Part II

Edgar Rice Burroughs And The Accreted Personality


R.E. Prindle


Time may fly but life seems long. Long enough for circumstances to alter your personality more than once. Consider for instance the National Guardsman secure in job, wife and family who is jerked out of his ideal existence to take a tour of duty in Iran or Afghanistan, foreign wars which betray the promises of his enlistment which were to defend his home state. Do you think a personality change didn’t occur when he received his notice? If he was kept in for several tours of duty over a period of years so that his former existence doesn’t appear to him as a dream that took place in a parallel universe? And if he comes home without an arm or a leg or, perhaps, both, that he doesn’t suffer from reminiscences or have a dual or multiple personality. You can bet he does. Nor does your life have to be as hard as the National Guardsman for your own personality to acquire personality accretions over your lifetime, all of which are stored in your mind and may be reassumed at any time.

As I said in the first part, these various existential states don’t disappear, they become part of your reminiscences whether suppressed or remembered and as possible fixations or idees fixe they influence your daily actions.

So now, let’s turn to the life of Edgar Rice Burroughs to illustrate the idea of the accreted personality. Psychology is simple if you don’t make it complex by mystifying it. I hope I can make Burroughs’ story clear without unnecessarily complicating it. I will try to use Occam’s Razor judiciously.

Edgar Rice Burroughs, who would become very famous as a fiction writer, entered this world of pain of pleasure on September 7, 1875 in Chicago, Illinois. He was parented by George T. and Mary Burroughs, he of Anglo-Irish ancestry and she of Pennsylvania Dutch, that is say, German. Eddie always considered himself pure English at a time when being English meant something, a much depreciated coin these days.

George T. was an upright man who had been an officer on the Union side in the Civil War a scant ten years previously. George Custer had not yet gone down at the Little Big Horn nor was Sitting Bull yet starring in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West. George T. had two other sons, George and Harry, who were born just after the Civil War.

George T. was a whisky distiller while at this time the Whisky Trust was coming into existence. George T. was an independent sort who needed the Trust less than they wanted him. I don’t say the Trust was responsible but George T. was burned out. Chicago loved a good fire.

The relationship between Ed and his parents was not a warm one. His father made his life difficult, seemingly on purpose, while his mother seems to have been rather cold. Burroughs seldom mentions her nor were any of his characters named Mary, or George for that matter.

Nevertheless, born into a world of creature comforts with high expectations in a fine house on Chicago’s West Side with two Irish maids Ed began life in a happy state of mind walking down the street singing Zippity Do Dah or the equivalent. He stayed that way for about eight years until his first personality changing event occurred.

Eddie attended Brown School in his neighborhood. I haven’t been able to find out much about Brown but the schools stands out as special in Ed’s mind. The school had several prominent graduates one of which was the showman, Flo Ziegfeld. As Ziegfeld was Jewish it is quite possible the school was close to Maxwell St. Maxwell St. would figure prominently in Ed’s later novel, The Mucker.

One day when Ed was eight he found a big twelve year old Irish kid by the name of John belligerently blocking his way. It isn’t known whether he was walking with future wife Emma Hulbert or not but I suspect he was. At any rate John threatened to beat him up. Thoroughly terrorized Ed took to his heels and as he did so several suggestions entered his terrorized mind. To be in terror is to enter a hypnoid state in which all ones psychic defenses are lowered or discarded. Suggestions are easily fixated in your mind. Thus at the age of eight Ed’s original personality was submerged, he assumed his central childhood fixation. Not only was he emasculated on his Animus but, perhaps because he shamed himself in front of Emma, he transferred his Anima to John; he then set up John as his ideal of manhood wishing to be just like him.

The result was that John became his favorite name. In his future novels he named a disproportionate number of characters both good and bad John. His two key characters were both named John- John Clayton, aka Tarzan Of The Apes and John Carter of Mars. Both have the initials JC referring to Jesus Christ, one supposes. Thus on the masculine side their names commemorate John the Bully while on the feminine side Jesus Christ. Ed also wore a book under the assume name of John McCullough.

As Ed was shamed by running, defenses against cowardice are liberally sprinkled throughout his works with justifications for the advance to the rear maneuver, or running.

Particularly troubling to him was the occupation of his Anima by a male. Probably not very usual but given the limited range of responses available to humans, probably not that uncommon. But this result of the fixation was particularly troubling to him appearing in a succession of his initial output of the ‘teens.

The clearest exposition of the results of this fixation was reproduced in the pages of Ed’s second novel, The Outlaw Of Torn. The hero of the novel is a boy of Ed’s age on the street corner, who is the king of England’s son c. 1400 AD. The King has a quarrel with his fencing instructor, De Vac, who then avenges himself by kidnapping the son, Norman.

The scene is that Norman is playing in the garden under the watchful eye of his nurse/Anima when De Vac appears outside the garden gate- I. e. Ed’s mind- luring Norman to him. Norman has passed the gate when his nurse who had been chatting with another woman notices. She rushed through the gate where De Vac struck her dead. Thus his Anima was outside Ed’s mind when she was destroyed.

Now, this is the replication of a dream story. The meaning is that Norman/Ed was safe inside when De Vac/John caught him, as it were, with his pants down, killing and assuming the role of his Anima. The nurse represents his Anima or right brain which was then disabled.

So, as an eight year old boy Eddie has an emasculated Animus, left brain, and destroyed or shattered Anima, right brain. This has to be dealt with in some way so he can carry on and survive.

What Burroughs does then is create a myth to repair the damage as well as he can. De Vac now on the run with his prize who he must conceal takes Norman to a three story house in the slums of London built on stilts out over the water of the River Thames. The two live in this attic/mind for three or four years. During this entire period De Vac is dressed as an old woman. So, here we have the emasculated Animus combined with the dead Anima with the waters of the feminine flowing beneath the house, I.e. Burroughs’ self.

The two live this way for three or four years, Norman never leaving the attic. At the end of this period De Vac dons men’s clothes and takes Norman to a ruined castle in the Shires. The remarkable thing about this castle is that on one side, the right side, the roof has completely fallen in, can’t be used.

The interpretation is that Ed so identified himself with John that he had to put his own life on hold until he turned twelve, the same age John had been. At that point he recovered or began to recover some control of his Animus while his Anima remained destroyed.

De Vac then began to train Norman in the manly arts to be a killing machine to attain physical vengeance for De Vac on the King.

One can’t be sure of what effect the encounter had on his personality but the next year after the confrontation his father took him from Brown transferring him to an all girl’s school. George T.’s reason for this was that there was a fever going around and he wanted to protect Ed from it. How one would be safe from a communicable disease in a girl’s school isn’t clear so perhaps Ed’s father had another reason.

In Ed’s psychological state it is not unlikely that he went into a fairly serious depression while emasculated and crippled he may have become very effeminate. The placement in the girl’s school may have been one of disgust and to teach the boy a lesson to act like a man.

The humiliation on top of the emasculation was difficult for Ed to bear. He pleaded and pleaded to be transferred from the girl’s school. His pleas were heard although his father didn’t send him back to Brown but a couple miles across town to Chicago’s Harvard Latin School where Ed stayed through what would have been his Junior High years. During this period, the date isn’t clear, Ed fell off his bicycle banging his head against the curb; it isn’t known whether it was the right or left side. This left him dizzy and walking round in circles for three or four days, then the obvious effects disappeared. George T. then jerked him out the Latin School and sent him West to his brothers’ cattle ranch in Idaho. He doesn’t seem to have attended any school for the year he was in Idaho. However he learned to be a cowboy and had a great time.

Even without school the period was not without intellectual stimulation. George and Harry Burroughs were graduates of the Sheffield Scientific School attached to Yale University but not yet integrated with it, along with their partner Lew Sweetser. Sweetser was a fairly remarkable guy deeply interested in psychology when the subject was just beginning to assume its modern form.

William James had just published his two volumes on Psychology but I haven’t been able to discover who Sweetser’s teachers may have been at Yale. Departments of Psychology were rare at American Universities in the 1880s. However, as Sweetser apparently studied whatever psychology was available it seems certain that he would have been at least aware of Charcot’s experiments at the Salpetriere that were world famous. It is also clear that he was familiar with the idea of the sub- or unconscious. However much Ed may have retained, as he himself was relatively well informed on psychological matters when he began writing the foundations of his knowledge were probably formed at Sweetser’s knee.

Having left Ed in the wilderness for a year, George T. then moved him to the East Coast to Massachusetts’ Phillips Academy. Ed was now being moved around almost with the frequency of a military brat with its devastating personality consequences. Having consorted with a rough bunch of fellows for a year, Ed was now in an elite school without a great deal of preparation.

He was in Idaho at the end of Wyoming’s Johnson County War when the big ranchers squeezed out the small ranchers. Many of the small ranch soldiers whose shootings were classified as murders had fled to Idaho where Ed knew one or two; from the company of murderers, or killers at any rate, he was now in with a bunch of elitist schoolboys.

When his brothers had attended Yale their father had refused them an allowance that would have allowed them to associate with their richer school fellows as equals. If he continued the practice with Ed at Phillips then an extra burden was placed on the kid that would help explain his behavior. At any rate he assumed the posture of clown to gain acceptance while neglecting his studies. Naturally he was requested to leave.

Certainly he could have expected to return home and attend school in Chicago but this was not his father’s plan. His father enrolled him at the Michigan Military Academy outside Detroit billed as The Paris Of The West which is most laughable. This was the second great psychological trauma in his life adding another major accretion to his personality. Ed rebelled at being sent away again.

This was not merely rejection but also a condemnation of him by his father. As Ed saw the situation, with a great deal of accuracy, the Military Academy was just a holding pen for juvenile delinquents whose parents didn’t know how to handle them so they put them away in what was essentially an asylum or reform school where they could get some ‘discipline.’

Ed was horrified at these suggestions about himself coming from his own father. He rebelled at the rejection and its implications. He left the academy to return home or as his biographer Porges puts it, he ran away. George T. wasn’t going to put up with that. He collared Ed and dragged him back to Detroit, told him to stay put or…who can say or what? At any rate crushed and rejected Ed had no choice but to obey, but his mother and father died for him that day, slain by their own hand. Thus when Ed’s literary alter ego Tarzan came into existence in 1912 his parents had been slain by murderous apes and Tarzan was an orphan as Ed imagined himself.

General Charles King, Soldier and Author

Ed stayed at the Academy into 1896 when he was between twenty and twenty-one. He took the Commandant of the Academy, Charles King, as his surrogate father and mother. Because King was a captain in the Army, later a general, Ed decided he wanted to be an Army officer too. It is also noteworthy that King was a successful author of novels which Ed may have wanted to emulate when he too chose to become an author. One of King’s first novels was An Apache Princess while Ed’s first commercial effort was titled A Princess Of Mars.

Ed attempted in vain to win an appointment to West Point but failed. Then in 1896 while serving as an instructor at the Michigan Military Academy Ed foolishly abandoned his post choosing to join the Army as an enlisted man before the school term ended.

By now twenty years old his past with its many personality accretions had formed him. His original personality had been destroyed to be replaced by that caused by John. The accretions accumulated as he was shifted from school to school and West to East to MidWest leaving him dazed and confused while the final accretion of that youthful period was the devastating rejection by his parents all of which left him depressed and fatalistic. The high expectations of his childhood had been completely eliminated. The bright young boy had been transformed into a gloomy young man. But no former personality had disappeared; they all lived on in his unconscious where circumstances could revive any or all at the appropriate moment.

But, one is still alive and one must toddle on. Ed was not lazy or adverse to work. His intellectual interests were vast. He was a great wide ranging reader.

In the next part then, let’s turn to his personality forming accretions from reading and his general intellectual , social and political milieu.



Edgar Rice Burroughs, H.G. Wells

And The

Wold Newton Mythology


R.E. Prindle

     It Came From Outer Space

     For some decades now I have been struggling with the problem of a new mythology for the scientific consciousness.  When the old mythopoeic mythology was invalidated by science it left sort of a void in the human psyche.  In the Arthurian sense we had entered the Wasteland of disappointed expectations, otherwise known as depression.

     Over the last twenty years of unremitting labor I have been either trying to discover or create such an existing scientific mythology.  Perhaps my efforts have been rewarded.  I modestly offer the following for your approval.

When The Student Is Ready…

     Unlike the internet where I get most of what passes for news by current standards, this day I was reading the newspaper.  I hadn’t come to that, it was just lying handy and I had the idle moment.  owever I read that our giant combined new and used Pulsar Book Store had laid off a couple dozen employees, or workers as they are sometimes amusingly described, because of declining in store sales.  I further read that sixty percent of Pulsar’s sales were over the internet.

     I’ve been doing all my book buying over the internet and hadn’t been in the Pulsar store for years.  Casting about for a reason for a decline in sales, apart from a growing illiteracy in the body politic, it occurred to me that on line electronic transmission of books was cutting into book sales deeply.  I mean, Amazon offers oodles of older books free, many of which you will never see in books stores but are offered by Print On Demand publishers over the internet.  Ask yourself when you last saw a Charles King?  Lots of them for free on Amazon.  That has to hurt sales.  I then reasoned that Pulsar’s shelves must be groaning.  I might be able to find a superb selecion at good prices, and I was right.

     I was rewarded with an armful of books at my first stop in the Bs.  I picked an armful of hard to find Balzac titles dirt cheap, thousand page nineteenth century omnibus volumes for six dollars and ninety-five cents each, Good God Almighty.  As close to heaven as you can get without taking the chance of dieing.

     Then I bethought myself to check the H.G. Wells section.  I have a complete collection of Wells’ fiction but I’m still missing a few titles of the non-fiction.  The Wells shelf was loaded and with cream, titles that I had had trouble finding over the year were now there in profusion.  I had to laugh to see nearly a whole shelf loaded down with copies of Wells’ Seven Science Fiction Novels in many editions.  I bought my copy of that at sixteen when it became the foundation of my psychic reality.  There were a number of editions I had never seen before.  In a fit of curiosity and affection I pulled a copy out just to fondle it.  As I did a small slim volume concealed between thetwo larger ones tumbled out and fell to the floor.

     I picked the paperback up.  It was by one Garrett P. Serviss titled Edison’s Conquest Of Mars and sub-titled as the Original 1898 Sequel To The War Of The Worlds.  I laughed at what seemed ludicrous and slid it back on the shelf.  I must not have been adept because it fell out on the floor again.

     I stood looking at it for a few seconds then decided that a mysterious power was bidding me to read it.  I know how ridiculous that sounds but it happens to me often and always with an important book for me to read.  Call it serendipitous, call it destiny, I follow my star.  They wanted nine-ninety nine for a paperback of two hundred pages. I had an armful of thousand page, hundred year old, hard backs on really good paper for six ninety-five each. I wavered.  But then I rememberd the mysterious way it had been concealed between two books destiny knew I would look at.  I thought of the old esoteric adage, when the student is ready the teacher will appear.  This same thing had happened to me many times before.  Often when my mind had been prepared a book had suggested itself.  Here it was, deja vu all over again.  Was I going to let a little literary bigotry stand between me and my obvious destiny?  Not I.  I begrudged the ten dollars but when I got home and examined the tiny volume I saw that I had discovered the missing link.  I can now make a case for a new scientific mythology.

When It All Comes Down, I Hope It Lands On Me

     The search for a new mythology goes on apace.  Perhaps the catalyst in the organization of the search was a sci-fi writer named Philip Jose Farmer.  Back in 1972 he formulated a scheme in his fantasy novel Tarzan Alive called the Wold Newton Universe.  He provides a very rigorous framework for the search.  Farmer posited that a meteorite fell to Earth near Wold Newton in the North of England in 1795, which is true, a meteorite did come down.  He further posits following the lead of H.G. Wells novel In The Days Of The Comet that this 1795 comet produced a change in men’s minds, and in point of fact there was a change of consciousness that occurred at this exact time.

     Several years ago, decades now, I bought a collection of the British magazine The Monthly Review, a run from 1781 to 1795.  Isn’t this spooky?  These volumes reflect a late medieval consciousness.  As an example the volumes use for s internally in a word- paf try for pastry for instance while beginning and ending esses are the convention letter s.  After 1800 this form disappears.  I wondered at what precise time The Monthly Review changed its orthography.  Through the wonders of the internet I was able to determine that precise date.  It was at the beginning of 1796, the volume following the last I own.  Thus 1795 is, in fact, a very good date for the change to the modern consciousness.

     After 1795 then Euroamerica looked at reality with different and fresh eyes.  Also a new literary style arose that led into the genre literatures of the present.  A magic generation of writers then arose with one foot in the medieval world and the other in its successor, with modern orthography of course.  Shelley and Byron, Peacock and the greatest of all, the father of modern fiction, Walter Scott.  Scott has lost nearly all his glamor now but he was the presiding genius of nineteenth century fiction.  I mention only the great French Bohemians Honore De Balzac and Alexandre Dumas.  Toss in Edgar Allan Poe.

Searching For The Thread

     Thus in Tarzan Alive Philip Jose Farmer began a classification system for the new approach to mythology.  Currently there are two Wold Newton systems- The French Wold Newton Universe and the Anglo-American.  Generally speaking a Wold Newton author’s whole work, or the major part of it, is a series of novels, a roman a fleuve, built around a character or a theme, thus Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes, Baums Oz stories or Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Tarzan and John Carter/Mars stories.  All the Wold Newton novels develop the new scientific mythology.  Some themes are developed by several hands such as the Vampire corpus or that of Frankenstein/artificial life.

     A major writer falling somewhere between literary and Wold Newton fiction is H.G. Wells.  He neither created a great fictional character nor works that fit easily into nor works that are exactly genre literature.  Still, Wells is at the center of the Wold Newton mythology.

     There are three novels of Wells that I think can fit into and define the Wold Newton Universe.  These are The War Of The Worlds, When The Sleeper Wakes and Tono Bungay.  With the exception of the Seven Science Fiction novels, of which only four have made an indelible impact, the rest of Wells’ novelistic corpus is today disregarded having apparently no relevance to the modern world.

     Of course I like Wells and I have read the entire fiction corpus.  There are a few novels that I think merit attention but in the hundred years since they first began appearing the body of fiction that has been written obscures all but the brightest stars of novels so that vas amounts of meritorious fiction is only read by the specialist or literary enthusiast exploring the past.

      War Of The Worlds is what got me started on this investigation, isn’t it?  I’ve read War Of The Worlds three or four times now and each time it’s a new book and not the one portrayed on the screen or what I perceived from my childhood reading.  I’ve come to the conclusion that the book isn’t really all that good although it has set the world on its ear.  It must have played into the fears of a society desperately grappling with a sea change in history.  Every conventional way of viewing the world was falling into the dust as the old mythology vaporized as before the Martian tripods and a new mythology was as invisible as Griffin in Wells’ Invisible Man.  When you removed the wrappings of Griffin there was nothing there but the invisible power of the past.

     Perhaps Wells’ Martians symbolized the all too visible power of the new scientific reality destroying the old magical religious vision of reality.  At any rate the book was received with startling avidity at its publication in 1898.  An nowhere was this book seized upon with such voracity as in America.  The effect has also been enduring including the radio broadcast of Orson Wells in 1938 and a number of movie treatments.  We often think Wells created this genre but not so.  

     In fact the space opera centered on Mars was an exciting new genre that developed rapidly during the nineties and the first decade of the new century.  Burroughs with his great Martian Trilogy was merely taking advantage of an established theme which he epitomized so well that his books are a culmination of Martian writing to that point.  His were the apex of the nineteenth century Martian theme, a new starting point for the future.

     He was apparently well read in the genre although apart from a few obvious titles one can’t be sure how deeply he had read. 

     Robert Godwin explains in the introduction to Edison’s Conquest Of Mars:

      Late in 1897 the great H.G. Wells struck gold when he submitted for publication- in Pearson’s Magazine of London- the future-war story to end all future-war stories, The War Of The Worlds.  It was not the first story of aliens coming to Earth, Edgar Allan Poe had done that sixty years earlier.  It was not even the first to involve humans fighting Martians, that had been done by Percy Greg in 1880, while German author Kurd Lasswitz had brought Martians to Earth to wage war with the British earlier that year.  It was Wells who brought this novel idea home with star realism.  The War Of The Worlds has little dialogue and few characters but is literally dripping with paranoia.  His invading Martians were completely alien and they had the technology to rampage right across the capitol city of the most powerful nation on Earth.  The War Of The Worlds soon appeared in America through the pages of Hearst’s Cosmopolitan Magazine.

Will This Nightmare Never End?

     Perhaps the dripping in paranoia was the key to Wells’ American success.  America is a very paranoid ountry and the paranoia is shared equally by both the Right and the Left.  If War Of The Worlds dripped with paranoia it was  as nothing compared to Wells’ next book, When The Sleeper Wakes.  Sleeper is all bombs, sirens and searchlights playing across the dark night skies.  Sleeper is the masterpiece of paranoia.  I just love it.  Wells must hav been going through a period of deep anxiety when he wrote it.  Sleeper is one great long anxiety attack wich he translated into a fear of being buried alive.  The hero, Graham, is actually buried alive although above ground.  He’s placed in a glass case where he sleeps for a couple hundred years until one day he awakes to find himself in possession of all the wealth in the world.  His money had been in trust gathering interest for all these centuries until his estate equalled the world’s wealth.  Of course he is more dangerous awake than asleep so he begins running scared.

     But that fear or paranois also characterized The War Of The Worlds which is one long flight from danger.  Godwin continues:

     Cosmopolitan was not cheap and so it would not be until the following January that the impressionable and imaginative young inventor Robert Goddard would first encounter Wells’ Martian war machines.  Copyright laws in America were still somewhat tenuous and newspapers were at liberty to do as they pleased.  Obtaining permission was often the last thing a newspaper editor would worry about and this modus operandi was especially prevalent in the smaller newspapers such as the New York Evening Journal, The Milwaukee Sentinel and the Boston Post.  Many of these newspapers decided to jump on Wells’ bandwagon.

     In the Boston Post, a Sunday, January 9th 1898, an entirely revised version of The War Of The Worlds appeared under the title Fighters From Mars- or, The Terrible War Of The Worlds, as it Was Waged in or Near Boston in the year 1900.  What is particularly remarkable about this is that the story is completely transposed from London to Boston.  All of the familiar scenes which take place in south London are suddenly taking place in Concord Masschusetts.  The Boston Post was fairly well circulated in the New England area and Robert Goddard soon learned of the remarkable serial.  The Post certainly did their part to stoke the fires of enthusiasm, they repeated the first chapter the next day in Monday’s newspaper and then not a day went by for the next few weeks without another installment appearing.  On the 3rd of February the serialization was complete and Wells’ great story was soon destined to appear in America as a full fledged book.

     Then something altogether unexpected happened.  The editors of the Boston Post revealed that they had acquired a “sequel” to Wells’ story, the advert in the Post read.  “Edison’s Conquest Of Mars- A Sequel To ‘Fighters From Mars’… written in collaboration with Edison by Garrett P. Serviss the well known astronomical author.”

     A truly astounding development.  Here was immediate impact to be followed forty years later by the even more astonishing reaction to Orson Wells radio script of the novel which was accepted as fact, real by the radio listeners who grabbed their shotguns and ran into the streets to repel the Martian invaders.  Obviously the novel answered a deep seated psychological need of Americans  which would be reflected in a series of movies such as The Day The Earth Stood Still with Gort an Klaatu as well as such later developments as Roswell, New Mexico and Area 51.  Aliens and space were united to the New Mythology.  Of course such aliens are only God thinly disguised.  After all such characters as Klaatu are always preaching  to us to mend our misbegotten ways or else.  Religion or no religion.

A Giant Leap For Americans

     The remarkable thing is that the Boston Post or one or more of its editors got a British copy in their hands, or the Cosmopolitan reprint, read it had his mind transformed on the spot immediately beginnning the transposition from London to Boston while at the same time beginning he process to create a sequel that was ready to begin publishing as soon as the original finished.  Plus Edison had to be immediately amenable to the idea so as to give his permission to use his name.

     Now, all this is transpiring during the Spanish-American war and the insurrection in the Philippines.  Also as if one phenomenon weren’t enough this was also the moment that Kipling’s poem The White Man’s Burden appeared.  Kipling’s poem was, of course, a commentary on the Philippine insurrection.

     Serviss then had probably no more than a month to draft his sequel.  Serviss himself had a scientific background which he fully employs in his sequel.  He was up to date on Martian theory.  As incredible as it may seem the book could have been a pilot for Star Trek.  He got it all in one book.  The Boston Post serialization ran and then the story disappeared.  It never made book form at the time.  In 1947 it was unearthed and published in a truncated form so unless by a miracle the Post episodes were seen by Edgar Rice Burroughs they had no influence on him although it seems like they could have.  However Percival Lowell the astronomer who is often mentioned as an influence on Burroughs was from Boston.  By 1899 he had already established his observatory in Flagstaff and written the first of his three Martian books, ‘Mars.’   He might then have had an influence on Serviss.  Lowell’s other two Martian books Mars And The Canals and Mars As The Abode Of Life written in 1906 and 1908 respectively might have been influenced by Serviss.  As a budding Mars expert it is likely that he might have had his attention called to both Wells’ and Serviss’ efforts.  If Burroughs read Lowell he would have been indirectly influenced by Serviss.  Anyway Serviss has a full discussion of how the water imagined to be on Mars flowed from the South to the North because the South Pole was thought to be elevated over the North and water, of course, flows down hill.  Serviss doesn’t explain how the water gets back to the South Pole.

