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.


Zane Grey, Edgar Rice Burroughs And The Anima And Animus


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

Bad Blood In  The Valley Of The Hidden Women:

Thoughts On Riders Of The Purple Sage And The Rainbow Trail


Burroughs, Edgar Rice: Corpus 1911-1940

Grey, Zane:  The Riders Of The Purple Sage 1912

Grey, Zane:  The Rainbow Trail, 1915

Grey, Zane:  The Mysterious Rider, 1921

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

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

Zane Grey


     Anton and I had never read Zane Grey before reviewing the library of Edgar Rice Burroughs as published on ERBzine by Mr. Hillman.  Nor probably would we have but for the Bill Hillman series of articles comparing Zane Grey and Edgar Rice Burroughs.  Anton and I dismissed any such connection as being relevant but then Prindle read The Rainbow Trail and said we should check it out.  Prindle is a close friend of ours; a little on the independent side but alright.

     Grey refers to The Rainbow Trail as a continuation of The Riders Of The Purple Sage so Anton, he’s a psychologist became intrigued by the manner in which Grey treated aspects of the Anima and Animus.  We both then read Riders in which we discovered a full blown theory of the Anima and Animus.

     It should be noted here that Grey had passages excised by his editors that they thought dealt too explicitly with the sexual aspects of the Anima and Animus while reducing the commerical viability of the story.  The unexpurgated version of the story was published under the title The Desert Crucible in 2003. I have the Leisure Historical Fiction edition in mass market paperback.

     Grey’s ideas were presented in a very pure manner with complete and intact symbolism so there could be no mistaking that Grey was presenting a well thought out theory.  Anton became very excited as he said Grey’s theory certainly rivaled the ideas of Freud and Jung and must have been developed independently of their thought much as Burrughs’ ideas of psychology were.

     Although Riders Of The Purple Sage wasn’t among the books listed by Hillman as being in the Library we have to assume that Burroughs read it along with a number of other Grey titles although he must have found Rainbow Trail and The Mysterious Rider the tales of Grey he found most significant for his needs.  We will assume that this is so. To understand The Rainbow Trail originally titled The Desert Crucible which was in ERB’s library it is necessary to also review Riders Of The Purple Sage.


     Grey in this book examines the nature of the Animus and the Anima  of the male as well as the relationship between the living male and female.  The micro study of the Anima and Animus is placed in the macro study of Mormon society and law of 1871 versus Gentile society and law.  This is also a study of the nature of religion.

     The Gentiles- I follow Grey’s thought here- Mormons refer to themselves as the Chosen People and ‘others’ as Gentiles- are all of a stricken Anima which paralyzes their Animus while the Mormons have a strong Animus but disturbed by a stricken relation with the Anima which they completely repress not unlike the Jews and Moslems.

     Thus Mormons have a strong affinity with the Semitic religious systems from which they derive their religion in part.  Anton, the psychologist, avers that the problem of the Animus and Anima has been known for at least five or six thousand years. Anton is close to Prindle who is a historian, so much of the historical part comes to Anton through him although Anton is well versed in the history of human consciousness.


Edward Borein: Six Riders Of The Purple Sage

 Historically the struggle of the male to come to terms with the X chromosome and the y chromosome or Animus is central to history  and psychology.  During the Matriarchal Age, which is to say a sub- or unconscious age, the X chromosome or Anima ruled the mind of man.  As consciousness evolved and the conscious mind emerged from the subconscious the nature of  the y chromosome or Animus became apparent.  The Patriarchal Consciousness evolved.

     To reconcile or not to reconcile?

     The Egyptians developed their own theories but here we are not concerned with HS II and IIIs and the Semites.  Suffice it to say that the Semites borrowed from the Egyptians while adding very little of their own.  If one reads the story of Psyche and Eros in Apuleius’ The Golden Ass one will have a good general introduction to the HS II and III point of view as expressed in Grey’s Gentile characters such as Lassiter and Venters.  As said the Mormons reflect the Semitic view on women.

     The Semites on the other hand, exaggerted the importance of the Animus in favor of suppressing or subordinating the Anima which has been passed on to the HS IIs and IIIs through the adoption of aspects of the Semitic religions.  In a Hungarian myth of the Christian Era the Anima is portrayed as being entombed in the support of a bridge.  Thus imprisoned on one side of the river or brain it is denied its rightful function.

     The Semitic attitude is reflected in the way the two peoples treat their living females who stand as a symbol and only a symbol of the X chromosome of the male.  In both existing Semitic relgions, the Judaic and the Mohammedan, the females are treated as property no different than cattle.  Some of these attitudes have been temporarily weakened through contact with the HS II and IIIs.  They haven’t gone away or changed.

     The Semitic attitude infiltrated the HS II and III consciousness through their religion which was amalgameted into the HS-Semitic hybrid called Christianity.

     Then in 1930 in the Unied States a man named Joseph Smith created a religion called Mormonism based on the extreme Patriarchal notions of the Semites.  As Grey puts it the religion was based on the notion of ruling women.  Smith devised rules by which women were completely subordinated to the Animus much as in the Hungarian myth while the men were required to take multiples wives.  Smith himself racked up 30 plus.

     According to Grey the women were not happy with the arrangement but in the thrall of religious belief they thought it their god assigned role.

     As polygamy is not part of HS II and III culture Smith and the Mormons came into conflict with constituted society in Smith’s home base of Fayette, New York being driven out.  They encountered the same opposition in their new homes which led finally to Nauvoo, Illinois.  Smith, who apparently overplayed his hand was murdered in 1844.  In 1847 Brigham Young led the new Chosen People from Nauvoo to the Promised Land on the shores of the Great Salt Lake.  By 1871 when Riders takes place they must have multiplied exponentially because they occupy all of Utah and parts of adjacent states.  This prologue of the diptych is placed before the passage of the 1882 law of the United States outlawing polygamy.  The denouement of the novel will take place as the US attempts to stamp out the practice.

     The action of Riders-Trail takes place on the border of Utah and Arizona and parts of adjacent states with the Grand Canyon of the Colorado as a backdrop.


Edward Borein: Riders On The Mesa

   As with the other Semitic religions the Mormon Bishops and Elders with untempered Animi have made their will the law.  Thus, according to Grey, the Churchmen have become criminals willing to commit any crime to achieve their personal desires which they equate with the will of God.

     As Riders opens a Mormon woman, Jane Withersteen, against all the rules of Mormon society is living as an independent woman in Cottonwoods on the Utah-Arizona border, Gentile Law on one side, Mormon law on the other.  She does this in defiance of Bishop Dyer (die-er?) who has ordered her to marry and end her independent status.  She has her own duchy among the Mormons owning her own town, the water, aparently several counties, a magnificent bunch of horses (emblematic of the Anima) and six thousand head of cattle divided into two herds, the red and the white.  (emblematic of the male and female.)

     Her independence is a standing affront to the Mormon Elders and Bishops.  Having been ordered to marry Elder Tull as one of his many wives she has no wish to submit to the Bishop’s will.  Read- Will of God.

     These men are not to be balked.  The woman Withersteen has no actual rights under Semitic law.  As these men have a crazed Animus untempered by the acknowledgement of the female principle or Anima which they deny they have lost all sense of justice, or rather, they equate justice with their desires which they believe are supported by divine law.  They are going to use every concealed criminal means to break Jane Witherspoon down.  As their will is law they can’t see the difference between subjective criminal methods and objective legal ones.

     Jane is already having trouble hiring Mormon riders, riders are the same as cowboys in Grey’s lexicon, to manage her herds so she has resorted to hiring Gentiles.

     The Mormons must be seen as a species of Semite and in the Semitic manner they punish Gentiles, or unbelievers as the Moslems would put it, destroying any attempts at their prosperity.  If you read the first few lines of the Koran you will find it plainly stated that unbelievers must be punished.  Hence all the Gentiles are kept uneducated and impoverished.  Jane’s ramrod, is a young Gentile named Bern Venters.  Venters at one time had been a prosperous cattle rancher but the Mormons had emasculated him by lifting his cattle.  Venters was rescued by Jane from complete impoverishment by offering him a job.

     The Elders hate her for this.  They have warned Jane to get rid of him and her other Gentile employees but as a sort of Great Mother figure, an active female principle opposed to their male principle, she has refused.  She is sort of a Matriarchal throwback among these Patriarchs.  As the story opens Elder Tull has dragged Venters out of Jane’s house where Tull gives Venters the choice of hightailing it out of the Territory, Utah being a territory from 1850 to 1895 when it became a State, or being whipped to an inch of  his life.  Now, Tull means this, they are going to whip Venters nearly to death for being a Gentile in Mormonland.

     Having already been emasculated by the lifting of his cattle which, in reality, he couldn’t prevent, Venters now chooses to take the whipping rather than emasculate himself further by hightailing it.  Difficult choice.

Rainbow Bridge

     Tull is about to have him stripped when the Hammer Of The Mormons, Lassiter, appears out of the purple sage riding a blind horse- you heard right- a blind horse.  This guy is Bad Blood personified.  Boy, they’ve heard about him but how.  Black hat, black leather chaps, two massive black handled pistols worn very low, apparently at his ankles, his reputation as a Mormon Killer is well established.  Tull gets the cold shivers just looking at him on his blind horse.  The blind horse probably indicates that at this point Lassiter is oblivious to female charms, the horse being a symbol of the female and he’s riding a blind pony.

