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

And The Development Of Contemporary Sexual Attitudes


R.E. Prindle

Edgar Rice Burroughs And His Tiger

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

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

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


Bertie Wells

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Sex is the issue here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Moura Budberg Young

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

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

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

Moura Budberg Old

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Uncle Joe As FDR Would Say

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

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

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

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

Sex And The Psyche


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



A Contribution To The Erbzine Library Project

The Beau Ideal Trilogy Of

P.C. Wren

Beau Geste, Beau Sabreur, Beau Ideal

Review by R.E. Prindle

Part   I: Introduction

Part II: Review of Beau Geste

Part III: Review Of  Beau Sabreur

Part IV: Review Of Beau Ideal

P.C. Wren

  For hundreds of years after the expulsion of the Moors from Spain the Moslems raided the European c0asts of the Mediterranean abducting men, women and children as slaves while also preying on shipping.  The newly formed United States sought unsuccessfully to suppress this Moslem piracy.  ‘Millions for defense but not one penny for tribute.’  If you remember that one from school.

     Finally in 1830 France invaded, conquered and occupied what is now known as Algeria ending the Barbary Pirates.

     An army corps was formed and named the Legion Etrangere in French, French Foreign Legion in English to pacify Algeria.  Over the next hundred years the Legion was used for peaceful penetration into the Sahara and Sahel to form the French West African Empire.

     In an astonishing turn around the Moslem power evaporated while the French easily became the masters of the bulge of Africa.  The military superiority was to last until post-WWII when exhausted by two world wars accompanied by a moral collapse as the best and brightest died on the battlefields leaving nothing but singers and dancers to live off the fat of the land.  The French were militarily capable but morally bankrupt.  The Moslems reasserted themselves in the fifties forcing the French out of Algeria while beginning the invasion of France by peaceful penetration.  A neat reversal of fortunes.  Thus the conquest of Europe interrupted by the Spanish expulsion began again.

     Immediately after the French invasion of Algeria the deserts of Africa beame a playground of Europeans.  The lure of the desert held a strange appeal for them.  Perahaps devoid of romance in their homelands the desert with its now no longer dangerous but exotic inhabitants replaced the fairies and elves displaced by the scientific revolution.  The Euroamerican romance with ‘noble savages’ and ‘inferior races’ may very well be caused by the void created by the scientific revolution.  Euroamericans hoped to find or create those emotional or psychological needs lost in the advance of civilization.  This may explain to some extent the White worship of people of color whose ‘natural’ uninhibited behavior they profess to admire and imitate.  Witness the tatooing and body piercing in imitation of the Africans who themselves appear to have to given it up.

     The French having conquered Algeria had to establish an army corps dedicated to perpetual warfare.  That unit was the Legion Etrangere or French Foreign Legion.  The duty in the Sahara amid an enemy population was so execrable  that only men without hope, that is criminals and outcasts with no other options need have applied.

     In 1831 then, a year after the conquest and annexation of Algeria as an actual Department of France the French Foreign Legion was created by Louis Philippe the new Bourgeois King of France.

     The Legend of the Legion apparently grew very quickly.  the first legion novel is thought to be that of the English writer Ouida.  She published her novel Under Two Flags in the 1860s.  It was a great success ultimately being made into a movie.  Alongside the Legion novels were a number of novels that dealt with the desert in a very romantic way.

     The genre of novel could only have developed after the French conquest of Algeria after 1830 and  a little later with the pacification of the Moslems.  If not pacification at least intimidation.  Astonishingly the centuries intervening between Roman Africa and the conquest of Algeria vanished from the consciousness of Europeans.  In only a hundred years (well, a hundred twenty-five years) a brief interlude, Europeans were in turn expelled from North Africa with their tremendous superiority shattered and in ruins.  That brief century now appears like a fairy story without real substance.  A hundred years of struggle and dieing ant then- poof!  But the stories were great.

      Fans of Jules Verne have a very good story- The Barsac Mission- that undoubteldy was an influence of P.C. Wren.  The work has only been translated recently issued in two volumes as Into The Niger Bend and The City Of The Sahara by Americor.  Some consider the novel science fiction.

     The publishers are escapist types who have retreated to Mattituck N.Y.  at the most extreme end of Long Island.  Unfortunately, as with many of Verne’s books the Barsac has been bowlderized to reflect current Liberal tastes.  The translator I.O. Evans coyly expresses it this way:  I have also taken the liberty, found necessary by most of Verne’s other translators, of abbreviating or omitting a few passage of minor interest.  (cough, cough)

     Another wonderful Sahara novel written at the same time as the Barsac is Robert Hichens’ The Garden Of Allah.  Hichens was an influence on Burroughs.  The novel was very well known at least through my youth.  I knew people with whom Hichens’ reputation was very great although I imagine there are few who would recognize his name today.

     And then ERB himself devoted a number of pages to the romance of the desert.  In The Return Of Tarzan it will be remembered that Tarzan was despatched to Algeria as a French secret agent just along the lines of Wren’s De Beaujolais.  The Lad And The Lion is of course a complete Sahara novel that appears to have had an influence on Wren.   Korak the Killer of The Son Of Tarzan operated on the margins of the desert while the Sahara plays a frequent part in a lot of the Tarzan novels.

     There is no question that E.M. Hull’s The Sheik was a major influence on Wren as he actually parodies Mrs. Hull’s novel virutally by name.

     With Wren the myth of the Sahara and the Legion comes into full bloom.

     If one has read only Beau Geste one has read an amazingly good story but to understand Wren’s intent it is necessary to read Beau Geste, Beau Sabreur and Beau Ideal in sequence.  By the time Wren wrote, the handwriting was on the wall.  The Western will had already been sapped.  The beau ideals that had inspired Western men since the days of the Arthurian epics was fading from the Western consciousness being replaced by the effete homosexual ‘ideals’ of today.   The strength and confidence that allowed Western man to subjugate the world was becoming just a memory.  Wren in his way is either commemorating the ideals or seeking to reverse the decline.

     The three novels are concerned with the fortunes of two families, one English, the other American.  Wren has a wonderful feel for the difference between the English and the American characters, not to mention the French.  His command of American dialect and hobo slang is virtually alone worth reading the trilogy.

     The first volume, Beau Geste based on Wilkie Collins The Moonstone (a so-so read) concerns the early history of the Geste brothers, Beau, Digby and John and the story of Fort Zinderneuf away out there almost beyond a hobo’s imagination.

FFL 1939: Life Magazine


     The novel does introduce the two American hoboes, Hank and Buddy, serving in the Legion.   Wren kills off Michael and Digby Geste in this first novel putting the load on John.

     In the second novel of the trilogy, Beau Sabreur (The good sword or swordsman) John returns to Africa to try to locate Hank and Buddy who were lost in the drifting sands after saving his life.

     In this manner Wren introduces the American family of which Hank is a member.  Hank and his friend Buddy were the two men lost in the desert that John Geste is seeking.  Both men lying in the desert near death in different locations were rescued by the Bedouins.  As luck would have it  Hank managed to work his way up to Sheik acquiring Buddy as his vizier.  They introduce superior Western discipline and tactics into their tribe giving them dominance in the desert.  Hank then comes to the attention of the French as the new Mahdi.  De Beaujolais is sent to coopt the new Mahdi.  Through a series of adventures De Beaujolais meets and falls in love with Hank’s sister Mary who is traveling with her other brother Otis Vanbrugh.  They as well as Hank are fleeing from a brutish father.

     At stories end the whole cast Henri De Beaujolais who had wed Mary, Otis, Hank, Buddy, John Geste and his wife Isobel, who plays a large part, are back at the ranch in Texas facing the old brute of a father down while trying to free Hank’s other sister from thralldom to the old brute so she can marry Buddy and begin a life of her own.  Hold on, now, Wren must have been studying Burroughs because he’s got a number of twists up his sleeve, or perhaps, tricks.

     While Otis was in Algeria an Arab dancing girl had fallen in love with him who was apparently the queen of the desert.  Otis tried to escape her but in exchange for help in recovering John from the penal battalion of the FFL he promised to marry her.  Aw shucks, that’s right, you guessed it.  Nakhla was in reality his sister.  The old brute had fathered her on another dancing girl when he was out making deals in the desert.  So we have Nakhla, the same name as the heroine of Burroughs’ The Lad And The Lion, pretty much following the plot line of The Girl From Farris’s.  So maybe Wren should also be included in the Farmerian Wold Newton Universe.

     So that is the broad overview of the story line that holds the three volumes together.   Before I go on to the individula reviews there is one other problem I wrestle with  that I would like to to discuss and that is the
Western fascination with primitive life styles.

     For a convenient starting point we’ll use H. Rider Haggard, no, cancel that.  I’ll go back a little further to the French Wold Newton.  I’m reading the Paul Feval Black Coats series and they have some earlier antecedents.  Balzac, Dumas, Eugene Sue and Feval all deal with organized crime groups.  A Dumas title that I haven’t been able to get is titled The Mohicans Of Paris while Feval makes several reference to crime organizations  adopting a sort of  ‘red indian’ mentality.  What Dumas called Mohicans evolved into the Apaches of late nineteenth century Paris.  Anyone who watched TV in the fifties is familiar with French Apache dancing.

     Thus while the French were becoming fascinated with the North American Indians and their primitive mentality Haggard was celebrating the primitive African mentality.  And then along comes Ouida, Verne, Hichens, Burroughs, Hull and Wren celebrating the ‘free and wild’ life of the desert.

     As of the beginning of the nineteenth century, if not before, the Euroamericans evolved into the Scientific Consciousness leaving the rest of the world behind in the mythopoeic or Religious Consciousness.  However the transition from one consciousness to the other is not a clean break.  Haggard, for instance, never really made the transition while Burroughs did.  That may be why Burroughs reads as modern if a trifle old fashioned while Haggard is purely of an anterior psychology- good but just a little stodgy.

     Thus, as the White Man spread over the globe, the, what I shall I call it, White Man’s Burden, White Man’s novel appeared.  A whole genre of either stated or implied White superiority appeared of which Haggard and Burroughs are the most promient.  From these writers the genre went on to the Sheena, Queen Of The Jungle stuff to imitative White Jungle god stories.  Conrad sang the colonial era in lyric tones.  Kipling told of the Raj of India while inventing the White Man’s Burden which was very real.

     Ouida is usually credited with the first FFL novel, Under Two Flags, while Burroughs contributed The Return of Tarzan in which Tarzan goes to Algeria as a French secret agent although not as FFL.

     In 1924 P.C. Wren wrought the glamor of the French Foreign Legion with the first novel of his trilogy, Beau Geste, followed by Beau Sabreur and Beau Ideal.  These novels are also scientific demonstrating the superiority of Euroamerican intelligence over the mythopoeic mentality of the desert tribes.  Merely by introducing European military discipline into the tribe Hank and Buddy enable the tribe to defeat all others and dominate the desert.  This while Abd El Krim and the Riff dominated Western news instilling admiration for the  primitive desert tribes over Western Civilization.  I had a tearcher in high school who would get sexually aroused just talking about El Krim.

     Thus while the transition from mythopoeic and scientific thinking was not complete if even half evolved the West was presented with various mythopoeic cultures that drew them back from the transition to the Scientific Consciousness.  At present, then, the West has a split personality in which they admire the Negro and Arab mentality so much that they denigrate their own scientific side.  It doesn’t seem likely that Euroamericans in sufficient numbers will make the transition to Scientific Consciousness quickly enough to preserve Western civilization hence the present bizarre worship of primitive races in North America and Europe.  On the other hand the rest of the world seeks to imitate the West in matters that they cannot understand or sustain on their own.  If the West is in trouble imagine the actual psychological state of things in China and India.

     Now it is time to move on the first of the reviews- Beau Geste.


Edgar Rice Burroughs On Mars

A Review

Thuvia, Maid Of Mars

Part II


R.E. Prindle


     Apparently at this time in his life ERB’s mind was focused on hypnotism.  The raison d’ etre of the novel seems to be his explanation of hypnotism and some of its effects.  He certainly makes a fascinating story of the phenomenon.  In fact the whole story concerns hypnotism with a few embellishments to get Carthoris and Thuvia to Lothar and once he’d exhausted the possibilities of his hypnotic theme he ended the story and even then he ends on a wild hypnotic note.

     Thuvia was his fourth Mars novel and his first without John Carter.  The hero is Carthoris the son of John Carter and Dejah Thoris.  ERB’s father, George T. had died about a year previous to the writing.  This novel was written shortly after The Lad And The Lion.  As it includes a scene of psychological rebirth it may be a declaration of independence from his father, severing the relationship more denfinitely than did Lad. 

     On entering the land of the Lotharians Carthoris passes through a cave quite similar to the birth canal.  There are Banths, Martian lions, before and one huge one behind him.  Those before seem to vanish while the one large Banth remained behind him; that would be the memory of his father and the past.  Carthoris placed himself in a posture of defense in the dark but the charging Banth passed to his side missing him much as a ghost from the past might do.  Thus ERB seems to dispense with the Old Looney aboard ship in The Lad And The Lion who did represent ERB’s dad.

     Thuvia had been kidnapped by a disappointed suitor who had her taken to Aanthor, one of the innumerable dead cities lining the shores of the vanished seas.  There she was captured by the Green Men who fled through the cave to Lothar.  There Carthoris and Thuvia are delivered to the scene of the action by ERB.

     Carthoris then finds Thuvia in the possession of the Green Men who are waging a gigantic battle against the Phantom Bowmen of Lothar, themselves aided by large prides of both phantom and real Banths.

     Piles of Green Men killed by little arrows lie about amongst legions of Bowmen who have been cut down, and still they stream through the city gates.  Carthoris who has gotten to the side of Thuvia and she marvel at the carnage.  They turn to watch the defeated Green Men flee.  When they look back they are astonished to see that the dead Bowmen have all disappeared while the dead Green Men no longer have phantom arrows sticking in them.  The pair are at a loss for an explanation.  The Banths however were real and were now gorging themselves on the remains of the Greenies.

     As a nice touch ERB has Thuvia essentially hypnotize the Banths.  Rather than fear them as Carthoris does she merely makes a low melodic warbling sound that so charms the Banths that they come fawning before her.

     This may seem improbable or even impossible and yet I have seen it done but with house cats.  What can be done with one size cat I’m sure can be done with all sizes.  The effect was quite astonishing with the woman I saw do it but the result was exactly as ERB describes it.  Apparently he’d seen it done too.  ERB thus establishes the ability of Thuvia that will be even more important soon.

     Thus they gain access to the city of Lothar by passing through the Banths with safety.  As a nice touch ERB gives Lothar an exotic round gate that rolls back into a slot.  Perhaps he had seen a house with such a door somewhere.  Once inside they meet the Lotharian Jav who begins to unfold the story while unfolding the hypnotic power of the mind.

     If ERB had read H. Rider Haggard’s Cleopatra that deals quite extensively with hypnotism in a scenario somewhat similar to this one Haggard may have been another source for Thuvia.  Quite possibly ERB had ingested and digested his earlier reading so that he wasn’t aware of how close he was to the originals.  After all, anyone who could learn of Numa, the Roman King, from his Jr. High studies and think he had invented the name Numa for the king of beasts twenty years later, which he says is what happened, probably could think he was inventing his details himself.

     Many strange phenomena appear to the pair on their way to the palace of the despot who was named Tario.  They see marching files of Bowmen who appear and disappear.  But the Bowmen are not real they are a projection of the mind of Tario who has hypnotized the pair into seeing what isn’t there.

     While it is clear that ERB is quite familiar with Homer’s Odyssey it isn’t quite so clear what he knows of Homer’s Iliad or Greek mythology in general.  One hesitates to give him too much knowledge and yet elements from the Iliad and Greek mythology seem to materialize before one’s eyes like the Phantom Bowmen of Lothar.

     One can’t know whether ERB read the Iliad more than once and whether that once was in the seventh or eighth grade.  How much he understood of an early reading like that would be questionable.  I first read the Iliad in the seventh grade but got nothing but impressions of the action from it.  The gods, goddesses and humans were very confusing.   Lot of boy and girl stuff that was well beyond my experience.  I have read the book seven times in various translations since.  It was only in the fifth, sixth and seventh readings that I began to develop what I would consider any real understanding of Homer’s message.

     One of the things I understand is that the Iliad is a story about the power of mind and its limitations.  Zeus, of course had the mind of ultimate power that gave him the advantage over mortals and the other gods.  Tario in Thuvia has the most powerful mind in Lothar which keeps him in authority over the few permanent emanations in Lothar.  But, these are all figments of his or someone’s imagination.

     It seems that long generations before the women had all died out leaving only the men who over a period of time would also have died out but they survived by being able to imagine themselves.  Here we have a possible reference to Poe’s  The Facts In The Case Of M. Valdemar.  In that story Valdemar was a dying man who was first hypnotized and then expired.  Being under hypnosis while alive he could not actually die as he was hypnotized alive.  This is somewhat the condition of the Lotharians.

     Taking hypnosis a step further ERB posits that there are phantom ‘realists’ who believe they can wish themselves into a permanent corporeal existence of which Jav is one.  Opposed to them are the phantom ‘etherealists’ represented by Tario who believe they must remain imaginary.

     Getting back to Greek mythology in which we do know that ERB was read the ‘realists’ believe that they have to eat so they conjure up ‘ephemeral fruits’ on which to gorge themselves.

      Ephemeral fruits make their appearance in the myth of Typhon and Zeus.  So there is a possibility that Jav and Tario is a version of that myth.  Hera in her squabbles for supremacy with Zeus conjures up the monster Typhon to take on Zeus.  Typhon makes mincemeat of Zeus removing his sinews and bones and placing them in a leather bag in a cave in Caria.   Sad plight for the Big Fella with the all powerful mind and no sinews.  Worse yet, as a god he is immortal so there he and his all powerful mind are in his sack perhaps for all eternity.

     While Apollo and Hermes come to the Big Guy’s aid by putting the dry bones back together and reattaching the sinews the nymphs feed Typhon ‘ephemeral fruit’ that looks like the real thing but lacks nourishment.  Thus when Zeus is reassembled and ready for action he faces an enfeebled Typhon who this time he easily defeats.  Great story when you think about it.  So there you have two stories reflected that ERB may or may not have read  but having read them probably didn’t consciously remember them as he was writing.  I can’t guarantee ERB read those stories but I can state with assurance that ERB just didn’t make this stuff up.  He never does; it all has been suggested  from someplace.  It is not impossible that he heard similar stuff from Baum and the Theosophists in California.  ERB does have a retentive memory that provides him with a lot of material.

     Thuvia and its successor Martian novel- The Chessmen Of Mars- are an examination of mind and matter.  The later Mastermind of Mars and the Synthetic Men Of Mars are examinations of the application of mind to matter.  In the Chessmen the mind and body were separate entities.  It will be remembered that the Kaldanes were also skilled hypnotists.

     Here ERB is interested in a projected reality, in itself a form on insanity in an unbalanced mind.  PP 66-67, Ace paperback:

     Jav speaking: “(The Banths) that remained about the field were real.  Those we loosed as scavengers to devour the bodies of the dead Torquasians.  This thing is demanded by the realists among us.  I am a realist.  Tario is an etherealist.

     “The etherealists maintain there is no such thing as matter- that all is mind.  They say that none of us exists, except in the imagination of his fellows, other than as an intangible, invisible mentality.

     “According to Tario, it is but necessary that we all unite in imagining that there are no dead Torquasians beneath our walls, and there will be none, nor any need for the fierce scavenging banths.”

     ‘You, then do not hold to Tario’s beliefs?”  asked Carthoris.

     “In part only,” replied the Lotharian.  “I believe, in fact I know, that there are some truly ethereal creatures.  Tario is one, I am convinced.  He has no existence except in the imaginations of his people.

     “Of course, it is the contention of all us realists that all etherealists are but figments of the imagination.  They contend that no food is necessary nor do they eat, but anyone of the most rudimentary intelligence must realize that food is a necessity to creatures having actual existence.”

     “Yes,” agreed Carthoris,  “not having eaten today I can readily agree with you.”

     “Ah, pardon me,”  exclaimed Jav.  “Pray be seated and satisfy your hunger,” and with a wave of his hand he indicated a beautifully laden table that had not been there an instant before he spoke….”It is well,”  continued Jav, “that you did not fall into the hands of an etherealist, then indeed, you would have gone hungry.”

     An interesting passage laden with humor and a joke or two.  On the one hand this is a takeoff on Bishop Berkeley and those who believe that nothing is real but only a figment of our imaginations.  They do believe that when you close your eyes the world ceases to exist.  I could never follow the argument, and on the other hand the ideas can be construed as a variation on the Theosophical belief that the gods were first ethereal becoming more materialistic as existence descended to man who is most material.  Thus Tario is visible air, as it were, as an ethereality while Jav is condensed into, as he believes, permanent air/matter while Carthoris and Thuria are solid matter as humans.

     The food Jav produces is ephemeral food.  It looks real but having no real substance has no nourishment.  As he smirkingly says:  It is well that you did not fall into the hands of an etherealist.  Then, indeed, you would have gone hungry.”  A funny joke.  But Jav has hypnotized the pair into seeing the food even though Carthoris is not so hypnotized as to not realize it is not real food.  He eats it anyway.

     Once in this land where nothing is real but the Banths, one wonders that we don’t have a situation that was replicated later in the movie The Manchurian Candidate.   In that movie the hypnotized soldiers imagine they are at a ladies social and actually see American women where Korean people are.

     Perhaps Carthoris and Thuvia are standing in an empty field talking to themselves.  Perhaps the Lotharians exist only in their own imaginations but have conjured Carthoris and Thuvia out of thin air.  Pretty spacy stuff.

     As Carthoris is hypnotized he is easily persuaded to do things he wouldn’t ordinarily do such as letting Thuvia be led away alone to Tario.  He does and Thuvia meets Tario alone mystyfied that Carthoris would let her out of his sight.    Seeing Thuvia the etherealist’s phantom cojones  are aroused and he makes an all out assault on Thuvia.  As he doesn’t exist, of course, the assault can only have force in Thuvia’s imagination.  Just as those little arrows the Torquasians believed were real killed them one wonders what effect a phantom penetration  would have on Thuvia.  Would she have a little phantom child after a phantom pregnancy?

     We’ll never know because she pulls out her thin blade stabbing Tario to his phantom heart.  He falls apparently dead seemingly oozing out his lifeblood.  But, as we know he is an etherealist hence only a figure of someone’s imagination we know he must be feigning death with phantom blood.

     Hearing Thuvia’s screams Carthoris races to the rescue followed by Jav.  Jav, who should have known better, is overjoyed confessing his desire to replace Tario.  It was almost like a plan.  Tario leaps up explaining he always thought Jav did and now he is going to execute him.

     Here ERB evades the issue taking a cheap but effective way out.  These two guys are actually magicians and should be made to match powers in efforts to do the other in.  ERB isn’t up to it so he has Jav cave just awaiting his fate that he could always evade with his hypnotic powers.  Now, we’ve all been advised not to trust our senses so whether any of this happened is open to question.  Nevertheless a hole opens in the floor, the floor dishes so that all falls into the memory hole.  The three are ostensibly history.

     They are precipitated into the chamber of the Lotharian god.  One might expect this god to be pure essence but instead he is pure matter.  As so often is the case a Burroughsian god turns out to be a lion or the Martian Banth.  Why Jav should be concerned isn’t clear as he has no real substance and can’t be eaten while with his hypnotic powers he could make the Banth believe it was a mouse.

     Carthoris draws his sword but this one’s a piece of cake for Thuvia.  Using her own particular hypnotic talents she charms the Banthian god and all four walk out through the Banth’s quarters as chums. 

     At this point Jav calls into existence old Lothar for us all to see. 

     Outside the gates of Lothar Jav conceives a desire for Thuvia.  Using considerable hypnotic talent he persuades Carthoris that he and Thuvia are heading for the woods.  Carthoris walks off alone convinced he is leading Thuvia by the hand.   He is soon disillusioned.  Returning he finds the realist Jav really mauled by the Banth and dying.  Thuvia and the Banth have headed back to Aanthor.  Carthoris has no choice but to follow.


     Now, what’s been going in addition to this hypnosis stuff is ERB’s ongoing attempt to reconcile his Anima and Animus.  He has followed the usual Pyche and Eros storyline of Apuleius’ Golden Ass of Greek mythology.  The Anima and Animus get together, circumstances separate them, then during the rest of the novel they try to get together amid difficulties, finally succeeding.

     In Lad And The Lion ERB introduced the lion as his totem.  Even though a male lion it is associated with his  female Anima.  At the risk of repeating myself, just in case anybody has been reading this stuff for the last four or five years the cause and evolution of his dilemma progress thusly:

     In 1883 or 1884 ERB was terroized on a street corner by a young thug he identifies only as John.  Possibly Emma was with him and kept walking abandoning him to his fate.   Thus it was suggested to his subconscious that his Anima had abandoned him.  John being the terrorist filled the vacancy.  Thus ERB had the seemingly impossible anomaly of a male representing his female Anima.

     We know this was the result because ERB writes incessantly about it.  In the Outlaw of Torn the king’s fencing master, De Vac lures young Prince Norman/Burroughs outside the gate.  Norman’s nurse Maud representing his Anima noticing too late rushes to the scene to be struck down dead by De Vac.  Thus ERB’s Anima is murdered.  How does ERB handle this?  In his dream image ERB has De Vac take Norman to London where they live in the attic of a house over the Thames River.  The house is a symbol for self, the attic being the mind.  Water is a symbol of the female.  The house extending out over the water but separated from it indicated the separation from the Anima.  To compensate for the impossible situation of a male on the Anima, De Vac improbably dresses as a woman for the three years they live together in their attic.  At the end of the novel Norman/Burroughs kills De Vac.

     In the succeeding novel The Mucker he associates himself with the Irish thug Billy Byrne.  Byrne being paired up with the socialite Barbara Harding  is also an impossible match.  It would seem probable that ERB’s father and John were two of the components clothing ERB’s Animus.  Thus ERB has this very strong feeling about having a dual personality that he talks about constantly.