     Serviss and undoubtedly Lowell have the water flowing on the surface so Burroughs has it flowing underground somehow.

     At the time Edison’s reputation was at its zenith as a technologist.  He was the epitome of the American can do attitude.  Serviss was pretty fair at this first attempt at sci-fi.  One has to assume that all the scientific ideas were in the air but Serviss skillfully blends them together in that can do attitude within virtually days.

        Edison creates   a fleet of anti-gravity ships within thirty days.  The anti-gravity ship is a plausible way of inter-planetary travel while the ships are designed in the projectile shape of current rockets.  The disintegrator guns Edison designs, also within thirty days, eliminate the bonds between atoms also in a plausible manner thus scattering the stricken entity to the winds.

     Thus a few years before the Wrights not only does Edison have heavier than air craft but the Martians have huge air fleets along the line of Burroughs.  So, as I say, Burroughs was stepping into an established genre not originating anything.

     Serviss merely makes the Martians giants so we essentially have a Gullivar and the Lilliputians story reversed. It’s a reasonably good story while being a very proper scientific novel.  There is nothing really for future writers to add, just rearrange the details.  And that was in 1899.

     The Boston response to the invasion from Mars was to ‘organize’ its own invasion of Mars and annihilate them as a psychological projection.  Very interesting.

From One Dark Spot To Another

     I have found no response from Wells to this rewrite of War Of The Worlds and its sequel.  H.G. got busy writing another fantastic futuristic sci fi effort title, When The Sleeper Wakes.  This book can actually be bundled with 1909’s Tono Bungay.  Both wonderful paranoid books.  These two books plus War Of The Worlds form the core of my psyche and if the truth were known probably a large part of the psyche of Edgar Rice Burroughs; most especially he was influenced by Tono Bungay which can be readily traced.

     Sleeper is a wonderfully paranoid tone poem.  By 1898-99 Wells was realizing his ambition of rising above his origins while his Anima-Animus problem was becoming paramount.  Wells was born into the lower social level of society with almost no hope of realizing his considerable potential.  He was seemingly condemned to a life as a Draper’s Assistant which was little above servitude or even slavery.  On his own efforts he rebelled seeking a way out through education.  He achieved this after enduring several years on the razor’s edge uncertain as to what his future would be.  Combining his scientific background with his literary skills he began to rise above his origins financially although he was never to escape the psychological stigma of his lower class origins.

      Thus through his short stories which were sensational at the time and some still are he got a foothold in the literary scene.  Wells wrote at least two or three masterpieces.  His The Time Machine put him in the writer’s top notch class.   War Of The Worlds and When The Sleeper Wakes, close to a diptich, written out of acute anxiety as to his future put him over the top.  He was a force to be reckoned with.

     Thus both novels pit his heroes against overwhelming forces that they must defeat.  In the War Of The Worlds  the enemies fade away through natural causes.  In Sleeper, Graham the Sleeper, awakes to find himself the richest man in the world only to discover that all is to be taken away from him.  This is normal anxiety for someone on the rise.  The new man is always resented and his way made difficult.  He is to be prevented if possible.  Hence the intense fear and paranoia of Sleeper.  In the denouement Graham takes to the air in the last remaining airship to single handedly drive back the Negro police summoned from Africa.  Prescient really.  The Sleeper’s plane spirals into a crash but then Wells takes the copout that it is only a dream.  At any rate in real life he wakes up to find that he is now a guru.  His non-fiction Anticipations- a guide to the future- published two years later in 1901 established him irrevocably as a ‘futurist’.  All he had do then was write passable books.

     Both of his masterpieces Worlds and Sleeper also dealt with Wells’ troubled sexuality.  As in the life of all men his Anima became estranged from his Animus which Wells was never able to reconcile as he developed a rather bizarre sex life as he searched for a way to recover his Anima.

     In WOW as the populace was fleeing the Martians his hero was driving a cart along with his Anima figure.  The two became separated when a crowd came between them and she was lost.  In Sleeper Graham finds his Anma but once gain events separate them and he is about to crash his plane alone.

     And then ten years later Wells crowned his work with the very wonderful Tono Bungay.  Not close to the finest story ever told it is nevertheless one of the world’s great novels.  The book had a profound influence on me.  I first read it when I was twenty while I have subsequently read the book three times.  I cherish my first reading because I projected myself into the story so much that I rewrote the book in my imagination to suit my own needs.  Tono Bungay was an entirely new book in my last reading.  I hope to show that the book had a profound influence on Edgar Rice Burroughs as his and Wells lives touched as the 1930s arrived.  It’s always a strange world.

     Wells seems to have been interested in the patent medicine businss in the US during the first decade of the century.  Strangely it is not impossible that the story refers to the situation of a Dr. Stace of Chicago.  I’m just guessing now.  Stace’s partner was a young man named Edgar Rice Burroughs.  So it may be coincidence that Edward Ponderevo, the inventor of the tonic Tono Bungay, and George Ponderevo his nephew, may have been based in part on Stace and Burroughs.  I mean, the patent medicine stories are identical.  Probably a coincidence though but I’m just guessing. 

     During the first decade of the twentieth century the patent medicine business had developed  in the United States to magnificent proportions.  As great national magazines arose the potential of the business rose accordingly.  The active ingredient in the patents was usually alcohol although drugs, which were unregulated were frequently used.  It is well known, for instance, that the Coca in Coca Cola referred to the cocaine with which the drink was laced.  Coke was a real pick me up back then.  Amphetamines were isolated in 1897 so imagine Methedrine Cola.  Quite an idea.

     The US government saw the dangers of these patent medicines, not a few of which used the opium based laudanum.  I mean, these were loose times, they used to give infants opium based laudamun to keep them quiet.  Better than TV.  So, during the teens the government was forced to conduct a campaign against patent medicines.  First they came for the patent medicines then they came for the alcohol and then they came for the cigarettes.  Now they’re working on sugar and salt and caffeine.  You’re next, you miserable user you.   Wells was watching this fascinating activity from Britain.  In one instance Edward Ponderevo remarks that six or seven go-getter Americans would wake England up.  Then he invented Tono Bungay, the patent medicine par excellence.

     Strangely, leading the anti-patent medicine campaign in the US was Samuel Hopkins Adams who would affect Stace-Burroughs then and sixteen years or so later would upset Burroughs’ life when he published his very successful novel, Flaming Youth.  Strangely, strangely how many people who have never met can be so influential on others.  Almost paranormal.

     So, Burroughs took up with Stace in the sale of patent medicines just as the government was cracking down on them, putting them out of business, filing legal complaints, doing the double nasty.  Stace and Burroughs developed a close relationship, almost as close as father and son or, uncle and nephew.  Even after the two were put out of business they continued in another line of business before parting.  Erwin Porges in his biograpy of ERB doesn’t go into a lot of detail over this relationship, maybe from a mistaken sense of delicacy, but this was a big event in Burroughs’ life perhaps straining his marriage with Emma.  I believe it was here that he gained his personal experience of sheriffs and grand juries. 

     Stace may have been a big enough operator to come to Wells’ attention so that he was captivated by this story of the older man and his younger acolyte.

     At any rate Edward Ponderevo goes bust in a provincial town through his aggressive business practices removing to London where he develops the idea of Tono Bungay.  Wells then diverges from the patent medicine story as Ponderevo, who was a real go-getter, develops an empire based on legitimate products, like soap, so that Tono Bungay takes a back seat in his success story.

     Interestingly Ponderevo buys a huge estate not unlike Tarzana around which he begins to build a ten foot high wall some eleven miles in length.  Then, of course, he overextends himself and goes bust.

     In reading this story, as I’m sure Burroughs did, he must have really related to the patent medicine story while probably rewriting the story in his mind to suit his circumstances.  In this story too, Wells finds his perfect soul mate or Anima who once again he loses.

     If by chance  Wells was aware of the Stace story and did know he had a junior partner, Burroughs, he undoubtely forgot about him and the patent medicine business in the turmoil of the years to come.

     The story of Ponderevo, his large estate and the eleven mile ten foot high wall must have stuck in Burroughs’ mind.  The story may have been instrumental in his decision to buy Tarzana while it appears spectacularly in 1933’s Tarzan And The Lion Man.

     Let me say that this whole group of writers who would nearly all find a place in the Wold Newton Universe read each other.  While Kipling, Haggard, Wells and Doyle were reading Burroughs after he became famous as well.  Indeed, Wells in Sleeper mentions three stories that had a profound effect on all these writers: Kipling’s The Man Who Would Be King, Conrad’s Heart Of Darkness and Henry James’ The Madonna Of The Future.   Writers appearing after ERB’s fame appear to have been universally influenced by his, too.  Haggard and Kipling’s Love Eternal was a response to ERB’s The Eternal Lover and unless I’m oversensitive they talked to him in it, too.

     In a way then this was a form of telepathy, so controversial a topic at the time- true long distance communication and this would continue through the thirties if you’ve read enough and thought about it.

     Anyway Burroughs read extensively incorporating almost everything that impressed him into his stories one way and sometime or other. I’m sure he was unconscious of using most of the sources.  Thus the story of Tono Bungay, Ponderevo and the ten foot fence entered his subconscious.

     In 1919 he left Chicago for LA for good.  His intent was to buy twenty acres or so to raise hogs.  This he could easily have afforded avoiding all the subsequent economic pain.  However Harrisons Gray Otis, the publisher of the LA Times had died in 1917 and his 540 acre estate, Rancho Del Cabrillo, was on the market.  ERB made an abrupt about face and bought it.  I’ve often wondered why, what was the impetus?  If one reads of Ponderevo’s estate in England one has a pretty good match of Tarzana.  Burroughs has been quoted as saying he would have liked to have a large estate that he could build a ten foot high wall around.  Of course he had the estate and lost it.  But the Ponderevo estate seems to have been on his mind.

     This may sound completely conjectural but let’s move ahead to 1933 when ERB penned what I consider his magnum opus, Tarzan And The Lion Man.  He includes a novella in the story that might be entitled, Tarzan And The City Of God.  This is a pretty good story.  By 1933 the talkies had been in existence for five years.  Many of the more magnificent early horror stories had already been filmed.  I may be a sucker for these early horror films but given the limitations of the industry at the time they have never been equaled.  So, in addition to all the books stored in ERB’s mind, fifteen years or so of silent films, he now added a full catalog of talkies.  Himself a virtual father of all B movies with his own catalog of novels all these B horror films reinforced his imagination.  Even though he had little to do with the filming of his own movie starring Herman Brix as Tarzan, The New Adventures Of Tarzan, the movie was nevertheless perfect of the B genre.  Sort of an a correction and example to MGM.

     Tarzan And The City Of God is perfect in the Pulp genre which is the literary counterpart of the B movie but now ERB seamlessly joins the Pulp to the B genre.

      Tarzan And The Lion Man mocks the making of MGM’s film, Trader Horn.  As I have pointed out in other reviews in 1931 ERB signed a contract with MGM that removed the Tarzan character in the movies from his control to MGM.  MGM then proceeded to mock the Tarzan character on the screen in an attempt to destroy ERB’s creation.  Of course, the mockery failed, Tarzan going on to greater glory and an immortality he might not have attained otherwise.

     At the same time ERB was locked in a battle with Joseph Stalin and, at the risk of seeming preposterous, the Soviet Union.  This war was brought to the surface n 1930’s Tarzan The Invincible.  Now, Stalin and the Communists of all countries were attempting to discredit all pre-Revolutionary writers who rejected the Communist program.  ERB was one of these while, oddly, Tarzan was one of Stalin’s favorite characters, especially in the MGM movies.

     H.G. Wells who accepted the Revolution in substitution for God in about 1920 was one of Stalin’s literary hatchet men.  During this period Stalin assigned State prostitutes to service certain Western literary men to report back to him on their doings.  Moura Budberg had been assigned to H.G. Wells.  Amazingly Wells fell deeply in love with her although he had to have known that he was her job.  One of Wells’ targets was Edgar Rice Burroughs.  Thus beginning in the twenties Wells began parodying and vilifying Burroughs in various books to which Burroughs replied in other of his own books.  Thus, in a sense, there was telepathic communication.

     In 1933 the combined attack of MGM, one imagines Louis B. Mayer, Wells and Stalin had overwhelmed Burroughs.

     In 1930’s Tarzan The Invincible Burroughs had been forced to abandon the valley of Opar and La to Wellsian and Soviet interference.  The Communists invaded Opar destroying ERB’s imagined paradise.  So now, in a masterful creation he attacks Wells, MGM and the Communists in the City of God, London, England transposed to the Mutia Escarpment in Africa  The Mutia Escarpment was MGM’s imaginary location for the Tarzan movies named after an African actor who appeared in Trader Horn.  We do have telepathic communication here if you’ve got your radio turned on and tuned in.  So there is layer after layer of mockeries in what is actually a titanic combat involving film and literature carried on right before the eyes of an unseeing world.  Stalin, Burroughs, Wells and L.B. Mayer knew but virtually no one else.  I might never have caught on but for the internet  and the availability of films on DVD and flat screen TVs programmed through my wireless computer network.    I have a complete collection of ERB’s novels, nearly all of Wells, and a nearly complete collection of Tarzan DVD’s.  There’s always one or two that elude you.  So I can read and watch at will.  Rather amazing really.  All one’s intellectual influences on one shelf while every library and film archive is only a click away.  Isn’t God good to us?

     So, Tarzan scales the Mutia Escarpment which at his point of attack is a sheer wall of granite.  this probably indicates the difficulties ERB was facing.  As usual there is an easier ascent for the ladies but Tarzan knows nothing of it.  In real life, the location of Van Dyke’s Trader Horn was Murchison Falls on the Nile and the plateau would have been the land around Lake Victoria.

     On the plateau Tarzan approaches the City of God/London which is surrounded by a, guess what, ten foot high wall.  The circumference must have been at least eleven miles.  Thus we have a replica of Ponderevo’s estate as imagined by H.G. Wells of London, England.  Instead of Ponderevo’s modern ‘castle’ we have a replica of what might be Frankenstein’s castle or some othe horror film castle with the requisite village at its base.

     Now, ‘God’ who was a ‘formerly handsome Englishman’ had come to this country in 1859.  This is now 1933 so 74 years previously.  As God will tell Tarzan shortly he was a biological scientist experimenting in evolution and creating artificial life a la Frankenstein, when his studies involving corpses brought the authorities down on him forcing him to flee England but not before he had removed,  essentially DNA, which ERB calls ‘germs’, from the corpses of Henry VIII and his court buried in Westminster Abbey.  In London, Africa God had forced the evolution of a tribe of gorillas turning them into barbaric replicas of Henry VIII and his court.  Still having the appearance of gorillas they have more or less human minds speaking and acting as archaic Englishmen.

     Tarzan having scaled the impossible cliffs of the plateau is now faced with a ten foot wall with sharply pointed wooden stakes pointing downward making a leap and hoist impossible.  ERB has left out the overarching tree in this instance so Tarzan does his strongman act.  The body builders are never far from ERB’s imagination.  Tarzan pulls off an impossible stunt.  Leaping up he grabs a couple stakes lifting himself over his wrists until he was above the wall then rolled forward.  Only time that trick’s ever been performed.  Thus ERB enters that ‘sacred city.’  The sort of Troy that refused Achilles.

     The scaling of the cliffs, the clearing of the wall might have been suggested to ERB by his struggle to achieve success which he had done for one brief moment.  Lifting himself by his bootstraps, as it were, he had gained entry into that sacred city.  His success was to be shortlived and almost as tragic as Tarzan’s visit to the City of God or ERB’s Tarzana or Ponderevo’s estate.

     While Wells was born to poverty ERB’s course in life had been different; he was a Golden Child with the highest expectations.  And then in his teens it was all taken from him as he was plunged into poverty although not as abject as he makes it out to be.  Thuse he had a different personal myth than that of Wells.  He identified with Mark Twain’s Prince And The Pauper in which the Prince changes places with his impoverished doppelganger, then regains his position.  His other favorite book of this type was Little Lord Fauntleroy in which a British heir lives a normal life in America until he inherits his English title.  Thus these two books combined with Tono Bungay suggested a course to his life that he actually realized and as the three titles suggest lived his life in a boom and bust fashion. as though compelled to gain and lose, lose and gain his fortunes until he died in bed a comparatively well off man.  ERB was a very suggestible guy.  At this point in his life he was heading into a major bust part of the cycle and this story tells of it.

     Once inside the walls there sits the castle, The City of God, the City on the Hill, the sacred city of Achilles, his goal.  Tarzan mounts a very long flight of steep stairs as ‘God high above on the castle ramparts watches with grim satisfaction. the fly has come to the spider.  Just like L.B. Mayer and MGM he’s got his man all but trapped.

     Having just been trapped by his enemies ERB belatedly has it all figured out.  Tarzan enters a oyer faced by three doors.  At this point all decisions are Tarzan’s.  He can go back or he can go forward.  He elects to go on.  Two of the doors are locked while one is ajar.  This scene of Tarzan and the doors is repeated several times in the corpus.  I’ve tried to figure it out.  The nearest I can come is a short story of 1898 by Frank Stockton titled The Lady Or The Tiger.

     Since this was a very famous story I, for myself, have no doubt that ERB read it and was suitably impressed.  This is arbitrary, I know, however there is a great deal of similarity between this story and the story of Queen Nemone and Tarzan in the arena from Tarzan And The City Of Gold.  Now, in the Lady Or The Tiger the story hinges on two doors, behind one of which is a tiger and the other a gorgeous lady.  This is the trial by ordeal that Stockton’s king has chosen to decide his criminal cases.  In his story a young lowly man has dared to love the king’s daughter.  She is inn attendance but displeased because the lover will possible marry another.  She indicates to him to take the right hand door.  The question is left unanswered whether the lady or the tiger was behind the door by Stockton leaving it to the reader whether the one or the other was the man’s fate.

     In the city of God, of course, the choice has been made for Tarzan as the middle door is left unlatched.  Tarzan enters descends some steps, passes through another door that latches behind him to find himself facing…the lady.  Well,I don’tknow, could be unrelated to Stockton’s story, but then, again….

     At any rate it relates to ERB’s obsessions with tigers.  As we all know the magazine story of Tarzan Of The Apes had both tigers and lions that public opinion forced Tarzan to change as the literalists pointed out that there were no tigers in Africa.  ERB changed the tiger to a lioness he called Sabor so that female lions can be thought of as tigers.  I think most of the lions Tarzan kills are females.  If tigers and ladies are associated in ERB’s mind then in City of God Tarzan got both the symbol and the real thing, who was his preferred Anima figure Rhonda.  I’m pretty sure that’s how ERB’s mind worked.

     Speaking of tigers, for those lovers of the Pulp and B movie genres, a perfect of its kind, the grande finale of the genre so to speak is Fritz Lang’s Indian diptich The tiger Of Eschnapur and The Indian Tomb of 1959.  Set in India but pure Burroughs with plenty of tigers, as there are no lions in India as everyone knows.  Stunning color and the perfect pulp story of the twenties and thirties.  Three or four hours of bliss.

     So Tarzan/ERB is in a cage with his other half, his Anima.  He’s been in tight spots before but this is it, the real thing, the place that’s a leap too far.  Rider Haggard all over again.  While the Big Guy and Rhonda are talking things over their captor, ‘God’, makes his appearance.  A jolly fellow, a formerly handsome Englishman, now piebald, who might go by the name of H.G. Wells.

     As I said Wells is one of my favorites and when I was younger and slightly more obtuse Wells struck me as he probably did ERB as a stunning writer.  Later as I learned of Wells’ politics and other failings he lost much of his gitter but the glory pretty much remains although resented.  Burroughs had much more reason to consider Wells a ‘formerly handsome Englishman’.  Thus he takes a certain malicious pleasure in making his God character half black, half white, half ape and half human.   There’s a lot more to analyze in the character of God but I’m working this side of the track right now.

     The reason God is half and half is because as he aged he took germ cells from the apes to rejuvenate himself thus slowly adopting ape characteristis, regressing as it were in an evolutionary sense and making a fine joke on the Stokes Trial in Tennessee of a few years earlier.  God is delighted to have captured two such fine White DNA specimens as he hopes their germ cells may restore him to his former splendor.

     We’ll never know now because while God absents himself, in the best pulp/B movie fashion Tarzan feels a breeze stirring.  This leads to what is hopefully an escape oute but merely tuns into an avenue leading to Tarzan’s Gotterdamerung.  A fire starts rising up through the flue Tarzan found and ascended so that the whole City of God on the hill perishes in flames.

     While Burroughs may have said back in the teens that he had never read Wells, that may be dismissed.  Actually when one delves behind the obvious facts one finds a fairly intimate connection with their careers contacting on the psychological level, that is to say ‘telepathically’, several times.  Between Wells and Burroughs almost continuously from, say, 1908 to the thirties.

     If one assumes that Wells was aware of the Stace-Burroughs situation, which is only a possibility, then Wells formed part of Burroughs subconscious with his Tono Bungay.  That influence probably surfaced when Burroughs purchased Tarzana and then became continuous through the twenties and thirties when Wells became Stalin’s literary hatchet man.

     Wells eludes the Wold Newton because he never created a mythic character or series of novels although the psychological situations of the seven science fiction novels and Tono Bungay along with many of his short stories give him a significant place in the Wold Newton mythos.  The WNU is of course a state of mind giving mythological form to history since 1795 when the meteor landed altering consciousness.


A Review

Themes And Variations

The Tarzan Novels Of Edgar Rice Burroughs

#14 Tarzan The Invincible

Part VI of X


R.E. Prindle

Inside The Gates Of Opar

Edgar Rice Burroughs

Life is just too short for some folks,

For other folks it just drags on.

Some folks like the taste of smokey whiskey

Others think that tea’s too strong.

Me, I’m the kind of guy who likes to ride the middle

I don’t like this bouncing back and forth.

Me, I want to live with my feet in Dixie

And my head in the cool blue North.

–Jesse Winchester: Nothing But A Breeze

     And now we come to the heart of Edgar Rice Burroughs.  One reason he is literarily disdained is that the story is not the story.  Porges, p.524:

     As the story progresses the perceived theme of a worldwide conspiracy is abruptly abandoned.  Burroughs in his contempt for the communists refuses to allow them to be sincere even in their Marxist goals.

     This is not true.  Porges has misconceived the story.  To quote the sixties Jewish revolutionary Mark Rudd:  The issue is not the issue.  By that Rudd meant that the Jews had created a diversion to mask the true issue which was the establishment of the Jewish culture as top culture or dictator in this multi-cultural world.

     Burroughs intent is exactly the same as regards Tarzan.  True, Burroughs has contempt for Communism but that is merely a frame story and a side issue.  The true issue is that Tarzan’s authority as guardian of Africa is being challenged on the spot.  The duel is between himself and Sveri mano a mano.  He discredits the collectivity through the individuals.  Thus at novel’s end Tarzan sits in state as Guardian or Emperor disposing the fates, godlike, of the remaining conspiritors.  Magnanimously he allow Paul Ivitch (Paulevitch) to be escorted out of Africa rather than be thrown on his own resources that would have resulted in his certain death.

     The issue within the issue, as always, is Burroughs attempt to resolve his psychological difficulties.  Thus one has the Colt-Drinov combination, possibly reprsenting ERB and Emma, an episode within Opar of Nao who may represent Florence releasing him from the prison of his marriage to Emma, and Colt-La, the Anima and Animus problem.  Tarzan and Colt change partners so that La nurses Colt and Tarzan nurses Zora.  But to that in the next section.

     While one expects a pure shoot out with the Communists, Tarzan is not going to defeat them by direct action but by a terrorist campaign of which Tarzan is the jungle master.

     To compound the problem Burroughs confuses realism with dreamwork.  This is not a realistic novel but a dream fantasy.  It was said that Burroughs wrote out his dreams which has a basis in fact.  The scenarios may have originated in his sleeping dreams but then he modifies them in day dream style while consciously molding the story for political and commercial purposes.  A writer does need readers.

     To give a basis for comparison for the dreamwork I’m going to play Freud here and offer up a dream of my own; it is similar to Burroughs’ in many way.  Since integrating my personality I don’t have wonderful dreams like this anymore.  As Jung correctly surmised when one integrates the conscious and sub-conscious minds memory destroys the symbolic basis of your dreams.  I can analyze the common place dreams I have now even as I dream them.  Something is lost, something is gained, but it might be of lesser value.  I think I like the mysterious flavor of the smokey whiskey even though the water I have to drink now  is better for me.

     In my dream I began on the edge of a vast desert dotted with a few oases while far off in the distance twenty years away, rather than miles, away in the the distance a great white shining mountain arose.  The distances were so vast they were measured not in miles but years.  Indeed, the years of my life.  I had to traverse the vast desert reaches between the oases.  Each oasis merely refreshed me for the next perilous journey.  Having traversed the years I came to the great white shining mountain.  One might compare it to the tor containing the treasure vaults  of  Opar out on its desert.  These are symbols common to multitudes.

