A Review

Themes And Variations

The Tarzan Novels Of Edgar Rice Burroughs



R.E. Prindle

Edgar Rice Burroughs

Part III

This Silent River Of Mystery And Death

In our hour of darkness,

In our hour of need…



     Leopard Men is an exceptionally dark novel.  There is nothing about it that isn’t horrific, a sort of Gotterdamerung.  There are probably more people killed in this novel than any other of Burroughs’.  The threat of rape hangs heavy in the air.  Old Timer/Burroughs is going through more major changes trying to burst his chrysalis.

     Through it all runs the thread of religion; and not just one religion but three religious systems.  There is the animistic religion of the Africans; a Semitic style religion of the Leopard Men and an esoteric interpretation  concealed in a gorgeous wealth of symbolism.  I will consider the last in Part B.

      ERB’s life was reaching a crisis, he had the MGM contract to worry about, his ongoing war with the Reds and now his sexual crisis that had been roiling beneath the surface for nearly fifty years and was about to bubble over.  Hence the novel is filled with murky, rasty sexual symbolism welling up from the subconscious disguised as religion.

     For supposedly being an escapist writer without either serious purpose or intellectual content when one parses out any of his stories one is amazed that such serious purpose can be successfully disguised as escapist.  ERB shares this ability with Homer of the Iliad.  Since no one seems to have penetrated beyhond the surface glitter from one hundred years ago to this day I hope I will be pardoned for making the attempt.

     ERB’s style of plotting is so diffuse that it is very difficult to grasp the focal point which unites the various strands of his story.  In some incredible way he has half a dozen stories running concurrently each with a different point  and different conclusion.  One has to follow the bouncing ball.  In Jewels Of Opar the uniting theme is the story of what happens to the Jewels.  In Ant Men one has to follow the trajectory of Tarzan’s locket.  In this one the key is Kali Bwana.  ERB seems to favor this linking approach.

     Leopard Men has two main stories, that of Old Timer and Kali Bwana with its subplots as well as the story of Tarzan And The Leopard Men.  As the story opens Tarzan is in Leopard Men territory far from home.  One wonders what Tarzan is doing in this country?  Naturally Burroughs presents his information on a need to know basis.  We apparently don’t need to know until p. 108 when after Tarzan regains his memory from yet another crushing blow to the skull we are told:

     During the long day Tarzan’s mind was occupied with many thoughts.  He had recalled now why he had come into this country, and he marveled at the coincidence of later events that guided his footsteps along the very paths he had intended on trodding before accident had robbed him of the memory of his purpose.    He knew now that depredations by Leopard Men from a far country had caused him to set forth upon a lonely reconnaissance with only the thought of locating their more or less fabled stronghold and temple.  That he should be successful in both finding these and reducing one of them was gratifying in the extreme, and he felt thankful now for the accident that had been responsible for those results.

     Thus as Tarzan regains his memory he discovers that he had destroyed the stronghold of the Leopard Men.  In rescuing Old Timer and Kali Bwana he will also destroy their temple.  A good day’s work.

     With this story of his quest and triumph we have a second examination of religion, a continuation of the exploration begun in Tarzan Triumphant in the first half of 1931.  The reference to the accident that led to these results may be a reference to the incident in Toronto in 1899.  He and Emma both believed it resulted in his writing career.  Perhaps the signing of the contract with MGM in April may also be inferred to as an ‘accident.’  Much research into his relations with MGM and these critical five or six years of his career is necessary.  Certainly by late July and August as he was writing this story the realization of the meaning of the contract he had signed was seeping in.  By 1933’s Tarzan And The Lion Man he was fully aware.  Subsequent to that discovery he formed an ill advised alliance with his new wife’s ex, Ashton Dearholt, to film the ‘real’ Tarzan.  That in its place.  For now his troubles were not on the laps of the gods but on the desks of Irving Thalberg and Louis B. Mayer.

     If negotiations began on April 4 and were completed and signed on April 15 that means that neither ERB nor Rothmund read the contract very thoughtfully.  They certainly didn’t take it to an attorney.  As in Lion Man ERB complains of the duplicity of men; he was finding out what the terms of the contract meant.  Perhaps in Leopard Men he was getting glimmers of the shape of things to come.

     As in Triumphant the two Midian peoples obviously represent Jews and non-Jews, us meaning the Jews and them meaning the rest of the world as per Rabbi Schneerson’s division of mankind into two different species, us and them.  I will treat the Utengans as us and the Leopard Men as them  which is what ERB intended.  The connection of the Leopard Men to the Jews can be established by two references connecting them to Hollywood:

     Gato Mgungu had never had the advantages of civilization.  (He had never been to Hollywood.)

     And on p. 66:

     Perhaps his reasons might be obvious to a Hollywood publicity agent.

     I’m sure you moved out of the way so ERB’s sarcasm didn’t splash on you.

     His letting his contempt for Hollywood which he had suppressed since 1922’s Girl From Hollywood show now and his associating it with Thalberg, Mayer and MGM is evidence of his frustration.

     When Van Dyke returned from Africa he brought his gun bearer Riano and the actor who played Renchoro, Mutia, with him for the finishing scenes.  It seems likely that ERB would have sought an introduction to these two ‘real’ Africans.  One can only imagine what these two bush Negroes who had never conceived a world larger than their own Jungle thought of the twentieth century in the bizarre world of Tinseltown.  How did these minds that had probably never seen a wheel prior to Van Dyke’s expedition react to what must have seemed to them a parallel universe straight out of Wells.  Place yourself in their position and your head will spin.  One wonders, even, having lived naked all their lives, how they reacted to dressing every morning and wearing Western style clothes all day.  Did Tarzan’s experience in the shower in Tarzan Goes To New York have anything to do with these two noble savages introduction to civilization?  Possibly the reference to Gato Mgungu’s never having been to Hollywood may refer to ERB’s observation of Riano and Mutia.

     There is some wonderful stuff going on here.  If Hollywood wasn’t centered on pornography and its concomitant degraded sadistic violence with a little imagination they might be able to put together a good movie or two from this material.  Do I digress?  Ah, then I digress.  But back to the story.

     As with ‘them’ elsewhere the Utengans are good men going about their business while the ‘us’ or Leopard Men are a destructive force in society.  ERB has displaced the two religious systems to Africa where he presents two rather derogatory versions of Africans.  He is uncharacteristically derogatory of the Blacks.  Perhaps his concentration on so portraying the Africans was the result of his rage at the Scottsboro Boys.  On p. 92 he says of the orgy of the Leopard Men:

     He saw that religious and alcoholic drunkenness were rapidly robbing them of what few brains and little self-control Nature had vouchsafed them, and he trembled to think of what excesses they might commit when they passed beyond even the restraint of their leaders; nor did the fact that the chiefs, the priests, and the priestesses were becoming as drunk as their followers tend but to aggravate his fears.

     ERB in his evolutionary mode had always considered the African to be less evolved but this is subjective observation and not an objective one.  The bold statement ‘what few brains  and little self-control’ may have been his personal opinion but doesn’t look well in print.  I can’t imagine how it got beyond the Ballantine censors.  I think it probable that his anger over the Scottsboro affair caused him to lose his customary discretion.  In doing so he would be giving fuel to his detractors which it is never wise to do.  When it is said that this is his worst novel I believe it is because of passages like this.

     One wonders why the delay in the book issuance until 1936 and why then.  Among other reasons one may have been that by 1936 the Communist campaign to embarrass the United States over the alleged injustice to the Boys was reaching a peak.  Perhaps one intention of ERB was to show by the African example that Negroes were by nature of feeble intelligence and little self-control.  If so, risky business for ERB.  However throughout the novel a series of Black men is slathering at the mouth to rape Kali Bwana, recalling the train incident of the Scottsboro Boys.

     ERB also introduces the concept of religious drunkenness which can exist quite independently of alcohol.  Indeed there are many who can maintain a perpetual religious high.  The bizarre statements of Rabbis Schneerson and Ginsburg can be attributed to religious drunkenness.  In their religious enthusiasm they have certainly set aside reason.  So once again a greater depth of thought is revealed than is usually attributed to Burroughs.  Just two words- religious drunkenness- reveal a fair amount of thought and study.

     During the great storm the Leopard Men catalyze the story by the ritual killing of a Utengan named Nyamwegi.  While the storm is raging Tarzan who has taken refuge beside the bole of a great tree has it blown down with one of its great lower branches landing on his head.  One admires the tensile strength of the Big Bwana’s skull.  Apparently a big eighteen wheeler laden with thirty tons could roll over his head, the only possible result being a temporary loss of memory.  Burroughs is going through another period of great stress so Tarzan does wake up in a world he doesn’t recognize.

     A Utengan passing by notices the Big Bwana pinned to the ground on his back by the tree, not on his head, thank goodness, but somewhere over his body.  No broken bones, luck is still with the Big Guy.  As he had his bow and quiver slung over his back as he was pinned one has to think he’s in a fair amount of discomfort.  Orando, the Utengan, is about to eliminate Tarzan from the story, which would have left a gap, when he has the suspicion that this might be his Muzimo.  Orando had just been praying to his Muzimo to aid him in his hunting, perhaps Muzimo is the hunter after whom this chapter is named, and lo, he now appears.  ERB goes to some lengths to demonstrate the superstitious nature of African religion.  He really seems to be making an effort to belittle the African in this novel.  Orando’s suspicion is confirmed a few moments later when by a series of coincidences  Tarzan seems to answer when Orando  calls him Muzimo.  As Tarzan has no memory of another identity he assumes the role of Orando’s Muzimo.  This is really quite well done.

     A Muzimo is a sort of guardian angel, a spirit of an ancestor who looks after you.  Tarzan really fills the role performing natural- for him- feats that Orando believes are supernatural.  Tarzan, or Muzimo, directs the entire successful attack on the Leopard Men’s stronghold.

     Tarzan’s role of Muzimo is a story within the story within the story which based on Trader Horn.  If one keeps diving we might even find another story within the story.  The story of Tarzan as Muzimo is quite independent of the story of Old Timer, the Kid and Kali Bwana.  As we will learn when his role of Muzimo ends, Tarzan’s reason for coming to Utenga was to search out the Leopard Men.  The fact that Old Timer, Kali Bwana and the Kid are there is mere coincidence.  Their stories only become meshed at the Leopard Men’s temple which inadvertantly brings all together.  Even then, after regaining his memory, as Burroughs explains, they are of little interest to Tarzan.  The connection is only racial which is very weak.  Really the devil is in the details; a whole lot of devils.

     ERB has established the conflict between the superstition based animistic religion of the majority  culture and the horrific satanic religion of his minority culture.  He may be ‘fictionizing’ here the real life situation between the Western dominant culture of Christiantity, which he would still believe superstitious, and its recessive Jewish sub-culture.  I’m not clear how closely he intends the comparison.  At first sight Orando’s mistaking Tarzan for his Muzimo or guardian angel seems ridiculous yet even at this moment seventy percent of Americans believe in guardian angels.  The figure would probably have been a few percentage points higher at that time.

     Also, the Scopes Monkley Trial in Dayton, Tennessee was as recent as 1925-26, so the conflict between science and superstition in the US was by no means a settled matter.  The analogy between African and American culture may be sardonic.

     Just as the Utengans probably represent the Christian culture of the West so the Leopard Men may represent the minority Jewish Culture.  Just as the Leopard Men had adherents functioning secretly within the majority culture directing affairs so did the Jewish Culture in the West.  Just as the Leopard men had organizatonal representatives distributred amongst all the tribes across Africa functioning toward a common goal so Jewish Culture was represented in every culture of the Western world.  Just as the witch doctor Sobito manipulated the affairs of the Utengans from within for the benefit of the Leopard Men so the Jewish Culture through the ADL/AJC  manipulated Western Culture for its own benefit.

     In the twenties and thirties the International Jewish Conspiracy phase of Jewish manipulation was the prevailing fear.  The struggle to deny the Protocols Of The Elders Of Zion had not yet been effected although well along.

     It seems clear to me that Burroughs always has ulterior motives in his novels.  He is not simply telling a story for entertainment.  Burroughs must have been puzzled by the attitude of the majority culture.  While Science was daily discrediting the supernatural yet the majority of the majority clung to, not so much outmoded religious beliefs, as a religious cast of mind.  The belief in Christianity was being steadily eroded as based on superstition yet rather than abandoning religion Americans frantically tried to incorporate science into religion.  Thus one has the strong religious quality of Liberalism that encourages the defamation of Christianity yet pursues a religious agenda based on wishful thinking.

     It is very strange, more than passing strange, that while Westerners reject Christianity they have reverence for Judaism and Moslemism.  While Christianity represents an anterior stage in the psychological development of mankind, the former two are even more primitive, magical and superstitious.  One has to laugh out loud at Rabbi Schneerson’s attempt to incorporate genetics into his religious system while the Moslem clerics are unfathomable by both Scientific and Liberal ideas and notions.  Yet Liberals attack Christianity while endorsing Judaism and Moslemism.

     Burroughs pits his alter-ego Tarzan and the majority against the minority religion launching an all out attack.  Tarzan, whose memory is gone, accepts his role as Orando’s Muzimo.  Curiously Burroughs describes Tarzan’s tan as so deep that he is the same skin color as Orando yet retains his status as ‘White.’  Possibly Orando was better able to accept Tarzan as his Muzimo because of the skin color.  Tarzan becomes Muzimo being in fact Orando’s guardian angel until he regains his memory at which point he becomes again his own man pursuing his own interests.  While he is Orando’s Muzimo he is a spectacular guardian angel directing Orando’s quarrel with the Leopard Men to a successful conclusion which as we are told his original intention was the suppression of the Leopard Men.

     Tarzan foils the Leopard Men’s advantage in Utenga by exposing the witch doctor Sobito as a Leopard Man as well as the spy Lupingu.  He is instrument in the deaths of both.  His task is made easier because Orando believes implicitly in whatever his Muzimo says.  Thus, while there is a natural explanation for what happens the results appear as genuinely supernatural to Orando and his tribesmen.

     This is all handled very cleverly by Burroughs as he lets the reader see what is happening as he also shows Orando’s superstitious interpretation.  It’s actually pretty funny.

     By following Tarzan/ Muzimo’s advice the Utengans catch the Leopard Men coming back from a ritual orgy while hung over and either kill or scatter them, men, women and children.  There was no one left alive in their village.  Thus the majority expel their troublesome minority or sub-culture from their midst, perhaps as ERB wished the majority culture of the United States might do with its troublesome minority culture.  He may have used Africa as a metaphor for the United States.  In any event Leopard Men seems to be a continuation of Triumphant on the religious level while being perhaps the most detailed examination of religion that ERB ever did.  But you can see why his Liberal detractors would call this his worst novel.

     At the time of writing Leopard Men the most recently issued story was Tarzan The Invincible.  Tarzan Triumphant had been written and probably submitted to Blue Book but it wouldn’t be published until 1932-33 while the book edition was published in 1932 so there couldn’t as yet have been a reaction to his portrayal of the two Midian cultures and Abraham son of Abraham and his followers of Paul.

     Perhaps ERB found his religious portrayal of Triumphant too clumsy so he refined it in Leopard Men.


The Goddess Kali

Riders On The Storm

     If  you don’t enter as an initiate you won’t get the story.  The symbolism in this story is so strong and complete that it should be a standard psychological textbook.  Burroughs writes as though he had just come from a course in esoteric symbolism.  He continues this throughout the story too.  I don’t know if I can do this justice but I will try.

     Burroughs has entered the defining crisis of his life, thus the novel is full of symbols of life, death, sex and regeneration.  ERB feels that he is being born again, the butterfly emerging from the cocoon.  The very name Kali Bwana is the primary symbol.  Kali is the Hindu symbol of life, death and regeneration.  Her image is as dark as this story.  This story, as it were, emerges from the very bowels of the pit, the viscera of frustrated desires and hopes of their fulfillment.  Very frightening actually.  I can see how on one level so many people would consider it ERB’s worst.  It isn’t easily understandable..  The story deals with primal needs and desires that would drive a man insane.  Indeed, Kali Bwana considers Old Timer insane.  He himself says that maybe he is crazy.  He makes psychotic statements and is on the verge of criminal sexual behavior throughout the book until the very end when he is reformed.  This is an extremely violent but regenerative story.  Sort of like Walt Disney on steroids.

     Kali Bwana is the joy of man’s desiring.  A platinum blonde, her beauty apparently disintegrates all men’s self control as she inspires dreams of rape rather than courting.  Old Timer himself has rape in mind all through the book.  No man or animal in the story every thinks of honoring her femininity; their only thoughts are to violate her beauty to gratify their illicit lustful desires or, perhaps, to cannibalize her beauty and make it their own possession.  This is serious stuff.

     As Kali she is the mate of Shiva.  while Shiva is usually depicted as a handsome young man serenely playing the flute while all goes to hell around him Burroughs represents him as the Leopard god of the cannibalistic, criminal animist or nature cult.  Thus, Kali Bwana is captured by the Leopard Men to serve as high priestess to their Leopard god thus forming an Anima and Animus.  Burroughs does an excellent job of presenting both the barbaric splendor and degradation of the cult or religion.

     The story is set by the book’s opening,  one of attempted rape and violence set amidst a terrific storm  in a sort of swamp like atmosphere.  One feels this is not an ordinary storm but one fraught with significance and meaning.  It is a life changing storm.