     Lassiter makes a few mild mannered inquiries then orders the Mormons to let Venters go.  We’re talking Animus to Animus here, cojones to cojones, whoever backs down is emasculated in relation to the other, and Lassiter’s twin pistols make him the master Animus.  The Mormons have to eat dirt or die.  The Mormons powerful as a collective cannot be so man to man.  Tull gives a hint of throwing an iron on Lassiter but the latter goes into his famous gunslinger’s crouch so he grab one of those guns around his ankles, intimidating the dickens out of the Mormons who retire leaving this field to him while muttering threats that he’d better watch his back.

     As we said, all the Gentiles are stricken in there relationship  between their Animas and Animi.  Between Riders and Rainbow they will be healed.

     Grey handles the symbolism starkly and masterfully.  Jane Withersteen is a masterful Matriarch.  Her independence and relationship to the Gentile men has left the impression that she is sexually loose.  It isn’t clear to the reader whether she is nor not.  She is more the Great Mother rather than the Siren.

     Her role seems to be the womanly one of tempering the raging Animus of the male.  While she has no effect whatsoever on the Mormon men she is successful in emasculating the stricken Gentiles.  She had persuaded Venters to abandon his six gun which made it possible for Elder Tull to seize him while it was only Lassiter’s two black handled six pistols that freed him.

     In a rather sexually explicit scene Jane would stand in front of Lassiter to seize a gun in each hand in an attempt to dissuade him from carrying them thus emasculating him.  This at a time when Mormons were trying to gun him down.  Her role seems to be one of civilizing society although her method seems backward.

     Lassiter is a wronged individual seeking his personal justice in a vengeful way.  He has shot up several Mormon towns being now known as a Mormon slayer or, in other words, the equivalent of an anti-Semite.

     The reason for his anti-Semitism is that a Mormon kidnapped his sister, Millie Erne, holding her captive until she consented to become one of his wives.  Hint, hint. Her remains are buried on Jane Withersteen’s property.


Edward Borein: Lassiter on his blind horse?

    Lassiter’s horse was blinded when men held it down then placed a white hot iron alongside the eyes searing them.  The horse as a female mother symbol represents Lassiter’s striken relationship with his Anima.

     If one reads this novel in a literal sense then many of its incidents are improbable if not ridiculous.  What notorious gunslinger would ride a blind horse?  Grey has been criticized for wooden characters which is womewhat unjust.  These are archetypal characters who are fully developed and can’t change.  As allegories there is no need to change.  This is mythology.

     The Mormons lift Jane’s red herd.  This may represent her female Animus as in iconography the male is usually represented as red while the female is white.  They next try to stampede her white herd by devious means which they believe are undetectable such as flashing a white sheet from a distance.  As a Chosen People they even have to convince themselves that what happens was not caused by them but was the will of God.

      Lassiter notes this taking Jane with him to show her.  As they watch the cattle begin to stampede.  Three thousand on the hoof they stream down the valley.  Lassiter on his blind horse races full speed down the slope, obviously no blind horse could do this, out on the flat to single handedly mill the cows.  As the lead cows enter the center of spiral Lassiter disappears in the dust.  He emerges sans horse to appear before Jane:  ‘My horse got kilt.’ he announces.  Jane’s response is ‘Lassiter, will you be my rider?’  Pretty clear sexually I think.  Not exactly changing horses in midstream but obviusly the transition from a blind horse to a sighted jane is an improvement in Lassiter’s relationship with his Anima.  ‘You bet I will Jane.’  Lassiter promptly and positively responds.

     Whether you want to consider this stuff  ‘high literature’ or not read properly it is not much different from the Iliad or Odyssey.

     As a mother figure Jane is a keeper of  horses, a symbol of the mother and female.  The blinding of Lassiter’s horse was the equivalent of separating him from the mother figure.  Jane not only has a full stable of  horses but she has the prized horses Night, Black Star and Wrangler.  As Grey makes clear these are the devil’s own mounts.  In the big chase scene Grey has Wrangler close to breathing flames as he compares the horse to the devil.

     The Mormons steal Jane blind while she refuses to allow Lassiter to defend either himself or her.  Seems to be the Great American Dilemma even today.

      Remember this is a war between Gentiles and Semites qua Mormons.  The Gentiles hands are stayed while the Semites are allowed to run wild.  Maybe Grey is making a social comment.  Also remember that Jane is a Mormon so that while she is powerless to control her own aging maniac men the only men she can influence are the Gentiles whom she emasculates.  As soon as the emasculated Venters gets away from her while pursuing the rustlers he immediately begins to revert to full manhood.

     The Mormons set both Mormon men and women to steal from her.  They take her bags of gold, this woman is prodigal, rich, her deeds and anything of value.  They steal her six thousand cows.  They want to kill Lassiter, dozens of Mormons lurk in the cottonwood groves (female places) but something stays their hands; they can’t shoot him either from behind or in front.

     The only thing Jane worries about is her horses.  Black Star and Night.  It is possible that in this instance Jane represents the moon goddess.  Finally the Mormons steal these symbols of her power.  The independent woman is now completely violated.  She has a man who could shoot down all the Mormons in Utah but she won’t let him use his guns.

     So why should we care?


Edward Borein: The Three Caballeros

     The myth switches to an alternate plot.  Young Bern Venters goes in search of the rustler gang.  Once again, Jane attempts to emasculate her men by pleading with Venters not to go, to stay beside her.  Why anyone would want to hang around such a loser woman isn’t clear.

     Venters goes in search of the rustler gang which is led by a man named Oldring.  Old Ring.  I’m sure the name has significant meaning but I can’t place it.  The wind soughing through the caves is known as Old Ring’s Knell.  Even though Oldring’s gang consists of a couple dozen men who have punched a herd of three thousand red cows they have somehow left no trail. Over all the years they have been rustling and pillaging there is no one who has been able to find this robber’s roost.

     Venters has traced them to the foot of a waterfall where he loses track.  While he is mulling this over a group of desperadoes return from pillaging plodding up the stream.  Lo and behold they ride right through the waterfall into yet another hidden valley.  Big enough to hold three thousand head of cattle.  The West was a big country.

     Venters rides off to relate this discovery to Jane and Lassiter when he encounters a despearado with the famous Masked Rider, reputed to have shot down dozens of men.  He is dressed from head to toe in black wearing a black mask.  This Rider is credited with shooting down any Mormons Lassiter overlooked.

     Venters takes out his ‘long gun.’  You know how riders despise the long gun or rifle preferring six shooters, and by dint of long practice he shoots the lead rustler dead and wounds the Masked Rider.  While examining the Masked One’s wound he unbuttons the shirt to discover the ‘beautiful swell of a female breast.’  Boy, howdy.  You got it, the Masked Rider is a woman, a mannish girl.  The image of Venter’s Anima.

      Stranded in the desert while trying to nurse this girl back to health Venters chases a rabbit up a slope where he notices ancient steps cut in the rock.  Following these he comes into ‘Surprise Valley.’  Formerly the home of cliff dwellers the place is a vitual paradise, green and verdant.  No one would ever discover him and the Rider there.  Carrying the slight figure of the Rider up hill and down for maybe ten miles or so Venters secretes themselves in the Valley which abounds in game and delightsome frolics.

     About this time I recognized some teen fantasies of my own.  Shooting and wounding a woman while having to tend her wounds in a secluded place where she has to be eternally grateful when healed was just too obvious.  In my case, just after the onset of puberty, I think, when the Anima would be making itself known, I came up with the daydream of having this woman I could keep in a milk bottle until I wanted her.  When I let her out of the bottle she became full sized and did whatever I wanted then she willingly went back into the bottle until the next time I wanted her.

     As a thirteen year old before the advent of universal pornography I didn’t know what I wanted the woman for but I knew it would be fun.  Grey here creates his version of the same fantasy.  The Rider, who turns out to be Bess, apparently has a past.  I say apparently because nearly everyone in this story has an apparent history which turns out to be false.  As a member of the gang she  was thought to have been, um…the piece…of Oldring.  He kept her in a cabin up on a ledge in his valley behind the waterfall.  He was gone a lot so we’re not clear that he ever laid a hand on her but Venters believes she is not ‘pure’ which in his great love for her he is willing to over look but it rankles him.

     If you want to know the wonders of Surprise Valley read the book yourself.  Comes a time when Venters has to go into Cottonwoods for supplies.  There he realizes that he and Bess can’t stay hidden away forever.  He has enough money for supplies obviously but not enough to flee from Mormonland.

     They don’t call it Surprise Valley for nothing.  When he returns Bess hauls out a big bag of gold to give to him.  This must be the treasure that the female brings the male.  The whole several mile length of the river which runs through this valley is lined with pebbles of gold which Bess has collected.  Shades of Opar, huh?  In her girlish gratitude she wants Bern to have the lot.

     ‘Gosh,’ says Bern.  ‘Now I don’t have to get a job.’  (He didn’t put it quite that way.)  ‘We can leave this valley and go far away from Mormonland.’

Edward Borein: Four Navajos Crossing The Desert

     Far away from Mormonland, by the way, is either Quincy or Beaumont (beautiful mountain) Illinois.  Not too far from Nauvoo which was the Mormon stronghold jumping off place for the long march to the Great Salt Lake into the fantastic scenery Grey either describes or imagines.  Certinly the West of Grey’s imagination is as fantastic as anything Burroughs created on Barsoom.