     In Lad And The Lion we have the improbable situation of a powerless ship, representing the self,  drifting up and down the Atlantic endlessly, manned by the deaf and dumb Old Looney, the Lad, and a Lion in a cage on deck.  That the Old Looney who represents ERB’s father was deaf and dumb probably indicates he wouldn’t listen to ERB and had nothing to say that the Lad/ERB wanted to hear.  So, the Lad was brutally abused the whole of his childhood.  That’s how ERB saw the Bad Father.  It would seem that John Carter represents the Good Father as ERB would have liked him to have been.

     With De Vac and John dead the Lion begins to take his place as the male aspect of ERB’s Anima which has now been reoccupied by a female reprsentative.   The male lion becomes a permanent aspect of the Anima in 1922s Tarzan And The Golden Lion as Jad-Bal-Ja.  In Lad he and the Lion go ashore after the death of the Old Looney, or, in other words, his father, where the lion is loosely associated with the Arab princess Nakhla.  Lad was written a short two months before Thuvia.

     Now Thuvia wows Carthoris/ERB by charming the raging Banths/lions of the battlefield and the Lotharian God.  Thuvia and the god become as one as she walks by his side her fingers twisted in his mane.  So the traditional goddess of the male Anima is united with a male god to form ERB’s Anima.  The female Anima who moved closer to reassuming her place in Lad now definitely becomes part of ERB’s psyche.

     They pass through the tunnel before Carthoris.  As ERB exits the tunnel he encounters his doppelganger Kar Komak.  This is great stuff actually.  Komak is literally a new man.  He was the first successful materialization of an hypnotic imaginary man of the Lotharians.  That’s likely enough, isn’t it?

     He comes running through the scarlet furze, naked, to greet Carthoris.  Well, picture that.  Nakedness is something else appearing regularly in ERB”s works most notably in Tarzan And The City Of Gold.  (See my review.)

     The duo then continue on to Aanthor where as they arrive they are met by Torquasians who upset the plans of the men of Dusar who had come back to pick up Thuvia.  We know that Carthoris for sure represents ERB because he takes a sword swipe to the forehead that lays him out.  Thus the novel has the obligatory bash to the head recalling ERB’s adventure in Toronto.

     When the sleeper wakes he finds the dead carcass of Thuvia’s lion lying half across his body.  Probably his left half that derives from the ovum.  Must have been uncomfortable to say the least.  Thus the male half of his Anima is now dead and the female half in possession of the Dusarians.  ERB gets her back and as in Psyche and Eros the Anima and Animus we may assume are permanently reunited.

     Not quite but that will take us too far afield to discuss it this moment.  I deal with the future development of the problem in my reviews of Out There Somewhere (The Return Of The Mucker), Bridge And The Oskaloosa Kid (The Oakdale Affair) and Marcia Of The Doorstep.

     A Part 3 will follow that attempts to deal with the bigotry charges against Burroughs.  If there is such a thing as guilt concerning the issue, ERB is not guilty, of course.



If Pigs Had Wings

Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Three Trips West


R.E. Prindle

Edgar Rice Burroughs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     Still, a very strange interlude.

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


A Review

The Low Brow And The High Brow

An In Depth Study Of Edgar Rice Burroughs’

The Mucker And Marcia Of The Doortstep


R.E. Prindle

Part II

Background Of The Second Decade- Personal


     Erwin Porges’ ground breaking biography Edgar Rice Burroughs: The Man Who Invented Tarzan is the basic source for the course of ERB’s life.  John Taliaferro’s Tarzan Forever is heavily indebted to Porges adding little new.  Robert Fenton’s excellent The Big Swinger is a brilliant extrapolation of Burroughs’ life taken from the evidence of the Tarzan series.

     Porges, the first to pore though the unorganized Tarzana archives, is limited by the inadequacies of his method and his deference for his subject.  His is an ideal Burroughs rather than a flesh and blood one.  Matt Cohen’s Brother Men: The Correspondene Of Edgar Rice Burroughs and Herbert T. Weston has provided much fresh material concerning ERB’s character.

     Bearing in mind always that Weston’s evaluation of Burroughs in his August 1934 letter in reply to Charles Rosenberg, whoever he was, about ERB’s divorce is one man’s opinion nevertheless his statements can be corroborated by ERB’s behavior over this decade as well as throughout his life.  My intent is not to diminish ERB in any way.  Nothing can take away the fact that Burroughs created Tarezan, but like anyone else he was subjected to glacial pressures that distorted and metamorphosed his character.

     During the Second Decade as he experienced a realization of who he was, or who he had always thought he should be, or in other words as he evolved back from a pauper to a prince, he was subjected to excruciatingly difficult changes.

     A key to his character in this period is his relationship to his marriage.  It seems clear that he probably would never have married, stringing Emma along until she entered spinsterhood while never marrying her.  He seemingly married her to keep her away from Frank Martin.  As he later said of Tarzan, the ape man should never have married.

     Rosenberg in his letter to Weston (p.234, Brother Men) said that ‘…Ed says he has always wanted to get rid of Emma….’  The evidence seems to indicate this.  After ERB lost Emma’s confidence in Idaho, gambling away the couple’s only financial resources, his marriage must have become extremely abhorrent to him.  I’m sure that after the humiliations of Salt Lake City this marriage had ended for him in his mind.  That it was his own fault changes nothing.  He may simply have transferred his self-loathing to Emma.

     That Emma loved and stood by Burroughs is evident.  that he was unable to regain her confidence is clear from his writing.  The final Tarzan novels of the decade in one of which, Tarzan The Untamed, Burroughs burns Jane into a charred mess identifiable only by her jewelry show a developing breach.  Probably the jewelry was that which ERB hocked as the first decade of the century turned.  Now, this is a fairly violent reaction.

     ERB states that he walked out on Emma several times over the years.  In Fenton’s extrapolation of Burroughs’ life from his Tarzan novels this period was undoubtedly one of those times.  There seems to have been a reconciliation attempt between Tarzan and Jane between Tarzan The Untamed and Tarzan The Terrible.  Then between Tarzan And The Golden Lion and Tarzan And The Ant Men ERB’s attempt to regain Emma’s confidence seems to have failed as Jane chooses the clown Tarzan- Esteban Miranda-, one of my favorite characters- over the heroic Tarzan -ERB – in Tarzan And The Ant Men.

     This undoubtedly began ERB’s search for a Flapper wife which took form in the person of Florence Gilbert beginning in 1927.


     Weston says of ERB in his disappointment and rage over ERB’s divorce of Emma that ‘…the fact that Ed always has been unusual, erratic and perhaps queer, has been his great charm and attraction for me…’ (p.223, Brother Men)   There’s a remote possibility that ‘queer’ may mean homosexual but I suppose he means ‘odd’ or imcomprehensible in his actions.  The evidence for this aspect of ERB’s character is overwhelming while being well evidenced by his strange, spectacular and wonderful antics during the second decade.  When Weston says of him that ‘…there is no woman on earth that would have lived with him, and put up with him, except Emma…’ there is plenty of reason to accept Weston’s opinion.

     Part of ERB’s glacial overburden came from his father, George T. who died on February 13, 1913.  Burroughs always professed great love for his father, celebrating his birthday every year of his life, although one wonders why.

     Apparently George T. broadcast to the world that he thought ERB was ‘no good.’  His opinion could have been no secret to Burroughs.  Weston who says that he always maintained cordial relations with George T., still thought him a difficult man, always dropping  in to visit him on trips through Chicago said that George T. complained to him, ERB’s best friend, that his son was no good. While without disagreeing with George T. up to that point, Weston said that he thought there was plenty of good in ERB but that he just hadn’t shown it yet.  Kind of a back handed compliment, reminds me of Clarence Darrow’s defense of Big Bill Haywood:  Yeah, he did it, but who wouldn’t?’

     Such an opinion held by one’s father is sure to have a scarring effect on one’s character.  How exactly the effect of this scarring worked itself out during this decade isn’t clear to me.  Perhaps Burroughs’ mid year flight to California shortly after his father’s death was ERB’s attempt to escape his father’s influence.  Perhaps his 1916 flight was the same while his move to California in 1919 was the culmination of his distancing himself from his father.  That is mere conjecture at this point.

     Now, what appears erratic from outside follows an inner logic in the subject’s mind unifying his actions.  What’s important to the subject is not what obsevers think should be important.


     The scholars of the Burroughs Bulletin, ERBzine and ERBList have also added much with additional niggardly releases of material by Danton Burroughs at the Tarzana archives.  One of the more valuable additions to our knowledge has been Bill Hillman’s monumental compilation of the books in ERB’s library.

     Let’s take a look at the library.  It was important to ERB; a key to his identity.  Books do furnish a mind, as has been said, so in that light in examining his library we examine the furnishing  of his mind.  The shelves formed an important backdrop to his office with his desk squarely in front of the shelves.  ERB is seated proudly at the desk with his books behind him.

     How much of the library survived and how much was lost isn’t known at this time.  Hillman lists over a thousand titles.  Not that many, really.  The library seems to be a working library.  There are no the long rows of matching sets by standard authors.  The evidence is that Burroughs actually read each and every one of these books.  They found their way into the pages of his books in one fictionalized form or another.  Oddly authors who we know influenced him greatly like London, Wells, Haggard and Doyle are not represented.

     Most of the works of these authors were released before 1911 when Burroughs was short of the ready.  Unless those books were lost he never filled in his favorites of those years.  That strikes me as a little odd.

     It is generally assumed that he picked up his Martian information from Lowell, yet in Skelton Men Of Jupiter he says:  ‘…I believed with Flammarion that Mars was habitable and inhabited; then a newer and more reputable school of scientists convinced me it was neither….’  The statement shows that Camille Flammarion’s nineteenth century book was the basis for Burroughs’ vision of Mars while Lowell was not.  Further having committed himself to Flammarion’s vision he was compelled to stick to it after he had been convinced otherwise.  When that understanding was obtained by him we don’t know but at sometime he realized that the early Martian stories were based on a false premiss.

     Thus, his Mars became a true fiction when his restless, searching mind was compelled by judicious reasoning of new material to alter his opinion.  That he could change his mind so late in life is an important fact.  It means that behind his fantasy was a knowledge of solid current fact.  The results of his pen came from a superior mind.  It was not the maundering of an illiterate but amusing boob.

     Organizing the books of his library into a coherent pattern is difficult.  I haven’t and I Imagine few if any have read all his list.  Based on my preliminary examination certain patterns can be found.  He appeared to follow the Chicago novel by whomever, Edna Ferber’s So Big is a case in point.  Seemingly unrelated titles can be grouped aorund certain Burroughs’ titles as infuences.

     In 1924 when Marcia Of The Doorstep was written ERB had already formed his intention of leaving, or getting rid, of Emma.  He began a fascination with Flappers that would result in his liaison with Florence.

     After the move to Hollywood in 1919 a number of sex and Flapper potboilers find their way into his library.  The tenor of literature changed greatly after the War showing a sexual explicitness that was not there prior to the Big Event.  To be sure the graphic descriptions of the sex act current in contemporary literature was not permissible but the yearning to do so was certainly there.  Language was retrained but ‘damn’ began to replace ‘d–n’ and a daring goddamn became less a rarity.

     Perhaps the vanguard of the change came in 1919 when an event of great literary and cultural import took place.  Bernarr Macfadden whose health and fitness regimes had very likely  influenced Burroughs during the first couple decades decided to publish a magazine called “True Story.”  The magazine was the forerunner of the Romance pulp genre while certainly being in the van of what would become the Romance genre of current literature.

     The advance was definitely low brow, not to say vulgar, indicating the direction of subsequent societal development including the lifting of pornographic censorship.  Pornography followed from “True Store” as night follows day.

     The magazine coincided with the emergence of the Flapper as the feminine ideal of the twenties.  In literature this was abetted by the emergence in literary fiction of F. Scott Fitzgerald.  His Beautiful And Damned is a key volume in Burroughs’ library forming an essential part of Marcia.  To my taste Fitzgerald is little more than a high quality pulp writer like Burroughs.  I can’t see the fuss about him.  He riminds me of Charles Jackson’s The Lost Weekend and vice versa.  In fact, I think Jackson mined the Beautiful And  Damned.  Plagiarize would be too strong a word.

     “True Story” caught on like a flash.  By 1923 the magazine was selling 300,000 copies an issue; by 1926, 2,000,000.  Low brow was on the way in.  Vulgarity wouldn’t be too strong a word.  Macfadden had added titles such as “True Romances” and “Dream World” to his stable.  His magazine sales pushed him far ahead of the previous leader, Hearst Publications, and other publishers.  Pulpdom had arrived in a big way.

     Where Macfadden rushed in others were sure to follow.  The sex thriller, the stories of willful and wayward women, which weren’t possible before, became a staple of the twenties in both books and movies.

     ERB’s own The Girl From Hollywood  published in magazine form in 1922, book form in 1923, might be considered his attempt at entering the genre.  Perhaps if he had thrown in a few Flapper references and changed the appearance and character of his female leads he mgiht have created a seamless transition from the nineteenth century to the twenties.  A few Flapper terms might have boomed his ales much as when Carl Perkins subsititued ‘Go, cat, go’ for go, man, go’ in his Blue Suede Shoes and made sonversts of all us fifties types.

     Certainly ERB’s library shows a decided interest in the genre from 1920 to 1930.  Whether the interest was purely professional, an attempt to keep up with times, or personal in the sense of his unhappiness in his marriage may be open to question.  I would have to reread his production of these years with the New Woman in mind to seek a balance.

     Still, during the period that led up to his affair with Forence ERB seems to have been an avid reader of Flapper and New Woman novels.

     He had a number of novels by Elinor Glyn who was the model of the early sex romance.  He had a copy of E.M. Hull’s The Sheik, that shortly became the movie starring Rudolph Valentine with its passionate sex scenes.  A ‘Sheik’ became the male synonym for Elinor Glyn’s ‘It’ girl.

     Of course, the influence of Warner Fabian’s Flaming youth of 1923, both book and movie, on ERB is quite obvious.

      Just prior to this relationship with Florence he read a number of novels by Beatrice Burton with such sexy titles as The Flapper wife-The Story Of A Jazz Bride, Footloose, Her Man, Love Bound  and Easy published from 1925 to 1930.

     I would like to concentrate on Burton’s novels for a couple reasons; not least because of the number of her novels in ERB’s library but that when Burroughs sought publication for his low brow Tarzan in 1913-14 he was coldly rebuffed even after the success of his newspaper serializations.  The disdain of the entire publishing industry was undoubtedly because Burroughs was the pioneer of a new form of literature.  In its way the publication of Tarzan was the prototype on which Macfadden could base “True Story.”  Not that he might not have done it anyway but the trail was already trampled down for him.  In 1914 Burroughs violated all the canons of ‘polite’ or high brow literature.

     A.L. Burt accepted Tarzan Of The Apes for mass market publication reluctantly and only after guarantees for indemnification against loss.  Now at the time of Beatrice Burton’s low brow Romance genre novels, which were previously serialized in newspapers, Grosset and Dunlap sought out Burton’s stories publishing them in cheap editions without having been first published as full priced books much like Gold Seal in the fifties would publish paperback ‘originals’ which had never been in hard cover.  Writers like Burton benefited from the pioneering efforts of Burroughs.  G& D wasn’t going to be left behind again.  Apparently by the mid-twenties profits were more important than cultural correctness.

     As ERB had several Burton volumes in his library it might not hurt to give a thumbnail of who she was.  needless to say I had never read or even heard of her before getting interested in Burroughs and his Flapper fixation.  One must also believe that Elinor Glyn volumes in ERB’s library dating as early as 1902 were purchased in the twenites as I can’t believe ERB was reading this soft sort of thing as a young man.  Turns out that our Man’s acumen was as usual sharp.  Not that Burton’s novels are literary masterpieces but she has a following amongst those interested in the Romance genre.  The novels have a crude literary vigor which are extremely focused and to the point.  This is no frills story telling.  The woman could pop them out at the rate or two or three a year too.

     Her books are apparently sought after; fine firsts with dust jackets go for a hundred dollars or more.  While that isn’t particularly high it is more than the casual reader wants to pay.  Might be a good investment though.  The copies I bought ran from fifteen to twenty dollars, which is high for what is usually filed in the nostalgia section.  Love Bound was forty dollars.  I bought the last but it was more than I wanted to pay just for research purposes.

     There is little biographical information about Burton available.  I have been able to piece together that she was born in 1894.  No death date has been recorded as of postings to the internet so she must have been alive at the last posting which woud have made her a hundred at least.

     She is also known as Beatrice Burton Morgan.  She was an actress who signed a contract with David Belasco in 1909 which would have made her fifteen or sixteen.  Her stage name may have been Beatrice Morgan.  The New York Public Library has several contracts c. 1919 in her papers.

     One conjectures that her stage and film career was going nowhere.  In The Flapper Wife she disparages Ziegfeld as Ginfeld the producer of the famous follies.

     Casting about for alternatives in the arts she very likely noticed the opening in sex novels created by Macfadden and the Roaring Twenties.  The Flapper Wife seems to have been her first novel in 1925.  The book may possibly have been in response to Warner Fabian/Samuel Hopkins Adams’ Flaming Youth.

     As the motto for his book he had “those who know, don’t tell, those who tell, don’t know.’  The motto refers to the true state of mind of women.  Burton seems to have taken up the challenge- knows all and tells all.  Flapper Wife was an immediate popular success when taken from the newspapers by G&D.  Critics don’t sign checks so while their opinion is noted it is irrelevant.

     Burton apparently hit it big as the movies came afer her, Flapper Wife was made into a movie in 1925 entitled His Jazz Bride.  Burton now had a place in Hollywood.  Burroughs undoubtedly also saw the movie.  What success Burton’s later life held awaits further research.  As there is no record of her death on the internet it is safe to assume that when her copyrights were renewed in the fifties it was by herself.

     There are a number of titles in the library having to do with the Flapper.  The library, then gives a sense of direction to ERB’s mental changes.  There are, of course, the Indian and Western volumes that prepared his way for novels in those genres.  As always his off the top of his head style is backed by sound scholarship.

     The uses of the various travel volumes, African and Southeast Asian titles are self-evident.  I have already reviewed certain titles as they applied to Burroughs’ work; this essay involves more titles and I hope to relate other titles in the future.  So the library can be a guide to Burroughs’ inner changes as he develops and matures over the years.

     The amont of material available to interpret ERB’s life has expanded greatly since Porges’ groundbreaking biography.  Much more work remains to be done.

     The second decade is especially important for ERB’s mental changes as his first couple dozen stories were written beginnng in 1911.  Moreso than most writers, and perhaps more obviously Burroughs work was autobiographical in method.  As he put it in 1931’s Tarzan, The Invincible, he ‘highly fictionalized’ his details.  For instance, the Great War exercised him greatly.  From 1914 to the end of the War five published novels incorporate war details into the narrative:  Mad King II, Beyond Thirty, Land That Time Forgot, Tarzan The Untamed, and Tarzan The Terrible as well as unpublished works like The Little Door.  Yet I don’t think the extent that the War troubled him is recognized.  The man was a serious political writer.

     Thus between the known facts and his stories a fairly coherent life of Burroughs can be written.  My essays here on the ERBzine can be arranged in chronological order to give a rough idea of what my finished biography will be like.

     Burroughs was a complex man with a couple fixed ideas.  One was his desire to be a successful businessman.  This fixed obsession almost ruined him.  He was essentially a self-obsessed artist and as such had no business skills although he squandered untold amounts of time and energy which might better have been applied to his art than in attempts to be a business success.

     In many ways he was trying to justify his failure to be a business success by the time he was thirty rather than making the change to his new status as an artist.

     As a successful artist he was presented with challenges that had nothing to do with his former life.  These were all new challenges for which he had no experience to guide him while he was too impetuous to nsit down and thnk them out properly.  Not all that many in his situation do.  Between magazine sales, book publishing and the movies he really should have had a business manager as an intermdiary.  Perhaps Emma might have been able to function in that capacity much as H.G. Well’s wife jane did for him.  At any rate book and movie negotiations diverted time and energy from his true purpose of writing.

     His attempt to single handedly  run a five hundred plus acre farm and ranch while writing after leaving Chicago ended in a dismal failure.  Even his later investments in an airplane engine and airport ended in a complete disaster.  Thank god he didn’t get caught up in stock speculations of the twenties.  As a businessman he was doomed to failure; he never became successful.  It if hadn’t been for the movie adaptations of Tarzan he would have died flat broke.

     Still his need was such that he apparently thought of his writing as a business even going so far as to rent office space and, at least in 1918, according to a letter to Weston, keeping hours from 9:00 to 5:30.  Strikes me as strange.  Damned if I would.

     At the end of the decade he informed Weston that he intended to move to Los Angeles, abandon writing and, if he was serious, go into the commercial raising of swine.  The incredulousness of Weston’s reply as he answered ERB’s questions on hog feed comes through the correspondence.

     Think about it.  Can one take such flakiness on ERB’s part seriously?  Did he really think his income as a novice pig raiser would equal his success as a writer with an intellectual property like Tarzan?  Weston certainly took him seriously and I think we must also.  There was the element of the airhead about him.

     A second major problem was his attitude toward his marriage and his relationship with Emma.

     He appears to have been dissatisfied with both at the beginning and decade and ready to leave both at the end.  According to the key letter of Weston ERB was an extremely difficult husbnad with whom Emma had to be patient.  As Weston put it, no other woman would have put up with his antics.  Unfortunately he doesn’t give details of those antics but the indications are that Emma was a long suffering wife.

     ERB’s resentment of her apparently became an abiding hatred.  Danton Burroughs released information about ERB’s third great romance with a woman named Dorothy Dahlberg during the war years of WWII through Robert Barrett the BB staff writer in issue #64.

     After having been estranged from her husband for about a decade Emma died on 11-05-44, probably of a broken heart.  ERB returned to Los Angeles from Hawaii to dispose of her effects.  Arriving on 11/19/44 after visiting his daughter he met with Ralph Rothmund in Tarzana where he proceeded to get soused, apparently in celebration of Emma’s death.

     To quote Barrett, p. 25, Burroughs Bulletin #64.

     After Ed met with Ralph Rothmund, he opened a case of Scotch and took out a bottle after which he drove to Emma’s home in Bel-Air- where he and Jack “sampled” the Scotch a couple times.”  From Bel-Air Jack drove Ed to the Oldknows, some friends also in Bel-Air, where they continued to sample the Scotch.  After this visit Ed and Jack returned to Emma’s home at 10452 Bellagio Road, where Jack brought out a nearly full bottle of bourbon.  Jack asked the maids to postpone dinner for 30 minutes, while they waited for Joan and Joan II.  This evidently irritated the two maids as they both quit  and walked out on them!  Ed reported in his diary that after the two maids walked out, ‘we had a lovely dinner and a grand time.”

     That sort of strikes me as dancing on the grave of Emma which indicates a deep hatred for her on the part of ERB.  We are all familiar with the storyof ERB’s pouring the liquor in the swimming pool humiliating Emma in front of guests which she stood so Weston must have known what he was talking about.

     There is a certain hypocrisy in Burroughs now getting blotto in celebration of Emma’s death.  Between the two of them in the space of a couple hours ERB and his son, John Coleman, finished a fifth of Scotch and went ripping through a bottle of bourbon.  I don’t know how rough and tough you are but that would put me under the pool table.

     In this inebriated and hostile state they apparently had words with what I assume to have been Emma’s long time maids.  Maids don’t walk out because you ask them to hold dinner for a few minutes.  Being a maid is a job; they don’t respond that way to reasonable requests.  So in his drunken state ERB must have been offensive about Emma or the maids causing their reaction.

     Thus sitting totally soused  in the ‘alcoholic’ Emma’s home they ‘had a lovely dinner and a grand time.’  The woman was both good to him and good for him but it isn’t incumbent on any man to see his best interests.  There was a crtain dignity lacking in ERB’s behavior at this good woman’s death, not to mention the hypocrisy of getting thoroughly jazzed.


      The decade also witnesses the unfolding of ERB’s psyche from the repressed state of 1910 to an expanded and partially liberated state at the end of the decade when he fled Chicago.  Pyschologically ERB was always a dependent personality.  He let his editors both magazine and book bully him and take advantage of his good will.  He also needed a strong role model which is one reason his literary role models are so obvious.

     From 1911 to 1916 he seemed to lean on Jack London as his role model.  The problem with London is that we can’t be sure which of his books ERB read as he had none of his books in his library.  It seems certain that he read London’s early Gold Rush books.  ERB’s hobo information is probably based on London’s The Road and then he may possibly have read The Abyssmal Brute which is concerned with the results of the Jack Johnson-Jim Jeffries fight and a preliminary to The Valley Of The Moon. 

     It is difficult to understand how Burroughs could have read much during this decade what with his writing schedule and hectic  life style.  Yet we know for a fact that between 1913-15 he found time to read Edward Gibbon’s massive The Decline And Fall Of The Roman Empire.

     At the same time additions to his library from this decade are rather sparse, the bulk of the library seems to have been purchased from 1920 on.  Still, if one assumes that he read all the books of London including 1913’s Valley Of The Moon, then it is possible that his cross=country drive of 1916 may have been partially inspired by Billy and Saxon Roberts’ walking tour of Northern California and Southern Oregon in that book as well as on ERB’s hobo fixation.  Certainly London must have been his main influence along with H.H. Knibbs and Robert W. Service.  He may have wished to emulate London by owning a large ranch.

     I suspect he meant to call on London in Sonoma during his 1916 stay in California but London died in the fall of that year which prevented the possible meeting.  With the loss of London Burroughs had to find another role model which he did in Booth Tarkington.  He does have a large number of Tarkington’s novels in his library, most of which were purchased in this decade.  Tarkington was also closely associated with Harry Leon Wilson who also influenced ERB with a couple two or three novels in his library, not least of which is Wison’s Hollywood novel, Merton Of The Movies.  Just as a point of interest Harry Leon Wilson was also a friend of Jack London.

     ERB’s writing in the last years of the decade seems to be heavily influenced by Tarkington as in Bridge And The Oskaloosa Kid, The Efficiency Expert and The Girl From Hollywood.

     Burroughs was an avid reader and exceptionally well informed with a penetrating mind so that his ‘highly fictionalized’ writing which seems so casual and off hand is actually accurate beneath his fantastic use of his material.  While he used speculations of Camille Flammarion and possibly Lowell on the nature of Mars he was so mentally agile that when better information appeared which made his previous speculations untenable he had no difficulty in adjusting to the new reality.  Not everyone can do that.