     The Penguin Dictionary of Symbols which I use here for reference is readily available.  It discusses storms on p. 941:

     The storm is a symbol of a theophany, the manifestation of the awesome and mighty power of God.  While it may herald a revelation, it can also be a manifestation of divine anger and sometimes of punishment. 

     Creative activity is also unleashed in a storm.  In a cosmic upheaval beyond the power of words, life itself was born. 

     And then Burroughs refers to the storm as a hurricane.  The Penguin dictionary says this of that, p. 533:

     Hurricanes are almost Dionysiac orgies of cosmic energy.  They symbolize the ending of one period of time and the beginning of another as tireless Earth repairs the damage.

     So now we have the figure of the eternal female, the symbol of birth, death and regeneration coupled with storm and hurricane symbols also denoting major epochal changes.  The impact is increased by the whole being expressed in a half dozen pages, very compressed.

     It should be noted that Florence Gilbert represents Kali Bwana and Old Timer is obviously ERB.  the changes are happening to him.  Florence/Kali is both repelled and passive.  Perhaps because of the ripening romance between his wife and ERB Ashton Dearholt had taken her on a motor tour removing her from the scene probably hoping separation would end the affir.  According to the ERBzine 30s Bio Timeline the Dearholts returned to LA in May just as ERB was completing Triumphant and before he began Leopard Men.  If he had been fighting his feelings for Florence her return was obviously more than he could deal with hence this terrific storm and the overwhelming number of female symbols in the novel.

     At the same time as the rape attempt the Leopard Men corner Nyamwegi, a Utgengan returning from a date with his girl friend.  Amidst the multiple bolts of lightning which illuminate the entire sky and tremendous crashes of thunder the Leopard Men gruesomely and bloodily murder the boy removing body parts.

     ERB accentuates the ferocity of the storm and hurricane by saying that the lightning bolts were numerous and continuous, filling the entire sky.  The Penguin dictionary, p. 606:

     Lightning symbolizes the spark of life and powers of fertilization.  It is fire from Heaven, vastly powerful and terrifyingly swift, which may be either life giving or death dealing.

     And on p. 607:

     As the weapon of Zeus, forged in FIRE (symbol of the intellect) by the Cyclops, lightning is the symbol of intentive and spiritual enlightenment  or the sudden flash of inspiration.  However, while it enlightens and stirs the spirit, lightning strikes down the drive of unsatisfied and uncontrolled desire…

     So after this storm all will be changed; there will be a new Heaven and a new Earth.  Kali Bwana has averted personal disaster while Nyamwegi has met his end.  Nearby in another part of the forest Tarzan and Nkima crouch beside a forest giant to wait out the storm.  Here the hurricane topples the tree uprooting it.  Tarzan tosses Nkima out of the way but is himself struck by a branch, one assumes one of the big ones of the lower terrace.  Once again the Big Fella is given a case of amnesia so that he is not aware of his racial affinity to the Whites aligning himself with the Blacks.

     In another part of the forest, not too far away, Old Timer and the Kid are discussing their fortunes apparently unaware of this massive storm.  As Old Timer sets out on the trail of ivory on the morrow he hears a shot which leads him to Kali Bwana.  All the elements of the New Day are in place.

     The action takes place not only in the forest but in the Ituri Rain Forest, the forest of forests.  In Western symolism the forest is where the lost man wanders in search of his redemption.  One has to find one’s way out of the forest for personal redemption.  Thus Old Timer and Kali lose their way wandering around in the forest hopelessly lost.  At one point Old Timer can’t see the constellations to navigate at night.  At another the forest is so dark he can’t see the sun to navigate by it.  Both he and Kali have to be rescued by Tarzan after he regains his memory.

     As David Adams has pointed out Sheeta the panther is always associated with the Anima or female.  Usually Sheeta is described as a panther but in this novel Sheeta is the Leopard.  The smell of Sheeta is overwhelming throughout this novel.  In this case I think we may be sure that Sheeta represents the fear of the feminine.  Tarzan and Nkima are inseparable in this novel.  Throughout the entire novel Nkima complains about the small of Sheeta who wishes to devour him, in other words, to emasculate him.  So Burroughs is afraid of what is happening to him in regards of Florence.  When Tarzan recovers consciousness after the battle with the Leopard Men the first thing he does is call Nkima.  The little monkey in his place on Tarzan’s shoulder reminds one of the Egypian Ka or double.  Tarzan the fearless and Nkima the fearful.  Burroughs as a child confronted by John the Bully.

     As an aspect of Tarzan’s- and Burroughs’- character Nkima probably represents his more chicken livered side.  There is no record of Tarzan ever having fear, he doesn’t even know the meaning of the word, but Burroughs did hence Nkima who knows nothing but fear.  Neither Tarzan nor Burroughs have ever been what one would call ladies men hence if not fear of the feminine at least an apprehension of it.  As Burroughs is now reaching a major crisis of his life having now to choose either Emma or Florence it is not to be wondered that the forest reeks of Sheeta.  Indeed, the Leopard Men themselves are symbols of the feminine and they intend to sacrifice Old Timer.  Thus one has the leopard as Leopard god and Kali Bwana as his Leopard goddess.

     The tremendous rainfall, itself a symbol of regeneration and fertility from the male sky god would create a steaming swamplike atmosphere as it fell on Mother Earth while the temple of the Leopard God itself was in a crocodile infested swamp.

     First the Crocodile as symbol, Penguin p. 244:

     The crocodile which carries the Earth on its back, is a divinity of darkness and the Moon, whose greed is like that of the NIGHT which each evening devours the Sun.  From civilization to civilization and from age to age the crododile exhibits a high proportion of the countless links in that basic symbolic chain which belongs to the controlling forces of death and rebirth.  The crocodile may be a formidable figure, but this is because like all expression of the power of fate, what he displays is inevitable- darkness falling so that daylight may return, death striking so that life may be reborn.

     In other words, you can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs.  Poor Emma.  Obviously for ERB he is killing his past so that his future may be born.

     The temple is in the center of a swamp so deep withing the forest that the sun never shines on it.  The swamp is the quintessential female symbol.  It is in the Lernean swamp where Heracles has to battle with the Hydra.  Hydra=the water of the feminine and the irrational.  Each time Heracles cuts off one of the seven heads another grows in its place until he cauterizes each severance with fire, that is the power of the male intellect.

     Thus, one has crocodiles, leopards, water, swamp, the river and Stygian darkness.  if you can’t rise above the fear of the feminine, you will be swamped, drowned in her waters.  The only entrance and exit is this slow moving river is obscured by the forest.  This river of mystery and death, this impenentrable forest.  The River is the last of the great symbols we will consider, Penguin p. 808:

     The symbolism of rivers and running water is simultaneously that of the ‘universal potentiality’ and that of the ‘fluidity of forms’ (Schuan) of fertility, death and revewal.  The stream is that of life and death.  It may be regarded as flowing down to the sea; as a current against which one swims; or as something to be crossed from one bank to another.  Flowing into the sea it is the the gathering of the waters, the return to an undifferentiated state, attaining Nirvana.  Swimming against the stream is clearly returning to the divine source, the First Cause.  Crossing the river is overcoming an obstacle, separating two realms or conditions, the phenomenal world and the unconditioned state, the world of the senses and the state of non-attachment.

     Then this from Burroughs, p. 191:

     The sun was sinking behind the western forest, its light playing on the surging current of the great river that rolled past the village of Bobolo.  A man and a woman stood looking out across the water that was plunging westward in its long journey to the sea down to the trading posts and the towns and the ships, which are the frail links that connect the dark forest with civilization.

     If one looks at this novel from an esoteric symbolic point of view the symbols tell their own story.

     As Old Timer says Kali means Woman.  At the beginning we have Woman and the Shaggy Man.

     I haven’t given the symbolism of the Shaggy Man yet so using the Penguin Dictionary of Symbols again under the heading Rags and Tatters, p. 782:

     (Rags And Tatters) are the symbol of anxiety and lesions of the psyche as well as that material poverty which, in folktale, is sometimes adopted as a disguise by princes, princesses and wizards.  It denotes simultaneously poverty and anxiety or cloaks inner riches under an appearance of wretchedness, thus displaying the superiority of the inner over the outer self.

     Thus Kali- the Woman- the symbol of death, birth and regeneration, and The Shaggy Man or the Frog Prince, the Hero in disguise, waiting to be regenerated by the kiss of the ultimate Woman.  A classic fairy tale, actually, with a tip of the hat to David Adams for insisting on the fairy tale connection.

     The Man, the Woman, the Storm with a tremendous display of  Lightning, Thunder, Wind and Rain completely transforming both the physical and psychic landscapes bringing the Man and the Woman together.

     The Woman is then captured by the repressed sexual desire of the Leopard Men who wish to install her as their Goddess.  The Woman or Kali is stripped Naked and then adorned with various attributes of the Leopard Cult.

     As in various myths, fairytale and folklore stories the Man and the Woman (the Anima and Animus) have been separated by Fate and must fight through all obstacles to be reunited.

     Kali (Woman) is led through the teeming, steaming forest with a rope around her neck to the big river down which she is canoed to a smaller stream, ‘the silent river of mystery and death’ in the darkest, swampiest, most crocodile infested part of the darkest of dark forests.

     Abandoning all other concerns the Shaggy Man pursues Kali to the village of the Leopard Men where he is taken prisoner, then taken down the silent river (the Styx?) to be sacrificed.  By a miracle the two escape only to be separated again while the Shaggy Man is taken back to the temple of the Leopard Men.  Kali, Woman, is captured by a Black chief to serve his sexual needs.  Rape again.  White=Light, Black= Darkness.  Thus the ever present threat of rape seems to be about to be fulfilled.  But no, the elder wife of the Black chief objects to the White Woman.  Out of the pot and into the fire.  The Woman is left with Pygmies who are even more vile than the Blacks.

      But now a Deus ex-machina, Tarzan, has released the Shaggy Man.  Hot in pursuit he follows Woman to the Pygmy camp.  He madly attempts rescue which is successful once again because of the Deus ex machina.

     It’s not over yet folks.  ERB can make any 192 page story go on for a near eternity.  Together again Kali and the Shaggy Man are once more torn assunder when the Deus ex machina sends an ape who captures the Shaggy Man.  Makes you breathless, doesn’t it?  Deus once again reunites the Woman and Shaggy Man.  Now, if you will notice the Shaggy Man forces a kiss on Woman.  His act of violence shames him so that he finds redemption in his remorse.  Thus the kiss of Woman has returned the Frog Prince to his rightful form.

     As the story ends the two are about to leave the dark forest for the light of civilization down river.

     Thus one has the classic myths- Psyche and Eros, Perseus and Andromeda and many others, numerous fairy tales -Cinderella, one which ERB has used before, and much folklore.  It is done very well, too, if you’re following the bouncing ball.

     It is noteworthy that the work of another great author is misunderstood too.  I refer to the ancient poet Homer.  While Homer’s reputation is very great no one understands the Iliad.  The adventures of the Gods and Goddesses are beyond the comprehension of classical scholars.  Thus they prefer the Odyssey which is written in a more comprehensible if pedestrian style.  If I remember correctly the Five Foot Shelf excludes the Iliad while containing the Odyssey.  While both are attributed to Homer they must have been written by two different mind sets.  The psychology of each is too different to have been written by one mind.  Besides the Iliad concerns the middle part of the Siege of Troy while the Odyssey skips all the way to the story of only one of the Returns.

     There are similarities in the way Burroughs and Homer tell their stories but to avoid argument Homer is incomparably the greater.

     Nevertheless Burroughs has masterfully used a set of symbols to supply a very rich subtext to this story and he has done it intentionally.  He does know whereof he speaks.  I don’t think there is any doubt that he has studied Esoterica.  Probably the topic was of life long interest both in the old kook capitol Chicago and the new kook capitol of Los Angeles.  (Kookie, Kookie, lend me your comb.)

     There was a lot of esoterica going on in LA.  The Golden Dawn of Aleister Crowley was out in the desert at Barstow, Manly Hall was advising the movies on estoteric matters, the Vedantists were established and the Theosophists had a terrific college in LA.

     Anybody who thinks ERB wasn’t interested in such things doesn’t know how to spell Edgar Rice Burroughs.

     While ERB wouldn’t touch a religious theme unless ‘highly fictionized’ he managed to highly fictionize all manner of religion in this great novel of his mature period.  He was working at break neck pace too.

     Love this stuff.

     On to Part IV which will deal with the cast of characters.  Inevitably there’s a certain amount of repitition but I try to cast the stuff in different highlights, crosslights and aspects.  This stuff deserves a thorough examination.


A Review

The Tarzan Novels Of Edgar Rice Burroughs

Themes And Variations



R.E. Prindle


Edgar Rice Burroughs.

    While Tarzan And The Leopard Men is not well thought of by Bibliophiles being considered the worst of the series, I can’t find any reason to believe this.  I couldn’t place it in the top five but the book is on a general par with the rest of the series, perhaps a little better.

     I think the problem arises because it is thought to portray the African in a negative light.  As with the Mafia there are those who deny the Leopard cult because it is offensive to their sensibilities.  They prefer to see the African as a ‘noble savage.’  I have no problem with this attitude but I prefer historical accuracy to anything I might wish to believe.

Trader Horn

    The existence of the Leopard cult in no way diminishes the character of the African.  Secret societies are part of every culture in this multi-cultural world.  Many of them are murderous.  The Assasins of Hasani Sabah of Persia are a notorious example.   The Illuminati who were responsible for the worst atrocities of the French Revolution are another.  The Freemasons who while perhaps not so violent function, have functioned and do function as a secret brotherhood who help each other against society.  The Mafia and Organized Crime in general are secret societies on a par with Leopard Men.  During the thirties Lepke Buchalter ran the infamous Murder, Inc.  So I see no reason to lower one’s opinion of the book because it may seem to certain sensibilities, by no means shared by all,  to  disparage the Negro.  The events in the Congo after independence and the events in Shonaland happening now are so horrific they make the Leopard Men seem like novices.

     The book Tarzan And The Leopard Men was written over July-September of 1931; a trifle of a rush job even for a fast writer like Burroughs.  The story was published in Blue Book from Auguast 1932 to January 1933.  Book publication was delayed until 1936 so there may have been some editing to reflect personal events over that period.

     As the novel shows a rather direct influence from both the book and movie of Trader Horn Burroughs may have received some criticism from the magazine publication hence delaying book publication until time had dimmed the memory.

     When Burroughs formed his publishing company he had expected to write a Tarzan novel a year.  That schedule would have been adhered to except for this novel that was interjected into the series out of order of its writing.

     The cause of the disturbance is very easy to find.  In February of 1931 MGM released it great African epic Trader Horn.  According to the ERBzine Bio Timeline for the 1930s, on February 23 ERB and Emma drove into Hollywood to catch the show.  So we do know exactly when he saw the movie, or, at least, the first half of it.  At intermission Emma remembered that they were to babysit for daughter Joan drawing her husband from the theatre.  I’m sure ERB steamed over that for more than a day.

     At that date he was in the midst of writing Tarzan Triumphant but Trader Horn aroused him so much that he began to plan a rejoinder.  After completing Triumphant in May he conceived Leopard Men and rushed it through.  Perhaps ERB thought Horn infringed on the Big Bwana’s African domain as Leopard Men is a virtual reformulation of Horn using elements from both the book and movie.  Of course ERB ‘adapted’ Horn for his own needs.  Trader Horn was to be an influence on the rest of the series.

The African Chief

     Trader Horn as a book first appeared in 1927.  It was a non-fiction best seller in both ’27 and ’28, in the top five for both years, a tremendous success.  That alone might have aroused ERB’s jealousy.  Whether he read the book between its issue date and his viewing of the movie isn’t known but that he had read it by the time he wrote Leopard Men is clear.  The title does not appear in his library although Director W.S. Van Dyke’s 1931 story of the African filming, Horning Into Africa,  does.  ERB undoubtedly used Van Dyke’s book as background for his 1933 effort, Tarzan And The Lion Man.

     Don’t look for a copy of Van Dyke in your library; the book was privately printed and distributed.  Copies are available on the internet but at collector prices of from one to several hundreds of dollars.  Thus it will readily be seen how large a space Trader Horn formed in ERB’s consciousness.

     I’m sure that when Emma dragged him from the theatre to babysit, ERB had no idea how influential Trader Horn was going to be in his life.  For at least three years his career centered around it.  In 1931 he saw the movie, possibly read the book for the first time and wrote Leopard Men.  In ’31 the contract with MGM surrendering the rights to the portrayal of his Tarzan characters was signed.  Then Van Dyke and Hume fashioned Tarzan, The Ape Man after Trader Horn.  Tarzan, The Ape Man was a major success changing the public’s understanding of the character of Tarzan from a literate cosmopolite to feral child.  In answer Burroughs wrote a parody of Van Dyke’s African filming of Trader Horn.  When the screen Tarzan, Johnny Weissmuller, gave up the role in the late forties he put on some clothes and became Jungle Jim who might very well have been modeled on Trader Horn.  Perhaps an inside joke.


Trader Horn and Ethelreda Lewis

     At the time Alfred Aloysius ‘Wish’ Smith otherwise known as Trader Horn told his story to the woman who wrote it up and got it published, Ethelreda Lewis,  he was a seventy year old derelict living in a doss house in Johannesburg, South Africa.  Etheldreda Lewis was a well-known South African novelist.