      Even though Grey refers to the desert this is certainly the lushest desert  anyone has ever seen.  The purple sage is the equal to Burroughs red moss of Mars.

     Grey wrote an essay about what the desert meant to him.  His desert with its plentiful water complements his vision of the Anima and Animus.  The desert may answer to Grey’s subconscious which appears to be missing in his analysis of Anima and Animus, so that perhaps the desert stand for the subconscious.

     His desert reminds me of a dream I used to have with some frequency.  In my dream I was walking across this immense barren desert spotted at invervals with small oases in which I wasn’t allowed to remain.  Off in the distance I could see this great brain shaped mountain.  On approaching the mountain I found a small stream of water leading down into the mountain.  As I descended I noticed that the stream ran through a bed of solid salt which rendered the water bitter.

     Descending further the water disappeared beneath a steel chute.  Unable to turn back while unwilling to go further I was nevertheless pushed into the chute where dropping into a steel lined entry I was pushed into a steel walled laundry room as the steel door slammed behind me.  There was plenty of water but no way out.  There was a ventilation shaft along the ceiling of the back wall.  I conceived a plan of drinking to repletion then urinating into the ventilation shaft creating such a smell that they would want to find the source.

     My plan worked.  Three maintenance men opened the door and I dashed out so fast they didn’t know I had been there.  Still in a steel lined area I saw a bank of elevators which would take me back to ground level.  A door opened but the elevator was filled with classmates from my high school who pushed me back refusing to allow me to enter.

     I don’t know how but I gat back to the surface where once again I approached the back side of the mountain which I ascended this time rather than descended.  Now, the mountain was deep in a frozen snow but starting from the low grade at the back I had no trouble climbing, walking on top of the snow.  The sun was shining brightly but all was frozen white.  When I reached the top I found I was standing above the brow of the face of a great idol carved in the snow.  Thousands of feet below terified and intimidated people were kneeling in the desert worshipping the great snow face.  From where I stood I couldn’t see the face but I conceived the notion of destroying the snow god to free the people.  Leaping into the air I came down on the god’s forehead creating an avalanche.  The great face slid away as I descended thousands of feet on a cushion of snow to alight unharmed.

     As I hoped, the destruction of the god freed the minds of the people from the domination of their morose god.  The melting snow created numerous streams watering the desert among which the people danced and sang as the desert bloomed, while I looked on admiringly.

     I don’t know enough about Grey’s background to say how unhappy his childhood had been but since his plot of Riders/Rainbow roughly follows my dream I suspect what the desert meant to him was the barrenness of his early life.  The appeal of the novels to Burroughs must have been of the same order.

     When Venters leaves the Valley Grey begins to lose control of his story.  The clarity and focus of the first half becomes jumbled.  He finally just crams the ending through as Burroughs so frequently does.


Edward Borein: The Apaloosa

 Venters, riding Wrangler, crosses trails with the men who stole Night and Black Star from Jane.  A sort of running  joke throughout the novel is whether Wrangler is faster than the two blacks.  Wrangler proves his mettle in this chase overtaking the two even though they were ridden by the best rider on the range, Jerry Card.  Card is sort of a puzzle, at least for me.  His horsemanship was so great that racing at full tilt leading one horse he could keep both horses side by side at full pace; in addition he could hop back and forth from horse to horse.  Whether Grey was making a joke or not, I can’t really tell, he describes Card’s appearance as froglike. Hop-frog of Poe?  Card is a little misshapen runty man.  Whatever Grey had in mind for him he forgot to develop.

     Card abandons the horses as the race ends disappearing into the purple sage.  Wrangler gets away from Venters to be captured by Card.  In a rather spectacular scene Card is trying to guide the horse by biting it on the nose.  He is actually being dragged with his teeth in Wrangler’s nose.  I’m no horseman but I’d really have to have the fine points of this maneuver explained to me.

     Unable to hit the small fragile Card with a rifle shot as rider and horse rode alongside an escarpment rather than let Card get away, Venters shot the horse who leaped off the edge in what Grey describes as a fitting end for the greatest horse and greatest rider of the purple sage.  I can’t follow his reasoning here but he must be trying to say something.

     Venters rides the remaining two horses down the main street of Cottonwoods with apparently no more reason than to enrage Bishop Dyer and Elder Tull and announce in stentorian tones that Jerry Card is dead.  Reminds me of the myth in which it is announced that the great God Pan is dead.

     Venters packs some saddlebags with provisions then, in what seems a comic touch, since Jane’s wonderful stable of horses is now empty, mounts a burro to return to Surprise Valley.  Riding one and leading a string of burros he looks behind him to see if he being followed by men on horses  I presume he would have hopped off the burro and started running.  The burro appears to represent severe emasculation.

     Another essential subplot has been the arrival of a small child still annoyingly gushing babytalk- muvver for mother and oo for you- by the name of Fay Larkin.  Fay is going to be the heroine of the sequel.  She was the daughter of a Gentile woman who died.  The woman asked Jane, who was ever kind to the despised Gentiles, to take the child which Jane did.  She now ‘cannot live without the child.’

     Having stolen everything else of the woman in the name of God, the Mormons now steal Fay.

     This is too much for Lassiter who coldly disregards Jane’s imploring to disregard this insult and injury too, even though a moment before she ‘couldn’t live without the child.’  While it seems that Mormon men emascualte their women, Mormon women in turn emasculate their men.  Maybe that’s what the story is about: the conflict between the sexes.  Lassiter disregards her, strapping on not only his big blacks but an extra brace that he hides beneath his coat.  The extra brace doesn’t figure into the story so it isn’t clear why two gun Lassiter became four gun Lassiter.

     Lassiter shoots the Mormons up pretty good killing Bishop Dyer.  Elder Tull is out of town at the moment.  Lassiter and Jane know they have to get a move on so, packing enough to stagger any ten horses , including bags of gold, they skedaddle riding Night and Black Star.

     Somewhere in here Grey must have become stymied in his story not having the progression to Rainbow Trail figured out.  Something like the odd ending of Burroughs’ Princess Of Mars.  Venters still thinks Bess was Oldring’s girl hence something only his great love for her can make him overlook.  Loading up their burros they leave Surprise Valley.  Out in the purple sage who should appear much as he had at the beginning of the story but Lassiter, this time with Jane.

     It now comes out that Venters thinks Oldring is Bess’ father.  Jane lets out the fact that he had then killed his future wife’s dad.  Bess is revolted at the thought, calling off the wedding.  Lassiter to the rescue.  He produces a locket with a picture of his sister Millie Erne and her husband Frank.  Lassiter explains that Millie was pregnant by Frank when Millie was kidnapped and that Frank Erne is her real father.  The obstacle that had appeared between Venters and Bess now disappears as he hadn’t killed her father, just the guy who reared her.  At the same time Bess is no longer the daughter of a low rustler but of a respectable man.

     But wait, there’s more.  Grey can produce as many twists as Edgar Rice Burroughs.  It was the literary fashion of the day.

     Not only is Bess the daughter of Millie Erne but the Mormon kidnapper of Millie had been no ther than Jane Withersteen’s father.  The ever-forgiving Lassiter, now Uncle Jim to Bess, mutters something like ‘Aw shucks, Jane, I don’t pay thet no nevermind.’  and sister Millie is forgotten.  nearly two decades of bad blood goes up in smoke with a shrug.

     Venters and Bess head off for the safety and security of civilization in Beaumont, Illinois, while Lassiter and Jane depart for the security of Surprise Valley.  Two problems remain for the next ten pages or so, Fay Larkin and Elder Tull.

     Just like Tarzan, Lassiter can apparently smell a white girl because there is no other way that he could have located her.  She was being held by some Mormons in a side canyon.  Setting Jane to one side, Lassiter enters the canyon from which after firing every cartridge in his four guns and belts- Grey didn’t actually make it clear that he was still wearing the extra set up under his coat but he didn’t say he took them off either- of’ four guns Lassiter kills all the varmints, emerging from the canyon with little Fay in his arms and ‘five holes in his carcase.’

     As they glory over little Fay, who was problem number one, problem nuber two, Elder Tull and his band of Mormon riders appear on the horizon.  Leaping on their burros, did I mention Jane and Uncle Jim swapped Night and Black Star with Venters and Bess for their burros?- the Hammer Of The Mormons and Jane jog off with the Mormons in hot pursuit on horses, but tired ones.

     One would think that even tired horses would have the advantage over burros but it is a very tight race.  You see why Grey’s stuff translated to the movies so well.  Getting all safe within Surprise Valley on the other side of balancing rock (did Grey borrow this detail from the She of Rider Haggard?)  Uncle Jim lacks the nerve to roll that stone because Jane has pretty completely emasculated him.  ‘Roll that stone’ Jane commands restoring  Lassiter’s will.  He does just as Elder Tull ad his Mormon band reach the cleft.  The stone falls eliminating Tull and his Mormons while sealing off Surprise Valley ‘forever’ with Uncle Jim, Jane and Little Fay Larkin inside.  Of course they are well provided because Venters has stocked the Valley with burros, fruit tree stock and plenty of grain seed.  At the same time he had eliminated coyotes and other beasts of prey so that jackrabbits, quail and other small food animals have mutiplied exponentially.  It’s going to be a long twelve years in the valley so the bunch has to be well provided.  Without his gun though Lassiter is going to have to catch those jackrabits with his hands.  During their long stay Lassiter and Jane apparently have no sexual relations as there were no additional children when the valley was reentered by the Mormons.  Jane must truly have been a mother figure.