      I then came to the white shining mountain which might compare to the city of Opar.  Censorship prevented me from climbing the mountain at that time.  In other words in the control of my subconscious, consciousness was denied me.  I approached the mountain from the back where I noticed a trickle of water leading into and down the mountain.  I tried to drink the water but as it ran through a pure salt bed it was too salty.  Unlike Burroughs who was in the pits of darkness I was always bathed in a clear light which came from nowhere.

     I followed the little stream down the subterranean path into the mountain.   Thus I had all land and no water, a barren psychological situation.  Following the cave down I came to a series of gates made entirely of steel.  I hesitated to go forward but there was no going back.  I was impelled into one of the gates which turned into a chute that spilled me out onto a steel floor where unseen hands seized me pushing me into a steel room as the steel door slammed shut.  Like Tarzan beneath Opar I was a prisoner with no seeming way out.

     As I looked around I realized that this was a laundry room.  All steel, of course.  While I had no food I now had sinks full of water.  My situation had been reversed from all land to all water, from the pure masculine to almost pure feminine.  Where before I was barren now I was spilling over with wisdom.  I knew I had to get out of there reasonably soon or I would starve to death.  There was impenetrable steel all around.  But I had plenty of water.  Too much water.  Looking around I spotted ventilation ducts along the ceiling.  I conceived the notion that I could drink lots of water then urinate in the ducts which would create a foul odor that would be distributed throughout the rooms above.   They would search for the source of the odor thus opening the door of my prison.

     The ducts were difficult to reach but I was able to urinate in them.  As I expected voices came down the duct asking ‘What is that smell?’.  The door to my prison opened inward so I stood to the side that opened waiting.  Sure enough a couple maintenance men flung the door open bursting into the room.  I slipped out the door behind them unnoticed.

     I now descended still further until I came to a bank of elevators.  One door was open for which I made a rush.  The elevator was packed with boys I knew from high school.  With doubled fists they pushed me back refusing to allow me in the elevator with them.  Mocking me as the doors closed I was left alone way down there.

     There was a flight of stairs but censorship prevented my using them.  I waited in vain for another elevator.  As with dreams I next found myself at the back of the mountain but the path into the mountain had disappeared so I now had to climb The Great White Shining Mountain.

     If, like Burroughs, I were writing a story I would provide a plausible story line for my escape but I’m not.  I’m merely transcribing a dream.

     The reason the mountain shone was because it was covered by snow several hundreds of feet, possibly thousands, thick.  As previously the water in the stream was too salty to drink now it was frozen.  The sun shone brightly, not only brightly, but brilliantly, as I began my climb.  I had left the subconscious for the conscious as I strove for the light.   The climb was long from the back of the brain to the forebrain but not tiring.  Apart from the barrenness of the snow I was enjoying myself.  Would it be too offensive a pun if I said I enjoyed being high?  After a long climb I came to a precipice past which I could go no further.  Nor could I go back.

      As I studied my position I looked down this sheer precipice to the desert thousands of feet below.  There was snow all the way to the desert floor.  Down there, way down there, I could see the tiny ant-like people in the barren sands doing obeisance to the moutain which they apparently treated as a god.

      Looking down the sheer face of snow I could dimly perceive the outlines of a great face carved in the snow.  This god, then, retained all the water behind his visage that could make the desert bloom.  Just as I had used water to escape the prison of my subconscious I conceived the notion that I could release the water and make the desert bloom freeing the people from their bondage.

     Now, this was hard snow.  I had no trouble walking the surface without breaking through while if the snow didn’t give way as I jumped on it to destroy the snow god I would plummet several feet into the desert.  Neverthless I leaped up landing on my bottom.  The snow gave way as I rode the avalanche several thousand feet down the mountain side to land on the desert floor while I destroyed the god who had been impounding the water.

     Many streams now flowed out from the mountain.  The desert bloomed turning green and bursting with flowers.  Now that we have a comparison let us examine Burroughs’ great dream of Opar.

      Opar first found expression way back at the end of 1912 and the beginning of 1913.  Appearing at the end of The Return Of Tarzan the story was included in Burroughs’ fourth published story and fifth written story, the Outlaw Of Torn had been written but not published yet.

     As with Invincible the story of The Return was not the story.  The story was what Burroughs hung the details of what appeared to be the story on.  Hence Return was rejected by Metcalf Burroughs’ first editor at Munsey’s who undoubtedly couldn’t understand it.  This is the novel in which Tarzan makes his first raid on the fabulous treasure vaults of Opar.  Burroughs will continue his wonder stories of Opar through three more books.  Each return occurs at a crucial point in his life.

     That Opar is a dream location is proven by the topography of the location.  It is not too dissimilar to any dream.  The jungle grows right up to the base of towering mountains behind which Opar is hidden.  On the other side of these it is a dry dusty desert exemplifying Burroughs’ life as the twenty year desert in my dream did mine.  Entry into the valley in this story is through a narrow defile apparently several thousands of feet high above which the peaks of the surrounding mountain range tower several thousand feet more.   This entry also closely resembles that of Haggard in King Solomon’s Mines.  Haggard is never far from Burroughs’ mind as he writes his stuff.

     Working your way down into the dreamscape is considerably more easy than climbing it.  And then off in the distance rose the shining red and gold domes and turrets of Opar.  A dream city if there ever was one.   One is reminded of the two great literary and psychological influences on Burroughs, H. Rider Haggard and L. Frank Baum.  Of  Haggard’s work beyond King Solomon’s Mines I have Heart Of The World and People Of The Mist most readily called to mind.  It might be appropriate to mention that Freud also read some Haggard.  He specifically mentions Heart Of The World and She but I suspect he probably read others as well.  Opar might be a ruined version of Baum’s Emerald City of Oz.  Opar is red and gold while from a distance its ruination is not obvious.  Mine was a shining white mountain.  Burroughs probably tinkered with his to make a good story better.

     Now, the fabled Thebes of Greek mythology had seven gates.  Cities Of The Sun had up to a hundred.  Opar doesn’t have any.  The entrance is a narrow cleft in the wall on which on entering this narrow 20″ gap for which Tarzan had to turn his massively broad shoulders sideways and then immediatley climb a flight of ancient stairs.  This appears to be a reverse birth story in which Tarzan is reentering the womb, an impossible feat, but then, Tarzan goes where even devils fear to tread.  Try some of the books of the psychologist Stanislav Grof.  There’s definitely a sexual image that requires a little thought to understand.  Hmm.  No gates but a narrow cleft too narrow for the shoulders and a flight of steps leading back into the what, womb?  Whose cleft?  ERB mother’s, Emma’s, possibly Florence’s by this time, or that of his Anima figure?  Well, the last is waiting for him inside the domed inner chamber of this sacred city who is aptly named La, which is French for She.   ‘She’ was Ayesha the heroine of Haggard’s novel She.  I’m sure Burroughs is not writing consciously here.

     At this point Tarzan is accompanied by fifty of his brave and faithful but superstitious Waziri.  In fact, in this story as Tarzan goes through his incarnation of a Black savage he is Chief Waziri, eponymous head of the Waziri.  P. 42:

     As the ape man and his companions stood gazing in varying degrees of wonderment at this ancient city in the midst of savage Africa, several of them became aware of movement within the structure at which they were looking.  There was nothing tangible that the eye could grasp- only an uncanny suggestion of life where it seemed that there should be no life, for living things seemed out of place in this weird, dead city of the long dead past.

     Dead city of the long dead past.  That’s what dreams are all about, one’s own long dead past.  Thus the ridge separating the lush live jungle from this dry, dusty plain eight years wide was Burroughs own dead past.  I suggest the mountain range, perhaps sixteen thousand feet high, represented ERB’s confrontation with John the Bully when he was eight or nine.  On the jungle side was his early life as a Little Prince while on the dry dusty side was his blighted, blasted life after John.   Opar represents his ruined mind inhabited by the suggestion of life and the Queen of his dreams the beautiful High Priestess of the Flaming God, the woman of indescribable beauty, La of Opar.

     La is obviously a combination of Haggard’s She and L. Frank Baum’s Ozma Of Oz.

     Tarzan is seized by the Frightful Men, bound and gagged and left lying in a courtyard at high noon.  The rays of the Flaming God bear down on him.  Whether this is merely part of an ancient  Oparian religious rite or whether Tarzan becomes the chosen Son of theSun a god among men, isn’t clear to the reader.  The Oparians have their own ideas.

     Burroughs describes this rite in a really masterful way.  The maddened murderous Oparian who disturbs the ceremony just before Tarzan is to be sacrificed is nicely handled.  Believe me, I feel like I am there.  As La looks down on Tarzan’s form on the altar she recognizes the One, the Son of the Sun, the One for which she is destined.   Once again, Haggard’s She.

     Freed in the melee caused by the crazed Oparian Tarzan is taken down to the Chamber of the Dead by La where she hides him.  As she said nobody would look for him in the Chamber of the Dead.  This Chamber answers very well to the laundry room of my dream.  Tarzan/Burroughs is in a stone dungeon with walls fifteen feet thick, fourteen in Invincible, in total darkness while I was in a steel room with no exit but bright light.  These locations answer to the rigid confines of one’s owned damaged psyche.  There is no way out but there is, there has to be.  While palpating this stony prison at the back of the cell Tarzan discerns a flow of air coming through.  This scene is a replication of one in Haggard’s King Solomon’s Mines while becoming a B movie staple.  The big Bwana discovers some loose stones.  He is able to dislodge these creating an exit through the fifteen foot depth of stones of the fortress wall.  Somehow Burroughs has worked his psyche to give himself a chance.  Once beyond the foundation walls, free of the Chamber of the Dead (I once dreamed I was looking for my soul in the House of the Distraught) but act among the living, Tarzan feels his way down this long dark corridor.   One can’t be certain of ERB’s age when he achieved this escape.  As it takes place just before Tarzan marries Jane the time might have been 1898-99.  Perhaps when he was in the stationery business in Idaho.  Perhaps something he read acted as a lever.  Apart from Darwin’s Origin Of Species I would venture to say he read Eugene Sue’s Mysteries Of Paris a copy of which is in his library while traces of it are here in his earliest work.

     Sue’s rare mentality permeates every page of this first visit while Sue’s extraordinary consciousness is everywhere apparent throughout ERB’s entire corpus.  Burroughs himself is absolutely incredible in the manner he associates with numerous other writer’s intellects, seemingly simultaneously within a given passage or even sentence.  Myself, Adams, Hillman, Broadhurst, Burger and others have written extensively on these influences.  Hillman even goes so far as to virtually twin Burroughs with some of his major literary influences.  Burroughs does make all these writers his virtual doubles.

     I have stressed Sue’s influence in several earlier essays.  I can only urge you to read Sue’s Mysteries Of Paris- a big three-volume work and too short at that- which Burroughs in his own reading found a life changing experience.  Possibly he did read it in 1898-99.  I found it a life changing experience; I’ve never been able to free myself of its influence, while it appears that Burroughs couldn’t either.  A lot of the late nineteenth century writers make reference to Eugene Sue.  H.G. Wells based the beginning of an early novel on Sue.  The remnant remains only as a short story.

     Sue wrote from outside the bounds of sanity.  Privately I consider him insane but so brilliantly rational as to transcend the very meaning of insanity.  He’s a dangerous writer.  His last work was confiscated by the French authorities.  It undoubtedly had such a private personal sense of morality that I am sure it would have undone society much as the pornography from Hollywood has undone ours.  DeSade and Restif De La Bretonne, who in some ways Sue resembles, were mere unbalanced pornographers who disturb only the disturbed.  Sue’s vision of morality is coldly clear, it forms the basis of Tarzan’s but is always on the side of reason and virtue.  This fact makes it no less dangerous to a weak mind or that of the obsessive-compulsive Liberal.  Still, only the strong survive.  I heartily recommend you take your chance.

     Tarzan freed from the prison of the psyche, was he insane?  was I?  or were we merely trapped by a device of other’s making?  I can’t say but ERB’s sanity after he escaped was conditioned by that of Eugene Sue.  I, of course, rise above all influences.

     Progressing down the corridor Tarzan comes to the First Censor.  He finds a gap in the floor into which he might have fallen had he not been careful.  He would have fallen into the unknown but he would have been alright.  He would have fallen into water which in his condition would have been life-giving water rather than dangerous or perhaps he might have drowned in the waters of the subcoscious or Oblivion. 

     In high school I had a teacher who used to chalk a half dozen slogans on the black board, one each morning.  The only one I remember is ‘when you reach the end of your rope tie a knot and hang on.’  I did this for a couple decades then one day I let go.  The joke was on me.  There was nowhere to fall.  I was only a fraction of an inch from a solid surface.  However Tarzan culdn’t have known this since he didn’t fall in, this time.  He would three years later.

     By chance he looked up where he saw some light entering to discover he was at the edge of a well.  Yes, you see, the water of life.  He dimly descried the other side fifteen feet away which was child’s play for him to leap.  Thus he passed the First Censor.  Mine was at the elevators which I apparently merely disregarded.

     Continuing on for some time in total darkness, so far that he believes himself outside the walls of Opar he enters the treasure vaults.  These vaults are filled with what appears to be forty pound barbells of solid gold.  Now, this gold is old.  So old that no Oparian knows that it is there nor do any old legends even mention it.  This is an intriguing part.  The gold was mined millennia in the past after the sinking of Atlantis.   This raises the question of what did Burroughs know of Atlantis and did he believe in it?  I can’t answer the sources of the former but I’m betting on Ignatius Donnelly as one of them.  As to the latter I believe he did.  He mentions Atlantis in Invincible with a confidence and familiarity that convinces me that over the eighteen years since Return he has read and thought enough to convince himself of the reality of the lost continent.  He appears to accept a mid-Atlantic location.

     The gold represents the income he’s receiving for his stories.  The stories spring from his dead past.  That the vaults are outside Opar indicates he freed his mind from its prison or that the money comes from outside the prison, i.e. his publishers.  That the gold is Atlantean indicates that his stories are based on his own ancient experience.  In other words he is mining his past already completed as ingots or accomplished facts.

     What experience then catalyzed his ability to write?  I believe that from 1908-10 when he read L. Frank Baum’s Ozma of Oz, Dorothy And The Wizard Of Oz and The Emerald City Of Oz he found a means to express himself.  These books bypassed his last censor allowing him to write Minidoka.  That book was not suitable for publication but it freed his genius so that he immediately followed it with A Princess Of Mars.

     Now, outside the gates of the Emerald City/Opar in the midst of the equivalent of  Baum’s Great Sandy Desert he found the handle on his own destiny.

     Tarzan locates the fifty faithful but superstitious Waziri loading them up with two forty pound ingots each and points them toward the coast.

     At the same time Fifty Frightful Men from Opar who are tracking him discover Jane instead.  Dreamy enough for you?  Given a choice between Tarzan and Jane I’d take Jane and so did the Fifty Frightful Men.

     So now Jane’s on the altar under the sacrifical knife of La.  Skipping the irrelevant details La discovers Jane is Tarzan’s beloved.  Interesting confrontation between Tarzan/Burroughs real life woman and his Anima.  La is shattered as Tarzan rejects her for Jane.

     This is a key point in the oeuvre.  This is what makes the novels so repulsive to the literary mind.  The story is not the story; the issue is not the issue.  Opar is the story within the story that will be told in four short parts over eighteen years.  So we have part one here without any indication the story will be continued.  A segment of the story is just plopped down into The Return Of Tarzan, sort of irrelevantly.

     Weird style actually.  I’m not even sure it works, but it nevertheless must be effective else why would the stuff still be in print a century on.  You’re on your own, Jack, I can’t even attempt to solve that one.  Not today anyway.

     The next novel examining this psychological is the 5th novel of the oeuvre, Tarzan And The Jewels Of Opar of 1915.

     At this point Tarzan, a profligate if there ever was one, has run through the two tons of gold the fifty faithful Waziri brought out and is broke.  Two tons of gold in three years.  Think about it.  He needs to make another run on Opar.

     The character of the series changes with Jewels Of Opar from the character of the Russian Quartet, the first four novels.  They not only have an Oz influence but they become Ozlike.  Burroughs apparently drew on The Beasts Of Tarzan as the foundation for what is essentially a new series.

     After writing five Oz stories, in the sixth, The Emerald City Of Oz, Baum attempted to abandon the series.  He closed the series off with the news that there will be no more communication from the fairy kingdom.  Because Oz has been invaded three times now, what with the advent of airplanes that will be able to spot Oz from the air Ozma is making the kingdom invisible.  Is it coincidence that Opar disappears from the oeuvre after the third invasion?

     Baum’s Emerald City Of Oz appeared in 1910.  It was the last of the stories to be datelined Coronado in his prefaces.  When he was forced to begin writing Oz stories again in 1913 they were datelined Ozcot in Hollywood.  In 1910 Hollywood was just a pleasant Los Angeles suburb.  The movies didn’t begin to make Hollywood the center of the world porn industry until 1914.

     Whether Burroughs knew that Baum left Coronado in 1911 isn’t known but I find it signficant that when he went to California in 1913 his first choice of residence was Coronado where he perhaps thought he would be close to Baum who afer all had a close connection with Chicago.   Baum wasn’t in Coronado so Burroughs moved across the bay to San Diego.

     The question then is: did Burroughs make a pilgrimage to Ozcot to see Baum in 1913?  I have to believe he did.  Tarzan was one heck of an entree such that Baum could hardly refuse to see ERB.  How long or how often the men met then is conjectural but I think it was long enough for Baum to give Burroughs some tips on fantasy writing.  Already an ardent admirer of the Oz books Burroughs would have had no trouble accepting advice from this master.

     Thus when Burroughs returned to LA and Ozcot in 1916 it is certain that they met while they were probably already familiar with each other.  In 1919, when Burroughs moved to LA permanently, Baum was on his deathbed so there was no chance to renew the acquaintance.  I also believe that Baum’s Ozcot influenced Burroughs in naming his own estate Tarzana.

     In any event Tarzan returns to Opar in 1915.  Except for the first visit when Tarzan following the directions of the old Waziri, chief of the Waziri, visited Opar to take the gold, in the rest of the visits he is battling interlopers who wish to steal the gold from him.  It might  pay to look at the nature of the intrusions and the intruders.

     In 1911-12 Burroughs had for the first time in his life come into more money than he could spend, only for a brief moment of course.  Thus Tarzan removes the gold more on a whim not really knowing what to do with it.  One might think this a strange attitude for one who had tasted the night life of Paris; but a foolish conisistency is the bugbear of small minds as one of those venerated old timers once said.  I don’t wish to be thought of as small minded so we’ll let the observation pass.

     By 1915 having lost his two tons of gold in some bad investments Tarzan has better learned the value of money or, at least, the absence of it.  And so, perhaps, has Edgar Rice Burroughs.  One can see the ghost of old George T. shaking his head muttering:  ‘When will that boy ever learn?”  Well, George, it would take more time than allotted to him.

     After 1912 Burroughs had created something of value.  That value could be stolen or at least exploited.  In 1914 McClurg’s offered him a publishing contract.  Nicely crafted it gve all the advantages to McClurg’s and none to Burroughs.    Burroughs undoubtedly did not understand the legal implications of what he signed.  I can’t explain this but McClurg’s made no effort to merchandise a sure fire hit.  They didn’t even publish the full fifteen thousand copies called for in the contract.  They released the book to reprint publisher A.L.  Burt after p;rinting only ten thousand copies themselves.   Explain it how you will but there was a guaranteed huge absolutely visible market waiting for book publication.  Syndication in newspapers had guaranteed the book’s success.  So why did McClurg’s willfully refuse to take advantage of such a deal?

     Burroughs probably had stars in his eyes at the prospect of 10-15% royalties on hundreds of thousands if not millions of books.  Instead he got comparatively nothing.  The royalties from Burt were miniscule and to be shared 50/50 with McClurg’s.  You can imagine Burroughs’ disappointment as a golden future became brass before his eyes.

     Back to Opar.  Tarzan entered the vaults before his faithful Waziri who were warriors and would act as bearers for no other man.     Alone Tarzan made six trips from the vaults to the top of the tor bringing up forty-eight forty-pound ingots.  That’s 320 lbs. per carry for a total of 1920 lbs or nearly a ton.  According to Freud, and I believe him, all numbers are significant, although I don’t have enough information to delve completely into the meaning of these numbers.  The Waziri then brought up fifty-two ingots.  some two of the fifty got stuck with carrying two ingots or two went back for one more.  That made slightly over a standard of 2000 lbs.

     Tarzan’s forty-eight ingots are roughly half of the total that undoubtedly represents the fifty-fifty split with McClurg’s.  At the time Ogden McClurg, the son of the father who built the company, Alexander McClurg, was the nominal head of the company.  The firm was actually owned by the employees since about 1902, which Burroughs probably didn’t know.  The man he dealt with, Joseph Bray, was probably the real head of the company.  Actually Ogden was away from the company for long stretches on adventures in Central America and WWI so that he would have been unfamiliar with the day-to-day workings of the company.  Burroughs, however, formed a grudge against Ogden McClurg.  I suspect that the Belgian villain Albert Werper is based partly on Ogden McClurg while also being an alter ego of Burroughs.  So, a story behind the story is how Ogden McClurg stole ERB’s royalties.

     At the same time Tarzan spurns La for a second time so the Anima-Animus story of Tarzan, Jane and La continues.  La has Tarzan within her power but in the life and death situation love triumphs over her hurt so she spares the The Big Guy.  Not without consequences.  The Fifty Frightful Men, or what’s left of them after the maddened Tantor tramples a few, led by Cadj, who now makes his appearance, feel betrayed repudiating La.  Thus is begun the conspiracy to replace La which will be the focal point of the next two visits.  You know, love or hate, I don’t know which is to be feared the most.

     In the next visit in Tarzan And The Golden Lion Tarzan has gone through his second two tons of gold.  That is four tons of gold in roughly ten years plus the Jewels of Opar that our spendthrift hero has managed to go through.  Four tons of gold!  That’s 128,000 ounces of gold.  At today’s price of over a thousand dollars an ouce it works out to 128 billion dollars and change.  My friends, that is prodigality.  Good thing there was more where that came from, hey?

     Of course a lot of the loss came from loans to the British Empire to float the Great War.  But like certain other borrowings, to which Burroughs may be making an allusion, the Empire had no intention of repaying.

     Once again this sort of excess had brought Tarzan to the edge of bankruptcy not unlike ERB in 1922.  Just as creditors were besieging ERB for money so some private individuals led by a former employee, Flora Hawkes, attempt to extract the gold from Opar.  Tarzan first fails, then recovers not only the gold but the bag of diamonds.  The significance of the jewels is explained in the Tarzan and Esteban Miranda story contained in Tarzan And The Ant Men.  That story is a duplicate Jewels Of Opar with different details.  The history of the Jewels Of Opar also duplicates the history of Tarzan’s locket in Ant Men.  If you’ve found something good don’t hesitate to use it more than once.

     Fifteen years after the visit in Jewels Of Opar and eight years after the Golden Lion/Ant Men the scene returns to Opar, where once again others are to make a run on Tarzan’s private bank at Opar.  Apparently Tarzan has them baffled from the start as, although they know there are treasure vaults at Opar, they have no idea where they are.  It appears the Communists have read the earlier books, but not with close attention, nor did they bring their copies along with them to bone up during all those idle moments in camp.  Playing cards is alright after reading, but time better spent before.  You can see why these dodos failed.

     Burroughs had read his Oz stories.  One can’t be sure whether he ever reread the stories or whether he was working from twenty year old memories.  There are similarities here with the Emerald City Of Oz of 1910.  In that book Baum attempts to end the series.  He says that it will be the last communication from Oz.  It too involves an invasion of Oz by the Nome King and his horrid allies.  In Baum’s story Ozma refused to defend her Communist State, predating Russia by seven years, but arranges it so that the invaders who are tunneling beneath the Great Sandy Desert emerge in front of the fountain of the Waters of Oblivion.  The fountain has apparently been spiked with LSD as the drinkers get lost in a world of their own returning through the tunnel without a fight.  Perhaps the first military use of drugs in history.  An excellent fairy tale, hey?

      Burroughs’ Communists make two attempts to enter Opar.  Circling the city unable to find any gates to Burroughs dreamworld they do find the narrow cleft in the wall.  Spooky sounds and happenings disconcert the Blacks and Arabs of this multi-cultural coalition so that any concerted action is frustrated.  Although the Russians and the Mexican, Romero, enter, only Romero has the courage to penetrate beyond the courtyard.  The Russians are arrant cowards who flee at the sound of the first Oparian shriek.

     Returning to base camp they find that Wayne Colt, having tramped the breadth of Africa, has joined the group.

     A second attempt is made.  The superstitious Arabs refuse to return being also disgusted by Zveri’s lack of leadership and cowardice.  Taking the six Communists and the Blacks Zveri returns to Opar for a second attempt.  While absent from the base camp the coalition begins to come apart as the Arabs desert the cause, looting and burning the camp while taking the two White women with them.  La has joined Zora but more on that in the next section.