     Horn made his meager living by making wire gridirons and selling them door to door.  He had developed a sad sack routine meant to induce housewives to buy his gridirons out pity.  It worked with Mrs. Lewis.

     She engaged him in conversation.  As a novelist she realized he had a story to tell, she encouraged him to do so.  Horn wrote up a chapter a week bringing it to her on Mondays.  As she treated him respectfully offering him tea and cakes and a last chance at self-respect before he peeled off for the other side of the river he managed to prolong his story over twenty-six chapters and one presumes as many weeks of tea and cakes.  Trader Horn the book is indicated to be Vol. I.  There is a volume two telling of his other adventures.  Vol. I is currently in print for 16.95, probably less on Amazon.  Highly recommended.

     In addition to Horn’s story Mrs. Lewis also recorded their weekly conversation which she appends to each chapter.   Horn makes some very interesting and timely observations, a little sad but on the knowing side.  I’m sure ERB was sympathetic as Horn confirmed his own beliefs.  Altogether a very interesting and entertaining book  which should have been a best seller not only for two years but more.

     Horn’s experiences were so wonderful that naturally the question has arisen as to how accurate his recollections may be.  I have read a number of vulgar opinions stating that Mr. Horn was a liar.  I take offense at such an assertion.  The man was relating his life.  He may possibly have gotten a few details wrong but, as they say in Hollywood, his life was based on a true story.

     I have read the book five times now within the last four years.  My opinion as to Horn’s veracity is this.  He very much wants to please and prolong a pleasant interlude to a rather grim life at the time.  He had read a number of books including Burroughs and Du Chaillu.  He claims to have known the French explorer De Brazza.  He was an educated, intelligent and experienced man.  He had apparently always had literary leanings.

     Everyone has to be somewhere every moment of their lives and I have no doubt that Horn was on the Ogowe River in Gabon  at the time he says he was.  As a reader I hope I can perceive the ring of authenticity in a man’s reminiscences .  Also I have been around myself enough to have seen some things, even seen some repeatedly, for which I get looks of incredulity, so just because I haven’t seen some things doesn’t mean they aren’t true.  I reserve the right to question them to myself but stranger things have happened than I’ve ever seen.

     While Horn is telling his own story I think he tries to make a good story better combining fiction with a factual tale.  One questions his story of the White Goddess, Nina T.  That story just doesn’t ring true.  It seems like he borrows a little from ERB.  Nina T. has been the Egbo goddess since the age of four, five or six being now in her twenties.  She was the daughter of an English trader George T.  who died when amongst the Blacks.  They then appropriated her to groom as their White Goddess.

     While Horn is plotting to spirit her away he has to communicate with her in writing, one imagines cursive.  He has to explain how she can read, write and understand English.  Nina T. and Tarzan should have gotten together.  Horn explains that before George T. died he taught the very young Nina how to read and write using a picture alphabet book.  Over the intervening twenty years or so Nina never forgot, itself a great feat of memory.  Not quite as amazing an accomplishment as Tarzan teaching himself to read and write from possibly the identical picture alphabet book but still very impressive.

     The natives also have a giant ruby as a fetish that Horn says he lifted by having a replica made solely from a description he sent to his friend Peru.  As he was the first White man to be initiated into Egbo such a betrayal  of his oath doesn’t speak well for his integrity or trustworthiness.

     Thus, while I don’t have any trouble believing his trading and hunting adventures I have to conclude that as Burroughs would say, he was ‘fictionizing’ the rest.  Nevertheless it makes a good story and if relating it  made him feel good so much the better.  No reason to call him a liar and his story lies.

     One has conflicting reports on his subsequent life.  On one hand there is a story he lived well off the proceeds of the book in England.  When he was about to die the story goes that he said:  Where’s me passport, boys, I’m off to Africa.  Famous last words, indeed.  On the other hand it is said that he died in 1927 in SA before he received the fruits of his labor.  I would like to think he lived long enough to see a version of his story on the silver screen.  If he had one imagines he would have been brought to Hollywood for the premier.  He wasn’t.

    So, whichever way he went, a tip of the hat for you Trader Horn.

Filming Trader Horn


Horn, Van Dyke, Hume and Burroughs

     Had ERB known of Trader Horn in far off South Africa turning in his weekly installments to Mrs. Lewis I doubt if he would have realized how large a part Horn’s story was to play in his own life.

     When the book was published and became a bestseller, something which Burroughs must have heard of, there must have been a glimmer of interest but still no recognition of Horn’s future impact on his life.  When he saw Van Dyke’s movie he was duly impressed  and was influenced but still probably had no idea of what loomed ahead.

     By 1932’s MGM movie, Tarzan, The Ape Man, he had begun to realize the significance of Trader Horn to his own life.  When he sat down to write Tarzan And The Lion Man the Old Campaigner was aware.  While no copy of Trader Horn found its way into his library we know for certain he read it.  A book that did find its way into his library was W.S. Van Dyke’s account of the filming of Trader Horn, Horning Into Africa of 1931.  This book was used as the basis for Tarzan And The Lion Man.

     It seems certain that Van Dyke read Trader Horn shortly after issue.  By 1929 as the book was moving down the charts Van Dyke, a cast of many and several tens of tons of equipment were moving to Africa to form a safari to end all safaris.  Not since Henry Morton Stanley in his quest for Livingstone had Africa seen such a spectacle.

     Trader Horn was the first entertainment  film shot on location in Africa.  All the footage was authentic except those scenes shot on lot in Hollywood.  I’m learning to talk Hollywood…all, except.  The movie was a mind blower when it hit the theatres being one of the biggest grossers of all time.  Burroughs saw it, picked up his pen, dictaphone or whatever, and following the script and book closely dashed off Tarzan And The Leopard Men leaving out the bit about the music box.  Let’s compare the three versions of Trader Horn.

     In the book Horn is the central character.  He is a young man of seventeen or eighteen who has run away from school.  Peru, his schoolhood chum, does not enter the story until the very end.  His faithful Black companion, Renchoro, plays a very secondary auxliary role.

     In the movie Horn is a grizzled Old Africa Hand tutoring his young pal, Peru.  In the opening scene they are sitting around the campfire before setting out for the interior.

     Burroughs follows the movie  in having Old Timer teaming up with his young pal, The Kid.  Even though the character of Old Timer seems to be based on a man of Burroughs’ age it is explained that he is under thirty while the Kid is twenty-two.  Maybe ERB looked old but felt young.

      In Horn Nina T. is a dark haired beauty the daughter of an Englishman George T. and an octaroon which means Nina is one sixteenth Negro but not so’s you could tell.  She is literate, after a fashion, being able to read Horn’s handwritten notes in English.  Horn buys her European clothes which she wears while yet a goddess.

     In the movie Nina is a real primitive with the brain of an ape.  Burroughs may have been thinking of her when he created Balza of Lion Man.  She is astonishingly well played by Edwina Booth who has a mane of blond hair that would have gained her entrance as the queen of the Hippies in the sixties.  A very exciting appearance.  Just as Van Dyke and Hume made Tarzan an illiterate they show no favors to Nina.  She couldn’t have begun the the alphabet let alone recite it.

The White Goddess And Her Subjects

   In the book her mother died before her father.  In the movie Horn and Peru encounter her mother walking through the jungle in search of a daughter lost twenty years previously.  I laughed.  I wouldn’t know if anyone else did as I was watching alone in front of my TV.  By the way the VHS I was fortunate enough to buy new for twenty dollars, now out of print, is advertised on Amazon for up to one hundred seventy-five dollars.  What a strange world.  I hope they issue it on DVD.  Maybe this essay will spur enough interest.

     Horn coyly refused to give Nina’s last name as she is an heiress to the T. fortune which had been claimed long before.  The movie boldly proclaims her as Nina Trent.

     As Burroughs tells it, the future White Goddess is known as Kali Bwana, a name the natives gave to her.  Her real name is Jessie Jerome.  Her brother is Jerome Jerome.  This is probably a coy reference to the English writer Jerome K. Jerome whose classic Three Men In A Boat was in ERB’s library as well as Idle Thoughts Of An Idle Fellow.  Three Men is supposed to be one of the most comic books in the English language.  If so, it was too subtle or too broad for this reader.  I didn’t find it amusing.  ERB must have liked it.  Jerry Jerome covers the Jerome Jerome parts of the name while the K of Kid provides the middle initial.   Jerome K. Jerome.

     The names are conceald from us until the very end of the book so there must be a haw haw there for the knowing reader.  ERB calls Jerome Jerry never calling him Jerome Jerome.

     Kali Bwana or Jessie Jerome is ‘what is known as a platinum blonde.’  So the goddess has gone from dark hair to the blondest.  Jean Harlow had starred in Howard Hughes 1930 production of Hell’s Angels making her the Blonde Bombshell of Htown so ERB was duly impressed.

     In the book Horn was a bright young man, in the movie, an old African hand.  In Burroughs although ‘not yet thirty’ he is an Old Timer, a bum because of what a woman done to him.  Since Kali Bwana/Florence redeems his attitude toward women we are free to assume that Emma was the woman what done it to ERB.

     Kali Bwana is deserted in the jungle by her safari because she refuses to submit to the embraces of her Negro headman.  Old Timer discovers her camp where she tells him she is looking for her brother Jerry Jerome, in yet another parody of Stanley and Livingstone.  Old Timer and the Kid have never asked each other’s names so Old Timer has never heard of Jerry Jerome, even though he is Old Timer’s partner.  Thus the rest of the story need never have happened had they known each other’s names.  ERB likes this sort of thing, using it often.

     Old Timer puts Kali Bwana under his protection which proves ineffective against the Leopard Men who seize her and carry her away to their Josh house to be their goddess.

     In the book Renchoro is merely an associate of Horn.  In the movie Renchoro becomes virtually a romantic interest of Horn.  Several scenes are tinged with homosexual overtones, especially Renchoro’s death scene while when Peru and Nina T. board the paddle wheeler for the return to civilization and Horn remains behind a big balloon containing a picture of Renchoro appears as a hearthrob for Horn.  Horn returns to the jungle presumably to find a substitute for Renchoro.  Interesting comment on the Black-White relationship.

     In the Burroughs’ story the Black-White relationship is removed to one between Tarzan and Orando.  Tarzan has a tree fall on his head as the story opens not unsurprisingly giving him another case of amnesia.  Orando happens along.  He is about to put an arrow through the Big Bwana  when Tarzan speaks to him in his own dialect.  A handy thing to not only know every dialect in Africa, human and animal,  but to know when to employ the appropriate one.  Probably has something to do with a refined sense of smell.

     Speaking of ape languages, Spain is about to vote on a measure  giving apes human status in the country.  So not only is the human species to be counted politically in Spain but leaping the Last Hominid Predecessor, an entirely different evolutionary strain is to be accounted human.  It will be interesting to see how the Spanish ape population votes.

     Orando then mistakes Tarzan for Muzimo or his guardian spirit.  Thus for most of the book the relationship between Muzimo and Orando is that of the movie between Horn and Renchoro.  And also between God and Human.

     Horn traded on the Ogowe River in Gabon.  Much of his story concerns his navigation of the Ogowe and its tributaries.  Unlike every other African explorer I have read Horn makes Africa seem a wonderland.  Every other writer makes Africa dark and forboding with piles of human skulls laying around, walkways lined with skulls.  Horn’s Africans are laughing back slappers who are merry even as they are shooting and killing each other.  The rain forest along the Congo depresses all other explorers but Horn finds the Ogowe otherwise.  The skulls are still there but Horn apparently finds them amusing.  The river Horn navigates unlike those of Conrad’s Heart Of Darkness or Stanley’s Through The Dark Continent and In Darkest Africa is a  bright cheery place.  Maybe it’s all a state of mind.

     Van Dyke has only one river and that does not play a central role while it is on the dark side, a river of death.  It is also the Nile in East Africa.  Most of the movie takes place on terra firma.

     Burroughs makes the rivers central to his story but they are dark, violent rivers of death.  ERB borrows more heavily from Stanley on this score than he does from Horn.  Actually, if one is looking for similarities there is some resemblance of Horn’s story to the Beasts Of Tarzan, but the latter is based on Edgar Wallace’s Sanders Of The River.  We don’t know what of Burroughs Horn read; it is quite possible that he read a few of the six or seven Tarzans available in his time.

     Horn has the Egbo fraternity practicing their rites in a long building quite similar to that employed in Burroughs’ Cave Girl of 1913.  Horn would have had to have read that in magazine form which is possible but seems a stretch.

     Van Dyke has his rites practiced in the open.  Horn originates the idea of crucifying the victims upside down so that when the head is cut off the blood drains into a pot for ritual uses.  Van Dyke includes an upside down crucifixion but leaves out the more grisly details.

     Burroughs dispenses with the crucifixion scene entirely relying on his often used cannibalism.  This may be one of the reasons the book is disliked.  In the sixties the traditional cannibal cooking pot was derided as a false stereotype of the African.  It was denied that cannibalism had ever been practiced in Africa.  Black musical groups in the US like Cannibal And The Headhunters ridiculed the facts.  Thus imputing cannibalism to Africa became bad taste.  Perhaps when Leopard Men was reprinted in 1964 its heavy reliance on such rituals prejudiced a certain mental outlook against it so the story was derided as the worst of Burroughs novels.  While very dark and even gruesome the story isn’t noticeably inferior to any of the others.

     In the book Horn is not only on good terms with the various tribes but he was the first White man initiated into the Egbo society.  Egbo is at its most innocent a sort of Freemasonic society and at its worst on a par with the Leopard Men.  Horn describes Egbo as a sort of vigilante society who do in anyone  any member has a grievance against.  Neither Egbo nor Leopard Men figure into Van Dyke’s movie.  As I understand it , Nina T.’s people merely practice savage primitive rites.

     Burroughs who has moved his story from the Ogowe of Gabon to the Aruwimi of the Ituri Rain Forest with which he was familair from Stanley’s account in his In Darkest Africa relates the Leopard cult that was notorious at the time.  Horn does have a lot of leopards in his story giving a detailed description of how their talons leave cuts looking like they were sliced by knives.  His natives wear a lot of leopard skins.  There isn’t much on Egbo available on the internet except a notice that it originated on the Calabar Coast which, if I’m not mistaken is where the Leopard cult comes from.

     Fellow Bibliophile David Adams gives a good short account of the Leopard Men.

     Burroughs undoubtedly  had sources so that his presentation is based on facts of the Leopard Men but adapted for his own purposes.  Thus he makes the Leopard Men  the central idea of the story.  Tarzan becomes involved with the Leopard Men through his role as the Muzimo of Orando.  As an ally of Orando’s Utenga people Tarzan engineers the destruction of the Leopard Men’s village and cult in that part of his domain.

     In Horn’s book as a member of Egbo he is familiar with the Negroes, a member of the cult and has full access  to the ldge and, in fact, Nina T.  He has no difficulty in rescuing her whatever.  He had just previously defeated the Egbo chief in battle so that worthy was thoroughly cowed refusing to even give chase.

     In Van Dyke’s movie Horn and Peru wander into an African Chief’s village attempting to trade.  The chief is uninterested in trading seizing them as victims for his sacrifical rites.

     Horn and and Peru as trade goods offer the chief a music box that the chief scorns.  In the book the music box is known as Du Chaillu’s Music Box.  At some earlier time Du Chaillu while researching gorillas had left a music box and compass behind that enthralled the Africans.  Peru shows up with another that they leave behind, presumably in payment for the monster ruby.

     Van Dyke apparently thought the music box ridiculous while Burroughs doesn’t use it at all although he does follow the movie scene with the African chief closely.

     In his version the Old Timer in pursuit of Kali Bwana learns that she was abducted by Gato Mgungu and taken to his village.  Gato means cat so perhaps the name has some reference to leopards.  Gato Mgungu is chief of the Leopard Men.  Old Timer who has traded with Mgungu before barges into his village alone demanding he release Kali Bwana.  In the movie the chief is a tall, extremely well built, handsome fellow.  Quite astonishing actually, while Burroughs gives Mgungu a huge pot belly.  Old Timer is given as short a shrift as the movie Horn.  He is seized, dumped in a canoe and taken down river to the Leopard Men’s lodge also, as in the movie, destined for the stew pot.

     In the book Horn and Nina T. are well acquainted.  She trusts him and is eager to be rescued.  They easily escape down river in Horn’s boat.  In the movie Horn and Peru are shown o Nina T. who falls in love with Peru.  Somehow an escape plan is concocted that she more or less leads.  They are hotly pursued by her people.  The band finds its way to the trading post on the river although Renchoro is killed.

     Burroughs has Kali Bwana taken to the lodge where with titillating details involving gorgeous nudity she is prepared to serve as chief goddess of the Leopard King who is a real leopard along the lines of the various lion kings of Burrough’s stories.

     Old Timer is held captive among the crowd of Leopard Men gathered for the rites.  As Kali Bwana is led out they both recognize  each other and gasp.  Unknown to everyone the Big Bwana is up in the rafters observing everything.  From then on he becomes the agent of deliverance.

     In the book Nina T. having been rescued, Horn provides the happiest of endings.  Horn and Peru have only one goddess between them.  She must go to one or the other.  The happy-go-lucky goddess is willing to take either the one or the other so they flip a coin for her.  The outcome is obvious since Horn didn’t marry her.  Peru wins the toss and gets the goddess.  Peru is the son of the owner of one of the richest silver mines in the world in his namesake Peru.  He has just come of age so he is one Porfirio Rubirosa.  Nina T. has left the jungle to fall into unimaginable wealth.  As I see her as nearly a feral child I do not envy Peru.

