The Ancient Evil:

Diana And The Goddess Tradition


R.E. Prindle

A problem that has been perplexing me for some time is the role of the Goddess Diana as the female archetype for the last half of the Age of Pisces.  The adoption of the goddess Diana or Artemis as she was known in Greece signifies a resurgence of the Matriarchy.  This is a rather remarkable comeback as the Matriarchy was virtually unknown in the nineteenth century, all but forgotten.

I’m sure the interpretation of Diana’s history and her relationship to Astrology will be met with some dismay as these subjects are not properly understood.  Essentially the problem is one of memory; in this case historical and racial memory.  Memory on one level is a desire to retain and understand the past whether on a personal or historical level.  From the past the future may be predicted.  What has gone before will likely happen again.  It was this knowledge that made the calendar a necessity.  If one has a starting point, such as the shortest day of the year the return of flora and fauna may be roughly known.  To make the year more manageable it was divided into seasons and months to mark more easily the passage of the days of the year.  This knowledge led to a whole cycle of gods, goddesses and myths.  Thus a terrestrial zodiac was derived denoted by symbols appropriate to the seasons.  As it was assumed that what happened on earth was a reflection of what happened in the skies the terrestrial zodiac was translated to the stars and thus we have the Astrological Zodiac in which the twelve signs reflect the weather pattern on earth.

Just as there are twelve months in the year so the skies were divided into twelve portions called Ages.  The length of the Ages was determined by the Great Year that was of some twenty-five thousand years plus duration.  The Great year was determined by the rotation of the earth on its axis as evidenced by the stars of the North Pole.

The Great Year

Each Age has it male and female archetypes.  In Greece the Arien Age was presided over by Zeus and Hera.  Thus each set of archetypes has a lifetime of two thousand plus years and then they make the long slide to Far Tartary and back again.

The Piscean Age which has become universal began with the male archetype of Jesus of Nazareth while in mid-Age the archetypes where transferred to the female side- Diana in the North of Europe and Mary, the mother of Jesus, in the South of Europe.

While the mechanism used to achieve this is fairly clear the exact process can only be surmised.

While it may be difficult to believe the Astrological Zodiac must have begun development about a hundred thousand years ago being in the fourth cycle at the time of the dawn of the Age of Pisces.  Thus as a method of timekeeping the Zodiac has a long history.

One may question the hundred thousand years and yet the Mesopotamian myths mention a past of at least that long.  One usually doesn’t credit the ancients with actual knowledge but I think it is time to take them more seriously.

For much of that hundred thousand years during the long Ice Age the level of the Mediterranean was much lower probably being a long valley with a succession of large lakes fed by the Nile and the Propontis while the outflow was at the Pillars of Hercules.  As the Med Valley was habitable it must have been inhabited.  Undoubtedly a civilization developed that was fairly sophisticated.  One needn’t look for extraterrestrials for human development.

Thus when the Ice Age ended returning the accumulated waters to the oceans the waters rose forcing the Valley’s inhabitants to seek higher ground until the sea level became static.  While denizens fled to all sides of the Med the civilization bearers occupied Lower Egypt, the emerging Nile Delta.  A second area in which civilization  in some form must have survived was the island of Crete.

Nile Delta. 10,000 years ago the Delta would have been smaller as the silting would not have progressed so far.

It was on this island that the religious formula that became a basis of Europe was formed.  The basis was provided by the Hellenic Greek tribes that began their invasion of the Greek peninsula c. -1700.

The Greek penisula was occupied by an ancient people called Pelasgians.  They like the Cretans were descendants  of the Med Valley peoples as were the Cretans and Lower Egypt.  The Pelasgian religion closely resembled that of the Cretans.  The conquering Hellenes imposed their Greek language on them while setting about solving the religious differences into one unifed religion.  This was done following a usual pattern.

Crete, The Aegean Islands and the Greek Mainland, The Core Of The Thalassocracy

The Hellenes followed an Aryan Patriarchal model while the Pelasgians and Cretans followed a Matriarchal type.

How much religious development took place between 8000 BC when the waters rose and 2000 BC when things had settled must have been very large.  An important thing to remember is that the human mind is continually handling information.  Problems of memory have been continually remedied with new storage technologies.  They have been continually developed to today’s immense ability to be able to very nearly store entire reality.  Every phone call in the world 24/7 can be stored and retrieved at will so that totally inconsequential information is on record but will never be read.

The time lapse between improvements in storage and retrieval were immense in the early days increasing rapidly to the present.  The earliest known city, the remains of which date not coincidentally to c. 8000 BC is located at Catal Huyuk in Anatolia which would have been a rural backwater to the Med civilization, but a high degree of communal organization is evident.  One imagines the Cretan civilization was similar but more highly developed.  There is every evidence that the Great Mother religion was fairly highly developed at the time the waters rose.

The Cretans certainly brought the religion to a degree of perfection.  Obviously there is no agreement as to the degree while the substance of religion can be only guessed at.

The Goddess Angry

Presently the Goddess advocates picture the Matriarchy as some kind of golden age of

The Loving Goddess

peace love and happiness.  This is not the case.  The Matriarchates lived in a period of very primitive mentality.  Nor is the female of the species any less bloody minded than the male.  The memory of the matriarchate was still strong enough for later males to dismiss the matriarchate as a period that was not too kind to men.  Indeed, if one bears in mind that the sacrificial bulls were substitutes for men and that bulls were often sacrificed in holocausts which means a hundred bulls or more then it follows that at one time a hundred men or more were sacrificed to the Great Mother.  Obviously this would leave rueful memories in the minds of men.

This memory may have been played out in the tale of Iphigenia At Aulis.

Shall we examine the participants in this drama, Agamemnon, Clytmnestra, Iphigenia and Diana?

Zeus in the apparition of a swan had intercourse with Leda who then lay two eggs.  Both bore twins.  From one egg Castor and Pollux emerged.  These two represent the soltices, Castor, winter and Pollux summer.  From the other egg Helen and Clytemnestra emerged.  These two represent the equinoxes, Helen the Spring, Clytemnestra the Fall.  One might compare Helen to the Cretan Loving Goddess with the erect snakes held hip high and Clytemnestra to the Angry Goddess brandishing the two writhing snakes.  Thus the two goddesses are representatives of Diana.

Zeus Impregnating Leda

Now Agamemnon was punished by Diana for killing a deer and then boasting that he was a better hunter than she.  Agamemnon and the Greeks were assembled at Aulis but unable to sail for lack of wind.  A sacrifice was deemed necessary to allay the winds.  Ordinarily a male would have been the sacrifice to Diana.  Instead Agamemnon sacrificed his and Clytemnestra’s daughter probably in vengeance for his punishment by Diana and the slaughter of all those males during the Matriarchy.

Clytemnestra herself was a representative of the Matriarchy so the story is involved.

While my interpretation might be controversial I think it clear that the Cretan goddess became Artemis/Diana.  At any rate it was the Argive (from Argos) mainland goddess Hera who would be chosen as the wife of Zeus.  Therefore the Cretan goddess would have lost her consort and been a loose cannon.

Zeus himself was of Cretan origin probably intended to be the annual consort of the Goddess.  As religion evolved the characters of the Gods and Goddesses changed so that while there is continuity the attributes and characters change enough so that the religious figures have to be located in time and place.

When the Hellenes, or Greeks, began to arrive the Cretans had already created a political organization known as a thalossocracy, a sea based empire.  The islands and at least the coasts from Aegean to Italy were under Cretan rule.  The Greeks then challenged the power of the Cretans as well as seeking to impose the Patriarchal religion on the Matriarchy.

This method of taking control was the same as that of all religions replacing another.  As in such situations the overcome religion submits to greater power but continues a more or less clandestine existence.  Thus the Aryan Greeks converted religious sites such as Delphi to Patriarchal shrines.  Where the necessisity existed in Matriarchal strongholds, they apparently attempted to exterminate the Matriarchates.  Persecute them out of existence, perhaps, as happened to the Lollards of England.

In this case, Perseus’ assault on the Gorgon Medusa could have signified an all out assault on the Matriarchal stronghold as was the story of the Iliad in which the Patriarchal Greeks waged a ten year war to exterminate Matriarchal Troy.  Whether factual or not it is true that when the post-Troy dark age ended the Greeks were in possession of the Anatolian littoral.

Of course the preferred method was by stealth and intermarriage.  Intermarriage may have required the extermination of the males to acquire the women which was commonly done.  Thus, Zeus’ frequent rapes of women may commemorate such takeovers.

As the assimilated gods appear to have been indigenous the Greeks must have taken over the pre-existing gods while changing them to Patriarchal from Matriarchal.  Thus, while Zeus is clearly a Cretan god, probable annual consort of the Great Mother, he was transported to mainland Argos where as a woodpecker he raped the Argive goddess Hera becoming her lord and master, or her husband.

The consort of Hera was Heracles, a sun god.  When Zeus took Hera from him as his wife this left Heracles at loose ends without a purpose.  The Greeks gave him a new lineage and the role of the champion of the Patriarchy and punisher of the Matriarchy.

In this case Zeus seduces Alcmene in the disguise of her husband Amphitryon impregnating her with Hercules.  Just as Heracles was a loose cannon after the marriage of Zeus and Hera the Cretan Great Goddess was without a consort when Zeus left Crete.  The problem is what identity was she assigned?  When Heracles was born two snakes were sent by the Matriarchy to kill him.  The baby Heracles strangled both, one in each hand.  Symbolically then the Cretan religion was imagined to be destroyed and possibly its Great Mother murdered.

A great problem however that remains hidden from me is the origin of the Peloponnesian Lady Of The Lake.  As the Cretan Great Mother was also a Mistress Of The Animals it is quite possible that she was taken to the mainland from Crete where she became an Artemis and possibly the Lady Of The Lake.

At some later time the Cretan priesthood would be carried from Crete and installed as the priesthood of Apollo at the premier Greek shrine of Delphi.  So, how much of the Greek religion was of Aryan origin and how much of the ancient Med Valley religion through its Cretan development isn’t clear but the two must have been extensively intermingled making the Cretan Great Mother a probable Artemis/Diana and the Lady Of The Lake.

I have found no references in Greek mythology to the Lady Of The Lake but the Lady as Vivian turns up in the Arthurian epics of +1000-1300 when they were formulated.  In those she is referred back to ancient Peloponnesian times.  I haven’t found the sources of the medieval writers but they must have been in possession of some mythological sources that no longer exist.

I would now like to examine the transition from the male archetype of Jesus in mid-Piscean Age to Diana in Northern Europe and Mary, the Mother of God in the South.

Before leaving the Ancients however let me say that having organized a pantheon the Greeks then removed the various gods from their home locales  and established their residence on Mt. Olympus deep in the more densely Aryan populations of the North of Greece.


The religion of no one Age is secure because the transition to the next Age is always looming.  Just as Zeus had replaced Cronus of the Taurean Age so the Greek male archetype of the Piscean Age, Dionysus, was maturing as Zeus’ replacement.

However, in the long war between Europe and Asia the balance of power was to shift toward the Asians.  Dionysus was discarded to be replaced by the Semitic Jew, Jesus of Nazareth.  The Jews had quietly been infiltrating Western society while actually contending for pre-eminence in the East and Egypt.  This would erupt into the Roman-Jewish wars of the first two centuries AD.

As the early Christians were a purely Jewish sect it is no wonder that when Paul of Tarsus turned the Jewish cult into a universal religion that that religion reflected Judaism to a large extent.  Judaism being an intolerant religion that intolerance was replicated in both  the Roman Catholic and the Greek Orthodox Churches.  The result was that any competing religious views were viciously suppressed.  After the fourth century the old Creco-Cretan religion was anathematized on the pain of death.

As would happen in the fifteenth century when the Ottoman Moslems conquered Constantinople and the Greek scholars fled East to India and West to the Roman successor States numbers of the Olympian priesthood undoubtedly fled into the German lands to the North.  Just as the Arian priests fled North to escape Catholic oppression where they converted the German tribes  so the Olympian priests sowed their beliefs among the Germans.  That’s one reason so many Olympian beliefs are found in German folk tales as collected by the Grimms.

As the Lady Of The Lake is a Matriarchal myth it follows that the Cretan priesthood of Delphi sowed Matriarchal ideas among the Germans.  It can be little wonder that Vivian, The Lady Of The Lake, appeared in the French chivalric myths created from the eleventh though fourteenth centuries.

Not only that but Vivian represents the Matriarchal resurgence against Catholic Patriarchalism.  Vivian of course was none other than Artemis/Diana.  It was thus that Diana became the female archetype of Northern Europe in the second half of the Piscean Age.

It would be a mistake to suppose that the Olympian gods died quiet deaths or deaths at all.  It is one thing to outlaw a belief system and another to erase it from the memories of those who had used that belief system for two thousand years.  The Christians were at best a conquering horde no different from the Patriarchal Greeks who attempted to destroy the Cretan religion.  The Catholic Church was no more able to contain the Olympians than the Greeks were able to contain Cretan religion.  Just as the Greeks had had to accommodate the Cretans by installing them at Delphi so the Catholic Church had to accommodate Olympians while the struggle never ceased.

Just as the Iliad was part of an immense mythological cycle detailing the struggle between the Matriarchy and the Patriarchy so the Arthurian epics detailing the Matriarchal, Patriarchal and Church as Aryans sects was even more immense and sprawling.  The huge corpus of the Vulgate-Lancelot may just be the largest literary work in the world while being only part of the story.