     I have already mentioned his attention to the ongoing friction between the US and Japan that appeared in the Samurai of Byrne’s Pacific island.  In this connection Abner Perry of the Pellucidar series is probably named after Commodore Matthew Perry who opened Japan in 1853.  After all Abner Perry does build the fleet that opened the Lural Az.  Admiral Peary who reached the North Pole about this time is another possible influence.  The identical pronunciation of both names would have serendipitous for Burroughs.

     As no man writes in a vacuum, the political and social developments of his time had a profound influence on both himself and his writing.

     The effects of unlimited and unrestricted immigration which had been decried by a small but vocal minority for some time came to fruition in the Second Decade as the Great War showed how fragile the assumed Americanization and loyalty of the immigrants was.  The restriction of immigration from 1920 to 1924 must have been gratifying to Burroughs.

     I have already indicated the profound reaction that Burroughs, London and White America in general had to the success of the Black Jack Johnson in the pursuit of the heavyweight crown.  The clouded restoration of the crown through Jess Willard did little to alleviate the gloom.  Combined with the sinking of the Ttitanic and the course of the suicidal Great War White confidence was irrevocably shaken.

     Burroughs shared with London the apprehension that the old stock was losiing its place of preeminence to the immigrants.  This fear woud find its place in Burroughs writing where he could from time to time make a nasty comment.  His characterization of the Irish is consistently negative while his dislike of the Germans first conceived when he saw them as a young man marching through the streets of Chicago under the Red flag was intense.  Their participation in the Haymarket Riot combined with the horrendous reports of German atrocities during the War reinforced his dislike almost to the point of fanaticism.  While the post-war German reaction in his writing was too belated he had been given cause for misinterpretation.

     Always politically conservative he was a devoted admirer of Teddy Roosevelt while equally detesting Woodrow Wilson who was President eight of the ten years of the Second Decade.  When the Bolsheviks took over Russia in 1917 polarizing public opinion into the Right and Left ERB was definitely on the Right.

     By the end of the decade the world he had known from 1875 to 1920 had completely disappeared buried by a world of scientific and technological advances as well and social and political changes that would have been unimaginable in his earlier life.  The changes in sexual attitudes caused by among others Krafft-Ebbing, Havelock Ellis and Margaret Sanger would have been astounding.

     The horse had been displaced by the auto.  Planes were overhead.  The movies already ruled over the stage, vaudeville and burlesque.  Cities had displaced the country.  The Jazz Age which was the antithesis of the manners and customs of 1875-1920 realized the new sexual mores so that the Flapper and Red Hot Mama displaced the demure Gibson Girl as the model of the New Woman.

     When ERB moved from Chicago to LA in 1919 he, like Alice, virtually stepped through the looking glass into a world he never made and never imagined.  A Stranger In A Strange Land not different in many ways from the Mars of his imagination.

Go to Part III- Background Of The Second Decade Social And Political




A Review

The Low Brow And The High Brow

And In Depth Study Of The Edgar Rice Burroughs Novels

The Mucker And Marcia Of The Doorstep


R.E. Prindle


Part One


     By the time Burroughs took up his pen to write at the age of 36 he had a lifetime of frustration and humiliation behind him.  Born into an affluent family, their means had petered out by the time young Burroughs reached manhood.  Thus he who had been born a prince had become a pauper.  ERB felt this keenly.  His problem became how to regain his position, his exalted destiny.

     The most direct and possible approach was to become an officer in the Army.  Burroughs closed that avenue early in life by botching his relationship with Colonel Rogers and Charles King of the Michigan Military Academ.

     He began a promising career at Sears, Roebuck but he found success there would be of a very anonymous sort as the member of the team.  Fearing to disappear into mercantile obscurity he aborted that career abruptly quitting his job with no prospects.

     In what may have been one of the most important decisions of his career he joined up with a patent medicine manufacturer named Dr. Stace.  This phase of his career has not been properly investigated.  Reasoning from inferences in the Corpus it seems reasonable that he and Stace ran afoul of the law.

     A Pure Food And Drug Act had been passed in 1906 which temporarily at any rate made the sale of patent medicines illegal.  A few years later the Supreme Court would once again legitimize their sale provided the contents were properly labeled.  For the time being there was a problem with the law.  Erwin Porges’ Edgar Rice Burroughs: The Man Who Invented Tarzan briefly discusses the relationship in this manner. p. 105:

Stace, whom Ed found very likable, had grown ashamed of the patent medicine business and was casting about for a more reputable type of livelihood.  His qualms may have been reinforced by the dubious attitude of the United States Government: “Alcola cured alcoholism all right, but the Federal Pure Food And Drug people tooke the position that there were worse things than alcoholism and forbade the sale of Alcola.”

     The portion in quotes is presumabley from Burroughs although Porges fails to properly identify it if so.

     Since the Pure Food And Drug people acted against Dr. Stace it is only fair to assume the police were involved and depending on how far Dr. Stace fought it, probably a Grand Jury.  It is probable then that Burroughs’ seeming intimate knowledge of police methods and Grand Juries was learned at this time.

     As Stace’s office manager it is possible that ERB bought into the company and was therefore more intimately involved.  Certainly he did not sever his relationship with Dr. Stace as a result of these legal actions, but instead formed a corporation or partnership with him immediately after to sell courses in salesmanship.  Hardly more respectable than patent medicines.

     As one usually found advertisements for such courses in the back of pulp magazines one can conjecture the status of the enterprise and also its chances of success.  The company bearing the name Burroughs-Stace did fail quickly.  Notice that Burroughs name came before that of Stace.

     Now, Alcola being an illegal product it could not have done ERB’s reputation much good to be associated with it.  Continuing his relationship with Dr. Stace in another questionable business would only confirm ERB’s rputation for operating on the legal borderline.  In later years Burroughs, while not denying that he had been associated with Stace, claimed to have never seen those people since the time thus attempting to dissociate himself from them.

     Thus ERB’s prospects loomed shakily.  As these events occurred in 1909-10 he was facing a lifetime of marginal jobs leading ever downward or taking the million to one chance of becoming a successful author.  Not too long after terminating his relationship with Dr. Stace he took up his pen.  Fate began to blow a strong wind into his sails, so to speak.

     However, if I am correct, he was now looked at askance by ‘polite’ society.

     His first writing efforts were a success.  So successful that he could get anything he wrote into print.  this began to bear fruit in 1913, two years after he began writing, when he could throw over his day job and become a self-supporting writer.

     Thus he was able to realize his ambition to regain his status of a prince after an interim of nearly thirty years.

     He still had to explain himself to himself and Emma as well as to Chicago in general.  Much of his output of 1913 would attempt to do just that; especially the first of the two works under consideration here:  The Mucker. 


     The psychological baggage Burroughs brings to his writing to exorcise is considerable.  When H.G. Wells portrayed ERB as insane in Mr Blettsworthy Of Rampole Island there was an element of truth while the case was overstated.  ERB  was apparently able to disappear into himself whiie he was writing thus living an alternate reality which is what Wells was talking about.

     The ability to do so is probably why Burroughs’ writing has such immediacy, why his improbabiities are so believable.  One wonders what would have become of his mind if he hadn’t become a successful writer.  Perhaps the pseudonym he adopted for his first book, Normal Bean, was more to convince himself than others.  Bean as slang for head or mind.  Certainly his reaction to his success appears to border on the irrational.

     His psychological compression was so great that he nearly went off the rails in 1913 in his first blush of success.  It is impossible that he wasn’t being observed by others.  It is impossible that others didn’t consider him a phenom.  The Mars Trilogy and Tarzan were such strange creations for the times that he had to be viewed with wonder.  While one can never be sure when he is being referred to in the fiction of other writers it seems to me that there are resonances of Burroughs in such writers as John Dos Passos and F. Scott Fitzgerald.

     If he had designed his actions to get talked about he couldn’t have come up with anything more spectacular than his trip to California mid-1913 after a successful half year.  For the full year he would earn over ten thousand dollars.  This sum in 1913 was reaching the lower limits of super affluence.  You couldn’t add much to your comfort with more than ten a year, the rest was conspicuous consumption.  It all depends on which multiplier you use but the one I use brings the income out in today’s dollars as between three and five hundred thousand dollars.

     Sudden affluence after years of scrabbling for a living can do strange things to your mind.  ERB’s was rocked to its foundations.  He went crazy in his rush to spend his money.  A clothes horse like his wife Emma came into her own.  In his rush to spend ERB spent his income before it was earned.  He was literally broke between  checks from his publishers.

     Then in mid-1913 an event occurred which might have triggered his flight from Chicago to California.  The Black boxer, Jack Johnson was conceded his title in 1910 when he defeated the White favorite, Jim Jeffries.  He had actually won the title in 1908 when he defeated then champion Tommy Burns.  Whites were reluctant to acknowledge his claim to the title until he had fought Jeffries who the Whites thought was the ‘real’ champion because he had retired undefeated.

     Having disappointed White hopes by defeating Jeffries, Johnson was then set up on a morals charge and convicted in what amounted to a kangaroo court.  About to lose his appeal Johnson skipped the country in July of ’13 rather than go to jail as an innocent man.

     The Affair Jack Johnson had had a tremendous effect on Burroughs who was an ardent boxing fan.  Thus his novel The Mucker  deals extensively with the Johnson Affair.  I believe that since his assocition with Dr. Stace Burroughs was considered quasi-legit at best and hence in the same boat with a Johnson.

     When Johnson split it seemed to cause an equal reaction in Burroughs.  Johnson went East to Europe while ERB went West to California.  In july of ’13 ERB began work on his realistic Chicago novel The Girl From Farris’s.  This work was undoubtedly intended to explain his actions between 1899 and 1911.  Once he got started he immediately ran into writer’s block being unable to continue the novel.  Before he could continue he had to work out several issues.  Thus he did what was for him a very unusual thing.  He began the book in July of ’13 only finishing it in March of ’14.  In between he wrote five other novels in his usual rapid fashion.  the were, in order  The Mucker, The Mad King Pt. 1, The Eternal Lover Ptl 1, Beasts Of Tarzan and The Lad And The Lion.   The entire set of six stories then are all closely related and should properly be understood only as aspects of the same novel- The Girl From Faris’s. 

     We are going to consider only the first of the inner five, The Mucker, here.  Thus the trip to California begins to work out the redemption or Salvation of Edgar Rice Burroughs.  The whole set might be titled:  Edgar Rice Burrougs In Search Of Himself.  

     One must not underestimate the influence of the two or possibly three central events in Burroughs’ life; his confrontatin with John The Bully in 1884-85, the 1899 trip to New york with the Martins and his dramatic relationship with Dr. Stace.  One cannot devalue his relationship with his father or Charles King, nor the very influential visit to Idaho where he came under the influence of Lew Sweetser, but his first three seem to dominate his life and work.

     A major consequence of his confrontation with John The Bully is that it declassed him.  ERB’s Animus became part prince, part pauper; part outlaw, part orthodox as demonstrated in The Outlaw Of Torn.   The trip in the private rail car showed him how far down the economic scale he was and how far he had to climb.  Although he won the hand of Emma from Martin I think it very likely that when he and Emma returned from Idaho Martin renewed his attentions to Emma.  He undoubtedly drove one  of the big new automobiles with which the impoverished ERB could not compete.  About all he could do if he thought Emma’s affection were wobbling was to get her pregnant.  In 1908 and 1909 the couple had two children in rapid succession although they could afford them no more than in their first eight years of marriage.

     Thus ten years after had taken Emma to Idaho, for reasons that are unclear to us, he took her to California.  Always the wastrel he made the trip in the most expensive way possible.  The family went first class.

     As Porges quotes him ERB says:  “I had decided I was too rich to spend my winters in Chicago so I packed my family, all my furniture, my second hand automobile and bought transportation to Los Angeles.

     This was not the most rational move for a man who had written an “Ode To Poverty” not too long before.  He had no assurance of being able to write or sell stories, without the sale of which he would be stranded, broke twenty-five hundred miles from his home.  Of course he still had all his furniture.  There was no one who could help him financially.  It is interesting to speculate on what sort of job he would have applied for.

     Why would a man do this?  ERB had apparently bought his used car, a Velie, at the beginning of 1913 when for all practical acounts he was still broke.  Why the urgent need to hop a train?  I think the reason can be traced back to Frank Martin.  The humiliation of the trip East in a private railcar in 1899 and the subsequent stay in the Bowery while the Martins  lived on Riverside Drive had to be compensated.  While ERB couldn’t afford a new car he rushed out to buy a used one which was apparently as much as he thought he could afford at the time.  On the other hand as his characters always say of themselves:  For me. to think is to act. if the Martins among other ‘plutocrats’ wintered in Florida then as ERB could still not compete with them financially he went West.

     Arriving in LA he and family drove the second hand Velie down to San Diego with the furniture apparently entrained for the same destination.

     During this period ERB’s behavior is absolutely zany.  Unable to stay put in LA he moved to Coronado which is a sand spit on the west side of San Diego Bay.  North Island Naval Air would be built on the North end of it.  The Carriers used to be docked on the ocean side as their draft was too great for the Bay.  Disliking Coronado he moved back across the bay to the first low ridge of hills that separates the city proper from the Bay.  He apparently was near the crest as he said he could look over it to the East.  When I was in the Navy in San Diego I thought this small ridge only a couple miles in length had the most deligthful climate on Earth.  I still think it does.  So, in 1913-14 before 101 became a major noisy highway at the base of the hill ERB was living in as close to paradise as anyone in this world can ever get.

     It was here he explored his psychological problems.


     Burroughs because of his encounter with John The Bully, had been rendered susceptible to ‘low brow’ influences.  His subsequent life with its constant moving from school to school, from Illinois to Idaho, to Connecticut, to Michigan, to Arizona and back to Illinois had not put into contact with too many ‘high brow’ influences.

     In constrast, his wife Emma Hulbert, had been trained to high brow avocations from childhood.  I’m sure that one of the objections of her parents to ERB was that he was so detestably low brow.  Emma, afer all, had been trained to the opera which is the epitome of high brow.  Emma often referred to ERB as a low brow during their marriage which can be somewhat trying.  If one contrasts The Mucker with Marcia Of The Doorstep it will become immediately apparent that the former is low brow and the latter is intended to be high brow.  So the dominating theme of The Mucker is between the low brow Billy Byrne and the high brow Barbara Harding.  The problem as it surfaces when the two come into contact is how Barbara is to turn the low brow mucker into a high brow or at least into a low brow with good speech and mannerisms.  This may have been a daily conflict between ERB and Emma in real life.

     The first question is how far ERB identifies with Billy Byrne.  It is my contention that Billy is an alter ego conditioned by ERB’s confrontation with John The Bully.

     I have explained elsewhere that terror may be used to introduce a hypnotic suggestion.  Terror opens the mind to suggestion.  In ERB’s case when he was in terror of John he accepted the suggestion that because John was terrorizing him he was an admirable person to be emulated.  Of course this went against the teaching of his family so that ERB now divided his Animus nearly equally between his father/family and John.  Even though his family training commanded his first allegiance, John declassed him so that he mentally assumed the traits of this hoodlum Irish boy.  In a sense ERB split his personality.

     As would be expected the assumption of John’s characteristics caused a personality conflict which it was necessary to resolve.  One must assume that by 1913’s Mucker ERB was aware of his peronality conflict and began the attempt to write it out.

     For those new to the term a mucker was one who wallowed in the muck of society, a low class person with very little or no redeeming social value.  Thus Burroughs is dealing very harshly with both himself and Byrne/John.

     It may be assumed beyond doubt that John was first generation immigrant.  As he was twelve when he confronted ERB in 1884-85 he must have been born in 1872.  He may actually have been born in Ireland or was at least the son of immigrants hence his Irish prejudices against the English would be very strong while the Irish at the time were considered on a social and racial par with the Negro  or perhaps even below.  Combining these social disadvantages he was raised in Chicago’s great West Side which ERB with undisguised horror describes.

     He also very carefully indicates that Byrne was not an inherently bad person but was strictly a product of his environment.  He could have been anything raised in a different social setting.  Nurture over nature.  An interesting liberal opinion in an age when heredity was accredited to a criminal type.  By explaining Byrne as a product of his environment Burroughs was also justifying himself.  Indeed, how could he have learned the social graces to which he was entitled by birth having been brought up viewing the underbelly of society.  Probably ERB did not become acquainted  with the social graces or high brow point of view until he married Emma.

     If his social education began with his marriage to Emma then Byrne’s begins when he and Barbara Harding are brought into close contact on ‘Manhattan Island’ in the river of their Pacific island locale where they ‘play house.’  Thus there is more than sufficient evidence to indicate that Byrne and Burroughs are similar.  Both names even begin with a B.

     As he is part of Burroughs’ psyche ERB has to exonerate Byrne as well as rehabilitate him into someone at least that Burroughs can respect.  This is the burden of the book.

     After a youthful life in which Byrne makes the best of a bad situation, during which he became competent to survive and dominate in a difficult environment, Byrne takes a step up by becoming involved in boxing.  Thus he goes from a no brow to a low brow.  Already a fearsome street brawler Byrne becomes a formidable scientific boxer as well.  He is good enough to be a sparring partner with the Big Smoke himself.  This must have been before July 1913 but no earlier than say 1911.

     Sometime in 1912 or early 1913 Byrne is falsely accused of murder by one Sheehan who Byrne had defeated in a fight when they were twelve.  Billy had earlier saved a policeman’s life who was being savagely beaten by a rival gang on Byrne’s turf.  The policeman now returns the favor by advising Byrne to get out of town which advice Billy take seriously not unlike Jack Johnson.  Thus Johnson goes East, Byrne goes West at exactly the same time.  Coincidence?

     Billy bobs up in San Francisco about the same time that ERB shows up in the sunny Southland.  They both reach California at the same time.  Another coincidence?

     Unfortunately for Billy he gets shanghaied by the guy he intends to roll.  He is taken aboard the Half Moon.  The ship on which Henry Hudson explored New York’s Hudson River was named the Half Moon so there is a little joke here as Barbara and Byrne reside on a Manhattan Island in their Pacific location.

     Being shanghaied wasn’t the worst thing that could have happened to Byrne for while he is aboard he is forced to learn discipline- putting a little organization into his chaotic mind.  The Half Moon might also stand for the MMA in ERB’s memory.  He was more or less shanghaied into attendance when his father made him return after he had run away from the school.  Then, under the tutelage of Charles King who he respected he learned the rudiments of self-discipline.

     Even though Byrne is a sort of wildman Burroughs shows the greatest respect for him.

     Byrne’s next civilizing lesson comes when the Half Moon pretending distress captures the Harding yacht aboard which Byrne is transferred.

     The yacht named the Lotus, perhaps after Tennyson’s poem ‘The Lotus Eaters.’  The Lotus Eaters sat around all day in idle forgetfulness which was a pretty good description of the Harding party and another joke.  Burroughs had a copy of Tennyson’s poems in his library so the association is probable, besides which as Burroughs had a strong grounding in Greek mythology he would have been familiar with the Lotus Eaters from his Homer.

     Burroughs, who had never been to sea, knew nothing of the ocean.  His source for sea matters most probably was Jack London.  ERB was a great admirer of London but as he had nothing in his library one can only guess at what he had read.  There’s pretty good evidence for The Call Of The Wild and The Sea Wolf.  He may have picked up his South Seas lore from London’s Son Of The Son (The Adventures of Captain David Grief  in my edition).  The last book was published in 1911 but Burroughs probably had read it.  As he would project the making of Melville’s Typee into a movie in the ’30s it is possible that he was already familiar with that book and Melville’s other South Sea romance, Omoo at least as early as 1913.

     Both myself and other researchers are pretty liberal about ERB’s reading list but as I have cautioned before the bulk of his reading for these early stories had to be done between 1900 and 1911 when he was a very busy man with troubles in mind not to mention excruciating headaches.  Along with newspapers and magazines he surely couldn’t have read more than two or three hundred books if that many.  He may have read a number of sea stories in various magazines at any rate, but his sea lore is second hand, unreliable and unknowledeable.

     He has the Lotus tending Southwest toward the Philippines having begun in Hawaii.  The Philippines is a large archipelago blending into the massive archipelago just South of it, the Lotus should have been in Equatorial waters where the trade winds blow.  Most of your monster storms are further North or South.  I was in the Navy making one tour from California in the East to China in the West, South to Australia and North to Japan.  I had the terrifying experience of passing through a typhoon off Japan which if it wasn’t the storm of the millenium I can’t imagine a greater.  Quite seriously, we all thought we were going to die.  My only thought was that the water was going to be awfully cold when I hit it.

     I do not jest when I say the waves were seventy-five feet high, you’re right, why not make them a hundred, maybe they were a hundred, two would be stretching it.  I was standing on the bridge twenty-five feet above the water line looking straight up at the crest of the waves when we were in the trough.  OK.  A hundred twenty-five then.  We were so far down in the trough there was no wind, nor did the waves break over us, they just slid under the ship raising us to the crests and then we slid down the other side.  I kid you not.

     Then, as we came down from the crest, way up there, at the bottom of the trough the ship slammed into a current bringing it to a complete halt left and right and fore and aft.  These troughs were not rows of waves and troughs, no no, but huge bowls perhaps a mile or more long.  Our ship was three hundred six feet long so there we were a speck, an atom, a proton sitting quietly in the midst of this huge bowl waiting for the swatter of fate to fall.

     I had been thrown across the deck from port to starboard when we slammed into the current.  I scrambled to my feet, noticed that the starboard watch, Engelhardt, was on the way over the side for a tete a tete with Davy Jones.  I knew that Jones didn’t have the time for an ordinary Seaman like Engelhardt or me so I grabbed his belt and pulled him back aboard, then ran over to port to wait to die.

     Now that was a storm.  I don’t know how we rode it out, I thought the end had come, was past.  So, why did I tell that?  Because ERB’s storms are ludicrous and in the wrong place.  A cloud appears, the next thing you know a few indeterminate big waves show up and the ship sinks but the lifeboats survive.  All this in equatorial waters.  Well, if you’ve never been in it, it might sound alright.

     It doesn’t matter because those sudden squalls in ERB’s stories represent his confrontation with John The Bully.  Within the twinkling of an eye ERB’s whole direction of life changed.

  His had been for the worse but Byrne’s was for the better.  This then reflected the change in Burroughs’ own fortunes.

     Byrne and the crew are thrown up on an unidentified island somewhere in the South seas but a fairly large one.  In those years one could believe that there were islands yet to be discovered.  This one has a river big enough to allow for a largish island in the middle.  It is here that Byrne will get his introduction to the finer side of life.  However not before some very exciting and exotic adventures showing Burroughs at his best.

Apart from Jules Verne, who might also be an influence on this book through his The Mysterious Island that had a tremendous influence on Burroughs though the book was not in his library.  ERB seems to be familiar with a number of French authors.  He had The Mysteries Of Paris by the incredible Eugene Sue in his Library, while it is fairly obvious he had been suitably impressed by Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables.  The sewer scene in his next book, The Mad King, is indicative of that while Theriere in this book may be a variation on Thenardier.  He was also familiar with Dumas’ The Three Musketeers as there are several references to that one including the sequel to The Mucker, Out There Somewhere, when he indicates an intent to create his own three Musketeers in Byrne, Bridge and Burke.

     As indicated in my Only A Hobo, ERB was probably immersed in US-Japanese relations that were fairly hot at this time as well as remembering the Japanese exhibit at the Columbian Expo of 1893.  He gets his facts right too.

     In this case the island is populated by an indigenous population that has been blended with a group of Samurai warriors from Japan.  Burroughs correctly indicates that the Samurai had come to the island just before Japan was closed to the world in the early seventeenth century.  From about 1620 to about 1860- Perry opened Japan in 1853- no one had been allowed to enter or leave Japan so ERB has been doing his homework.  Over the three hundred years a degenerate society of militant Samurai had combined with the indigenes to create a culture of savages.  An interesting anthropological notion not too unlike The Lord Of The Flies that has been a literary staple for the last sixty years.

     Byrne and Theriere engage in a terrific conflict to rescue Barbara Harding from the Samurai during which Theriere is killed and Byrne seriously wounded.  Barbara Harding nurses him back to health in an idyllic glen by a babbling brook.

     At this point Byrne is reunited with his Anima ideal.  Barbara is going to rehabilitate this guy.  He has made some few steps toward his own redemption but the following is the quality Barabara had to work with as described by ERB p. 17:

…Billy was mucker, a hoodlum, a gangster, a thug, a tough.  When he fought he would have brought a flush of shame to the face of His Satanic Majesty.  He had hit oftener from behind than before.  He had always taken every advantage of his size and weight and numbers that he could call to his assistance.  He was an insulter of girls and women.  He was a bar-room brawler, and a saloon corner loafer.  He was all that was dirty, and mean, and contemptible and cowardly in the eyes of a brave man, and yet, notwithstanding all this Billy Byrne was no coward.  He was what he was because of training (conditioning) and environment.  He knew no other methods, no other code.

     As Burroughs says, up to this time Byrne had been an insulter of women, abusive to the whole female sex, probably including his mother.  It is only now that his eyes begin to open to what Jack London would call the wonder of woman.  How far Byrne reflects ERB’s general attitude toward women isn’t clear although by the end of his life his misogyny was becoming pronounced.  He was certainly no ladies man prior to is marriage to Emma.  I am not certain he would have married if it hadn’t been for the competition with Martin.   The suddenness of his marriage after the Toronto incident indicates a Martin influence or else he was bonkers after the blow.  When he later said Tarzan should never have married he was undoubtedly talking about himself.  He certainly never placed Emma first, being always ready to accept an army commission, fight in Central America, seek a commission in the Chinese army or become a war correspondent all of which would have left Emma and the kids at home.

     At the same time Barbara who had detested Byrne becomes softened to him preparing her to love him once they moved downstream to Manhattan Island.  This may be some romanticized version of ERB’s relationship with Emma after Toronto although she seems to have been fixed on Burroughs from childhood.  At any rate the relationship comes to fruition downstream where the high brow Barbara attempts so raise the brow level of Byrne.