     The two are married aboard ship by the captain then after a pleasant interlude in Madeira Peru and Nina go their way while Trader Horn and his ruby go another.  Horn sells his ruby to Tiffany’s from whom he does quite well.  The stone while large has flaws so he didn’t do was well as he might have.

     In this volume at least Horn doesn’t mention ever hearing from Peru and Nina T. again.  He may mention them in volume two but I haven’t read it.

     In the movie with Nina’s tribesmen hot on their trail Nina and Peru go off in one direction while Horn and Renchoro lead the tribesmen on a wild goose chase.  Renchoro is killed but Horn makes it back to the trading post.  Peru and Nina are now an item.  She has either quickly picked up enough English to understand a proposal and say yes or she just likes the color of Peru’s eyes.  They offer to take Horn with them but that balloon of Renchoro pops up with the implication that Horn can find himself another African ‘boy’, which he seems to prefer.  The paddlewheeler steams down the river with Nina and Peru while Horn turns back toward the jungle presumably in search of another ‘boy.’

     Burroughs version is much more involved.  Suffice it to say that after many tribulations the French army shows up to suppress the remnants of the Leopard Men who were destroyed by Tarzan and the Utengas.  Jerome K. Jerome locates Old Timer and the goddess Kali Bwana.  The latter two have been reconciled and now are in love with each other.  When Old Timer learns that her real name is Jessie Jerome he fears the worst.

     In one of Buroughs, name games Kali Bwana had refused to give him her real name insisting he should call her Kali.  Old Timer refused to give his last name but confessed to being named Hiram.  Perhaps his last name was Walker.  Kali could him ‘Hi.’ Just as there is a joke in the Kid being Jerome K. Jerome there is probably a joke in Old Timer being called Hi.

     I refer you to Lewish Carroll’s Hunting Of The Snark:

There was one who was famed for the number of things

He forgot when he entered the ship- but the worst of it was

He had wholly forgotten his name.

He would answer to “Hi!” or any loud cry,

Such as “Fry me!” or
Fritter My Wig!”

     There is a copy of The Hunting Of The Snark in ERB’s library so he must have read and reread the poem, as well as, one might note, The Rubaiyat Of Omar Khayyam, so I think telling Kali Bwana she could call him Hi or any old thing is another of his literary jokes which are sprinkled throughout the novels.

     Old Timer is overjoyed when he learns that Jerry and Jessie are brother and sister instead of husband and wife.  As they are about to board the old paddle-wheeler, as in the movie, Jessie asks Old Timer to come with her.  (Old Timer plays coy.)

     The sun was sinking behind the western forest, the light playing on the surging current of the great river that rolled past the village of Bobolo.  A man and a woman stood looking out across the water that plunged westward on its long journey to the sea, down to the trading posts and the towns and the ships, which are the frail links that connect the dark forest with civilization.

“Tomorrow you will start,” said the man.  “In six or eight weeks you will be home.  Home!” There was a world of wistfulness inn the  simple, homely word.  He sighed, “I am so glad for both of you.”

She came closer to  him and stood directly in front of him, looking straight into his eyes.  “You are coming with us,”  she said.

“What makes you think so?”  he asked.

“Because I love you, you will come.”

It can be plainly seen how all three versions of this scene are related while being derived from the original of the novel.  As Burroughs adapted the movie version of the relationship between Horn and Peru he followed the movie ending.

Thus the novel and movie reoriented his own approach to Tarzan novels.  The relationship of the three stories has literary repercussions.  While it is plainly seen that Burroughs was, shall we say, highly inspired by Horn’s novel and Van Dyke’s movie, what might not be so apparent to the untrained eye is the extent to which both Horn and Van Dyke were influenced by the work of Burroughs which preceded theirs by a couple decades.

Horn admits to being familiar with the Tarzan stories.  He was a first time writer here, while he had his own story to tell, he needed a format.  He has chosen to emphasize many characteristics of the few Tarzan novels he could have read by 1925.  While the Ogowe River figures in his life he probably would have been excited by the river scenes in Beasts Of Tarzan.  He treats elephants and gorillas that he had actually seen in the wild differently than Burroughs but includes generous doses of both because they have worked for Burroughs.

Viewing from a distance as we are compelled to do one loses the savor of the times.  A Burroughs reading Horn carefully might easily have picked up many references that slip by us.

Van Dyke and Hume on the other hand had been exposed to Tarzan movies for a dozen years or so.  What they read can’t be so obvious.  But the very format of the jungle thriller would have derived from previous Tarzan movies.  ERB may have felt he was entering a turf war as the Big Bwana’s domain was being invaded.

Timber Raft On Ogowe River

He may have believed himself justified  in expropriating the expropriators.  If Horn died in 1927 his opinion no long mattered.  What Ethelreda Lewis may have thought isn’t known.  She apparently had a hand in writing the movie script for Swiss Family Robinson.  Whether she came to Hollywood to do it I am not informed although she was around the movie capitol for a number of years.  A meeting between her and ERB would have been interesting.

What Van Dyke and Hume may have thought I am equally uninformed, however between the release of Horn in February 1931 and the release of Tarzan, The Ape Man in March of 1932 was a year during which a contract was negotiated between MGM and Burroughs for the use of his characters but not of any of his material on April 15 of 1932.  (Erzine Bio Timeline, 1930s).  Within nine months then the movie Tarzan, The Ape Man was in the theatres.

The generally expressed view is that Hume first wrote up a script involving a combination Horn and Tarzan story.  This was before they might have seen Leopard Men in print.  To quote William Armstrong from ERBzine 0610:

     Cyril Hume who had turned the filming of “Trader Horn” in Africa into a suitable story outline, was given the assignment of writing the script for Tarzan The Ape Man, Hume’s original script had Trader Horn leading an expedition to Africa to search for a lost tribe.  En route, they discover Tarzan, who kidnaps the woman scientist member of the safari.  She eventually returns to the safari and they are captured by the tribe they seek (who worship the moon), and are to be human sacrifices to a sacred gorilla.  Tarzan leading a pack of elephants, arrives in time to save the safari.  The woman scientist decides to stay with Tarzan while Trader Horn and his party return to the trading post.

Map Of Gabon And Ogowe River

This script may give some idea of how conventional Hollywood minds viewed both Horn and Tarzan.  Apparently the relationship between th two was very close in their minds.  This script leaves little room for the development of the Tarzan yell while it gives the feel of making Tarzan a subordinate character to Horn.  Tarzan might or might not have been a part of the next Horn movie.  If MGM continued to use Harry Carey in the Horn role he may very likely have had a stronger film presence than Tarzan who, one imagines would still have been portrayed as a feral boy as he essentially was in Tarzan, The Ape Man.

It would be interesting to know when MGM decided to film a Tarzan movie and in what connection to Trader Horn.  The success of Horn may have prodded them but one is astonished at the speed at which the project was conceived and executed especially as we are led to believe that they had no actor to play Tarzan in mind when the contract with ERB was signed.

As Leopard Men was probably not even fully conceived in ERB’s mind when he signed it could have had no effect on the signing.  The release of Tarzan, The Ape Man in 1932 did have an effect on Burroughs.  After writing Tarzan And the City Of Gold from November of 1931 to January of 1932 he was stunned by the MGM characterization of his great creation.

That shock resulted in early 1933’s novel  Tarzan And The Lion Man.

As influential as Horn was for the main frame of the story of Leopard Men ERB had all his usual themes and variations to employ which he lavishly did.  This is a very dark story that I do not fully understand.  The Trader Horn connection was the easy part.  Now to the hard stuff.

Themes And Variations

The Tarzan Novels Of Edgar Rice Burroughs

#15 Tarzan Triumphant


R.E. Prindle

Part 5

In The Footsteps Of The Lord


     If anything the action of this novel reminds me of Ray Bradbury’s Illustrated Man just as the invasion of Opar brings strong recollections of the last story of Bradbury’s Martian Chronicles.  In the latter all the great fictions of mankind, fairies, ogres, and whatnot have been driven from earth by Reason taking refuge on Mars.  But as the true condition of Mars becomes known their world crumbles and disappears as there is no place in the universe left for them.

     That fate will never overtake Tarzan as he represents very real hopes, dreams and desires of mankind.  Even as the old world and old heaven of the Piscean Age begins to heave and crack as the new Age of Aquarius struggles to come into existence, the archetype of the Age is forming around Tarzan.  Tarzan will emerge triumphant.

     The next two scenes of Burroughs’ tapestry which come to life not unlike the pictures on the tattooed man are as vivid as any scenes Burroughs wrote.  The agony of Gunner Patrick when he awakes to find himself alone is palpable.  There is even an element of tragedy in his situation if one has sympathy for murderous criminals.  Burroughs rather sneers that without his machine gun Patrick is a pathetic figure.  But, while the machine gun represents advanced tochnology man’s prowess has always depended on his weapons, whether they be stones, spears and bows and arrows, an old harquebus or the machine gun or stealth bombers and self-guided blockbusters.  The fellow with the latest model is always top gun on the block.  Without his weapon he is naturally nothing.  Even Tarzan would have been a dead man long before this without his father’s knife.  What makes Gunner Patrick so reprehensible is that he uses his weapon for injustice rather than justice.  Thus without his weapon he is subject to the same injustice he would inflict on others.

     Still, he’s our criminal so we have to take his side.  One would say he is less criminal than the men who stole Jezebel from him except that out there they live by a different lawless code.  As Patrick would say:  They ain’t no cops out there.

     Law is a matter of the strongest; so Tarzan as the strongest and justest will reestablish Law and Order according to his terms.  He acts as the judge and jury which some people with an opposing notion of Law might find offensive or even dangerous to their plans.  How much of a coincidence then is it that in Tarzan’s New York Adventure he is stripped of his status as lawgiver and subsumed to a different legal code?  No coincidence at all in my mind.  The legal decision declaring Tarzan a criminal also showed who was strongest in Hollywood.  In fact, in late 1941 and into ’42  Burroughs had been ousted from Hollywood himself, living in exile in Hawaii.

     The Golden Girl, Jezebel, had been taken into custody by Capietro but Stabutch has eyes for her.  The two men decide to play poker for her, best three out of five.  Strange that an Italian and a Russian should be familiar with the quintessential American card game, but there you have it, they were.

     Stabutch loses but calls Capietro a cheat.

     This scene recalls ERB’s own loss when he and Emma were in transit in Parma, Idaho.  While Emma waited upstairs ERB got cleaned of the couple’s last forty dollars in what may very well have been a crooked game.  I haven’t played poker a lot but I’ve never been in a straight game, so as a stranger in Parma, the odds are that Burroughs’ game was crooked.  He doesn’t say so, of course, but I’d be willing to bet he thought so.  The memory was a horrendous one for ERB; it crops up frequently in the corpus.  My memory of a Navy game is always with me.  In fact, someone I hadn’t seen for forty years brought it up the first thing.  These things are like the scar on Tarzan’s forehead.

     Capietro and Stabutch fight, one out of one, that Stabutch wins.  He then flees with Jezebel.  the Gunner who has been gathering his wits above the scene sees the two ride out the gate.  He follows in pursuit on foot.

     Stabutch and Jezebel put up for the night during which a lion scares their horses away.  Hungry the next day, Stabutch stashes the Golden Girl in a tree while he goes hunting.  Staking out a water hole he is surprised to see Tarzan drinking.  A golden opportunity to accomplish his mission but the strain is too much for his nerves; he misses his shot.  Running as fast as he can, Tarzan following torments his victim with a couple of arrows before, as Stabutch begs for his life, putting an arrow through his throat.  His throat! I was ready for ‘his black heart’ but was surprised by ‘his throat.’  As a probable surrogate for Stalin who sent him, why his throat?  At any rate Tarzan has now completely defeated the Communists; once in Invincible and again here.

     Patrick has been miraculously reunited with Jezebel but now all three are captured by the shiftas.  The outcome is clear.  The faithful Waziri stage a frontal attack on the shifta stockade.  Patrick and Jezebel, who have been bound and left in the same tent, free themselves.  The hard thing Patrick has been lying on turns out to be ‘his better half’, the machine gun.  He then opens up on the shiftas from the rear.   No contest.


     The final picture in the web then, is the successful bringing together of all the threads and strands which began two thousand years previously in an entirely unrelated event, when Paul was martyred in Rome and Angustus fled for the African hinterland bringing his slave girl with him.

      Lord Passmore as it turns out is Tarzan in disguise.  He assumed the identity so as not to arouse suspicion.  So once again Tarzan displays an effeminate side.  A disguise hardly seems necessary for the Big Bwana but as ERB needed the faithful Waziri for the big battle scene finale, perhaps so.

     Tarzan at this point seems to be a solo act; there is no hint of Jane awaiting him back in Kenya.  Lafe Smith and Lady Barbara are brought together.  Thus the bright alter ego of Burroughs is paired up with a member of the English aristocracy who may represent the writer Dorothy Sayers,  perhaps a match ERB would have liked in real life.

     Already three or four years into his affair with Florence, of which surely Emma was aware, one wonders what she thought when she realized she had been written out of the story.  Well, she did turn to drink.

     More interestingly, Burroughs’ dark alter ego, Danny ‘Gunner’ Patrick and the Golden Girl, Jezebel are brought together.  He is going to leave Chicago taking Jezebel to somewhere in LA to buy a service station.  A worthy ambition; for some  reason the movie, The Postman Always Rings Twice, pops into my mind.  The screenplay for that movie was written by Raymond Chandler who, for no explicable reason, I associate with Burroughs.  There must be some similarity between Philip Marlowe and Tarzan.  Marlowe did get sapped a lot.  Chandler even turns sapping into an art form.

     In pairing Jezebel/Florence off with his dark side ERB may be hinting at the direction his relationship with Florence will take.  His life with her was certainly different than his life with Emma as he let his hair down and began dressing like quite a dandy, or, perhaps, Lord Passmore.

     On that score, in this novel, Burroughs selects his dark side to take the obligatory bashing.  One wonders then if he attributes this dark side to the bashing in Toronto.  Is he saying that his dark side was the result of the bashing?  Did he begin living some sort of double life some few years after he was laid out?  Was his character even more erratic than it appears?  How much did Emma put up with?

     His emphasis on the notion that every man has two characters that may diverge as did Jekyll and Hyde give reason to think so.  At any rate the following couple years ERB himself would be leading a double life.  As Lafe Smith with Lady Barbara/Emma and as the desperado Danny ‘Gunner’ Patrick with his amour Jezebel/Florence Gilbert Dearholt.  Jezebel is certainly appropriately named.

     The next two novels explain his own relationship to Florence and Emma.  Leopard Men, which I have already reviewed, deals with his opting for Florence while City Of Gold deals with his rejection of Emma.  But first some conclusions and organization.

To be concluded in Part 6: Threads and Stands Of The Web

Themes And Variations

The Tarzan Novels Of Edgar Rice Burroughs

#15 Tarzan Triumphant


R.E. Prindle

Part 4

The Born Again Lafe Smith

The time has come the Walrus said

to speak of many things;

Of shoes and ship and sealing wax

Of cabbages and kings.

And why the sea is boiling hot

And whether pigs have wings.

Lewis Carrol

     The learned nonsense of Lewis Carrol was never far from Burroughs’ mind.  In the long list of influences Carroll ranks fairly high although more disguised than others.  Both adventures of Alice as well as The Hunting Of The Snark formed the backbone of Burroughs’ ideology.  Thus the entrance to the Land Of Midian in many ways resembles Alice’s descent into the rabbit hole.  The sexual implications of the rabbit hole should be self-evident as is the the entry into the Land of Midian.

     The Lafayette of Smith’s name refers of course to the revolutionary Marquis de Lafayette who fought against the monarchy in the American Revolution.  Recently General Pershing had repaid the debt when, as he stepped ashore in France he grandly proclaimed:  Lafayette, we are here.  A famous utterance then and now so that it appears that Burroughs is associating freedom and liberation to his alter ego.  He might exclaim as he stepped through the hole: I am Lafayette and I am here.

     Smith is studying the geology of the area when he discovers a cleft in the mountain which he enters.  In some ways Burroughs old life ended when the Reds invaded Opar.  La was forced out into the the real world when her people rebelled because of La’s fixation on Tarzan.  The Big Bwana restored her to her throne having destroyed the rebel chiefs.  We are led to believe that La reigned happily ever after even though her manifestation as well as Opar disappear from ERB’s dream world.  With the death of his old dream world ERB seeks to find another; one which other people cannot enter.  Jungle Girl written shortly after this novel provided one such place in the ancient Khmer kingdoms of Cambodia and Thailand.

     Thus Midian is a pale reflection of Opar.  While the way to Opar was known to the world, indeed, Zveri, Stalin and the Communists as well as many Africans knew of the fabulous wealth of Opar and where the city was located.  They didn’t know where the gold was located because in was in Burroughs’ mind.

     Having had his dream world  violated ERB creates another but this time the location is so remote and the entrance so difficult, although identical to that of Opar,  to find that none but his Anima and Animus figures can find it.