     The second expedition fares no better than the first for the same reasons.  On this attempt both Wayne Colt and Romero enter the sanctuary where they are engaged in a serious battle with the Frightful Men.  Colt is felled by a thrown bludgeon that knocks him down but doesn’t crush his skull.  Romero retreats, Colt is dropped unconscious before the high priestess, now Oah and Dooth.  Cadj was destroyed by Jad-Bal-Ja in Golden Lion so Dooth has taken his place.

     If La is the good mother aspect of the male psyche, Oah is the bad or wicked mother.  Still beautiful but not quite as much so as La. 

     She orders Colt taken to a dungeon to await the full moon or some other propitious moment to sacrifice him.

     Oah’s plans will be foiled because among those present is a nubile young maiden named Nao who falls head over heels for Wayne at first sight.  Burroughs describes Nao as having entered the first bloom of womanhood.  To me that represents a fourteen-year old girl.  Indeed, Nao is fresh as a flower.

     One remembers Uhha who accompanied Esteban Mirands in Ant Men was specifically mentioned as being fourteen.  So the ages fourteen, nineteen and twenty have special female connotations in Burroughs’ stories.  As Freud rightly says people should only be held responsible for their actions and not their thoughts.  Certainly there is no mention of Miranda having relations with Uhha while Nao had to be content with watching Colt disappear into the night after she released him from prison, murdering a man, be it noted, to do it.  All that Priestess sacrificial training with knives comes in handy.

     It will be remembered that ERB is said to have begun proposing to Emma when she was in the first bloom of womanhood at fourteen.  So it is probable that the memory is associated with Uhha and Nao.

     Colt as Burroughs alter ego thus allows Burroughs to visit Opar and have his fling with Nao as Colt while  Tarzan has his with La.  there’s a sort of joining of the two aspects of Burroughs’ Animus much as there was with Esteban Miranda and Tarzan in Golden Lion/Ant Men as well as Werper and Tarzan in Jewels Of Opar.

     Tarzan himself returns to Opar before the first expedition of the Communists.

     It has been eight years and four novels since Tarzan visited the fabled red and gold city of Burroughs’ dreams.  Tarzan has a number of misconceptions of his relationship with the Oparians.  The high priest Cadj who had become a problem in Jewels Of Opar was killed by Jad-Bal-Ja in Golden Lion.  La had been replaced on her throne with the Bolgani of the Valley of Diamonds as her body guard and the Gomangani, who had no thin veneer of civilization at all, as her slaves, I guess.  Tarzan then sees himself as an Oparian benefactor, not unlike the US in today’s Iraq, who will be received as a friend.  Our hero shows himself a poor psychologist.

     With a light springing step he turns sideways to enter the cleft, bounds up the stairs to enter the inner sanctum where the howling Frightful Men bash him over the head yet again.  Tarzan could have been tagged Skull Of Steel to survive all these bashings with very heavy clubs and grazing by full metal jacket bullets.  I tell you, man, I’d reather read of adventures like this than live them.

     Coming to, Tarzan is surprised to find Oah as High Priestess with Dooth as her High Priest.

     ‘Where is La?’  Tarzan asks.

     ‘Dead.’  Replies Oah.  ‘Throw him in the dungeon.’

     Back to the pits of Opar for the Big Bwana where one imagines his sensitive nostrils will be grossly offended.

     Once again Tarzan escapes his prison.  Seeking a way out he is spotted by some hairy bandy-legged men.  Fleeing down an endless corridor flanked by doors he chooses one and enters.  Whew!  What an aroma assails his sensitive nostrils.  He is face to face with a half starved lion.  The Big Guy hears the hairy men rushing down the corridor just as the lion springs.  The door opens inward, unlike most prisons but apparently commonly in dreamscapes, so Tarzan opens it and steps behind it.  As the lion springs past him he slams the door which was not too swift a move as the bar falls locking him in.  He has the comfort of hearing the lion tearing up the Frightful Men but the stench of the lion’s den for once is so powerful it disguises the aroma of a White woman at the back of the cell.  Surprise!  La isn’t dead she’s been palling around with this lion for a while.  Fortunately as in Ant Men there is a door between her inner cell and that of the lion that she can open.  They built prisons differently back then.

     So, the Animus and Anima are reunited but in prison once again.  As in all dream sequnces there is a way out.

     There’s a lot of shuffling about; this one is fairly complicated.  In order to bring food to La at the back of the cell it is necessary to first feed the lion.  There is a corridor across the front of the cell.  a barred gate separates it from the lion’s den while La’s cell with its unlocked door is at the back.  The corridor leads to a little chamber that is open from above.  The lion’s food is thrown down after the gate has been lifted and closed somehow.  While the lion is feeding in this corridor the attendant picks his way among the lion piles and puddles to take the food back to La.  The chow must be tasteless in this overpowering stench.

     Tarzan investigates then raising the gate for La when she advises him that the Oparians are coming back with the lion.  This is very fast work by the Oparians so you can see the stuff is dreamwork.  Tarzan raises La into the opening following her.

     They follow the winding staircase until they enter a chamber that is the highest point in Opar.  Thus they have ascended from the subconscious to the conscious.  Here La once again confesses her love for the Beast of Beasts.  The Big Guy is still not interested.

     As they are plotting a way to get down from the tower they hear someone ascending a ladder.  As the fellow pops his head above floor level Tarzan seizes the guy by the neck.  My first reaction was to think that this was the Old Stowaway from Tarzan And The Golden Lion who would now be sixty-eight.  Apparently not although Burroughs makes him sound different from one of the Frightful Men.

     The old boy assures Tarzan and La that he is faithful as he as wellas most of the Oparians pine for the return of La.  Plans are made for La to return to her throne.  The Old Boy was a master of deceit however.  Oah, Dooth and the Frightful Men who are still very angry with La and Tarzan are waiting for the pair when they enter from behind the curtain.  A little Wizard of Oz touch.  Humor, I think.

     Tarzan might well have voiced the words of Marty Robbins in El Paso:

Many thoughts ran through my mind

As I stood there.

I had but one chance

And that was to run.

     And run the Big Bwana did in a scene that was almost as comical as when he ran from the Alalus women in Tarzan And The Ant Men.

     Breaking through the ring of Frightful Men Tarzan tosses the slower La over a shoulder and rapidly puts one of his clean limbs before the other.  The bandy little legs of the Frightful Men are no match for the Big Bwana.  Shouting epithets like:  Good riddance of bad rubbish and Don’t come back again if you know what’s good for you. they snarlingly turned back to the City of Red and Gold.

     Far across the dusty plain Tarzan and La climbed the ridge separating Opar from the outside world.  First outside the gates of Opar in 1915s Jewels Of Opar chasing after Tarzan, once again in Tarzan And The Golden Lion to rescue Tarzan, La now makes her longest and most hazardous stay in the great wide world.

Part Seven follows.




A Review

Themes And Variations

The Tarzan Novels Of Edgar Rice Burroughs

#14 Tarzan The Invincible

Part V of X


R.E. Prindle

First Published On The Ezine, ERBzine

The Man

Six White Men In Search Of An African Empire

     If one believes that Burroughs is merely on a rant against Communism in Tarzan The Invincible and Tarzan Triumphant then there is nothing more to say.  Still, it is remarkable that ERB specifically names Stalin as a persecutor of Tarzan in both books.  As Burroughs says he doesn’t mind fictionizing political and religious realities the question is , is he fictionizing a real life situation where Stalin, or the Communists are giving him a hard time?

     Seems really improbable doesn’t it?  People are used to thinking of Burroughs as a barely literate fantasy writer better ignored by the literati.  But more insignificant men than ERB have been the victims of hate campaigns.

Dr. Harvey Springer- The Cowboy Evangelist

      Who now, for instance, remembers Harvey Springer?  Harvey Springer?  Never heard of him?  I don’t wonder.  Oddly enough when I was in San Diego in 1957-58 Harvey Springer, who was some kind of evangelicalist, was going to appear at some church out where no sailor ever went.  He was kind of a cowboy evangelical from Denver.  His most dramatic stunt was placing one of size fourteens, he was a tall rangy man, on one chair and the other on another to harangue the crowd.

     I hadn’t heard of him, you know, nor had anyone I knew, but Harvey Springer was reputed to be an arch anti-Semite.  Could have been for all I knew, but I’m not going to take anyone’s word for it.  The point is the Jews sent all kinds of people into the streets to tell people not to go see Harvey.  I don’t how many times they must have heard- Who’s Harvey Springer?- in reply.  Rather than say he’s an anti-Semite, of which I had even less knowledge at the time never having heard the term, all that was necessary was to say the two words, church and evangelical to cool my ardor, if I had any, to find where he was speaking and go see him.

     In addition the AJC and ADL published books in which they denounced Harvey Springer as a very dangerous anti-Semite.   Now, if certain people would go to such extremes to persuade someone not to do something he had no intention of doing what would they do to defame someone with an international reputation?  The only one who didn’t realize the extent of ERB’s fame seems to have been ERB himself.  He was no self promoter, he thought it best to keep his head down.

     In that sense, judging from the unpublished Under The Red Flag and the published Moon Maid, Invincible and Triumphant Burroughs was actually a leading anti-Communist voice.  I mean, people read this stuff.  They read it in America , they read it in England, they read it in numerous translations and they read it in the Soviet Union.  Here’s the kicker, Stalin read it.  Not only that, Stalin was a movie buff.  And he requested Tarzan films (reported in a recent UK Telegraph story and the book of Simon Sebag Montefiori: Stalin:  The Court Of The Red Tsar.)

     History is not a mystery, it’s just schoolyard bullies bigger than life.

     We also know that Stalin ordered his scientists in the 1920s to attempt to cross an ape and a human to create a super warrior.  It’s clear to me that Stalin had read Beasts Of Tarzan.  The Man of Steel may have had a difficult time distinguishing between fact and fiction as many another.  Besides, remember eugenics was a hot topic of conversation in Red circles then as it is today.  Not knowing what we know now about genetics crossing an ape and human may not have seemed that far fetched.  It doesn’t to a lot of people now.  Heck, the Old Testament enjoins one to destroy the results of an animal-human union so the ancient Hebrews thought it was not only possible but a regular occurrence.

     There is very clear evidence that the Reds were conducting a campaign of vilification against Burroughs.  I’ve mentioned it before but the clearst evidence is H.G. Wells’ novel Mr. Blettsworthy On Rampole Island.

Bertie Wells

     May we take a moment to look more closely at Wells?  Don’t think I’m antagonistic toward Wells.  I dearly love Wells just as I do Burroughs.  I have a complete collection of Burroughs while I’m looking for the odd volume of the more obscure Wells.  I’m not boasting,  I’m just saying this in the way of credentials.  I’ve read all of Burroughs more than once and I’ve read all the Wells’ titles I have, many of them  more than once.  In point of fact I love all the literature from say, Haggard’s King Solomon’s Mines to 1930 and perhaps an odd year or so beyond.  I love.  I mean, I love it.  I love Edgar Wallace who, if you can believe it, is claimed to have sold one out of four books sold in England during this period.  If you don’t know him  he was one of the co-writers of the movie King Kong and then he died.  All  this stuff of this period is wonderful.  Robert Hitchens, P.C. Wren.

     So, you know, it’s like this:  H.G. Wells was a Soviet literary hatchet man.

     The man had a wonderful career.  You know his most famous novels, The War Of The Worlds, First Men In The Moon, The Island Of Dr. Moreau, In The Days Of The Comet.  If you like Wells, and I do, those are the tip of the iceberg.  A few of his short stories and he wrote many  are as good as short stories get.

     He was always a socialist and perhaps a terrorist conspiritor, but he was a child of the nineteenth century until his mind broke at the end of the Great War.  At that time he lost faith, in god, transferring his faith to the Revolution, becoming a Soviet dupe.  His literary career may be divided into two halves, pre-God- The Invisible King and post-God.  That was one of his books.

     He was not taken seriously as a fiction writer after the war.  During the twenties and thirties he turned out an unending stream of novels that were ignored.  It’s not difficult to see why, but I find them a little more tolerable.  I like Wells.  His reputation and career were saved by his 1922 effort An Outline Of History.  It was a massive volume and it sold massively for twenty years or more while being hugely influential in literature.  Put him on easy street for the rest of his long life.  As much as any artist who is skilled at spending money can be on Easy Street.

     As a novelist however, he was pretty much a has been.  While none of his post-1920 novels take off he hits the spot with me.

     From 1920 on his soul belonged to the Revolution, which is to say the Socialist homeland, which is to say the Union Of Soviet Socialist Republics.  That means he was more loyal to Russia than he was to England.  In short, a traitor in intent if not in deed.  While no Liberal ever deals in realities hence are in constant denial, The Man of Steel, Josef Stalin, was his boss.  Wells naturally would have denied this.

     The Soviets had a pretty comprehensive system which once again is denied.  There were a number of State prostitutes who were assigned to the various important Red writers to service them as mistresses, while reporting back to the Kremlin.  This is, of course, denied by the Liberals.  I don’t understand living a life that has to be denied, where everything you do has to be represented as something else, but such duplicity is apparently congenial to the Liberal mind.  They must seek it.


Moura Budberg

   Wells was assigned a woman named Moura Budberg.  She must have known how to turn on the charm as she was able to make a number of men she was assigned to sincerely love her, including the British diplomat Bruce Lockhart, the Russian writer Maxim Gorky and H.G. Wells.  She wasn’t that good looking either.  All of these people led double, triple or quadruple lives.  They must have been really able to compartmentalize their minds.  Freud didn’t touch that type.

     After Wells’ visit to Lenin in 1921 he was signed on.  He began his career as literary hatchet man.  In his writing he portrayed recognizable people, sometimes under their real names, in negative or positive lights.  As a skilled writer, whether you like his later stuff or not, he was more than competent to do this.  It appears that he first targeted Burroughs in his 1923 novel Men Like Gods.  Among his science fiction novels this one should rank more highly than it does.  Burroughs’ 1926 Moon Maid reads like a reply to Wells.  Especially the first part of the trilogy where Burroughs dances imaginative rings around the First Men In The Moon.  From there Wells took up the challenge with Mr. Blettsworthy On Rampole Island of 1928 which unmistakably is a parody of Burroughs in which he portrays Burroughs as insane, but not a bad analysis.

     Burroughs responded possibly with At The Earth’s Core but definitely with Tarzan The Invincible.  At the same time one interprets Stalin’s interest in crossing apes with humans as being derived from Beasts Of Tarzan and other Tarzan novels there may have been more direct Soviet interest in ERB.  One notes that Tarzan The Invincible was the first title published under the Burroughs imprint.  I think it highly probable that his publishing was being interfered with by the Reds in addition to whatever other grievances against his publishers Burroughs may have had.

     One may say that Burroughs was too insignificant for Stalin to bother with, yet according to Simon Sebag Montefiori Stalin put out a contract on John Wayne because he was such an ardent anti-Communist.  Khruschev is said to have told Wayne that he concelled the contract after Stalin’s death.  Edgar Rice Burroughs was at least as significant in 1930 as Wayne in the 1940s and 50s.

     At any rate in 1930 Burroughs has Stalin and the Reds invading his dream world of Opar to steal his gold, i.e. put him out of the publishing business.  Invincible and Triumphant, notice the titles,  both deal with Stalin and the Soviets then the topic disappears from the oeuvre.  Was Burroughs given incentive to counter-attack the Reds?  I think there is enough evidence to warrant the opinion while time will tell even more.  Research is just beginning.

     It is signficant that Burroughs introduces the story in his own voice, not a framing device.  He may be simply talking to the reader or he may be addressing Wells and, dare I say say it, The Man Of Steel himself.  Perhaps a subtitle could be ‘The Big Bwana Meets The Man Of Steel.’  Now, it should also be remembered that this is the fourteenth novel of the series.  the first title had been written eighteen years earlier.  At that time the surprise of the character had knocked the socks off the reading public.  In 1930 Tarzan was in danger of becoming old hat.  Burroughs had to think up new and interesting devices to keep his readers coming back.  As with most series of this type the readership was limited.  Maximum sales could be predicted so that success meant not falling below a certain level of interest or letting interest diminish below unsupportable levels.  As his own publisher Burroughs was now taking all the risks financial as well as literary.  He had to turn out a successful book.

     I think he did a superb job.  Since the series continued to flourish his readers must have thought so too.  I do wish ERB, Inc. would release some sales figures though.

     For the premiss of his story Burroughs postulates that Stalin and the Soviets wish to instigate a new world war which will allow them to pick up the pieces establishing a complete European dictatorship.  Not at all farfetched.  Burroughs postulates that Mussolini and his Fascists are aiming at a European hegemony.  This is 1930 so Hitler and the Nazis are not on anyone’s radar as a threat to world peace except for a few fringe elements.  At the time Hitler and the NSDAP were in hand to hand combat with the Communists for control of Germany.  They would not assume power until three years hence.

     The Reds then wish to create an incident that would cause the Italians to attack France.  The indirect approach is usually more effective than the direct approach so they wish to create an incident in Africa where French colonial troops appear to invade Italian Somaliland.

     At that instant expendable confederates in Italy would reveal a bogus French plan to Mussolini.  It is assumed that Italy would then declare war on France and the holocaust would begin.  As we all know Italy did not declare war on France in 1930 so the plan must have misfired somewhere along the way.  Tarzan was the reason.  Burroughs gives these little known details that would have been lost to…well… if not history, remembrance.  So, uh, really ERB is providing a valuable service here.

     There may be two sides to every story, but usually one is on one side or the other.  We don’t have to be reminded ERB is not on the side of the Reds.  In fact, ERB is exposing their plans and weaknesses.  He displays a fairly profound understanding of the goals and workings of the Communists.  He is read up on the subject,  He has studied.  He is not shooting from the hip.  He knows whereof  he speaks.  If not an authority on the subject he is pretty darn close.

     ERB has his eyes on how ‘American’ manufacturers are relating to Moscow.  He has Zora Drinov analyze the situation this way, p. 12

     “But what do the puny resources of this single American (Wayne Colt) mean to us?”  demanded Zora.  “A mere nothing compared to what America is already pouring into Soviet Russia.  What is his treason compared with the treason of those others who are already doing more to hasten the day of world communism than the Third Internationale itself- it is nothing, not a drop in the bucket.’

     “What do you mean Zora?”  asked Miguel.

     “I mean the bankers, and manufacturers, and engineers of America, who are selling their own country and the world to us in the hope of adding more gold to their already bursting coffers.  One of their most pious and lauded citizens is building great factories for us in Russia, where we may turn out tractors and tanks; their manufacturers are vying with each other to furnish us with engines for countless thousands of airplanes; their engineers are selling us their brains and their skill to build a grreat modern manufacturing city, in which ammunitions and engines of war may be produced.  These are the traitors, these are the men who are hastening the day when Moscow shall dictate the policies of our world.”

     “…their government is a capitalistic government that is so opposed to our beliefs that it has never recognized our government; yet in their greed, these swine are selling out their own kind and their own country for a few more rotten dollars.”

     Sound anything like the US and China today?  That was a mouthful.  The first thing FDR did upon taking the reins of government was to recognize Soviet Russia.  Tell you anything about FDR?  That was a mouthful that should have eraned ERB the hatred of the Liberal Coalition.

     You can see why they wanted to stop his mouth.  Passages such as this are probably the reason Richard Slotkin and his crowd, John Taliaferro, group ERB with Madison Grant and Lothrop Stoddard.  A charge of racism is usually a cover for a multitude of offences that have nothing to do with race.  One is merely opposing the Liberal program.   If they were to say- the fellow opposes the Liberal program they would get no rise- they might even have to explain the Liberal program- so the charge of racism is used as a red herring.  One should always suspect such an accusation and disregard it.

     Liberals however, never answer such charges.  They merely deny them.  In 1953-54 they were even denying themselves as Communists or taking the Fifth, which is the euivalent of saying, yes I am, but I’m not going to admit it.

     The Revolution was only twelve years old in 1930.  The CPUSA had been briefly outlawed in the early twenties but ‘disinterested parties’  believing in the time honored notion of ‘free speech’  had the ban lifted.  Over in Russia their free speech loving comrades were filling cattle cars with dissenters destined for the Gulag or else they were murdered outright.  Today, of course, these freedom loving people are throwing dissenters in prison on the basis of trumped up laws.  The Program is moving right along isn’t it?

     Even William Z. Foster denied he was a Communist as he was running for President on the Communist ticket.  Today a tenured Law Professor at Harvard actually denies that AIPAC, which is a registered lobby group, exists.  They ought to throw such people into cells next to David Irving.  Denial of themselves is what Liberalism is all about.  You couldn’t find anyone to admit to being a Communist.  They all denied it.  The hypocrisy of Liberals throwing men as decent  or moreso than themselves into jail for denying the holocaust is mind boggling.  Well, it would be, if you didn’t already know what’s going on.

     So ERB would have been roundly denounced as a paranoid delusive for the above passage.

Henry Ford- Philanthropist

     Men like Armand Hammer, Bernard Baruch, essentially the whole Jewish government in exile here in the US were working furiously to make the Revolution a global reality.  They really had no idea of Hitler’s intentions at the time, yet they attempted assassination while through the German Communist Party they were waging street warfare against the National Socialists.  The word National is what they objected to not so much the man Hitler.  Burroughs mentions the Third International.  The Comintern- short for Communist International as it was known- was essentially a beta model for what is now multi-culturalism.  It was the Jewish cultural vision of the world.  Thus industrialists like Armand Hammer and Bernard Baruch using their Jewish identity as a shield from criticism, any criticism would be characterized as anti-Semitism, were directing huge sums of money into the development of Soviet Russia.

     In addition a well-meaning industrialist, Henry Ford, who would later be denounced as a Nazi, was doing the

Armand Hammer

same thing.  The mention of tractor factories refers to Henry Ford- the Jewish bete noir-  who was trying to relieve the Communist induced famine by selling or even giving tractors to the Russians to increase food production.  He was also building the factories for them.  I mean, you know, gratis; altruism run rampant.   The great industrial city probably refers to Stalingrad.

      Even Burroughs biographers Porges and Taliaferro disparage Burroughs for his rational stance against Communism.  Burroughs doesn’t stop his analysis with the multi-cultural contradiction within American society, p. 35:

      “The general plan, of course, is no secret to any of us here,”  said Zora, “and I shall betray no confidence in explaining it to you.  It is part of a larger plan to embroil the capitalistic powers in wars and revolutions to such an extent that they will be helpless to unite against us.”

     “Our emissaries have been laboring a long time toward the culmination of the revolution in India that will distract the attention and armed forces of Great Britain.  We are not succeeding so well in Mexico as we had planned, but there is still hope, while our prospects in the Philippines are very bright.   The conditions in China you well know.  She is absolutely helpless, and we have hope that with our assistance she will eventually constitute a real menace to Japan.  Italy is a very dangerous enemy, and it is largely for the purpose of embroiling her in war with France that we are here.”

     Once again you will note that there is no reference to a threat from Germany.  No one could have seen it but the Communists who were opposed not merely to Hitler but any Volkish attempt to govern.  The Volkish movement was inherently anti-Communist.  To be anti-Communist was equivalent to being anti-Semitic, so that Hitler was automatically an enemy to be destroyed.  When he and the Nazis assumed power in 1933 an automatic boycott of Germany and things German was instituted by the Jews.  One might say that WWII began in January of 1933 at the instance of the Jews.  The obvious conclusion is that if Hitler’s actions against the Jews were not self-defense, they were acts of war in which the first offensives had been begun by the Jews.  Needless to say any such opinion is and will be denied.  Any such discussion of such matters will be ridiculed and suppressed.  But there you have it.  At any rate ERB was not one of those far-sighted individuals who foresaw the rise of Hitler.  Italy turned out to be a not so dangerous enemy.

     In his story Italy was merely to be a dupe of  the Soviets.

     In order to present his analysis ERB had to be especially well informed.  What he read or where isn’t clear as there is nothing in the existing library that even deals with the Communists per se.  ERB does have a copy of Hitler’s Mein Kampf but that could only have been obtained after 1940 when the war was in progress.

     As the story opens then, the Reds are assembling their forces for the march on Italian Somaliland.

     Things aren’t to be quite so simple as the leader of the expedition, Peter Sveri, develops delusions of grandeur hoping to establish his own Empire in Africa with himself as Emperor.  On the one hand Communism breaks down on the rocks of the interests of the various cultures, while in seeking to establish himself in Africa Zveri is infringing on the domain of its current Emperor, Tarzan.

     Tarzan handily frustrates Zveri’s designs, while at the same time beating Stalin and the Reds, hence the title Tarzan The Invincible.  One imagines though that there may be something more behind it.  Originally titled Tarzan, Guardian Of Africa the change of title indicates something deeper.

     In order to finance his operations Zveri intends to loot the fabled treasure vaults of Opar of which, one assumes,  he has read about in The Return Of Tarzan, Jewels Of Opar and Tarzan And The Golden Lion.   This makes him somewhat a fan of the amanuensis of the Big Bwana.

      This is the fourth and last of Burroughs’ Opar stories.  In section six let’s review Opar and its significance to this story.