     On this incomplete note Grey ends his novel.

Edward Borein: Grazing Cattle


     Indeed, from the Enlightenment to the present has ben a period of intense religion formation, especially the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

     Utopian and Scientific Socialism may both be considered forms of religion, especially the latter in its Semito-Marxist form. 

     Mormonism itself, which has no basis in science, orginated from the brain of Joseph Smith in 1830.  Madame B’s Theosophy, Mary Baker Eddy’s Christian Science, Ron Hubbard’s Scientology and the Urantia religion all have a basis in science as do most religions formed after Darwin.  With the emergence of science none of the old religions were satisfactory.  Hence it should come as no surprise that writers like Grey and Burroughs were intensely concerned with the problem.

     As I have mentioned in Something Of Value no adequate myth for the scientific age developed, leaving men and women whose faith in the Semitic gods was undermined with a stricken religious consciousness such as in the case of John Shefford, the protagonist of Rainbow Trail, and probably both Grey and Burroughs.

     So the search for meaning was endemic in this period not being confined to Burroughs and Grey who were merely symptomatic.

     Another attitude that both authors share is a yearning for the wide open spaces of their youth that, while we may look back in envy, were rapidly disappearing before  their eyes.  Somehow this yearning was also connected to a feeling for the prehistoric past, perhaps as a Golden Age.

     Both men were charmed by the notionof cliffdwellers.  It would seem that Americans of the period were also absolutely charmed and enamored with the Anasazi of the American Southwest.  Burroughs was very nearly obsessed with cliffdwellers.  Novel after novel is replete with cliffdwellings whether in Pellucidar, various terrestrial locations or even on Mars.

     The inhabitants of the skyscrapers of Chicago were nicknamed cliffdwellers; a replica of Southwest cliffdwellings  was built for the Columbian Expo of 1893 that apparently made a great impression on 17-year 0ld ERB.  The premier literary club of Chicago was known as the Cliff Dwellers which was on the 8th floor and roof of Orchestra Hall.  I think Burroughs had a yearning to be a member of this club.

     Thus there were many cliffdweller influences on ERB’s life , whether he had ever seen the Anasazi dwellings before 1920 is doubtful, it would be interesting to know if Grey had before 1910.

     At any rate cliffdwellers had carved out homes in Surprise Valley in some distant prehistoric time.  Thus both Venters and Bess and Uncle Jim Lassiter and Jane were actual cliffdwellers utilizing the old dwellings.  Lassiter, Jane and Fay Larkin would be cliffdwellers for twelve years.  This must have had a very romantic appeal for Grey’s contemporary readers.

     During that period they dressed in skins living as close to a stone age existence as was possible.  So one may compare the Surprise Valley of Lassiter and Jane with the cliffdwellers of Burroughs’ Cave Girl.

     As all these themes were in the air of the period it is not necessary for either of these two authors to be influenced by each other to this point but it is probable that both were influenced by the stone age stories of Jack London and H.G. Wells among others.

     I doubt Burroughs was influenced during this period by Grey although he did have a copy of Rainbow Trail in his library, one of only two Grey titles.  We can’t be sure when he bought Trail.  Grey’s stories complement Burroughsian attitudes but only after this formative preriod around 1912.  ERB’s Western and Indian novels probably owe something to Grey but they were written after 1920.

     Riders Of The Purple Sage sets the scene for its denouement which is The Rainbow Trail.  Riders was a wonderful romantic vision of the West which answered the needs of the period when for the first time the percentage of Americans living in cities surpassed that of those living on farms.  Indeed, very like these authors, modern cliffdwellers had a heartsick longing for the Paradise they had lost.  For decades it would be a crazy dream of city dwellers to buy a farm and ‘get back to the land.’  The movie ‘Easy Rider’ was a good laugh in that respect.

     Both Burroughs’ and Grey’s novels addressed that need.

     Burroughs’ interest in Rainbow Trail would stem from religious aspects and the perfect union of the Anima and Animus when John Shefford and Fay Larkin unite. It might be noted that a fay is a fairie.  Cliffdwelling and the purity of Grey’s noble savages, the Navajos, would have been compelling for ERB.

    Before continuing on to The Rainbow Trail let us take a brief interlude to examine some aspects that would have interested ERB from the other Grey title in his library- The Mysterious Rider.


Addendum To Springtime For Edgar Rice Burroughs

An Analysis Of Chap. I, Tarzan The Untamed


R.E. Prindle



I hope I will be excused for submitting an analysis of only the first Chapter of Tarzan The Untamed. It seems to be very significant while justice couldn’t be done to its remarkable content within a full book review.

Tarzan The Untamed is unusual in that it took ERB a little over a year to write. A very long time for him. The book is also one of the longest Tarzan volumes.

The book was begun three months before Armistice Day on November 11, 1918. This was a tremendously busy period for Burroughs as in January of 1919 he severed his lifelong ties with Chicago forever, moving to Los Angeles. The evidence of the first chapter undoubtedly written by him in August of ‘18 is that this was an especially traumatic period of life for him.

He said he walked out on Emma several times during their marriage. The external evidence of Tarzan The Untamed, Tarzan The Terrible and Tarzan And The Golden Lion is that this period was one of them. At the very least this was a very stormy period for him in his marriage.

The Chapter in question can be divided into three episodes: The killing of Jane and Tarzans discovery of the deed, his reversion to a ‘great white ape’, and the confrontation with the panther. As David Adams has pointed out, whenever a leopard or panther is involved Burroughs is dealing with his sexual problems.

Writing in 1918-19 Burroughs antedates the story to the Fall of 1914 just after the Great War began. He seems to have been particularly aroused by the War. Much to the amazement of his publisher he wanted to become a war correspondent. He was unable to find a place. His writing during this period is replete with references to the War.

It seems possible to relate the death of Jane in the Fall of 1914 to Emma and the Mad King which was written between 9/26 and 11/2 in the Fall of 1914 when the Great War was in progress as reflected in ERB’s story. In the earlier story, ‘Barney Custer of Beatrice’, Barney had performed great services for the Princess Emma, done everything he could do to win her love and trust but she remained distant and distrustful. As the Princess Emma’s attitude refects that of Emma Burroughs this refusal to trust him must have infuriated ERB who at the time must have felt that he done everything a woman could expect of a man. He, in the character of Waldo in 1913’s Cave Girl Part I, actually tells Nadara, who had the same attitude as Princess Emma, that.

ERB’s and Emma’s relationship must have been strained over the intervening four years perhaps reaching a crisis at this time as ERB appears to have walked out at some time in this period although with the turmoil of moving and resettling it is difficult to tell when.

At any rate the brutal murder of Jane burned beyond all recognition except significantly her jewelry indicates the depth of ERB’s emotions. The jewelry may be especially significant in that ERB lamented that in his impoverished days he had to pawn Emma’s jewelry. That time or those times may have been especially bitter for him.

While it is true that he was persuaded to change the story bringing Jane back to life there seems little possibility for the reader to believe anything but that Jane was actually killed. The implication then is that Emma was dead to ERB. He had always regretted marrying Emma, or marrying at all, even going to the extent of saying that Tarzan should never have married which is to say himself. One wonders why, if he felt so strongly he didn’t seek a divorce at this time.

That is how ERB resolves that sexual problem of his wife. ERB then inserts a long paragraph explaining that now that Jane is dead Tarzan reverts to his original identity of the ‘great White ape’ or pure beast. It is explained that he never felt comfortable in his thin veneer of civilization. He assumed it merely because it pleased Jane and now that she is dead he no longer has any use for the guise. Hence as he stalks through the jungle in pursuit of the Germans he does so as a stalking beast no different than a lion or tiger. But more intelligent. He may revert to the beast but he doesn’t abandon the intellectual trappings of the veneer of civilization. Still got Daddy’s knife at his side.

Then in the last third of the chapter having resolved his heterosexual problem he turns to another serious aspect of his sexuality, that of his feeling of emasculation. That aroused homosexual feelings in him that he stoutly rejected.

ERB gave voice to this part of his psychology in Bridge And The Oskaloosa Kid, or otherwise, The Oakdale Affair of 1917, the previous year. Whether there are indications of homosexual feeling between Bridge and Billy Byrne in ‘Out There Somewhere’ is not clear to me at this time. I would have to read it again with that object in mind but they are probably there. As there are abundant indications of the sexual malaise in his subsequent writings it would seem clear that having solved one sexual problem by having others kill it he then turned to the emasculation problem that he had to deal with by himself alone, killing it.

In all other instances where the leopard or panther symbol appears women are involved except in one instance involving the male ape, Akut, in Beasts of Tarzan. There are definite homosexual overtones in that episode. As Tarzan confronts the male panther in this instance alone the beast must refer to Burroughs own sexual ambivalence. Especially as in this instance ERB combines the Panther motif with the terrific storm and extreme darkness.

The theme of storm and leopard is most dramatically portrayed in Tarzan And The Leopard Men of 1931 that opens with leopard men slashing victims, is followed by a terrific storm and succeeds to the confrontation between Old Timer/ERB and Kali Bwana/Florence.