     Like the great red and gold city of Opar Midian is surrounded by high cliffs but unlike Opar they are unscalable from either side.  No casual visitors are going to get in there.  Like the actual city of Opar the only entry is through a cleft in the walls.  In Opar once through the cleft one climbs a stairway to enter the ruins.  Here, led by his interest in geology Smith enters the cleft in the mountain reft by titanic forces ages ago to follow it deep within the mountain wall.  To insure that he continues on down the rabbit hole Burroughs sends a lion in after him blocking any exit should he wish to turn back.  Thus the lion as Fate is forcing him to his destiny.  The role of the lion in the oeuvre  remains elusive to me; I fail to grasp the nuances as well as the essence.  The lion may be another side of Tarzan, the Lion Man, who is helpful.  On the other hand the lion as an expression of Burroughs’ Anima is extremely dangerous and hateful falling beneath Dad’s knife repeatedly, these are usually female.  Still a problem for me.

     Following the cleft for some way Smith reaches the end which is a very small hole that he can just force his way through.  The symbolism of birth is quite clear; the descent from the womb and the breakthrough to the other side through the vagina.

     Both aspects of Burroughs’ Anima are already inside Midian.  Lady Barbara parachuted there while Jezebel was born there.  Thus, it would seem that the La, Jezebel, Balza figure was native to Burroughs’ X chromosome while Jane, Lady Barbara, Rhonda Terry was an acquired image.

     Smith will also be joined by the two remaining Animus figures, Gunner Patrick and Tarzan.  All five of his Anima/Animus figures that he acknowledges were then functioning in his dream world.   This may have represented his brain or the womb or a combination of both.  What seems to be clear is that with the destruction and death of his old dream world he is being born again.  The resurrection scene will follow.

     When Tarzan enters Midian as when he is entering the cleft of Opar it is necessary for him to manipulate his shoulders through by turning them sideways.  Thus there is a clear reference to birth.

     Perhaps when Burroughs began self-publication he felt as though he were making a break with his past.  Leaving McClurg’s and Joe Bray behind, making a new start as it were, he was beginning a new life.  That was probably part of it as was the invasion of Opar by his enemies but I’m sure there is personal development involved that isn’t clear to me yet.

     Once inside, convinced that the lion is following him although one believes the small hole would have baffled the lion, Smith finds the convenient tree in front of the hole into which he climbs for safety.  Then Smith does exactly what Patrick, the dark side of the ego, will do, he goes down to the lake and gorges himself on water.  This could be construed as baptism of the born again man; the living water of redemption.

     He then meanders in the direction of Midian.  As night has fallen the bonfires attract him.

     By this time Lady Barbara after a few refreshing skinny dips waiting for her clothes to dry, Burroughs actually writes these strange interludes, finds her way back to Midian.  For some strange reason the Midianites pay no attention to her mind boggling miracles, sometimes you can’t buy a thrill, choosing to disregard the apparent will of their god.

     She and Jezebel are condemned to be crucified and burned to death.  Both have been placed on the crosses with faggots piled round when Smith and his trusty nickel plated .32 burst upon the scene.

     Now we have the resurrection of Smith and his Anima figures.  The implication is that the trinity have symbolically died and are now resurrected.  This is some fancy footwork.

     Imagine the scene:   Two crosses are erected.  The Anima figures are placed on the crosses.  As I imagine it there is a space of four to eight feet between the arms.   Smith forces a way to a place in fornt of the crosses as he kicks away the burning faggots between the two crosses.  Although not on a cross himself he is symbolically so he and Burroughs assume the role of Jesus Christ in the middle while the Anima figures represent the two thieves, one on either side.

     Thus we are playing out a reenactment of the Christian crucifixion that will have a different result.

     The Christians are pressing in on Smith.  This is yet another version of Burroughs’ confrantation with John the Bully on the street corner.  Back then he turned and ran.  Now Smith is in a quandary.  Christ in the same dilemma turned the other cheek saying:  Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.

     We have all been taught to revere turning the other cheek.  Some even attempt to practice the precept.    I’m sure the ploy may work from time to time but in nine times out of ten it won’t.  That is more or less the dilemma of the Western world today.  it is steadfastly trying to turn the other cheek but every time it does a steel-toed boot gets planted on it.

     Thus as Smith is dithering a clear cultured English female voice comes down from the cross saying:  You’re going to have to shoot to kill, you know.  In other words, turning the other cheek is sure death.  Burroughs is especially good at surprise twists like this.

     Astonished, perhaps thinking the angel of the Lord had spoken to him Smith complies, firing into the crowd.  As the joke is that his aim is so poor he couldn’t hit the side of a barn he is fortunate enough to actually kill someone.

     Momentarily stunned by the magical weapon but not overawed the crowd pauses long enough to allow Smith to get Lady Barbara down.  Thus Burroughs chooses the older more stately aspect of his Anima rather than the Wild Thing, sex kitten.  Perhaps as Florence was out of town ERB temporarily shifted bazck to the Jane Anima aspect.  Within a matter of weeks or days he will decide on Jezebel/Balza/Florence when Florence unexpectedly returns and he writes Leopard Men in celebration.

     Smith succeeds in lowering Lady Barbara but then Jobab challenges the efficacy of his .32.  Smith fires at Jobab point blank missing him.  Jobab vindicated rushes Smith knocking the gun out of his hand.  Lady Barbara scoops it up, places the muzzle against Jobab’s side where he learns the efficacy of the Colt.  Thus the Anima and Animus of Burroughs have now killed a man.

     This give the crowd pause once again so that Jezebel is lowered and the Trinity run away.  The two Anima aspects and Burroughs’ bright Animus are now whole.  The confrontation with John the Bully has been resolved.

     They attempt to find the opening but in the process wander into North Midian where they are captured by the fair haired, blue eyed, small nosed but no less superstitious North Midians.  They manage to escape.

     They capture a kid to eat but in the process the goatherd misses it.  What the symbolism of eating the ‘lamb’ is escapes me just now.  Smith and lady Barbara are recaptured, taken to the village.

     In the meantime Tarzan and Patrick enter the crater.  Burroughs now has all five of his Anima and Animus figures in the crater.  Tarzan separates from Patrick.  The latter comes across Jezebel who had escaped the North Midians.  The meeting is apparently love at first sight so the Wild Thing Anima and the killer Animus are united.  As they are tired they lay down together.  You can draw your conclusions but Jezebel appears to be ready for any ‘beautiful’ man who comes along.  Whether a comment on Floence isn’t clear however Burroughs in his mind would be seeing her in his Desperado aspect while she would be his Wild Thing or little Flapper girl.

     Perhaps with Smith/Lady B ERB is representing his Dr. Jekyll side, his married status while with Jezebel/Patrick he is representing his Hyde side in his affair with Florence Gilbert.

     Jezebel and Patrick leave the crater.  On the outside they are spotted by Capietro’s men who bash the Burroughs surrogate on the head leaving him for dead while they carry Jezebel off.  This would be the same situation with John the Bully  or the bashing in Toronto however it may also represent Ashton Dearholt’s taking Florence out of town for a cooling off period.

     Burroughs interjects a comedy routine back in North Midian with a lampoon of religosity over whether Paul had yellow hair or black hair.  The upshot is that Smith is to die.

     However a pair of eyes are watching the scene.  An unknown lurker to the North Midians, Tarzan to us.  Tarzan’s own role in this story is his battle with Capietro and Stabutch.  Otherwise he functions as a deus ex machina– a God from the machine a common feature of Greek drama to resolve an otherwise unresolvable plot point — to get the Anima figure out of difficulty.  He does in this case too.

     Then leaving he crater Tarzan escorts the pair to his friend Lord Passmore’s safari leaving them there in safety with the faithful Waziri.  Then he goes back to deal with Stabutch and Capietro.

     Thus Fate and Burroughs go about weaving their web.  The similarity to Penelope of the Odyssey is close with the exception that Burroughs does not unravel the previous day’s work.  But one is invited to see this story as a series of pictures woven into the tapestry somewhat like the contest between Athene and Arachnae.  One might also compare the novel, in the classical mode, to the Shield of Achilles which is decorated around the edge with a series of pictures portraying the life of the Bronze Age.  So Burroughs has woven a series of such pictures into his tapestry.  A clever idea and well executed.  How many people have ever gotten it except for us is open to question.

     So far Burroughs has insulted the Jews and ridiculed religion in general and Christianity specifically.  He now turns to the strand of Communism, humiliating them in his dreamworld.  It is all well that he should take the attack to them but one is surprised that he either didn’t anticipate a counter attack or didn’t anticipate the direction from which it would come if he was even yet aware that his defenses had been overrun by MGM.

     The man was playing with fire without an awareness of real life consequences.  It would be amusing to know if a copy of Tarzan Triumphant was rushed off to Stalin.  One can be sure that the ADL/AJC/MGM combination had an advance copy perhaps even the chapters as they were being written.   It is inconceivable that his enemies had no spy within his organization.  That is just the way things are done and had to have been done in this instance.  The usual mode is to capture the position of secretary through whom all information passes.  That means that ERB’s typist may have been the conduit, Cyril Ralph Rothmund or perhaps even both.  I’m betting on Rothmund for sure.  I would love to see his finances.  He may also have been on the ADL/AJC/MGM payroll was well as Burroughs’.  Itr was he who negotiated the contract Burroughs signed giving away the control of Tarzan.

     The next picture on the web is the reunion of Jezebel and Patrick followed by the battle of Tarzan and the Communists.

To be continued in Part 5:  In The Footsteps Of The Lord


Themes And Variations

The Tarzan Novels Of Edgar Rice Burroughs

#15 Tarzan Triumphant


R.E. Prindle

Part 3:

Two Peas And The Pod.

     The ease with which ERB shifts from one complicated subject to another is truly remarkable; no less so in the facility he has for organizing these matters into a few lines or paragraphs.  No one can do this without a firm grasp of his subject matter.  ERB is simply one of the best informed writers of his era.

     In a little less than a page ERB summarizes the Torrio-Capone years in Chicago from the beginning of Prohibition in 1920 while incorporating a fictional history of his character, Danny ‘Gunner’ Patrick.  Patrick as his name indicates is Irish.  He was part of the Dion O’ Bannion gang led bhy Bugs Moran after O’Bannion’s demise in 1924.  According to Burroughs Patrick took part in the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre in 1929.

     …but Danny Patrick was ambitions.  For years he had been the right hand of a Big Shot.  He had seen his patron grow rich– “lousy rich” according to Danny’s notion– and he had become envious.

     So Danny double crossed the Big Shot, went over to the other side, which, incidentally, boasted a bigger and better Big Shot, (Al Capone) and was a party to the hijacking of several truck loads of booze belonging to his former employer.


     Many of the Big Shot’s enemies and several of his friends, had Danny taken for a ride.  He knew the power of the Big Shot, and feared him.  Danny did not want to go for a ride himself, but he knew that if he remained in dear old Chi he would go the way of all good gunmen much to soon to suit his plans.

     Patrick is not not a nice guy, he is definitely not a nice guy.  For my tastes ERB is much too tolerant of a man he describes as a psychopathic killer.  “many of the Big Shot’s enemies, and several of his friends’ implies that Patrick has many, perhaps dozens, of murders to his credit yet Burroughs is going to have Tarzan befriend this guy.

     While O’ Bannion was done in in 1924 by the Capone gang, being succeeded by Moran, ERB seems to telescope the years reversing things so that O’Banion is still alive after the 1929 St. Valentine’s Day Massacre– ‘The Day Chicago Died.’  ERB is clearly following and thinking about the situation in Chicago as he says, p. 27:

     (Patrick) knew that sooner or later, the Big Shot woud have a grand funeral with truck loads of flowers and, at least, a ten thousand dollar casket.

     Underworld funrals were prodigious affairs.  There is a certain irony in the fact that Dion O’ Banion ran a flower shop.  As a big crime figure it would be expected that the flowers for those expensive funerals would come from his shop.  Is it any wonder Patrick was taking so many people for a ride.  O’ Banion had a good racket going there.

     Not wanting to be taken for a ride himself Patrick had opted for an extended vacation taking his typewriter with him.  A Chicago typewriter, of course, was a Thompson machine gun.  Tommy gun.  The Chicago underworld qauickly adopted the Tommy gun which was new at the time.  The Tommy made those Dick Tracy comic strips so thrilling.  Although one has come to accept the Chicago hoodlum story as a commonplace if one actually thinks about it the open war between the underworld and legitamate society is so startling that one should be appalled.  ERB  like the rest of his contemporaries seems to have taken the fact in stride even, in his case, making Patrick a hero.

     It is almost as though he made Patrick the dark side of the mild mannered Geology professor, Lafayette Smith.  Or, in other words, himself.  In this series of books from Invincible to Lion Man ERB explores the split or dual personality as examined in Robert Louis Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde.  Convinced as ERB is that the Animus is represented by two archetypes, whith which I find no difficulty other than it can be three, four or more, in this story as usual he divides the two aspects of the personality between two characters.  Although Lord Passmore who is Tarzan in disguise has a decidedly homosexual feel, which would make four  personalities.

     Lafe Smith is clearly an alter ego of Burroughs. Borrowing from ERB’s own experience he says of Smith, p. 11:

     …Lafayette Smith, A.M., Ph.D., Sc.D, professor of geology at the Phil Sheridan Military Academy.


     For a school year now, he had been an instructor in an inconspicuous western military academy.

     Here we have ERB as he would like to have been with a string of degrees after his name.  First in this dream life he is a professor of Geoplogy athe Phil Sheridan Military Academy which sounds pretty impressive but then he is mysteriously down graded from a professor to a mere instructor (which ERB was in fact) for a schoolyear, nine months, at an inconspicuous military academy.  Thus fantasy collides with reality.

     Another fantasy, now Smithe was on his way to achieve another cherished ambition, that of going to Africa to study the Great Rift Valley perhaps as ERB himself might have liked to have done but which he never did.

     So ERB has his ego ideals, his Jekyll and Hyde sides going as pals to Africa.  As Tarzan is also an ego ideal we have an actual trinity.  Jekyll and Hyde and what?  God?  David Adams who is a pretty thorough Jungian is mystified by the lack of the benevolent old man in Burroughs’ work who according to Jungian theory should have been there.  This is more htan likely a very involved question but I am going to sugest that possibly characters like Tarzan and John Carter seve in that capacity of Old Man/Jekyll figures while the actual Old Man figures who are betrayers serve perhaps as the Hydelike figures representing his father.

     In real life Burroughs ‘old man’, his father, was a betrayer who had little good to say about his son even to the extent of defaming him to all and sundry.  So, it is possible that ERB split the Jungian benevolent Old Man figure into Jekyll like Tarzan and John Carter and his father into the Hydelike Old Man character.  As he was conflicted with a love/hate relationship with his father it would be easier for him not to mention his father by name.  I offer this interpretation only as a suggestion and do not insist n it, still it is a possible solution to the problem perhaps leading to a full solution.

     You can take the boy out of Chicago but you can’t take Chicago out of the boy.  ERB was always fascinated by slang.  Gunner Patrick gives him the opportunity for extensive and amusing word play.  The criminal culture from which patrick comes has what amounts to a patois.  At one point ERB calls it by the French term of argot.  Even though he is pronouncing English words that the English speaking characters can recognize the meanings of  the meaning he attaches to the words  are beyond the comprehension of his auditors.  Thus one has the intersting effect of the cultural clash between two examples of what should be the same culture but is not.

     Of course ERB is in full command of not only both these cultures but seemingly all cultures.  In his zany multi-cultural world he is the Master of Cultures.  I pretend to the succession of ERB.

     Thus disembarking from a ship the bright and dark sides of ERB tramp across Africa in the direction of the Great Rift Valley.  Perhaps like Kitchener they came down the Nile to Khartoum and cut up the Blue Nile to Ethiopia like Samual Baker.  Now Burroughs has to integrate his master alter ego, Tarzan, into the Jekyll and Hyde pair.

     A psychological interpretation is that Tarzan must accept the Hyde of Burroughs’ personality as well as the Jekyll.  Indeed, Tarzan seems to respect the Hyde side much more than he does the clown like but educated Jekyll side.

     As the story is told Tarzan hears the sound of a machine gun and goes to investigate.  Patrick had fired into the bush hoping to hit a lion nosing about the safari camp.  He succeeds in temporarily scaring it away, giving Tarzan time to locate the camp.

     The lion returns.  Imagine this scene.  Patrick with this Tommy gun is standing under the convenient tree, while Smith stands behind him with his nickel paltged .32 that he doesn’t even know how to aim.  Here ERB’s dark side is in command while his incompetent but intelligent bright side is subordinate to the dark.  What does this mean in real life?

     As Patrick fires on the lion the Tommy gun jams leaving both sides of Burroughs’ alter-ego defenseless.  At this time the Master alter ego falls on the lion from the tree killing him and saving the lives of the subordinate alter egos, Patrick and Smith.  Patrick is Irish and the more aggressive while one presumes Smith is English and more passive.  Thus a major theme of Irish and English which runs throughout the corus is here erepresented.  While ERB claimed to be ‘pur’ English he was actually only English on his father’s side while Bennsylvania Dutch, in other words, Rhineland German, and Irish on his Mother’s side.  the Irish surfaces not only here but in the following year when he assumed his Irish ancestral name of John McCulloch to write Pirate Blood.  Also as David Adams points out the killing of the lion puts the seal on the relationship between Tarzan, Smth and Patrick.

     In the same period of time he wrote Pirates Of Venus and Pirate Blood.  Although pirates had figured in his early writing as the Black Pirates of Barsoom and the pirates of Pellucidar unless I’m mistaken this sudden efflorescence of interest in pirates has to do with the ‘pirating’ of Tarzan by MGM.