Four Crucial Years

In The Life Of Edgar Rice Burroughs

Part IV of IV


R.E. Prindle

Edgar Rice Burroughs

Edgar Rice Burroughs


     By this time ERB would have been viewed as a real upsetter.  Since 1890, except for a summer vacation or so, ERB had only been in Chicago from late Spring ’97 to Spring of ’98.  Then he had gone away for a year and now he was back spoiling some other people’s plans.

     Even after having deserted Emma Hulbert twice, the first time without notice for sure, and probably the second also, she was still waiting for him.  Amazing!  Ten full years when when the biological clock was ticking loudest she was still there.  If that’s not true love I don’t know what is.

     It must be that ERB took it for granted that she would always be waiting for him because he was still willing to leave her at the drop of a hat, if he could only get that coveted officer’s appointment.

     As ERB walked down his street you could almost hear Alvin Hulbert say ‘Drat! that young man is not going to set foot in this house.’

      Papa George T., quietly holding that three hundred dollar note, welcomed him back restoring his old job to him.

     The following account is based on two letters, one from R.H. Patchin dated 3/21/1950 and the reply from Jack Burroughs dated 4/4/50.  I learned of the letters which were quoted in part by Burroughs scholar Robert Barrett in the Fall 2003 issue of the BB.  Danton Burroughs of ERB, Inc. subsequently was gracious enough to provide me with full copies as he had Mr. Barrett.

     As of the time of the letter Mr. Patchin was from 68 to 70-75 years old.  My guess is that Frank Martin couldn’t have been younger than Emma so was probably at least 25 to 30 years old in 1899.  It is not impossible that he was older but as his exemplars in ‘W.C. Clayton and Terkoz in Tarzan Of The Apes and The Return Of Tarzan are approximately the same age as Tarzan Martin was most likely 25-27.

     As Emma would be 23 at the beginning of 1899 which would be close to spinsterhood one may believe there was some anxiety on Papa Alvin’s part to get her safely married.  Martin was about the most advantageous marriage possible.  At, say 27, he was looking at one of the last unmarried women of his age cohort.  If he failed with Emma he would have to find a much younger woman than himself or take a woman who had already been married.  He has some reason to repent this man he could not have known well who not seeming to care that much for Emma yet stood between himself and her.

     Patchin says a lot in his letter to Jack Burroughs.  He mentions the three times his and ERB’s paths crossed.  They were all unfortunate for Burroughs.  In the first ERB got his head bashed in; in the second Patchin showed up just after ERB divorced Emma which divorce was national news; the third was the condolence letter at ERB’s death.  Talk about an ill omened bird.

Patchin Letter

Jack Burroughs’ Reply

   Sometime between ERB’s divorce and 1950 Frank Martin became a statistic.  He didn’t survive his nemesis.  I am guessing of course but Patchin’s meeting with ERB after his divorce must have been arranged by Martin.  He may even have been watching from a distance.  One wonders if he ever married.

     I only mention the following as a point of interest.  By the time John Dos Passos wrote the third volumeof his USA trilogy, The Big Money, Burroughs was already a major literary figure.  As he didn’t seem to court publicity he can’t be said to have been a celebrity.  In The Big Money Dos Passos cameos a number of interesting people among them Bernarr Macfadden.

     It should be clear to everyone that nothing can be done in secret.  Whatever passed between Martin, ERB and Emma must have been a source of gossip among Chicagoans.  Somewhere along the way Dos Passos may have heard the gossip.  In The Big Money he includes a story about a woman named Evaline Hutchins.  A segment of the story bears some resemblance to the situation between the three under consideration.  In the episode the Martin-like character takes the Emma character driving.  He cracks up the car leaving the woman with some explaining to do to her husband.

     I don’t say it’s so but suppose that in 1907-08 Martin, still seething at his rejection, in some way got Emma to go out driving with him with the above result throwing Burroughs into a panic.  It was in 1908 that Joan was born to be followed immediately by Hulbert.  Is it possible that after eight childless years Burroughs suddenly began a family as a defensive move against Martin?  I can’t say but it is a hint I would dearly love to follow up.

     At the time Patchin wrote the letter in 1950, judging from his stationery, he was down on his luck.  His sloppy typing can’t be accounted for by age alone, or perhaps a lifetime of hard living had left him a wreck.  My conjecture is that he had been drinking when he wrote the letter.

     You will notice that the staionery bears only a street address- 555 Park Avenue- and no indication in the body of the letter as to what city.  Burroughs’ reply provides the location.  New York City.  Patchin must have been clever enough to provide a return address on the envelope.  The street address is printed rather than engraved so it is less expensive stationery.  With no other address details provided it is obviously not Patchin’s personal stationery.  The paper must have come from a mailing address.  The stationery was probably available to anyone.  555 Park Avenue is a lower East Side address so Patchin was totally down on his luck.  Probably drunk as he wrote.

     He makes a glaring Freudian slip in the first paragraph when he says of ERB, ‘He lived his wife well.  Wife for life!  Hence the letter is as much about Emma as ERB.  Emma meant nothing to Patchin so he must be speaking for Frank Martin.  He then immediately relates the anecdote concerning ERB’s bashing in Toronto; thus Emma and the bashing are related.  The one caused the other.

     What follows now is extrapolated from Patchin’s virtual confession and Jack Burroughs’ reply.  Burroughs hints that he knows more of the story than he is letting out.  He and ERB had discussed this matter shortly before ERB passed over, he says.  Obviously among the last things on ERB’s mind.

     Martin viewed Burroughs’ return from Idaho with apprehension.   Emma’s delight at Burroughs’ reappearance disconcerted Martin’s plans which he and Alvin probably thought were progressing well.  Martin perhaps in talking with Patchin, if they were equals and friends, which I doubt, may have said, ‘How am I going to get rid of this guy?’  ‘Let’s think about it.’  Said Patchin.  ‘What kind of accident could he have?’

     Indeed, that’s how people get rid of someone they don’t like, the victim has an ‘accident.’  Murder is for amateurs.  With murder the Law has to be paid, with accidents it doesn’t.  No investigation.  Perhaps he steps on a banana peel; gets run over by a car going the wrong way down a one way street, pushed in front of a trolley car.  The next question would have been, where, how, when?

     Better that it should be out of town rather than in town.

     How to get Burroughs out of town?  Now we’re talking old hat.  You find a desirable reason for going somewhere, say New York City, then you make arrangements.

      In Frank Martin’s case he had a perfect situation.  Frank’s father, Col. L.N. Martin, was a multi-millionaire railroad man who had his own private rail car.    In July of  ’99 the Col. was going to NYC so Martin, extended an invitation to Burroughs to travel by private car to New York City.  What a deal, huh?

     Burroughs should have been surprised at the offer since the two weren’t that close friends while they were rivals for Emma’s favor.  There should have been enough there to give one pause.  Still, what a tempting offer.

     The trip appears to have lasted at least three to four weeks, returning to Chcago at the beginning of August.  Clearly ERB and Martin were not in the same economic league.  Our Man was receiving fifteen dollars a week.  Martin could spend that much for lunch every day of the week and take Emma to the theatre every night without a single concern for expense.  There was no way ERB could have kept up so that the Martins had to have paid his way.  Didn’t ERB wonder why they would do that for a comparative stranger?

     There was no questioning expenses from the Martin point of view.  They owned a luxurious private railroad car.  It cost more than Burroughs made in a week to connect it to a train.  Jack Coleman Burroughs  recalls:  ‘Dad also recalled on the same trip, a colored porter would knock on the stateroom doors the first thing every morning.  The porter bore a silver tray upon which was a choice of ‘eye openers’.  According to Dad, this went on over different parts of the private car during the rest of the days and into the evenings.’

     Thus ERB was accepting lavish hospitality he couldn’t hope to reciprocate.  This is a fairly humiliating situation.  You cannot feel like an equal nor will you actually be treated as one.  One the other hand he was kept tipsy, to say the least, for the whole trip.

     When they got to New York ERB does not appear to have lived on the car.  Once again with the Army fever on him he wrote to Col. Rogers who was then in Washington D.C. in the hopes of gaining an officer’s appointment.  The return address Rogers was given was 11 17th in NYC.  That is the lower East Side somewhere in the vicinity of the Bowery.  Patchin was writing from somewhere in the same vicinity.  Of course, the address could possibly have been a box of the railroad; the information is incomplete.  At the same time the Martin party was staying  on the posh Riverside Drive.  There’s a degree of separation there.

      ERB’s letter was sent on the 15th while Rogers very quick reply came back on the 22nd in the negative.  He didn’t have to give his reply much thought.  Now, ERB was ready to abandon Emma again.  Marrying her must have been a low priority in his mind.

     If Martin had been thinking, rather than preparing an ‘accident’ for ERB he would have gotten his father, ‘the Colonel’  who must have had some influence, to secure Burroughs an appointment and have him shipped to the Philippines.  That would have made ERB eternally grateful while getting him out of Martin’s hair.  Frank missed a chance.

     Sometime after the 22nd the return trip to Chicago began.  As is usual in attempts of this kind the hit was delayed until the last minute.  In this case the assassination was to take place in Canada to which, if anything went wrong, Martin would have to be extradited as they would cross the river into the United States from Toronto the next morning.

     More rounds of drinks were served as the train moved from NYC to Montreal and thence to Toronto.  Probably a fairly lengthy trip as they might have had to switch trains a couple times while wating in the yards.

     Neither Patchin nor Jack Burroughs gives a date for Toronto.  As this took place in 1899 there were no motorized taxis.  As Patchin says the railcar was parked in the Grand Trunk yards.  These ‘three gentlemen songsters out on a spree’ would have had to walk into town or hire a carriage, probably the latter as Martin had the money.

     At this point someone would have had to have previously hired the thugs to bash Burroughs.  As I figure it the logistics were Patchin’s job.  I don’t see him so much a friend of Martin’s as an accomplice or stooge.  In his letter he does not claim to be a friend of Martin, he does not say ‘our’ old friend but claims to have been a friend of ERB while ERB was a friend of Martin.  Stange circumlocution when he could have just said ‘our friend.’

     Although Patchin describes the thugs as ‘Canadian hoodlums’ I wouldn’t be surprised if they had been brought from Chicago contracted by Patchin there. It would have been easier and surer.

      If you study Patchin’s letter you will see that other than the slip of  ‘He loved his wife well’ there are no other typos in the first paragraph.  As he gets into his story in the second paragraph he begins to have difficulties.  By the third paragraph when guilt seizes him he can’t even spell his last word or keep the words on the same line.  He begins emergency with two Es, can’t spell the critical word ‘hospital’, crossing it out.  Serious stuff.

     Where did they go in Tornonto on that memorable evening.  Probably to the red light and gambling district.  Toronto’s answer to Chicago’s Levee.  Where else could you arrange a fight with such hoodlums so easily.  Patchin doesn’t say whether the fight took place indoors or outdoors, just that Burroughs took a smack to the head.  Since the scalp was opened he was coshed with a sap or pipe.

     Burroughs says that he didn’t lose consciousness but he must have been knocked flat on his back.  He must have had time to get his arm up to partially block the blow or he would most likely have been killed by  it.  As I see it, then, this was an assassination attempt.  Martin meant to permanently get Burroughs out of the way.  Put him in a place from where he couldn’t come back.

     As I see it Martin and Patchin faked the brawl.  Patchin doesn’t say that he and Martin had a hard time of it.  No.  Just Burroughs got hit.  Only Burroughs got hurt which is suspicious.  After the first blow which could have been interpreted to be  in the heat of anger which would still have been manslaughter, to have continued to belabor Burroughs would have been a clear case of murder which would have had to have been thoroughly investigated.  The Law would have to be paid.  Thus the opportunity was lost when the first blow failed.  Martin and Patchin didn’t even report the incident to the police.  The ‘Canadian hoodlums’ could still have legged it across the border though.  It is not impossible that they weren’t Canadian but Chicago hoodlums contracted for the job before the private car left the Big Windy.  Why not?  Perfect job.

     So at two in the morning when asked where he was staying by the hospital doctor ERB replied in our private car down in the Grand Trunk Station.  Not Martin’s car but our car.  He quickly got used to the  luxury of a private car.  Never forgot it either.

     As he was able to walk he was released the party returned to the yards returning to Chicago the next morning.


     One may ask is there any evidence to show that Burroughs after he had thought about it  for a while ever came to the conclusion that Martin and Patchin had meant him harm?  I think there is.  In The Return Of Tarzan Burroughs puts these words into the mouth of Jane perhaps thereby admonishing more sternly who might, not unreasonably, be expected to be reading these books.  He obviously would get more out of them than we might.

     Jane says ‘…this terrible jungle.  It renders even the manifestations of friendship terrifying.’

     A manifestation of friendship was the invitation to NYC from Martin.  This indeed had been terrifying.  So that for the parties concerned if they read between the lines they had every reason to believe that Burroughs understood everything.

     One of the consequences of the attempt on Burroughs’ life was that he rushed back home to propose to Emma.  Within five months they were wed thus taking her away from Martin.  Emma had had a choice between a prince and a pauper and by some miracle had chosen the pauper.  Really a very romantic story worth of a movie on its own.  Grand Opera the way I see it.  Andrew Lloyd Weber should look into this one.

     There were other serious consequences.  Of the blow, Jack Buroughs says:  “He suffered for a number of years with bad headaches from the blow he received in that fight, and attributed one or two short periods of amnesia to that rap.  (Amnesia is a recurrent theme in the Tarzan oeuvre.)  I remember the scar was quite evident on his forehead when we were children (Jack Burroughs was born in 1913 so the scar must still have been visible in 1920 although it doesn’t show up in photographs.) but it seemed to disappear in his later life.  Mother used to jokingly attribute his success to that blow.”

      Emma would be in a position to know.

     So Burroughs suffered lasting injury from that blow– one doesn’t have periods of amnesia unless there is internal pressure on the brain.  There is evidence that he suffered from such pressure.  Perhaps brain damage is too strong a phrase in this case but here is a clinical description that seems to fit the case.  Per Brodal:  The Central Nervous System: Structure and Function (3rd. Edition, page 433):

     A peculiar form or amnesia occurs together with confabulation; that is the patient invents stories (without knowing that they are not real).  Most of the patients have a lesion involving the substantia inominata, the medial hypothalamus, and the orbito frontal cortex (usually caused by a ruptured aneurism in the anterior cerebral artery).  The often bizarre stories can usually be traced back to real events, although they consist of various, unrelated fragments from memory.  It seems the patient is unable to suppress irrelevant associations, and cannot chack them against reality.

     That is pretty close to ERB’s situation although he doesn’t appear to have lost his connection to reality although his stories as fantastic as they come always relate to his own memories.    The Corpus seems to form one gigantic web of psychological unity as Richard A. Lupoff has pointed out.

     One could think that after such a fearsome blow he would have been kept at the hospital for observation for at least a day or two but as he appeared to have no more than an open wound the doctor sewed him up and sent him on his way.  As Patchin says the doctor came down to the yards the next morning to check up on the private car story which may have seemed incredible to him causing him to the think the patient deluded perhaps being more hurt than he looked as, indeed, he was.

     There seems to be no reason to doubt that the blow ruptured the anterior cerebral artery.  Thus internal bleeding over the next couple days would have created a clot which would have put pressure on the prefrontal lobe causing cobwebs, headaches and obviously a faulty memory with periods of amnesia.

      There must be a medical reason for all these.

     The symptoms should have begun showing up within a week or so, so that the several months of faintness ERB experienced began then.  It was in this mental condition that he proposed to Emma.

     Disappointed by the quick rejection of Col. Rogers while at least intuitively understanding that he had been set up in Toronto, ERB quickly went to work to capture Emma from Martin.  I see little reason to believe that he had intended to marry her any time soon before he went o NYC, if at all.  Back in Chicago in August he proposed and he and Emma were married by the end of January.  In terms of years he was twenty-five and she twenty-four but in reality ERB was only four months older than Emma.

     The sudden wedding must have been disconcerting to the Hulberts.  I’m sure they envisioned a magnficent society wedding for their daughter.  There was now no time to plan one so they must have been bitterly disappointed.

     ERB now had to face a reality he hadn’t planned for.  His rough and rowdy days were over.


          While solidly based on documentation the foregoing is at present somewhat conjectural but let us see if we can find some discussion by ERB of these events in his writing.  There are four titles that go over these events in slightly different ways.  Certainly ERB had to ask himself what had happened.  He gave it a lot of thought.  Beginning in 1909 his answers came pouring forth.  Minidoka 937th Earl Of One Mile, Series M which was unpublished in his lifetime was the first of these efforts followed by Tarzan Of The Apes, The Return Of Tarzan and The Girl From Farris’s.  As ‘The Girl’ is concerned with the early married years rather than this period I will forego discussion of that title although it should be read in sequence with Minidoka.

      Minidoka, which actually began ERB’s writing career is directly concerned with this struggle between himself, Alvin Hulbert and Frank Martin.  In the story the evil Brady represents Alvin Hulbert with the genuine thoroughbred godling, Rhi, representing Frank Martin.

     The wars and battles represent Hulbert’s attempts to keep ERB away from Emma which ultimately fail.  However the story may explain a curious situation in which ERB and Emma took up residence in the Hulbert home after marriage.  Not a situation most newlyweds would want, but one that the Brady or Hulbert insisted on.

      Alvin Hulbert had thought little of ERB for several years.  The Army episode and the Denver marching band stunt did little to improve his opinion of Our Man.  How the New York trip was represented to him by Martin would be interesting to know.  Probably Martin who had every incentive to slander Burroughs said he was drunk all the way to New York and back, drank continually,  started the day with liquor.  He may have said that they were in the red light district of Toronto at ERB’s insistence.  In other words, he probably made the most of the situation.

      Undoubteldly terrified at his daughter’s willfulness in marrying this ne’er-do-well Hulbert made it a condition of his consent that the couple live in his house where he could keep a close eye on ERB.  I’m sure he was ready to have the marriage annulled at a moment’s notice.

     In Minidoka Rhi by a very devious trick puts Minidoka/Burroughs in a situation where he is meant to be killed, a situation not unlike Toronto- then rushes to the heroine Bodine/Emma to inform her that Minidoka is dead proposing marriage to himself instead.   It could have really happened that way.

      As in real life Emma/ Bodine remains steadfast and true to Burroughs/Minidoka, all wool and a yard wide as Burroughs puts it.

      Thus Minidoka mirrors the real life events in a fantastic manner as Per Brodal would suggest.

      Minidoka was never published so the same material was available for a retelling.  This was done in the first two Tarzan novels.  Tarzan Of The Apes tells the story of Burroughs life up to 1896 with some interpolations from the later period.  The Return Of Tarzan covers the four years from 1896 to his marriage with Emma in 1900.

     Always bear in mind that Burroughs has to tell his story with commercial ends in mind.

     The blow to the skull made an indelible impression on ERB as well it might.  In Tarzan Of The Apes, Tarzan takes three serious beatings, one with a gorilla from another tribe, perhaps representing John the Bully, and with Kerchak and Terkoz of his own tribe.  In all of them Tarzan is beaten about the head and shoulders.  Terkoz/Martin rips his scalp open from above the left eye over to his right ear.  Clearly an exaggeration of the true wound but that must have been how it felt.

     Kerchak delivers a blow to the head that would have killed him had he not deflected its force with his raised arm.

     Then when Tarzan and Jane are in the jungle Terkoz abducts Jane causing Tarzan to rescue her killing Terkoz in the process.  Thus in Program A Tarzan kills his adversary.

     Running concurrently in Program B Tarzan is a penniless jungle ape-man up against W.C. Clayton who is a genuine thoroughbred godling as was Rhi in Minidoka.  Tarzan feels he doesn’t have a chance against Clayton so he magnanimously resigns Jane to him at the end of Tarzan Of The Apes.   There must have been a sequel in mind because, as in reality Burroughs won Emma, Tarzan must win Jane.

     The end of Tarzan Of The Apes may correspond to Burroughs joining the Army in 1896 while finding Clayton embracing Jane in the jungle may correspond to his second Idaho trip in 1898.

     So that between 1896 and 1898 it may have appeared to him that he had lost out to Frank Martin.  In ‘Return’ Tarzan retreats to Opar which is his fantasy world with the beautiful but unobtainable anima figure, La.  At this early date she and Emma/Jane are fighting it out in his mind for his allegiance.   He would rather have La, that is remain unmarried, but his rivalry with Martin  is pushing him toward Emma.

     Tarzan is captured by the Oparians destined for sacrifice to the Flaming God of which La is High Priestess.  Burroughs reverses the situation and instead of squelching his imaginary La she is about to sacrifice him.  Burroughs can’t renounce his Anima fantasy so rather than kill him which would end both Burroughs’ wish persona of Tarzan and his relationship with La, she releases him.  Tarzan/Burroughs then triumphs over W.C. Clayton winning Jane/Emma.  Jane/Emma leaves Opar never to return.  La remains in Opar until Tarzan The Invincible when Burroughs is about to leave Emma and take up with his Anima figure, Florence Gilbert.  La then comes out of Opar in the same way Burroughs leaves Emma for Florence.  Opar disappears from the oeuvre, never being mentioned again.

      Then as ‘Return’ ends Burroughs and Emma are married mirroring his fantasy where Tarzan and Jane are married.  While not literal as Burroughs is writing for publication and must construct an interesting and, at least, nominally plausible story he confabulates events from his life into a fantastic and improbable tale.

      The history of his slugging which closes this period was mysteriously obscured by his youngest son John Coleman Burroughs.  These two letters were only discovered by Danton Burroughs, John Coleman’s son, recently.  They were unknown to biographers Fenton, Porges and Taliaferro.  For decades it was believed that Burroughs had been coshed in Idaho by a policeman as an innocent bystander in a saloon brawl.

      In an interview with Porges Jack Burroughs told this latter story in 1970.  Porges then dutifully reported the Idaho story in his biography.  the question is why would Jack invent the latter story to replace the true one with which he was aware.  As he himself replied to Patchin having previously discussed the event with his father I don’t see how he could have forgotten it.  Nor was there any need for him to even tell Porges the Idaho invention.

     Perhaps Jack knew details buried away in the archives wishing to lay down a false trail to disarm the curiosity of Porges.

      In 1899 ERB had had the direction of his life changed by a rap on the head.  He now had to face a life filled with heavy responsiblities which he had been able to avoid to this point.

      We see a new Edgar Rice Burroughs emerge from his early married years.


Four Crucial Years

In The Life Of Edgar Rice Burroughs

Part 3 of 4


R.E. Prindle


     There was a tremendous rush of events at this time which would shape the future of not only ERB but of the Burroughs Boys.

     The signficance of the first of these would have passed unrecognized by any of the Burroughs.  This was the election of Frank Steunenberg as the govener of Idaho in 1896.  Steunenberg brought the Burroughs Boys into an association with his name when he appointed them representatives at a mining conference.  The boys were thus connected with the anti-Western Federation Of Miners forces.

     In 1899 in Coeur D’ Alene up near the Canadian border a terrific showdown occurred between the mineowners and the WFM.  This is an exciting story.  For details see the autobiography of Big Bill Haywood, ‘Big Bill’s Book’, Clarence Darrow’s autobiography and Charlie Siringo’s autobiography, ‘A Cowboy Detective’.  Very rewarding books, especially Charlie Siringo’s.

     Steunenberg called in the Army to crush the union thereby incurring their hatred.  On December 30, 1905 as returned home from Office he opened his mailbox and disappeared into thin air from the bomb blast.

     There is yet no conclusive proof that the Burroughs Boys found it expedient to vacate Idaho for fear of the WFM but at any rate they chose to leave.

     ERB formed a distaste for Big Bill and for the IWW which Bill headed after leaving the WFM as a result of the bombing.  ERB never gives up lambasting the IWW.  The character of the Sky Pilot in the ‘The Oakdale Affair’ is undoubtedly based on Haywood.

     The second of these events was the really stupendous story of the discovery of gold in the Klondike in July 1897.  By the beginning of 1898 a hundred thousand or so prospectors including Jack London set off the fabled Big Rock Candy Mountain in the Yukon.  This last of the great gold rushes probably fired the imaginations of the Boys who were having a very difficult time of making their cattle ranch go.  They would shortly abandon ranching, building a mammoth dredging raft to sift the bottom of the Snake River for any spare flakes and nuggets.

     What effect this had on the mind of ERB is difficult to assess although the Tarzan novels are filled with episodes of found gold and diamonds.  Most notably Tarzan uses the gold of Opar as his personal bank.  He perhaps found his brother’s seach for gold curious.  He didn’t seem to catch the fever at the time.

     On top of these two items the Maine was sunk in Havana harbor on February 15, 1898.  The legendary newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst had been beating the drums for war and now got it.  The sinking of the Maine may have been the spur that caused ERB to petition Capt. Smith for an appointment.  The Spanish American War agitated his military ambitions as he tried to get that elusive officer’s appointment.

     As he left home again in 1898 ERB was 22 soon to be 23.  Time was passing.  He was no longer a boy but having been coddled as a youngest son and brother he was having difficulty making the transition to a responsible young man.  Not unusual, but true.  He was in that difficult learning period of 21-25 when great demands are made on one’s developing maturity.  Somehow when one turns twenty-five one had better have learned enough to make it from there.  How well I remember crossing that bar from youth to maturity.  What a kick in the pants it was.  Don’t know how I made it or, perhaps, if I have.

