A Review: Pt XI Tarzan The Invincible By Edgar Rice Burroughs

November 14, 2011

A Review

Themes And Variations

The Tarzan Novels Of Edgar Rice Burroughs



R.E. Prindle

Part XI and last

Love Is A Hurting Game


     Having dealt with politics and religion let us now turn to the social backgrounds of Burroughs and Tarzan.  Once again I will treat the subject within the framework of Multi-culturalism.

     I will treat of the cultures in the manner of the great warts and all school of  the debunkers of Burroughs time in the twenties.  There will be no sacred cows as in the tradition of the great debunking school.  I will consider vices as well as virtues.  As with men a culture of the greatest virtues also matches them with the greatest vices.  Such is the nature of life; there is no escaping it.

     To speak of the culture of both Burroughs’ period and the twentieth century is to speak of Sigmund Freud.  For better or worse Freud’s psychological ideas have created the form of subsequent society.  Any positive benefits of Freud are restricted to a few individuals while the negative effects of his ‘science’ have been reflected on society as a whole.

     He began his career as a biologist but soon felt constricted by the strict limitations of the scientific method.  Probably science conflicted with his religion thus he desired a more free form mode of expression.  There is talk of his academic career being hampered by anti-Semitism in Vienna at that time but that is sheer nonsense.  As in all countries dthe careers of medicine and law were populated by Jews to the extent of a majority or near majority representation.  One is hard pressed to find discrimination in those statistics.

     Rather as Freudian psychology suggests one is drawn in the direction of one’s true desires or in Freudian terms: inner wishful thinking.   Freud felt a deep antipathy toward Europeans and non-Jewish culture in general.  Those were the years of the first Kultur Kampf in Germany.  That is a war between cultures.  In the German case between the German and Jewish cultures.  That’s what multi-culturalism is.

     Freud correctly saw that the Jewish culture was unable to win on any military battlefield and that the real war would indeed be a war for cultural and sociological dominance.  He saw that it would be a war of centuries.

     Hence when he learned of the psychological  experiments of Jean-Martin Charcot in Paris, though impecunious he packed his bags and legged it for the City Of Lights.  His scientific credentials were adequate to gain an entrance to the Salpetriere where Charcot taught.  Once there he pushed himself into Charcot’s attention enough to be invited to his home although I think he found himself unpalatable.  However, chutzpah done right almost never fails.

     Charcot was conducting studies on hysteria.  One must remember that as little understood as such psychological states of mind are today they were even less understood then.  In his studies Charcot used hypnosis which also was little understood at the time although well developed today.  While hypnosis is an ancient art it was only begun to be developed as a scientific discipline in pre-Revolution France in the eighteenth century by Dr. Anton Mesmer.  The art fell into disrepute when Mesmer was discredited because he made excessive claims that couldn’t be authenticated.  But, it still continued to develop.  There were two schools of hypnotism in France, Charcot’s in Paris and Bernstein’s in Nancy.  Freud would acquaint himself with both.  It seems then, that hypnotism was the major attraction for him.

     Writing of Charcot’s school the great esotericist Madame Blavatsky pointed out that in Charcot’s hands the use of hypnotism may have been used benevolently but its potential for evil in evil hands was a very great danger.  Those evil hands were at the end of Freud’s arms as he lurked about the Salpetriere and Nancy.

     Nancy was a very influential school of hypnotism. The school’s basis was the work of Auguste Liebeault, a goy, who attracted the attention of Hippolyte Bernstein.  The latter, like Freud, was of the Jewish culture.  Thus the importance of hypnotism while developed by the goyim quickly drew the attention of the Jewish culture, just as it was quick to realize the potential of movies which were also developed by the goyim and meshed with hypnotism as the proverbial hand and glove.