So Arthur being installed at Camelot as the wise and benevolent Patriarchal monarch, Vivian had her home beneath a northern French lake.  The problem for her was how to subvert Camelot and restore the Matriarchy.  After all the court of Arthur was guided by and protected by the magic of the great magician Merlin.    So long as Merlin was on the job Arthur was invulnerable.  Vivian’s first task was to eliminate Merlin.

Bear in mind that an ages old system that these participants can have had no knowledge of is being satisfactorily worked out according to the principles of that system.  One can understand how active minds could penetrate this arcane system but the miracle is that naïve minds could understand what was intended and how to further it.  But then I am participating here in furthering events into the Aquarian Age and am no member of any priesthood; I was just a guy standing on the corner watching the girls go by while reading the odd volume.  Do I know what I say I know?  I can’t even guess but at the same time I can’t keep from writing as though I do.  Blame it on the muse.

Vivian was a cute girl; Merlin was a half daft old man susceptible to a young beauty’s charms even though he knew better.  Vivian smiled at him and the wisest dope in the world fell for it.  But, isn’t that the way the sisterhood always works.  If you’ve got a job to do, keep it zipped up.

Enamored of Vivian Merlin took her into his confidence.  He was reluctant to share his magic with her but she coaxed and he caved.  Once the wiliest of womanhood had obtained the old wizard’s knowledge she turned on him entombing him in the matriarchal symbol, Mother Earth, where he remains today muttering useless spells in an effort to remove the stone.

Vivian Enchants Merlin

Part one of her effort was now achieved.  Arthur was unprotected and vulnerable.  It was only necessary to find the means and the agent.  Vivian already knew the means.  Arthur would marry the beautiful but flighty Guenivere.  Arthur was old sobersides as he had a kingdom to rule so Guenivere was on the lookout for the dark romantic lead.  It just so happened that Vivian had a boy in training who was now about to emerge into lusty young manhood.  He was the most perfect knight in the world save one, who was yet unborn and to be his son.

When this lad was a young boy Vivian had lured him down to the lake from whose shores she abducted him taking him to her submarine palace for training. Lancelot became a fairy prince.  Now, this is important: Vivian although a virgin was an alpha mother .  All those bundles of genes out there who yell and stomp thinking that makes them alpha males aren’t. It’s not in the genes its in the mothering.  Look for the alpha female.  So, Lancelot was the alphaest of all living males.

As an emblem of her authority Vivian dressed Lancelot as well as  the horse he rode out on in shining white velvet.  Guenivere’s prince had come.

This Dandy, Lancelot, then went to Camelot and was deputized by Arthur to fetch his bride from her father and thus began a liaison with the Queen that would disrupt the famous Round Table resulting in a war between Patriarchal Arthur and Matriarchal Lancelot that brought the kingdom to its knees.

Arthur’s original sword drawn from the stone had been stolen and replaced by Excalibur a sword given to him by Vivian.  Thus Arthur originally armed by the Patriarchy was now defended by the power of the Matriarchy or Diana.  When Arthur died the sword was returned to the Lady Of The Lake and Arthur was taken to her bourne, Avalon to be tended by the fairie maidens.  Symbolically England had passed from the Patriarchy to the Matriarchy; what began two thousand years earlier between the Cretans and the Greeks was now resolved in England in favor of the Matriarchy.

In the South of Europe the female archetype of the Piscean Age was Mary who delivered Jesus to the world in Virgin birth somewhat like Vivian giving virgin birth to Lancelot.  At the same time that Diana assumed authority in the North Mary began to be worshipped in a form known as Mariolatry in the South and assumed pre-eminence over Jesus, the male.  The contest then shifted to one between the Dianites of the North and the Marionites of the South.

If one assumes that the sexual battle was over by 1300, then the battle of the female archetypes began. That began to resolve itself when Henry VIII separated England from the Papacy rejecting Mary, the Mother of God.  Luther did the same for the Germans.  This conflict resulted in the horrific Thirty Years War that nearly destroyed the German people.  At war’s end Protestants, that is the Dianites, were in control of the North while the Marionites held the South.

Dissension in the North and South was still rife until the Enlightenment broke the power of the Church releasing all kinds of repressed religious views of which the religion of Diana  was merely one.  One wonders how much of the women’s movement of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries was influenced by the concept of Diana  The movement today is heavily influenced by a goddess cult, not Mary, but Diana and probably the Egyptian Isis.  One imagines that there must be some continuity.

The interest in both Greek mythology and the Arthurian epics did not wane during the nineteenth century, if anything increasing.  Tennyson’s Idylls of  the King was a major retelling of the story while the quest for the Holy Grail is an ongoing theme.

The Matriarchy was all but forgotten in the conscious memory of Europe that had become patriarchal on the surface.  In mid-century against stiff resistance the Swiss mythologist, J. J. Bachofen uncovered the Matriarchy reintroducing it into intellectual history.  The concept was stoutly resisted but a reevaluation of the evidence over the succeeding hundred years has reestablished the knowledge of its existence.

On the popular level the great English novelist H. Rider Haggard toyed with the idea in several significant, even great, novels that have been slighted through a lack of understanding.  The most significant of that set of novels, the She saga, has become one of the world’s great classics.

She, or Ayesha, her actual name, means Life  was definitely not a mother goddess, as far as we know she had been chaste for two thousand years.  Life might be interpreted in the sense of Mistress Of The Animals, so it wouldn’t be unfair to associate Ayesha with Diana.  Haggard was no mean mythologist.

He associated with the well known mythologist Andrew Lang with whom he also collaborated on The World’s Desire.  He was very well read in mythology, Greek, Egyptian and Israelite.  The year after Haggard wrote She in 1888 he followed up with Cleopatra, a very good Egyptian novel.  He followed that with the astonishing interpretation of the Helen myth in The World’s Desire of 1890.  Within the compass of these three novels he unraveled the meaning of the Hermes/Mercury staff- the Caduceus.

The Caduceus Of Mercury/Hermes

In She Ayesha wore a golden belt composed of two snakes whose heads opposed each other at her waist.  They represented the combat between good and evil in Ayesha’s mind.  Both natures of the Cretan goddess were united in Ayesha.

By the time Haggard wrote The World’s Desire two years later he had separated the two impulses into two persons.  The evil aspect of the goddess was the ruling aspect of the Egyptian princess Meriamun while the pure loving aspect of the goddess belonged to the spirit of Helen whose character was the world’s desire.

Thus the rod of Mercury’s staff represents the spine while the two snakes entwining the rod represent the good and evil impulses who facing each other are at war with each other.  In modern psychological terms it could be said the snakes represent the Anima and Animus- the left and right halves of the brain or, in other words, the ovate strand of DNA and the  spermatic strand.  The wings mean that the whole apparatus is sheltered under the wings of the goddess.  It is also quite probable that the points of the chakras are intended by the twining.  See my full explication here:

Hermes/Mercury was one of the old Matriarchal gods who was reborn as a Patriarchal god so that the Patriarchal Mercury bears the Matriarchal emblem of the Caduceus before him thus representing both religious outlooks.

Haggard was the rock on which his near disciple, Edgar Rice Burroughs, built his church.  Without saying that Burroughs was an expert Greco-Roman mythologist he began reading mythology at a very early age while his Junior High years were spent at the Harvard Latin school of Chicago where he was placed under a heavy classical regimen.  He also continued to read Greek mythology throughout his life while also being interested in anthropology.  Thus, while he might not have had the scholarly background of Haggard he must have known enough to follow Haggard’s argument, if not consciously at least in his subconscious memory.

When Burroughs created his fantasy lost city of Opar its goddess, or high priestess, was even named  La which is French for She.  Whether he was aware he was working with a vision of Diana isn’t relevant as the notion of She/Diana was engraved in what Jung would call the collective unconscious and hence his own.

Ever the Patriarch, Burroughs turned the tables on the Diana/Vivian Merlin story and made La submissive to Tarzan while Tarzan was unmoved by either her beauty or her love.

A sort of version was also told by the very good but now nearly forgotten novelist Robert Hichens in his novel of 1905, The Garden Of Allah.  This story in turn influenced Burroughs as well as the much more conscious mythologist Edith Maude Hull who wrote The Sheik in 1921.  Today Mrs. Hull’s reputation, such as it is, rests on The Sheik and The Sheik’s reputation on the movie represention of Rudolph Valentino.  In point of fact Mrs. Hull’s novel was a study of Diana, the name of her heroine, that follows to some extent the version of Burroughs. (See my full review of The Sheik here

1920s English Devotee Of Diana

That Mrs. Hull was a part od some sort of Diana cultish interest is evidenced by this 1920s photo of woman posing as Diana.  The collective memory and/or unconscious has kept the vision of Diana/Great Mother alive for a minimum of three thousand years.  The Ancient Evil had been transmuted into Freudian psychology.

Today the worship of the Goddess has been revived in the Feminist Movement and is thriving.  Indeed, a Matriarchal Revolution has been in progress since perhaps the 1850s and now seems to be rapidly approaching fruition, at least among the Aryans of Europe and America.

Time will tell whither the Ancient Evil will triumph.

A Review

Psychoanalyzing Captain America


R.E. Prindle

From Out Of The Depths

 Must we be responsible for our own dreams?

 –Sigmund Freud

     In answer to the above question by Herr Doktor Professor Freud in his dream book, The Interpretation Of Dreams. published in the year 1900 Prof. Freud said that dreams were the royal road to the unconscious.  He then proceeded to suppress the conscious will releasing the unconscious will to dominate the personality.

     Of course in 1900 movies, TV and comic books were in the future and unforeseen by the Professor.  It is through those media that the unconscious visualizes itself.  The Dream is manifested, the unconscious becomes realized.

     In the case of the movie, Captain America: The First Avenger, first came the dream then came the comic book, then with movie technology undreamed of  in 1940 when Joe Simon and Jack Kirby conceived the character, brought to the screen today.  Comic books and movies are true projections of the unconscious.    As might be seen by anyone with a ticket Capt. America is less a story than a dream, a dream that Sigmund Freud defined as wish fulfillment.  So, one must examine the movie as a wish from the subconscious fulfilled as a visualization on the screen.  What does the dream-wish fulfill?

     First off we have a powerless wimp being knocked about by the big bad bully.  We have a brief anti-bully list and then move on.  However in this Cain and Abel story the rolls of bully and bullied are clear.  The wimp then wishes to join the army to fight Hitler and is rejected on several counts of inferiority.  But, never fear, the last shall be first.

     Now, in 1940 the US was not at war with anybody while the America First Committee was determined to keep the country that way.  But a powerful coalition led by the Jews had determined the European conflict  was a ‘just’ war while it was morally compulsory for the US to butt in somewhat like Iraq, Afghanistan, Egypt, Libya and a few other places today.  Unlike Viet Nam the usual suspects who opposed that war endorse all the current wars.  The voice of dissent is unheard throughout the land.

     So, bearing Freud’s Interpretation Of Dreams in mind that demonstrates the connection between dreams and the unconscious, Captain America is a daydream or psychological projection of Jack Kirby’s ne Jacob Kurtzberg and Joe Simon’s of Brooklyn N.Y.  The relationship of these comic book writers to Judaism is explained by Rabbi Simcha Weinstein in his book Up, Up, And Oy Vey!:  How Jewish History, Culture, And Values Shaped The Comic Book Superhero.  This quote explains the real life origin of Capt. America:

     Growing up in poverty, Kirby (born Jacob Kurtzberg) dreamed of being an artist but was forced to drop out of Brooklyn’s Pratt Institute after only one day because of financial hardship.  Instead Kirby worked on newspaper comic strips under gentile-sounding pseudonyms such as Jack Curtis, Curt Davis, and Lance Kirby until he finally settled on the name Jack Kirby.

     Kirby and his partner, Joe Simon, worked at Martin Goodman’s Timely Comics, where the mostly Jewish staff openly despised Hitler.  When Goodman saw the preliminary sketches for Captain America, he immediately give Kirby and Simon their own comic book.  The character was an instant hit, selling almost one million copies an issue.  “The U.S. hadn’t yet entered the war when Jack and I did Captain America, so maybe he was our way of lashing out against the Nazi menace.  Evidently, Captain America symbolized the American people’s sentiments.  When we were producing Captain America we were outselling Batman, Superman and all the others.”  Simon later commented.

     Well, not quite all the others, as Whiz Comics Captain Marvel was the best selling comic of both the war years and the later forties.  Certainly my favorite.

     As in the years before the War The America First Committee enjoyed overwhelming popularity amongst Americans I would question Simon’s notion that Captain America overwhelmingly represented American opinion.  As there were six million Jews in the country I might suggest the response from that quarter of ‘Americans’ was more overwhelming than elsewhere.  Jews might easily have accounted for sixty to eighty percent of sales.

     It is also probable that no real American would ever have invented a corny jingoistic persona like Captain American.  The image was certainly repulsive to me as a child.   My prime comic reading years were from 1947 to 1950 and I and my entire generation rejected Captain America while embracing Captain Marvel.  Even then Superman was a distant competitor to Captain Marvel which is why DC comics sued Whiz for copyright violation.

     We disliked the hokey repulsive jingoism of Captain America as well as his dumb outfit and the stupid shield.  (I’m speaking as a nine year old here.)  Of course we knew from nothing about Judaism and almost less about any other religious sects but there was something othery about Capt. America and Superman although we embraced the equally Jewish Batman.