     Unfortunately for ERB any maturity he was to experience was well in the future.  Perhaps he never really made the transition.  He had no money of his own.  He would have had to ask his dad for fare and traveling money.  He was used to being supported, just asking for the money he needed.  We will now come on several examples.

      Young ERB was one light headed son-of-a-gun.  His route took him through Denver.  There he met an Army buddy from Fort Grant who had been a member of his Might Have Seen Better Days Club.

      This was apparently a joyous reunion as the two got roaring drunk, hired a brass band then marching behind it paraded through the streets of Denver.  Always seemingly conversant with the seamy side of town he and his friend blew whatever money they had remaining  in a gambling dive.  Now broke, he blithely  wired his brothers in Idaho asking for more money to continue his journey.  As he already had his ticket this fifty dollars represented the equivalent of an easy five hundred today, perhaps a thousand.  It was pocket money to him.

     What effect this stunt had on his family’s evaluation of him is open to conjecture.  ERB was no longer a kid; he ought to have been showing some sober responsibility.  I’m sure the story reached Chicago where possibly the Hulberts heard of it thanking their lucky stars the ne’er do well had checked out of their daughter’s life leaving the way clear for Frank Martin.  Wishful thinking.

     I don’t think ERB gave it another thought, probably laughingly telling his brothers about it while I am sure they looked at him with puzzled astonishment.

     As Porges notes they had little use for him on the ranch or could not afford to pay him wages, which is to say give him money which they had not factored into their expenses.

     Events were now crowding fast on ERB.  On April 19th, 1898 Congress authorized the war on Spain.  Burroughs once again appealed to Colonel Rogers as his best bet to get him a commission.  Rogers fobbed him off, nothing coming of his appeal.  Hearing of Teddy Roosevelt’s formation of the Rough Riders Burroughs sent an appeal to him which was once again a rejection.  The military was and would remain a mirage.

     Had he been accepted either his father or his brothers would have had to provide transportation and incidental money.  I’m sure one of them may have done it but there would have been no guarantee that ERB wouldn’t gamble it away en route, cabling for more.

     The Boys were not flush, as Porges relates.  They had borrowed a thousand dollars from their father, use your multiplier for today’s equivalent, on which they were unable to make the principal payment, instead sending their dad the interest only which was a fairly steep 8%.  Technically since they couldn’t meet the obligation they were bankrupt.  Nevertheless brother Harry, who seemed to be a much softer touch than brother George, bought ERB a stationery story in Pocatello.  Porges doesn’t give any financial details but perhaps it was at this point that ERB gave Harry his note for three hundred dollars.  It is quite probable that this money also came from George T. who wished to remain anonymous.  Harry may just have forwarded the note to Chicago.  The loan was never repaid; George T. presented the canceled note as a Christmas present a decade later.

     ERB was to keep the store for six months.  Those six months were probably very important to him intellectually.  He later said he wasn’t cut out to be a retailer but he did keep the store for six months selling it back to the former owner at that time.  If the owner bought it back for the three hundred then ERB kept the money never retiring the note.

     The evidence indicates that Burroughs gave the business his best shot.  He seems to have advertised well while developing contacts to the point that he could offer to obtain any book or magazine from the U.S., Canada or England.  Although he advertised statewide, how much demand there may have been for any magazines other than the most common ones is questionable.

     Once again, details of this period are tantalizingly lacking.  Porges says that ERB made at least one trip to Salt Lake City in this period.  One would like to know why.  What need was there for him to incur the expense of such a trip.  As impractical as he was he probably spent one or two hundred dollars out of the till which would better have gone to developing the business.

     One would like to know what he read at this time.  It would be of interest to know how many different titles of magazines he actually stocked.  What books other than Capt. King’s he sold.  He appears to have studied Darwin’s Descent Of Man at this time although the volume he used was twenty years old.  It still may have been bought new for the store, I suppose.  On the fly leaf he drew a picture of an ape labeled Grandpa which shows he was giving it some thought.

     Darwin was being much discussed as ERB obviously incorporated later thought into his drawing.

     One would like to know was the store making money?  At any rate when the former owner returned to Pocatello at the beginning of 1899 ERB was only too happy to sell it back to him.  What did he do with the money?  I’m sure he could have found a poker game somewhere in Pocatello.


     When he returned the store to the former owner he became superfluous to his brothers who couldn’t afford to pay him as a ranch hand.  He now had no real place in Idaho.  He began to think of returning to Chicago.  Though he may have exasperated family and friends with his erratic behavior, behind his nonsense his mind was busily at work absorbing the tremendous range of influences occurring on a daily basis.

     Important among these was the West’s relationship to the world.  While the Spanish American war was intended to free Cuba, an unintended consequence was the acquisition of the Philippine Islands as a colony or ‘possession.’  Other countries had colonies, the US had possessions.

     Rudyard Kipling who had toured the US in 1889 beginning in San Francisco moving East had formed some very definite impressions of the country and its inhabitants.   In February of ’99 in connection with the Philippines he published his very famous poem The White Man’s Burden.  The US had been traditionally anti-imperialist, except moving West, condemning England most severely but now faced with Philippine intransigence the country was involved in a brutal war of suppression.  Perhaps reacting to taunts of colonialism against the English Kipling wrote what can be viewed as a mocking poem.

     Anachronistic when published on the eve of the twentieth century, it was reflective perhaps of an earlier intellectual climate.  Burroughs reaction was immediate reflecting a deep, if not long, he was only 23, reflection on the problem.  The Pocatello paper printed his response shortly after the original appeared.  This was apparently written in white hot heat.

     As the response is a synopsis of his later views I will reproduce both poems for comparison with comments.  If mocking, Kipling still presents a bright or positive side of the European invasion of Africa and the East.

The White Man’s Burden:

The United States And

The Philippine Islands, 1898


Rudyard Kiping

Take up the white man’s burden-

Send forth the best ye breed-

Go bind your sons to exile

To serve your captives’ need;

To wait in heavy harness,

On fluttered folk and wild-

Your new-caught, sullen peoples,

Half devil and half-child.


Take up the white man’s burden-

In patience to abide,

To veil the threat of terror

And check the show of pride;

By open speech and simple,

An hundred times made plain,

To seek another’s profit,

And work another’s gain.


Take up the white man’s burden-

The savage wars of peace-

Fill full the mouth of famine

And bid the sickness cease;

And when your goal is nearest

The end for others sought,

Watch sloth and heathen Folly

Bring all your hopes to nought.


Take up the white man’s burden-

No tawdry rule of kings,

But toil of serf and sweeper-

The tale of common things.

The ports ye shall not enter,

The roads ye shall not treat,

Go make them with your living,

And mark them with your dead.


Take up the white man’s burden-

And reap his old reward:

The blame of those ye better,

The hate of those ye guard-

The cry of hosts ye humour

(Ah, slowly!) toward the light-

“Why brought ye us from bondage,

Our beloved Egyptian night?”


Take up the white man’s burden-

Ye dare not stoop to less-

Nor call too loud on Freedom

To cloak your weariness;

By all ye cry or whisper,

By all ye leave or do,

The silent, sullen peoples

Shall weigh your Gods and you.


Take up the white man’s bureden-

Have done with childish days-

The highly proffered laurel,

The easy, ungrudged praise,

Comes now, to search your manhood

Through all the thankless years,

Cold-edged with dear-bought wisdom,

The judgment of your peers!


Originally published in

The New York Sun, February 5, 1899


The Black Man’s Burden

A Parody

The dark side presented by

Edgar Rice Burroughs


Take up the white man’s burden,

The yoke ye sought to spurn;

And spurn your fathers’ customs;

Your fathers’ temples burn.

O learn to love and honor

The white God’s favored sons.

Forget the white-haired fathers

Fast lashed to mouths of guns.


Take up the white man’s burden,

Your own was not enough;

He’ll burden you with taxes;

But though the road be rough,

“To  him who waits, “remember”

The white man’s culture bring you

The white man’s God, and rum.


Take up the white man’s burden’

“Tis called “protecorate,”

And lift your voice in thanks to

The God ye well might hate.

Forget your exiled brothers;

Forget your boundless lands;

In acres that they gave  for

The bood upon your hands.


Take up the white man’s burden;

Poor simple folk and free;

Abandon nature’s freedom,

Embrace his “Liberty;”

The goddess of the white man

Who makes you free in name;

But in her heart your color

Will brand you “slave” the same.


Take up the white man’s burden,

And learn by what you’ve lost

That white men called as counsel

Means black man pays the cost.

Your right to fertile acres

Their priests will teach you well

Have gained your fathers only

A desert place in hell.


Take up the white man’s burden;

Take it because you must;

Burden of making money;

Burden of greed and lust;

Burdens of points strategic,

Burdens of harbors deep,

Burden of greatest burdens;

Burden, these burdens to keep.


Take up the white man’s burden;

His papers take, and read;

‘Tis all for your salvation;

The white man knows not greed.

For  you he’s spending millions-

To him, more than his God-

To make you learned and happy,

Enlightened, cultured, broad.


Take up the white man’s burden

While he make laws for you,

That show your fathers taught you

The things you should not do.

Cast off your foolish feathers,

Your necklace, beads and paint;

Buy raiment for your mother,

Lest fairer sisters faint.


Take up the white man’s burden;

Go learn to wear his clothes;

You may look like the devil;

But nobody cares who knows.

Peruse a work of Darwin-

Thank gods that you’re alive-

And learn this lesson clearly-

The fittest alone survive.


See the Pocatello Tribune clipping

from ERB’s scrapbook at ERBzine 0291

     Burroughs response to Kipling may also explain why he refused to join a Pocatello volunteer regiment destined for the Philippines and the assumption of the White Man’s burden.  Burroughs is accused of an excess of pride in refusing to join the regiment because he would have to serve under a man he didn’t like, a good enough reason for me, by the way.  One doesn’t know the details but possibly his fellow volunteers refused to make him an officer.  His local reputation may have been such that his fellows had no confidence in him.

     Also pertinent I believe is the fact that while the war in Cuba was to free the Cubans from Spanish tyranny, the war in the Philippines was to crush the freedom of the Filipinos.  As Burroughs’ answer to Kipling clearly demonstrates he was opposed to the imposition of  Western values on native peoples.  The Tarzan novels should be read in the light of this answer.

     While Kipling’s poem has been much derided by the moribund Liberal establishment with no attempt at placing it within a historical context it nevertheless does express certain truths.  Whether misguided or not, unlike all previous conquests, the White Man with his superior scientific consciousness did try to uplift the peoples they conquered rather than merely exploiting them on their own established historical model.

     The poem is an interesting example of evolution in progress before the reaction against the West began.  Darwinian evolution, you know, does not only apply to the past and other species, it also applies to the present and humankind.  Kipling himself does not appear to have absorbed the new scientific learning.  He was eleven years older than Burroughs, but his parodist was thoroughly imbued with evolutionary ideas having, apparently, just read The Descent Of Man.  The final quatrain:

Peruse a work of Darwin’s

Thank gods that you’re alive-

And learn the reason clearly-

The fittest alone survive.

indicates this.

     While biographer Taliferro believs that Burroughs got no further in the Descent Of Man than drawing a picture on the title page the quatrain would indicate a much deeper familiarity.  ‘A work of Darwin’s’, Darwin wrote several books, points to a wider reading of the evolutionary scientist than just the Descent.

     So at some time before reaching the age of 25 ERB had obviously been immersing himself in evolutionary reading and speculation.  He may have been flighty but he was industrious and intelligent.

     The advice to the subject races is peculiar while being ambiguous.  On the one hand he advises them to take up Western learning, which as they haven’t makes them unfit, while on the other hand he implies that they have not been exterminated because they are the fittest.

     The bright side of the Western subjugation of the peoples is clearly and accurately presented by Kipling who had much more experience in the wide world than Burroughs.  On the other hand one tends to underestimate Burroughs whose brief experience in Apacheria is still analogous to Kipling’s in India.

     On an evolutionary basis the West’s conquest of the world represented a radical departure from the historical model.  Prior to and outside the West the world’s conquerors had been mere freebooters who plundered and destroyed while contributing nothing to their subject peoples who were most frequently intellectually superior to the invaders.

     Thus Attila was merely an incubus on Western civilization whose potential was wholly destructive.  His reputation cannot be rehabilitated.  Genghis Khan and his successors inhibited the development of superior civilizations dragging the subject peoples back toward more primitive conditions.  The crimes the Golden Horde committed against the Russians are atrocious.  But that is why the Liberals love them better than the West.

     As Kipling states, athe West conferred solid benefits on the subject peoples.  It imposed superior organization, scientific methods and standards although today, after several hundreds of years resistance, through the superior methods of the West certain areas are profiting.  Not many though.

     In the terms most people relate to, famine has all but disappeared- this through no efforts of their own- through Western medicine billions lead more comfortable lives, certain diseases have disappeared while most others can be treated- through no efforts of their own- these benefits have been a gift, a boon from the West.

     The prevalence of fevers gave sub-Saharan Africa the name of the White Man’s Grave but in fact no people could prosper in the African climate.  Even the native Blacks, who one would assume, should have acclimated themselves over their hundred fifty thousand year existence seldom lived past forty.  They were incapable of creating medicine before the White Man arrived and they are incapable of even manufacturing the White Man’s medicine today.

     So that, while Kipling’s poem is denigrated today as an example of ‘racism’ by the Red-Liberal ideology, apart from the insufferable condescension it is an accurate description of the altruistic role played by the West in civilizing the world.

     Reacting to the poems apparent insufferableness as much as anything Burroughs counters it by listing the negatives which are as real as the positives but with no material value.   Once again the negatives are inconsequential compared to the brutality of the Mongol conquests in the West.  One has only to glance over the wars of Tamerlane to arrive at some sort of balance, one hopes.

     Burroughs is ostensibly taking the side of the subject peoples but in reality he identifies with the defeated accepting their defeat at the hands of the West as analogous to his defeat at the hands of John the Bully.

      This view would relieve the lines:

Thank gods that you’re alive

And learn the reason clearly-

The fittest alone survive.

of some of their ambiguity because what he is saying is that he has survived comparable conditions- he still lives as he has his characters say repeatedly.  Therefore he is one of the fittest if not superior to his conqueror.

     Thus beneath the foolery and compulsive failure caused by his 1884-85 confrontation the true Edgar Rice Burroughs is struggling toward Bethlehem and rebirth.  It may in fact be no coincidence that the initials of both John Carter and John Clayton are JC.

     In the Spring of ’99 he can only put together this parody of another man’s work where it touches his fixations most directly.

     For the present, after the roundup our wandering boy pulled up stakes yet again to return to Chicago.  Who bore the expense isn’t clear.

Continue on the Part IV and conclusion


Four Crucial Years

In The Life Of Edgar Rice Burroughs

Part II


R.E. Prindle

…presumptuous attempts to conquer the outer world of appearances by the inner world of wishful thinking.

–S. Freud, Letter To Arnold Zweig 5/8/32.

Quoted by Schur:  Freud: Living and Dying

     Now back in Chicago he had to consider what direction his life was to take.  At least secure working for his Dad, ERB made a tentative move in the direction of an artistic career.  During the summer he enrolled in the Chicago Art Institute.

     Chicago is billed as America’s Second City but in many ways it is or was, America’s First, certainly West of the Appalachians.  The city was much more important to the Southern States than New York City, while its importance to the West is shown by the fact that the Outfit- the Chicago Mafia- considers the whole West as its province.  The Outfit ruled everything west of the Appalachians by the end of the fifties

     At the time in question when Chicago’s population was a mill six the population of the country was about 75 million so Chicago represented over 2% of the total.  West of the towers rising from the mud there was virtually no one and those that existed were rubes and hicks or living on the reservation.  During Burroughs entire youth this most modern of American capitals stood a beacon of civilization, such as it was, on what was then known as the great American desert.

     Burroughs was to approach this metropolis from the West several times so is it any wonder that when John Carter emerged from the deserts of the Green Men- read Indians- the towers of Helium rose from nowhere much like Chicago.  The twin of Chicago was probably New York City in ERB’s mind.

     As the capital of the Empire, Helium, like Chicago, reflected the racial and ethnic makeup of Mars. 

     Chicago was polyglot and the mix was troubling.  Bruce Grant who wrote the history of the Union Club of Chicago entitled characteristically ‘Fight For A City’ in 1955 characterized the situation during Burroughs’ time in this manner, page 96:

     The thousands of laborers and adventurers who were attracted to Chicago during the rebuilding era following the fire of 1871 were for the most part uneducated newcomers.  Ignorant of the underlying spirit of American institutions.  Chicago was the Western distributing point for a vast European immigration.  With the good came the bad, and borne along with the stream were the scum and dregs of countries where despotism had made paupers and tyranny had bred conspirators.  From Russia came the Nihilists, described by one newspaper as ‘the gift of centuries of Slavic slavery and cruelty.’  From the German states came the Socialists, the offspring of military exactions and autocratic government.  And from Europe generally, including Great Britain and Ireland, Chicago drained the feverish spirit of human resentment against laws and life; of property and of conduct which it had no hand in making or enforcing.

     This was the environment Burroughs was growing up in.  I suppose he was getting his Russian and Jewish information from the newspapers.  Therefore it was heavily slanted in favor of the Jews.  But as he walked around Chicago he must have thought himself a Stranger In A Strange Land.  I do today.  No more than 10% of Chicago’s population could be considered native.  The city had a larger Irish population than Dublin, was the most populous German city in the world, The Polish population could compete with Warsaw and on down the line.

     The Socialists paraded shouting and screaming Revolution under the Red banner which may have made sense in Germany but made no sense to the native born.  Anarchists unfurled the Black Flag with their preposterous social conceptions.

     The remarkable thing about America is the extent that the Anglos went to accommodate the immigrants.  Of course there were movements such as the APA- American Protective Association- and later the Ku Klux Klan, but these were scorned and ineffective in any event, regardless of how seriously some paranoid immigrant writers like Gustavus Myers might take them.

     Then as now Liberals controlled the country.  More typical of the reaction was this querulous little poem gleaned from the pages of ‘Chicago’s Public Wits:  a Chapter In The American Comic Spirit,’ Edited by Kenny J. Williams and Bernard Duffy.  LSU Press, 1983:

I Wish I Was A Foreigner


An American

I wish I was a foreigner, I really, really do.

A right down foreign foreigner; pure foreigner through and through;

Because I find Americans, with all of native worth,

Don’t stand one half the chances here with men of foreign birth.

It seems to be unpopular for us to hold a place,

For we are made to give it up to men of foreign race.

The question of necessity and fitness to possess

Must never be considered- who cares for our distress.

Perhaps it is not wicked to be of foreign birth,

Or to mutter a mild protest when an alien wants the earth;

But the latest importation is sure to strike a job,

And be the sooner qualified to strike and lead a mob.

A Dutchman (German) or an Irishman, a Frenchman or a Turk

Comes here to be a voter, and is always given work;

A native born American is here, and here he must stay;

So it matters little how he lives, he cannot get away.

The Spaniard and Bohemian, the Russian and the Pole,

Are looking toward America with longings in the soul,

Because the politicians will receive them with open arms,

And the goddess of our freedom bid them welcome to her charms.

But the law abiding Chinaman from the Celestial shore,

Because he has no franchise, is driven from our shore;

Americans and Chinamen are not in much demand,

The one remains neglected while the other is barred the land.

So I wish I was a Dutchman, or some other foreign cuss

I’d lord it over the natives- who don’t dare to make a fuss,

But my blushes tell the story, I am native to the soil’

So the aliens hold the places- visitors must never toil.

     With the real American response as above, the retiring Bill Moyer doesn’t have to worry much about ‘the thunder on the Right’ caused by a few radio announcers.  The real threat to them is that the Liberal ideology will be shown to be false and ridiculous not that the ‘danger from the Right’ is pernicious.

     One believes that if Burroughs were alive today Rush Limbaugh and Bill O’Reilly would find him an ardent supporter. One wouldn’t want to be called ‘an unapologetic Conservative.’  The Liberal oppression is that strong.

     The resignation is fairly bitter in the above poem.  The Chinese, the only nationality  ever excluded, had been denied entry in 1882, which was shortly before the above poem was written; thus the writer laments that ‘Americans and Chinamen are not in much demand’ comparing natives with the excluded Chinese.

     By the nineties the Irish had seized control of many municipal administrations, including Chicago’s, so that they were in control of political patronage.  The boodle as it was known.  All the sinecures, city and county, were theirs to distribute to friends and cronies.  The Irish effectively controlled Chicago.  As the poem indicates this privilege was obtained by the vote and votes were obtained by corruption thus the Irish and the Democrats, then as today, were the party of corruption.  All Irish city administrations were corrupt.

     The failure of the potato, of course, sent the Irish fleeing Ireland for more emerald pastures, but the Scottish emigration to the US and Canada  caused by the Highland Clearances  is virtually unknown.  There were two clearances, one in the eighteenth century which sent the Highlanders to the colonies or US and second , 1800-1860 which populated Canada.

      After the Union when the Scottish Lairds no longer had need of armed retainers they simply cleared the natives off the land in about as brutal a manner as the Americans cleared the Indians to make room for sheep.  All these people who had lived in the highlands for centuries discovered they were mere squatters on land which legally belonged to the Laird.  Past services were forgotten; they were literally thrown off the land.  How do you like that?  Matches any hardluck story you’ve ever heard, doesn’t it?

     The Lairds then invoked the law to kick their former retainers not only off the land but out of the country.  Dig that, and take heed for the future.  Sheriffs burned down their houses around their ears.  There was then no place for them in their homeland.  They were ordered to emigrate.  What was that Walter Scott said:

Breathes there a man

With Soul so dead,

Who to himself hath not said,

This is my home,

My native land…

     Well, with a mere change of place you can that about Canada, too.  That’s how the Scots came to the US and Canada.

     The Irish supremacy in the US lasted until the thirties when the massive immigration of the nineties through 1914 wrested power from them.  Fiorello LaGuardia, the Jewish-Italian politician, replaced Jimmy Walker in New york ending the long Celtic rule of that city.  James T. O’Farrell in his Studs Lonigan trilogy has the Irish lamenting that the Slavs are swamping the Irish causing them to lose control of the boodle.  The Irish of Chicago must have rallied because Mayor Daley put the Irish back on top but because of the huge Negro influx into Chicago the Irish have to share power with the Blacks.

     If one makes an analogy of the present with the past it won’t be long before Mexicans and Moslems are directing the affairs of municipalities and States.  A vote is a vote.

     Be that as it may, in 1897 I believe ERB would have been in sympathy with the author of I Wish I Was A Foreigner.  The Irish certainly figure largely in both his personal and political images of the time.  David Adams writing in the ERBzine has come up with several possible origins for the name of the Mahars of Pellucidar.  I think the most obvious is that the Mahars are intended to be a parody of the Irish administration of Chicago.  Mahar is an Irish name.

     Earlier in the century the city of Chicago which was built on slightly different gradients so that sidewalks had a lot of up and down stairs had been literally jacked up to one level making the sidewalks even.  Entire huge buildings and city blocks were raised several feet above ground to make a level city.  The resulting cavity produced an underground city which the indigent occupied.

     This might suggest the image of the occupants as slimy reptiles into an imaginative mind.  Putting the images together one comes up with an Irish administration of slimy reptiles.  I haven’t figured out why they’re deaf and female yet unless ERB was unhappy with Emma who may have been deaf to his entreaties.  For the present I’ll leave that one up to you.


     I shall permit myself to send you a small book which is sure to be unknown to you.  Group Psychoogy And The Analysis Of The Ego, published in 1921.  Not that I consider this work to be particularly successful, but it shows a way from the analysis of the individual to an understanding of society. 

S. Freud to Romain Rolland.

Quoted by Max Schur: Freud Living And Dying

     Working at the Battery Company, starting from the ground up, his father must still have allowed ERB flexible hours because Our Man found time to attend classes at the Chicago Art Institute.  He was not a very cooperative student, refusing to accept any discipline.  According to Porges he only wanted to draw horses and that without acquiring the fundamentals of drawing.  As he couldn’t find anyone willing to drop some hints on the fine points of equine deliniation he lost interest dropping out of school

     I for one would be very much interested in learning exaclty how he passed his time during this halcyon period.  If he and Emma went to the theatre as Porges suggests I would like to know what shows or lecture they attended.  Lecturers were a much more important adjunct to entertainment than they are today.  Robert Ingersoll had a huge reputation and of course Mark Twain.  There was also the Chautauqua Circuit.

     In the much discussed issue of Theosophy in Burroughs’ life it is quite possible that he attended a lecture or series of lectures either in their own building or some other place.  There undoubtedly would have been reviews of lecture in the papers.  Chicago had at least a dozen, in which the tenets or beliefs would be discussed.  In the crowd in which Burroughs associated I’m sure the fairly amazing doctrines would be discussed.

     When the US government places its 30 million pages of newspapers on the internet by 2006 dating back to the earlyh nineteenth century we will be able to examine this pertinent period in detail.