     Apparently having soaked up what he could from Charcot, Freud drifted over to Nancy where he spent some time with Bernstein where he learned the importance of suggestion.  Freud found Bernstein’s methods too heavy handed but learned what the man had to offer.  From thence he returned to Vienna where he linked up with a student of hysteria by the name of Joseph Breuer, another Jew.  At that point Freud may have realized that hysteria was created by suggestion and was a manifestation of a hypnotic situation.  When the suggestion or fixation was removed by the victim’s recognition of the suggestion the symptoms disappeared.  In other words the suggestion was obviated and the fixtation resolved.

     Very little of Freud’s work was original but built directly on other men’s work, most of whom, if not all, were goyim.  So the source of the knowledge came from the European culture and not the Jewish.  Thus the idea of the unconscious was well developed before Freud associated it with dreaming.  His one original contribution  to the science of psychology was the recognition of the origins and the intent of dreams.

     Dreams then are a sort of hypnotic trance.  Thus in those days it was thought that to hypnotize a person he had to be put into a sleeplike trance gaining the unconscious mind by passing conscious censorship.

     Once Freud realized that free association and a relaxed inattentive attitude were all that was necessary to make a person begin reminiscing in an unconscious manner he had the key to the notion not only of mass hypnotism but the hypnotizing of whole societies in ways that Ignatius Loyola never imagined.

     One can’t know when he read Gustav Lebon’s The Crowd: A Study Of The Popular Mind published in 1895 some few years before Freud’s dream book but by 1921’s Group Psychology And The Analysis Of The Ego, which title is self-explanatory, Freud had understood the implications of Le Bon’s study incorporating them into his own program for the hypnosis of Euroamerican society.

     Having earlier successfully imposed his static vision of the unconscius on society as the only possible viewpoint he then attempted to concentrate the attention of the peoples on that great social dissolvent, sex.  By sex Freud meant simply a concentration of the mind on sexual intercourse.  If he understood the nature of the sexual organization of the species it is nowhere apparent in his writings.  Thus when the extreme stress of coeducational sex education was brought to fruition in the last few decades, sex education merely stressed frequent fornication while giving equal validation to all forms of sexual intercourse including anal and oral but disparaging masturbation which as a private act could have little social impact.

     So, having deemphasized the contribution of the conscious rational mind in favor of the irrational unconscious combined with sex the mind was open to suggestion.  A great conditioning propaganda was organized by the Jewish culture using the hypnopaedic media which the majority of the goyim have been unable to resist.  That is, that the Jews are morally superior while having an extra gene that makes them incomparably more intelligent than the peoples.  At the same time they emphasized the idea that the Euroamericans are inherently stupid and actually evil needing Jewish guidance to keep them on the right track.

     What with the hypnopaedic media which they control and the disaster of Hitler that the Jewish culture has been able to use to convince Euroamericans that they all share that particular original sin from which the Jewish culture is exempt while they must constantly examine themselves to root out all vestiges of anti-Semitism.  That is to say that they must forego their own culture and support the minority position of Semitism.  Not a bad plan if you can pull it off.   It seems that they have.

     Thus, as of 2012, Euroamerica has been successfully hypnotized along Freudian lines.

     In 1900 when Freud was forty-four Edgar Rice Burroughs was twenty-five.  I hope I have demonstrated from the novels of Burroughs that from the beginning of A Princess Of Mars he had a fair knowledge of psychological principles.  His novels are flush with pyschological references  if you look for them and pay attention to them.  The question is how did he come by his interest and knowledge as I have been able to find no psychological works in his library as present by ERBzine.

     While Freud visited the United States at Clark College in 1909 during the time his influence was widespread being discussed constantly in magazines.  There is no record that Burroughs read German so any familiarity with the texts in English had to await translation.  A.A. Brill began this in 1909-10.  The Interpretation Of Dreams appeared in the US in 1913.  Tarzan’s First Nightmare gives clear indications of Burroughs having read The Interpretation Of Dreams by 1916-17.