     If one takes high brow, low brow seriously being thought of as a low brow, that is inferior, can be annoying.  Since Burroughs has chosen in his first novel within the cocoon of Girl From Faris‘s  to write around the theme of a low brow hero I think it fair to believe it irritated him to be thought of as a low brow; especially so as in most instances he was much better educated than those who so named him.  Chief among these was his wife Emma.  Whereas she had been trained ot operatic arias ERB played the hillbilly tune Are  You From Dixie?  over and over again on his phonograph.  Hillbilly music really irritates the operatic type.  There must have been constant conflict in the household.

     Emma especially looked down on boxing as low brow.  ERB was an ardent boxing fan, while here he chooses a low brow boxer as hero.  ERB could have some startling opinions on what was high brow.  He thought auto races were high brow.  I don’t know what the crowds were like back then but I’ve been to the stock car races where I found high brows conspicuous only by their absence.

     But, to the Mucker.   Moving downsteam after his recovery on this rather large river coming closer to the estuary they hit an island.  Being bounded as it were by a Hudson on one side and East River on the other they named the island Manhattan.  There’s a nice Expo twist and joke here as in Chicago on the Wooded Island one came upon a Japanese settlement in the middle of the city; here on a Samurai Island in the Pacific one comes upon a Manhattan Island of Americans.  Kind of cute reversal, don’t you think?

     As Billy has to know some details about Manhattan to keep the story moving, Burroughs rather lamely invents a couple trips Billy had made to New York with the Goose Island Kid.    As the boxing scene Burroughs describes, with the exception of the Big Smoke is entirely Irish one might note the origin of the name of The Goose Island Kid.  Goose Island was an area in the Chicago River inhabited by the poorest of the Irish, so the Kid comes from the bottom of the social scale even below Byrne’s origins.  One should contrast this with Burroughs prized English ancestry.

     Burroughs is writing from experience either psychological or real.  Thus one asks when was ERB in New York to acquire his knowledge of the city.  Well, let’s see:  He had an extended stay in 1899.  That was the trip when he got bashed in Toronto.  Then he had a short stay at the the invitation of Munsey.  Most of what he knew must have come from the 1899 trip.

     On their desert Manhattan Island Barbara, who up to this time had been repelled by Byrne makes an attempt at deconditioning Byrne from a Mucker and reconditioning him as an upper class New Yorker.  the conditioning consists of ridding him of the horrific characteristics attributed to him by ERB while teaching him to speak in an educated manner.  As there was no tableware she couldn’t teach him which fork to use.

     Possibly this scene may reflect on the first couple years of Burroughs’ married life.  Remember that ERB hadn’t been much around polite society from the years of twelve to twenty-five during which he was conditioned to his low brow attitudes.  Emma had been brought up in a high brow environment so that she may have felt the need to isntruct her new husband in some of the finer points of good manners.

     When Frank Martin (see my Four Crucial Years) asked ERB to go to New York with him in 1899 he did so with a heart full of malice.  He was competeing with Burroughs for Emma Hulbert’s favors and, as is commonly believed, he felt all’s fair in love and war.

     The evidence points to the fact that he intended to have ERB murdered in Toronto to clear his path to the woman.  Along the way he must have done his best to humiliate his rival- the mucker Ed Burroughs.

     ERB was moving in much faster company than he was used to.  While coming from a once affluent family his people had fallen on hard times.  ERB’s income was little more than sixty dollars a month while Frank Martin the son of a millionaire could blow that much on dinner every night of the week.

     Riding in Martin’s father’s private railcar one imagines that ERB’s suit compared to the fabulous duds of Martin was laughable.  The contrasts between their two stations must have been even more laughable and very satisfying to Martin.  Martin would have considered himself a high brow to Burroughs’ low brow.

     Once in New York Martin’s hospitality didn’t extend to living quarters.  ERB gives no indication of how much money he took along or where he got it.  I should be surprised if he had so much as two hundred dollars, certainly no more.  However much he had there was no way he could have kept up with the Martins.

     His address while in New York was down on the Bowery while the Martin’s was in a better part of town, perhaps Riverside Drive.  Danton Burroughs has a picture of the three of them- Burroughs, Martin  and Martin’s other companion, R.H. Patchin, on Coney Island.  One hopes Danton will release the photo to ERBzine along with any other information he may have.  Coney Island would be good low brow entertainment to offer Burroughs, something he could afford.

     A possible account of how Burroughs felt during his dependency on Martin can be found in one of the volumes in ERB’s library:  The House Of Mirth by Edith Wharton.  The reading of it must have brought pangs of recognition to ERB.

     In The Mucker Billy Byrne speaks of Riverside Drive and the Bowery in this way:

“Number one, Riverside Drive,” said the Mucker with a grin, when the work was completed: “an’ now I’ll go down on the river front and build the Bowery.”

“Oh, are you from New York?” asked the girl.

“Not on your life,” replied Billy Byrne.  “I’m from good old Chi but I been to Noo York twict with the Goose Island Kid, so I knows all about it.  De roughnecks belong on de Bowery, so dat’s what we’ll call my dump down by de river.  You’re a high brow, so youse gotta live on Riverside Drive, see?’ and the mucker laughed at his little pleasantry.

     In 1913 the only real experience Burroughs had with New York was the 1899 trip so that one can guess that when the Martin party detrained Burroughs as a ‘roughneck’ went to the Bowery while Martin and his group went to Riverside Drive or its equivalent.  Surely Burroughs realized he had been duped at this point and felt it keenly.  Or, perhaps, he didn’t catch on until much later having thought about it for a while.  Referring to the Irish Martin as The Goose Island Kid who took him to New York may be a belated disguised slap in the face.  If Martin read the book I’m sure he would have understood.

     At this point is the novel Barbara begins Byrne’s deconditioning teaching him the Riverside patois thus giving him true English as a second language to his native Muckerese.  Thus Byrne is to some extent rehabilitated as a human being; this follows fairly close that of Jean Val Jean of Les Miserables, however as Billy ruefully learned there is more to reconditioning than language.

     At this point Byrne has a dual personality.  He is the low brow mucker and a high brow mucker in that he has learned certain mannerisms and he can speak both forms of English.

     If the scene on Manhattan Island to some extent reflected the relationship between ERB and Emma then the seeds of his discontent  which will result in divorce have already been sown.  The parting from Barbara at the end of the story may be the first prefiguration of his divorce.

     On the other hand Byrne has been temporarily reunited with his Anima figure somewhat in the manner of Eros and Psyche in Greek mytholotgy which makes him a complete being, his X and Y chromosomes being reconciled.  They are soon split apart again as he and Barbara find their separate ways to NYC.


      Upon Byrne’s return to NYC Burroughs begins to wrestle with the problem of the displacement of a White heavyweight boxing champ with a Black one.  In our age when boxing has become a totally Black sport it is difficult to see the real significance of Jack Johnson’s assumption of the championship for both Whites and Blacks.  The success of Johnson also came at a time when in competition with immigrants the Anglo ‘old stock’ was being displaced from a feeling of rightful preeminence in a country it had made.

     This displacement by immigrant’s also occured at the time when the ranks of the European conquerors of the world had reached their limitations and the conquered began to roll them back.  Thus one has such volumes of the period as Madison Grant’s The Passing Of The Great Race and Lothrop Stoddard’s The Rising Tide Of Color.  The world was mysteriously changing slipping from beneath the White Man’s feet.

     Complementary to the works of Grant and Stoddard, but not influenced by them, was the world of such writers as Zane Grey, Jack London and Burroughs.  A common thread in the world of all three is the displacement of the ‘old stock’ by immigrants.  London has a telling phrase in his excellent and highly recommended Valley Of The Moon when his character Billy Roberts is told that the ‘old stock’ had been sleeping and that now like Rip Van Winkle they were awakening to a new world that had changed while they slept.  This theme would reappear in such works as Booth  Tarkington’s The Magnificent Amerberson’s and Burroughs’ own The Girl From Hollywood of the next decade.

     The social conflicts are treated almost identically by all three authors.

     Richard Slotkin in his Gunslinger Nation attempts an exhaustive treatment of the problem from the Gustavus Myers’ immigrant/unskilled labor point of view which may be contrasted with that of our three masters.  I will discuss this a little later.

     Great changes were in progress.  To try to characterize them from a single point of view as the Myers’ school does is both foolhardy and pernicious.  While the immigrants and unskilled labor have their story it is only their story, a small part of the whole.  While one can sympathize with anyone, anywhere, one cannot necessarily accept their point of view as definitve on which point they do insist.  My heart goes out to everyone but does not rule my head.

     The argument then breaks down broadly between the Liberal Coalition and what name is appropriate for the other side? -the rational? the realistic?, the conservative?.  Why not settle for the Conservative with all its limitations.  Yes, I am unapologetically conservative.  No more limitating actually than calling the irresponsibility of the Coalition liberal.  I fail to see the liberality.

     The argument devolves into the two factions of the ‘old stock’ with the convervative wing being hopelessly outnumbered when the liberal wing aligned themselves along national and racial lines with the immigrants and Blacks and along poltical and religious lines with the Judaeo-Communists or more conveniently- the Reds.  Reds is shorter.

     That writers of the bent of Burroughs, London and Grey have survived at all, let alone remained popular, in such an environment is remarkable indeed.

     From 1910 to 1919 major events that affected our writers occurred and typified the decline of Euroamerica from its pinnacle of self-satisfaction.  The Great War which ran from 1914 to 1918 shattered the image of Euroamerica before the rest of the world  Successful resistance not only appeared possible to the defeated peoples but probable.  Note the advantage Japan took of the debacle.

     A second event almost prefiguring the Great War was the sinking of the great ship RMS Titanic in 1912.  Billed as unsinkable it represented the peak of Euroamerican scientific and technological skill.  When that Grat Ship went down on its maiden voyage it took a great deal of the West’s confidence down with it.  While the West watched in dismay and horror the rest of the world cheered  the West’s discomfiture.  Unsinkable indeed!

     But perhaps the single most disastrous blow to the pride of Euroamericans was when the Black Jack Johnson laid the pride of the Whites, Jim Jeffries, down in the fourteenth on July 4, 1910.  The might Casey, Jim Jeffries, had struck out.  The much despised Negro, Jack Johnson, walked away wearing the world heavyweight championship belt.

     The Whites howled, they rioted but they had shot their best shot and there was no backup.  No contender.  No hope.

     Jack London actually reported the fight.  He was there.  Ringside.  Nor was he charitable toward Jack Johnson.  He said things that might better have remained unsaid.  We have no indication as to what Burroughs thought at the time.  By the time he spoke publicly in The Mucker he had had time to mature his thoughts.

     The effect on London was traumatic.  In 1911 he published his book The Abyssmal Brute, his first thoughts on the fight.  The fight not yet out of his system London expressed himself still further in his 1913 novel The Valley Of The Moon.  I’ve said it before.  I’m no Jack London fan.  I’ve only read him more or less at the insistence of ERBzine’s Bill Hillman.  If I had gone to the grave without reading The Call Of The Wild or The Sea Wolf  I wouldn’t have considered it a loss.  Not the same with Valley Of The Moon.  This book along with ERB’s Bridge And The Oskaloosa Kid is one of the neglected masterpieces of twentieth century American literature.  It alone justifies London’s excellent reputation.

     The story is that of two Oakland, California young people, Billy Roberts and his sweetheart Saxon Brown.  While lamenting the displacement of the ‘old stock’ by the immigrants London also makes this a boxing story along the same lines as The Mucker. 

     In fact the stories are quite similar in conception.  If one didn’t know that the authors were writing at the same time 2500 miles from each other one would think they may have written on the same theme as a bet.  London, too, must have been influenced by the midnight flight of Johnson from Chicago.  London makes Roberts an outstanding boxer in the Bay Area.  Roberts gives up boxing because of the fate of boxers  and because of the low brow fans.  Later in the book London  says that Roberts sparred with both Jim Jeffries and Jack Johnson.

     After a  long period of unemployment in an attempt to win a hundred dollar prize to relieve his and Saxon’s poverty he agrees to go back in the ring, the squared circle,  as Burroughs always refers to it.  The fight with the Chicago Terror is very reminiscent of the Jeffries-Johnson battle.  Like Jeffries Roberts hadn’t fought for a long time.  Like Jeffries he was out of condition.  After retiring in 1905 Jeffries had taken up farming, blossoming out to three hundred pounds.  When the call came to redeem the honor of the White species sometime after 1908 Jeffries had to quickly get into condition losing all the extra tonnage.

     He had certainly not regained his top form, timing and mental focus when he climbed into the ring to face Johnson.  I make no excuses for him but as Jeffries said he saw his openings but his unconditioned reflexes didn’t allow him to take advantage of them.  His failure broke the hearts of his followers.

     The battle between Roberts and the Chicago Terror, johnson must have been intended, is probably a replay of the 1910 fight as seen by London.  Out of condition and rusty Roberts gets mauled from start to finish.  In an attempt to salvage special pride London has Roberts at least stay on his feet till the twentieth unlike the fourteenth round fall of Jeffries.

      Toward the end of Valley Of The Moon London has Roberts climb nto the ring again, this time against a Big Swede, sort of polar to the Big Smoke.  In the second of two bouts Roberts has difficulty putting the Big Swede away until the fourteenth.  Also a replay of the Jeffries-Johnson fight with Roberts/Jeffries winning this one, if only in Jack’s dreams.

     Thus the anguish of the loss surfaces three years after.  Now, that the two events, the Titanic and fight get confused in this shuddering defeat of Euroamerica is interestingly made evident in the song Jack Johnson and the Titanic.  In the song Jack Johnson goes down to the steamship line in England to buy passage for his White wife and himself.  He is told that no Black Folks are allowed on the Titanic.  As some sort of divine punishment for refusing him the Great Ship sinks.

     Obviously Jack Johnson couldn’t have been refused as in 1912 he was still in Chicago fighting to stay out of jail.  But the two White disasters became mingled in imagination.

     While London  was wrestling with the Johnson Affair in Valley Of The Moon, Burroughs was doing the same in his Mucker.   One wonders what a further seach of popular literature would reveal.

     In The Mucker Burroughs has gotten Byrne back in New York City.  Broke and with no means of a livelihood the big man-beast turns to the only thing he can do which is boxing.  While London, who had witnessed the fight essentially retold it in Valley Of The Moon, Burroughs who didn’t prepares Byrne to redeem the Whites by fighting and defeating the Big Smoke.  Burroughs doesn’t mention Johnson by name.  He uses Big Smoke, big dinge.

     Burroughs immediately places Byrne in the role of the next hope.    At the time these Whtie boxers were known only as hopes, the term Great White Hope in the completely derogatory sense evolved later.  Like London Burroughs minces no words about Jim Jeffries being his favoirte.  Not only does Byrne imitate Jeffries by fighting from a crouch but ‘Professor’ Cassidy his trainer says:

For a few minutes Billy Byrne played with his man, hitting him when and where he would.  He fought, crouching, just as Jeffries used to fight, and in his size and strength, was much that reminded Cassidy of the fallen idol that in his heart of hearts he still worshipped.

     Winning the fight Byrne went on to meet the #1 contender who he handily defeated.  Having evoked the ghost of Jim Jeffries Burroughs brings in his other hero, Gentleman Jim Corbett.

     The following morning the sporting sheets hailed “Sailor Byrne” ( tribute to Jack London whose hobo moniker was Sailor Jack) as the greatest white hope of them all.  Flashlights of him filled a quarter of a page.  There were interviews with him.  Interviews of the man he had defeated.  Interviews with Cassidy.  Interviews with the referee.  interviews with everybody, and all were agreed that he was the most likely heavy since Jeffries.  Corbett admitted that, while in his prime, he could doubtless have bested the new wonder, he would have found him a tough customer.

     Jeffries, Corbett, Byrne, a combination with so much magic in the names couldn’t help but win back the title to salve the wounded pride of the White species.

     Cassidy wired a challenge to the Negro’s manager, and received an answer that was most favorable.  The terms were, as usual, rather one sided but Cassidy accepted them, and it seemed before noon that the fight was assured.

     Assured in dreams, of course, as this is only a novel.

     It would be quite easy to pass over this part of the tale without realizing its significance but it shows the pain and suffering, the loss of pride that occurred when the championship went Black.  While Burroughs has no difficulty invoking the names of the fallen idol, Jeffries and Corbett, he cannot bring himself to name Johnson referring to him only as The Big Smoke, the big dinge, or the Negro.  The White world was in a deal of pain.

     One can only guess how Burroughs intended to resolve his dilemma of having the fictional Byrne fight the living Johnson or perhaps the story was only a magic incantation to arouse the true hope.  At any event when Byrne next appears in story in 1916’s Out There Somewhere, Jess Willard had already taken the championship back although under dubious circumstances.  By 1916 Byrne’s boxing career is forgotten; there is no mention of it in the sequel.

     Having solved the problem of the championship Burroughs returns to his Anima problem in the romance with Barbara Harding.  Billy remembers she lives in New York City and decides to call on her.  But…

…a single lifetime is far too short for a man to cover the distance from Grand Avenue to Riverside Drive…

     While the above words were spoken about Billy,  Byrne too came to the same conclusion:

     But some strange influence had seemed suddenly to come to work upon him.  Even in the brief moment of his entrance into the magnificence of Anthony Harding’s home he had felt a strange little stricture in the throat- a choking, a half-suffocating sensation.

     The attitude of the servant, the spendor of the furniture, the stateliness of the great hall and the apartments opening upon it- all had whispered to him that he did not “belong.”

     So Byrne feeling his inability to fit in walks away in bitter pride forswearing his love for Barbara Harding.  Still, he could remember her saying back on that other Manhattan Island:

I love you Billy for what you are.

     Thus the epic of the low brow Billy ends as he walks down the street a study of dejection with Barbara’s words ringing through his mind.

     The question here is how much the relationship between Byrne and Barbara is a ‘highly fictionalized’ account of ERB’s own relationship with Emma.  We can’t know for sure how hurt Burroughs may have been by Emma’s calling him a low brow.  Perhaps he longed to hear her say:  I love you, Ed, just the way you are.

     Certainly the stories enveloped by The Girl From Faris’s all deal with his relationship with Emma as his Anima ideal.  The Mad King which follows this story details the problems of the hero getting on the same wave length with the Princess Emma.  He even uses his wife’s real name.  The following title – The Eternal Lover – speaks for itself, Beasts Of Tarzan features a wild chase with Tarzan trying to find Jane who is lost in the jungle, while the last of the series, The Lad And The Lion, details the troubles of the Lad finding his desert princess.  After the Lad he got past his mental block being able to close The Girl From Faris’s.

     So if these stories are read consecutively they record the struggle going on in ERB’s mind to reconcile Emma to his Anima ideal and his Anima to his Animus.  This is a task for not any but the most dedicated Burroughs scholar but I would interested in learning the opinion of any who might attempt it.

     Read only Book One of Mad King and the first part, Nu Of The Neocene, of Eternal Lover in this context.


     Ten years later ERB tackled the problem from the high brow point of view in Marcia Of The Doorstep.

Go To Part Two

Background Of The Second Decade- Personal




A Review

Themes And Variations

The Tarzan Novels Of Edgar Rice Burroughs

#16 Tarzan And The City Of Gold

Part 2


R. E. Prindle


     The City Of Gold itself, which is a white and gold city, evokes the image of the red and gold ruin of Opar and the Forbidden City of the same title, as well as The White City of the Columbian Exposition.  As Burroughs was writing construction was going on for Chicago’s second great exposition on the fortieth anniversary of the first.  Chicago, incorporated in 1833, was about to present its Century Of Progress expo of 1933-34.  So Burroughs would have had his mind redirected to the scenes of his childhood.

     What I am going to suggest may seem far fetched to many but having gained some idea of the way Burroughs’ mind worked I think the suggestion plausible.  Emmett Dedmon tells the following story about the Great Sandow at the ’93 Expo.  If anyone doesn’t know Sandow by now he was the first great bodybuilder who also performed at the Expo.  As Florenz Zeigfeld was representing Sandow there is a no reason to think of the story as other than a publicity stunt, but I leave the judgment to you. (Emmett Dedmon, Fabulous Chicago, 1953, NY, p. 235)

     Amy Leslie, the drama critic for the News, described Sandow as a  fascinating mixture of brute force and poetic sentimentality.  On a walk through the Wooded Island…Sandow snipped a tiny cup from a stock of snapdragon.  “now, when we were little in Germany,” Sandow told the astonished Miss Leslie, “we took these blossoms and pressed them so, and if the flower mouth opened, why that was a sign they were calling us home.”  As Amy reported it, “he touched the tinted bud and its rosy lips parted in a perfumed smile.”  Just as Sandow finished his sentence, a Columbian guard shouted that he had violated the rule against picking flowers.  To emphasize the reprimand the guard seized Sandow by the elbow and attempted to push him away.  At this effrontery Sandow lifted the surprised guard off the ground and held him at arm’s length, examining him as though he were a curious discovery.  Miss Leslie, more conscious of the dignity of the law, persuaded Sandow to put the guard down, which the strong man did with an ouburst of German expletives and an explanation (in English) to Miss Leslie that he did not think much of humans as guards.  “I prefer nice well-bred dogs,” he said.

     This made a great story that made the rounds of the fair.  The question is did 17 year old Burroughs hear it and did it make an impression  on him?  Strangely enough we can definitely answer that question in the affirmative.  Nearly twenty years later Burroughs borrowed the incident for his first Tarzan novel.  Not only that but he has Tarzan play the part of Sandow.  So, Sandow, Tarzan; Tarzan, Phobeg.

     At the end of Tarzan Of The Apes Burroughs replicates the Sandow scene on the Wooded Island when he terrorizes Robert Canler holding him at arms length with one hand.  Thus in this novel Tarzan not only holds Sandow/Phobeg at arm’s length but raises him above his head throwing him into the stands.  Burroughs usually has his characters going their models one better as Tarzan does here.

     As Sandow was strolling through the Wooded Island  with Miss Leslie so Tarzan strolls through town with Gemnon.  Instead of picking a flower Tarzan notices a lion eating a human while no one takes any notice.  Cosmopolitan Tarzan inquires for an explanation.  Gemnon calmly explains the quaint custom just as Sandow so pleasantly explained his snapdragon story.  Dragons, lions, all the same thing.  Burroughs does a neat parody and makes his joke but the original was such a great story he can’t let it go.

     Indeed, Tarzan’s habit of picking men up and tossing them around can probably be traced back to this one arm trick of Sandow’s.  Like I said, you’ll probably think it’s a stretcher but I think it both plausible and probable.  Can’t be absolutely proven of course, but we can and have proven that the incident left an indelible imprint of ERB’s memory.

     That said and moving along to 1920-24 there is also a flavor of H.G. Wells’ utopian novel Men Like Gods to be found here.  Once again Burroughs turns Wells’ utopia around a bit but the tour of Cathne with Gemnon seems to be a paraody of a similar tour in Men Like Gods.  ERB was still in the thick of his literary duel with Wells at the time.

     The plot involving Nemone is slightly more complex and better worked out than is usual for ERB.  Tomos, Erot, M’Duze and Nemone reflect other influences.  The plot has the feel of French overtones.  Of course we know that ERB read Eugene Sue’s The Mysteries Of Paris, Dumas’ Three Musketeers and The Count Of Monte Criisto, while the prisoner behind the golden door points in the direction of The Man In The Iron Mask.  We also know that ERB had read Victoy Hugo’s Les Miserables.

     All these may have provided some inspiration.  However more directly influential I believe are two other books found in ERB’s library as listed on ERBzine. ( www.erbzine.com )  They are Rafael Sabatini’s Scaramouche and Stanley J. Weyman’s Under The Red Robe.  Never heard of Stan Weyman?  Me neither but, believe it or not, there is a Stanley J. Weyman Society on the internet that you may join if so inclined.

     Both books were hugely influential in Hollywood, each being filmed several times with at least one version getting very good reviews.  Let’s start with Sabatini.  While Weyman, one would believe is all but forgotten, Sabatini enjoyed an excellent reputation down to at least my graduation from high school.  Probably not so much lately although my copy of Scaramouche is the Common Reader edition published in 1999 so  there must be fans out there.

     Sabatini was Burroughs exact contemporary- 1875-1950.  Like Burroughs he had to defend himself against charges of plagiarism.  His stuff all reads like you’ve read it somewhere before, so in Scaramouche he presents an extended defense of himself.

     Nevertheless he writes in a simple direct style that is ‘easy to uderstand’ but cleverly presented.  Sabatini was obviously one of the first to understand that stories written like movie scenarios had a better chance of selling to the movies.

     Like Burroughs he has his point of view which is admirably presented.  Also like Burroughs he was intellectually unsympathetic to Communism.  His reaction was less emotional that ERB.  Although Scaramouche is about the opening years of the French Revolution Sabatini gives it only a slanting attention as he concentrates on people who are caught up in the flood much against their wishes.  In that sense there is very little politics in the novel.  The participants are merely caught up in the political events.

     Scaramouche is a country lawyer unsympathetic to revolutionary ideology but he becomes a revolutionary fugitive when his Red friend is murdered by a reactionary nobleman.  The story is well developed and an exciting one with a lot of swordplay.  In fact Scarmouche become the fastest swordsman of France.  You can see what drew ERB’s attention to the novel.

     Of more importance for ERB and an undeveloped subplot of City Of Gold is one that involves Scaramouche’s ancestry.  Bearing in mind that ERB became a voluntary orphan when he was sent to the MMA I think Burroughs found the mystery of Scaramouche’s ancestry compelling.  Scaramouch is named after the clown of the Italian Comedia Del Arte which also nests neatly with the clown aspect of ERB’s psychology.

     It is thought that Scaramouche was the illigetimate son of a village nobleman.  The fact that the boy was well looked after by this man seemed proof.  In fact, as we learn later in the book Scaramouche is the bastard son of his foster father’s sister, the noblewoman, Madame de Plougastel.  She bore Scaramouche illegimately then trusted him to her brother.  Thus on one side Scaramouche was of noble birth.  An orphan or pretended orphan’s dream.  His father remains a mystery for the moment. 

     Scaramouche’s friend had been murdered by the nobeman Le Tour d’Azyr.  Scaramouche had sworn an eternal enmity to him.  At a crucial moment in the story Scaramouche learns that this same La Tour d’Azyr is his father.  I should have seen it coming from a long way off but I didn’t.  It is possible that ERB was surprised too.  Sabatini handles it well.  Thus Scaramouche the illegitimate child is a nobleman by birth on both sides but the Revolution invalidates this advantage. 