     The origins of Captain America then emanated from the Jewish dream subconscious of Jack Kirby which was quite different from ours.  He, therefor, as all writers must, made Capt. America in his real existence and from his dream fantasies.  Thus, giving his creation the goy name of Steve Rogers he nevertheless gave him a Brooklyn Jewish origin.  As Rabbi Weinstein also a Brooklyn Jew explains Jews had a sort of dual identity as powerless Jews posing as goys in a powerful goy world.  Thus the sickly ineffective Rogers undergoes a scientific experiment that turns him essentially from a 98 lb. Jewish weakling into an all powerful goy Charles Atlas.  I’m sure Kirby saw those ads while growing up.

     Rogers having now been turned into a Superman had to have a name.  Superman being taken Super Jew was out for obvious reasons or even Super Hebrew, there was no Israel at the time, so Kirby settled on Captain America.  Rabbi Weinstein again:

     Of course a more literal reading of the costume is that it is the American flag brought to life.  Captain America’s star is, after all, five-pointed, not six pointed like the Star of David.  The flag-as-costume notion reinforces the ideal of assimilation [Jews ‘becoming’ Americans].  By literally cloaking their character in patriotism, Kirby and Simon became true Americans.

     In 1940 there was a desperate struggle going on between the Jews and America First who the Jews styled as American Fascists, i.e. actual Hitlerites.  By that line of reasoning  the Jews became the true Americans, creators and protector of genuine American Democracy while Anglo-Americans or Native Americans or America Firsters were out to destroy the great American Dream the Jews had discovered.  This is the theme of Philip Roth’s novel The Plot Against America backdated to this period.  The movie Captain America could easily be subtitled The Plot Against America Foiled.

     Rabbi Weinstein once again:

Weinstein's Book     Despite the patriotic appearance, Captain America’s costume also denotes deeply rooted [Jewish] tradition.  Along with other Jewish-penned superheroes, Captain America was in part an allusion to the golem, the legendary creature said to have been constructed by the sixteenth century mystic Rabbi Judah Loew to defend the Jews of medieval Prague.  “The golem was pretty much the precursor of the superhero in that in every society there is a need for mythological chracters, wish fulfillment.  And the wish fulfillment in the Jewish case of the hero would be someone who could protect us.  This kind of storytelling seems to dominate in Jewish culture,” commented Will Eisner.

      According to tradition a golem is sustained by inscribing the Hebrew word emet (truth) upon its forehead.  When the first letter is removed, leaving the word met (death) the golem will be destroyed.  Emet is spelled with the letters aleph, rem and tav.  The first letter, aleph, is also the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet, the equivalent of the letter A.  Captain America wears a mask with a white A on his forehead- the very letter needed to empower the golem.

     So, you and I thought the A stood for America but it is actually a symbol of Judaism.  Captain America then is an unconscious dream projection of the Jewish subconscious following Freud’s thought in his Interpretation of Dreams.  Now we know who and what the  Captain America or The First Avenger is.


     Like Philip Roth’s The Plot Against America the movie is backdated to 1940 although as the US is already in the war perhaps 1942-43 although in Kirby and Simon’s dream vision they could have already employed the usurped power of America in 1940.  However the movie writers, are writing today so assume different interpretations and aspects.

     In point of fact Hitler no longer exists except in the Jewish mind so the relevance of the movie is hampered.  Goys are not reliving the Hitler experience on a daily basis.  To correct this and bring the Nazi threat forward Hitler is relegated to an inept showman while the real brain behind Nazism is the Hydra.

      The Hydra in Greek mythology was a matriarchal year deity with seven heads and one neck,  Six of the heads prepresented the last six months of the year while the seventh head and neck represented the recurring and indestructible year.  Everytime a head was cut off it grew back as time does march on.

      When the Patriarchy was displacing the Matriarchy the story changed somewhat.  Hercules was sent to fight the Hydra and everytime he cut off a head three grew back.  Thus the Hydra is represented in the movie as a Red Octopus with eight arms thus embracing the world.  Ils sont partout. Obviously Hydra is a dream projection of anti-Semitism the arch fiend of the Jewish unconscious.

     The Jewish Doctor Erskine, Reinstein in the comic, playing God botches his first attempt at creating the superman, Hydra/Cain, but finds perfection in Capt. America/Abel.  Thus Cain is blighted while Abel is God’s favorite.  While Captain America begins as a song and dance man belittling Hitler on stage, when the fighting starts Hitler is relegated offstage while the super-Hitler, Hydra, steps front and center.

     While the Americans that Rogers as Capt. America have nothing like the incredible weapons and organization of Hydra they are nevertheless with their bare hands able to defeat him.  He is however immortal like all dream fears so that as Arnold said:  He’ll be back.

     The action is standard comic book action fare and needs no further comment.  You could have written it yourself.  Pretty clicheed but if you like this stuff you’ll find it very satisfying.

     However Captain America remains a Jewish hero in American drag with a purloined identity.

Cartoon Jack Kirby


H.G. Wells, Sigmund Freud, Edgar Rice Burroughs

And The Development Of Contemporary Sexual Attitudes

Part IV


R.E. Prindle

Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Contribution

The Artist Fidus, 1893 Illustration


     That Edgar Rice Burroughs is one of the, if not the most, influential  writers, America has produced goes without saying.  The only question is in how many different ways did he do it and was an attitude toward sexual mores one of them.  I think it can be shown that that is true.  Was Burroughs an ideologue in sexual matters.  At this point I can’t say yes or no although his attitudes seem consistent throughout his career.

     A first hurdle we have to get over is whether Burroughs was some sort of idiot savant who just had the knack for writing adventure stories  or was he an auto-didact who educated himself in exemplary fashion.  The consensus is more along the idiot savant line which I hope I have shown in my by now voluminous writings that ERB was very well read, had a sound if not spectacular education while being an intelligent man with at least a 120-130 IQ.  


Greeks At Play

    I think I have shown that he was a full participant in the intellectual culture of 1875-1920 which influenced the first phase of his writing career.  We know he was well read because he references  hundreds of books that he read in his own pages.  He tells us he read Gibbon’s  Decline And Fall Of The Roman Empire which is an essential for a liberal education.  He tells us he read and reread Plutarch’s Parallel Lives which also is no mean achievement.  Those may be isolated instances or, as I think, they are the tip of the iceberg.  He was near expert on Evolution while being deeply read in esoteric and exoteric religion.  The guy was a virtual marvel.  His learning shows up in his writings although in a fantastic manner for enterainment purposes.



   For our purposes here we can begin when his father placed him in the Harvard Latin School of Chicago.  He was to spend what we would call his Junior High years there.  It was there he learned Latin and possibly some Greek.  He was to complain later that he learned Latin before he learned to write in English which he thought affected his style and it may have as some of his writing reads like he was translating from Latin.  While he may not have qualified as a Latin scholar I’m sure that for the rest of his life he could find his way through an extensive Latin quotation.  When I was in school that was considered an achievement of a high order.  So ERB had a pretty decent founding in the Classics.

     Now, there has been a pretty fair controvercy on ERBzine recently over how nude Martians were.  I don’t think there is any question but that both men and women hang out, that is ventral and dorsal nudity.  One might therefore infer that in Burroughs’ vision of an utopia the style was to be au naturel.

     Was this original or did ERB, as usual, borrow from the culture, have his sources?

     Let’s start at Harvard Latin School.  At the time the Patriarchy was in full control of the culture.  There were grumblings from both the Matriarchy and the Hetaerarchy but those were in the beginning stages of the revolt.  As late as the 1960s when I was an Ancient History major you would have been thrown out of school for challenging the Patriarchal version of Ancient History, that is to say Greek and Roman.  ERB then couldn’t have been given less than a 110% Patriarchal education.

     Any illustrations of Greek statues he would have seen showed the genitals fully exposed unless a fig leaf had been placed over them.  The Greek vases he may have seen would have shown Greek men at play or leisure with fully exposed genitals, any weapons belted on would look exactly like his Martians.  They might have a wrap thrown over the shoulder for protection from inclement weather.

     The phallicism, the pride in manhood, runs all through Greek art and literature.  At the time men were liberating themselves from the Matriarchy with its cruel attitude toward the males.  It had been discovered that the male inseminated the female so men claimed the child as theirs while the women were mere incubators or storehouses rather than the fecund goddesses of creation.  Man was the creator.  That was the answer the riddle posed by the Theban sphinx to Oedipus was, Man.  So the psychological reaction must have been if you’ve got one, show it.  Meanwhile as the man was the progenitor of a woman’s offspring, a man’s wife had to be secluded so that another man couldn’t impregnate her.  Whereas in the past women were more or less commonly available to the certified they now became the exclusive possession of one man, except for prostitutes or hetaerists.   The children were his.

     How much, if any, of this ERB understood he at least saw a society where the men went fully nude.  As the Martian children were hatched from eggs incubated in the Martian sun it sounds as though he had read Plato where Socrates expatiated on the old days when men and women were hatched from eggs.  Indeed, Leda impregnated by Zeus in the form of a swan hatched two eggs that produced Castor and Pollux and Helen and Clytemnestra as two sets of twins.  It’s not too far from there to Mars, don’t you think?

     Around the turn of the century the Nudist movement took form in German.  We tend to think of these earlier times as staid when in reality the modern world was in its birth throes.  The nudity thing since the French Revolution had been slowly growing.  For the Medieval Free Spirits and Anabatists nudity was a key point as it was for the Libertines and as it was adopted by the Communist offshoots of the Revolution.  Men want to look at the female nude.

Early Nudists

     In Germany at the turn of the century the nudity movement jelled, an actual movement taking shape in conjunction with the Wandervogel movement.  This is turn led to the development of the Nature movement resulting in the incredible Nature Boy scene in the US of the thirties and forties which in turn evolved into the Beat/Hippie phenomenon of the fifties, sixties and seventies and into today.


Eden Ahbez- Writer of Nature Boy

     Burroughs would have been aware of this whole phenomenon up to 1950 endorsing it enthusiastically.  Tarzan was the ultimate Nature Boy and Burroughs developed the character with that in mind.  The ideal.  I have no douts that Burroughs intended him as the exemplar of this growing movement.  Hence the development of the Nature movement was aided, abetted and intentionally forwarded by ERB clearly linking him to the scene in Bohemian NY of the sixties and the whole Beat/Hippie scene.

     So Burroughs’ writings actually promote nudism and the Nature movement throughout his career.  John Carter arrives, born again, nude on Mars where he would have been unnoticeable on that account, completely blending in.  Indeed, the only difference was that he was white instead of red which was a curiosity.  Thus, as soon as he leaves Earth he become a nudist in what was a sort of utopian society to Burroughs.

     Tarzan necessarily practiced nudity for his first twenty years, only donning his ‘fig leaf’ or G-string  when he came in contact with civilization.

      Burroughs always refers to Tarzan’s ‘adornment’ as a G-string in the early novels.  A G-string only cover the genitals with a flap and not the rear so Tarzan was essentially nude in the jungle.  He was a Nature Boy and that is the way most of his readers have perceived him.


Maxmillian- Star Nature Boy c. 1948

    The MGM Tarzan is the exemplar of the Nature Boy living on fruit and nuts.  The MGM movies regularly show bowls of fruits and nuts while Tarzan, unless memory fails, is never shown squatting over a haunch eating the flesh raw as in Burroughs’ novels.  As with Burroughs and the Nature Boys Tarzan rejects all the appurtenances  of civilization except for some mechanical engineering at which Tarzan was apparently a genius.  Might even have been a Nuclear Physicist even though he could barely grunt in the MGM movies.

     It seems clear that there was vitually no one who hadn’t heard of Tarzan or Burroughs.  Nearly everyone was influenced by the two.  It therefore seems probable that the Nature Boys, the nudists took Tarzan as an avatar.

     Certainly John Derek directed his movie, Tarzan, The Ape Man of the 1980s, concentrating on the sexual and nature aspects of the image.  No argument there, I hope.

     Now, the Bohemian scene in NYC was among other things a return to the primitive.  The crowd surrounding Andy Warhol in his Factory was a bunch of savages stripped of all but the rudiments of civilization.  They were the Tarzans of the asphalt jungle.  The more affluent savages, the Haute Boheme lived a life of sexual abandon that Burroughs, Wells and Freud could only have dreamed of, and they did dream of it.

     Once the attitude was institutionalized at Studio 54 the world Burroughs, Wells and Freud longed for was realized.  It was Hetaerism and Matriarchialism on wheels, a complete overthrow of Patriarchalism.  Our three musketeers would have gained easy admitance and found each in his own particular utopia.  From 1880 to 1980 was only a hundred years.  A short time indeed to overturn civilization.

     Burroughs was a leading figure in this revolution.



H.G. Wells, Sigmund Freud, Edgar Rice Burroughs

And The Development Of Contemporary Sexual Attitudes


R.E. Prindle

Edgar Rice Burroughs And His Tiger

     To put our three protagonists into perspective:  Sigmund Freud The eldest of the three was born in 1856, Wells in 1866 and Burroughs, the youngest in 1875.  All three were heavily influenced by Charles Darwin and the various theories of Evolution.  While today Darwin is touted as the sole source of evolution he was in fact one of many voices as the theory of evolution developed.  Thus all three spent their formative years in the latter half of the nineteenth century.  Freud was 44 as the century turned in 1900, Wells 34 and Burroughs 25 each neatly spaced 10 years from his predecessor.