     But the basis of Burroughs’ psychological thinking had been formed well before then.  I have to think that the origins of his education in both psychology and hypnotism began with his first stay in Idaho in 1891.  At that point he met the recent Yale graduate, Lew Sweetser.  Sweetser was in partnership with the Burroughs Boys in ranching.  Sweetser and Harry Burroughs were great friends from Yale.  Brother George as I read it tagged along.   ERB was especially close to brother Harry and Sweetser.  Sweetser had nothing but the finest encomiums for ERB.

     Sweetser at Yale had apparently been a psychology major or at least taken several courses.  He was not only conversant in psychology but familiar with the theory of hypnosis.  Now, this was well before Freud had even begun to study hypnosis and hysteria; this was before the great psychological discoveries of the nineties.  This was before William James was made a Professor of psychology at Harvard.

     Just for perspective.  Sweetser was two years out of college in 1889 while 1891 was a full nine years before Freud’s Interpretation Of Dreams so whatever knowledge Sweetser imparted most probably was of an original nature independent of either Jungian or Freudian influences.  One wonders what psychology they were teaching at Yale in the 1880s.

     It will be remembered that Thuvia, Maid of Mars has a rather amazing sequence concerning mass, if not societal hypnosis, hypnosis that could only have reflected information Burroughs had acquired well before Freud could have been an influence on him or  probably any academic.

      As Sweetser took up lecturing on suggestion, auto-suggestion, hypnotism and the unconcious in the 1920s I believe that shows the depth of his commitment to his study of psychology.

     So, while Burroughs was certainly open to any Freudian, Jungian or other psychological sources he seems to have developed a singularly independent approach to the topic.  I have discussed this independence of Freudian and Jungian schools with fellow Bibliophile David Adams who while unwilling to deny its possiblity thinks it rather a stretcher.

     Possible, but I am waiting to hear other explanations for Burroughs’ otherwise unaccountable knowledge and interest in both psychology and hypnotism.

      Now, how far is it from his knowledge to the realization that, in the manner of Freud, he could possibly suggest Tarzan  to be the man-god archetype of the Aquarian Age?

     However the Tarzan ethos of self-sufficiency is the antipodal position from Freud’s notion of collective consciousness.  For Freud all members of society must be a unit of the whole while for Burroughs each member should stand alone.  As you can see there is a basis for the tripe written by Richard Slotkin.


     For some reason the quality of Burroughs’ writing has always been impugned.  That is from his day to this.  Of course when someone wishes to denigrate a writer they disapprove of they always point to some spelling, punctuation or grammatical error.  Or they criticize such intanigibles as ‘style.’  The authors style they say is faulty.

     Burroughs was subjected to a barrage of criticism denying him any literary skills.  In point of fact the greatest stylists often write the most boring books simply because they are concentrating on ‘literary’ style.  I didn’t mention the current darling of the ‘salons’, Henry James.  Didn’t think it was necessary.

     My own feeling is that anyone who can sell a few million copies knows how to write much better than those who can’t.  Yes, that’s right, commercial success is an infallible gauge of ability, at least, to judge the public.

      That said, Burroughs’ style does break from that of the nineteenth century, not that the literary style of the nineteenth century was that superior.  By my own criteria all of the following writers were great writers, classics but far from perfect.  The best of the lot and perhaps the greatest novelist ever was Walter Scott.  I have recently seen him demoted to the ranks of ‘adventure’ writers while soon after his death his work began to be disparaged for irrelevant reasons and has been so construed since.  Nevertheless he is the greatest novelist in the English or any other language or culture in existence in this or any parallel universe.

     The current most popular writer of all time, Charles Dickens, has always left me cold.  Personally, I couldn’t say he’s any better than Burroughs.  He always sacrifices his stories for effect although wonderful effects.  But, who really cares?  The only question is, did you enjoy the book?  Did the book sell?

     Anthony Trollope, an actual favorite of mine, writes the most intolerably long soap operas in existence.  The same can be said of another excellent author, Jane Austin, although I don’t intend to go near ‘Emma’ again.