Tarzan the Invincible of 1930 has the terrific storm as Tarzan and La come close to sexual consummation.

So, in this story almost separate from the rest of the novel, the story opens with the brutal murder of Jane followed by Tarzan’s confrontation with Sheeta in the terrific storm.

In this story we learn that Tarzan has some favorite trees. I can’t think of another instance in the oeuvre where Tarzan returns to a tree. In every other instance he merely selects a new tree for the night. In this instance having discovered the murdered Jane he goes to a tree he has often used. I don’t know what that means sexually.  Perhaps if he had walked out on her before this he had some place he favored until reconciled.

Goro plays a prominent role. Unlike Greek mythology with which ERB was familiar where the moon is feminine in Burroughs mind the moon is masculine.

Thus it is night with the moon shining although a storm is building. Tarzan climbs the giant bole of the tree to find Sheeta sleeping on his mat in the crotch of the great limb. Thus the emasculation lurking in Burroughs’ subconscious haunts his nighttime bed. At this point the storm begins to break with gale force winds. Clouds obscure the moon and it gets dark, very dark, as dark, one might say as the tomb. It is a peculiarity of Burroughs’ heroes that they can see or find their way in the dark where you or I couldn’t. This is a very potent subconscious symbol. I’m not yet clear on Burroughs’ use of the symbol of darkness.

The Panther in this instance is a male as Burroughs refers to it as ‘he’. Thus in the night in his bed Tarzan comes upon a male sexual symbol. A quote:


It was very dark now, darker even than it had ever been before, (see, we’re getting very serious) for almost the entire sky was overcast by thick black clouds.

Presently the man-beast paused, his sensitive nostrils dilating as he sniffed the air about him. Then with the swiftness and agility of a cat, he leaped far outward upon a swaying branch, sprang upward through the darkness, caught another, swung himself upon it and then to one still higher. What could so suddenly have transformed this matter-of-fact ascent (matter-of-fact ascent? What does that mean?) of the giant bole to the swift and wary action of his detour among the branches? You or I could have seen nothing- not even the little platform that an instant before had been just above him and which now was immediately below- but as he swung above it we should have heard an ominous growl; and then as the moon was momentarily uncovered , we should have seen both the platform dimly, and a dark mass that lay stretched upon it- A dark mass that presently, as our eyes became accustomed to the lesser darkness, would take the form of Sheeta, the panther.


As this is obviously a dream or subconscious sequence we don’t have to take into account improbabilities such as the moon breaking through the thick black clouds so conveniently.

Security for Tarzan is always being above things so that once his sensitive nostrils pick out Sheeta on his platform by a series of amazing acrobatics among the waving boughs in the rising gale Tarzan finds a secure place on a branch above the platform. He is now in a position to manage Sheeta. Tarzan always deals with Sheeta by descending upon him or leaping on his back.

In ‘Beasts’ he saves Akut by falling on Sheeta’s back as Sheeta descends from a tree on Akut. At the end of Leopard Men he does a standing leap onto Sheeta’s back. In this instance in a driving rain storm amidst lightening and thunder, on a whipping branch in a gale he does a somersault over Sheeta’s snout onto his back. These are acrobatics I would like to witness.

Now, in 1913’s Cave girl Part I Waldo killed the panther when it fell onto his upright spear. Spear equals penis as symbol. That pelt was given to Nadara after Waldo had worn it himself for some time. If the pelt is associated with both a homo and hetero sexuality homo in the sense of emasculation then there is a real sexual ambivalence indicated. In the case of Cave Girl Waldo assumed the masculinity of the Panther thus augmenting his own to its former state then having regained his masculinity he was able to invest Nadara with his love.

Jane is dead here so that it appears that Tarzan/Burroughs, still troubled by ambivalence as is also evidenced in 1917’s Bridge And The Kid where the Kid is a woman dressed as a man very ambivalently. In that story Bridge/Burroughs is very relieved to discover this boy he has fallen in love with is really a girl. Using his spear, a symbol of the penis, to goad Sheeta to an attack Tarzan retreats in gale force winds to the extremity of a large limb followed by the cat. Had the limb broken one assumes that ERB may have succumbed to his emasculation or latent homosexuality as he plunged back to earth. On earth he has to deal with realities. This is reminiscent of Heracles. Tarzan is a jungle Heracles. Having gotten Sheeta far out on the limb where his footing is insecure, it is at this point in the violence of the storm and wind that he somersaults onto Sheeta’s back.

Sheeta then loses his balance falling from the safety of the trees to earth with Tarzan on his back. Landing splay footed he is smashed to the ground by Tarzan’s weight. Unable to rise in time he is stabbed to death by Tarzan using his father’s knife.

Thus it would appear that so long as Tarzan is in the trees or his imagination he doesn’t really have to deal with earthly problems. But, once on the earth he has to deal with problems directly. As he has killed Sheeta on the earth one is to assume that he believes he has solved the problem of his sexual ambivalence. However the storm rages for a full twenty-four hours with whatever meaning that may have.

Thus in this traumatic day and night Tarzan/ERB’s heterosexual relationship is ended while we are led to believe he slays his emasculated homosexual ambivalence.

Having killed Sheeta Tarzan gathers an armful of fronds that in no way hinder his climbing the giant bole of the tree.


Laying a few of the fronds upon the poles he lay down and covered himself against the rain with the others and despite the wailing of the wind and the crashing of thunder, immediately fell asleep.


Good thing the gale didn’t blow the fronds that covered him away. But this is a dream sequence, why would they?

Remember that these scenes of the killing of Jane and ERB’s dealing with his senseof emasculation are occurring in the Fall of 1914 at the time he was in fact writing the sequel to The Mad King, Barney Custer.

In that case Maenck was killing Barney’s alter ego Leopold while Emma/Emma stood round indecisively pondering whether to accept Barney/ERB in his new role as King. In other words ERB’s old loser self was dead while he was permanently assuming his new role as the successful ERB. In Untamed Jane/Emma is killed while Tarzan/ERB slays another troublesome alter ego or sexual problem.

In point of fact Emma Burroughs was quite right to insist that Jane not be killed. Had ERB let the death stand there would have been a gross inconsistency in the oeuvre as he already had Jane playing a prominent role in Jewels of Opar in 1915. Such a glaring inconsistency might have seriously compromised the on going story, actually a roman-a-fleuve, perhaps endangering its continuing success.

The Untamed in the title undoubtedly refers to ERB who is proclaiming his independence from Emma and the bonds of marriage. This theme too was explored in 1913’s Cave Girl which was concerned with the issue of marriage and free love.

Waldo in that story insisted upon waiting to consummate the love between he and Nadara until a minister was handy while she was puzzled as to why there was a need to wait when they were obviously meant for each other.

Untamed begun in Chicago would be finished in Los Angeles under very different circumstances than Burroughs’ life in the Windy City. As the story finished he would be the proud possessor of his own empire- Tarzana.

Burroughs just keeps getting more and more complex.

A Contribution To The Edgar Rice Burroughs

Library Project.

A Review

The Sheik


E.M. Hull

by R.E. Prindle

The Novel

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

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

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


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

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

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

The Author

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

     Previous to this time she had noted in the camp

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Springtime For Edgar Rice Burroughs


R.E. Prindle

Part VII

Edgar Rice Burroughs

The Sequels

The return from San Diego in March-April 1914 was a turning point in Burroughs’ life.  In a sense it was a childhood’s end.  The past was now the past.  ERB’s future lay ahead.

The fact that he had won the gamble of the stay in San Diego being able to spend recklessly and still have his back financially covered must have been a tonic to his self-confidence.  He was able to do nearly anything he wanted to do.  One was to begin his library.  A key book in his library was Edward Gibbon’s Decline And Fall Of The Roman Empire.  He recorded its purchase date in 1913 and the day he completed the work just after his birthday in 1915.  One imagines that by the time he wrote his three sequels in mid-1914 he had read a few of the volumes of his twelve volume set.

This is important because reading Gibbon is a life changing event.  In the language of the sixties the history is consciousness expanding.  In a sense it is a transition from childhood to maturity.

It is impossible to stress sufficiently the changes that ERB is going through or the rapidity of the changes.  Already just returned from San Diego he is purchasing a new automobile, a Hudson.  It is perhaps no coincidence that The Mad King opens with Barney Custer/ERB careening down the road in a new Roadster.  That it is gray is of very little significance because the only colors available in 1914 were probably grey and black.  Or perhaps as the Hudson appears to be grey in black and white photos Barney’s car for that reason was grey.

One can only imagine the exhilaration ERB experienced as he climbed behind the wheel of big new touring car.  It was Hudson not a cheap Ford.  Nineteen fourteen was also a turning point in the history of Ford Motors.  ERB always disparages Fords in these years proud that he’s driving a more expensive automobile.  The woes of not being able to afford a car from 1903 on must have melted away.

Not only did ERB buy a new car but he and his family of wife and three children moved into luxurious new quarters in the affluent Chicago suburb of Oak Park.  So ERB began a new life on his return to Chicago.

Shortly after his return Tarzan Of The Apes was released in book form by A.C. McClurg.  Magazine and newspaper response to his stories had been terrific so there was no reason for Burroughs not to anticipate large sales.  One can imagine him sitting up nights calculating the number.  A hundred thousand?  Too low.  A million?  Well, if he got really lucky.  We’ve all enjoyed the anticipation of some sort along those lines.