     At the theatre he and Emma would most likely have seen an actor by the name of John McCulloch who was a fixture of the Chicago stage.  This would have struck ERB as quite a coincidence as his mother had a John McCulloch as an ancestor.  If I am right in my surmise John the Bully was surnamed McCulloch.

     Nor would this be such a far fetched coincidence.  There must have been a couple dozen John McCullochs in Chicago at the time, probably hundreds in the United States.  As I write, my phone book lists a half dozen John McCullochs in this area.

     If Emma introduced ERB to the theatre at this time, there seem to be no reference3s to the theatre earlier, it held an attraction for him he never lost.  The old actor in Marcia Of The Doorstep is probably based on John McCulloch while ERB wrote his play You Lucky Girl at about the same time for his daughter Joan.

     Then at the beginning of the thirties ERB wrote his novelette Pirate Blood using the pseudonym John T. McCulloch which united the McCulloch references in his life.  It is said that ERB capitalized too much in his writing on improbable coincidences which on the one hand may be true but on the other, life is just like that, isn’t it?

     A near contermporary of ERB, Vachel Lindsay, who was born in 1879 in Springfield, Illinois, catalogs the influences to which he and his generation were subject.  It might not hurt to look through the poem here to try to capture some of the essence of what it meant to be young during this period.  The piece is entitled: John L. Sullivan, The Strong Boy Of Boston.

      The poem may be especially relevant to Burroughs as it centers on boxing which was a special interest of his.  During the period from 1892 to 1897 Burroughs’ idol, Gentleman Jim Corbett, was the heavyweight champion.  Corbett had defeated the incredible hulk, John L. Sullivan, in 1892 by landing one on the solar plexus making that piece of anatomy a topic of conversation down to when I was a kid.   In 1897 Bob Fitzsimmons took the title from Corbett.

     In the poem, Lindsay lists the many influences on his young life centered around 1889.  Pervading and overriding all is the ominous figure of Sullivan and the Irish.  Both Lindsay and Burroughs were Anglos.  The refrain ‘East side, West side’ refers to the Irish domination of New York City while the capitalized LONDON BRIDGE IS FALLING DOWN  of the last stanza implies that the Irish were conquering the Anglos.

When I was nine years old in 1889,

I sent my love a lacy valentine.

Suffering boys were dressed like Fauntleroys,

While Puck and Judge in quiet humor vied.

The Gibson Girl came shining like a bride

To spoil Tennyson’s Elaine.

Louisa Alcott was my gentle guide….


I heard a battle trumpet sound.

Nigh New Orleans

Upon an emerald plain

John L. Sullivan

The strong boy

of Boston

Fought seventy-five red round with Jake Kilrain.

In simple sheltered 1889

Nick Carter I would piously deride.

Over the Elsie books I moped and sighed.

St. Nicholas magazine was all my pride;

While coarser boys on cellar doors would slide.

The grownups bought refinement by the pound.

Rogers groups had not been told to hide.

E.P. Roe had just begun to wane.

Howells was rising, surely to attain!

The nation for a jamboree was gowned.

The hundreth year of roaring freedom crowned.

The British Lion ran and hid from Blaine

The razzle-dazzle hip-hoorah from Maine.

The mocking bird was singing in the lane….


“East side, west side, all around the town the tots sang: ‘Ring a rosie-

‘London Bridge is falling down.’


John L. Sullivan

The strong boy

Of Boston

Broke every single rib of Jake Kilrain.

In dear provincial 1889

Barnum’s bears and tigers could astound

Ingersoll was called a most vile hound,

And named with Satan, Judas, Thomas Paine!

Phillips Brooks for heresy was fried.

Boston Brahmins patronized Mark Twain.

The baseball rules were changed.  That was a gain!

Pop Anson was our darling pet and pride.

Native sons in Irish votes were drowned.

Tammany once more escaped it chain.

Once more each raw slaoon was raising Cain.

The mocking bird was singing in the lane….


“East side, west side, all around the town

The tots sang:  ‘Ring a rosie’

‘London Bridge is falling down.'”


John L. Sullivan

The strong boy

Of Boston

Finished the ring career of Jake Kilrain.

In mystic, ancient 1889

Wilson with pure learning was allied.

Roosevelt gave forth a chriping sound.

Stanley found old Emin and and his train.

Stout explorers sought the pole in vain.

To dream of flying proved a man insane.

The newly rich were bathing in champagne.

Van Bibber Davis, at a single bound

Displayed himself and a simpering glory found.

John J. Ingalls, like a lonely crane

Swore and swore and stalked the Kansas plain.

The Cronin murder was the ages’ stain.

Johnstown was flooded, and the whole world cried.

We heard  of Louvain and Lorraine,

Of a million heroes for their freedom slain.

Of Armageddon and the world’s birth-pain,

The League of nations, the new world allied,

With Wilson crucified, then justified.

We thought the world would loaf and sprawl and mosey,

The gods of Yap and Swat were sweetly dozy,

We thought the far off gods of Chow had died.

The mocking bird was singing in the lane….


“East side, west side, all around the town

the tots sang: ‘Ring a rosie’



John L. Sullivan knocked out Jake Kilrain.

     So many of the references which had an influence on Vachel Lindsay have lost their relevance but there are two which are important for our story.  One is that:  The Gibson Girl came shining like a bride to spoil the cult of Tennyson’s Elaine.  Elaine came from Tennyson’s Arthurian poem ‘Idylls Of The King.’  She was sort of pale and wan.  The Gibson Girl was created by the illustrator, Charles Gibson.  The latter girl was a robust saucy temptation of the All American Girl.  Emma made the choice between the two the Gibson Girl  her role model which is why I find her so entrancing.  In that sense Emma was forward looking heading into the twentieth century.  The Gibson Girl may be said to epitomize the woman of the myth of the twentieth century.  From the Gibson Girl the ideal  progressed to the Vargas pinup girl of the heyday of Esquire Magazine and from there she degenerated to the sex fantasies of Hugh Hefner and on down to Larry Flynt’s Hustler.  The story could have had a happy ending but didn’t.  It’s gotten worse.  I don’t want to go into that.

     The second key point is the general regretful tone concerning the Irish.  Just as in the poem I Wish I Was A Foreigner where the American complains …’the foreigner comes here to be a voter,’ so Lindsay notes ‘Native sons in Irish votes were drowned.’  This is serious.  This was a major problem with the ‘democracy’ when its intended fairness was turned against itself.  In a homogeneous society votes are used to determine an issue regarding the welfare of the whole people.  In a heterogeneous society votes are used to advance the interests of one segment against the others.  Thus the whole democratic process is subverted.

     Thus while the Anglos were concerned with regulating the country and immigration for the benefit of all, the Irish put themselves forward as the benefactors of the immigrants against the Anglos taking moral shortcuts which undermined the integrity of the State.  Immigrants then were brought in on the Irish side condemning the Anglos who were their true benefactors.

     Hence the baffling undercurrent of condemnation and complaint that runs thorugh American historical writing.

     Vachel Lindsay would also run afoul of the Diversity with his poem of the Congo which the Left portrayed as anti-Negro while it merely was an expression of Lindsay’s understanding of the culture of the Negro Group within the Diversity.  The Negro deserves to have his own psychology and he does.  We should value and honor that.

     Such censoring of opinion will have its consequences.  Burroughs himself was and is charged with racism merely for having prescient views.  The man was a deep thinker.  Viewing the world around him at this time he came to a remarkably accurate conclusion.  I can’t tell what his thought processes were but analyzing history he came to this conclusion.

     In his prophetic futuristic novel ‘Beyond Thirty’ of 1915, just after the Great War began, he has a post-war Europe ruled, as I thought improbably by Black Africans.  In light of recent events this now seems not so improbable.

     Life is not what we would have it:  The world is not run on any principles we can cheerfully accept.  The twentieth century was one of unprecedented disasters in their scope.  Shiva and Kali rule whether we will or not.  The twenty-first century will be even more destructive.  Now, beginning in the fifteenth century Europe, in essence, began the invasion of the world.  Scientifically far in advance of the rest of the world its success was dazzling.  However, somewhere in these years, we are considering, perhaps specifically 1893, the Euroamericans, the West, lost its will to dominate.  This lack of will was presciently picked up by a number of writers including Burroughs.

     The way of the world is that one either conquers or one is conquered.  Having begun to impose its will on the world there was no turning back for the West.  However it has attempted to do so.  The result is that instead of invading and conquering the West is now being invaded and conquered.

     Any Freudian analysis of the ego of the various peoples or, Groups, will provide a record of their mental processes, objectives and desires, not mention, capabilities.  The myth of the twentieth century was destroyed on 9/11/01 when the Moslems destroyed the religious symbol of the World Trade Center.

     The West at the height of their confidence moved peoples about the world to satisfy their needs.  East Indians were taken to all corners of the world while Chinese were moved into areas in the Pacific where their skills were in advance of the native populations.  During the two wars Africans were recruited to fight from Europe to the Far East.  A great deal of the consequences have been suppressed.  Having set the peoples of the world in motion, the West withdrew from its conquests, the conquered peoples began to assert their Group egos realizing that it was either conquer or be destroyed.  Then they began their invasions.

     The Japanese attempt to expel the West from Asia was successful although costly for themselves.  Nevertheless by the 50s the West had been expelled from Asia while the enclave in Hong Kong was allowed to live out the terms of their lease.

     By the early sixtes the Africans had expelled the West except in South Africa.  that fearful drama is not yet finished.

     Africans had been dispersed throughout the Americas during gthe 16th through 19th centuries.  Beginning recently they have begun to invade Europe from the North African ports especially from Libya.

     At the same time the world’s population has grown so large that there are areas that can no longer support their populations.  Whether by design or natural increase the Semitic States were so productive that they began exporting people throughout th world  beginning in the seventies while their populations at home continue to grow.

     As the Moslems invaded the world in this second Eruption From The Desert this narrow, bigoted, antiquated religious faith came into conflict with Western Scientific knowledge.

     To accept scientific knowledge would destroy the Moslem faith in much the same way that the Christian and Jewish faiths in the West have been affected.  There can be no compromise between the two; this is an either-or situation.

     While Moslem proselytizing has never ceased since the seventh century there was now a renewed burst of activity combined with an all out assault on the West, well conducted within Moslem military limitations.

     On 9/11/01 they were successful in destroying the symbol of scientific achievement, the World Trade Center in New York City.  They aimed directly at the strength of the West- its economic system.

     It is a mistake to think that anything can be achieved by fair minded discussion or concessions, otherwise known as appeasement.   Appeasement didn’t work out so well in the thirties when another determined ideology asserted its will.  This is a war to the knife; only one side will be left standing.

     More remarkable still, having disturbed the Africans in their nest, the Africans are on the move having begun an invsion of Euorpe which is already over populated there being no room for vast numbers of either Africans or Moslems, unless….  Religious and racial intolerance began to take a vicious turn in the twentieth centgury when racial clashes began almost simultaneoulsy in Europe and Asia.

     Since then genocidal wars of either a racial or religious nature have proliferated.  The Moslems have opened a guerilla war on the world.  In areas where resources are insufficient to support an Arab or Semitic population against other races the Semites or Arabs are conducting genocidal wars as in the Sudan where they are wiping out the Negroes or driving them beyond the borders.

     As Moslems and Negroes flood into Europe this must result in a terrific struggle for survival of the Europeans, probably breaking out within the next ten or twenty years.

     The resultant war must be genocidal in nature.  If the European struggle is successful it must result in the death of alien populations or their being driven out of Europe the same as the long struggle to drive the Moslems out of Spain.  Or the Europeans will be annihilated.

     This is an unpleasant but inevitable prospect.

     If the Europeans fail as I am sure they will then Burroughs remarkable prophecy of a Black Europe in ‘Beyond Thirty’ is almost certain to become a reality.  Life does not give you any easy choices.  Here in America you’re not even supposed to talk about this problem in a realistic manner so  there is no hope of avoiding destruction.

     ERB’s head must have been aswirl with all these thoughts that society forbade him to express directly.

     Probably wrestling with all these macro thoughts he had the really important micro thoughts to deal with.  Really, what to do with Emma who he wanted but didn’t want to marry, while still not losing her to Frank Martin.

     In February of  ’98 he once again for some reason decided to seek an officer’s appointment.  He wrote to a former commandant at the MMA, Capt. Fred A. Smith, seeking his assistance.  Smith, of course, replied that there was nothing he could do.  ERB still didn’t understand the consequences of abandoning his post in 1896.

     Shortly thereafter ERB pulled up stakes to return to Idaho abruptly abandoning Emma again.  Why he should have done so is not clear although perhaps there is a clue in the Return Of Tarzan.  Remember that dream displacement and disfiguration are in operation so that one cannot expect a literal representation of the incident.  One has to demythologize it.l  In the Return W.C. Clayton, Tarzan’s rival for Jane, and Jane have been stranded in the jungle. 

      Tarzan has chanced upon their camp.  As he watched an aged, toothless lion was about to spring on a cringing W.E. Clayton as Jane watches.  Tarzan transfixes the lion with his spear.  He then sees Clayton get up to embrace and kiss Jane.  Mistaking the import of the embrace and kiss, Tarzan turns sorowfully back to disappear into the jungle.

     Burroughs himself may have seen Frank Martin kissing Emma.  Perhaps he thought that a pauper like himself had lost out to a prince like Martin.  Thinking himself cut out might have been the reason for his departure to Idaho much as Tarzan melted back into the jungle..  With no more thought for his Dad at the Battery Company than he had for Col. Rogers at the MMA ERB just up and left.  Poor old Emma must have been wondering what she had done.  Couldn’t have been anything she said.

Continue to Part III.


Edgar Rice Burroughs On Mars

A Review

The Chessmen Of Mars

Part 5


R.E. Prindle


The Taxidermist Of Mars Part 2

     To return to the arrival of Gahan, Tara and Ghek at Manator.  The three have been drifting before the wind for days as they have no propeller to move them.  Tara is in dire straits  badly needing water and food.  Landing some disntace from Mantor Gahan decides to enter the city in search of food and water.  He is espied on his approach and a trap set.

     I am assuming that Manator represents LA and Burroughs is decribing his arrival there in 1919.

     Porges was the ERB trailblazer while to my knowledge he is the only researcher allowed in the archives to this date.  Robert Barrett seems to have had a close relationship with Danton Burroughs, ERB’s grandson,  and Danton released snippets to him from time to time but there is no evidence in Barrett’s wrtings in the Burroughs Bulletin that he has spent any time in the archives.

     Not even Bill Hillman who has done so much for Danton and ERB, Inc. has been allowed to work int he archives.  Danton promised HIllman documentation  for some time but never found the time to send it.  I once talked to Danton by phone and he indicated he was withholding access for ‘effect.’  I didn’t ask what effect.   He did release a valuable snippet to me though.  So, to a very large extent one is forced to combine Porges’ seminal but fairly meager information with what was happening in Burroughs’ life as reflected in his novels.

     One of the areas that have troubled me is the relationship of ERB’s rival with Emma, Frank Martin, both before and after their marriage.

     Martin was disgusted with Burroughs who he thought, correctly I believe, didn’t actually want Emma but didn’t want anyone else to have her either.  I think it probable that ERB wanted to keep Emma on the shelf indefinitely as the result of the confrontation with John the Bully.

     Driven to desperate measures Martin drew ERB to New York on his father’s private rail car and attempted to have him murdered in Toronto.

     That attempt failed.  ERB in defiance married Emma against her family’s wishes a few months after the attack.  Now, what was Frank Martin’s reaction to the wedding?  Did he resign himself to the reality or did he interfere in the marriage any way he could?

     We have a couple facts that indicate that at the very least he kept an eye on the couple.  Hard facts.  Martin’s associate or stooge was a man called R.S. Patchin.  He was on the trip to New York and present at the assassination attempt in Toronto.  In 1934 aftr ERB divorced Emma Patchin showed up in LA and sought ERB out for what appears to be the first time since 1899.  Did he just happen to be in town at that moment or was he acting as Frank Martin’s agent? 

     Before we answer that let us consider Patchin’s next appearance in ERB’s history.When ERB died in 1950 Patchin sent a condolence letter to the family specifically recalling ERB’s bashing in Toronto.  That is why we have a good record of the event.  Sometime between 1934 and 1950 Martin died so Patchin was operating on his own.  In his note he reminded the family of the Toronto incident that might be considered as even gloating perhaps.

     The interest of Martin and Patchin then appears to be malevolent.  If Martin and Patchin appeared at one of these unpleasant occurrences  then it follows that perhaps Martin was working against ERB’s interests from 1900 at the the time of the wedding on.

     Martin may have driven ERB and Emma out of Chicago in 1903.  In 1907 and ’08 when ERB impregnated Emma twice in close succession that may have been a defensive move against Martin.  The angry ex-suitor very likely then continued his machinations behind the scenes after ERB’s literary success finally driving ERB from Chicago for good in 1919.

     Now, Chicago was a movie making center before the rise of Hollywood.  Many of the important  movie people in LA originated in the Windy City.  It is not improbable that the son of a railroad magnate who owned his own private rail car knew some of them.  As starlets were starlets then as now it is not inconceivable that Martin spent time in LA part of each year.  Thus, when ERB moved to LA which Martin would have known in advance it is conceivable that he planned his revenge.  The trap was laid so innocuously  that as in his entry into Mantor Gahan/ERB wasn’t aware of the trap until he was completely in its meshes with little chance of escape left.

     That ERB was an impetuous lad given to snap decisions must have been known to anyone who observed him as closely as Martin must have.  ERB left Chicago to seek twenty acres 0n which to raise his hogs.  Instead he was shown the 540 acre estate of General Otis of the LA Times.  As I understand it ERB did not seek the estate but that notice of it was brought to him.  There was the bait.  The bait was too attractive.  ERB bought the estate  and was hooked.  The trap was sprung.

     ERB went on a spending spree of magnificent proportions without realizing what the costs were and how vulnerable his income was.  Now saddled with care he had to struggle to find time to keep up his writing.  Publishing became more difficult for him while his movie revenues came to a halt in 1922, the year after Chessmen.  Whether you look at it like the impetuous Burroughs, who acted first and thought later, merely mad a very bad decision or whether he was lured into  buying the estate he either was trapped or trapped himself.  Chessmen would indicate that he believed he had been trapped.

     In any event he was moving with the big boys in LA according to the big guys’ rules.  That is a very difficult transition to make.  The big boys play rough.

     Let us see how ERB portrays Gahan’s entry into Manator.  His entry is noted by a sinister unknown figure from the walls.  We never hear of this figure again.  He just disappears from the story.  Gahan’s entry into the city is unopposed.  He merely enters the unguarded gate and begins walking down a street.  There the three figures dogging him split up.  The figure who spotted him follows him from a distance, another runs ahead so that Gahan is caught in the jaws of the vise.  The third figure parallels him keeping him in sight.

     When they wish him to enter a building the man ahead creates the sound of a patrol approaching from the front.  A door stands conveniently open.  Gahan ducks in.  This door may represent his buying the Otis estate.  As the patrol draws closer Gahan retreats around a corner into a hall.  someone of the patrol enters the door forcing Gahan farther along the corridor.  The figure retreats closing the door behind him.  Gahan now finds the door locked.  He is trapped in the corridor. He must go forward.  Thus ERB having bought Tarzana has no choice but to live with his mistake.

     He proceeds down the hall in this charade of doors that is part and parcel of ERB’s psyche.  Gahan is directed on his way  by being compelled to enter the only unlocked door.  Finally he approaches a bank of doors all locked except door number 3 that is standing open.  Yes, this scene was repeated in 1934’s Tarzan And The Lion Man but more of that later.  Gahan enters hearing the door click shut leaving him absoltuely no exit.  His course has been downward.  He is now in the pits of Manator.

     He is now directed to a room with a table parallel with the wall.  He sits down.  Gas is emitted from holes in the wall sedating Gahan.  He passes out.  How clever, Gahan ruminates when he comes to, I have been good and roundly caught and not a hand was laid on me.    We too marvel at the masterful description of Gahan’s capture.  In real life ERB is saddled with an estate too large for his income and spending habits and which is slowly consuming him.  Thus when he awakes from the sedation he finds a giant ulsio, the Martian Rat knawing on his arm.  One assumes that if Gahan hadn’t wakened when he did he might have had his limbs consumed.  Had ERB just become aware of his predicament?  Was the game now on?

     Nicely done, great atmosphere and from we readers’ perspective a great story.  But now let’s backtrack a little before we move on.  This is really quite a story.


      While the Jetan game is the most fascinating aspect of this novel for perhaps most people the game itself may be the game within the game, so to speak, the story within the story.  The whole Manator story may be considered as a game of chess in which each episode is a move in the game.  Remember in the framing story ERB had finished a game of chess with Shea.  The Secretary turned in leaving ERB ruminating about his loss and blowing smoke at the head of his king- the head.  As he does so John Carter walks in.  He tells ERB, in the latter’s own persona, that Chess is similar to Jetan on Mars.  So, smoking the head of his king very likely gave ERB the hint to construct the story along the lines of Chess.  Thus the opening gambit, the first move is Gahan’s entry into the city countered by the mysterious figure who engineers his capture.

     As ERB comtemplated how he had gotten into his Tarzana dilemma he may very well have compared his situation to a game of chess that must be played well if he were to extricate himself unharmed.

     He has chosen to present his problem in the form of a dream.  Because in dreams as he has a character in Fighting Man Of Mars say, you can’t get hurt.

     In Gahan’s entry ERB creates a bizarre dream image of balconies full of people observing his progress but who seem oblivious of it.  Soon we learn that I-Gos the taxidermist of Mars spends his life stuffing these dead people who populate this strange city.  In dreams of course all the participants have no real life; like the dead past they have no volition.

     Apparently this novel is activating dreams in me.  The other night I dreamt I was walking down a boardwalk as in old Chicago with the crazy ups and downs.  As I mounted a higher part of the boardwalk I was accosted by six thugs.  As they were discussing what to do with me I was paralyzed with fear not unlike ERB before John the Bully.  Then I said to myself:  This is a dream and I can’t get hurt in a dream.  So saying I grabbed the closest thug and threw him through a plate glass window.  Turning quickly I grabbed a second thug and hoisted him over the railing.  The remaining three, there must have been only five, were paralyzed in their turn.  Then I grew bored and woke up.

     So ERB in the same way is examining his dream world but tweaking it from his daytime consciousness.  His real life is being interpreted through his symbolism.

     That in 1921, the time he wrote this story, one knows that he was already in deep trouble is because in 1934 when he was already going through the trauma of battling MGM, the Communists, and divorcing Emma and marrying Florence he replicates his entry into Manator in his entry into London and the City Of God.  The bit with the three doors, the third being open and clicking quietly shut behind him is an exact duplication of Tarzan And The Lion Man.  In that novel he enters a prison where he finds his Anima ideal, Rhonda, already imprisoned.  In this one he is chained beside A-Kor(rock spelled backwards).  In Lion Man the strange creature is God; in this one the Taxidermist Of Mars.  There is no reason not to believe ERB is going through some real stress.

     When the effect of the gas dissipates, first he dispatches an ulsio, The Giant Rat Of Mars (echo of Sherlock Holmes and the Giant Rat Of Sumatra?) he notices that the table that had been parallel to the wall is now vertical to it.  At the far end he notices the key to his manacles.  Here he employs his classical education by recalling the story of Tantalus.  In that story Tantalus was standing in water with fruit trees above him but could neither eat or drink because water and fruit receded before his grasp.

     Thus the solution to ERB’s problem is frustratingly just beyond his grasp as he stretched out manacle biting into his ankle.  I believe this image probably refers to his childhood fixation of John The Bully that he can’t quite consciously recall or resolve.  Part of the story develops around the fixation in the form of Gahan’s contest with O-Tar the Jeddak.  O-Tar represents John the Bully as well as Frank Martin.

     In Gahan’s predicament then ERB represents his own psychological dilemma.

     I will give another example from my own dreams.  Several years ago I had this wonderful dream that I thought was so spectacular that I wrote it up as short story.  Anyone interested can read it at  It’s called The Hole In The Sky.

     At the time I was struggling to resolve my own central childhood fixation.  I thought an image my mind employed so amazing that it was the only literary image I had ever had that I thought was completely original.  We’ll see.

     In this dream my fixation appeared as a giant Gordian Knot three or four feet in diameter.  There’s a real fixation for you.  I hadn’t been able to unravel this knot so now Alexander like I was going to cut it.  I had this giant pair of scissors so huge I could lean on the handles like a crutch.  I could see the problem and had the tool in my hands to resolve it but I couldn’t manipulate the huge tool.  Two guys offered to help so instead of of helping me with the scissors they picked up the knot with a rod running through it.

     I didn’t recognize the two but they were obviously the ones who gave me the fixation not unlike ERB and John the Bully.  They stood grinning mockingly at me holding up the fixation.  I struggled with scissors then asked them for help.  In response they laughed and shook the knot at me.  I had to give up.

     Just to show how the dreaming mind works I later discovered that the image that I thought was so original was based on a scene from a 1957 movie I’d seen.  So twenty or twenty-five years later I duplicated a scene from The Incredible Shrinking Man in a dream.  Richard Matheson who wrote the wonderful I, Legend also wrote the equally wonderful, Shrinking Man.