      Wilkie Collins, another currently popular author is very spotty in plot development.  Thackeray is terrific if you don’t mind a little stultifying boredom.  He’s supposed to have the most subtle humor but as subtle as I like to think myself, I haven’t gotten it yet.  George Eliot survives because she was a woman in drag.  Keeps the lesbians happy.  I can’t stomach her approach to life.

     I could go through the French and Russian writers but it would be more of the same.  Dostoyevsky, for instance is very difficult to read and appreciate.  The construction of Crime and Punishment is so jagged it obscures his point which isn’t the commission of a conscienceless crime.

     The great literature of the nineteenth century was written before the rise of the popular press but finding a serial presence in the magazines of the day.  This fact alone pushed literature toward sensationalism and a less complex literary style more in accord with mass tastes.

     Thus Burroughs’ great predecessor Arthur Conan Doyle discarded all the arabesques, writing in a simple straightforward manner.  He still has a strong nineteenth century flavor, as why not, compared to Burroughs modern twentieth century style.  That style was evolving to the simple short sentences of Hemingway.

     While the popular press had its influence, perhaps the greatest of all solvents  of nineteenth century literary style was the advent of the movies.  If not invented by Thomas Alva Edison he at least gave moving pictures their commercial application.  Thus with 1903’s Great Train Robbery the first of the great hypnopaedic media took form.  Burroughs didn’t begin writing until eight years after The Great Train Robbery so he had plenty of time to absorb cinematic techniques.

     When he began writing most others were still writing nineteenth century novels.  I contend that Burroughs’ writing is a major departure from that style and that he was heavily influenced by the cinematic story telling method.  That he, as well as the whole country, was enamored of the flickers is attested by the fact that he personally rented movies to show at Tarzana.  He was supposed to be too broke  to afford such extravagances from 1903 to 1913 but something tells me he found ways of keeping up.

     One is always astounded by the concrete pictures Burroughs conjures up, the astonishing images he is able to create in the reader’s mind.  There is little more vivid to me than the scene in Thuvia, Maid Of Mars when the Green Men attack the Invisible Men’s castle.  I might point out that the Invisible Men who were themselves an illusion had mastered the techniques of hypnotism to the point that the Green Men imagined themselves killed by illusory arrows, and hence were.  I refer you to Fritz Lang’s Mabuse The Gambler who could also create such effects.

     Allowing that Burroughs learned of hypnotism from Lew Sweetser in 1891, had he ever seen an hypnotic demonstration of the type he describes and if so, where?

     Thus Burroughs has a perfect cinematic style perhaps improved by his interest in hypnotism in such a way that he can make the reader see what he wants them to see.  This is the art of suggestion.  When one looks more closely one finds a great more depth in Burroughs than one supposes was there while the distance between him, Jung and Freud narrows.  His psychological ideas owe nothing or very little to either Jung or Freud however.

     Enthralled by the movies, as his whole generation was, Burroughs worked very hard to break into films as a scenarist.  He diverted much of his prodigious energy from novels to working up scenarios to submit to films.  So far as I know they were universally rejected.

     The rise of Hollywood itself was a remarkable story.  When L. Frank Baum moved there in 1910 it was just another small suburb of LA. Then the film makers discovered the place in 1914.  Within a very few years Hollywood almost as it is now became a reality.  During the teens probably as many movies were made in Chicago as LA but by 1919 when he moved there Hollywood was the established movie capitol.  ERB missed putting his best foot forward by quite a lot when he published The Girl From Hollywood criticizing the film community for things they now take great pride in, dope and sex.  Then it was the putative porn capitol of the world, now it is the legally established one.  Still, ERB was in his element.  He made no effort to leave, gradually acclimatizing himself to the mores of the film colony.

     Actually the filmmakers took kindly to his Tarzan series, easily recognizing its commercial potential if not its psychological appeal.  After a hiatus from 1921 to 1927 when no Tarzan films were made, when the talkies came in, 1932’s Tarzan, The Ape Man by MGM established Tarzan in the psyche of the country if not the world.