     While not introducing himself Tarzan peremptorily gives the pair some instruction on how to comport themselves in the jungle then disappers up his tree.

     The next time Tarzan and Patrick meet is a bonding session in which Tarzan accepts Burroughs’ dark side, Patrick.

     Tarzan is squatting on the edge of the cliff observing Capietro and Stabutch in their camp below.  the ground gives way precipitating Tarzan over the edge.  He attempts to save himself by grabbing the chance tree growing out of the cliff face- the chance tree- even here Burroughs equates trees with safety- but the tree gives way.  Tarzan falls through the grass roof of a hut landing safely.  He is imediately engulfed by the goons of Capietro.

     Now, having lunch under another tree not too far away, yards actually, is Gunner Patrick.  HIs attention called to the Ape-man who he had previously not noticed he gets up to investigae.  Aiding Tarzan he lets loose with a blast from the Thompson.  He succeeds in dispersing the crowd as well as Capietro and Stabutch.  this is almost commical:  Tarzan shouts to Patraick to not go away, he’ll be right up.  Good as his word he appears above.

     Now come this very interesting bonding session in which Tarzan accepts Patrick. P. 98:

     The “Gunner” was waiting for him upon the summit of the cliff directly behind the village, and for the second time these strangely dissimilar men met- dissimilar and yet, in some respects, alike.  Each was ordinarily  quiet to taciturnity, each was self-reliant, each was a law unto himself in his own environment; but there the similairty ceased for the extremes of environment  had produced psychological extremes as remotely separated as the poles.

     The ape-man had been reared amidst scenes of eternal beauty and grandeur, his associates the beasts of the jungle, savage perhaps, but devoid of coarse, petty jealousy, treachery, meanness and intentional cruelty; while the “Gunner” had known naught but the squalid aspects of scenery defiled by man, of horizons grotesque with the screaming atrocities of architecture, of an earth hidden by concrete ans asphaltum and littered with tin cans and garbage, his associeates in all walks of life activated by grand and petty meannesses unknown to any but mankind.

Now, Burroughs signed his contract with MGM on April tenth of 1931 while he didn’t finish Triumphant until May twentieth so had forty days in which to realize his mistake.  If he did realize his error so quickly it might acount for some of the misanthropic bitterness in the above passage and elsewhere.  Filching his character would certainly be considered a grand meanness.  On the other hand his misanthropic interpretation was a continuation of his longstanding dislike of mankind and civilization.

It is of interest that both Patrick and Tarzaqn have killed many men.  Some of Tarzan’s kills, quite frankly, verge on the psychopathic.  I can’t get over how he literally ripped a man’s head off his shoulders in Ant Men.  Of course, he may have merely underestimated his strength being a fourth his size but having his full sized strength.

Nevertheless both are laws unto themselves in their own domains so  theoretically they do as they please.  Still, and I don’t know how to interpret this, ‘the extremes of environment had produced psychological extremes as remotely separated as the poles.’  I’m clear on Patrick’s extreme but I’m not sure which extreme Tarzan represents.

These extremes were caused by the differences in the environments of the two men.  Tarzan was raised amongst beauty , while Patrick was raised amongst squaor.  As Burroughs roamed over Chicago, and it seems certain he searched out nooks and crannies, he was appalled byh the ‘screaming atrocities of architecture’.  Chicagoans have been quite proud of their architects and architectures so Burroughs critique is quite different.  The paving over of the environment bothered him as much as it does me.  We no longer see the tin cans and bottles but the dumping of garbage wherever by certain people still goes on.

Tarzan was raised among the ‘noble’ beasts while Patrick was raised essentially among thieves and cheats.

Still, invironment aside both men had many kills or murders to their credit.  Seems like a double standard to absolve Tarzan while condemning Patrik especially since each is obviously a product of their environment while neither therefore is inherently good regardless of their environment.

Perhaps Tarzan kills only for just reasons, of his own reckoning as he is a law unto himself, while patgrick kills for gain is where the difference lies.   Perhaps that is the difference between constituted society and the criminal world.  There are times when the most mild mannered and best of men and women must kill, whether in the individual or collective sensel.  Burroughs brings this out when Lafe Smith attempts to liberate Lady Barbara and Jezebel from the Midianites.  As he faces the Midianites with his .32 a cultured English voice comes down from the cross telling him that he is goint to have to kill someone if he and women wish to survive.

Perhaps this scene isn’t just entertainment but Burroughs relating a hard fact of life.  No matter how good you may be a situation in life will appear when you will have to do that which goes against evrything you believe if you wish to survive.l  Such is the West’s situation in the world today; commit suicide yourself or shoot to kill.  Sometimes it comes down to that; left multi-culturalism or no.

This scene may be a very important psychological moment for ERB.  There is wry truth in Tarzan’s next utterance to Patrick:  “‘ A machine gun has its possibilites,’ the ape-man said with the flicker of a smile.'”

Perhaps ERB is in some midlife evaluation.  The scene with his alter-ego Smith’s entry into Midian is laden with symbolism also.  Let’s see how Burroughs handles that as he and Fate continue to weave the warp and woof of this remarkable tapestry to bring out the pattern.

Continued in Part 4: Lafe Smith, Born Again.

A Review

Themes And Variations

The Tarzan Novels Of Edgar Rice Burroughs

#15 Tarzan Triumphant


R.E. Prindle


     Over many years I have searched for the point where myth and science join.  It was clear to me for a long time that the origins of science had their deep roots in a particular myth, that of invariance.  The Greeks as early as the 7th century B.C. spoke of the quest of their first sages as the problem of the One and the Many, sometimes describing the wild fecundity of nature as the way in which the Many could be educed from the One, sometimes seeing the Many as the unsubstantial variations being played on the One.  The oracular sayings of Heraclitus the Obscure do nothing but illustrate with shimmering paradoxes the illusory quality of “things” in flux as they were wrung from the central intuition of society.

     Before him Anaximander had announced also oracularly, that the cause of things being born and perishing is their injustice to each other in the order of time, “as they meet,” he said, for they are bound to atone forever for their mutual injustices.  This was enough to make of Anaximander the acknowledged father of physical science, for the accent is on the “Many.”  But it was true science after a fashion.

Hamlet’s Mill: An Essay Investigaing The Origins Of Human

Knowledge And Its Transmission Through Myth, p. viii,

Giorgio de Santillana, 1969

Giorgio de Santillana


     The five Tarzan novels from Invincible to Lion Man form a unique quintet within the oeuvre.  Together they are just shy of twenty-five percent of the twenty-one Tarzan novels published during Burroughs’ lifetime.  If one excludes the late and unrelated Foreign Legion they are a fourth of the series.  Twenty-five percent within four years.  One might well ask what was going on in Burroughs’ life during these momentous four years.

     With the possible exception of City Of Gold all the novels deal openly with recognizable current events.  Invincible deals with the Soviet Communist menace which is continued as one of the themes of Triumphant.  The mainspring of Triumphant is Cecil Rhodes’ old dream of a Cape to Cairo route.  In this instance realized, as improbable as it might have seemed to Rhodes, as an air route.  The hope of the air route was first explored in 1918 and was about to be realized shortly after Burroughs wrote this book.

     ERB also throws in a bit about Chicago hoodlumism with a tip of the hat to Al Capone.

     Tarzan And The Leopard Men deals with the African Leopard Cult that was in the news at the time.  City of Gold is about ERB’s marital problems while Tarzan And The Lion Man concerns the recent and sensational MGM expedition to Africa to film Trader Horn.  Both before and after these novels Burroughs wrote pure, well, almost pure fantasy.

     The reason for the change isn’t clear; however, the thirties mark another change in novelistic styles so Burroughs may have been adapting to new circumstances.  If so it was the third stylistic change he was successfully meeting although it would be his last.  He had melded a turn-of-the-century style of the teens when he began writing, then adapting his style to that of the Jazz Age of the twenties.  After a good start in the thirties the ground slipped from beneath his feet with his style becoming somewhat dated.  By the forties he was finished although Foreign Legion makes a game shot at a stylistic evolution.

     Perhaps more importantly, ERB changed because he wanted to be taken as a serious writer.  He was simply tired of being known as an ignorant boob writing from the seat of his pants.  For all the seeming frivolity of his fantasy themes they are based on very solid scientific and knowledgeable themes.  They are imbued with an intense mythological acumen, while presenting a new mythology for the current age.  They do deal with classical themes such as the One and the Many.  Burroughs tried to organize experience into a new mthological structure which was desperately needed then and no less today.


     Consider Giorgio de Santillana again:

     Today’s children, that impassive posterity to whom all reverence is due, know where to look for myths, in animal life in the Jungle Books.  In the stories of Lassie and Flipper, where innocence is unassailable, in Western adventures arranged by grown ups for the protection of law and order.  Much of the rest sedulously built up by mass media is modern prejudice and delusion, like the glamour of royalty, or the perfection of super detergents and cosmetics; super-stitio, leftovers.  So one might be tempted to say.  Actually however, no particle of myth is left over, and we have to do only with a deliberate lie about the human condition.  Tolkien’s efforts at reviving the genre, whatever talent employed, carry as much conviction as the traditional three dollar bill.

     Quite right.  Burroughs had the handle on true mythology while being able to create the governing myth of the Aquarian Age.  Triumphant is laden with myth.  In truth Burroughs is not the light-headed, simple-minded writer that even his most devoted fans and admirers want to think him.  He doesn’t want to parade his knowledge or get involved in abstruse discussions; he is writing seeming pure action novels,  The Master Of Adventure, as his fans like to say, for a pulp magazine audience that primarily wanted to be thrilled.  One may criticize Burroughs for it but he is never short on thrills or spectacular effects.  One may guffaw at some of his heroes’ exploits as I surely do but your eyes are still popping.  There’s a lot more under the seeming simplicity.  Much of it would have been recognized at the time giving the ‘knowing’ reader the satisfaction of being in on what ERB was really talking about but as the topicality faded away the succeeding generations  of readers could see only the action.

     The first sentence of the preceding novel, Invincible, explains ERB’s approach:

     I am no historian or chronicler of facts, and furthermore, I hold a very definite conviction that there are certain subjects which fiction writers should leave alone, foremost of which are politics and religion.  However, it seems to me not unethical to pirate an idea occasionally from one or the other, provided that the subject be handled in such a way as to impart a definite impression of fictionizing.

     In this series of five novels in a bid to be taken seriously, perhaps rather than conceal his knowledge by a ‘definite impression of fictionizing’ he was making a bid for intellectual recognition by ‘exposing’ his serious interests to some extent.

     The background of Triumphant is solidly based historically and in current events.  ERB was always seriously interested in aviation.  Indeed, his life as an adult would span the first lift off at Kitty Hawk to supersonic jet flight over a period of a mere forty years.  That might do something to your mind.  the concept of speed changed  in his lifetime from Barney ‘A mile a minute’ Oldfield to a fifteen mile a minute jet fighter plane.

     Commercial flight as we know it today was non-existent in 1930.  The DC3 was still five years distant.  A flight from Cairo to Capetown involved several layovers and even train trips if air connections were not established between certain points.  Yet, such a route was a major advance while being exciting news.  Ya gotta remember making a crystal radio set at home was still a substantial achievement marking one as an electrical wizard.  At the same time television was on the horizon, nearly a reality.  In such a flight Burroughs had a sure fire topic.

     He combines elements of an earlier 1918 attempt and the establishment of an air route at the time of writing.  In 1918 shortly after the War ended the British got right on realizing the hope of a Cape to Cairo dream.  Great Britain had acquired the German African colonies as part of the Versailles Treaty so that they were then in control of a continguous corridor through East Africa.  The acquisition of Tanganyika (Tanzania) filled the gap.


     Four separate pilots set out from Cairo for the Cape.  The attempt was not entirely successful, but by 1932 it was.  Burroughs then selects as his imaginary pilot Lady Barbara Collis, an English aviatrix on a solo flight.  she seems to be somewhat off her course flying over Ethiopia but then that might be expected.

     The way Burroughs’ mind worked he usually has real models for these roles if you can figure them out.  In this case I think Lady Barbara incorporates three different women.  The only significan aviatrix I can locate is Amelia Earhart.   She became in 1928 the first woman to fly the Atlantic.  She was part of a three-man crew but gained notoriety.  In 1930-31 she was preparing for a solo Atlantic flight a la Charles Lindbergh from Labrador to Paris.  She did cross the Atlantic but was forced down in an Irish cow pasture not reaching Paris.  That was after the book was written so ERB would be relying on her 1928 flight and preparations for the solo flight.

     A second personality conflated with Lady Barbara may have been the famous evangelist and founder of the Four Square Church, Aimee Semple McPherson.  I have a framed picture of McPherson in my collection.  Evangelism may also have been on Burroughs’ mind from his recent reading of Elmer Gantry by  Sinclair Lewis.  According to ERBzine Burroughs objected to Lewis’ forcing his atheism on the reader.  Here one of his purposes may have been to show Lewis how it’s done.

      Aimee Semple McPherson hit LA at about the same time as Burroughs.

     By 1923 she was so popular she opened her 5000 seat Angelus Temple while beginning to broadcast over KSFG-K Four Square Gospel.  And then a the height of her fame on May 18, 1926 she vanished after swimming in the Pacific.  This and the following events during which several people died created a sensation no one in the country, and certainly LA, could miss.  Not an ERB who was passionately interested in religion anyway.  One wonders if he visited the Angelus Temple for Sunday services.

     Aimee turned up in Mexico where she said she had been held captive after being abducted.  But, apparently the pressures of success had been too much for her and she attempted escape into sex and a love tryst, which is a normal psychological reaction to unbearable stress as ERB himself was discovering.  The disappearance and subseqauent events had continued into 1927 and 1928 so that ERB’s capacious mind was filled with the wonder of it all.  Thus Lady Barbara disappears during the flight onto the mystery escarpment to reappear months later on the arm of Lafayette Smith.  Same story.  I think it likely ERB was thinking of both women while a third influence is almost certainly Dorothy Sayers, the mystery writer and creator of Lord Peter Whimsey.  Burroughs hits at it by mentioning that the story does not concern Lord Wimsey but does concern his daughter, Barbara Collis.  This  probably refers to Dorothy Sayers and her creation, Peter Wimsey.  When ERB admired a writer he wrote them into the story somehow.  He was generous that way.

     And then there is Danny ‘Gunner’ Patrick of the Chicago Underworld.  His name indicates he is Irish so he may be supposed to be associated with Dion O’ Bannion’s gang rather than Capone and the incipient Outfit.  ERB privides an intriguing if overly sympathetic portrait of the gangster.  One wonders if he had met models at this time.

     In connection with Patrick, which begins an interest in organized crime that extends through Swords Of Mars and the its Guild of Assassins, Murder Inc. was established at this time so that by the date of 1933 it would seem that ERB brought Murder Inc. into the corpus.

     Then there is LaFayette Smith himself.  Named after General Lafayette of Revolutionary War fame and recently brought to mind by General Patton who said, as he stepped foot on French soil, ‘Lafayette, we are here.’  The young geology professor may be be taken as an alter ego of Burroughs himself as he taught geology at the MMA.  Sort of the man Burroughs might have been had he the self-discipline to have gone to college.  ERB apparently sincerely regretted he had not gotten a degree as a number of his alter egos are college graduates, such as the Old Timer of Leopard Men who graduated from his brothers’ alma mater, Yale.


     As noted Burroughs had taught geology as an instructor at the Michigan Military Academy.  He was still following the subject closely as he grouses that geologists had as many opinions each about as accurate as the weather forecasters.  Still, knowledge was developing at a break neck pace that would lead to our substantailly complete knowledge of today.  It’s too bad that ERB couldn’t have held on to 1965 or so.  A man of his intellect would have seen things.

     Burroughs not only combines all these threads and strands but in his prologue he reaches for his most daring concept yet.  It’s only a page so let’s look at it closely.  The opening sentences:

     Time is a warp of the tapestry which is life.  It is eternal, constant, unchanging.  But the woof is gathered from the four corners of the earth and the twenty-eight seas and out of the air and the minds of men by that master artist, Fate, as she weaves the design that is never finished.

     A thread here, a thread from there, another from out of the past that has waited years for the companion thread without which the picture must be incomplete.

     But Fate is patient.  She waits a hundred or a thousand years to bring together two strands of thread whose union is essential to the fabrication of her tapestry, to the composition of the design that was without beginning and is without end.

     That attitude informs all of Burroughs’ work; a study of the One and Many, and is the reason I am such an admirer.  Given Burroughs Classical background that apparently made such a profound impression on him one is reminded of Penelope at her web as well as the three Greek mythological Fates themselves- the three daughters of Night– Clotho, Lachesis and Atropos.

     Clotho the spinner, Lachesis the apportioner, Atropos who cuts the string that ends the web and life.

     And then Burroughs begins to indicate how events occurring thousands of years previously would provide the strands of time to bring his story together into a recognizable pattern, the warp of the web, while th woof is the improbable bringing together of such disparate persons as Tarzan, Gunner Patrick, Lafe Smith, Lady Barbara and Jezebel, ERB’s prophetically named first Golden Girl.  Florence is into the picture.

     The ancient protagonist is a disciple of Paul of Tarsus, Angustus of Israel.  At the death of Paul in Rome the paranoid Angustus decides to flee into the Heart of Darkness, Africa.  Along the way he picks up a Nordic slave girl who will bring in ERB’s evolutionary theme.  Then up the Nile into the Heart of Darkness.