     It would have been normal for Burroughs to have concocted a fantasy in which his parents now dead to him were not his real parents but some mysterious others.  In fact he did concoct two fantasies: the one of John Carter who has been alive forever but can remember no parents and Tarzan whose parents were killed with the result that he was raised by ape foster parents.  Not exactly noble people in the ordinary sense but his deceased parents were.  One imagines the impact this really good story had on him although he first read it in the early twenties.

     In any event he attempts to weave in a subplot providing mysterious parentage for Nemone and her brother Alextar.  The subplot isn’t very well developed.  On the one hand we are asked to suspect that Nemone was the child of the old king and a Black M’duze who in her youth was tall and beautiful while on the other hand it is insinuated that Nemone is the child of Tomos and M’duze.  The latter through her machinations has placed Nemone on the throne and imprisoned Alextar.  So Burroughs throws in some misceganation which has always been the most excing literary topic of America, then as now.

     Not convincingly done by ERB he had nevertheless carried the story of Scaramouche around in his head for a decade waiting for the opportunity to employ it.

     Another book in ERB’s library which is influential here is Stanley J. Weyman’s Under The Red Robe.  Like Scaramouche this story was very well thought of in Hollywood being filmed more than once.  It seems a fact that ERB saw the 1923 silent film.  He was so impressed that he went out and bought the 1923 Grosset and Dunlap Photoplay Edition.  I obtained an identical copy so as to to have read the same text and viewed the same plates.

     I think I’ll have to include a few of Burroughs’ experiences at the MMA to bring this all together.  It would seem that Sabatini considered himself a psychological orphan also.  The man was born in Italy to an Italian father and an English mother.  As they were traveling actors, not unlike what Scaramouche becomes at one point in his story, they sent young Rafael back to England to live with relatives.  As Sabatini’s stories often concern orphans it follows that his reaction to being put away from his parents was that he considered himself an orphan.

     Burroughs was also put away by his father.  Three times.  He was sent to Idaho, Massachusetts and Michigan.  Thus he too was put away by his parents.  As his reaction was to play the clown developing an off beat sense of humor we know that he reacted negatively to all this shuffling about.  His exile to the Michigan Military Academy was the straw that broke the camel’s back.  He rebelled, running away.  The incident is treated rather uncomprehendingly by Porges in his biography which of course is my authority. 

     From ERB’s point of view the MMA was an elite reformatory school where bad rich boys were offloaded by their parents.  Thus the boy was declassed and slgihtly criminalized in his own mind.  As he treated his own sons and the Gilbert boy the same way it is easy to see how seriously he was affected by the experience.  ERB was cast adrift with no direction home which happened so many times to characters in his stories, most notably in the original short version of The Lad And The Lion.  ERBzine should publish the magazine version of this novel

     Having run away from the MMA he was promptly escorted back by his father becoming in his own mind an orphan as in Tarzan’s case and a motherless child as in John Carter’s.  Like the race horse Stewball of musical fame, Carter just blew down in a storm.  Another standard orphan’s solution to being forced outside society.

     Stanley J. Weyman’s (1855-1929) novel also meshes with this persona.  As a result of his mistreatment Burroughs developed a very negative self-conception.  He became, in fact, a ne’er-do-well.  Much to his father’s satisfaction I might add.  This self-conception would explain his eccentric behavior from the time he left the MMA in 1896 through 1903 if not for the rest of his life.  The man was conflicted.  On the one hand he knew he was very capable and on the other he felt worthless so he sought failure.

     A fact easily glided over is his quarterbacking and captaincy of the MMA football team.  One’s team members don’t elect one captain unless they have confidence in you.  One also cannot be quarterback without their confidence while quarterbacking requires organizational and executive abilities.  In fact the Burroughs led team defeated all comers in their class and while yet high schoolers they played the varsity teams of Michigan and Notre Dame.  The Burroughs led MMA fought the U of M to a tie.

     As a result he was offered a football scholarship to the University.  He might well have become a football hero having an entirely different kind of life.  ERB inexplicably declined the U of M offer.  He offered some lame excuse that both his brothers had attended Yale and it was Yale or nothing for him.  Possible but hardly probable.  Most likely he felt comforatable leading the juvenile delinquents of MMA while he didn’t feel respectable enought to lead the Wolverines.

     Leaving for the Army as an enlisted man instead he and a few other ne’er-do-wells formed a group calling themselves The Might Have Seen Better Days Club.  You don’t have to be a Freudian to figure that one out.  So I think his history in these years can be explained by his negative orphan self-image.

     There is one very crucial event, the shame of which never left him, that figures into the Nemone story.  That was when in Idaho he gambled away his and Emma’s last forty dollars.  Certainly this was a turning point in his life.

     In Weyman’s Under The Red Robe the hero is a ne’er-do-well who has exhausted all his chances but one.  Named de Berrault the story opens when he is accused of using marked cards in a French game of the early seventeenth century.  “Marked Cards!’ are the opening words of Weyman’s novel.

     Indeed it would seem certain that Burroughs felt he had been cheated of his forty dollars.  In my experience of card games I’m certain he was.  De Berrault insists he didn’t use marked cards but that he used the mirror behind the player.  Perhaps Burroughs said to himself when reading this:  Yeah.  that must have been it.  At any rate thirty years later the incident was green in his mind and Why Not?

     While The City Of Gold is crtical of Nemone/Emma ERB could never forget that he had done Emma wrong in gambling away those forty dollars.  Perhaps as much as anything his shame required a separation.  Perhaps he thought Emma was too good for a ne’er-do-well like himself.

     And then there is this very interesting passage in Under The Red Robe  p. 208:

     I stood a moment speechless and disordered; stunned by her words, by my thoughts- so I have seen a man stand when he has lost all, his last at the table.  Then I turned to her, and for an instant I thought that my tale was told already.  I thought she had pierced my disguise, for her face was aghast, stricken with sudden fear.  Then I saw that she was not looking at me but beyond me, and I turned quickly and saw a servant hurrying from the house to us.

     Just as I admired ERB’s version of this device of looking past the intermediate person so he admired Weyman’s.

     The line ‘I stood there speechless and disordered, stunned by her words, by my thoughts- when I have seen a man stand when he has lost his all, his last, at the table…’ must have resonated with ERB from the time he had experienced the same emotion in 1903 as Emma waited for him upstairs.

     It becomes seen how ERB wove his various influences into his writing.  At this point I would like to bring up another very long novel that formed a backdrop to ERB’s writing in general.  the novel is the ten volume, five thousand page work of George W.M. Reynolds entitledThe Mysteries Of  London or alternatively, The Mysteries Of The Court Of London.  Modeled after The Mysteries Of Paris Reynolds lacks the lunacy of Eugene Sue but maintains a fantastic level of excitement all the way through.  ‘The Master Of Adventure’ may very well have learned his own mastery from the pages of Reynolds.

     The further one gets into ERB library the more clear things become but to really understand the man I highly recommend the reading of the Mysteries of Paris and London.

     Another almost irrelevant theme ERB takes up in this novel is the theme of the Grand Hunt or the Man Hunt.  The idea is no way original to ERB; he seems to be in reaction to it, repelled by it.  I can’t pretend to trace the story back to its origins but the theme has been used repeatedly in movies and on television.  The story is attributed to Richard Edward Connell who is credited with writing the original short story in 1924 for which he received the O. Henry Prize for that year, entitled The Most Dangerous Game.  Perhaps the story was original to him but it doesn’t seem likely.

     The story was made into a movie starring Joel McCrea in 1932.  Whether this movie was released early enough in the year to influence City Of Gold I don’t know, or, perhaps Burroughs saw an advance screening.  At any rate ERB gives the idea an extended treatment and prominent place in his novel, actually using it twice.

     If Connell did indeed orginate the story in 1924 which seems unlikely than Buroughs treatment comes as close to plagiarism or, perhaps, appropriation as any story could.  That he is in raction to the story condemning its implications is obvious.

     In his version Tarzan defeats the aims of the hunters by carrying their intended victim to safety while adding the filup that he too was an intended victim.  At the very least the Man Hunt is one of the least disguised influences in the corpus.  Extraordinary in that no ruckus was raised by his appropriation of the story.  Either ERB was not taken seriously or he led a charmed life.


Should I stay, Or Should I Go?

     The crux of the story is Tarzan’s relationship with Nemone or, in other words, ERb’s relationship with Emma.  If the oeuvre is a guide ERB had already decided to throw his lot with Florence.  That seems clear from Tarzan And The Leopard Men.  City Of Gold then is mere procrastination.  One imagines that Florence was pestering him to break the news to Emma.  He would only muster the courage to do this at the end of 1933.  For now he seems torn and indecisive.

     The appearance is that Tarzan and Nemone would have gotten together but for two things.  The first was M’duze who seemed to exert some sort of hypnotic control over Nemone and the other was her pet lion, Belthar.

     M’duze was determined to maintain control over Nemone while Tarzan just left a bad taste in Belthar’s mouth.  It were well that Tarzan kept his distance.

     In point of fact Tarzan was a prisoner on parole.  He could easily have escaped or walked away but for two things: one was his fascination with Nemone and the other was that he was bound by oath to Gemnon to not escape.  In those days people had a sense of honor.

     ERB had constructed an interesting psychological situation in the female image of Nemone.  ERB has been really successful in portraying the Xy male construction of the Anima and Animus throughout the corpus but this is his first attempt as far as I know of constructing the XX of the female.

     This is always the qustion of whether he knew what he was doing.  This is a difficult question to answer but the enidence in the writing seems to imply he did.  The situation seems too perfect to be accidental.  As I’ve noted elsewhere when the chromosomal  division took place and sexual identities came into existence of the four possibilities, XXX and y, the male received an X and the y with the y making him male.  You can’t be male without the y, you can’t be female with it.  Boys are boys and girls are girls.  Now, this is not an ‘oh wow,  isn’t that interesting’ type of fact; the fact has consequences.

      For instance the whole burden of child bearing became the female’s portion.  I am not interested in all the different possibilites of how young are fertilized, incubated and born, yes, there are myriad possibilities but none of them apply to human beings but this one.  The method for human beings is impregnation in the womb, a nine month incubation period and then birth followed by a very long period of helpless development outside the womb.

     These simple facts determined the post partum relationship of the role of the male and the female.  When paternity was unknown the result was close knit communities held together by the offspring.  It was a question of interdependence whether Freud thought so or not.

     Physiologically  the male required the female for sexual release while the female was attracted by the y chromosome of the male, the penis envy for which Freud was castigated for uttering.  He wasn’t always right but he was right on this.

     While the female is XX chromosomally still one X is received from the mother which is of the passive ovum; the other X is received from the father’s mother through him in the form of an active X sperm.  The two Xes while both X are not identical.  If both were passive the female would be virtually immobile.

     Thus ERB posits the ovate X as M’duze who dominates Nemone’s Anima, which would be correct, while the male lion Belthar provides the activity of the X of the Animus.  Whether Burroughs thought this out or not, it works out.  Could be accidental, I suppose.

     Lacking the y chromosome which she formerly enjoyed during the sexless period the female has an uncontrollable  longing for the male or penis.  Thus Nemone and her desire for Tarzan.  Now, this is classic, no matter how indifferent or rude Tarzan is to her Nemone continues to have an intense longing, or love, for the Big Guy.

     This may or may not reflect Emma’s attitude toward Burroughs but Tarzan’s attitude toward Nemone certainly reflects Burroughs attitude toward Emma.  In point of fact, Emma’s fidelity is nothing short of marvelous.

     Also in Weyman’s Under The Red Robe which is an influence on City a subplot concerns the relations between a Mademoiselle de Cocheforet and the protagonist, de Berrault.  The lady distrusts the gentleman, as well she might as Cardinal Richelieu has suborned de Berrault to surreptitiously arrest her brother as a Huguenot.  De Berrault conceals his intentions but is found out when he arrests Mademoiselle’s brother.  Construing the arrest as a betrayal of her trust, which it wasn’t de Berrault forfeits the lady’s trust.

     Thus the novel combines the fateful card game with the forfeiture of Emma’s trust.  Having lost her trust ERB was never able to gain it back even though Emma continued with him loving, one supposes, the man despite his faults.  Quite possibly the situation between Tarzan and Nemone portrays the actual relationship between ERB and Emma in which as they were about to unite the past comes between them.

     Thus in Tarzan and Nemone’s first encounter Tarzan has fallen under Nemone’s spell being about to succumb when M’duze, or Nemone’s Anima, appears as though from the past, taps the floor with her staff breaking the spell while ordering Nemone from the room.  Belthar, Nemone’s Animus, rears up on his chains roaring and clawing the air at Tarzan.

     Thus both the Anima as represented by M’duze and the Animus as represented by Belthar interfere in Nemone’s attempt to realize her desire for Tarzan.

     The scene is repeated in reverse later in the novel as Nemone is about to succumb to Tarzan’s spell M’duze appears once again to disrupt the relationship.  Thus as in real life neither Burroughs nor Emma could get past that fatal card game.

     In the end then Tarzan presumes on Nemone’s desire too much.  She turns on him in the fury we all saw coming making him the object of the Grand Hunt.  One sees the influence of The Most Dangerous Game in ERB’s mind.  He is given a head start and then Belthar is released to pursue him.  Thus he is about to be destroyed by Nemone’s Animus.  ERB probably felt this way about Emma in real life.

     We have never seen the resourceful ape-man so defenceless and helpless before but now without his father’s knife to murder virtually defenseless lions Tarzan calmly awaits death after a game attempt to outrun Belthar.  He should have played dead;  we all know that story by now.

     Not to worry.  All during the novel a mysterious lion has been tracking the Big Bwana appearing at intervals in the story.  Perhaps some people were mystified as to who this lion was but not this writer, no sirree, Bob.  I knew it was Jad-Bal-Ja all along.  I was just surprised the Golden Lion hadn’t brought Nkima with him.

     Now just as Belthar rears to cut the Big Guy down to size Jad-Bal-Ja flashes past Tarzan to destroy Nemone’s lion.  As ERB says, Jad-Bal-Ja won because he was bigger.  Does that mean that ERB’s ego was bigger than Emma’s?

     The oeuvre needs a complete analysis of Tarzan and his relationship to animals for on one hand he is a beast.  The lion situation is complicated by the fact that originally there were to have been both lions and tigers in the series.  That would have changed the complexion of the stories.

     However after the magazine publication of Tarzan Of The Apes the readers created an uproar about the fact that there were no tigers in geographical Africa so Burroughs was forced to change tigers to lions for book publication.  I am unaware whether changes were made to the newspaper serialization of the story.

     The appearance is that Burroughs intended tigers to be villainous while lions were intended to be noble, as witness Jad-Bal-Ja.  In that situation most, if not all, the lions Tarzan killed would have been tigers.  Thus while as David Adams points out Tarzan kills a lion to put a seal on a sexual situation the very likely killing would have been a tiger.

     So the psychological aspect of the story gets skewed.  Just as Burroughs has insisted that Tarzan killed deer while there are no deer in Africa so his readers forced him to change Bara the deer to Bara the antelope by Tarzan The invincible.

     The climax of the story returns us again to the problem of lions in Burroughs.  As David Adams points our Tarzan kills a lion to put a seal on a sexual situation.   In this instance Tarzan is helpless but Jad-Bal-Ja his Anima substitute comes to his rescue which is the same as Tarzan killing Belthar.  Thus the killing of Belthar seals off Tarzan’s relationship to Nemone and ERB’s to Emma.

     I’m sure David Adams would take exception with me but I see Jad-Bal-Ja as an Anima figure of Tarzan/Burroughs while I see Belthar as the Anumus figure of Emma/Nemone.  I know both lions are males but the lion male or female is associatied with the goddess or Anima in Greek mythology.  A case can be made that the six gods and six goddesses are generalized archetypes  of the character types.

     Now, Jad-Bal-Ja came into the oeuvre at a critical time in the lives of ERB and Emma and at a critical juncture.  It is known that ERB walked out on Emma several times in the course of their marriage.  These instances are not well documented at this time.  It would appear that a very serious conflict in the marriage began at the time of Tarzan The Untamed through the period leading up to the writing of Tarzan And The Golden Lion.

     As Golden Lion opens Tarzan, Jane and Jack are returning from Pal-Ul-Don  from whence Tarzan has retrieved Jane.

     As I read the story there seems to be a certain coolness and distance between Tarzan and Jane on Tarzan’s part.  At this point the lion cub who will become Jad-Bal-Ja makes his appearance standing in the middle of the trail.  David’s sexual seal of the killed lion would be the cub’s mother who was accidentally killed by a Native who stumbled on the lioness and cub.  As a defense mechanism against Emme/Jane Tarzan/Burroughs adopts the cub as an Anima surrogate.

     In an email to me of 1/23/07 David makes these comments:

       Through the first nine Tarzan novels the hero gradually establishes the lion symbol as his own until in Tarzan And The Golden Lion he is completely aligned with his source of power in the merging of lion symbol and self/Jad-Bal-Ja.  Even though Jad is described as a glorified dog, this is only his personal devotion to the ape-man being explained in easy terms.  Tarzan himself always respects Jad, saying “A lion is always a lion.”  he is far from the domesticated ones in Cathne in purpose and spirit.

     My thinking is that David is right in that the lion symbol and self are united but not within the ego but separately as the Anima and Animus.  So what we have  is Anima/Jad-Bal-Ja and Animus/Tarzan. Tarzan is sort of doubly armed with two masculine sides with Jad-Bal-Ja being associated with the goddess and partaking in some way of her femininity.

     There wouldn’t be too much of a conflict between the female Anima and the Male Anima figure as ERB’s Anima was subsumed by the male fencing master Jules de Vac of The Outlaw Of Torn.   De Vac killed ERB/Norman’s Anima figure Maud and then assuming female attire lived with Norman in the attic of a house over the Thames for a fairly long period of time thus becoming a substitute Anima.

     Thus the anomaly of a male lion Anima is easily explained.  As a  symbol of the goddess Jad-Bal-Ja is, as it were, clothed in female attire as was De Vac.  Further Jad-Bal-Ja is always indifferent to Jane/Emma.  Jane has no real relationship with the Golden Lion.

     David once again:

     The mad queen of Cathne, Nemone, is an example of negative Anima, a feminine power corrupt and dangerous.  Her lion Belthar is the dark shadow opposite of Tarzan and Jad who are symbols of power and light and sun.  Her lion is treated as a dark god and is linked to Nemone’s own dark soul.  When Jad kills Belthar, Nemone kills herself because the source of her power is gone.  It is an archetypal case of light overcoming darkness.  The masculine power of light overcoming a dark feminine anima.

     In the general sense I have no problem with David’s analysis although I would argue that Belthar is Nemone’s Animus.  Nemone is playing the part of Circe in the myth of Odysseus while that story is the triumph of the male ego in freeing itself from matriarchal sexual thralldom.  This whole series of novels is related to the Odyssey.  So that, in that sense Tarzan is imprisoned by the charms of Nemone/Circe.  He is being emasculated, deprived of his will, by the feminine will by one might say, the maneater, Nemone.

     In fact Nemone as ruler of Cathne has emasculated the leonine male power.  As David Adams sagely observes:

     In Cathne lions are employed as domesticated animals for the purpose of pulling chariots, hunting and racing.  This is a reduction of the power of the lion symbol to the mundane, even to the point of being ridiculous.  It is a degradation and humiliaton of ERB’s ultimate symbol of power and virility.

     Yes, and that would be in keeping with the story of Circe who turned Odysseus’ crew into swine and would have Odysseus except that he had a pocketful of Moly, a charm to set Circe at naught.  Likewise the queen of the City of Gold of the Legends Of Charlemagne who enchanted the paladins of that king, except for one who then freed the others.

     So, Nemone had Tarzan at her mercy except for the strange situation of the lion of ERB’s Anima defeating the lion of Nemone’s Animus.

     Once this was done the charm of Nemone/Circe/Queen of the City of Gold was destroyed with the City of Gold being restored to male supremacy and Alextar restored to his rightful throne.  Things were then returned to their rightful order as in the domains of Circe and the Queen.  We are led to believe that a Utopian age begins.  This may be a slap at Wells and his Men Like Gods. 


     This review completes this very important series of five novels.  Obviously I consider the key novels to be Tarzan The Invincible, Tarzan And The Leopard Men and Tarzan And The Lion Man.  These novels are more directly concerned with ERB’s political and religious opinions.  A trilogy concerning ERB’s sexual problems could be made up of  Tarzan Triumphant, Leopard Men and City Of Gold bracketed by Invincible and Lion Man but Triumphant and City Of Gold appear to me to be more minor key than the other three.

     Nevertheless these five novels usually treated as the least significant of the series are the most crucial to the understanding of Burroughs while being very good stories in themselves.

     Excluding Tarzan And The Foreign Legion that is outside Burroughs’ psychological development, although a good story, ERB published only another three Tarzan novels in his lifetime and they were all decidedly inferior to that which preceded them, still good stories, but ERB’s concentration had been broken.  Tarzan’s Quest is the best of the last three but just as Lion Man ends with Burroughs’ dreams going up in flames so does Quest.  Perhaps eccentric best describes Tarzan And The Forbidden City.  The title says it all.  He was never to find salvation; the doors of the Sacred City remained closed to him.  Tarzan The Magnificent while having exciting episodes just doesn’t come together.

     Magnificent less Foreign Legion concluded the oeuvre until Castaways and Madman were discovered twenty years later.  However Burroughs himself chose not to publish those books so they must be an addendum to the series.  The two posthumous novels complete ERB’s psychological development being important in that respect for the student.

     Further his psychological development was brought to a head during the writing of these five novels.  In this tremendous struggle between ERB, the Communists and the Jews ERB was routed by the time he wrote Tarzan And The Lion Man.  He didn’t think his tactics and strategy through to the end.

     Thus ERB’s whole life was a prelude to the Gotterdamerung that ended as Tarzan fled the City of God.

     ERB’s whole life is a magnificent adventure that in itself would make a tremendous movie with the right and unfettered treatment.  It could the grandest of grand opera worhty of Mozart.  I’d like to see it; even better i’d like to write it.

A Contribution To The Edgar Rice Burroughs

Library Project.

A Review

The Sheik


E.M. Hull

by R.E. Prindle

The Novel

     The Sheik by E.M. Hull is found in ERB’s library.  The novel published at the beginning of 1921 was a runaway bestseller going through thirty-0ne printings by October.  My copy is of the thirty-first printing.  How many more it may have gone through I am not aware.

     The book was quickly made into the movie of the same name starring Rudolph Valentino and released on November 20th of the same year.  Thus the impact would have been redoubled on ERB reading the book and seeing the movie.

Having troubles in his relations with Emma, he was somewhat bedeviled by what she wanted as Freud was by what women wanted.  The Sheik presented one woman’s solution to the problem of what women want. The Englishwoman E.M. Hull examined the problem in some detail.  Her solution would find expression in ERB’s Tarzan And The Ant Men of 1923 in the story of the Alalus women.


     While Mrs. Hull’s novel is invariably reviewed as a soft core porn novel it is actually quite a serious attempt to explore what women want.  Not a potboiler, the story is well thought out and carefully constructed.

     The story falls into the category of the desert nomad thriller.

     The scene is somewhere between Biskra and Oran in Algeria.  Biskra is the southernmost point on the railroad from the coast to the Sahara in the East of Algeria.  It is an oasis area and was a winter resort for Europeans.  This area was also the scene of Robert Hitchen’s The Garden Of Allah and the Sahara scenes from Edgar Rice Burroughs’ The Return Of Tarzan.

The Author

     As with Hitchens’ the desert serves as a symbol for self-realization and redemption.  The story was written as the career of the rebel Abd El Krim was reaching its apex in the Rif.  Krim’s story was terrifically romantic for women of the era.  I had a high school history teacher in the fifties who was still capable of gushing about Krim thinking him the most manly and desirable of men.

     As with Hitchens the story revolves around a man and a woman.  The woman an Englishwoman and the man a Krim like sheik of the desert.


     The woman is appropriately named Diana.  Diana was the virgin huntress of Greek mythology who spurned all relations with men thus putting her in enmity with Aphrodite.  She is somehow related to the Lady Of The Lake of ancient Lacedaemon which name means Lady Of The Lake and in a line of progression to the Northern European archetype of the second half of the Piscean Age.  This is a rather strange female archetype to represent the Northern European psyche.  She is a cold unloving symbol that may have something to do with the European character.

     Whether Mrs. Hull knew these things or not she represents them perfectly in her story.  This is quite extraordinary.

     Thus her Diana was raised by her brother as a boy.  She is represented throughout the story as an ambiguous girl-boy, nearly a hermaphrodite.  She is herself a skilled huntress who has no use for men.  As the story opens she has yet to be kissed.  Mrs. Hull skillfully represents the respect that Northern European men have for their women which in itself may be conditioned by the Diana image.  They are easily put off.  When one man asks Diana for a kiss he accepts his rejection with equanimity asking only if they can at least be pals.

     The Sheik as the wild man of the desert knowing no law but his will offers quite a contrast.  By the time of Mrs. Hull’s novel ERB had already explored the same literary territory in the Return Of Tarzan and The Lad And The Lion as well as The Cave Girl.  I would hesitate to say Mrs. Hull had read Burroughs but the Sheik is portrayed as a Tarzan like superman in a decidedly pulp manner.

     The Sheik does not observe any civilized niceties.  At one point Mrs. Hull refers to his civilization being less than skin deep.  As the Sheik, Ahmed, says, if he wants something he takes it.  Having seen Diana in the marketplace of Biskra he sets out to kidnap and rape her.  There are no other words for it and Mrs. Hull does not mince them.

     His plan worked out so that he buys off Diana’s desert guide to deliver her to him on the first night out of Biskra.  Prior to that he surreptitiously serenaded her on the night before even entering her room in the dark while she is there to replace the bullets in her pistol with blanks to prevent her from shooting him in the desert which she did attempt to do.


     Now, Mrs. Hull is presenting an allegory so the novel is filled with symbols.  The key symbol is the horse.  The horse is, of course, a symbol of the female associated with the Greek god Poseidon.  In ancient times the symbol of the bull was associated with the missing y chromosome of the female being replaced in Patriarchal times with the horse.  Thus the Patriarchal goddess Athene is sometimes represented as horse headed.