     This from a man on the edge of failure if not psychological disintegration in 1911.  From there he rode the medium of the age to fame and fortune.  He may not have realized the extent of his success but he had established both Tarzan and himself as a centerpiece of American and World culture.


     The automobile became a reality in the first decade of the twentieth century.  Ford was not the first, but he was the most influential depending on how you view William Durant first of Buick and then General Motors.

     From 1900 to 1913 the impoverished Edgar Rice Burroughs walked around Chicago with his tongue hanging out watching the machines roll by.  Perhaps he even saw the future heavyweight champion of the world, Jack Johnson, tool by in one of the first automobiles seen in the Big Windy.  Certainly he must have seen his old rival Frank Martin passing by in any one of a number of cars Martin probably owned.  Certain amount of humiliation there.  Perhaps Martin was still trying to impress Emma, maybe even parking his machine at the curb intruding his presence into their marriage.

     Americans have universally been in love with the automobile but there still seems something almost pathological in Burroughs’ fixation on them.  Among the first things he did with his money in his anno mirabilis of 1913 was to buy a second hand car- a Velie, whatever they were.  One assumes he got a real good deal.  Never an astute financial man ERB paid rail fare to cart this thing to San Diego.  As a spendthrift he may have been nearly as broke as he was in Idaho so he sold the vehicle in San Diego rather than pay to haul it back to Chicago.  One of the first smart things he ever did other than marrying Emma.

     From then on ERB had a succession of cars and none of them were the most economical models available.  When he came back from San Diego he bought a Hudson in emulation of his hero Frank Baum.  ERB sneered at the poor man’s car, the Ford.

     I don’t have a list of the various cars ERB owned between 1913 and his demise but his car buying ways in the thirties were spectacular.  We are all familiar with the story of his buying five Packards at one time from the proceeds of the sale of Tarzan to MGM.

1931 Packard

     For those unfamiliar with the Packard it used to be on a par with the Cadillac and Lincoln.  This was well before the Mercedes was introduced into America.  Packard never recovered from the War, going out of buisness, I think, in 1956.  None but an eccentric few ever favored the Lincoln, so any comparison must be between Packard and Cadillac.  As a boy at the time I favored the looks of the Packard.  The Cadillac even at the time had the reputation of being a pimpmobile.  Anyway, Packard didn’t make it past 1956.

     Frank Puncer of ERBzine in his fascinating article reporting his interview with Lee Chase-Burroughs has a revealing passage:

     He (Burroughs) was adventurous and, of course, had all the toys.  A Cord automobile, a Packard sedan, also a “woodie” for running errands.  The one I liked was the Pierce Arrow roadster with a rumble seat.

     All those cars were in addition to his airplane.  By the time he married Florence he had already taken  his financial bath with the airport and Apache engine investments.

     Owning all those cars at one time seems an excessive indulgence to me.  However I have never been interested in fancy cars enough to buy one.  I often thought I wanted a red car but having rented one I find I much prefer basic black.  So I may not be the best judge on this matter.

     Sill a guy who is willing to spend to take his car along him possibly to China seems to have a fixation.  Puncer records a detail from Chase that is most tantalizing.

     Lee:  I suspected they went to China but I never knew for sure.  There are some artefacts, in fact, two of them are in our dining room, that came from China.  I had a great picture of Ebby standing in front of the Packard on a pier.  Behind him was a ship called the Empress of Japan.  They did take a voyage on that ship and they took the Packard with them.  Where exactly they went I don’t know.  There were some trips that the children were not part of.  I think the Empress of Japan cruise went through the Panama Canal.  I do know they ended up in New York.  The Packard was a new 1937 model and they drove it home.

Thus ERB replicated his trips with Emma if part of the cruise went through the Panama Canal.  One imagines the cross-country drive in 1937-38 was considerably easier than the 1916 trip twenty-two years earlier.  Here’s a side of ERB that hasn’t been explained by his biographers.