     Wells was the first to make the leap into prominence followed by Freud and then Burroughs.  All three men were desperate to find fame and fortune.  Freud even advtertised he’d sell his soul to do it.

     Wells came from close to the bottom of the social ladder.  His parents eked out a living as shopkeepers without commercial abilities on the edge of London.  Wells’ father was an able cricket player who gained his self-esteem from that sport.  The parents split up.  His mother went into domestic service.  She placed young Wells as a Draper’s assistant- a clerk in a dry goods shop.  As one might well believe Wells rebelled at this dead end destiny in life.  Possessing a good brain Wells began a series of educational maneuvers that led to his being a student of T.H. Huxley, an apostle of  Evolution.  A science career seemed to be opening for Wells but he was led away by his sexual needs.  He married a cousin with whom he was a boarder in her mother’s house only to discover her Victorian notions of male-female sexual relations differed widely from his.  He divorced her taking up with a fellow student.  She was an able financial manager so he put her in charge and began chasing skirts.  It didn’t seem to bother his wife Catharine who he renamed Jane.  After a series of hairy but educational employments Wells began to find success in journalism and writing.  With his story The Time Machine he broke into the bigtime giving Jane some real work to do.   Quickly following The Time Machine up with his succession of sci-fi novels by 1900 he was assured of a lifetime income.


Bertie Wells

     It was well because his work after 1906 while prolific was unlucrative except for 1922’s Outline Of History. There was a winner.  The Outline was his second great break setting him up for the rest of his life along with the science fiction.  Ah, those Seven Science Fiction Novels.  And, of course, his close to amazing collection of short stories.  There was another gold mine.  Jane raked in the cash and Bertie, for that was how he wished to be called, spent it.

     He associated himself with the socialist Fabian Society of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century with their ‘advanced’ sexual notions.   Why the old Hetaerist notion of promiscuity is considered ‘advanced’ is beyond me.  At the same time Bertie claimed to be a Feminist.  The women’s Matriarchal movement was very active from mid-century on.  His Feminism, however, was concerned only with eliminating chastity thereby allowing any man access to any woman at any time, anywhere.  Purely Hetaeric, although Wells wouldn’t have understood his ancient roots in that manner.

     It was when Wells turned to his sex novels that he put his reputation in jeopardy.  After his intial spate of sci-fi his reputation slid, the only bright spot being The Outline Of History.  While his later novels, tend toward the tedious and require a certain determination to read through they are almost always redeemed by the social context.  I like Wells and don’t mind the stuff too much but I can’t recommend it very strongly.  It’s a matter of taste, either you like Wells or you don’t.

     Wells major themes are outlined in the last of the Seven Sci-Fi Novels- In The Days Of The Comet- when he shades into the sex novel.  In my estimation this is a very fine book as utopian novels go.  After Tono-Bungay and When the Sleeper Wakes it may be my favorite.  The turn of the century was a hey day of the utopian novel with the dystopian novel being introduced.  If you like the genre many fine ones were written:  News From Nowhere by William Morris.  I came to Morris late in life but if you like the mystical utopian or quasi-utopian novel Morris has a lot to recommend himself including several utopian forays.  I’m sure he influenced both Wells and Burroughs; Edward Bellamy’s Looking Backward is another fine example of the period.  They’re all bushwa but fun to read.  Utopian novels are usually a projection of the author’s own needs and desires into which all humanity is to conform.  Usually by some miracle all humanity becomes reconciled to living in universal harmony with no unseemly disturbances of the temper.  Museums and lecture halls flourish while dance halls and crime atrophy.  Culture is much more elevated.  To the most casual observor such an utopia is impossible without an alteration of the human brain.  Only one utopianist I have read has addressed that problem and that one is H.G., our Bertie.

     In The Days Of The Comet was published in 1906 at the time that Halley’s Comet was due to make its scheduled seventy-five year fly-by in 1910.  It was projected to pass very close to the earth which it did unlike its 1985 appearance when you had to know where to look for it.   Indeed, the comet came with trails of glory so bright you could read newsprint by it at night.

     Thus Wells uses the comet as his agent to change the physical structure of the human brain.  Wells fails to mention any change to the brains of the lesser animals and insects.  Perhaps the lion really did lie down with the lamb.  Before the comet, or the Big Change as the passing was referred to, people’s brains were as ours are now; after the Change they all resembled that of H.G.  I am in sympathy with Wells; I fancy that one morning I will sally forth, flick my finger tips a couple times, say abracadabra and the people of the world will be tranformed into clones of myself.  What’s holding me back is that I don’t know which will be the Big Morning and I don’t wish to be seen as an eccentric or worse who failed to take his medicine by repeatedly trying and failing.  You know, out there flicking my finger tips into the empty air.

      But, Wells had it worked out.  The comet came trailing this tail of green gas.  As the comet passed the gas enveloped the earth much like a magnetar, I suppose, knocking people out for several hours while the gas did its work.  When England came to the world was changed and everyone thought like Wells.  Sort of the same thing that was thought would happen when Obama was elected.  The Magic Negro would save us all.

     Actually the Comet reflected a change in Wells own circumstances.  In 1898 when Wells published The War Of The Worlds he was balanced between hope and despair.  He was close to financial independence but not quite there.  Thus in WOW the tone is  between hope and despair.   The world is invaded by Martians who destroy everything in their path, themselves being destroyed by a virus taken in through their beastly habit of drinking human blood.  One neglected detail is that the projectiles they arrived in trailed some green clouds.  The last projectile had a larger one so that perhaps Wells was going to develop the notion but then couldn’t work it in.  He did have the Martians project a black gas that killed people though.

     By 1906 his success was assured, he was shooting his pistol off around London having several sexual affairs so his outlook was brighter and, hence, that of the planet, so the novel describes the transition from the evil old world to the brave new one  In other words, Wells had passed from poverty to affluence.

      Sex is the issue here.

     Before the Comet Willie, the hero, was courting his childhood sweetheart Nettie from whom he expected to be her sole sexual companion.  In the weird old world sex was exclusive.  They had committed themselves to each other as children which remained a claim in Willie’s mind.

     However Willie is a poor boy with no prospects.  Nettie is courted by the rich guy’s son, Verrall with whom she runs off.  Willie treks 16 miles to see her only to find she has abandoned her parents’ home in company with Verrall.  Well, Willie’s not going to endure such treatment from Nettie or take that from Verrall so he steals some money, buys a revolver and a train ticket to track them down and shoot them dead.  You see, in the days before The Big Change that was the way things were done.

     In the meantime the Comet is getting closer, C-hour is near, and war breaks out between England and Germany, this is eight years before 1914 so Bertie exhibits his prescience.    The details are well handled so we have the increasing color of the green cloud and the flash and boom of the big navel guns as the climax takes place by the seashore.  This was really nicely handled.

     Willie tracks the couple down to a Bohemian enclave on the East Anglian coast.  Nettie and Verrall had gotten married so it seems rather odd that they searched out a Bohemian enclave.   So, as the battle rages and the green cloud descends on the earth Willie is chasing the couple down the beach firing his pistol wildly.  This is the moment of the Big Change.  Everybody gets gassed for a few hours then arise, born again, in a new heaven and a new earth.  Utopia!

      The same device is used a few decades later in the great movie The Village Of The Damned.  A good device.  It won’t go stale.

      In the new world, new rules and reasonings apply.  Nettie no longer has to choose between Willie and Verrall.  She can have both…and more.

     As Willie comes to he hears groaning.  The groaning is coming from a prominent politician who was out bicycling at two in the morning when the green fog descended and  fell off his bike as he conked breaking his ankle.  Thus Willie makes a connection changing the direction of his life allowing him to become prominent in the establishment of this brave new world.  Thus he later meets Nettie and Verrall on equal terms.

     Nettie informs Verrall that she wants a menage a trois with Willie to which, in this best of all impossible worlds, Verrall compliantly agrees.  Later Willie marries making the arrangment a menage a quatre.  Neato!  Was this all?  No…

     In the frame for the story it turns out that the story teller is Willie.  In the Frame Wells comes upon this white haired old dude, Willie,  writing this memoir.  He has pages clipped in fascicles of fifty that Willie allows the editor, H.G., to read.

      Finishing the last fascicle the author asks if Nettie had sexual relations with others.  The white haired dude replies somethng like this:  ‘Oh, heavens, yes.  Hundreds.  You don’t think a beautiful girl like Nettie wouldn’t attract numerous suitors do you?’

     So there you have it.  In the brave new world the woman of Wells’ dreams is a mere sex object who spends her life being pawed by, shall we say, all comers.  A Hetaerist’s dream.  This is Wells’ sexual program.  At this point he began to lose readers.  Too avant garde; you don’t want to get too far out in front of the pack.  In addition to the sexual proselytizing of his novels he carried his didacticism to extremes advancing educational theories for instance.  For over a hundred years we’ve been told our educational system is faulty.  New systems have succeeded new systems.   After over a century of tinkering are people better schooled?  No.  They’re worse.  There’s only one way to learn and that’s the drudgery of study.  Not every mind is prepared to do that, somebody’s going to be left behind.  Wells’ notions as everyone else’s is what they think they would have liked.  No study.  Lots of play.

     At any rate carrying all these utopian notions Wells passed through the horrific war years to have all his expectations disappointed.  Not surprisingly his mind broke and he went into a deep depression.   First he tried the God trip and when that failed he embraced the Communist Revolution in Russia.  He essentially became an agent of Moscow.  As a very prominent writer he was a desirable acquistion for the Revolution.  As a major theorist and propagandist he had an entree first to Lenin and then after 1924 when Lenin died, Stalin.

     In 1921 he interviewed Lenin and received his instructions.  the Soviets had a system of State prostitution.  These women were assigned as agents to service writers while spying on them for Moscow.  In 1921 he met Moura Budberg for whom he fell.  At that time she had been assigned to manage a consular agent, Bruce Lockhart, who along with the agency was in process of being expelled.  Wells became intensely jealous of Lockhart because of this connection badmouthing him from then on.  In any case Moura Budberg was assigned to Maxim Gorky then living in exile in Italy with whom she stayed until Gorky was enticed back to the USSR at which time she was reassigned to shepherd Wells.

     Now Wells became a Soviet literary hatchet man.  It was his job to interfere and discredit writers who refused to propagate the Party line.  Among these was Edgar Rice Burroughs who had proclaimed his anti-Communism with a tract or study titled Under The Red Flag of 1919.   Publishers refused the piece.  Wells anti-Burroughs campaign was so discreet that my discovery of it three or four years ago was the first mention of it.  I repeat the story here for those who have not read my earlier essays.

     In the first place all these writers read each other.  Kipling and Haggard for instance read each other as well as writers like Wells and Burroughs and vice versa.  They could pass disguised messages in their novels.  As Burroughs was the last of these writers to begin writing and that in US pulp magazines in 1912 that may never have reached Europe while his book titles only reached print in 1914 after the Great War began and were only the Tarzan titles until the end of the decade Wells may not have read Burroughs until 1918 or slightly after.  Nevertheless Burroughs influence shows in Wells’ 1923 effort Men Like Gods.  This book also ridicules Burroughs.

     Men Like Gods takes place in a parallel universe.  There is some resemblance to the Eloi of The Time Machine.  For the first time Wells’ characters are nearly nude.  This was the only time he ever did this so he was probably under the influence of Burroughs whose characters never wore clothes or only minimally.

     Burroughs apparently picked up the references or had them pointed out to him.  In any event in 1926 he wrote The Moon Maid in answer to Wells, The First Men In The Moon.  Wells’ book was pretty clumsycompared to that of Burroughs who demonstrated his imaginative superiority by running circles around Wells.  The second part of the story was a rewrite of Under The Red Flag that was a direct challenge to the Soviets.  By 1926 of course Stalin was directing the USSR.

     Wells then countered with an undisguised attack that portrayed Burroughs as insane.  This was Mr. Blettsworthy On Rampole Island.  Here Wells parodied a pulp magazine story not yet in book form, The Lad And The Lion, and the last third of The Land That Time Forgot.  Burroughs returned the fire with Tarzan At The Earth’s Core and Tarzan The Invincible that featured Stalin himself as a character.

Moura Budberg Young

     At about this time Moura Budberg was assigned to Wells as a concubine as Gorky had returned to the USSR.  This was to cause a falling out between Wells and Stalin while perhaps leading to Stalin’s assassination in 1953.

     Burroughs’ entire series of novels from Tarzan At The Earth’s Core to Tarzan And The Lion Man deals with Wells and the Reds.  The Communists attacked unrelentingly on several fronts probably robbing Burroughs blind in royalties while trying to squeeze off his sales.  His British publishers did just that.  Although it appears that they refused or were reluctant to keep his titles in print Alan Hodge and Robert Graves in their history of the twenties and thirties, The Long Weekend, twice refer to Burroughs’ great popularity, once in the twenties and once in the thirties.

     In Germany the Communists attacked ERB for his anti-German comments in books written during the war

Moura Budberg Old

years thereby destroying that lucrative market.  The Soviets never paid royalties anyway so there was no monetary effect from that market.  In the US Burroughs had troubles with his publishers McClurg’s and Grossett & Dunlap who seem quite hostile  to in the correspondence in the archives at ULouisville.  ERB left McClurg in the late twenties going through two more publishers before winning the battle by publishing under his own imprint. Thus by 1930’s Tarzan The Invincible, note the title, he seemed to have won the battle if not the war.