     In this story, all roads lead to Midian in the crater of an extinct Ethiopian volcano.  In his way ERB who speaks frequently of coincidence denies the concept in favor of Fate the Inexorable.  As Freud would say, there is no coincidence– one thing leads to another.  Once set in motion the ball may be deflected but it cannot be stopped except by the cessation of Time– the non-existent but all controlling element.

Part two follows.

Something Of Value

Book II

Part 4

Edgar Rice Burroughs, Evolution And Religion


R.E. Prindle

ERB And The World 1875-1950

Edgar Rice Burroughs

     Edgar Rice Burroughs entered a world he never made on September 1, 1875.  He would have some hand in editing the making of the next century or so.  He seemed a less than likely candidate for such a chore.  He was dealt a tough hand to play by life.  It took him some thirty-five years to learn how to play his hand but once he learned there was no stopping him.  He wasn’t perfect, probably had what we call an abrasive personality, and he didn’t always do the right thing but, then, who does?  He worked hard and he walked his dog with an ample leash.  But in this essay we’re not particularly concerned with ERB the personality but ERB the force.

     ERB’s world was made for him.  It was his job to navigate his way through it.  I have already prepared a view of the world and its history in terms of religion and evolution extrapolated from the writing of Burroughs.  It may be of use to give a bit of the local history that had such a profound effect on his development.

     ERB was born in Chicago.  The Chicago that he was born into was one of the seven wonders of the modern world.  There had been nothing like it seen before, not New York City, not Paris, not London, not even ancient Athens or Rome.  The Iron Chancellor of Germany, Bismark, lamented the fact that he would never get to see ‘that Chicago.’  It is hard to imagine the role Chicago played today.  Chicago was unique, both wonderful and terrible. It may be difficult to visualize but for the Chicago of Burroughs’ youth, to the East was civilization and directly to West was Indian Territory.  The Indian Fighters came direct from the battlefield to the metropolis of Chicago.  I mean, Buffalo Bill had Sitting Bull as one of his performers.  Blows my mind.

     As if to prove its uniqueness Chicago staged the 1893 Columbian Exposition or World’s Fair, the fabled White City.  The White City may be compared to OZ while workaday Chicago was known as the Black City.  You gotta work at visualizing this stuff.   The White City was as audacious as Chicago itself.  It only took fifty years to raise this strange, bizarre and wonderful city out of the muck alongside Lake Michigan and it only took a year to build what was really a spectacular purpose built city of some magnitude.  Even more  mindboggling it s purpose existed for only six months then it was discarded like so much waste paper.  Incendiaries burned this amazing effort to the ground the next year.  Nothing was left of this prodigious effort.  It is truly a crazy world.

     Bill Hillman of ERBzine made a valiant effort to present the wonder of this spectacle especially as it affected the young Edgar Rice Burroughs.  It was a valiant attempt and a worthy one opening my eyes to this wonder in ways they had never been opened before, however as good as Hillman’s effort was it couldn’t come close to the grandeur of the spectacle.

     To have visited this incredible fair for few days, a week, or even two was to have seen nothing.  Edgar Rice Burroughs, then 17, had the great good fotune to have spent the whole summer at the fair.  It was the experience of his life.  The world was on display.  Authentic Dahomean villages with real tribesmen brought  from the jungles for the purpose, authentic Irish villages- of course, there were enough authentic Irish around Chicago to staff those so they didn’t have to be brought over- Arab camps, evolution, religions of the world, scientific wonders, everything imaginable and in real authentic detail with real everything and it was cutting edge.  This was not any Disneyland fake.  It was like traveling around the world.  A diorama of realities.  It blasted through ERB’s existence like a tornado across the Kansas plains.  That was how the author of the Oz series, L. Frank Baum, who was in attendance saw it.  It was a regular tornado that transported him to another world- we’re not in Kansas anymore, Toto.

     As Editor Hillman pointed out in his series of articles, the White City was a phenomenon of firsts.  Bill didn’t get them all though.  One he missed was that Frederick Jackson Turner, always be suspicious of three name writers, first presented his thesis ‘The Influence Of The Frontier In American History’ at the fair.  The disappearance of the frontier was as important an event in world history as any.  With the arrival of HSII and III on the Pacific shores all sub-species were in direct contact with each other around the world.  The stage for ev0lutionary Armageddon was constructed.

     In its own way 1893 was as important as 9/11/01.  A world change began to take place.  The previous four hundred years of HSII & III domination began to wane.  As usual the avant guard of writers and artists had a glimmer of understanding; the rest kept walking right along as though they hadn’t passed through the glimmer into this new parallel world.

     The writers perceived things differently.  Among the writers were H.G. Wells, Sax Rohmer, Conan Doyle, Robert Louis Stevenson, Edgar Allan Poe and of course Edgar Rice Burroughs.  As it is with artists they began writing in terms of the new reality, perhaps without being conscious that they had abandoned the old.  By the mid-teens and early twenties non-fiction accounts had begun to appear.  Most famous were those of Madison Grant and Lothrop Stoddard.  Stoddard’s The Rising Tide Of Color pinpointed the issue but after some initial success he was denounced as a bigot and throughly discredited.  It wasn’t like he didn’t know what he was talking about but his message was offensive to certain pressure groups.

     In its own way so were the writings of the great mythographers.  With the exception of Wells they were all political conservatives.  Well’s success came as a mythographer before he declared himself a Red/Liberal in 1920.  From that point, which occurred just as the Great War ended, his novels fell flat although his Outline Of History was a great success.

     Every effort has been made to discredit the mythographers, but their creations have maintained a stunning popularity despite Red/Liberal efforts to destroy them.  Lately the Reds have turned to detournement.  In Well’s case, as a member of the prevailing orthodoxy he has, of course, been idolized and eulogized, but they can’t get anybody to buy anything but his science fiction.

     Perhaps because he tackled the different themes of religion and evolution in an independent manner great effort has been made to discredit Burroughs.  Frontal attacks have failed to this point although perhaps ridicule and detournement will be more effective.  The Disney Corporation may be successful in trivializing the Big Bwana unless we counter with a more effective campaign.

     Many thinkers were presenting scientific bases for the analysis of social and historical trends.  Two of the most prescient were Darwin and Freud of whom I have gone to some effort in integrate into my analysis.  These men presented scientific methods, where were real methods, objective bases not based on the inner world of wishful thinking.  I can understand how Red/Liberals wish to cast their web of wishful thinking over the mind of mankind but I don’t understand the unwillingness of people to see through this fantastic projection.  The reality principle has to take effect sometime.

     Yet these mythographic prophets of reality have been scorned or willfully miscontrued.  If one looks at Burroughs’ work carefully he is functioning as a prophet based on scientific principles that were plausible in his day.  Nothing he or any of the mythographers said has been disproved by further scientific advances.

     Before going into this further let us take a close look at Burroughs’ magnum opus Tarzan Of The Apes.  What he had read in evolution to this time except for Darwin isn’t certain.  In 1933’s Tarzan And The Lion Man he implies he has read Lamarck, Darwin, Mendel and August Weismann.  Lamarck was of the eighteenth century who believed in inherited characteristics.  Darwin published his Origin Of Species in 1859, Mendel wrote his genetic study in 1866 which was rejected by Darwin who eclipsed Mendel until, as the result of Weismann’s studies, he was rediscovered in 1900.  Weismann wrote during the eighties and nineties advancing the theory of germ and soma cells.  It is possible that Burroughs could have been familiar with all four by the time he wrote Tarzan Of The Apes.  Lamarck and Darwin are readily evident.  Burroughs favored the notion of Lamarckian inherited characteristics, which is justly out of favor today.  Thus as an allegory of the ascent of man Tarzan relies heavily on Tarzan’s heritage to explain his sense of his separation from the apes among which he grew up as a feral child.

      In Burroughs’ story Tarzan comes from the finest hereditary stock of noble Englishmen.  Thus according to Burroughs he inherits a number of moral and mental faculties rather than acquiring them.  There is no mistake that Burroughs considered the English to be the crown of creation.  As a one year infant Tarzan’s parents die while he is adopted by Kala the ape.  Burroughs’ apes are not known to any science perhaps representing the ‘missing link’ which used to be a hot topic.

     The idea of an unknown species of ape falling somewhere between known apes and human beings is not as unreasonable as it may sound.  It was only in 1902 that the existence of the Mountain Ape was confirmed.  The Mountain Apes of the Mountains of the Moon had been rumored for some time before the first specimen was killed and the skin brought back. These are amazing anthropoids.  So, within the context of the times the notion of such apes was not all that far fetched.

     Many wonders were thought to be hidden in Africa.  Even as late as 1920 The New York Herald ran an article seriously considering the notion that dinosaurs still existed in the Congo.  While at this day we may read Burroughs with a very large grain of salt much of what he writes about was discussable as possible fact at the time.

     As Burroughs’ apes are evolutionarily above the monkeys and gorillas they may be seen as the last stage of evolution before the First Born appeared.  Burroughs makes a big point that Tarzan passes through the full evolutionary program on his way to realizing his noble English heritage as a fully evolved human being.

     This theme is also reviewed in his The Land That Time Forgot.

     One of the most difficult feats of Tarzan to accept is the manner in which he taught himself to read and write English without knowing a single phonetic value.  However his ability to do so can be explained in a reasonable manner.

     While reading through John Chadwick’s work The Decipherment of Linear B, Linear B is, of course, the written language of the ancient Myceneans and Minoans, which was a terrific problem until Michael Ventris succeeded in breaking the code, I came across this passage:

     Cryptology has now contributed a new weapon to the sudent of unknown scripts.  It is now generally known that any code can in theory be broken, provided sufficient examples of coded texts are available.  The only method by which to achieve complete security is to ensure continuous change in the coding system or to make the code so complicated that the amount of material necessary to break it can never be obtained.  The detailed procedures are irrelevant, but the basic principle is the analysis and indexing of coded texts, so that the underlying patterns and regularities can be discovered.  If a number of instances can be collected , it may appear that a certain group of signs in the coded text has a particular function, it may, for example, serve as a conjunction.  A knowledge of the circumstances in which a message was sent may lead to other identifications, and from these tenuous gains further progress becomes possible, until the meaning of most of the coded words is known.  The application to unknown languages is obvious; such methods enable the decipherer to determine the meaning of sign-groups without knowing how to pronounce the signs.  Indeed it is possible to imagine (my italics) a case where texts  in an unknown language might be understood without finding the phonetic value of a single sign.

     The task before Tarzan was formidable but he had all the time in the world without any distractions.  I do not mean to say that it would be possible for a feral boy to develop this amazing intellectual ability since the feral children found are quite incapable of learning.  But, in Burroughs’ mind Lamarckian notions of inherited characteristics was foremost so that he believed as did most of his contemporaries and a signficant percentage of the population today that these characteristics were operative.

    As one reads one comes across some remarkable things.  Having just read Alexandre Dumas’ Memoirs Of A Physician I came across a tale somewhat reminiscent of Tarzan’s story.  In fact the similarities of some of the details between Dumas’ book and Burroughs’ are quite amazing although I do not suggest that Burroughs ever read this Dumas novel.

     In this scene a young man named Gilbert has met the philosopher Jean Jacques Rousseau in the woods where Rousseau is collecting botanic specimens.  Gilbert does not know who he is talking to.

     ‘You can read and write.’  (Rousseau asked.)

     ‘My mother had time before she died to teach me to read.  My poor mother, seeing that I was not strong, always said, ‘He will never make a good workman; he must be a priest or a learned man.’  When I showed any distaste for my lessons, she would say, ‘Learn to read, gilbert, and you will not have to cut wood, drive a team, or break stones.’  So I commenced to learn but unfortunately I could scarcely read when she died.’

     ‘And who taught you to write?’

     ‘I taught myself.’

     ‘You taught yourself?’

     ‘Yes, with a stick which I pointed, and with some sand which I made fine by putting it through a sieve.  For two years I wrote the letters which are used in printing, copying them from a book.  I did not know that there were any others than these, and I could soon imitate them very well.  But one day, about three years ago, when Mademoiselle Andree had gone to a convent, the steward handed me a letter from her for her father, and then I saw that there existed other characters.  M. De Taverny having broken the seal, threw the cover away; I picked it up very carefully, and when the postman came again, I made him read me what was on it.  It was, ‘To the Baron de Taverney-Maison-Rouge, at his chateau near Pierrefitte.’  Under each of these letters I put its corresponding printed letter, and found that I had nearly all the alphabet.  Then I imitated the writing; and in a week had copied the address ten thousand times perhaps, and had taught myself to write.

      This is surely no less fantastic than Burroughs’ story but because Dumas is considered more credible nothing that I know of has ever been said about it.

     In Tarzan’s case Burroughs makes a point of saying that he had a number of children’s picture books so that he could, for instance match the printed spelling of B-O-Y with a picture of a boy.  In this way also he learned that he was not a freaky hairless ape but an entirely different species.  I cannot, of course, defend the plausibility of either Burroughs’ or Dumas’ story but there is a possibility.

     In some ways the notion of inherited characteristics seems as though it could be true.  In the course of evolution the thrust has always been towards more intelligence.  A species once evolved has its range of capabilities and once those are fully developed no further advance is possible in that sub-species.  It is up to the next stage of evolved sub-species or species even to advance to the limits of its capabilities and so on.  Thus it was not possible for Tarzan’s fellow ape, Terkoz, under any circumstances to succeed in Tarzan’s quest.  The necessary intelligence genes were missing.  Even though Tarzan was raised by apes less evolved than himself he himself did have the necessary inherited genetic makeup to undertake the task with some chance of success.  So, in that sense Lamarck’s inherited characteristics did apply.

     It may be argued that Tarzan couldn’t have recognized the signs as language.  In theory he could have.  Whether in fact he would have or whether it would have taken him much longer to break the code than eight years are of course valid realistic objections.  But Burroughs was writing the story so that against all objections there are methods by which it was theoretically possible for Tarzan to do so.

     This is no small point for the story as the story is, as I see it, an allegory of the ascent of man toward godhood.  Burroughs will repeatedly call Tarzan a jungle god.

     He is introduced to the next evolutionary stage when his ape mother is killed by one of the First born.  Drawn into contact with the FB Tarzan passes through this stage in evolution.  I don’t think there can be any doubt that Burroughs considered the First Born an antecedent level of evoltuion to HSII and III.  While some might inanely cry bigotry, mocern science, which was unavailable to Burroughs, has at least proven the plausibility of the position.

     Tarzan then comes into contact with a cross section of HSIIs and IIIs.  To my mind the differences are presented as innate and not a matter of environment or nurture.  Just as Tarzan must realize his noble English heritage because it is his innate nature so these ruffians are ruffians because of their innate nature.  Burroughs seems to be saying that you cannot make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.

     While withing a particular sub-species I am an environmentalist believing that people beocme what they are for reasons beyond their contro, the majority of mankind, at least those place in favorable circumstances, believe that they are innately better than the rest.  So if Burrughs was srong on this point, as I believe he was, he was in step with the prevailing prejudice.

     Thus under the tutelage of Paul D’Arnot, his French mentor, Tarzan realizes his full potential as a human being uniting the two ‘highest’ branches of what was then known as the White race.  Tarzan can read and write English but not speak it while he can speak French but neither read nor write it.  There’s something going in Burroughs’ mind but I haven’t decided what.  But he tosses off these details in such an offhand manner that all seems so natural there is no reason to note it.

     It must also be remembered that Burroughs wrote at the transition point where for the first time in US history there were more people living in cities than in the country.  The new city dwellers had just reason to long for the rural ‘paradise’ they had just left.  Thus Tarzan having seen all there is to see of civilization snubs his nose at it to return to his beloved jungles and its animals and primitive but honest First Born.

     In a sense then the jungle and the First Born can be interpreted as the farm and the crude but honest farmer.  An idealization to be sure.

     As far as I can see Burroughs was the first novelist, or at least successful one, to treat of evolution by which I don’t mean to say Lost World adventures.  Further he treats with it as established incontrovertible fact at a time when evolution was accpted by few while being rejected by the vast majority.  And I repeat, Burroughs was learned and thoughtful about the subject.  That he was also fanciful is beside the point.

     At the same time Burroughs was offering some serious reflection on evolution he was also presenting some serious thinking on the evolution of religion which is certainly on a par with Freud’s Totem and Taboo.

     Burroughs says and this is seemingly in his hown historical voice that the Dum Dum as practiced by the apes was the source of all social and civil rituals.  As I read Tarzan Of The Apes it seems that Burroughs thinks that Dum-Dums or something just like them really took place.  Of course such round or circle dances are in fact of great antiquity.  Perhaps something just like a Dum Dum did perform a role in the evolution of institutions.

     Following that explanation for the foundation of religious and civil institutions Burroughs goes into a very careful explanation of how Tarzan became the god, Manungo-Keewati of Chief Mbonga’s tribe.  This explanation is very carefully developed.  Burroughs is also very serious and I think believes he has a handle on the truth about the evolution of god.

     As part one of a trilogy on religion Tarzan Of The Apes is followed by The Gods Of Mars and then the Return Of Tarzan.  Gods Of Mars is a condemnation of formal religion with far reaching ramifications.  In Gods Burroughs plays the role of a savior through his character, J.C.- John Carter.  Carter destroys the ancient and flase religion which clearly resembles the Catholic Church, thus being the liberator of Barsoomkind.