The book was released in May, 1914 but there is no indication that McClurg’s even sold through the fifteen thousand of the contract or, indeed, that they even ever printed that many.  The title was turned over to the reprint house of A.L. Burt early the next year in 1915.  Burt was so uncertain of the books reception that they made McClurgs guarantee the first printing.  When Burt turned the title over to Grossett and Dunlap they claimed to have sold less than seven hundred thousand copies at fifty cents each.  Royalties were only four and a half cents a copy of which McClurg’s got half so Burroughs realized a mere pittance.

So what then?

He was thrown back almost wholly on his magazine revenues.  He began to receive some money from newspaper syndication but this was relatively a pittance given his expectations.  Within a few years movie money would begin coming in but for the time being Burroughs had to keep writing bcause as usual he was spending in advance of receipts.

I believe one can detect a change in the style of his writing at this point.

Whereas prior to the return from San Diego with the energy of the bloom of Spring relying perhaps on stories that had evolved in his mind as he daydreamed in the lean years stories just flowed from his pen.  It seems likely that he exhausted that reservoir in San Diego so that now he had actually to work at dreaming up stories.  In all three of the titles the sequels are significantly longer than the first halves while changing from personal revelations more toward formal stories.

The editorship of Munsey’s had also changed from Metcalf to Bob Davis- Robert H. Davis.  From the available evidence Metcalf seems to have been the more tolerant and indulgent of Burroughs’ writing.  When Davis was assigned Burroughs in 1914 the latter was an established star of the Munsey stable of writers.  Davis wrote an autobiography c. 1940 that I haven’t been able to obtain but which should have much information on his dealing with ERB.

Davis appears to have been much more critical of Burroughs, even bullying him, pushing suggestions on him that the vulnerable writer couldn’t resist.  Davis was the one who suggested that Tarzan have a son something Burroughs always regretted doing.  Davis seems to have been of the opinion that ERB used a number of trite situations, situations that have subsequently been amply exploited by the movies.  Not having grown up in ERB’s milieu and being sufficienctly underread in the various literatures of the times I am unable to say whether or not Burroughs presentation of Barney Custer’s execution by firing squad was trite or not as Davis states.  Why Davis should have accepted the grazing of the head by the bullet that has become so commonplace in the movies and rejected the first episode is beyond me.

That Davis accepted Barney’s escape through the sewer without a demur when the episode is a blatant plagiarism of Jean Valjean’s escape through the sewer in Les Miserables  is beyond me also.  Burroughs even duplicates the upturned face as the filth rises about Valjean.  ERB does provide the original twist of Barney being completely submerged in the sewage.  Gruesome enough.

So Davis’ intent seems to have been a contest for control and dominance.  It seems then that there were large variations between the magazine stories and the published books as ERB reinserted deleted passages and changed details back to his original writing.  Overall, from the available evidence, I hold an unfavorable opinion of Davis’ interference.

On the home front, while ERB may have thought to find acceptance for his success as a writer and his newfound prosperity he was to be bitterly disappointed as his writing was disparaged and his topics made him a literary clown in his contemporaries eyes.  To my undertanding he has never been accorded the respect  that is his due to this day either in Oak Park or Chicago.

The fact is that he was able to please his audience in the pulp fiction genre mightily not only in 1913-14 but for at least a quarter century until his medium, pulp fiction, began to flounder in the thirties and forties.  Having now read so many of his novels four to six times I am beginning now to have a much greater respect for ERB’s writing abilities.

The sequels of all three novels under consideration show an extreme focus on exactly what the story is and told with great economy yet with words so well chosen that the reader learns everything that he has to know.  I am especially impressed with the single minded drive of The Mad King.

While obviously desiring acceptance and even importance in Chicago’s society ERB made an effort to be accepted by the newspaper columnists he had so admired from young manhood on.   These men were very much admired by ERB.  Indeed the columnists occupied a position analogous to the drive time radio commentators of our day.  Chicago had some of the best.

Burroughs had collections of Eugene Field and George Ade in his library so that it is clear that he was much influenced by them.  He does not seem to have cared for Peter Finley Dunne and his Mr. Dooley Irish dialect stories.  Now as man he began to contribute to the successors of Field and Ade.  Bert Leston Taylor’s column A Line Of Type Or Two in the Chicago Tribune printed some of Burroughs’ verse submitted under his pseudonym, Normal Bean, as well as another column in the Tribune, In The Wake Of The News by Hugh E. Keogh also known as HEK. (source: Porges)  Both columns were prestigious so that the acceptance of ERB’s verse would indicate that it was high enough quality for the columns.  After all it isn’t that easy to get into such columns or even have a letter to the editor published.  Burroughs also joined the White Paper Club that sounds like a catchall scribblers club.  He was ignored and shunned by the prestigious clubs.

A note on cars and then to the books on review.  In 1913 he had and sold a Velie.  In 1914 he bought and drove a Hudson while he drove a Mitchell in 1915.

The Velie is of interest (see http://www.angelfire.com/mt/velie/ )

The Velie was a low priced model bought second hand so it probably didn’t put ERB out too much.  Willard Velie attended Yale at the same time as the Burroughs Boys graduating in 1888.  One wonders if the Brothers knew of Velie at Yale.  Perhaps such a knowledge may have influenced Burroughs choice or perhaps not.

The choice of the Hudson was undoubtedly influenced by the fact that ERB’s hero, L. Frank Baum, who ERB almost certainly visited in 1913, drove one.

If there is a possible story behind the Mitchell I haven’t learned it as yet.  Also it shoud be noted that the movie industry did not affect Baum’s decision to move to Hollywood.  Cecil B. Demille and Jesse Lasky didn’t step off the train in LA until 1914 when they introduced Hollywood to the movies.


So now ERB began to organize his life around his future rather than his past.  The first burst of writing in which he released his pent up emotions was now spent.  On the return to Chicago his writing becomes a vocation in which he had to turn out stories every year for the pulps so that he became a professional writer rather than a quasi-amateur.

Tarzan Of The Apes was published in May upon his return but it would seem to disappointing sales.  It was even difficult for McClurg’s to get the reprint firm of A.L. Burt to take it however it did well for Burt although apparently not in the spectacular numbers so often reported.  Nevertheless money began to come in from that source.

Burroughs’ writing would also be influenced by the political situation presented by the Wobblies or I.W.W. as well as the outbreak of the Great War in August.  That conflict became the subject of the sequel to The Mad King that was written after the war began.

The tone of the three sequels then changed from the first halves becoming less personal in their presentation but still concerned with ERB’s relationship with Emma.

The opening  sequence of The Cave Girl-The Mad King-The Eternal Lover was changed to The Cave Man-Sweethearts Primeval (Eternal Lover)-and Barney Custer Of Beatrice (Mad King).

Barney Custer of Beatrice seems to display some first hand knowledge of Bert Weston’s business so it is possible that ERB and family visited Weston and Beatrice on the way back from California.  In the only letter in the Weston correspondence near the 1914 date, that of June 14, ERB does not allude to any such visit which may or may not mean anything.

The Cave Man then was written first of the sequels as was The Cave Girl of the original stories.  There are very significant elements to the story.  ERB would later use the Nadara as the White Goddess in Tarzan And The Leopard Men.  That in turn links Nadara to La and thence to Florence.  In this story Nadara has been captured by some aborigines and made their goddess as will be Kali Bwana.  Just as Nadara was wearing the Panther pelt so Kali Bwana would be associated with the Leopard as goddess of the Leopard Men.  So both women are invested with ERB’s symbol of female sexuality.

Just as the long temple here was on a river so would be the Leopard temple.  Waldo as Thandar uses the roof as does Tarzan.  ERB thus duplicates the story.  As Florence entered his life he began to associate her with this early dream of Nadara as well as her successor, La.  Signficantly La makes her last appearance in 1930s Tarzan The Invincible transformed to reappear immediately as Kali Bwana of Leopard Men.  That would indicate that by 1930 ERB had decided to leave Emma for Florence.

Another interesting twist is the similarity of Nadara and the temple to those of Trader Horn.  We know that Trader Horn read Burroughs so it is probable that he somehow picked up a copy of the magazine version of Cave Man gestating the story for a decade or so when it came out of his head in 1927.  Thus the close association of Burroughs and Horn before and after the publication of the latter’s story.  Keeps getting more and more interesting, doesn’t it?

A second major issue seems to be ERB trying to reconcile himself and his parents.  The second half of the Cave Man is very concerned with portraying Thandar/ERB’s father as a fine old man in contrast to the crazy deaf mute of Lad And The Lion.  In this story the father figure is sympathetic while the mother figure is more harsh.  She does become reconciled to Nadara in the end when she learns the girl is a French Princess.  French again.  One wonders if ERB’s mother was opposed to his marrying Emma.

Nadara herself who waffles between a representation of Emma/Jane and La in the Cave Girl begins Cave Man as more Ema but becomes morel like La/Kali Bwana as the story progresses ending strongly as the latter which would indicate that ERB already preferred his dream Golden Girl to Emma.  He finally settled for the rather commonplace Florence as his version of the Wild Thing.

The story opens with the usual adventures.  Getting Nadar back to her people it is necessary to kill King Big Fist to keep her.  Thus we have a series of male images that reflect ERB’s conflict with Frank Martin.

