elevated the Africans over the Cavaliers thus establishing their protectorship over the ‘victims’ which is characteristic of the faith while establishing their power over dissident Whites.  Thus the Liberals ultimately aligned themselves with all colored revolutionary movements in the world against White European conquerors.

     Within the United States they viewed immigrants as ‘victims’ of the Old Stock pathologizing the Old Stock as ‘bigots’ no better than the Cavaliers of the Old South or the Europeans.  All opponents of of their Liberal religious ideology which included the intellectual mindset of Science thus became wrong headed vile ‘bigots’ who had no right to live.  After the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 the utopian Communist ideology became their politics; call it Socialism it comes out the same.

     As Edgar Rice Burrough was not a Liberal, not a Communist and not Religious but Scientific he unwittingly placed himself in opposition to the Liberal Coalition.  On that basis a serious attempt was made to abort his career while subsequently an attempt to erase his name and work from history is being conducted.

     Thus the twenties ushered in a new changed era fraught with new adjustments which were misunderstood or not understood at all.

     Burroughs career after 1920 has to be seen in the light of this concealed antagonism that he had to counter without being clear as to its causes.

     Thus the contrast  between The Mucker and Marcia Of The Doorstep can be seen as a response to two different challenges united by Burroughs personal psychological development.

Go To Part IV:of The Mucker And Marcia Of The Doorstep