     In the movie the Man had shrunk down to the size where a now giant spider was attacking him.  He was about to fight the spider using a needle but he had to cut the thread with a now giant pair of children’s scissors.  In attempting to manipulate them he knocked the needle over the edge of the table.

     So there you have it.  Just tell your story; don’t worry about being original; it can’t be done.  So ERB employs Greek mythology to creat his image.  I can’t say he was conscious of it anymore than I was in mine but so many of his details fermented in his mind for decades before they spilled out onto the paper.

     Gahan sits back down in exasperation.  then he notices the doors to his prison have been left open.  No matter, he can’t leave chained to the wall.  He marvels at the diabolical cleverness of his captors.  They intend to totally frustrate him. So ERB in real life was caught in a trap where while not in a jail he was effectively imprisoned.

     As Ghek at this point becomes mere foolery in the story I’m going to ignore his doings unless tangential.

     To further the story A-Kor is arrested and chained next to Gahan.  He provides Gahan with the information that will allow the latter  to organize his Jetan team and bring the story to its denouement.  In the meantime Gahan is brought from the pits to be interviewed by O-Tar along with Tara and Ghek who have been captured.  There Ghek  uses his hypnotic powers to allow Gahan and Tara to escape to the pits together.  ERB uses a device that seems to have been a favorite.  There is a curtain over an opening behind the throne they escape through.  Opar has the same arrangement through which Tarzan and La emerge in, I believe, Tarzan The Invincible.

     In the pits the couple encounter I-Gos who explains his grisly business and solves the mystery of the immobile viewers lining the streets.  The scene then follows in which Gahan is locked in the storeroom at the very bottom of the pits of Manator or the equivalent of the brain stem.

     Separated from Tara the interlude of the Jetan game occurs in which Tara was the prize for the winners of the game.  I will deal with Tara and the game in Part 6.  Tara and Gahan return to the pits.  It does seem a bit strange that Tara never recognized Gahan in his panthan guise.  But, there you have it, anything goes in a dream story.

     The couple find their way to the quarters of O-Mai an ancient Jeddak who died five thousand years previously.  His quarters are believed to be haunted so that in 5000 years they are the first to enter with the possible exception of I-Gos.   Now, I’m not going to say that ERB ever read Isis Unveiled by Madame H.P. Blavatsky written in 1877 but consider this passage on page 560 of Vol. I:

…Tcharaka, a Hindu physician, who is said to have lived 5,000 years B.C., in his treatise on the origin of things, called Usa…

     ERB also mentions something called usa.  I thought perhaps it meant United States Of America which, indeed, it may double as but the singular connection of Usa and the 5,000 year old Tcharaka is singular.   ERB was friends with L. Frank Baum and as David Adams points out Baum was into the occult which is clear from his writing so that he may very well have been familiar with Madame B and encouraged ERB to read Isis unveiled which is quite a book.  I merely point out the coincidence.

     It is here in this dismal past of truly ancient history that ERB chooses to attempt to resolve his fixation with John the Bully.  In the character of  O-Tar he has conflated John and Frank Martin so that in eliminating John he hopefully eliminates Martin at the same time.  It would seem that these two psychological facts exist in his mind as closely related or in another word, one.  At this crucial turn in his later life the fear caused by John and the imputation of cowardice ERB endured as a child that conrolled the nature of his response to problems has to be met if he is to successfully meet the challenges of Tarzana.  That Frank Martin may be operating against his interests behind the scenes, he who followed behind Gahan as he entered Manator, is evident because ERB associates his marriage to Emma in this context.  The figure who followed Gahan and disappears from the story now reappears in an aspect of O-Tar.  In ERB’s mind both John and Frank would be rats.  Thus we have both the cowadice issue in O-Mai’s quarters that prove John is a coward and Gahan/ERB isn’t and the marriage scene where Gahan in O-Tar’s disguise steals Tara/Emma away.

     Gahan and Tara explore O-Mai’s quarters that are spooky enough.  A group of warriors playing cards appear as lifelike just as I-Gos arranged them.  Initially taken back Gahan slowly realizes that they are the work of the Great Taxidermist of Mars.

     They discover the mummy of O-Mai lying on the floor where he died with his foot caught in the bedding.  This is a terrific dream image.  We know it is a dream because Tara and Gahan can see in the dark.  In dreams yours eyes are closed hence you are in the dark but you can see clearly with an inner light whether deaming of sunlight or the pits.

     I-Gos becomes aware that they are there.  He informs O-Tar who sends his troops down to get them.  The incredible legends associated with the place have them terrorized.  Thus when they enter spotting the four warriors weird screams fill the chamber.  Panicking they flee.

     Now comes the crucial test of O-Tar/John.  He ridicules his warriors who then challenge him to go.  There’s no backing out so off he goes.  He is given the treatment by Gahan swooning away for over an hour.  He of course invents a story for his delay and returning empty handed which is proven false by I-Gos.  Thus he is a self-convicted coward.  In the way the mind works ERB would have exonerated himself of the charge if this had been real life.  As it wasn’t we can only guess how effective it was.

     While Gahan was concentrating on O-Tar in O-Mai’s quarters I-Gos spirited Tara awaypresenting her to O-Tar/Martin who becomes enamored of her.  She haughtily rejects him so offending him that he makes her the prize of the Jetan game to be shared by the whole winning team.  Gets worse and worse.

     Now comes the piece de resistance of the story; the part everyone concentrates on.  That’s in Part 6.


A Review

Edgar Rice Burroughs On Mars

The Chessmen Of Mars

Post II

Part I

The Dance Of Barsoom

See Post I for Intro.


     The twenties were a difficult financial period for ERB, indeed, as was the rest of his life to be.  The substantial sums he had made in Chicago were spent before he left.  ERB had saved nothing.  He arrived in LA with no other resources than his current income.  That income was very substantial by any measure but unequal to ERB’s massive spending capabilities so that at the time he wrote Chessmen he was already strapped for cash and headed for deep debt.

     Always envious of the fabulous sums paid Zane Grey by the slick magazines ERB wanted to sell this story for ten thousand dollars to one of the big slicks.  There were no takers so that the story went to the pulps for thirty-five hundred.  Adding insult to injury he was told that the stories were too preposterous to be considered.

     Part of ERB’s literary problem was that genre categories were not yet well developed.  H.G. Wells’ early sci-fi efforts were labeled Fantasias, a term that could be understood by the literary arbiters, while still considered what we would call today, literary fiction.  Even George Du Maurier’s  trilogy of essentially science fiction novels- Peter Ibbetson, Trilby and The Martian have never been considered anything but literary fiction.  They are three terrific stories of psychological dissociation  while it would seem certain that Burroughs read them and was probably influenced by them.  I can heartily recommend them.  Very choice.

     So the genres were taking shape at the period but had not yet evolved as they would during the thirties, forties and fifties until today fantasy, horror and sci-fi dominate the fiction best seller lists.  If Chessmen was thought preposterous in 1920 one wonders what his critics would have thought of such movies as The Exterminator or The Predator.  God, those people were so awkward and unevolved.  Well, it’s the price you pay for being an innovator.  Remember what the Pope told Galileo.

     So, ERB was stuck in the pulps.  Perhaps smarting from this rejection ERB would try to break out of his pulp rate with several realistic novels.  the first was The Girl From Hollywood, a very decent attempt at a literary novel, that ERB’s long time publisher refused to publish.  Following in the burro tracks of Zane Grey ERB wrote a couple of Westerns only one of which he could get published at the time.  I read a lot of Westerns in the fifties while a kid.  I thought ERB’s efforts were as good as what I read then.  They’re all potboilers, even the so-called classics.

     He even attempted a couple of Indian epics that I found so-so but I know other people who liked them a lot.  Not so critical as myself, I guess.  Oh, right, he couldn’t get Marcia Of The Doorstep published either.  So he was type cast as a sci-fi/fantasy writer.  At least he knew he could do that very well.

     Zane Grey wrote some pretty strange Westerns.  He himself was quite a womanizer and his novels pander quite successfully to the distaff side.  He knew women well.  Probably that was why he was paid those great prices by the Saturday Evening Post et al.  Oh heck, ERB was just too outre for the Post.

     In Chessmen ERB gives feminine appeal his best shot.  I would imagine he was trying to reach the ladies when he describes Tara’s fabulous bath.  Either that or he was trying to titillate us boys.  Worked with me.  But let’s assume he was trying to broaden his appeal as the title was offered to the slicks.

     Chessmen was based on his three favorite novels as are all his books- The Viginian, Prince And The Pauper and Little Lord Fauntleroy.

     Thus Tara teases Papa John as her ‘Virginian.’  We are then introduced to Gahan of far Gathol.  ERB presents him first in his princely guise as, indeed, he is a prince of Gathol.  ERB chooses to present him as a fop dressed all in diamonds and platinum.  Tara forms an ill impression of him as she thinks no real fighting man  would dress in such a fashion.  Shortly Gahan will exchange his dress duds for the plain leather gear of the Martian mercenary thus changing from prince to pauper.  Of course he will resume his role of Prince by novel’s end.

     Fauntleroy was born to the manor in England but spent his youth learning what it meant to be a real American boy before reassuming his English title.  Ah, American dreaming.

     Recalling his battle for Emma’s favors with Frank Martin Tara has been betrothed since at least young girlhood to Djor Kantos whose father is friends with the family.  So like ERB Gahan has to overcome this parental resistance.  Speaking of Frank Martin Chessmen is the only novel I can recall in which the hero doesn’t get bashed on the head two or three times.

     At the ball being given Djor Kantos fails to claim Tara in time for the first dance so that Gahan leads Tara in the Dance Of Barsoom.  Some sort of Grand March.  ERB explains that before Barsoomian youths can attend balls they have to first have learned three formal dances- The Dance Of Barsoom, that of their country and that of their city.  After that they can take up stuff like the Martian equivalents of the Grizzly Bear, Bunny Hug, Charleston and Black Bottom.  Kids being kids on Barsoom the same as on Jasoom.

     While the concept is quite charming one wonders of the source.  Burroughs himself was no slouch concerning the hit parade.

     I think we can trace the rigamarole back to the patron saint of old timey music, Henry Ford.

     Amongst all his many other enterprises Henry was revolted by the music and dances of the Jazz Age as the twenties are sometimes known.  Even though his very own flivver is billed as being responsible for some new objectionable habits and traditions Henry clung stubbornly to the old.  Thus in full revolt against the Jazz Age Henry was promoting the dances and music of his youthof around, oh say, 1880 or so.

      Ford had begun his publication of the Dearborn Independent in 1920 making him a newspaper man also.  It seems clear from internal references in Marcia Of The Doorstep that ERB was following developments in the Independent.  He would then certainly have learned of the evils of the new music and the virtues of the old.

     Just as Henry Ford was trying to rivive the old dances on Jasoom, on conservative, behind the times Barsoom Jazz has never even been given a chance.  The Dance Of Barsoom is just as fresh and lovely as the first time it was danced millennia before.  Martian kids didn’t mess with tradition so much so Gahan led Tara in that lovely old relic of Mars- The Dance Of Barsoom.

     Pledging his love during the dance Gahan was sternly rebuffed by Tara.

     The preliminaries finished the story begins in earnest.

     The following day Tara is fascinated by a cloudy stormy sky which is such a rare occurrence on Mars that she had never seen one before.  As I mentioned in the intro ERB borrows the next sequence from Baum whose Dorothy was wafted to Oz on a tornado.  Tara ascends into this tornado like storm where her flier is caught by the winds and she is driven before them.  When she lands she had been driven like Dorothy to Oz to a far land that has been all but forgotten if it had ever been thought of.

     The hero and heroine of Chessmen are Tara of Helium and Gahan of far Gathol, or rather, they are the Anima and Animus of ERB.  ERB always writes Anima and Animus novels.  As dreamers will he may have recognized the X chromosome or Anima in the green pastures of his sleep or, it is quite possible that as a Latin scholar at Chicago’s Harvard School he was required to read the myth of Psyche and Eros from Apuleius’ The Golden Ass.  I only mention a couple of possibilities.  He may or may not have been familiar with Psyche and Eros but he was certainly familiar with the fairy tales derived from it such as Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty.

     While Apuleius is given credit for the story his version is certainly only a redaction of the tale or philosophical speculation dating much further back in history.  The Ancients were well familiar with the concept of both the male and female versions of the Anima and Animus.  In popular mythology the male chromosome is represented by the Goddess as X chromosome and the Bull as the y.  The female is represented by the two snakes as in the pictorial representations of Crete.  It will also be remembered that the Greeks imported Cretan priests to manage the Apollonian shrine at Delphi.

     The myth is that the two aspects were once united then driven apart wandering the world in search of each other.  Duly at long last they do find each other are reconciled and allowed by the Goddess of Love to reunite.  Thus the stories of Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty evolved from Psyche and Eros and who knows how many other stories besides those of Burroughs.

     The question is was Burroughs only following a plot line, a pattern he had absorbed or was he consciously aware of what he was doing?  Had he thought the problem out?  Just as Tarzan and Jane were apparently mismatched in Burroughs’ dreamscapes so were ERB and Emma in real life.  In Tarzan And The Golden Lion Tarzan and Jane had no sooner returned home from Pal-ul-don than Tarzan fled to his Anima in far off dreamland Opar leaving Jane/Emma to more or less shift for herself in a very dangerous world.  Misfortune usually hit her too.

     In ERB’s dream couple of John Carter and Dejah Thoris the Anima and Animus seem to be united although we see little of Dejah Thoris in the series and not at all in this novel.  Even their son who may represent ERB is not present at all.  Even with Carter and Dejah Thoris the classic separation and reuniting form a major part of the Martian Trilogy.

     In this dream tale with Tara and Gahan ERB follows the classic formula- separation, the long pursuit and final reconciliation.  He appears to know what he is talking about but since he never discussed his ideas on the subject we can only infer that he did or doubt or deny that he did.  The psychological motifs he expresses throughout Chessmen leads me to believe he did.

     What are dreams and what is a dream story?  Freud originated the rational approach to dream interpretation.  ERB gave some thought to the problem.  Once can’t be sure he had read Freud’s Interpretations Of Dreams although in his short story Tarzan’s First Nightmare ERB used elements contained in Freud’s theory to explain the causes of Tarzan’s nightmare.  At the very least we can say that dreams and nightmares from which ERB suffered all his life were of great interest to him.  In the thirties he would buy at least one book on scientific dream interpretation.

     What is the basis of dreams?  It can only be experiences combined with memory.  That’s it.  Think about it.  You don’t have to look any further.  Nothing mysterious about them.  The basic problem can be expressed in the question of what is the unconscious or subconscious.  Is it some ultra mysterious process of the mind that can’t be penetrated, understood or accurately located?  Is it as Freud believed an organ independent of the body and mind yet which somehow controls the actions of the individual from outside him?  Or, once again, is it merely a combination of experience and memory, a faculty for interpeting the experiences of the day?

     Freud touched on a key concept when he realized that the mind, which never rests, processes the incidents of the previous day in the sleeping and dreaming state.  Burroughs also takes this approach in Tarzan’s nightmare whether he picked it up from Freud, Sweetser or realized it himself.

      In point of fact experience happens to us so rapidly and from so many angles at the same time that it is impossible for the conscious mind to process it all as it is happening.  Can’t be done.  So, it follows that the subconscious or back up mind retains, as it were, photographs of the day’s activities that it reviews in sleep for either discarding, repression or action.  How many times have you awakened with possible solutions to problems facing you?

     The problem with the subconscious mind is that analysis of situations is affected by fixations, more expecially by the central childhood fixation.  Childhood is that perilous time of life when the inexperienced mind is subject to being presented with challenges for which it has no programmed or immediately adequate response.  Defeated in analysis the challenge is encrypted and encysted in the subconscious where it interprets all similar challenges through the lens of the defeated challenge and response.  Thus all those strange compulsive behaviors we have.

     As it chances we know Burroughs’ central childhood fixation.  That was when he was eight or nine and he was challenged on a street corner on the way to school by a twelve year old Irish bully.  Terrified ERB broke and ran apparently thereafter branded as a coward.  Thus the central theme of his work is fight or flight and the state of cowardice.  He examines the matter endlessly throughout the entire body of his work.  These elements are all especially prominent in Chessmen.

     We know that ERB was stressed to the breaking point as he wrote in 1921.  Whenever he was stressed his personality fragmented, splitting at least once.  In Chessmen the Kaldanes are two separate entities, the physical Rykors and the mental Kaldanes.  Tara and Gahan, the ritual Burroughs’ surrogates are driven apart by the terrific storm.

     This is a dream story abounding in dream images.  One can provide an analysis of the storm scene based on the incidents occurring in ERB’s life at the time.

     The image presented to us is of this very rare Martian storm of very high winds as in a tornado.  Tara although warned against it takes her flier up.  Perhaps ERB was warned against buying Tarzana, I would certainly think that Emma was at the least apprehensive.  Tara navigates well beneath the clouds but wants to be in a cloud where she has never been before, i.e. Burroughs buys Tarzana.  Here she is buffeted about so to escape she rises above the cloud or storm where the winds abate.  But she has to get back down so she must reenter the storm.  She is then taken by the winds tumbled head over heels by their extreme violence arriving half dead in the land of the Kaldanes.

     Now, how does this represnet ERB’s actual situation in dream images.

     ERB left Chicago under one presumes, sunny skies.  His original intent was to buy twenty acres to raise hogs.  Instead he bought over five hundred acres.  He then began a massive building and improvement program with what appears to have been a substantial payroll and a not very well thought out plan.  He overspent his income so that by 1921 his bills must have been greater than his income forcing him to borrow.  He found he had neither the skills nor the talent bo be a ‘Gentleman Farmer’ so that he was forced to auction off most of his tools, implements and livestock in an effort to raise money and cut expenses.  Also at this time his sources of income came under attack as the movies refused to film his intellectual properties while his royalties also came under attack.

     In what I consider a purely defensive move he was forced to incorporate himself assigning all his income, copyrights and what not to the corporation in an effort to secure the means of his livelihood by putting his income beyond the reach of his creditors.  In what I consider a questionable move he subsequently transferred a portion of Tarzana to the corporation.  So, shortly after this storm broke on his head he became merely an employee of his corporation.

     At the time he wrote Chessmen then he was caught in the turbulence of this storm he had created.  Unable to get back down as with Tara he tried to rise above it in some way but was forced back into the problem where he was being blown along head over heels no longer in control of his affairs.

     In the relative calm of 1924 he wrote Marcia Of The Doorstep that chronicles and looks back at this period.

     Tara’s flight then is ERB’s day to day situation presented in dream images.

     The rest of the book deals with past and present in a series of dream images to which  we proceed.


Edgar Rice Burroughs On Mars

A Review

The Chessman Of Mars


R.E. Prindle



     Porges speaks quite highly of this story and I think him right.  The story is a quite complex one with many highlights and as many or more undertones.  Burroughs manages to unite his past with his present while mildly projecting a future.

     The story was his only effort of 1921 while falling between Tarzan The Terrible and The Girl From Hollywood the first of two books for 1922. the other being Tarzan And The Golden Lion.  Thus this book falls between the recovery of Jane and their return to the Estate and Tarzan’s subsequent return to Opar.  These two Tarzan novels undoubtedly reflect discord in the marriage of ERB and Emma.

     It would seem that the move to California disrupted ERB’s concentration as the effort to udjust to Tarzana must have consumed his time somewhat in contradiction of his opinion in Tarzan The Invincible that man has been given all the time he can use, no more, no less.  Well, there’s limits to everything, probably even infinity.

     Whether Burroughs’ tremendous building efforts of the first couple years were pinching his finances at this time there does seem to be an element of panic in the story.  The pictures of his new three car garage shows two Packards and a Hudson so that the unbridled spending of Marcus Sackett in Marcia Of The Doorstep of 1924 seems to be directly based on ERB’s own wastrel habits.

     The Hudson is interesting as ERB may have bought his first Hudson in 1914 in emulation of his hero L. Frank Baum who he visited in Hollywood in 1913 and was friendly with again in 1916.  In  that connection the opening of Chessmen is a variation on The Wizard Of Oz in which Dorothy, her house and dog are transported from Kansas to Oz by a tornado.  In Chessmen Tara of Helium is caught in her flier by a furious windstorm that deposits her in the all but forgotten outpost of  the Kaldanes.  So far out that it might in fact have been the Martian Oz.

     Thus in a sense, ERB returns to the scenes of his childhood or, at least, his young manhood.  This is very likely the result of stress, whether from looming financial difficulties or the responsibilities of managing his estate of Tarzana.

     That he was under extreme stress is made evident by the appearance of John Carter who only appears to a stressed out Burroughs.   At such times Burroughs psychologically returns to the comfort and security of Mars where he is beyond the travails of earthly existence.  This in turn connects this story to the trials and tribs ERB was facing when he wrote Tarzan And The Lion Man.  As I hope to show there is more than one similarity to that story.

     This apprearance of Carter is interesting.  Carter appears after sunset while leaving just before sunrise.  ERB cannot be sure whether he was dreaming or the visit was real.  ERB has said that his stories came from his dreams and this story bears all the marks of being a dream story.

     ERB had the remarkable faculty of turning his problems into metaphors and symbols of his daily problems.  While I don’t believe the stories were concocted in REM type dreaming I’m sure tha as he lay dozing weighing his daily problems he was able to weave them into a creditable story that he was able to elaborate when awake.

     Plus, while we can’t be sure how much psychology he knew or how he understood it he had been aware of psychological concepts while still a boy.  He learned much of this at the knee of Lew Sweetser on the Idaho ranch.  One presumes he remembered, considered and developed his psychological ideas over the years.  Sweetser, even as ERB was writing the story was giving public lectures on psychology.  Chessmen is replete with psychological images not least the appearance of Carter himself.

     Whether Carter was quasi real to Burroughs or not he wants us to believe that Carter was real.  It is quite possible that Carter is not actually there but is merely a phantom of himself much as Helen of Troy was said to be a phantom in Rider Haggard’s The World’s Desire.  Just as Carter explains his appearance to the dreaming ERB,  Burroughs admits he was in a dreaming or trance state as he blew smoke at the head of his defeated king when Carter appears.  That’s quite an image.  His king or himself had been defeated on the chess board as perhaps in real life calling up the need for a visit from the omnipotent Carter.

     And now as to your natural question as to what brought me to Earth again and this, to earthly eyes, strange habiliment.  We may thank Kar Kormak, the bowman of Lothar.  It was he who gave me the idea upon which I have been experimenting until at last I have achieved success.  As you know I have long possessed the power to cross the void in spirit, but never before have I been able to impart to inanimate things a similar power.  Now, however, you see me for the first time precisely as my Martian fellows see me- you see the very short sword that has tasted the blood of many a savage foeman; the harness with the devices of Helium and the insignia of my rank; the pistol that was presented to me by Tars Tarkdus, Jeddak of Thark.

     Indeed.  And I do see what Burroughs suggests, one presumes that the reader sees in his own mind’s eye, the habiliment and weapons on which John Carter, the bronze giant, speaks.  We’ve been hypnotized into projecting into our own reality what isn’t there.

     Yes, Carter speaks of Kar Kormak as though he really existed when we, having read the novel Thuvia, Maid Of Mars, know that the fantastic Bowmen Of Lothar were mental projections without substance who hypnotized others into seeing them and making them believe that they were real.

     So what has Burroughs done here?  We know that he is very familiar with the principles of hypnosis.  At this very time many forms of mass hypnosis were being practised or about to be practiced.  Freud was publishing his mass hypnosis lessons; Fritz Lang had or was making the first of his incredible Dr. Mabuse movies- Mabuse, The Gambler, in which mass hypnotism figures so prominently while Hitler, himself a master hypnotist, was making his bid for power.

     Was Burroughs laughing up his sleeve at us as he knew we were actually visualizing in our own way what he suggested to us.  I don’t know whether he was laughing but I’m sure he was confident that he had succeeded.   So, having hypnotized us into believing the strange appearance of Carter who appears only in the same manner as the phantom bowmen of Lothar to Burroughs although as Carter says he has been successful in projecting the appearance of inanimate matter ERB then begins to weave his incredible story arranging the details so that all can be seen as reality to our minds having once accepted the appearance of Carter as reality who then narrates the story in his own voice.

     Another interesting detail is that Carter now addresses ERB as his son.  When ERB created Carter he was the man’s nephew his father being still alive.  Then as he finished The Warlord Of  Mars  his father died thus Carter’s son dominates Thuvia, the next Martian novel.   Now, while under stress, ERB’s father reappears to him to dictate this story to his son.

     Carter, then, must always have been ERB’s projection of his idea of the perfect father.

     Finally in this introduction I would like to note that both the city of Helium and the ruins of Opar were colored red and gold.  ERB’s Hudson automobile then, a bit of memorabilia of Baum, links the Emerand Cityof Oz and the red and gold cities of Helium and Opar.  Both cities are retreats under stress.  As we will see a key strain of Chessmen is ERB’s fond memories of Baum and the Oz series.  Indeed, Tarzana itself was a grander version of Baum’s own Ozcot while being at the same time an attempt to realize a terrestrial Opar and Helium.