     However sound had come to the movies in 1927-28 which rearranged the playing field.  Rather than just being ‘flickers’ they were now more on a par with literature while being even more influential.  With sound the movie version of a story took pecedence over the book, heck, it took precedence over history.  Thus the movie version took precedence as the canon over the book, the latter became an adjunct that few read in comparison to those who saw and heard the movie.   As the movies paid in one lump sum what it might take years to dribble in as royalties authors were willing to give the devil a cut to have their novels produced.  Books could be issued in their thousands of titles a year but there were only a couple hundred movies released in a year.  The number of producers had been consolidated from many to a few after the shakeout of the twenties, hence combines like Metro, Goldwyn and Mayer, Radio-Keith-Orpheum- RKO- and the combine of Twentieth Century Pictures and William Fox.

     MGM was of course top dog by far.  There was no vacuum there but the Commies moved in anyway soon taking over de facto control.  When Burroughs published his own books, quite profitably, he had slipped the noose but only temporarily.  As a strategist he did poorly.  In 1931, because Burroughs didn’t ever bother to dread his contracts, MGM finessed his meal ticket, Tarzan, from him thereby making him financially dependent on them.  Even though they might have exploited the Tarzan character by making two or three movies a year and zillions of dollars they chose to make only six movies between 1931 and 1940 thereby keeping Burroughs on a short financial lease while depriving him of hundreds of thousands of dollars in income.  Remember that at the same time Roosevelt after 1933 drove the income tax rate as high as 90% so there was some difficulty forcing a grin in those trying times.

     This is a good story and I covered it in some detail in my ten part review of Tarzan And The Lion Man, expecially parts 6-10 to which I refer you if you’re interested.  Wells and Burroughs bickered back and forth although it appears that Burroughs lost heart after Tarzan And The Lion Man.  By that time he knew he had been had.  He did concede defeat in the issuance of a book version of  The Lad And The Lion in 1935; a notice to both Wells and Stalin.   The story was a short one so while leaving the old story as  a notice to Wells who had mocked him and the story in his Blettsworthy novel, Burroughs interpolated chapters with a story mocking the Communist Revolution in Russia.  Then he retired from the field.

     However he gives Wells a grand slam in the story of  ‘God’ in the middle of Lion Man.  That is a great story within the story however I wasn’t clear on its relation to Wells at the time so I will give a modified version here.

     Now, Burroughs had a remarkable mind.  He was able to carry the story lines of hundreds of books he had read in his head retrieving details whenever they suited his needs.  He was always conscious of what he was doing but he wrote pastiches anyway.

     The story of Tarzan and God mocks Wells’ The Island Of Dr. Moreau.  Burroughs had already used Moreau in his 1913 novel The Monster Men plus he wrote around the theme repeatedly.  Moreau itself plays around with the Frankenstein theme which also figures prominently in Burroughs’ literary antecedents.

     Remember that Burroughs is able to combine numerous details of other books into one composite figure so that Wells is only one source for the character of ‘God’ in Lion Man.  For our purposes one may assume that when Tarzan talks to God (smirk) it is equivalent to Burroughs talking to Wells.  Gone is the transcendant confidence of Tarzan The Invincible and Tarzan Triumphant.  However the coup of the capture of Tarzan in 1931 when Burroughs signed away his rights to the movie representation of Tarzan to MGM had stripped Burroughs of all defences and he himself was now trapped in a cage at the mercy of MGM, Wells and Stalin.  During Tarzan’s movie history dating back to the late teens Burroughs had always complained, making a nuisance of himself because the studios weren’t following his stories closely.  Now, he had given MGM the right to create their own stories.  ERB was dissatisfied with the representation of Tarzan but the character was so good that even though MGM tried they couldn’t destroy it.

     Nevertheless they were in a position to substitute the movie Tarzan for the literary Tarzan in the public mind and they did.  For me and many others the discovery that there was a literary Tarzan came long after we had been viewing Tarzan movies.  We invariably found the literary Tarzan superior.  For now Tarzan/ERB was imprisoned in a cell.  The best ERB can do is to come up with a better Moreau story than Wells.

     So, ERB creates a mock London, England in the wilds of Africa with a replica of the court of Henry VIII peopled by mutated gorillas.  By 1930 when this story was written ERB was probably as well informed about evolution as anyone.  He had kept up his reading becoming as knowledgeable concerning genetics as any but researchers.  Thus while thirty years earlier Moreau had been clumsily experimenting with vivisection ‘God’ had used the lastest genetic techniques that ERB can devize to convert gorillas into a cross between apes and human beings.  The apes of God are human in all but appearance.  There are many jokes concealed in this episode, apes of God perhaps being one.  Wyndham Lewis used the term apes of God as a synonym for writers so he may be calling Wells as God and writer an ape.  ‘God’ himself who has exchanged ape genes with himself is now half ape.  See, a joke.  Whether Wells recognized his portrait isn’t known.

     Tarzan sets about to escape but as there is no escape from his real life situation ERB merely burns God’s castle down disrupting one supposes the USSR.  Perhaps gratifying to the imagination but futile for changing his situation.  No longer in control of his creation Burroughs creative powers begin to atrophy.

Uncle Joe As FDR Would Say

     Thus Stalin triumphed over his literary adversary.  Perhaps Stalin despised writers for he set out to humiliate Wells after the defeat of Burroughs.  As noted the State prostitute Moura Budberg had formerly serviced Maxim Gorky while after his return Budberg was assigned to Wells.  H.G. had fallen hard for Budberg apparently seriously in love with her.  Stalin called Wells to Moscow in 1936 when Gorky was on his last legs, about to die.  Budberg was also in Moscow but when Wells asked to see her she told him she was called out of town.  In a rather malicious ploy Stalin arranged for Wells to see Gorky and Budberg together as, of course, she wasn’t out of town.

     Wells was completely destroyed unable to penetrate Stalin’s duplicity, or at least believe it, at the time.  However when it finally sank in  he had no  more means to retaliate  than Burroughs so he wrote a book too- The Holy Terror.  In that book, the ruffian leader of the revolution, or Stalin in real life,  has lost the ability to lead the revolution and has to be discreetly removed.  A conspiracy is set afoot.  A doctor’s plot in which the leader is artfully removed by medical means.  I am unaware of how much influence Wells may have had to incite others to achieve his result.  At any rate the War intervened making it inexpedient to dispatch Stalin while Wells died in 1946 before he could reactivate the plan.

     It may be coincidence but Stalin discovered a doctor’s plot in the early fifties that he was able to foil.  However Khruschev and Beria and others poisoned Stalin at a dinner in 1953 thus removing this singularly successful but troublesome dictator.

     The turmoil of the thirties may have derailed Wells sexual program somewhat but sexual matters were still moving in his desired direction.  Sexual matters had been loosened a great deal but there were still miles to go.

Sex And The Psyche


     In Part III I will deal with the key mover in sexual matters, Sigmund Freud who was the second of the three to reach prominence.  Thus Burroughs the third to arrive on the scene and the last to leave will be saved for the last part.




H. G. Wells, Sigmund Freud, Edgar Rice Burroughs

And The Development Of Contemporary Sexual Attitudes


R.E. Prindle

Part I

     Certainly it is to be hoped that (the) naturalistic school of writing will never take firm root in England, for it is an accursed thing.  It is impossible to help wondering if its followers ever reflect on the mischief that they must do, and, reflecting do not shrink from the responsiblility to look at the matter from one point of view only, Society has made a rule for the benefit of the whole community, individuals must keep their passions within certain fixed limits, and our system is so arranged that any transgression of this rule produces mischief of one sort or another, if not actual ruin, to the transgressor.  Especially is this so is she be a woman.  Now, as it is, human nature is continually fretting against these artificial bounds, and especially among young people it requires considerable fortitude and self-restraint to keep the feet from wandering.  We all know too, how much this sort of indulgence depends upon the imagination, and we all know how easy it is for a powerful writer to excite it in that direction.  Indeed, there could be nothing more easy to a writer of any strength or vision, especially if he spoke with an air of evil knowledge and intimate authority.  There are probably several men in England at this moment who, if they turned their talents to this end, could equal, if not outdo, Zola himself, with results that would shortly show themselves among the population.  Sexual passion is the most powerful lever with which to stir the mind of man, for it lies at the root of all things human; and it is impossible to over-estimate the damage that could be worked by a single English or American writer of genius, if he grasped it with a will.

–H. Rider Haggard

Appendix to the Broadview

Edition Of  She

Edgar Rice Burroughs

           For a long time now I’ve put off writing about Edgar Rice Burroughs in relation to H.G. Wells.  Wells has been difficult to get a handle on, a point of entry.  But the Woodrow Nichols’ article on nudity in Burroughs on ERBzine pointed in the direction of changing sexual attitudes in the twentieth century.  Coupled with reading the above quote of Rider Haggard I realized that Wells and Burroughs were two of those powerful writers capable of unleashing those sexual passions.  They, coupled with Sigmund Freud, did change sexual attitudes in the twentieth century.

     That is not to say they were alone but of all of the hundreds of writers between then and now all their books remain in print continuing their work.

     The sexual problem is central to civilization while it has been handled differently in the development of civilization.  For some time it seemed that the Patriarchal model would be permanent.  J.J. Bachofen, the great Swiss mythologist of the mid-nineteenth century, was the first to challenge the Patriarchal model.  In his studies of mythologies he perceived that behind the Patriarchy first came a Matriarchy while at the beginning was a Hetaeric period.  All three had different sexual approaches while all three attitudes have survived into the current age competing for dominance.

     In the first Hetaeric stage of development Bachofen believed men used women, and woman, indiscriminately whether with force of persuasion when the sexual urge hit him.  A good picturalization of this can be found in the movie, In Quest Of Fire.  As there was no knowledge of how offspring were conceived the women of the horde merely accepted the inevitable bumper crop of children.

     Being a sexual object puts an unbearable burden on the female of the species no matter how natural.  Since most females began bearing at twelve or thirteen with the  onset of puberty they were worn out at twenty with few probably surviving to thirty.  Indeed, a huge percentage must have died in child birth from twelve to twenty.  One imagines a surplus of males in the horde not unlike affairs in the nineteenth century when men frequently went through two or three wives or more as the women died young in childbirth.

J.J. Bachofen- One Of The Greats

     While conception or paternity wasn’t recognized there was no mistaking motherhood.  By some process of refinement the sexual mores of hordes evolved into Matriarchy which acknowledged female parentage while giving women some sort of sexual control, preference if you will.  The change from the Hetaeric to the Matriarchal inevitably left behind a reactionary or conservative group who saw no reason for change or giving up their sexual prerogatives.  Thus conflicts between the two attitudes, perhaps warfare.

     The Matriarchy was still thriving when history began to be recorded.  Thus Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey concern the Patriarchal revolution against the Matriarchy amongst the Europeans.  By now paternity had been discovered by which the male discovered that he impregnated the female which he now considered the most important part of the process and one which involved the exclusive use of the female as he had no wish to care for another man’s children.  Hence Patriarchalism- the primacy of the father-  evolved putting the three systems into conflict and competition.  This is a main theme of Greek mythology.

     Concessions had to be made to the Hetaerists who were irate at the loss of their prerogatives.  Hence temple prostitution undoubtedly evolved in which all the young females were kept in a temple compound until they had sex with any man who demanded it.  Civilization being civilization, of course, there was a fee, hence protitution.  Upon completion of the duty the female was released.

     The Patriarchal revolt was a long slow drawn out process with many setbacks and compromises such as the above.  Indeed, the Patriarchal god, Apollo, wrested Delphi from the Matriarchy but in the Matriarchal reaction he was forced to share the shrine with the effiminate Matriarchal hybrid god, Dionysus who, himself was destined to replace Zeus as the avatar of the Piscean Age.  He assumed both male and female characteristics in the attempt to arrange the sexual conflict.  That’s why the Jewish prophet Jesus of Nazareth, who substituted for  him in yet another compromise is so effiminate.  With the admixture of the Semitic influence in European religion with its uncompromising Patriarchalism the evolving Catholic Church was all but able to extinguish the Matriarchal Dionysian influence as well as the Hetaeric.  Chastity, celibacy and monogamy became not only dominant but exclusive.

     Just as the Matriarchy, while suppressed, has never disappeared or admitted defeat so also the Hetaerists have survived assuming different disguises while waging continued war with the Patriarchy and the Scientific view which is say Western Science and the Roman Catholic Church.

     Reviled by the Church and persecuted sometimes to death the various sects fought back often posing as Catholics to become priests, even occasionally a Pope, and bore from within.  Thus arose the Free Spirit sect which demanded the right of access to any woman at any time in any place.  Thus John Sinclair in 1960s and 70s demanding the right to ‘fuck in the streets.’  An irrational request by any other standard.   The Free Spirits delighted in debauching nuns when they had sufficient numbers to seize a place.

     The spirit surfaced among the Anabaptists, for instance, who were not only suppressed but destroyed root and branch.  With the Enlightenment when the Hetaerists surfaced as the Libertines we hear of them forwarding the French Revolution while their ideals were absorbed by the nascent Communist political movement.  The Libertines per se seem to have transmogrifed into La Vie Boheme after the Napoleonic Empire, Bohemianism reaching down to our time.