The expense of the trip would have been enormous.  The extra cost of unloading and loading the Packard at each port must have been substantial.  The vanity of such a thing throws a new light on ERB’s character.  Especially as photos of him at this time show him to be a real dandy in fitted suits.  One wonders how he could possibly have been so affluent in 1937-38 and so broke two years later that he was reduced to living on $250 a month in Hawaii.  I hope the inconsistency is clear.

Of course WWII terminated ERB’s love affair with the automobile.  When he returned to the US after the War the wonder of the pre-war years was gone.  There were no post-war Cords or Pierce Arrows while by the time cars would have been readily agailable again age and disease had rendered driving impossible for ERB.

One does admire ERB’s taste in automobiles though, doesn’t one?


     Finally, for this essay, let us turn to ERB’s sexual and marriage problems.  He may very well have been blithe and carefree in his handling of them but they look like problems to me.

     It seems quite clear that ERB had a serious emotional problem with women.  Bearing in mind this is a quote from a novel and may not necessarily reflect Burroughs’ most deeply held feeling yet the Tarzan series is so autobiographical of what was happening in his life or going through his mind at the moment that I believe it does.  On p.51 of Tarzan And The Leopard Man Burroughs in his persona of Old Timer has him ruminate:

     What had women ever done for him? “Made a bum of me,” he soliloquized; “ruined my life.  This girl would have been lost but for me.  She owes me something.  All women owe me something for what that one woman did to me.  This girl is going to pay that debt.

“God, but she’s beautiful!”  And she belongs to me.  I found her, and I am going to keep her until I am tired of her.  Then I’ll throw her over the way I was thrown over.  See how the woman will like it!  God, what lips!  Tonight they will be all mine, and I’ll make her like it.  It’s only fair.  I’ve got something coming to me in this world.  I’m entitled to a little happiness; and by God, I’m going to have it.”

Now, that’s a fairly psychotic statement.  How does it correlate to ERB’s life?  So far as we know he had serious relationships with three women:  Emma, Florence and Dorothy.  In point of fact he threw each over as he had been thrown over.  There is no doubt that he meant to hurt them as severely as he could cherishing their pain.

As these are his three women and none of them threw him over then one must ask, who was the woman who threw him over?  There is no actual living woman involved.  The only possible candidate can be his Anima.  So that his attitude toward women, wich is actually fairly extreme, can be traced back only to his disastrous encounter with John the Bully as an eight or nine year old.  I know, but it has to be true.

One can’t be certain but I surmise that he was walking to shool with Emma and possibly another person or two which would be normal when John glowered threateningly over him demanding he fight.  At that point, as he panicked, he must have associated his Anima with Emma, thus as he ran he left his Anima behind which was then attached to John.  Thus in the intensely autobiographical The Outlaw Of Torn De Vac/John murders his Anima figure Maud and then assumes her role dressed in drag.

Thus, as ERB expresses it in Leopard Men, his Anima threw him over.

Now, Burroughs would have been able to portray this situation endlessly without being able to associate his stories with the event.  He was able to remember John all his life even apparently idolizing him without realizing how much he hated or feared him.  He was unable to counter the psychological suggestion that John was a greater than he, hence he was emasculated.

If one asked ERB who was the woman who threw him over he would  probably have been able only to make a few confused utterances and then turn away.

In my experience this sort of reaction occurs even below the level of fixation.  It occurs as though transfixed by a lightning bolt separating the mind from reality.  I don’t mean to bore you with my own experiences but they are illustrative.  My own relationship with women, for instance, was conditioned by my mother when she lied to me and dropped me off at the children’s home or orphanage.