     When the guide brings Diana a horse to ride it is a magnificent creature much better than she might have expected from a commercial enterprise.  The horse has actually been provided by Ahmed the Sheik so as Diana leaves Biskra she is already mounted on the Sheik’s horse- a powerful sexual symbol.  The horse is trained to respond to signals from The Sheik.

     The story is filled with horses and horse races between she and the Sheik.  In one race the Sheik gives her a minute to stop or he will shoot her horse dead which he does.  He then places Diana in front of him on his horse (these horses are all magnificent and beyond magnificent) at which point she realizes that she is not only in love with the Sheik but has been for some time.

     Previous to this time she had noted in the camp

     …but it was the horses that struck Diana principally.  They were everywhere, some tethered, some wandering loose, some excercising in the hands of grooms.

     So everywhere is the symbol of the female.  At this stage Diana has been sexually subordinated to the Sheik but she is intellectually resisting.  The Sheik puts on a demonstration of how useless her resistance is as he fully intends to break her.

     A man eater is brought out who has killed a man earlier that morning.  The horse obviously represents Diana.  Some two or three men attempt to break the horse but they all fail.  Then the Sheik mounts.  The result is a thoroughly exhausted and beaten horse.  She stops fighting with her legs splayed while the Sheik jumps off.  Then the horse rolls over left with no will of its own.

     This is exactly Diana’s situation.  Earlier she had boasted to her brother:  I will do what I choose, and I will never obey any will but my own.

     That is now proven an empty boast as the Diana riding in front of the Sheik chooses to obey the Sheik’s will.

     Perhaps Mrs. Hull has prophesied the submission of England’s will of today to the desert Sheiks.  As of now the Moslems have all but assumed religious control of England.  Thus England as Diana has submitted its sexuality to the sons of the Sheiks.

     However Diana’s Sheik still has to prove himself as the dominant male of his society to retain her allegiance.  One hesitates to say that she perversely tests him nevertheless having been cautioned to take care on her desert rides she insists on going too far afield.  Naturally she and her seven man escort are ambushed by the fat swarthy greasy rival sheik’s men.  Six of the seven escorts die joyously defending their sheik’s property.  The seventh, the sheik’s European manservant gets the classic bullet crease alongside the head.  Diana disappears into the fat greasy sheik’s tent.  This guy is everything an Arab sheik should have been in contemporary European eyes.  Fat, greasy, swarthy, unbelievably smelly, uncouth to the nth degree.  There’s no doubt there’s the fate worse than death for the boyish, sylphlike, slender, lithe Diana.  Yes, it seems pretty certain, unless…

     Here comes the Sheik with a small but loyal and dedicated band of followers eager to die for their leader.  Just as the greasy, swarthy sheik  has got it out and ready in crashes Ahmed  in the nick of time.  Rather than shooting the bastard and getting it over with he wants to dispatch El Greaso by hand.  As we all know strangling a a struggling strong man takes a little time.  Enough time for El Greaso’s vile Ebon followers to burst into the tent.  Right behind them come Ahmed’s men.  Shades of Tarzan!  Ahmed takes a severe blow to the head and a couple long blades in the back.

     Will he live?  After muttering a couple pages similar to the last words of Dutch Schultz the matter is in the hands of Allah and the European surgeon.  As much as I like having god on my side, in certain situations a good surgeon is even better.

      Nevertheless if Ahmed lives he has proven himself to be the right man for Diana.  Interestingly the virgin huntress has submitted to the law of Aphrodite.  The European archetype has accepted the dominance of the Moslem Arab.

     Well, almost.  In the first place the tribe of Ahmed is very interesting according to his French friend who arrived in time for the big battle.  It seems that Ahmed’s tribe is different from the rest of the desert greasers.  It is inferred that his tribe is one of the legendary White tribes supposed to be living in the Sahara.  Undoubtedly a surviving remnant of Atlantis that moved South when the Mediterranean flooded.

Why, in addition, it turns out that Ahmed isn’t even an Arab.  It seems that he’s actually English.  Well, an English Spanish blend.  His English father when in his cups did some unspeakable thing to Ahmed’s mother when she was pregnant with him and she was found by Ahmed Sr. Ahmed Jr.’s adopted father wandering dazed and confused beneath the broiling desert sun.

     Taken in she dropped Ahmed Jr. and died.  The baby was raised as the successor to Ahmed Sr.  But he developed an uncontrollable hatred for England, its people and all things English.  That’s why he captured and raped Diana over and over.  But it’s OK, they both realize they love each other now.

     The lesson seems to be that that’s what woman wants:  a man who can earn her repect by dominating and controlling her while at the same time being the dominant male in his society, being able to provide all her wants and desires while being able to defend her from the El Greasos of the world.  So all the necessary elements come together here and we have a marriage if not made in heaven perfect for terrestrial travails.

     If nothing else ERB learned where he had failed Emma in the beginning but who now wondered in his own role of sheik where the rewards from Emma were.

     I’m going to speculate that ERB read the story in 1921.  He might have enjoyed Valentino in the movie but I think it improbable that the silent film came near capturing the nuances of the novel.  I’m sure the signficance of Diana as female European archetype didn’t come through on celluloid.

     Was it even in Mrs. Hull’s mind one may perhaps ask.  Is it possible I’m projecting my beliefs on Mrs. Hull’s story?  It is possible but consider this passage in The Sheik:

     He was so young, so strong, so made to live.  He had so much to live for.  He was essential to his people.  They needed him.  If she could only die for him.  In the days when the world was young the gods were kind, they listened to the prayers of hapless lovers and accepted the life they were offered in the place of the beloved whose life was claimed.  If God would but listen to her now.

     So we know that Mrs. Hull was read in Greek mythology.  It would seem inevitable that she was familiar with the stories of King Arthur to some degree.  Certainly she knew the story of Merlin and Vivian.  She was a writer.  Knowing little about Mrs. Hull it is impossible for me to know for certain exactly what she read or understood.  And yet, there it is in the pages of her novel if one has eyes to see.  The Sheik is as much a work of mythology as is that of Burroughs’ Tarzan.  It is possible that neither was conscious of what they were saying but the information taken into their minds was transformed subconsciously, at least, into the form in which it issued forth from their pens.  It works that way for writers.  I am often astonished at the subliminal message of what I write.  Did I intend it?  Must have.  There it is.  Still, I do put myself into a mild trance when I’m writing so that I concentrate on words rather than ideas.  So the words are more conscious while the content is more subliminal.  We know ERB wrote from a trancelike state and Mrs. Hull’s story has that quality.  I think we have enough evidence to know that she had read the mythological material so that whether she had consciously formulated her ideas they come out in her writing.  In short, I don’t think I’m projecting much if anything.  Tra la.

     There is no doubt that The Sheik made a big impression on ERB.  The question is how did he understand it.  His first reaction appeared in 1923’s Tarzan And The Ant Men in the weird parody of the Alalus people in which he reverses the male-female roles with the women being stronger and dominant.  As Ahmed figures the women brutally dominate the men.  Using them for sexual pleasure then discarding them.  ERB’s story seems to be tongue in cheek but without a reference point the ridiculous story is hard to follow.  With E.M. Hull’s The Sheik I believe we have the reference point.

     It seems clear that Mrs. Hull was influenced by Robert Hitchens’ The Garden Of Allah.  What is not clear is whether she was influenced by Edgar Rice Burroughs and if so by what novels.  The Sheik follows a pulp format.  So, if Mrs. Hull read the pulps on a regular basis there is no reason to believe that she was not familiar with some of his work as Burroughs certainly by 1920 when she probably began the novel was already the premier pulp writer.

     If that was the case it seems likely that she might have read The Return Of Tarzan and The Lad And The Lion, perhaps The Cave Girl.  If she read Lad then she reversed the roles of the chief male and female characters making the Woman English and the man Arab.

     I haven’t read the magazine version of The Lad And The Lion so I am not sure of the specific changes ERB made between the 1913 version and the 1938 rewrite for book publication.  The rewrite shows clear evidence of influence from The Sheik unless of course Mrs. Hull was reflecting the influence of the Lad on herself.  In any event the two books reflect an influence from one to the other.

     So, as with Trader Horn and Burroughs it is possible that Hull was influenced by Burroughs and with both of these authors Burroughs reading of them was reflected in his subsequent writing.

     Our list of reciprocal influences is growing when one adds that of H.G. Wells.  What once seemed simple grows more complex.

Postscript:  I have since learned that Mrs. Hull was a student of mythology.

Springtime For Edgar Rice Burroughs


R.E. Prindle


How Waldo Became A Man


     In the complex of meanings of Waldo the question is how much Burroughs bases the character on himself.  In the question of health there is no question that Burroughs had issues after his bashing in Toronto in 1899.

     Judging from the Girl From Farris’s his health was a serious problem for him at least until early 1914 when he finished Farris’s.  During those years he suffered from debilitating excruciatingly painful headaches for at least half the day.  He either awakened with them or they developed mid-day.  There is evidence that he became interested in Bernarr Macfadden’s  body building and health techniques when Macfadden opened his Chicago facilities in 1908.  If he were involved then perhaps the benefits of such a regimen were becoming apparent in1913-14.  In 1916 in the photograph in puttees taken at Coldwater he looks like a healthy specimen and proud of it.

     ERB gives Waldo the wasting disease Tuberculosis putting him on a regimen of exercise in the healthy dry air of his island thus curing him within a few months.  This process is reminiscent of Grey’s hero John Hare of Heritage Of The Desert or the development of the Virginian in Owen Wister’s novel.

     Burroughs claimed that his writing was heavily influenced by his dreamworld.  If so then in this story as well as his others each character must represent a real person who figures in his life; the story must represent a real situation in symbolical form.

     As authors so often claim their characters are composites it is likely that Burroughs also combines memories of other people with his own dreams.  As Burroughs consciously manipulates his dream material he tweaks it into shape to make an entertaining novel then overlaying his conscious desires on his subconscious hopes and fears.

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     In addition Burroughs retains his literary influences using them to give form to his dreamscapes.  Indeed, his influences fill his mind so full they become part of his dreamscapes.  The island he creates is similar to but not identical with Jules Verne’s Mysterious Island.  This becomes very apparent in the sequel, The Cave Man, when Waldo sets about to improve his little society.  He isn’t as obsessive-compulsive as Verne but along those lines.

     Verne’s island figures prominently in many of Burroughs narratives.  Oddly the book isn’t in his library.

     ERB began telling his life’s story the moment he took up his pen.  While John Carter seems to be dissociated from his own personality Tarzan is a true alter ego, a psychic doppelganger.  Tarzan Of The Apes is a symbolical telling of his life’s story from birth to 1896 while the Return of Tarzan covers the four years from 1896 to 1900 and his marriage.  (See my Four Crucial Years In The Life Of Edgar Rice Burroughs here on ERBzine.)

     The Girl From Farris’s deals with the troubled years from 1899 to, it appears, March of 1914.  Thus Cave Girl addresses his difficulties in making the transition to writer and then full time writer with the attendant marital or sexual problems.  These marital or sexual problems occupy him through many novels in this first burst of creativity from 1913 to 1915.

     Porges in working from Burroughs’ own papers in his biography has very little input from outside sources but some.  The first material we have to work with from an outsider’s point of view is Matt Cohen’s  fine edition of Brother Men, the collection of the Burroughs-Weston correspondence.  Weston being ERB’s friend from MMA days.  At the time of the divorce they had been in touch for forty years.

     However I think that figure may be a little misleading as the two men had very little contact during that period.  ERB met Weston in 1895 at the MMA at the beginning of the school year.  He was one year younger than ERB.  As Burroughs left the MMA in May of ’96 the two must have become fast friends in just eight or nine months.  It isn’t probable that they met again before 1905 when Weston was passing through Chicago with his wife Margaret.  At that time both Westons would have met Emma.  From that time to the end of ERB’s Chicago period except for the occasional brief layover in Chicago the relationship was carried on by correspondence although as Burroughs seems to have some knowledge of Weston’s home town, Beatrice, Nebraska as evidenced in the second half of The Mad King it is possible he and Emma visited Weston but that would have had to have been between March ’14 and August ’14.  Narrow window.

     Thus when Weston talks so knowingly of Burroughs’ character in the letter of 1934 I will refer to I would have to question the depth of his knowledge.  At any rate he claims to have knowledge of the difficulties of the marriage.

     Weston was completely devastated by the announcement of the divorce.  He immediatly sided with Emma breaking off relations with ERB for several years.

     It appears from the letter of 1934 reproduced on page 233 of Brother Men that he contacted Burroughs’ LA friend Charles Rosenberger for information on the divorce.  We have only Weston’s reply but not Rosenberger’s letter.

     In reply to Rosenberger Weston says:


     I have known Ed since the fall of ’95.  He has always been unusual and erratic.  I have told Margaret many times, when Ed has done or said anything which seemed sort of queer that as long as I had known him he had always done or said such things. 

 (One of the most significant odd things would have been Burroughs leaving the MMA in mid-term in May to join the Army.  One imagines that when he didn’t show up for classes next day the faculty asked: Where’s Burroughs.  Perhaps Weston was the only one who knew and had to say:  Uh, he joined the Army.)

      I suppose looking back, that the fact that Ed has always been unusual, erratic and perhaps queer, has been his great charm and attraction for me.


     I don’t know about you but if my best friend talked about me like that I would be less than flattered.  There is another back handed compliment that Weston made to Burroughs’ father in his defense.

     Burroughs’ father had made the comment to Weston that his son was no damn good.  Good to have your dad on your side too.  Weston defended ERB vigorously saying that he thought there was plenty of good in ERB, he just hadn’t shown it yet.  Thank you, Herb Weston.

     If one judges from the actions of Ogden Secor in Girl From Farris’s after he was hit on the head and if his actions approximated those of Burroughs from 1899 on then there was probably a very good reason for ERB’s unusual, erratic perhaps queer behavior apart from the fact that ERB had developed the typical character of his difficult childhood.

     In reading the correspondence Weston comes across as a very conventional and highly respectable person; in other words, stodgy.  It must have been that settled bourgeois quality in him that ERB appreciated.  Weston did many of the things that Burroughs would have liked to have done.  Weston did go on to Yale from the MMA which is what Burroughs would have liked to have done.  Weston did become an officer in the Army.

     On page 157 of Brother Men is a discussion of the Spanish American War.  If I read it correctly Weston actually served in Cuba with a Tennessee regiment.  So Burroughs had reason to be envious of him as he failed in his own attempts to get into Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders.

      Nevertheless Weston’s evaluation of Burroughs uses some strong language who after all didn’t have that intimate a relationship with him:  unusual, erratic perhaps queer.  Honestly, I don’t think I would have a friend very long who thought of me that way.

     Weston is bitterly disappointed but later in the letter he refers to Burroughs as a crazy old man so, at the least, we can assume that to the average mentality Burroughs appeared eccentric.  As one in the same boat I can’t help but root for the author of Tarzan.  What but an unconventional mind could have conceived such a story.

     Burroughs antecedents had created his persona by 1895 so the crack on the head in Toronto merely added to his unusual persona.

     Apart from any inferences about Ralph Waldo Emerson and the Transcendentalists the sickly character of Waldo may represent Burroughs’ own health problems from 1899 to the time of The Cave Girl.

     I feel certain that Burroughs followed some sort of health or body building regimen from perhaps 1908-09 when the American body building king Bernarr Macfadden opened his Chicago facilities to 1913.  Although Ogden Secor of Girl From Farris’s was still sickly in 1914 perhaps Burroughs health was improving as Waldo evolves from a skinny sickly person to a ‘blond giant’ before our eyes.  ‘Blond Giant’ also brings to mind Nietzsche’s ‘Great Blond Beast.’  I think it would be pushing it to say Burroughs read Nietzsche, nevertheless Burroughs always seems to be well informed when you look closely. He might easily have picked up references to the ‘Blond Beast’ from newspapers, magazines and conversation.

     Weston is especially incensed at Burroughs leaving Emma who both he and his wife Margaret seem to have preferred.  They did travel to California to visit Emma while ignoring ERB.

     Weston quotes Rosenberger to the effect that ERB told Rosenberger that he had always wanted to rid himself of Emma.  To which Weston replies:


     Charming, unusual, erratic personality that Ed is, there is no woman on earth that would have lived with him, and put up with him except Emma, and do not be fooled!  Emma suited Ed plenty, until this insane streak hit him.


     So we have an outsider’s view of the situation.  He considers Burroughs over the line in his personality to be redeemed by his charm.  Weston had asked Rosenberger his opinion of the situation between ERB and Emma.  ERB had apparently told Rosenberger after the split that he had always wanted to rid himself of Emma.

     As far as Burroughs’ persdonality goes it would be in keeping with a person of his background who had been bounced from school to school.  Waldo may in part be a nasty caricature of the East Coasters Burroughs associated with at the Phillips Academy.  As is well known Easterners at the time and still today disdain those from the West.  One has the feeling that Burroughs valued his Idaho experiences highly thus the transformation from the wimpy Easterner of Waldo to the Blond Giant of the great outdoors may be Burroughs snub of his Eastern classmates.

     At any rate when Weston met Burroughs at the beginning of classes in ’95 ERB’s personality seems set.

     By ‘saying things’ one presumes that Weston means Burroughs had an outsider’s ‘eccentric’ sense of humor.  I have a feeling that a few of we Bibliophiles know where that’s at.  Certainly Burroughs’ stories reflect this trait.  So, between Burroughs and Weston we have a clash of two different backgrounds.

     As to Emma I believe that Burroughs was always dissatisfied with the fact that he had married when he did whoever he might have married.  He has been quoted as saying that Tarzan never should have married so that idea can probably be applied to him.

     If circumstances hadn’t forced his hand he very likely would have remained single.  According to his psychology the right time for him to find a woman and marry would have been after 1913 and his success when he was in effect born again and a new man.

     So when he says he never really wanted Emma as a wife I’m sure that is true.  However he did marry the woman.  So from 1913 to 1920 we have Burroughs struggling with his desire to honor his life long committment to Emma and his contrary desire to find his ideal ‘mate’ a la Dejah Thoris, La, Nadara and a number of others.  Not so easily done in real life and after great success but still possible.

     Added to his problem was his embarrassing behavior in Idaho when he gambled away the couple’s last forty dollars.  Emma reacted badly to the Western interlude in their marriage.  Burroughs’ rather feckless attitude toward earning a living between the return from Idaho and his early success in 1913 undoubtedly caused emotional problems for Emma but as Weston says she stuck by him during those lean years and as he says, there were a lot of them.

     Even in 1913 when the couple earned the first real money they had ever seen Burroughs was recklessly spending it before he got it based only on his confidence that he would always be a successful writer something which by no means necessarily follows.

     Emma was very proud of Burroughs as the photo ERBzine published of the couple in San Diego shows however her pride obviusly conflicted with her fears so that she may have nagged ERB in what he considered an unjustified way.

     On one level Cave Girl can be construed to be a record of their relationship up to the moment with Burroughs trying to reconcile the relationship according to his confident understanding of the situation.

     Writing in February-March in Chicago we have this view.  In September of 1913 the family left for San Diego.  Writing in San Diego during October-November in the Mad King things seem to be deteriorating as Burroughs seems to be pleading with Emma to be reasonable.  Thus the Mad King concerns Prince and Pauper doppelgangers who are appealing to the same woman.

     This situation may have been caused by a situation that would be very reminiscent to Emma of her situation in Idaho of ten years earlier.  On this trip in which ERB and Emma were as alone and isolated as in Idaho ERB was taking another very large gamble with Emma’s and her three little children’s wellbeing at stake.   As ERB proudly tells it the family, no longer just a wife, but a family of five were within an ace of being flat broke if any one of the stories Burroughs wrote in 1913 failed to sell.  Unlike Idaho this was a gamble the Roving Gambler won.  Now, perhaps Burroughs thought this redeemed his earlier faux pas, probably to himself it did.  But what about Emma?  What terrific anxieties  assailed her as she wondered whether they would have a roof over their heads from day to day.

     We need more facts.  Perhaps the move from Coronado to San Diego was forced by necessity to reduce costs.  Perhaps selling the Vellie was necessary to raise cash.  Thus Emma in the midst of this actual plenty of a $10,000 income was a virtual pauper in silks and diamonds.  Would there be any wonder if she were cross and nagging?  As Weston said there were difficulties in living with Burroughs.

     Burroughs then rather than attempting to make reasonable adjustments in his behavior yearned for the perfect mate who would ‘understand’ him.

    Nevertheless he had to bear the burden assigned him.  Let us assume that as Weston said, at one time Emma suited Ed plenty.  That’s an outsider’s opinion but the evidence of this group of novels is that ERB was doing his best to rectify his past for Emma.  If Waldo is portrayed as clownish I’m sure that ERB had played the clown in real life for some time.  As Weston said ERB had always said and done unusual things.  He doesn’t say what they were but in all likelihood the things he said and did were meant to be jokes, to be funny.  After all he describes Tarzan as a jungle joker.  The jokes that Tarzan perpetrated originated in ERB’s mind so he had to think those jokes were funny.  They were usually practical jokes.  No one really like a practical joker.  The psychological needs that go into a practical joke are compensatory.

     Where he failed Emma in the past he seems to be trying to make up for it.  Perhaps his financial gamble in 1913 in some way compensates for his gambling failure in 1903 reversing the outcome of 1903 and making it alright.  His actions in 1913 are so zany one has to ask what he thinks he is doing.



     Leaving their little Eden Waldo and Nadara set out for her village where Korth and Flatfoot await him with Nagoola in the background.

     Thus Waldo’s tasks as set for him by Nadara are to kill Korth and Flatfoot.  Waldo quite correctly realizes that these two tasks are beyond his present powers.  So, within sight of the village he makes excuses to Nadara then abandons her running away.  He heads out to the Wasteland.  He appears to be living in a near desert.

     Over the next several months he transforms himself from a tubercular wimp into a ‘Blond Giant.’  Tarzan has black hair so perhaps Waldo has to be blond.

     One can’t be sure but this period may represent the years from John The Bully to ERB’s proposal to Emma.  At any rate Waldo can’t forget Nadara having a longing for her.  During his period in the Wasteland he fashions weapons for himself that make him superior in prowess to the cave men.  He fashions a spear, a shield and what Burroughs jokingly, I hope, refers to as a sword, that is a sharp pointed short stick with a handle.  No bow and arrow.  So rather than a primitive Tarzan we have a primitive Lancelot.  Waldo is actually outfitted as a knight, a la Pyle, while when he acquires the pelt of Nagoola he will be, as it were, encased in armor.  So Pyle, or at least Arthur, is an influence.

     In a comedy of errors Nagoola manages to kill himself by falling on Waldo’s spear.  In one sense this means that Waldo has invested his sexual desires in Nadara while perhaps it is symbolic of Burroughs’ desire to do the same with Emma.  At the same time the panther skin makes Nadara the best dressed girl around.  It is perhaps significant that he kills Nagoola first before Korth and Flatfoot.

     If one looks again at that ERBzine photo of ERB and Emma in San Diego one will notice that Emma is wearing some spiffy new togs.  In her father’s house Emma was a clothes horse.  In another ERBzine photo showing ERB and Emma walking in the wilds of Idaho Emma is still dressed to the nines while ERB shambles along beside her in a cheap baggy suit.

     From that point in 1903 to the efflorescence  of wealth in 1913 Emma had to make do with whatever garb she could afford which must have been depressing for her.  As Weston says that was a sacrifice she was willing to make for her man.

     Not in 1913 in Cave Girl but in 1914 in Cave Man Waldo invests Nadara with Nagoola’s pelt.  Now, Waldo suffered grievously to acquire this skin.  That was a major battle out there in the Wasteland.  Let us assume that the skin represents Waldo’s sexual desires and that in clothing Nadara in the skin he is making her his queen or princess.

     Thus in 1913-14 for the first time in his life ERB is able to reestablish Emma as a clothes horse.  He has finally been able to do his duty as a man and husband.  She can now buy as many clothes of whatever quality she likes and ERB is happy to have her do it.  So, in a symbolic way ERB had a terrific struggle that scarred him psychologically as Waldo was physically scarred by the talons of Nagoola.  Now, Burroughs was proud to be able to dress Emma to her desires.  In the same way that the panther represents Waldo’s investing Nadara with his sexual desires so Emma’s clothes represent the same to ERB.

     It was now up to Emma to forgive ERB for his failings and treat him as her hero.  Perhaps ERB was a little premature.  I think that he would have had to woo her all over again.  While he had conficence he would be able to go on writing indefinitely the surety of such was problematic to others like Emma and actually ERB’s editor at Munsey, Bob Davis.  Davis told him point blank that guys like Burroughs start strong, shoot their wad and fall out after two or three years.  As far as others were concerned Burrroughs future remained to be seen.  The evidence is that Davis and other editors thought that Burroughs had Tarzan and that was it.  Apart from the Mars series how much of this other stuff was pubished to humor Burroughs to cajole more Tarzan novels  is a question.  Still, the fans seemed to receive it well.  Cave Girl was even serialized in the New York papers.

     Nadara has set Waldo three tasks all of them murderous.  He is to kill Nagoola, Korth and Flatfoot.  Having fulfilled the killing of Nagoola Waldo after several months sets out to return to Nadara to fulfill his last two committments. 

     Before he invests Nadara with Nagoola’s pelt he first kills Korth and Flatfoot.  These are monster battles where like the knights of old, Lancelot, Waldo is hurt near to death. 

     Now, what would Emma nag ERB about during those lean years?  The clothes have already been discussed so that leaves the monetary success to acquire them.  So the slaying of the pair of cave men may represent financial success.  Financial success came with the creation of John Carter and Tarzan.  So let’s assume that Korth represents John Carter and Flatfoot Tarzan.  The creation of the two or the slaying of those dragons opens the way for the hero Waldo/ERB to present Nadara/Emma with the first task, clothing.

     Having killed Korth and Flatfoot Waldo still has to make up with Nadara for abandoning her at the threshhold to her village.  Not an easy task.  Waldo pleads that he has done everything she asked but she remains obdurate.  This probably relflects ERB and Emma’s situation.  A situation that apparently was never satisfactorily resolved.