      La Vie Boheme as depicted by the French novelist Henri Murger evolved in the early nineteenth century along with their more overtly criminal cousins, the Mohicans of Paris as the novelist Alexandre Dumas styled them and known as Apaches by the end of the century.  In the US fifties the Apaches were represented on TV with a mystifyingly violent effect as Apache dancers from France.  I suppose the Apache style was transmogrified into the New York Bohemian style also.  So this quasi-criminal Bohemian Apache style pervaded Euroamerican civilization through the nineteenth century and in diluted form into the twentieth and present day.  The Fall 2010 Nordstrom catalog for instance celebrates the New York Haut Boheme.


H.G. Wells

    I was trying to relate this latter day form of Behemianism to Burroughs in my three part series on Presley, Lennon and Yoko Ono that Bill Hillman courageously published in ERBzine but over some very strenuous objections.  I presume I lost the Bibliophiles on that issue.

     That Burroughs was fascinated by the Bohemian style while actually furthering the Hetaeric sexual program is fairly obvious.  He said that he wrote his first unpublished work, Minidoka, in Ragtime speech, that is to say the Bohemian mode.  In other words ERB considered himself plenty hep, at least a closet Bohemian.  Some may find that disturbing but, it is so.  In ’60s NYC terminology ERB would hve been of the  Haut Boheme.  Along with those sympathies went a set of Hetaeric sexual mores that Burroughs advocated.

     I have already examined the Bohemian influence of George Du Maurier on Burroughs with his novels Peter Ibbetson, Trilby and The Martian.  Du Maurier was also of the Haut Boheme.  A photograph of ERB behind the camera in  Idaho in 1899 shows ERB dressed in full artistic Boho mode.  He had just emerged from a short stay at the Chicago Art Institute where he would have immersed himself in Boho mores as artists then and now were virtually all Boho, at least in outlook.  Writers too.

      It seems quite extraordinary that Libertinism was discouraged and contained between the end of the eighteenth and beginning of the nineteenth century.  Perhaps the answer can be found in the transition from aristocratic society to bourgeois society.   Perhaps the Bourgeois requiring a different sexual morality than the aristocracy  succeeded in imposing their version of sexual mores by sheer numbers.

     Libertinism did regain prominence amongst the wealthy Haut Boheme of NYC thence spreading throughout society as a Bohemian sensibility began to displace the Bourgeois.

     A book I have reviewed on ERBzine, found in ERB’s library which he read, GWM Reynolds’ The Mysteries Of The Court Of London scrupulously records the libertine activities in a fictional form of Prince George, later King George IV, whose career of seduction ended only in the 1820s.  Certainly Reynolds’ depiction of the libertine actiities of George and his circle out Zolaed Zola by more than somewhat.

     The whole libertine attitude was nowhere more prominently displayed than in NYC’s Haut Boheme nightclub, Studio 54.  So the suppression of the libertine spirit during and since the reign of Queen Victoria was short.  Perhaps Haggard’s novel She echoes the memories of the Libertinage of the eighteenth century  Hellfire Club in some obscure way.

     Haggard had no reason to put on airs because as I pointed out in my review of his King Solomon’s Mines that novel is smutty from top to bottom while ‘She’ has some very salacious passages.  As Horace stands watching the scene of She and the dead body of Kallicrates for instance one is more than excited.  She had murdered her former lover Kallicrates for running off with another woman.  Immediately remorseful she kept the body preserved in perfect condition for two thousand years.  She could even psychically animate the body so that it stood although still insensate.  The necrotic effect is hypnotizing,  making the reader a voyeuristic accomplice of Horace.   As he and we watch the bodice of She’s  dress slips to her waist exposing her magnificent charms according to your imagination.  As we watch she then raises her arms above her head lifting and pointing the golden orbs.  She does this not once but twice so it is clear Haggard was exciting and taunting his readers.  If one imagines Ursula Andress who played She in one of the movies the effect is exhilarating indeed.

Ursula Andres As She

     Haggard aside, as he says there were writers in England and America who were champing at the bit to alter the course of sexual history.  Chief among these was H.G. Wells in England and our own Edgar Rice Burroughs.  Both would make significant contributions to the ‘change’ but the most effective writer of them all was the secret sexual pervert, the undisputed master of them all, Sigmund Freud.  But to go first to H.G. Wells and take things in order.

The Mad Herr Doktor Professor


The Last Sane Man Left Alive





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



Alan Clayson

Yoko Ono And The Men Who Influenced Her

Review by R.E. Prindle

Clayson, Alan: Woman: The Incredible Life Of Yoko Ono, Chrome Dreams, 2004.


Girlish Yoko- Warhol School by Richard Bernstein

     Yoko Ono involved herself with several of the most influential men in the arts during the sixties, seventies and eighties of the twentieth century.  She drew her inspiration from them patterning her own efforts after them.  At the same time she was one of the leading feminists of the day having her share in shaping and furthering the movement.  The mantra was female liberation, equality between men and women.  In fact women were equal to men in the West but only by acknowledging the biological differences between men and women.  The fact is the differences are real and not social constructs as women would have us believe.  The fact is women are women and men are men.   So, in seeking ‘female liberation’ feminists were seeking much more than ‘equality’ however the term may be defined.

     The fact is that in the Ages old war between the sexes feminists are seeking to restore the Matriarchy and destroy the Patriarchy.  That is why many men favor feminism, they prefer the Matriarchy.  Thus the feminists are atavistic.  Yoko and her cohorts wished, in her words, to restore ‘heart’ as she viewed the Matriarchy and eliminate ‘reason’ as she viewed quite rightly the basis of  Patriarchalism.  Nevermind that bilogical science has invalidated the concepts of Matriarachy and Patriarchy.  This is a post Matriarchy and Patriarchy world.

     Circa -2000 in the West men revolted against the mind stifling Matriarchy and the vaginal swamp of the ‘heart’ seeking to establish

Smilin' Jack Cage

the authority of the infinite power of the mind of Zeus on ethereal Olympus.  This is the story of Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey and the Greek myths in general recording the struggle.

     The Western male was able to impose the ascendency of reason over the heart for 3000 years until the disestablishment of the old order by science about mid-nineteenth century.  The center could not hold during this period of extreme change as W.B. Yeats put it as the rearrangement of the intellectual order moved into the twentieth century.

     Yoko Ono sought with her feminist fellows to return to the biological innocence of 2000 BC.  She herself had no talent.  Filled with audacity she pitted her ‘heart’ against the reason of John Cage, Andy Warhol and John Lennon.  I’m sure she had a mentor for her so-called performance art but I am as yet unaware of who he may be.  Perhaps Maciunas and the Fluxus group.

     Thus her first manifestation as an artist was based on the musical ideas of John Cage while her artistic efforts were at least based in the avant garde ideas of the Fluxus group.  Her first assault on the NYC art world failed so in 1961 she returned in defeat to Japan.  When she returned to NYC in 1964 she found an entirely different art scene.  On the musical side the focus was on Bobby Dylan and the Beatles while on the artistic side Andy Warhol and his Factory had destroyed the Abstract Expressionists and the old avant garde.  Dylan, the Beatles and Warhol had in fact usurped the avant garde which now had little meaning.  From my point of view held at the time the avant garde had ceased to exist.  Of course I didn’t understand exactly why or how.

     From 1964 when Yoko returned to NYC until 1966 when she left for London I’m sure Yoko was at a loss.  She developed her silly

The Bag Yoko And Tony Are In

notion of Bagism at this time even having a black bag on a stand in Max’s Kansas City that some one or ones were supposed to slide into.  This seems to have been thought a lame idea at the time as it seems now.

      At this time while retaining allegiance to John Cage’s musical ideas she was falling under the influence of Andy Warhol’s artistic notions.  Warhol’s intent had been to destroy the idea of ‘fine art’.  In this he pretty well succeeded.  As Yoko expressed it you didn’t need any talent to be an artist.  She seems to demonstrate this notion in her own artistic efforts.  Warhol had also redefined the notion of film with his static studies.  He then sought to combine his film ideas with live music, probably in competition with Bob Dylan who was also attempting to move in that direction.   Warhol adopted Lou Reed and his band the Velvet Underground as the Factory house band while creating a multi-media show called the Exploding Plastic Inevitable, innovative for its time.  Thus a concert at his hall, the Dom, was an ‘experience.’

     While Yoko makes no mention about how this, actually, incredible development affected her there can be no doubt that she was well aware of Dylan, the Beatles and the Warhol Experience and was affected by it.  Indeed, the first manifestation was the making of her Warhol style films such as Bottoms.

     The second manifestation was her removal to London to seduce either Lennon or McCartney of the Beatles, thus in the manner of Warhol’s adoption of the Velvet Underground she sought to co-opt the Beatles, the premier rock group in the world.  Real chutzpah and more than one upping Warhol.  I think it would be nonsense to think she had any other goal in mind.

     She undoubteldy learned that Paul McCartney was actively involved with John Dunbar and his Indica Gallery that opened in 1965. 

Psychedelic Dylan

Some say she first set her sights on McCartney but the more vulnerable Lennon showed up and the Spider Woman spread her web.

     She was still married to her second husband, Tony Cox, but, regardless of what she says she very aggressively pursued, or attacked, Lennon.  Lennon was emotionally under water unable to handle his success while drugging himself out of his mind.  He was unwillingly married to his wife Cynthia.  It appears that he married Cynthia out of duty when she became pregnant.  He doesn’t seem to have been happy in his virtue.  Yoko had no difficulty in capturing his affections.

      Now, just as Warhol had adopted the Velvets and imposed his female singer, Nico, on the band Yoko sought to imp[ose herself on the Beatles through Lennon.  At this time she was still musically completely in thrall to John Cage understanding nothing about Rock music.  She and Lennon had made a ridiculous LP called Two Virgins in 1968.  She combined her cagian screechings while using an avant garde ‘performance’ notion of the couple posing nude on the cover; full frontal on the obverse, full posterior on the reverse.  As no store would carry the cover the couple reverted to Yoko’s idea of Bagism placing the cover inside a plain manila envelope or bag.  While it didn’t sell the record this form of Bagism was actually a successful artistic statement.  The nude cover given an outer garment so to speak.

     Well, the public was prepared to forgive the Beatles anything but the other three Beatles weren’t prepared to forgive Yoko for forcing herself on them thus she broke up the most successful act of the sixties.  Still, she had succeeded according to her wildest dream.  Lennon and his wonderful reputation and fortune were hers.  She had gone from a neglected, nondescript ‘performance’ artist to center stage, not on her own womanly talents but by attaching herself to a talented man.   Yoko’s ‘heart’ was useless without the male intellect.   Yoko was now the most influencial feminist in the world.  She knew what to do with that.

     After several ‘performance’ acts such as the ‘Bed In For Peace’ the couple left England to return to the place Yoko wished to subjugate artistically, New York City.  She had raised herself to a par with Andy Warhol.  She now had to meld her musical and artistic goals through Lennon and Warhol.

     On the musical side she began to develop her rock n’ roll skills under  the tutelage of Lennon.  While not abandoning the avant garde notions of John Cage she now emasculated her husband.  Always semi-delusional or perhaps completely so, she fantasized that she was not only equal to Lennon in skill and popularity but superior to him.   She imagined herself more popular than Lennon.  Thus one has such travesties as the LP Double Fantasy.  It was only after Lennon’s death that she was forced to recognize than Lennon’s fans did not appreciate her efforts.  So she failed as a musician.

     She quickly tired of being Mrs. Lennon.  Thus she and Lennon separated for eighteen months or so during the years 1973-75.  She then realized that her financial well being and musical acceptance depended on Lennon.  In 1975 she called him back resuming their relationship until his death in 1980.  But, things had changed.

     She began to adopt Warhol’s life style on her return to NYC.  While she propagated the notion that she was some sort of business whiz Iam having difficulties discovering any such skills.  It appears that with the enormous income of Lennon she emulated Warhol in

Andy the Demon

spending her way to prosperity.

     She was in a position to not only match Warhol’s spending but exceeding it by many times.  Through the seventies and eighties Warhol came into his own as an artist while reaping a fortune doing portraits.  There appears to have been no effort on his part to invest in income producing vehicles.  Rather he bought stuff.  He purchased buildings in NYC and elsewhere while acquring undeveloped acreage in places like Aspen.  He shopped nearly every day buying antiques from furniture to objets d’ art by the bushel almost as though he were trying to excel the incredible W.R. Hearst.

     He usually didn’t even look at the stuff once he bought it merely filling rooms with his shopping bags.  At his death all this junk was auctioned off for 25 million dollars, a nice appreciation in value.

      Yoko followed the exact pattern buying apartments and houses as well as an extensive dairy farm with a herd of prize cows.  She not only had but has five apartments in her principal dwelling, the Dakota apartment building and many other houses scattered around.

     Like Warhol the Dakota apartments are stuffed with junk.  Valuable, but, you know, stuff.  She bought at good prices.  Her extensive collection of Egyptian antiquities was mostly purchased before a steep rise in value.

     Like the Rothschilds of old Yoko didn’t do all her own shopping but employed agents to search things out.  Chief among these was an associate of Warhol’s, Sam Green, and an Hungarian immigrant by the name of Sam Havadtoy.

Buddies- Yoko, John, Andy

     There should be no surprise then that she now has an extensive collection of  Warhol’s artwork as well as his portraits of Lennon.  The Warhols would have been purchased for form 25 to 50K while now being listed on her assets at tens of millions.  She also has been said to have a good collection of Magrittes as well as one assumes other artists.  So, much of her net worth is tied up in artwork purchased through Sam Green.