     In The Return Of Tarzan he gives a fanciful but reasonable vision of ancient sun worship which would fall somewhere between Munumgo-Keewati and the Holy Therns of Barsoom.

     Thus under the guise of ‘pure’ entertainment the attentive reader can detect a serious attempt to explain evoltuion both special and religious while undermining established beliefs in the manner of a prophet.  It is not necessary to accept it only recognize it.

     I’m sure Burroughs in the light of all the unsetlling discoveries beleives he is a light bringer doing a service for mankind.  I accept him at his own valuation.

     Running through all Burroughs work is an unstated vision of psychology.  One may well ask where this vision came from as Burroughs was not fortunate enough to attend Yale which is two eldest prothers did and which he keenly regretted not having done.  I’m sure the man was reasonably well read in the subject while his views appear to follow rather closely those of his brothers’ partner in the Idaho ranch, Lew Sweetser.

     A very fine article on Sweetser by Philip R. Burger appears in issue #19 of the Burroughs Bulletin, since republished on ERBzine.  Now, Sweetser graduated from Yale in 1889 a little before Freud began his psychological publication and twenty years or more before his books were translated into English.  I doubt that Sweetser ever read Freud, but I can’t say.

     He was fully conversant with a concept of the unconscious and exceptionally well informed on the rule of suggestion and hypnosis.  Whether over the intervening eyars from 1889 to 1920 when he took to the stage as a lecturer he read extensively or whether re reworded his ideas acquired by 1889 I can’t say.  But he had a good grip on the concepts of the subconscious and suggestion including auto-suggestion.

     Burroughs came into contact with him as a 16 year old when he worked on the Idaho ranch in 1891.  Again in 1898-99 and once again in 1903.  Burroughs own views on psychology follows those of Sweetser very closely with add ons from further study.

     If not as systematic Burrughs presents a consistent approach which is as viable as Freud’s but different in the treatment of the subconscious.  Both Sweetser and Burroughs always speak of the subconscious, never the unconscious, while Freud chose to believe in a metaphysical unconscious.

     What I  hope I have shown here is that Burroughs had a fairly mature understanding of life and society when he began to write and which he continued to develop throughout his life.

     While hos own life was lived somewhat erratically his intellectual mooring was much more sound.  It is the latter which is telling for us.

     The importance of his intellect being developed by the time he began writing is that the period of the teens of the twentieth century is when subsequent history took shape.  Just as Burroughs collected the strands of neo-mythographers to give them their new direction so the teens did also for the evolution of the species and religion in both the United States and the world.

     While Burroughs and the other mythogrpahers realized very early that the tide of history had changed it was only by 1916 to 1922 that the concept found expression in an academic manner.

     In 1916 Madison Grant published his The Passing Of The Great Race and in 1922 Lothrop Stoddard published his The Rising Tide Of Color Agains White World Supremacy.  and here comes the division in society that can never be reconnected.  Both Grant and Stoddard are quite serious historians; both are men of good will, both have been seriously defamed by others who object to the resulsts of their investigations.

     These objectors seem to think that their opinion is of divine origin and that any other opinion is not only wrong but evil.  They take a stand not much different fromt he Inquisition and its witch hunting which I have already discussed.  Thus these people want to run dissenters to ground and if not actually kill them at least hurt them so bad or brand them as pariahs that they will shut up.

     A recent example is Richard Slotkin’s Gunslinger Nation.  The book is an attempt to squash writers such as Grant, Stoddard and Burroughs.  The first 225 pages of his mammoth book are dedicated to demonstrating that Edgar Rice Burroughs was a vile ‘racist’ who was influenced by the even more vile ‘racists’ Madison Grant and Lothrop Stoddard.

     While you can throw away the last five hundred pages of Gunslinger Nation which is inadequately researched and poorly presented, the first 225 pages are fairly interesting if skewed.  A lot of good information of possible influences on Burroughs.  Slotkin’s fine biographical sketch of Buffalo Bill is very informative.

     Slotkin lists a number of Burroughs’ books which he has apparently didainfully skimmed but without any understanding.  If he had read more carefully he ought to have realized that Burroughs’ ideas were fully developed before Grant and Stoddard were issued.  While many of the ideas of the latter writers may have been complementary to Burroughs’ ideas they couldn’t have been formative.

     Further with the customary tunnel vision of the Red/Liberal Slotkin ignores what was happening against which these men were reacting.  Of course he and his contemporaries give this data such a skew as to lack all credibility.

     Like all Liberals Slotkin believes that immigration is a prescriptive right for anyone who wants ‘to share what we’ve made here.’  While not wanting to get involved in immigration quarrels, which are fruitless, I do believe that as I have a right to say who can and cannot enter my home, any country has a aright to say who can and cannot immigrate to their country.  It doesn’t matter whether there’s a good reason or not nor does it matter if rejection is based on the grossest prejudice.  No one has a right to invite himself to your table.  You see why there is no chance of agreement.  So much for immigration.

     Now in Darwinian terms the various sub-species were not only in contact with each other, they were peacefully intermingling in the West and in the West only.  It is important to remember that HSII and III were about to be driven out of Africa and Asia.  The invasive flow was now beginning in the opposite direction only.  While the HSIIs and IIIs had been able to displace the American aborigenes without trouble this was no longer possible anywhere in the world.  The tide against the HSIIs & IIIs had turned.  While the IIs & IIIs  would slowly be expelled from Asia and Africa, Africans and Asians while already in Europe and America would begin to increase their numbers dramatically.

     Today a city of Toronto is 50% what Torontians call ‘visible minorities.’

     Thus while IIs & IIIs began a retreat the other sub-species began an advance into II and III territories while becoming highly organized.  The Eastern European Semites began to arrive in the United States in numbers beginning in the 1870s.  Always politically aggressive, the German Semites formed the B’nai B’rith in 1843.  the American Jewish Committee in 1906 and the horribly bigoted Anti-Defamation League in 1913, the year Woodrow Wilson entered the White House.

     The Great War beginning in 1914 closed off European immigration to the United States but increased the internal migration of the First Born.  It’s an ill wind that blows no one good.  The First Born began to organize on an international basis.  African, Brazilian, Caribbean and American First Born began to act as a unit.  This organization was led by West Indians who emigrated to the United States to agitate.  Marcus Garvey, a Jamaican, personated this most important stage of evolution which has led to the present situation.  At roughly the same time, under the guidance of Semitic Jews, the NAACP- Natinal Association For The Advancement Of Colored People- was formed.

     In reaction to these very aggressive developments the post-Reconstruction Ku Klux Klan was called into existence.  On top of all these unpleasant developments the Bolshevik Revolution succeeded in Russia in 1917.  Thus a whole new paradigm was formed within just a few years in the teens.  Against this Burroughs’ mindset had been formed by the years from 1890-1910.  the new developments sure appeared to him as a bad motorcycle with the devil in the seat.

     The world which emerged from the Great War was much different from that which preceded it.  the balance of world emigration changed, as it were, overnight.  A good harbinger of things to come was The Rising Tide Of Color Against The White World Supremacy by Lothrop Stoddard.  Stoddard’s title was very ill chosen although it represented the emerging reality.  He might better have chosen a more neutral title such as ‘Changing Patterns in World Migration’ or some such.  The book is unfairly characterized as ‘racist’ by its detractors, which it is not.

     Stoddard pointed out the obvious:  that from having been the dominant sub-species the tide had now turned and rather than being a dominant military presence the HSIIs and IIIs had become a minority in a world of sub-species seeking like Darwin’s ratos or cockroaches to drive the others before it.  From having been invaders, Europe and America would now be invaded.

     This is the way of the world:  ;either you’re on the top or you’re on the bottom.  A world of equality is a world away.

     Stoddard was the proverbial voice calling in the wilderness.  The only people taking him seriously were the peoples he was warning about.  Confident in teir seeming superiority the HSIIs and IIIs went about their business as if nothing had changed.

     Not exactly as if nothing had changed because the Bolsheviks continued special and religious battles.  Just as Catholicism was infused with Semitic ideals, through Karl Marx, Bolshevism was a Semito-Red/Liberal religion.

     Of the five sub-species by far the smallest was the Semitic branch; they were and are therefore the most threatened.  In order to hope to exercise world dominion, and don’t think world dominion isn’t the question, the Judaic and Moslem religions were created.  The Jews had the daring to go it alone while the Moslems sought and seek to convert the world to Moslemism within which the Semites are the preeminent holy people.  A nation of priests as the Bible says.

     Thus while it might be possible for the largest sub-species as represented by the Chinese to overrun the world much more effectively than the HSiis and IIIs did, it would be equally possible for the Moslems to convert the Chinese with the Semites taking a position analagous to ERB’s Holy Therns in Barsoom.

     Thus while stymied for the time being in the West Moslems were increasing by leaps and bounds in the East.  They may have looked stagnant from the West but they were dynamic indeed when viewed from the East.

     Having been disturbed in their homeland the Chinese and Japanese Mongolids began sending colonies out wherever they could be received and by this time all space on the earth was fully occupied.  This wasn’t therefore the loud noisy colonization of the HSIIs & IIIs  but a more peaceful infiltration.  A lot of smuggling of small groups into the United States and Canada went on, as it still does.  Large colonies were sent to South America.  Peru passed a Chinese Exclusion Act for much the same reason the United States did.  Didn’t really have anything to do with color, it was that the countries were being taken over by foreign elements.  Japan had colonies in Brazil, Colombia and other South American States.These colonies were designed to retain their ethnic origins so that they wouldn’t assimilate.  I’ve met Japanese from Japan via Colombia who were smuggled across the border from Tijuana.

     Thus on the world scene Darwinian clash of sub-species continued  outside Asia while the Mongolids were successfully expelling the HSII and III invaders from Asian homelands.  This is essentially what the much despised Lothrop Stoddard, Harvard graduate, too, was pointing out.

     In the United States the immigrating sub-species had to disarm the dominant Anglo-Saxon hierarchy.  As pointed out, led by the West Indian immigrant First Born that sub-species was organizing its own conquest of America and Europe.  Their own population was increasing prodigiously around the world.  Even in the face of tremendous immigration into the United States the percentage of First Born has never declined but has increased.  Today in the fact of even greater immigration FB percentages have increased to fifteen percent vis-a-vis HS II and III.

     Under the so-called Gentlemen’s Agreement between the US under TR and Japan the Japanese ‘voluntarily agreed’ to restrict the flow of immigrants.  The US, a sovereign nation, accepted this ‘compromise.’  The early Japanese immigrants had been nearly one hundred percent male.  These womanless men now demanded women so the other half of the invasion in the form of picture brides arrived swelling the Japanese population past double.  The so-called Issei are the first generation born in America.  As their parents paired up at the same time the whole next generation came of age about the time of 12/7/42.  An interesting immigration fact.  Thus by taking advantage of HSII and III goodwill the immigration agreement was evaded.

     So the flow of populations contesting the same territories with the same Darwinian economic needs came into further conflict.

     The Jewish race of the Semites had been poised to transfer their entire East European population tothe United States just as the Great War broke out.  Now with the war over the Semites renewed their plans.  However there had been problems with immigrants from the Central Powers including their Irish allies during the war which sent shivers down the spines of the Anglo-Saxons.  TR himself voiced the fear that the United States had become merely ‘an international boarding house.’  So people do catch on after it’s too late.

     After a hundred years of unrestricted immigration, a golden period worldwide actually well worth study, the opponents of immigration carried the day severely restricting immigration if not closing the door completely.

     This action enraged the Judaic race of Semites who considered it their go-given right to go where they wanted when then wanted and whether a country wished to receive them or not.  But there is more than way to skin a cat.  The Anti-Defamation League whose ostensible purpose was to prevent defamation wherever it might occur began a defamation campaign against anyone with an independent point of view that conflicted with their own in any way.

     The ADL was lined up with the Communist?Red/Liberal Coalition.  The combinatin effectively split and weadened the HSIIs and IIIs putting the subspecies at war with themselves, something like Cadmus throwing a stone among the indigenous peoples setting them against each other until they killed each other off making the Semitic conquest of Boeotia easy.  Divide and conquer.

     Led by the ADL whith its ever potent charge of anti-Semitism the Liberal coalition opened war on any dissidents.  The idea was to discredit anyone whether they were concerned or merely passive who didn’t follow their program.  Prime targets were Madison Grant, Lothrop Stoddard and Edgar Rice Burroughs.  ERB made himself conspicuous when in reaction to the Bolshevik revolution he sent around a draft of the Moon Maid which in the original version was apparently little more than an expose codemning the Bolsheviks.

     Stoddard and Grant who were competent scholars and men of good will were nevertheless characterized as hopeless bigots and anti-Semites thereby being easily disposed of.  By the end of the decade they were neutralized and by the end of the thirties disposed of.  Quite naturally the Liberal coalition denied any involvement.

     As the thirties dawned there were major activities affot.  In Asia, Japan which deeply resented HSII & III penetration, began a campaign to drive them out.  Talk about the tail wagging ghe dog, their plan was to conquer Asia from Japan to Australia in the South, and India in the East.  It staggers the imagination.  Yet it was no less than England had done with the same population. But, different measures for different times.

     When TR said ‘Speak softly and carry a big stick’ the audacity of the Japanese plan which required a very big stick was beyond their powers of execution.  Nevertheless they first invaded Manchuria and then China itself.

     In Europe, in reaction to defeat and the Judeo-Communist threat the Nazis under Adolf Hitler came to power in 1933 which did not bode well for the world.  In the United States also a disaster as big as Hitler and Nazis occurred when Franklin Roosevelt was elected President.  That did not bode well for the United States.  The world was then primed for the big explosion.

     Perhaps because of the concept of Manifest Destiny under which the Red/Liberal tide was supposed to roll over the North American continent, jump the Pacific then race across China and Asia to return again to America in an unbroken wave of triumph the Red/Liberals looked upon the Chinese as a swell people who would offer no resistance to their goals, indeed, embrace and forward them.  Thus in some sort of Disney fantasy China was seen as complicit in the Liberal design.

     FDR was one devious son-of-a-gun.  As the good guys were being attacked by the Japanese bad boys Roosevelt took it upon himself to aid the Chinese with American wherewithall.  It would have been better to let the two combatants exhaust themselves and keep our ‘limitless’ resources to ourselves.

     Remember that the Japanese hatred of the West was caused when the United States forced them out of their seclusion at gunpoing thereby emasculating them.

     Now Roosevelt was trying to thwart their ends by disgorging America’s wealth on China.  If you free your mind from false moral assumptions you wll see how stupid this was.

     As an American I can do nothing but deplore Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor but as a psychologist and analyst I can see nothing but its inevitability as the result of the US’s inconsiderate actions.

     The Japanese simply had to try to put a stop to American aid to China.  Whatever the proof may be that FDR knew of Pearl Harbor before hand, if he didn’t know he was provoking such an attack he was denser than any man has a right to be which I don’t think he was.

     In Europe the situation was intensified when the Communists elected sympathizers to most government who then formed a Popular Front against the Axis powers of Germany, Italy and Spain.  The Roosevelt administration was a Popular Front government.  On the religious front it was competition between Communism and established faiths.

     To all appearances the Judeo-Communists had the Axis surrounded.  Even before Hitler was elected the Jews of the United States were working hard to subvert him.  Assassination attempts had already taken place.  When FDR was elected, as with all Popular Front governments the Jews urged the United States to take first strike action against Germany.

     As part of this program in the United States the Judeo-Communists demanded an Un-American Activities Committee by which unamerican meant non-Judeo Communist.  In 1938 they succeeded when the House Un-American Activities Committee was created.  To their disappointment the chairmanship escaped them going to a member who corrected believed that Communists were a bigger threat than Nazis.  This infuriated Roosevelt.

     When was was declared in Europe the American Judeo-Communists were for intervention.  They changed their tune after the German-Soviet pact then changed back again after the German invasion of the Soviet Union.

     As can be plainly seen what is at stake here are sub-special interests rather than national ones.  On 12/7/41 the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor.  All the sub-species were at war.

     The War fatally weakened the HSIIs and IIIs much as the percipient Lothrop Stoddard had predicted.  In the aftermath of the War HSIIs and IIIs were expelled from Asia.  Although preifly garrisoned with American troops there was no other action taken against Japan other than that they were set on their economic feet.

     In 1948 the HSIIs and IIIs were driven from India.

     In 1948 the Judeo-Semites occupied Palestine.

     In 1948 the Chinese Communists were clearly going to be victors in China thusputting the Chinese squarely at odds with the West.

     While for a few years the United States was in the enviable position of arbitrating world affairs, it chose to favor the non HSII and III subspecies over the ‘colored’ peoples thus further weakening HSIIs and IIIs.

     When Edgar Rice Burroughs died in 1950 there had been little happening in his literary and business affairs for a decade.  The only thing keeping the Burroughs literary legacy alive was his continuing popularity with the masses.  You and me.  But they could find few editions of any of the corpus to buy.

     From 1945 to 1963 there was little of his literary oeuvre that was available although demand continued strong.  For some strange reason ERB, Inc. refused to issue titles.  Then in 1963 publishers seized on expired copyrights and the second boom in Tarzan began.  Once more his message contained something of value for his readers.  Let us now begin Book III of Something Of Value which cover the period from 1945 to 9/11/01 and the closing of the old dispensation and the beginning of the new.

The Age Of Aquarius was dawning.