Big Fist dead the people appoint Tandar/Waldo as their king.  Thandar is in the process of converting the tribe to American Democracy when the earth quake strikes.  In addition to head bashing one is astonished at the role earthquakes play in these early stories along with memory loss.

In this one Thandar/Waldo is creating a new society somewhat in imitation of the bizarre improvements Jules Verne made to his Mysterious Island when the earthquake strikes ending Thandar’s experiment.

The earthquake separates him from Nadara who is then pursued by another neanderthal type; perhaps this is a varation on the theme of ERB’s ccontest with marank Martin for Emma’s hand.

In a bizarre episode Thandar puts to sea in a bobbing strange little boat finally falling in with Pirates.  From then on the story resembles Pirate Blood.  Pirate Blood appeared at the same time as his relationship with Florence developed so the two are proable related to his Anima fantasies.

All comes out right in the end as the Pirates restore the belongings of Waldo’s father and mother whose yacht they had captured.  Thandar rescues Nadara, all are reunited and Thandar/Waldo and Nadara are able to consummate their natural union with the marriage rites of civilization.  An odd little story overall.

ERB next turned to the sequel of The Eternal Lover, Sweethearts Primeval.  I just like this story.  Nu and Victoria return to the Niocene.  ERB missed some opportunities here.  While Nu left the Niocene to go to the present Nat-ul never did.  So when Victoria made her first trip to the Niocene both she and Nat-Ul should have been there.  It would have been well if ERB had explained how their two being meshed after the munerous rebirths of Nat-Ul that produced Victoria.

In this story Nat-Ul who is a variation of La, and Nu become separated.  The story is their attempt to reunite.  Once again a character who may represent Frank Martin attempts to abduct Nat-Ul but she escapes him to fall into the clutches of another cave man only to escape finding her way to a small island.

The imagery is quite wonderful.  Burroughs at his best.  The scenery is quite reminiscent of Pellucidar with its coasts and islands.  The pirate theme is also prominent in the Pellucidar stories of this time.

Nat-Ul manages to be abducted a number of times escaping each time.

Nu is hampered in his search for Nat-Ul by the appearance of a woman named Gron the wife of Tur of the Boat People.  She attches herself to Num who has a difficult time getting rid of her.  In the end Nu goes off in seach of the tiger OO this time dying while Victoria/Nat-Ul returns to the present leaving a hole in Space and Time.

In the end we learn that the whole story of Nu took place in the three mintues Victoria was unconcious.

Burroughs then turned to the sequel of The Mad King.  The reversal in sequence of The Mad King and The Eternal Lover was necessitated by the fact that after the first part of The Mad King Barney had gone to Africa so that it was now necessary to get him back to Lutha.

Thus the Mad King and The Eternal Lover are actually one novel of the History of Barney Custer.  The two books could be combined and titled something like The Adventures Of Barney Custer in Lutha and Africa.

The proper way to read the two books then is Part I of The Mad King, both parts of The Eternal Lover and then the sequel to The Mad King.

After losing Emma in Mad King Part I, Barney goes to Africa to ‘forget’ along with Butzow.  Leaving Africa we next find him and Butzow in Beatrice, Nebraska visiting Bert and Margaret and their grain mill.

If Peter of Bletz had lost rack of Barney in Africa he relocates him in Beatrice (I am informed that Beatrice if pronounced Be-at-trice).  After a failed murder attempt by Peter’s henchman Maenck Barney and Butzow return to Lutha.

As the story was written after the beginning of the Great War Austria is now attempting to annex Lutha.  Apparently ERB was opposed to Austria as he sides with the Serbs.

Having been unable to forget Emma in Africa Barney now attempts to win her hand from King Leopold.

Barney and Leopold are yet another variation on The Prince And The Pauper then.  Barney is captured trying to enter Lutha and put before a firing squad.  Miraculously escaping death he escapes the Austrians by a direct borrowing of Jean Valjean’s escape through the sewers of Paris.

He is temporarily reunited with Emma but then captured by Maenck.  Taken to Leopold he is sentenced to death but contrives to escape by exchanging identities with Leopold.  In the guise of Leopold Barney manages to save Lutha from the Austrians.  He dressed in Royal and Leopold dressed in rages the two are impossible to tell apart which replicates Twain’s story.

Barney is more seriously injured than Leiop[old so more vulnerable  and also stupidly trusting.  It should be clear that Barney and Leopold are doppelgangers of ERB.  The crux of the problme here is the struggle for Emma.  She had been promised in marriage to Leopold so that she is unwilling to disengage fromt he agreement without Leopold’s consent.

ERB writes this remarkable passage about his tow identities, the one the loser of yesteryear, Leopold, and the other the success of his present, Barney.


‘What do you intend doing with me?”  (Leopold) said.  “Are you going to keep your word and return my identity?”

“I have promised,” replied Barney, “and what I promise I always perform.”

“Then exchange clothing with me at once,” cried the king, half rising from his cot.

‘Not so fast, my friend,” replied the American.  “There are a few trifling details to be arranged before we resume our proper personalities.”


One of the trifling details is the release of Emma from her obligation to Leopold.  Barney extorts the letter releasing the king placing it under his pillow.  Exhausted from his wound he then falls asleep.  Not so tired Leopold waits until Barney is asleep than recovers his clothes takes back the letter and leaves Barney to his fate.

Up to this point in 1913-14’s output ERB has been struggling to make amends with for his dismal performance in the first thirteen yers of marriage and regain her confidence.  Thus Leopold represents the old ERB and Barney the new.  As Emma has been married to ERB and is familiar with his loser persona it is difficult for her to transit from Leopold to Barney in her affections.  As they are so similar in appearance she had difficulty telling them apart.  This has been ERB;s dilemma for the last year and a half, convincing Emma that he is trustworthy and will continue to be a good provider.

ERB has confidence in his ability to continue his writing and finanical success but his future was not so clear to Emma as he continued his wastrel ways.  As she could not share his optimism she continued to be wary refusing to accord him the trust and actually the respect he desired.

Leopold in possession of the letter identifying him as Barney races to Lustadt presumably with the intent to present Emma with the letter identifying him as Barney, the man she really wants, the marrying her quickly under the false pretense thus foiling Barney.

His own plan is foiled when upon arriving at the castle in Lustadt he is shot dead by Maenck who mistakes him for Barney .  Barney then shows up claiming the hand of Emma.

He is then proclaimed king.  Emma says to him:


“There is no other way, my lord King,” she said with grave dignity.  “With her blood your mother requeated you a duty which you may not shirk.  It is not for you or me to choose.  God chose for you when you were born.”


Thus with the line:  God chose for out ERB unites the stories of Little Lord Fauntleroy and The Prince And The Pauper.  The Little Prince of ERB’s early years returns to his God appointed place.  He and Emma are united.

One believes that the story and its ending was intended for Emma to observe ahd heed.  Apparently she didn’t because in the next Tarzan story, Jewels Of Opar of 1915, Tarzan and La flirt again.

Anyway The Mad King sequel rounds out the stories of 1913 bringing Burroughs’ springtime to an end.  The tragedy is that Emma couldn’t foresee that ERB had tapped into the Mother Lode.  No matter how improvident ERB would continute to be the money would always be there to continue their new life style.  Perhaps if she had surrendered to fate and Made ERB her king in fact both she and La would have been united in one figure.

It seems that the Cave Girl, The Eternal Lover and The Mad King explored ERB’s relationship with Emma fromt he beginning to the point aht ERB was minded to replace her with an ideal woman.

The notion would develop in his mind until in 1927 he actually did so.

The three sequels ended the quest of his Springtime.  His youthful enthusiasm was exhausted.  From this point on he would compose more formal novels searching for story lines.

Personally I find his post 1914 to 1920 work some of his best.   The two sequels to The Mucker yet to come are outstanding.

Female problems continued to dominate his work.  Then in 1921 he read a work on male-female relations by E.M. Hull that had a profound effect on him.  that was the novel of The Sheik.  I would like to do a review of that next before I return to the Tarzan series.

Springtime For Edgar Rice Burroughs

Part VI

Working Around The Blues


R.E. Prindle


     Nineteen-fourteen dawned with ERB trying to work around his problems.  As unbelievable as it may seem he wrote three stories in the first quarter of that year- The Beasts Of Tarzan, The Lad And The Lion and The Girl From Farris’s.

     Beasts probably relates to his continuing problems with Emma.  Quite probably the wishes expressed in Nu Of The Niocene remained unfulfilled as Tarzan and Jane or ERB and Emma become estranged or separated in Beasts.  The separation is reminiscent of the separation in Tarzan The Untamed, Tarzan The Terrible and Tarzan And The Golden Lion.  Obviously something is going on in the marriage but apart from inferences in the novel we can’t be clear as to what.  Suffice it to say the couple remains together.

     Then in February ERB began what must have been a painful book for him to write.  He began the book on 2/12/14 almost exactly one year after his father died.  George T.  passed away on 2/15/13.  ERB had had a year to mull over his dad’s dieing and Lad is the result.

     George T.  appears to have been a difficult father for his sons, all of them not just ERB.  Except for ERB slipping the noose by becoming a writer none of the Burroughs Boys would have been a success in life by business standards.