Of course I was consciously shattered even being able to associate the situation with immense electrical discharges or lightning bolts but more importantly in unreachable areas of the mind certain notions were formed.  I didn’t reach this understanding by analysis although I did prepare the psychological ground.  The attitude only surfaced in a certain situation which might never have occurred in my life but did twice.  That situation was when a woman I was associated with left me when I expected her to be with me.  My reaction was not conscious, which isn’t to say I wasn’t aware of what I was doing but I wasn’t aware of why I was doing it although I naturally had my reasons.

The first manifestation occurred when I was fifteen with my first girl friend.  She said she loved me and demanded I love her with the same intensity.  I agreed to reciprocate.  Then as Christmas vacation came around and I planned on spending those pleasant two weeks with her she said she had to go visit relatives in a distant city.  A feeling of terror gripped my soul as I insisted that she not go.  Reason has nothing to do with this.  It didn’t matter to me then that perhaps she couldn’t refuse to go and it doesn’t matter to me now.  She went.  In doing so she replicated the original event with my mother.  It broke my heart but on the succeeding Valentines Day I broke a date and without any explanation whatsoever never saw her again.  It wasn’t her fault but neither was I responsible for my action although guilty of it.

I recovered the memory in a novel I was writing when I named the cross streets of the orphanage after her two names.  When writing it is best not to correct yourself so rather than change the street names which seemed silly to me I left them as they were.  Then I asked myself why I would associate this girl, who I really loved, with the children’s home with which she had no connection.  The lightning bolt backed out of my mind and I was able to make the association between my mother leaving me and this girl leaving me.  So I lost my psychosis.

The situation recurred when I was courting my wife.  I came very close to walking away at that time.  Why I didn’t I don’t know.  Somewhere deep inside I resent the fact that I didn’t.

So, the woman who threw ERB over couldn’t have been real as there is no record of her.  She must have been his Anima.

He attempted to get even using Emma by stringing her along indefinitely probably with the intention of ruining her life by turning her into a frustrated spinster.  This plan was ruined when Frank Martin made his pitch for Emma forcing ERB to marry her.  Thus Burroughs had to devise a new plan to ruin her life.  Of course there was conflict between his conscious and unconscious minds.

There must have contending emotions in his mind that kept him with her for thirty-four years.  Or perhaps, as a one man woman, she put up with anything from him rather than lose him.  That is certainly the implication in Herb Weston’s letters when he says that no other woman would have tolerated his antics.  In the end he certainly treated her like a cad and a heel.

I suppose no life is lived  without causing injury or destress to other individuals some intentional, some not.  In relation to women in ERB’s life the injuries were intentional and perhaps even planned but ultimately ERB was in the meshes of psychological forces he apparently neither understood nor could control.  He was ultimately not responsible for his actions but guilty of them.  This is one of the great quandaries of life, even though one may commit heinous acts such as in the case of John Wayne Gacy, at bottom one is compelled by psychological forces and are truly not responsible but still, of course, guilty.  Thus when Gacy said of himself that John Wayne Gacy would never have committed such crimes I believe he was speaking the truth.  John Wayne Gacy I could never have killed those boys.  But John Wayne Gacy II could.  So Gacy must have had a split personality in the manner of Dr. Jekyll nad Mr. Hyde.  Jekyll wouldn’t but Hyde was compelled to.  Thus we have Tarzan I, a blow to the head and we have Tarzan II.  Did this split also occur in Burroughs’ real life?

Now, ERB in his Tarzan novels on several occasions attributes a split personality to Tarzan usually caused by a blow to the head.  It seems probable that Burroughs who did receive such a blow knows whereof he speaks.

So with this trauma caused by his confrontation with John and blow to the head in Toronto one begins to get a picture of a man with a brilliant intellect much as Dr. Jekyll, as evidenced by his writing, in a confused state of mind that resulted in Hyde like actions.  It is quite possible that H.G. Wells, perhaps on his own, perhaps in consultation with others, evaluation of Burroughs as insane in his Mr. Blettsworthy On Rampole Island, may have some substance while not being completely justified.