     Sam Havadtoy was an antiques dealer as well as an interior designer.  He appears to have been a somewhat shady character.  It is very difficult to find much about him, however there is a sharp portrait available from the notorious A.J. Weberman ( )

     …(the Lennons) hired a sleazy Eastern European bisexual to renovate the pad. (Dakota)  I had heard of this dude, whose name escapes me, from an asswipe named BRUCE KIRSH, who worked for him.   KIRSH told me that the dude, who worked for the King of Morocco, would form a dummy renovation company, hire employees like Kirsch who were willing to work under false names, then, when it came time to pay taxes, everyone would disappear.  I learned of him long before he was hired by John and Yoko, and I was taken aback when Yoko took up with him after John’s death.

     I know that Weberman is not particularly well thought of by fandom but this is because of his harassment of Dylan who did, after all, misrepresent himself to the revolutionaries like Weberman.  A.J. himself is an intelligent observer who was wading through it when it was deep.  I do believe he knows what he’s talking about although his interpretations of Dylan’s lyrics seem absurd.

     I would have to question Yoko’s judgment in taking him in.  Both he and Sam Green were candidates as successors to Lennon with

Lennon by Warhol

whom she consorted in front of  Lennon before he died while Yoko chose Havadtoy as his successor the day he died.

     Perhaps she selected Havadtoy over Green because he was more rough trade.  With Lennon while managing to reconcile revolution with peace and love with Havadtoy she discarded peace and love in favor of strong arm methods against her former employee Fred Seaman when it was totally unnecessary.

     Havadtoy was living in a homosexual arrangement with his business partner when Yoko beckoned him to switch to her.  Apparently an able switch hitter he was lured by the money to this much older woman.  The arrangement did last for twenty years before Havadtoy removed to his native Hungary taking a nice cash settlement and several of the Warhols.

     Thus, just as Warhol had his live-in homosexual arrangement so after Lennon’s death Yoko adopted the exact arrrangement.  Today she apparently lives alone, a seventy-eight year old woman.

     After Lennon’s death there was an accession of from 30 million to a possible 100 million dollars as their last album, Double Fantasy, sold into the millions while the rest of Lennon’s catalog and one assumes the Beatles’ catalog was reinvigorated while all things Lennon sold.   This is, of course, no reflection on Yoko but the inevitable result  with intellectual properties when the maker dies.

     Post-Lennon, then, Yoko realized that her recording and art careers were nil.  Heart without intellect is worthless.  She then became the caretaker of the Lennon legacy.  His recordings, of course, continued to sell, but even his artwork eclipsed that of Yoko.  So she suffered the humiliation of being a mere appendage to a man.  The feminine dismal swamp was eclipsed by the Olympian heights of the male intellect.   As in ancient times the God had trumped the Goddess.  And yet as with Hera and Zeus the Goddess gets her way.   Yoko came up with the money and goods while Lennon’s spirit was wafted into the stratosphere.

     As any reader of mythology knows Hera ruled the Lernean swamps of Argolis while Zeus ruled the gods on ethereal Olympus.  Thus one has the symbolism of the biological difference between the male and female.

     In ancient times the female had her share in magic.  She knew herbs and plants, was familiar with poisons and cures as with the arch witch of the ancient world, Medea.  The reputation of the female witch even as a consort of Satan persisted down through medieval and post-medieval times, indeed, even up to the dawn of the scientific enlightenment.  One would have thought that magic and witchery were a thing of the past in the 1960s and yet Yoko embodied the whole female swamp mentality.

     She established something called the Spirit Foundation attributing the direction to Lennon who in fact knew nothing of these matters but followed her lead.  The Spirit Foundation celebrated the ancient art of the Shaman or witch doctor.  Shamanism itself even preceded the Matriarchal swamps of Argolis.  It was a rich repository of magical tradition.  Further the Foundation was feminist in that it was dedicated to preserving the magical traditions of the women of the Pacific islands still living in such archaic societies.  The wealth generated by the male intellect was appropriated by the female vagina or ‘heart.’

     In her own life and that of Lennon’s Yoko was addicted to a variety of magical practices- astrology, numerology, Tarot readings, and indeed she traveled to the Caribbean to sell her soul to Satan through the offices of a female curandera.  Her Tarot reader, John Green, was a priest in the shamanistic, magical, Yoruban African cult of Santeria.

     Her feminism was more a magical effort to restory Matriarchal supremacy over the Patriarchy thus reversing the Patriarchal victory of three thousand years previously.  Indeed, what has been called the movement for female equality is nothing more than a covert campaign to restore the Matriarchy.

      Thus while Yoko o9riginatd nothing she usurped the abilities of the reason of men- Cage, Warhol, Lennon and male magicians such as John Green.  Indeed the Trojan War itself was a war of men in service of  women.

     In her associations with men she preferrred to deal with emasculated types such as homosexuals like Cage, Warhol, Sam Green and Sam Havadtoy.  Lennon claimed to have always been dependent of women for comfort and guidance while Yoko caught him at his most confused and vulnerable. 

     While she received direction from Cage and Warhol she was able to manipulate Lennon out of his talent somewhat as Vivian did that of Merlin of the Arthurian saga.  When Vivian had usurped Merlin’s magical knowledge she buried him deep much as Lennon was put out of the way.  Yoko  then appropriated his wealth and residual income after his death.   It was this constant inflow of cash that allowed her to propagate the notion that she was a financial genius.

      Then as the female of the ‘heart’ or vaginal swamp she managed and appropriated the reason of Olympus through Cage, Warhol and Lennon.  What she got from Havadtoy other than brute strength is not clear to me.

     As such Yoko is Woman.  In her case a seeming reversion to the archetypal Shaman of the most ancient times.




A Contribution To The

ERBzine  ERB Library Project



H. Rider Haggard

Review by R.E. Prindle

Part III

The Gruesome, The Morbid AndThe  Hideous

     Rider Haggard was criticized severely by certain of his contemporaries for employing so many gruesome, morbid and hideous details.  Indeed, ‘ She’ seems to be a study in the hideous, the gruesome and the morbid.  If one concentrates on those aspects of the story one might actually question Haggard’s mental health.

     Haggard himself calls attention to this morbidity.  In King Solomon’s Mines he pointed out  his humor with references to the Ingoldsby Legends; in She he makes a pointed reference to a Mark Tapley.  I had no idea who Mark Tapley might be but thought I’d consult that most magnificent of encyclopedias, the internet.  No problem.   Mark Tapley was a character from Charles Dickens’  Martin Chuzzlewit.  No matter how adverse the circumstances were Tapley was always cheerful and ebullient.  Haggard must have thought him ridiculous.  Thus he is devising a series of incidents that would bring even Mark Tapley down.  Hmm.  Interesting experiment.

     It would seem then that Haggard was suffering from a fairly deep depression.  In that sense She is sort of a horror story not too different in intent than, say, Bram Stoker’s Dracula.  Indeed,  at one point Ayesha explains that she rules by terror.  That being the most effective way to control brutes like the Amahagger.

     Certainly the storm at sea prior to entering Kor was an example of terror on the part of nature, a portent of things to come.   Not least of these was the hot potting and projected cannibalism of the surviving member of the ship’s crew, Mohammed.  ‘She’ had only required the safety of the Whites; as Mohammed was apparently a negrified Arab the Amahagger excluded him from the ban on Whites.  An interesting example of White Skin privilege.

     Their custom of killing their victims was to heat a pot red hot and turn it over on the victim’s head.  There’s a gruesome and hideous enough example.  You can see where Burroughs picked up his fascination for the gruesome and hideous.

     The Caves of Kor are actually a city of the dead.  Kor was an active civilization before Egypt existed  in the fifth or sixth millennium BC.  As embalming was a known practice when the Dynasties began c. 3400 the practice must have developed long before.  Quite possibly it was practiced by the peoples of the Basin before the Mediterranean was flooded.  In The World’s Desire Haggard mentions that the ancient Egyptians possessed writings in a precedent language.  If so, how far back things like embalming go might be prodigious.

     Egyptian embalming was primitive compared to that of the Korians.   While Egyptian mummies became desicated the Korian process was such that the body was preserved forever in an apparent state of health.  Thus bodies perhaps ten thousand years old or older had the appearance of  freshness. 

     Now, this is positively creepy.  Holly’s Amahagger attendent Bilalli while discussing Korian embalming  told Holly that while he was a young man a particularly beautiful female corpse occupied the very slab on which Holly slept.  Bilalli used to enter the cell and sit looking admiringly on the beautiful corpse by the hour.  One day his mother caught him at it.  The embalming fluid used was extremely flammable.  Bilalli’s mother stood the body up and lit it.  Like a huge torch the body burned down to the feet.  The feet were still as good as new.  Bilalli wrapped them and stored them beneath Holly’s slab.  Groping around beneath the slab he brought out those ten thousand year old feet, still fresh, except for some charring at the ankles.

     Haggard doesn’t stop there but goes on to emphasize the beauty of one particular foot.  One wonders if perhaps George Du Maurier read She becoming entranced by the foot image thus reproducing the image in his novel Trilby when Little Billee draws Trilby’s beautiful foot on th wall.  It is a thing Du Maurier would do as he inserted his literary baggage as profusely as Burroughs.

     What effect this image had on Haggard’s contemporary readers may be guessed from the complaints about his gruesomeness.

     In fact Haggard projects a depressed brooding evil permeating the Caves of Kor very well.  This may have been caused by his and Lang’s theories of the Matriarchy.  Human sacrifice was an integral part of the Matriarchal world.  The sacrifices were invariably of men because women had greater economic value.  When men were no longer sacrificed bulls, rams, the males of the species were substituted, the female still having greater economic value.  Thus the story of Isaac and the Ram.  That would be a great advance in civilization.  About that time Isis ceased being the Egyptian symbol of the firmament being replaced by the female cow as the symbol of economics.  Something like the kings of England sitting on the woolsack.

     Depending on Haggard’s and Lang’s theories of the Matriarchy then Haggard may have been portraying a consciousness that has ceased to exist.  There is always an element of misogyny in Haggard’s stories that is no longer tolerated.  Then men were men and women were women instead of the attempted strange unisexuality of today.  Thus the tens of miles of swamp between the Amahagger quarters  and the citadel of Kor indicate the extent and quality of the Matriarchy.  Swamps are the symbol of the female and the Matriarchy or, in other words, this very primitive superstitious consciousness.

     The Korian swamp was haunted by mephitic vapors, evil smelling and oppressive.  The ground they walked on was of uncertain solidity; it might look firm but this was only illusory as one could break through the crust.  Often the litter bearers were walking through evil smelling muck up to their knees.

     At one point an accident occurs and Bilalli’s litter with him in it is dumped into the slimy water.  He would have drowned if Holly hadn’t leaped into the rank female waters to save him.  They emerge looking something like the creature from the Black Lagoon.

     It will be remembered that Holly was something of a misogynist.  One may be stretching a point but even though rejecting women and marriage Holly managed to inherit a son from a man who was also a womanless widower.  Haggard makes a strong contrasting point when he says that Leo was not averse to female company.  The manservant, Job, is absolutely terrified of the female.

     After traversing this desolate swamp of the female for days they arrive at the citadel or temple of Kor.  Now, the citadel of Kor was built on an ancient lake bed that had been drained ten thousand years before.  In that sense Ayesha is the same as Nimue or the Lady Of The Lake of King Arthur.  Nemue lived at the bottom of a lake where she raised Lanclot who consequently was called Lancelot of the Lake.

     Compare this also with Haggard’s postumously published Treasure of the Lake in which the Anima figure lives on an island in the middle of  a lake in the middle of a volcanic crater.  The lake of Kor was also in the middle of a crater.

     When the Korian civilization was extinguished it wasn’t by invasion or other external reasons but by a  monster plague something like the fourteenth century european Black Death that wiped out nearly everyone.  At the resulting rate of death it wasn’t possible to embalm everyone so that tens of thousands of bodies were dumped into a huge subterranean pit.

     In conducting Holly and Leo on a guided tour of Kor which was one gigantic necropolis, talk about depressing, Ayesha brings them to this pit.  I quote:

     Accordingly I followed (She) to a side passage opening out of the main cave, then down a great number of steps, and along an underground shaft that cannot have been less than sixty feet beneath the surface of the rock, and was ventilated by curious borings that ran upward, I do not know where.  Suddenly this passage ended, and Ayesha halted, bidding the mutes return, and, as she prophesied, I saw a scene such as I was not likely to behold again.  We were standing in an enormous pit, or rather on the brink of it, for it went down deeper- I do not know how much- than the level on which we stood, and was edged in with a low wall of rock.  So far as I could judge, this was about the size of the space beneath the dome of St. Paul’s in London, and when the lamps were held up I saw that it was nothing but one vast charnel-house, being literally fullof thousands of human skeletons, which lay piled up in an enormous gleaming pyramid, formed by the slipping down of the bodies at the apex as others were dropped in from above.  Anything more appalling than this mass of human remains of a departed race I  cannot imagine, and what made it even more dreadful was that in this dry air a considerable number of bodies had become dessicated with the skin still on them, and now, fixed in every conceivable position, stared at us out of a mountain of white bones, grotesquely horrible caricatures of humanity.  In my astonishment I uttered an ejaculation, and the echoes of my voice, ringing in that vaulted space, disturbed a skull which hd been accurately balanced for many thousands of years near the apex of the pile.  Down it came with a run, bounding along merrily towards us, and of course bringing an avalanche of other bones after it, till at last the whole pit rattled with their movement, even as though the skeletons were rising up to greet us.