     But then it seems as though there is a change in the characterization and Nadara reverts back to Nadara of the beginning of the book while Waldo, believe it or not, becomes a god, if Nadara had known what gods were.  Waldo scrambles up some fruit trees to toss down some food that seems to bring them together.  In the last pages Burroughs gets schmaltzy writing close to purple passages.

     At this time Nadara spots a yacht out over the waves.  The yacht is a major theme during the teens and especially in this 1913-14 period.  The significance seems to be that Burroughs envisioned his early life as The Little Prince as life on a yacht.  Then the big storm comes changing his life as it sinks.  Then begins the struggle for existence capped by the eventual triumph.

     The yacht first appeared in Return Of Tarzan.  This is its second appearance.  Tarzan wasn’t on the yacht in Return and Waldo doesn’t get on the yacht in Cave Girl although he does in the sequel The Cave Man but that was a year later in 1914.  So things are evolving rapidly in ERB’s psychology.

     In this case he plans to join the yacht that he recognizes as his father’s.  Having abandoned Nadara once she imagines he is about to do so again so she runs off.

     Thoughts run through Waldo’s mind as he envisions a return to civilization with Nadara.


     For a time the man stood staring at the dainty yacht and far beyond it the civilization which it represented, and he saw there suave men and sneering women, and among them was a slender brown beauty who shrank from the cruel glances of the women- and Waldo writhed at this and at the greedy eyes of the suave men as they appraised the girl and he, too, was afraid.


     “Come,” he said, taking Nadara by the hand, “let us hurry back into the hills before they discover us.”


     And so Waldo decides to remain in the stone age.

     He and Nadara had left the little bag containing the relics of her mother behind.  The crew of the yacht discover the bag just on the inland side of the forest.

     Then we discover that Nadara is in fact the daughter of French nobles.  Burroughs seems to have some love affair going on with the French.  Many of his most attractive characters such as Paul D’Arnot, Nadara here, Miriam of Son of Tarzan are Gallic.  So Burroughs admires most the English, the French and the Virginians it would seem.

     Nadara is the daughter of Eugenie Marie Celeste de la Valois so she is a legitimate princess.

     Thus ends the Cave girl with seeming finality.  The way is open to the sequel but the closing seems final.

     I haven’t read a book that replicates the final scene but I suspect that ERB borrowed it.  I wouldn’t be surprised to learn of an earlier duplicate.

End Of Part 4c.


A Review

The Lad And The Lion


Edgar Rice Burroughs

Edgar Rice Burroughs

Review by R.E. Prindle

30 pages,

     Now were moving into the twenties.  The trans-Atlantic cable was laid in 1859 so telegraphic communications have bridged the Atlantic.  Wireless is becoming a reality about to create the great radio networks.  Primitive commercial air routes were still a decade or so in the future while the great passenger ships could cross the Atlantic safely in a week.

     The Atlantic would be flown within a few years but as of the early twenties the speed and ease of our travel had not yet commenced.  Still, it was now possible to closely coordinate activities as was done by the American Communists and their handlers from the Soviet Union.

     By 1923 Freudian sex notions, Marxist political fantasies and the pseudo-science of Einstein’s relativity were melded into one intellectual approach by what is known as the Frankfurt school, also known as critical theory.

[ http://.marxists.org/subject/frankfurt-school/index.htm ]

     The Institut For Sozialforschung…was the creation of Felix Weil, who was able to use money from his father’s grain busines to finance the Institut. Weil was a young Marxist who had written his Phd on the practical problems of implementing socialism.


     Weil negotiated with the Ministry of Education [German] that the Director of the Institut would be a professor from the state system, so that the Institut would have the status of a University.

  The school staffed entirely by Jews was also known as the Institute for Social Research.  As you can see the sectarian nature of the school was concealed behind fine sounding screen names like Social and Research after the Freudian manner when it was a plan to implement the Jewish Revolution itself disguised as Communism.

     In a system of freedom of expression and conscience the School was no problem.  But the Jewish Culture at the same time that it claimed the rights and benefits of freedom of expression and conscience for itself denied them to the very creators of the concepts and this denial was made in terms of Orwellian doublespeak.

     Thus the so-called ‘Critical Theory’ was used to cast a pall of disrepute over the Other or the non-Jews while sanctifying the mores of the in group.  Decontruction went on in both Europe and America.

     During the Nazi era the school would be relocated first to Switzerland in 1932 from which it could operate in Germany, then in 1935 the entire school was transferred to NYC.  In 1941 the school was moved to Hollywood.

     For decades with their control of expression it was virtually impossible to examine problems from any other point of view than the Critical Theory.  I was just at Reed College.  Going through the book store it was clear that the curriculum was based on the Frankfurt School and Critical Theory.

     With the coming of the internet it became possible for opinions that had been savagely repressed to find expression.  The current bugaboo of the Semites is a professor from Long Beach State by the name of Kevin MacDonald.  He began a research into the methods by which the Jewish Culture established itself in the twentieth century as the dominant culture.  That work was titled The Culture Of Critique which has since become the bible of the Right.

     A full scale attempt to marginalize MacDonald is now in progress.  Needless to say the attack as always is ad hominem with the attempt to defame Mr. MacDonald’s scientific researches as ‘anti-Semitic.’ Nevertheless the door is open a crack, at least temporarily.

     The Jewish Culture through Freud established the concept of Multi-culturalism which states that each culture is distanct in identity with a set of objectives that it wishes to implement for itself.  We didn’t need the concept of Multi-culturalism to be aware of that but there you have it. 

     MacDonald’s title the Culture of Critique defines the Jewish cultural technique through the ages as well as that of the Frankfurt School in the twentieth century.  The Culture enters another culture immediately beginning to find fault with what up to then had been a successful effort at dealing with problems of civilization.  Whatever the response and no matter how successful the Jewish Culture criticized it, tore it down and insisted that the Jewish way replace it.

     All of the ancient cultures were grappling with nature through a system of polytheism.  Polytheism was the forerunner of science in that it identified and separated the processes of nature attempting to understand each in isolation.  As with the rise of Science in the nineteenth century there was no way for the Jewish Culture to establish supremacy.  Any argument they had to offer was just another opinion.

     So the Culture countered with monotheism which was supposed to be superior to polytheism in some way they couldn’t explain.  They just asserted it.  Once I slipped from under the conditioning of my religious upbringing that enforced monotheism without an adequate justification I came to the realization that there was nothing superior in monotheism in fact the approach negates scientific inquiry in favor of an inviolable dispensation from ‘G-d’  or, in other words, a projection of the Jewish Weltanschauung.

[ http://deoxy.org/bom.htm ]

     Having subdued polytheism with monotheism when science broke its bonds from the seventeenth to the nineteenth the Jewish Culture had to come up with an approach to contain and negate science.  Hence a number of pseudo-sciences were created to confuse and obfuscate so that these scientific sounding ‘sciences’ that nevertheless served to impose Jewish Culture could be established.

     Foremost among these attempts incorporating Marx, Freud and Einstein as aforementioned was the Institute for Social Research.  I was aware of most of the leading figures of the school such as Wilhelm Reich, Marcuse, Adorno and Fromm from my college days but I wasn’t aware of their association in the Frankfurt School although I was aware of that name. 

     Following Freud’s lead, such as in Lang’s Testament Of Dr. Mabuse the members continued the attacks Freud had launched.  Central to their issues was sexual theory.

     In order to reconstruct society along Jewish Cultural lines they had to deconstruct the existing society.  That is to say by the use of Critical Theory they had to subvert existing customs and mores.  A first step was to belittle existing beliefs attempting the substitution of ‘superior’ Jewish beliefs.  Thus beginning in the twenties a systematic debunking of American heroes and customs began.

     The world was turned upside down.  Everything that previously had been thought good was now bad which means that everything bad was good.  It was all relative; nothing is good or bad but thinking makes it so.  But the maxim only cut one way in the hands of critical theory.  What you believed was bad; what they believed was good.  No one ever thought to ask: Compared to what?  And they got away with this too.  Still don’t know how it worked that way but it did.

     And then they went back and changed the past.  A sort of inverted nostalgia.  The way they wanted it to have been when managed by the other.  John Dos Passos began to turn out his USA trilogy that many people think is one of the top ten books of the twentieth century.  It’s flashy.  Even flashier if you don’t know the historical background.  The first time I read it, much younger then of course, I was bowled over.  Of course my state of mind was perhaps a little more depressed than Dos Passos’ story which is pretty depressed.  Second time I read it I began to waver.  Seemed awfully one sided.  Then I integrated my personality and like the character in Gradiva my projection began to dissolve.  My windshield got clearer and I could see more clearly.  The third time I read the trilogy I was repulsed by the complete and total negativity, the general nastiness of Dos Passos’ mind.  Well, nothing’s good or bad but thinking makes it so.  I thought the trilogy was good when I first read it, neutral the second time and terrible the last.  It’s all relative, of course, but now my opinion is that the trilogy is absolutely bad and as thinking makes it so it must be bad.  Fifty years later or so Greil Marcus’ reinforcing the USA tilogy came out with a book he titled Bad Old America.  That could have been the title of Dos Passos’ USA trilogy.  So who you going to believe novelists and memoirists who speak of the good old America or those like Dos Passos and Marcus who believed it was a bad old America.  Compared to what?  It’s all relative.  Well nothing is good or bad but thinking makes it so so people like Dos Passos and Marcus can get behind their push carts and trundle off into oblivion.

     Well, that was flip and satisfying but ignores the tragedy of the people who lived through that era yet were mystified by what they saw going on around them because they were living by rules formulated thirty or forty years in the past but which didn’t work very well anymore because another culture, actually a couple cultures were changing the game before their eyes by disregarding those very rules.  There you have a multi-cultural society: if you’re not busy setting the rules you’re busy following those who are.  Quite frankly any culture that doesn’t want to set the rules is a culture of saps.  Unfortunately I belong to that sappy culture but I’m doing my best to set them on their feet and point them in the right direction.

     It was too late for Edgar Rice Burroughs back then but he was a game old bird.  This essay started in 1912 with Burroughs scribbling away at a strange story entitled Tarzan Of The Apes.  Well, from a jack to a king.  From a financial and emotional bankrupt Burroughs’ story of Tarzan improbably caught the imagination of not only the United States but pretty much the whole darn world.

     Apart from being an amusing but fantastic story that given your frame of mind is a very difficult tale to take, one is astounded at the influence of Tarzan on the world stage.  The literate were absolutely repulsed by the story and I’m not so starry eyed I can’t see why.  A certain type of mind can only see the ridiculous aspect of Tarzan.  I don’t have any good arguments to convince those who believe so, I see the reason for their revulsion but I don’t share it.

page 5.

     My first introduction to Tarzan was of course the movies.  I was entranced by Johnny Weissmuller, although watching the movies now I’m not sure why.  From there I bought what was available from Grosset and Dunlap.  I found the books better than the movies.  There was that about Burroughs, the man himself, telling his stories of Tarzan that made the stories seem very significant so that not only me but thousands of others accept Tarzan as, what shall I say, their savior, their role model, their leader, their intellectual ideal?

     Whatever it is it is the very antithesis of the Judaeo-Communist-Liberal school.  Tarzan is self-sufficient; he is his own man.  He is the very antithesis of the Liberal ideal which is, in the words of Vance Packard, an organization man, a member of the collective, subordinated completely to the ideology.  Buzzing around in the hive.

     There are many, even among his fans, who think of Burroughs as a simple minded boob who had the skill for escapist literature.  I can see how they form their attitude too but, once again, I don’t share it.

     I think it just as obvious that Burroughs was deeply interested in the social, psychological, political, religious and scientific concerns of his time.  Wisely, he decided to employ such details in a casual way without emphasizing his opinions because to call attention to them would have been beyond the scope of entertainment.  He believed the sole purpose of fiction was entertainment however he construed the word.  Still the serious reflections come through to the perceptive reader.  For instance the Oakdale Affair is a wonderful little study packed full of perceptive and fairly profound observations.

page 6.

     Burroughs had a large public who were devoted to Tarzan. the impact of the character seems to go far beyond the book sales.  Of course book sales were amplified by the movies that became the established form of fictional entertainment as Tarzan’s popularity grew from 1912 to 1920 or so.  In the late teens several very popular movies of Tarzan were made.

     Regardless of what the critics thought of Tarzan the Liberal/Communist faction perceived a threat to their collective mindset.  The ideals Burroughs infused into Tarzan that educated his public were in opposition to the Liberal collectivity.  One good Tarzan novel combined with a movie could more than offset the influence of the whole Frankfurt School plus.

     Before the October Revolution there was no political opposition to Burroughs but as the war ended and the twenties began attention was directed toward Tarzan and Burroughs.  It seems quite obvious that the Jews recognized the importance of the movies for influencing culture from the beginning.  One may argue that they took control of the movies because it was a new industry and it was open to them.  It’s a good argument but not necessarily the real one.  As the technological age dawned all industries were new and open to anybody.  The argument might equally apply to the auto industry in 1908 yet Jews shunned the formative years of the industry.

     The newspaper and publishing industries were dominated by goys yet Jews gained access to the industries and shouldered them aside.  The same may be said of department stores.  Yet Jews seized on movies and as radio became a business that industry and then television.  So there seems to be another reason for Jews seeking control of such culture forming areas as stage, screen, radio and publishing.  One hates to state the obvious.

     After the October Revolution Jews worldwide were in a position to control culture.  Thus, as in the US, they could issue volume after volume debunking older cultural heroes and national customs.  The Liberal/Judaeo/Communist coalition could control the images of current cultural figures like Edgar Rice Burroughs also.  While Burroughs always had publishing difficulties for other reasons, after 1920 it got worse until in 1930 he was forced into self-publishing.

page 7.

     It may be a coincidence that after 1922 no more Tarzan movies were made until 1928 or not.  But it was about this same time that Burroughs began having troubles everywhere.  His English publishers began to neglect him.  His Tarzan novels which were very popular in Germany came under attack because Burroughs’ novels written during he war were considered Germanophobic.  As the campaign was successful it had to be led by Communists.

     And in Russia Burroughs aroused the ire of the Communist government because the proletariat preferred Tarzan novels to Communist doctrine. So, in the period 1920 to 1924 a concerted worldwide attack was carried on against this poor fantasy writer.

     The Soviet government enlisted the services of a writer of great fame to denigrate Burroughs discreetly in print.  That writer was no less than H.G. Wells.  His opening shot across the bow was Men Like Gods which was so discreet I may be the only person who ever saw it other than Burroughs.  However Men Like Gods was followed in 1928 by a work clearly referring to Burroughs entitled Mr. Blettsworthy On Rampole Island.  As his point of departure Wells chose a 1914 novelette entitled The Lad And The Lion.  In Blettsworthy he postulated that Burroughs was insane.  That is a pretty heavy defamation of a living author if anyone read Wells’ book.  Not many did.  After 1920 Wells had a very limited appeal as a novelist.  His attack had an influence on the publishing history of the The Lad And The Lion that will require some detailed attention.

page 8.

      The original of Lad was written in February-March of 1914  immediately followed by Beasts Of Tarzan while The Girl From Farris’s begun in 1913 was finished at the same time.  The three novels then were written at the height of Burroughs recovery from the despair of his earlier failure.  They represent a response to his success as he tried to find a new footing.

     Burroughs’ father had died on February 13th, 1913.  In September, at the time of his birthday, ERB left for an extended stay in California.  All three novels were written or finished in California in the final three months of the stay.  That Lad and Girl were both completed in March indicates their close connection in his mind.  Lad being concerned with his Animus and Girl undoubtedly with his Anima.

     Wells’ analysis of Lad convinced him that Burroughs was insane as he said in his ad hominem attack in Blettsworthy.  Even if Burroughs were ‘insane’ at the time he wrote Lad that would have no effect on the influence of Tarzan.

     While Burroughs suffered from mental distress from the time the events of Lad took place, which I put as his entry into the Michigan Military Academy, to what I would call his emergence and recovery here in 1914, that is far from insanity and I might add no  worse than the symptoms of distress Wells showed in his In The Days Of The Comet.  Even Men Like Gods in 1923 is a lttle bonkers.  Nevertheless his analysis of the state of mind Burroughs displays in Lad seems to me to be fairly accurate.  That Burroughs passed through such a stage of suffering is normal, which Wells if he weren’t in a partisan attack would or should have recognized.

page 9.

     At any rate the story Wells read has to be separated from the book edition that was rewritten and published twenty-four years later.  Every other chapter has to be removed, those concerning the events in Moscow- or at least an imaginary Eastern European city.

     That leaves you with the story of Michael adrift off the Atlantic coast of Africa and his subsequent landing.  The manner in which the story relates to Burroughs’ life and state of mind is fairly transparent if one knows his life and psychology.

     George T., Burroughs father, had transferred him from one school to another jerking him out at the critical moment.  Anyone who has experienced this knows how difficult it is.  It makes you a little bit buggy.  The final straw came when George T. sent him away to the MMA.  Burroughs tried to escape but his father sent him back.  We don’t know what he said to the boy but it must have had a terrific effect on him.

     It was the feeling of rejection from this inident that lay behind the story of the Lad And The Lion.  The MMA completely declassed Burroughs so that he was able to fit in nowhere.  He characterized this feeling as one of shipwreck.  The shipwreck figures into several of his novels not least of which are Tarzan Of The Apes and Son Of Tarzan.

     So, in the story of Lad.  As usual Burroughs weaves in several literary influences.  Underlying the story is that of Mark Twain’s Prince And The Pauper that so influenced Burroughs.  In a 1923 newspaper article the writer declared that he had read Prince approximately six times.  One doesn’t read such a light weight fantasy six times unless it closely relates to one’s own experience.  Thus until the MMA one can conclude that Burroughs thought of himself as a little Prince.  In the same article he said he also had read Little Lord Fauntleroy six times.  After the MMA he lost the feeling of being a Prince and Lord to become a pauper.  In Lad then, the hero (a version of himself) is a prince who after the shipwreck becomes a pauper.

page 10.

     The shipwreck itself was influenced by the sinking of the Titanic in 1912.  Several tales of the Titanic are retold.  The young Prince Michael who because of his age was entitled to a place in a lifeboat generously and manly gives up his place to a woman.

     When the great ship rolled over we are led to believe that Michael was catapulted some distance away.  His guardian had thoughtfully put a life jacket on him so he doesn’t drown.  But just as the shipwreck repesented the second of Burroughs’ great fixations as he is in the water a life raft descending a wave crashes down on his head ‘in a glancing blow’ knocking him unconscious causing a total loss of memory that lasts for over five years.

     When he comes to an empty lifeboat is floating by him.  Not recognizing it as a boat as he has total- and Burroughs means total- memory loss yet Michael reasons that it will be more comfortable than the water.  Clever kid.

     The shipwreck and lifeboat are prominent themes taking several different forms in Burroughs’ work.  Tarzan’s parents are marooned in the opening novel of the series put ashore in a lifeboat while the ship they were sailing on was subsequently wrecked and sunk.  There were several such incidents in the sequel, The Return Of Tarzan, all of them occurring within a few miles of each other and close to where Tarzan’s parents were marooned, which is to say Burroughs himself.  These are one or two too many coincidences for most readers.  If this were a traditional adventure series perhaps that would be true, but in the psychological sense in which Burroughs is writing there is a logical imperative controlled by Burroughs’ fixations.

     Waldo Emerson Smith-Jones is a castaway in 1913’s Cave Girl while the first large scale run through of the theme is in the later novel of 1913 The Mucker.  These two novels were conceived before the father, George T. died.

     His death shifted Burroughs mind back a decade or two so that the shipwreck of Lad is psychologically the first in the sequence.

page 11.

     Discarding Freud’s interpretation of the unconscious let us view Burroughs’ shipwreck through the version of the subconscious I have outlined which is truer than that of Freud.  Now, the events of Burroughs life were filtered through his three great fixations.  Certainly up to 1914 he had been unable to relax their hold at all.  He was subject to terrifying nightmares because of the fixations and why not.  The daily happenings thus would be constellated around these fixations and distorted to meet the experience of their horrific traumas.

     Over the years as his circumstances changed even though he was apparently unable to exorcise these fixations his new circumstances were powerful enough to alter the consequences  of the experiential fixations.  Since he dwelt on these central symbols in which his traumas cast his dreams he uses the same situation over and over which causes some readers to accuse him of repitition.  While the situations do repeat the same symbolism they do not do so in a deadening manner but are variations on the theme that evolve with Burroughs’ evolving consciousness.

     Thus in Lad he is in the lifeboat alone, no Anima figure.  In the Mucker all the survivors of the shipwreck end up in one boat with the Anima figure Barbara Harding.  It must be true as this is dream material that the figures in the boat represent real people that were associated with Burroughs in these traumas.  Later in 1924 when Burroughs has edged back to a prince from a pauper there are two lifeboats, one for the gentlefolks and one for the criminal class.  Chase III, the Burroughs Animus figure was supposed to have been with the gentlefolk but in the confusion he is thrown in with the criminal class.  This undoubtedly represents the MMA.  Marcia, the Anima figure is also taken in that boat by mistake.  Thus we have another variation on the MMA fixation.

page 12.

     It must be true that these differences were reflected in Burroughs’ dreams as his fixations and his reality drew apart and conflicted.  Apparently troubled all his life by this conflict Burroughs even bought a book on scientific dream interpretation in 1932.

    Drifting along in his life boat, breathing being the only thing he can remember, he is spotted from a drifting derelict by its sole human inhabitant, a crazy epileptic deaf mute.  Add to his infirmities the fact that Michael has no memory and one has quite a combination. The old loony draws him from the lifeboat to a four or five year life on this drifting derelict.  Michael drifts thus until the old loon is killed upon which being released from his control or enchantment Michael lands on the coast of North Africa having no memory of land whatsoever.

     The dream ship was adequately provided with all the necessities for this interminable drifting about as a dream ship would.

     As they drift up and down the coast of Africa one is compelled to ask why.  Very likely Africa had taken on a mythic quality for Burroughs from the works of Stanley, Livingstone, Du Chaillu, Buel and others.  Africa was a world where the White man was supreme and unfettered much as was Tarzan.  Thus the Africa of the Tarzan novels should be considered a dream or fantasy Africa that bears little resemblance to the real geographical Africa.  Burroughs’ Africa was a place inhabited by lions and tigers and deer.  More’s the pity for the psychological reality of the continent that his fans wouldn’t allow him to populate the place with tigers and deer.  Psychologically these things were essential to the story he was telling.

     As in all dreams the most improbable coincidences have to be accepted.  Thus as unbelievable as it may be to a rational mind, this old epileptic deaf mute insano  had a very young lion cub in a cage on deck.  It is impossible for him to be there rationally but there you have it.  Psychologically he belongs there.  It is noteworthy that over five years the ship encountered no storms so the lion didn’t wash overboard as he must otherwise have.

page 13.

     The old guy is cruel and sadistic.  He beats the Lad, who no longer has any other identity which must be why he’s called the Lad, on a daily basis as well as torturing the lion.  As a lion is Burroughs’ Anima figure he naturally forms a close friendship with the cub.  Both Lad and cub grow huge with the result that the Lad challenges the old coot who never has a name.  The old coot knocks the Lad senseless with an iron bar.  That’s two blows to the head within twenty pages.  Seeing his friend threatened the lion bursts from his cage grown rickety over the years despatching the coot in one chomp as he tears the old bastard’s face away.  Thus Lad and Lion are delivered from the mastery or enchantment of the old crazy.

     Now, who in Burroughs aching life could this old monster be?  Well, his father died about a year earlier.  His father did rush him from school to school finally placing him with what Burroughs considered the juvenile delinquents of MMA.  Burroughs always professed the greatest love for his father, celebrated his birthday annually; yet on his dad’s hundreth anniversary he created the zany loony mad Doctor, ‘God’ who bears some similarity to this crazy old coot of Lad.  I don’t think there’s any doubt that Burroughs had ambiguous feelings about George T.   It is even quite probable that he didn’t recognize the crazy old coot as his father so he would suffer no guilt from ripping the old loony’s face off.  Indeed, removing his face was removing his identity.

     The Lad and Lion did not land immediately but continued to drift for a period of several months.  From that one might reason that Burroughs and his Anima figure while released from subjugation by George T.’s death took several months to move from beneath the father’s shadow.  Indeed this novel was written approximately nine months after his father’s death.

     If one construes the period from 1891 the year Burroughs entered the MMA to his father’s death as symbolic of the years of drifting under the domination of the old weirdo one might interpret Burroughs situation in this way.

page 14.

      His father had humiliated and shamed him so thoroughly that the boy was psychologically barred from following in his father’s footsteps as a businessman.  Hence from 1891 to 1911 or 12 Burroughs drifted from job to fairly disreputable job a complete failure.  Realizing he could never be a success as his father had Burroughs in desperation was forced to take another tack outside the business world.  Thus he took up pen and began to write.  Here he was successful.  It is significant that he used materials, old letterheads and pencils, from his own failed enterprises.  His father died just as Burroughs was receiving the first fruits of his new career which was probably just as well.  But now he had to get away from the proximity of the man so he packed wife, kids, car and all his belongings fleeing to the West Coast.  At the end of this voluntary exile and just before returning he completed The Lad And The Lion.  Having made the attempt to exorcise the demon he could return to Chicago which he did.

     I haven’t read the magazine version which may differ a little or quite a bit but the above story is the crux of  The Lad And The Lion.  The above must have been what convinced H.G. Wells that Burroughs was insane.

     Dream symbolism is not however an indication of insanity but the problem of the interactions of the conscious and subconscious  trying to make sense of experience it finds difficult to understand.  Contrary to Freud’s belief that dreams are a product solely of the unconscious  it is impossible for consciousness to abandon itself completely to the subconscious.

     Burroughs relation of his dream is no more a sign of insanity than Freud’s dream of Irma’s Injection.  In fact Burroughs, as one aspect of his story may very well have been dealing with his own interpretation of dreams.  As this story was modified in 1938 long after psychoanalysis had entered the popular domain the story that Wells read c. 1920 may be significantly different than the altered 1938 version.  Burroughs may very well have developed his psychological theories significantly since 1914.  This version would also have been written after he had had time to digest the scientific dream book he bought in 1932.

page 15.