At any rate ERB was extremely emotionally violent to his women.  One recalls the image of the dead Alalus woman used for target practice in Ant Men.  Whether ERB was true to Emma throughout her life or not. I used to believe so but now have my doubts, he certainly tortured her for seven long years before he brutally threw her over after thirty-four year long ties.

He enjoyed; he relished her pain.  When she died he even danced on her grave.

The period from 1930 to 1934 was crucial to ERB’s psychological sexual stress.  Leopard Men of mid ’31 must have been written in a period of deep and disturbed emotional distress.  Once again Tarzan’s personality splits.  Before it splits Old Timer/Burroughs has his confrontatin with Kali Bwana/Florence in which they appear to hate each other.  When Tarzan regains his memory Old Timer/Burroughs and Kali Bwana/Florence have reconciled and become a pair.

Thus it appears that this was the crucial moment when ERB made up his mind to leave Emma and unite with Florence.

Did he have honorable intentions toward Florence?  I don’t think so.  Let us review the quote of Old Timer from Leopard Men:

     God, she’s beautiful.  And she belongs to me.  I found her and I am going to keep her until I am tired of her.  Then I will throw her over…I’ve got something coming to me in this world.  I’m entitled to a little happiness; and by God I’m going to have it,

It would appear that his relationship with Florence was expedient.  He from the first intended to ruin her life by dumping her, see how she liked it.  Thus the denouement of the marriage in Hawaii was understood by ERB from the beginning.

At one time I believed that Florence calculatedly used ERB to get a trophy husband for status in Hollywood.  As the story evolves I am now realizing that ERB was no innocent party.  He had been long enough in Hollywood to be seduced by its standards.  He was on the edge of sixty and if he was to salvage a little happiness, by God, than this was the time to do it before it was too late.  While I haven’t seen any photographs that would make me think Florence was beautiful she apparently was better looking than her photographs while being young and an actual movie star of some fame one presumes.  I am not up on silent pictures but the attraction to an aging Burroughs is obvious.

According to Puncer’s Lee Chase interview in ERBzine 1632 ERB became a party animal compared to his life with Emma.  While Chase doesn’t have any definite proof it is possible that ERB began to travel to foreign climes with perhaps a tour of the Orient.  When that life palled and he began to tire of Florence in other words, she had served her purpose, as Old Timer said he would, ERB threw her over to she how the woman liked it.

As with a psychosis, not yet sexually satisfied he took up with the third woman in his life, Dorothy.  When ERB married Emma he actually took her from Frank Martin who would have been a good catch for Emma.  In the over thirty-four years he proceeded to ruin her life in which he absolutely succeeded when he walked out on her.  When he married Florence he took her from Dearholt.  Florence proved more resilient when he threw her over quickly remarrying.  Dorothy, who seems to have been a rather ordinary woman, was also married.  In this case when ERB had destroyed her marriage he just left her standing.  In that manner  he threw her over and let the woman see how she liked it.

At that time age and disease caight up with him so that he was unable to make a fourth attempt which he very likely would have done.  He was sort of a serial psychological destroyer of women.  Once again, he was guilty but not responsible.

His sexual problems then were caused by a damaged or even murdered Anima.  Sexual information of this sort is not taught in those ridiculous coeducational sex courses in high school or college where the ideas are only concerned with the varieties of sexual intercourse.  As the song says:  Put it where you want it.  These sex courses are a bigger crime than any actual sex crime- they are a sex crime.  I can’t believe the big brains don’t know what they’re doing so I have to conclude that they are knowingly betraying mankind.

This concludes my review of Tarzan The Invincible, the first of the mature novels of ERB.  I think now I will examine what many consider the worst of the series, Tarzan And The Leopard Men.  I’ve always considered it a difficult story but I think I have enough of a handle on it to at least open the exploration.

2 Responses to “A Review: Pt XI Tarzan The Invincible By Edgar Rice Burroughs”

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  2. […] A Review: Pt XI Tarzan The Invincible By Edgar Rice Burroughs (idynamo.wordpress.com) […]

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