          Talk about a holocaust!  Imagine standing in that dimly lit space far beneath ground, in the grave itself so to speak,and viewing that.  Holly was overcome and perhap Mark Tapley himself would have lost a little of his cheeriness.  If that didn’t do it the ball Ayesha threw would have.

    Before I move on to that though let’s take a penultimate example that might actually unsettle Mark Tapley.  This is truly unsettling with truly macabre and voyeuristic soft porn details that are quite remarkable.    Let me say that it is only with the fourth reading that the horrific nature of these details really began to sink in.  I hope to really make this clear in the next section in which I intend to do an in depth analysis of Ayesha.

     In his cell at the citadel of Kor Holly notices a cleft in the wall he hadn’t noticed before.  This cleft is going to lead him to Ayesha’s sleeping room.  This is not unlike King Solomon’s Mines in which upon  entering the symbolic vagina  they were led to the womb or treasure box.  As I say Holly entered this cleft, let your imagination dwell on that,  and followed a dark, dank, narrow corridor until he perceived a light.

     He is looking into Ayesha’s sleeping room where in a certain deshabille, very erotic, she is addressing a covered form on a bier next to hers.  This is the embalmed body of Kallicrates who she murdered twenty-two hundred years before.  So she has been sleeping with this corpse for twenty-two centuries.  Now, dwell on that for moment, let the horror of it sink in.

     She addresses the corpse in a fairly demented way.  Twenty-two hundred years of this would drive anybody nuts.  Finally to the dismay of Holly she animates the body by telekinetic powers actually causing it to stand zombie like so she can kiss and caress it.  A lot of necrophilia in this novel.  Haggard must have been half dotty when he wrote this.  Of course Kallicrates is a double of Leo so Holly has all he can do to keep from crying out.  Causing the dead man to lay himself down Ayesha covers him and blows out the light.

     Holly has to find his way back in the dark reminding one of innumerable passages in Burroughs where his characters have to find their way in the dark.  Holly gets only so far and collapses in the tunnel.  Waking he sees a light coming in from his cell allowing him to find his way back.

     And then Ayesha throws her ball.  If you’ve read carefully and really ingested these macabre, gruesome, and as Burroughs’ would say, hideous details they’re beginning to oppress your mind, perhaps even a mind like Mark Tapley’s.

     Now Haggard trundles out the frosting.  To illuminate her ball Ayesha brings out piles of ten thousand year old corpses placing them around the perimeter as human torches.  Laying out a large bonfire the corpses are stacked alternately like so much cordwood and replaced as they were consumed.  Remember these are as fresh looking as you or I.  The Roman emperor Nero actually used live humans in the same manner.  Haggard notes this in the text which I thought weakened the effect.

     Ayesha seems to be aware of the effect, indeed, intended it and appears to relish the reaction.

     These are the high points of these horrfic details.  Minor ones are constant so that the cumulative effect leading up to the terrific images of the demise of Ayesha, temporary though it might be, is overwhelming.  But about She, Ayesha, in the next part.





The ERB Library Project

Zane Grey, Edgar Rice Burroughs And The Animus And Anima

Part III

The Rainbow Trail

Bad Blood In The Valley Of Hidden Women


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


Burroughs, Edgar Rice: Corpus 1911-1940

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

Grey, Zane:  The Rainbow Trail, 1915

Grey, Zane:  The Mysterious Rider, 1921

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

     As Shefford explains to Fay Larkin:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     A few passages:

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

      Lucky he lived through that.

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

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

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

     The Indian shook his head and spoke for moment.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

God of the Heavens, help me to talk straight.

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

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

Hope and faith were his.

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

     Then Grey sums up the turbulent Colorado:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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










The ERB Library Project

Zane Grey, Edgar Rice Burroughs And The Anima And Animus


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


Burroughs:  Edgar Rice: Corpus 1911-1940

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

Grey, Zane: The Rainbow Trail 1915

Grey Zane:  The Mysterious Rider, 1921

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

Prindle, R.E.: Something Of Value Books I, II And III, ERBzine, 2006


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

Part II

The Mysterious Rider

     Two of the more popular musical groups of the 1980s were Culture Clash and Boy George’s Culture Club.  They were from England which was being invaded by peaceful infiltration by a number of different cultures.  The popular response of these groups divined that the issue was not ‘race’ or skin color but one of cultures.

     In any clash of cultures the most intolerant must win- that is the culture that clings to its customs while rejecting all others.  To be tolerant is to be absorbed by the intolerant culture.   This was the meaning of German term Kulturkampf of the pre-Great War period.

     Historical examples are too numerous to mention, suffice it to say, that the ancient Cretan culture was defeated by the Mycenean while both were supplanted by later Greek invasions.  Eventually Greek culture supplanted the Cretan which was lost to history.

     The English being the most tolerant people will lose their culture to a Moslem-Negro combination which will undoubtedly be absorbed by the Chinese.  This is an incontestable evolutionary fact, it has nothing to do with anyone’s opinion.

     While the movement of peoples may be an unavoidable fact of life it is folly for a superior more productive culture to sacrifice itself to a lesser, misguided by notions of tolerance.

     Evolutionarily the problem is not the cosmetic one of skin color as most HSIIs and IIIs imagine.

     Apart from the evolutionary problem of genetics the social problem of cultures is of prime importance.  Not all cultures are of the same quality nor is this a matter of relativity.  For instance it is generally agreed that female circumcision is an evil to be avoided but among the Africans where it is prevalent their culture stoutly defends the procedure along with polygamy.  In France where large numbers of Africans are invading French culture denies the validty of both female circumcision and polygamy hence the culture clash between the two nations the society will be determined by numbers and will.  Given the increasing numbers of Moslems and Africans in France among which polygamy is an established custom and given their superior will and intolerance of the HSIIs of France, it is merely a matter of time before polygamy and female circumcision  become permissible thus changing French society as the French themselves adopt Semitic and African customs.

     Only a small percentage of the French, English or Americans recognize the danger to their cultures.  They must naturally be as intolerant of the culture of the invaders as the invaders are intolerant of theirs.  As a minority among their respective peoples they are derided by the majority as bigots while the, perhaps, benign and tolerant opinion of the majority can lead only to their own elimination as history and evolution clearly shows.

     America in the nineteenth century with its open and unrestricted immigration was the first country, other than Russia which was also involved with these difficulties, to come to grips with the problem of clashing cultures.  The official American position was one of tolerance.  Absorption of the large African population was a poser, but among the HSIIs and IIIs the cultural differences were not so great as to be an insuperable obstacle although assimilation as between the Anglos and the Irish, for instance, was painful and slow while still incomplete to this day as large numbers of Irish consider themselves Irish first and Americans second but generally Northern Europeans blended reasonably well.

     Then in the 1870s just at the time that both Zane Grey and Edgar Rice Burroughs were born the focus of immigration shifted to Eastern and Southern Europe.  This influx continued unabated up to 1914 when it was interrupted by the Great War.  While earlier immigration might be characterized as troublesome the Eastern and Southern European immigration presented a real culture clash.

     The cultural differences between Northern Europeans and Eastern and Southern Europeans are actually quite striking.  Rightly or wrongly, as you may choose to see it, contemporaries of Burroughs and Grey believed that, at least, the Jews and Italians were unassimilable, which is to say, they were not prepared to abandon their customs to blend into the whole but wished to impose their customs on the whole.  Indeed this has proven to be the case as witness the Jewish attempt to abolish Christmas.  If you don’t object there is no problem.  If you do, you have a culture clash that the most intolerant will win.

     As representatives of the founding culture of the United States men like Burroughs and Grey could not but see the new immigration as a threat to their ideals which has proven to be true.  Thus the American generation of Teddy Roosevelt who was born in 1858 were the heroes of the younger generation.  When TR died in 1919 a vision of hope flickered out for Burroughs’ and Grey’s generation.

     The poem ‘The American’ reprinted in Part IV of my Four Crucial Years published in the ERBzine will give some idea of the frustration experienced by the Burroughs/Grey generation just as they were coming of age.

     Burroughs grew up in one  of the most polyglot centers of the world.  The Anglos in Chicago were in a distinct minority being no more than 10% of the population in 1890.  Grey practiced his dentistry in New York City in which Anglos were as small a percentage of the population.

     Neither man was a hateful bigot which is not to say that they couldn’t help but be affected by the diversity of languages and customs which they encountered everyday in what they considered to be their own country.   It would be silly to say that they or any rational Anglo didn’t regret the situation.  That the absorption of all this diversity into a semblance of homogeneity was made without undue violence must always to be the credit of the American social organization.  That organizations of frustrated individuals like the American Protective Association or the KKK arose is not to be wondered at especially  in the  face of very aggressive and terrorist immigrant organizations such as the Mafia and the Anti-Defamation League of the B’nai B’rith which was being advised by Sigmund Freud.

     Both Burroughs and Grey began writing at the very height of unrestricted immigration.  There is every reason to expect the influence of immigration to be reflected in their writing for the period of the teens no matter how they sublimated it.  After 1920 conditions changed which is reflected in Burroughs’ writing although I am unread in Grey after the teens.

     Burroughs of course transposed his social and religious conflicts to Mars,  Pellucidar and his vision of Tarzan’s Africa where they were fought  on an allegorical level much in the style of Jonathon Swift.

     Grey on the other hand transposed the problem to an earlier period in the American West where he avoided the problem of foreign activities concentrating on culture clashes of Mormonism, cattle and sheep ranching and matters of the like.  He’s an acute observer of the Mexican-American clash also.  Thus the Mormon-Gentile clash of mid-nineteenth century could be compared to the Jewish-Gentile confrontation of the teens which Grey would have been facing but would have been unable to discuss without being labeled an anti-Semite or bigot.

     Both writers could also translate social problems into psychological terms as they did.  Both men suffered from a fair degree of emasculation which is most notably represented in Grey’s work especially the three of his novels under consideration.

     In The Mysterious Rider he examines the same Animus problems that he did in Riders Of The Purple Sage but under different conditions.

     His protagonist, Hell Bent Wade of Mysterious Rider, answers to that of Lassiter In Riders.  Wade possessed a violent and ungovernable tempter as a young man which led him to murder his wife and a man he mistakenly believed to be her lover.  Discovering his error he brought his temper under control becoming mild mannered like Lassiter but helpful and with more character; still his youthful reputation follows him, blighting his life.

     Wilson Moore may be seen as another version of Venters while the Mormon Animus is represented by the rancher, Bill Bellounds and his son Jack.  His Anima figure in this story is an orphan girl named Columbine, Collie, as after the flower.

     Old Bill Bellounds (Hounds Of Hell?) is a big rancher in Colorado who took Columbine ( in good conscience I can’t call her Collie, which is the name of a dog) in as a child and raised her as his own.  This is a recurring motif in Grey.  Now he wants her to marry his son Jack.  Jack is no good.  Bad man.  As an Animus figure he is the wild ungoveranble aspect.  He is crazed having no behavioral controls.

     Columbine is placed between what she considers her duty to the man she had always known as dad and her own desire which is a love for Wilson or Wils Moore.

     Moore is just the opposite of Jack Bellounds.  He is gentle, sensitve, conscientious, hard working, kind, loving, just an all around great guy of the emasculated Animus sort.  Grey, who has all the attributes of the emasculated man, including the middle hair part,  may have thought of him as a sort of self-portrait.  Grey always holds up as his model of the virtuous man the long suffering type who endures injustices to the point of being crippled or even killed before he retaliates, if he does.

     In this case Wilson Moore is crippled for life by Jack Bellounds with barely even a thought of self-defense.  Hell Bent Wade, the protagonist who had the ungovernable temper as a youth, a reformed Lassiter, is now feminized to the point where he is willing to serve as a male nurse.

     Thus he nurses Moore back to physical health, but mutilated, while he keeps Moore’s mind straight.

     He is unable to do anything with Jack Bellounds who although he wants to win the love of Columbine is incapable of reforming.  His drinking and gambling lead him into a situation where he is rustling cattle from his father.

     A showdown occurs between him and Hell Bent in which by giving Jack every chance he is shot by Jack while at the same time killing the latter.  We are expected to admire this self-sacrifice.  Thus Wils and Columbine are united.  Mutilated virtue prevails.

     Grey always manages an interesting tale with good detailing so the reading of the novel as OK qua story but written after the Great War it is evident that Grey is hauling up nuggets from an exhausted mine.

     The appeal of the story for Burroughs seems clear as it is a virtual symbolic retelling of his courtship of Emma.  Alvin Hulbert, Emma’s father favoring another suitor who was quite privileged, while denying ERB the house, the crippling struggle with the suitor in Toronto and the eventual successful denouement as Emma chose him over the other ‘owner’s son’ and the marriage.

     Published in magazine form in 1919 and in book form in 1921 its appearance coincided with a low period in ERB’s life as represented in Tarzan And The Golden Lion and Tarzan And The Ant Men.  This was also the period when when Warner Fabian’s ‘Flaming Youth’ appeared followed by the apparently sensational movie.  The book, which is in ERB’s library and, the movie made a terrific impression on him.

     As this is one of only two Grey books still in his library when it was catalogued we must assume that he felt the content was applicable to himself.  Other than that I found the novel of negligible value.

     Now let us turn to The Rainbow Trail which was the other Grey novel in ERB’s library.  This will be a fairly signifcant book.