     As Burroughs acquired his initial interest in psychology from Lew Sweetser in 1891 which is evidenced from his earliest works there is no reason not to believe that by 1938 he had definite ideas of dream psychology.

     Wells himself was read in Freudian psychology as his analysis of Burroughs in Blettsworthy indicates.  The depth of his undertanding appears to be somewhat superficial but, still, informed.  His attack on Burroughs is ad hominem in the Liberal tradition.  As a writer Wells should have known better than to take Lad at face value, especially as several of his own stories vary into paranoia and other mental disorders or, rather, states of mind.  One might even say that the interest of the stories rise from these projected states of mind.  Two of Wells finest novels reflect disordered states of mind.  The magnificently portrayed paranoia of ‘When The Sleeper Wakes’ is unparalled unless it be by his own ‘In The Days Of The Comet.’  Both can compete with ‘Lad’ in terms of insanity.

     Very likely ‘Blettsworthy’ was a calculated attack motivated by orders from Moscow.  Those orders were probably received about 1921 when Wells visited Lenin and the Soviet Union.  By this time Wells was religiously committed to the Revolution.  Thus, as indicated, during this period the attack on Burroughs was commenced on the international level.  His English publishers inexplicably lost interest in a key commerical product like Tarzan.  The same may be said of his American publishers and movie makers.  His German sales were destroyed on political charges and finally the Soviets ordered Wells to attack him personally to destroy his credibility.  These actions should throw some  light on Burroughs’ financial difficulties of this critical period when he lost control of the Tarzana estate.

     The period from this attack to 1928 and 1930 when Burroughs elected to self-publish has not been examined from this point of view.  Suffice it to say that Burroughs first self-published title, Tarzan The Invincible concerns an actual war between Tarzan and no less than the Soviet dictator, Josef Stalin.  This was continued in the sequel, Tarzan Triumphant, while being continued through 1934 and the release of Tarzan And The Lion Man.

page 16.

     The rewriting of The Lad And The Lion in 1938 may be taken as a heavy salvo in this war.  By 1938 the history of the two Russian Revolutions, 1905 and 1917 would have been known in their broad outlines.  The minor details have been guessed from the very beginning having been recently confirmed by research.  So, his ‘head bloody but unbowed’ Burroughs returned to the battle.

     Aware of Wells’ interpretation of the 1914 magazine version of Lad Burroughs may have altered the details to correspond with his state of mind in 1938 blending the earlier story into the later additions dealing specifically with Wells and his Soviet handlers.

     By 1938 Wells had been abandoned by his Soviet mistress Moura Budberg.  He had met her during his 1921 visit to Russia.  She had then been assigned to him by Stalin from c. 1928 to 1935, the height of the war on Burroughs.  She had abandoned him probably because his usefullness was considered minimal because of his independence and criticism of Stalin.  In 1939’s Holy Terror Wells would actually call for the assassination of Stalin in much the same way he had declared Burroughs insane.  The amazing thing is the casual way in which Wells advocates assassination as a political means.  Wells was an outstanding Liberal who here displays the absolute bigotry of Liberalism.  They denounce capital punishment unless it serves their own purposes.  Once again it is impossible to be religiously  devout without being a bigot.  It make no difference whether it is character assassination, or individual murder, or the genocide of a billion all is justified by religious bigotry, in this case Liberalism.

     Did I see eyebrows raised at the mention of genocide of a billion?  Please to follow the line of argument.

page 17.

     Liberalism began with the French Revolution.  The Liberals began by murdering aristocrats individually or as a group, genocide.  When the aristocrats resisted, revolting in La Vendee, genocidal massacres began.  Barges loaded with the royalist party were towed into the middle of rivers and sunk drowning all aboard.

     These proceedings were justified about seventy years later by the Liberal pundit Victor Hugo in his novel 1793.  He doesn’t mention atrocities like the above but he justified the holocaust in this way:

     These people stand in the way of the New Order.  So long as they live they are a threat to the New Order, therefore it behooves us to kill them all to give birth to the New Utopia.

     This notion has been the guiding principle of Liberals ever since.  At every opportunity they massacre those standing in the way of the New Order.  In the horrific aftermath of the October Revolution Jews massacred millions.  Picking up the baton Stalin engineered a famine in a genocidal attempt to murder independent farmers called Kulaks.  A few years later the Leftist Adolf Hitler attempted to exterminate a number of enemies of his New Order.  Mao added his tens of millions.  But, that’s not a billion you say?  Well, that is a possible if seemingly not probable next step.  It is already in the works.

     I don’t know how many of you have heard of Noel Ignatiev.  He is a Jewish Harvard graduate who has formed an organization called Race Traitor.  In a Winter 1991 article in his magazine called RaceTraitor  [ http://racetraitor.org/abolish.html ]  the lead article was entitled: Abolish The White Race– By Any Means Necessary.  Perhaps wisely, the article is unsigned.  The article is sheer rhetoric with so many logical flaws I can’t begin to go into them here.  The article intends to be divisive.  The intent is to persuade as many White people as possible to renounce their ‘White Skin Privilege’, whatever that might mean.  This will be a step in abolishing the White ‘race’ which Ignatiev perceives as a monolith, perhaps along the lines of his own Jewish culture.  The above notion provides Ignatiev and his Culture an escape clause because, although nominally White, they, we are led to believe, have renounced their White Skin Privilege.

page 18

     As a New Aboloitionist as Ignatiev refers to his organization the Jewish Culture is safely on the side of the colored ‘races’ of the world.  The destruction of a billion Whites still seems improbable but Ignatiev and his fellows have already induced guilt into a very large number of Whites neutralizing them while cadres of White ‘youths’ have been enlisted in the cause.  They are supposed to renounce their Whiteness by breeding with colored people thus losing Whiteness in color.

     At the same time those who seem more aggressively White, refusing to be intimidated have been defamed and castigated as ‘White Supremacists’ being reviled and hated by not only the New Abolitionists and colored peoples but also by all White People who have not been so designated.  So, if you allow for 10% of the Whites to be unrepentant that amounts to about 100 million people spread over hundreds of locations.  As this sub group has now been demonized as sub-human while standing in the way of Ignatiev’s New Order of a world without White people it is historically perfectly permissible to kill them all.

      Now, concentration camps have been set up in the US, you can find pictures of them on the internet, huge tent cities that have ostensibly been set up to house illegal immigrants.  Why anyone would want to house illegal immigrants who no one is interested in arresting anyway remains a mystery.   Then who are these camps on which a vast sum has already been expended for?  I suggest you examine certain legislation before Congress concerning ‘Hate Laws’ and draw your own conclusions.

     So, with the obstructionists of the New Order safely out of the way the next batch of the less than enthusiastic Whites can be safely dealt with by the New Abolitionists.  Diminished, disarmed and defenseless it will be a small matter to finish off a mere half billion or so, if they haven’t already had the sense to blend in with the coloreds.  As I have pointed out before the rule is to keep the women and kill the men so in reality it would only be necessary for a holocaust of a quarter billion.  Get’s easier, doesn’t it?

page 20.

     As a historical process this would complete the Semito-European war that began approximately 6000 years ago with a total victory for the Semites.

     Let us go back to the mano a mano duel between Wells and Burroughs as centered around The Lad And The Lion.  We still have two stories to deal with, one is the desert story when The Lad now known as Aziz is made a member of Arab society and the Moscow story.  Having never read the original  magazine story it still seems reasonable that Burroughs adapted the 1914 story to his 1938 needs.

     When the ship was grounded a new life began for Aziz  and the Lion.  The change was complete.  The ship drifted ashore at high tide, the tide went out so far that the ship left high and dry rolled over on its side allowing the pair to walk ashore over dry land. 

     This is a dream representation of Burroughs own transition from being adrift to realizing success as a writer.  As the old tyrant had died just previously one may believe that the death of his father  coinciding with his success released Burroughs from thrall.

     The situation now is more perfect than Tarzan, indeed this story may be a bridge between the Russian Quartet and the rest of the series.  It falls between Beasts Of Tarzan and Son Of Tarzan prefiguring the latter in many ways, while the lion may be considered the predecessor of the Golden Lion linking the rest of the series.

page 20.

     Naked came Aziz.  Not only naked but illiterate and speechless.  The epileptic deaf mute was unable to teach him anything.  The blow to his head from the raft had obliterated his memory that obviously included the memory of language.  He has learned lion talk however, he has a pretty impressive roar.  Aziz does have remarkable native intelligence however so he learns with an alacrity that is astonishing.

     Actually both he and the lion have no survival skills whatever not even knowing how to hunt.  Contrary to most feral children Aziz is able to evaluate a situation and come up with an appropriate solution.  Thus when he and the lion fail at chasing the prey down Aziz does a quick analysis then places himself above the prey and lion driving the beasts into the jaws of the lion.  Not bad for a complete novice.

     In a scene reminiscent of the Percival story of King Arthur Aziz when he sees his first Arab horsemen is as entranced as Percival was when he first saw the knights.  By 1914 I doubt if Burroughs had read much of the lore of King Arthur but by 1938 he may have, must have.  One odd item that may be coincidence of course is that when Percival is asked his name by the knights in Chretien de Troyes’ Grail he replies that it is ‘darling boy’ which is how his mother referred to him.  When Nakhla names the Lad she calls his Aziz which in Arabic means ‘beloved.’  The French officer’s daughter when she learns his name remarks that he must have been named by his mother or a sweetheart as she explains the meaning of Aziz to him.  Aziz has obviously mastered French within a couple weeks having kicked off his linguistic skills with lion and Arabic.

     Aziz’ romance with Nakhla had been abandoned when he was told she had married.  Thus when with the French woman and a group of French soldiers they visit Nakhla’s Arab camp the young woman is devastated to see Aziz in the company of another woman, dressed as a European soldier.  Burroughs likes the comedy of errors approach.

page 21

     The situation changes rapidly when Aziz overhears the Captain describe himself in an uncomplimentary fashion as unfit for his daughter.  Stripping down to loin cloth Aziz heads back into the desert as the wid beast he is, although by this time he knows lion, Arab and French which places him two languages ahead of most civilized people.  On the way back his two lion friends pounce on him which must have hurt not a little.  Kind of like being embraced by a speeding freight train.

     Burroughs begins to describe Aziz as a lion man.  I think this would be the first reference to a lion man in the corpus unless the reference was only included in the rewrite of ’38.  Tarzan is described as a lion man while at the same time he has parallel indenties as a Monkey Man and an Elephant Man.  In this case Aziz is solely a lion man.  He left the ship with the male lion who has no name and acquired a female lion who was attracted by the male at about the same time Aziz became aware of Nakhla.  As with De Vac of the Outlaw Of Torn the lion seems to be associated with Aziz’ Anima.  With the arrival of the female the Anima shifts to the female with the male moving to the Animus while Aziz makes a ‘real life’ connection to a living female forming the appropriate quaternity.

     Having left the French where he also learned that Nakhla wasn’t married he visits the Sheik’s encampment to make up.  Here the Sheik is indignant at Aziz presumption called him worse names than the Captain did.  Aziz is so crushed that one wonders if Burroughs himself wasn’t grossly insulted by old Mr. Hulbert, Emma’s father.  While he is debating with himself Nakhla is captured by his rival Ben Saada.

     At this point it would be good to have read the magazine version for comparison.  As this story is running parallel with the Moscow story Burroughs may have coordinated the two, changing the orginal version considerably.  If that were the case then the desert story is almost certainly influenced by E.M. Hull’s 1921 novel, The Sheik and the movie of the same year starring Rudolph Valentino.

page 22.

     In any event in the denouement Burroughs does his usual action razzle dazzle but Aziz still has no memory of his origins.  In a battle with the outlaws he gets clubbed with a rifle on the forehead.  He is out of it for a couple days.  There is concern whether he will survive.  His skull is torn open the familiar way.  This is the third major blow Aziz has received in this story and it’s a short one.  When he comes to his head is being bathed on the lap of Nakhla and wonder of wonders his full memory has returned.  He knows who he is: he is no longer a pauper but a Prince.  Little Lord Fauntleroy has come into his own.

     We will leave Aziz at this point and turn to the parallel story of Prince Ferdinand, Hilda de Groot and the Revolution.

     Prince Ferdinand and Hilda is a retelling of George W.M. Reynold’s second series subtitled, Venetia Trelawney.  Hilda is Venetia while Ferdinand represents George IV.  Hilda’s brother Hans probably represents Venetia’s husband, Horace Sackville.  If I am correct in supposing that Burroughs read The Mysteries Of The Court Of London c. 1898 then the memory of the story surfaces here forty years later in 1938.  Not bad.

     Burroughs telling of the story here may be a parody on H.G. Wells.  Like George IV who had rather womanize than pay attention to affairs of State Ferdinand does also.  Unlike George who maintained the throne Ferdinand is caught in the Revolution being murdered, perhaps a reference to Nicholas II.

     I am sure the story is replete with references and insults I am not getting or they are tenuous enough to prevent certainty.  The first revolutionary chieftain for instance is named Meyer which is not too far from Mayer perhaps referring to Louis B. Mayer of MGM.

page 23.

     Burroughs is writing this in 1938 after he has been under attack for twenty years.  This book is addressed to Wells who began his literary attack in 1923.  There is no reason to doubt the major battles took place from 1930 to 1934.  In 1931 MGM whose President was the highest paid executive in the US, Louis B. Mayer, filched control of Tarzan’s image from Burroughs.  By 1934  when the second MGM Tarzan was released Burroughs was thoroughly beaten.

     You know, a man has to think about things.  You have to be pretty slow or psychologically sanguine to think that things just happen.  As we can see from Lad Burroughs was well aware of Wells’ involvement.  The studio heads did not stand in the way of the Red infiltration of Hollywood.  They welcomed the Red movie makers who fled Hitler into the studio system.  They had no trouble blending in the Frankfurt School when it arrived in Hollywood in 1941.  If as John Howard Lawson said that the studio heads approved of every single scene and line in every single movie then while they may have rejected some overt Red inferences it may not have been because they were Red but because they believed the country wasn’t ready for them.

     Even though everyone talks about the Hollywood Black List of HUAC there was always a Hollywood Black List.  After the so-called post-1950 Black List most people who weren’t objected to for other reasons eventually found their way back into movie work.  It didn’t take that long.  This could not have been done if these ultra-authoritarian studio heads hadn’t permitted it.  So while I have never heard that Louis B. Mayer was following a Red agenda yet talking movies have always had a Red tinge becoming more open as the decades wore on.

     Mayer was subservient to the ‘money’ men in New York City.  The actual control of the movies came from that quarter so Mayer in no way was an independent operator.  One would have to examine Loew’s in New York City for Communist influence before one cleared Louis B. Mayer.  I have the feeling that Burroughs may have been telling us something.

page 24.

     In the intervening twenty-four years from the first version of Lad Burroughs was not idle.  Even though not considered a serious writer yet he allows serious topics to creep in that indicate wide reading if not study.  There were two items I found interesting.  The first is a psychological reference.  Even though I was laughed at for suggesting Burroughs had psychological interests consider this:  Lad, p. 56:

     “Meyer was too rabid and too radical,” said Carlyn.  “He wanted to accomplish everything at a single stroke.  I can see now that he was wrong.”

     “Meyer wanted to be dictator,” said Andresy.  “He was mad for power, and too anxious to obtain it quickly.  That came first with Meyer, the welfare of the people second.  It is strange what small, remote things may affect the destiny of a nation.”

     “What do you mean?” asked Carlyn.

     “Because Meyer, as a child, was suppressed and beaten by his father; because on that account, he had a feeling of inferiority, he craved autocratic power that would permit him to strike back in revenge.  Meyer did not realize it himself; but when he struck at government, he was striking at his father.  When he ordered the assassination of the king he was condemning his father to death in revenge for the humiliation and brutalities the father had inflicted on him.  Now the king is dead and Michael and Meyer and Bulvik and hundreds of men and women who believed in Meyer; but Meyer’s father is still alive, basking in the reflected glory of his martyred son.  Life is a strange thing, Carlyn.  Civilization is strange and complex.  The older I grow the more I realize how little any of us know what it is all about.  Why do we strive?  Everything we attain always turns out to be something we do not want, and then we try to change it for something else that will be equally bad.  Oh well, but I suppose that we must keep on.  How do you plan to kill the king?”

page 25.

     Carlyn strarted, as though caught red-handed in a crime.

     “God!” he exclaimed.  “Don’t spring it on me like that.”

     Andresy laughed.  “You have nerves, don’t you?…I shall put it in an emasculated style.”

     In the first place we have a full blown psychoanalysis of Meyer’s motives that demonstrates study and thought.  What is of more interest to me is Carlyn’s reaction to Andresy and the latters unusual joking of let me emasculate my comment for you.  That is a very unusual way of expressing the point.  That would indicate to me that Burroughs has been studying and thinking about emasculation possibly from reading Freud himself or magazine articles discussing Freud’s concept of emasculation.  In any event Burroughs is much deeper into psychology at this point than readers have been willing to acknowledge.  As a response to Wells’ ‘Blettsworthy’ this is turning into a psychology duel to which Burroughs gives the coup de grace in the very short and pointed last chapter.  That chapter would lead me to believe that Burroughs had rewritten the whole of Lad from stem to stern to deal with the Wellsian attack.

     One can imagine Burroughs with Blettsworthy in one hand and the first Lad in the other musing on what course to take.

     Apropos of assassination in general the story of Wesl is a general blueprint.  This gets into a little speculation but in 1937 a year before book publication of Lad Burroughs lived in an apartment building also lived in by the Chicago Outfit mobster Johnny Roselli.  Roselli would later figure in Burroughs’ war novel, Tarzan And The Foreign Legion as Johnny Rosetti.  It would seem more than probable that Roselli would make it a point to get to know the world famous author of Tarzan.  Roselli would wish to impress Burroughs with inside criminal information.  From my study of Burroughs I have come to the conclusion that he borrowed a significant amount of detailing from elsewhere.  I have already mentioned the Venetia Trelawney aspects of th Ferdinand/Hilda story.  If one reads the Wesl story one will notice a general resemblance to Lee Harvey Oswald’s supposed assassination of John F. Kennedy.  There are those who maintain the assassination was a mob hit.  As the assassination fits so well with the Wesl story one is led to believe that the Outfit had a general assassination plan that Roselli related to Burroughs.  I have no proof of this other than the fact that Roselli knew Burroughs and that the latter would probably have borrowed the plan rather than have invented it.

page 26.

     In the story Wesl (pronounce it, Weasel) is told by the revolutionaries to enter the palace grounds at a certain hour and stand in a certain place.  He is told to wear gloves and be unarmed.  He is the Fall Guy.

     The crime involved here is the assassination of King Otto.  Carlyn enters the kings room which was just above Wesl’s post and shoots the King.  Tossing the gun out the window it lands at Wesl’s feet.  While Wesl dithered Carlyn using another gun, different caliber, shot at him.  Wesl began to run.  As he reached the gate Carlyn dropped him.  Thus all the testimony of ‘eye witnesses’ and the circumstantial evidence pointed to Wesl.  Case closed.

     If the outfit were involved in the Kennedy Assassination, which is more than probable, then following the Roselli scenario it is more than probable that Oswald was the Fall Guy as he himself said on television.  He would have realized this as he watched the action in Dealy Plaza from his prime vantage point.  He immediately realized he was the expendable fall guy, threw down his rifle and raced to his apartment to get his hand gun.  Officer Tibbets was on the way to assassinate him but Oswald got the drop on Tibbets first then entered a public place where the hit on him would be obvious.  It therefore follows that like Wesl he had to be eliminated.  It was therefore made easy for Jack Ruby to make the hit on Oswald.  That Ruby was connected to the Outfit makes his ‘patriotic’ story wash ‘thin as piss on a rock’ to use President Nixon’s expression.

page 27.

     While the above proves nothing about the Kennedy Assassination  it should give food for thought.  Johnny Roselli claimed to have risen out of the sewer to deliver the actual shot that did Kennedy in.  I just love this stuff.

     At any rate it is almost certain Burroughs got the assassination plan from somewhere else.  If not from Roselli than from some forgotten short story or elsewhere.  I’m betting on Johnny Roselli.

     So, there we have the Ferdinand/Hilda story adapted from G.W.M. Reynolds and the revolutionary story from events in Russia from 1905 to 1917 and beyond.  A third influence seems to be the Ruritania/Graustark stories of Burroughs first novels which would be constellated around the magazine version of Lad.  The combination with later events gives a nice illusion of continuity.

     The account is very generalized so that there is no obvious reason to retaliate on Burroughs.  There can be no mistaking that Meyer was meant to be a Jew as Meyer is a Jewish name.  That would have been daring enough for Louis B. Mayer to know who Burroughs was referring to.

     The evidence is that this was Burroughs last intended shot in the war as at the very end in reference to Wells he throws in the towel.  It might be well to quote the entire chapter 25 with some commentary.


Chapter Twenty-five.

     Magazines from civilization seep into many far corners of the world.  One such, an illustrated weekly of international renown found its way into the douar of an Arab sheik.  The son-in-law of Ali-Es-Hadji was reading therein an account of happenings in a far-off kingdom.  He read of the assassination of King Ferdinand and Hilda de Groot, and he examined with interest their pictures and pictures of the palace and palace gardens.  There was a full page picture of General Count Sarnya, the new Dictator.  There was also a picture of an elderly, scholarly looking man, named Andresy who had been shot with many others by order of Sarnya because they had attempted to launch a counter-revolution.

     One day General Count Sarnya received a cablegram.  It was from from Sidi Bel Abbes.  All it said was, “Congratulations! You have my sympathy.” and it was signed, “Michael.

That’s a well packed paragraph that might have been expanded to three pages or so.  It weems too compact to me yet I suppose it contains all the information to make its point even if it lacks color and shading.

     The opening sentence is a direct reference to E. M. Hull’s The Sheik.  In that novel the heroine, Diana, is presented in nearly the exact scene.  She was the captive wife of the Sheik; Michael is the husband of the Sheik’s daughter.  So we have a reversal of roles.  I believe Burroughs is an adept at this.

     The question is to whom is the paragraph addressed.  It is obviously meant to be read by someone:  is it Stalin? is it Wells? or is it intended for both?  You may be certain that both men read it.  Let us take Wells first.

     By 1938 Wells had had a definite falling out with Stalin.  As I pointed out, in next year’s Holy Terror He would call for the assassination of Stalin.  Wells had reason to be bitter.  He was definitely in love, even dependent on the Soviet state prostitute, Moura Budberg.  Stalin had sadistically let him see Budberg and Maxim Gorky together when Budberg told him she was somewhere else.  Then Stalin ordered Budberg to break off with Wells.  One can’t be certain but I most certainly believe Burroughs was keeping up on these details of Wells’ life which, while not perhaps common knowledge, were no secret while probably being an item of gossip among the cognoscenti.

page 29.

     Now, Burroughs had recently taken a new young wife so that he was able to flaunt her to a broken hearted Wells.  In Blettsworthy that hero who had been living a fantasy life along the lines of Burroughs’ stories has been under the care of a psychiatrist.  When he regains his sanity he learns he hasn’t been living on Rampole Island but in his imagination in New York City.  New York City?

     As the Lad is an answer to Blettsworthy, consider:  Michael as a child  has a raft fall on his head giving him total amnesia.  Unlike Blettsworthy he is actually living the fantasy at sea and in the African desert.  Than, a la Tarzan, not to mention Burroughs self, he gets his forehead bashed and torn open suffering excruciating head aches, as did Burroughs in real life.  Then Aziz’ collapse.  When he recovers, voila! his memory is completely restored but rather than being in New York City he is still in his exotic location in the desert his head in the lap of his beauteous new wife,  Nakhla.  So we have a probable sneer at Wells who will read the novel.

     To Stalin:  As remote a possibility as it may seem there is every evidence of some kind of duel between Stalin and Burroughs.  There is no other reason for him to introduce Stalin into Invincible and Triumphant by name.  The alternate Russian story of Lad is a fictional account of the two Russian Revolutions.  Count Sarnya is obviously meant to be Stalin.  The execution of Andesy and the counter-revolutionists must refer to the show trials of 1936.

     So here we definitely have a sneer at Stalin.  Burroughs waves both men off as though he’s finished with them.  Burroughs had had enough, he will be content to tend his own garden.

page 30.

     By 1938 Burroughs had been pretty thoroughly plundered in a fight that was not of his own makiing.  MGM had Tarzan, his writing career was effectively over.  If the pulps were inflitrated by Reds giving him trouble the talkies had him on the ropes.  When Burroughs said he no longer read fiction he was still watching many volumes of fiction on the screen.  The fiction laden pulps couldn’t compete with the movies.  That market if not closed was no longer lucrative.  He was out of radio.  The only steady income he had came from the comic strips.  Within a couple years he would be run out of Hollywood.

     All the bright new young writers were Communists, no one else could get their foot in the door.  As one of the old dinosaurs Burroughs had pretty effectively been cut from the tree.

     The America he had known in the nineteenth century was gone.  The last buffalo robe had been sold in the twenties.  Even the America of the first and second decades were gone.  Heck, the twenties were only a fond memory.  The grim Communist politics of FDR had arrived with the Dust Bowl.  Hitler had flushed out all the Freudian Jewish psychoanalysts of Europe into New York and Hollywood.  The Frankfurt School that had fled to Switzerland in 1932 gave up Europe in 1935 fleeing to New York City.  In 1941, probably to escape any danger from a Nazi invasion of New York they fled further West to Hollywood to find Santa Barbara shelled by the Japanese in 1942.

     The extermination camps of Hitler accellerated the success of the Jewish Revolution by more than somewhat.  In 1946 a direct frontal attack on America began with the release of the movie, Gentlemen’s Agreement.

     That tall thin guy watching The Testament Of Dr. Mabuse in 1943 and The Iceman Cometh in 1946 staged his The Death Of A Salesman in 1949.  the play had a curious affect on the nation seeming to undermine its confidence although it is difficult to understand why.  That is the reason Arthur Miller is lauded as a genius not from any ablility as either a thinker, or a playwright.

     From then on the deconstruction of America was a piece of cake.  The reconstruction along Jewish Cultural lines began in earnest in the sixties being nearly complete today except for some counte-revolutionaries in the odd nook and cranny, here and there.