     The hangman’s noose is a minor theme in the stories of the teens appearing most significantly in Bridge And The Oskaloosa Kid.  The noose also make an appearance on the 100th anniversary of George T.’s birth in 1933’s Tarzan And The Lion Man.  While the noose was intended for Burroughs alter egos in the teens in Lion Man the situation is reversed when Tarzan/ERB places a noose around the neck of God/George T.  Perhaps the strange piebald appearance of God reflects ERB’s love/hate relationship with his father.

     Little study of George T. Burroughs has been done.  But if we postulate the burning of his distillery as the central fact of his later life from which he never recovered but edged slowly downhill then the burning of God’s castle may possibly represent the burning of the distillery.

     It is possible that the fire changed the personality of George T.  He may have been one man before the fire and another after.  It is significant that God/George T. is associated with cannibalism.  Thus the theme of cannibalism that looms large in the corpus may be associated with ERB’s relationship with his father.  Thus the noose and cannibalism would be symbols of ERB’s treatment by his father.

     In Lad his father surrogate is a deaf mute crazy old coot who torments the Lad and his Anima every day of their lives.  I am not clear on ERB’s relationship with his mother but let us compare a passage from Howard Pyle’s story of King Arther from Volume II The Story Of The Champions Of The Round Table which it is very probable Burroughs read and was influenced by:


     So she (Percival’s mother) kept Percival always with her and in ignorance of all that concerned the world of knighthood.  And though Percival waxed great of body and was beautiful and noble of countenance  yet he dwelt there among those mountains knowing no more of the world that lay beyond that place in which he dwelt and the outer world, then would a little innocent child.  Nor did he ever see anyone from the outside world, saving only an old man who was a deaf mute.


     Transfer the above setting to the deck of the derelict, make the old deaf mute vicious and mean and possible substitute the lion for the mother and you have transposed Percival to the Lad And The Lion.

     We don’t have enough information to be certain of the characters of George T. and Mary Evaline.  ERB is reticent about his mother.  Either I’m missing the key or she doesn’t appear in the stories.  Not much has been said of her after her husband’s death in 1913 and her own death in April of 1920 while visiting in Tarzana.  Prior to that she had been visiting her sons spending three months at a time with them.  Whether she had just began this rotation is uncertain but this was the first time she had visited ERB and Emma.

      George T. figures more largely in Burroughs’ writing while always in a love/hate relationship.  I never had a father so I have that blind spot in my education meaning that, perhaps, I may not be the best judge of the father-son relationship.  My evaluation of George T. is that he wished to maintain a dominant role over his sons.  Perhaps, like many fathers, he was fearful that as his powers waned theirs would wax and they would become more powerful than he.  Something along the lines of the Greek god Cronus who, having been warned that one of his offspring would replace him swallowed them whole as they were born.  A stone was offered Cronus in place of his youngest son, Zeus, who did grow up to replace him.

     It is interesting that George T.’s youngest son, ERB, was able to escape his meshes just as the father died.

     The letters of the Burroughs Boys – George and Harry- from Yale indicate that while their father supported them he kept them on a short leash.  It is true that they began college after the distillery fire so that he may have been more liberally handed before the fire so as to bind the Boys to him but we won’t know.

     Having finished Yale as graduates of the Sheffield Scientific School they returned home to take up roles in the battery business that succeeded the distillery.  They were only able to escape their father’s domination when Harry became ill from battery fumes requiring his living in the dry climate of the West.  George begged to follow him and was so allowed.

     George T. didn’t own the battery business outright in its first years.  It would be nice to know something about his business associates in that business.

     I have already detailed the difficulties he placed in ERB’s life that were detrimental to the formation of the lad’s character.

     And then we have Herb Weston’s characterization of George T. as a stern man of the old school who he yes, sirred and no, sirred and got along with him famously.

     It is not impossible that John Carter is the idealized character of ERB’s father.  Carter’s own role in the Mars series does not disappear after 1913’s Warlord Of Mars but his role is greatly curtailed.  A possibility.

     I think it is a near certainty that the deaf mute old coot of the derelict is the negative father.  In Lad he doesn’t die naturally but is killed by the Lion who rips his face off.  This must be an affect of his father’s death as after the Lion kills him the Lad and the Lion continue to drift along for several months before the ship gently beaches itself, the tide goes out and the two walk ashore.  Then, just as Percival saw the knights, being drawn into the outside world, the Lad sees the Arab ‘knights’ being also drawn into the outside world.  He experiments with the burnoose just as Percival experimented with the armor.

     Thus a year after his father’s death Burroughs attempts to escape from the ‘crazy old coots’ shadow.

     That done, ERB then turns to a story begun the previous May to finish it.  The long period of incubation indicates the difficulty he had in getting the story out.  The Girl From Farris’s tells of the period from his bashing in 1899 to his return from Idaho in 1904.

     It is a difficult story vis-a-vis Emma.  ERB places his heroine in a brothel in Chicago.  Harris’s, the original location, was actually a famous brothel; Harris himself being a noteworthy figure which is probably why the name was changed to Farris’s.

     The woman escapes from the brothel.  After a series of adventures in Chicago she leaves for Idaho where she meets the hero Ogden Secor again who had aided her back home.

     Secor is in a desperate psychological state and that is probably an accurate description of ERB’s state of mind during those few years.

     The woman is identified and taken back to Chicago where after a bit of legal hoopla she is exonerated, we learn that she was never a prostitute and she and Secor are married.  After this number of terrible years something good happens to Secor and, one assumes Burroughs, the ray of light breaking through the clouds.

     At this point in March, nearly April, of 1914 ERB and the family return to Chicago, after once again auctioning off their belongings as they had done in Salt Lake City before returning to Chicago in 1904.  This has to signify in Burroughs’ mind that he had reversed his shameful performance of ten years earlier.  He undoubtedly expected Emma to also accept 1913-14 as a redemption of 1903-04.  Just as he had gambled and lost in ’03, in 1913-14 he had gambled and won.

     Even though according to him he was living hand to mouth he ordered a new automobile (not a used Velie) for delivery upon his arrival back in Chicago.  If the car was Burroughs’ Hudson then that would indicate that he had visited Baum in Hollywood as Baum drove a Hudson.  ERB would want to emulate his hero.  Then within a month or two the Burroughs left their old address in Chicago to move into the fancier suberb of Oak Park.  Perhaps this move was made possible by the expected book royalties.  Thus Burroughs continued to spend in anticipation of income rather than from money in his pocket.  So Burroughs kept his hopes and dreams alive.

     The springtime of ERB thus ended.  The incredible psychological release of success was now to be tempered by new realities.  The act of writing would now become a full time job.  From 1911 to 1913 he wrote from hopes and dreams.  Now he would have to settle down to turning out two or three books a year for magazine sales plus book royalties and newspaper royalties soon to be joined by movie revenues.  ERB had won the gamble of quitting his day job.  The Roving Gambler could now turn to the pleasures of life on the yacht.

     But first there was the unfinished business of the three stories- The Mad King, The Cave Girl and The Eternal Lover- to be taken care of.

     Properly belonging to 1913 the three sequels would take up a large block of time in 1914 which makes that year a transition year.

     I will review the stories in the sequence in which they were written:  The Cave Man July-August of 1914, The Eternal Lover, August and September and The Mad King, September-October.


Part VII

The Denouements.


Springtime For Edgar Rice Burroughs

Part 5


R.E. Prindle


     In this year of excitement for Burroughs as his success becomes established and he tries to work out his psycho-sexual conflicts it is interesting to follow the development of both.

     Three of his stories expecially concerned with his sexual conflicts were followed by sequels relating to their development.  The first The Cave Girl finished in March as a sort of sequel was followed by the Mad King of October-November and then in November-December of 1913 by The Eternal Lover.  After a fashion these novels may be considered a trilogy.

     Writing approximately a year later – 16 months for Cave Girl, a year for Mad King and eight months for The Eternal Lover- the three sequels rapidly followed each other.  The Cave Man was writtin in July-August of 1914, Sweetheart Primeval (The Eternal Lover) in August-September and Barney Custer of Beatrice (The Mad King) from September to November.  The diptyches were then published as single volumes.  They have been disconcertedly packaged as single stories when they should be considered as different stories with different approaches to the same problem.  Unless I am mistaken with the sequel to the Mad King Emma is written out of the story.

     Following Cave Girl in early 1913 Burroughs wrote The Monster Men in April-May that probably has little to do with his psycho-sexual problems but relates to his long admiration of Frankenstein and probably the more recent H.G. Wells’ novel The Island Of Dr. Moreau.  There will be a number of related stories along this line if not sequels.

     The Warlord of Mars followed in June and July.  John Carter probably relateing to Burroughs’ emasculation concerns thus having little or nothing to do with Emma.  August to October’s The Mucker is a very important book, the first of what I consider a quartet exploring Burroughs psycho-sexual needs.  In The Mucker a low brow hoodlum from Chicago is thrown together with a New York society girl.  The novel brings together the theme of yachts, shipwrecks, cannibalism and the stranding on a South Seas island.

     In this case the low brow realizes that he won’t make it in a high brow world so he renounces his claim on the society woman.

     The first sequel to the Mucker gestated for three years until 1916’s Out There Somewhere (The Return Of The Mucker).  In this novel Burroughs splits his personality into Bily Byrne- the Mucker- and the gentleman hobo, Bridge.  Thus by 1916 it apears that Burroughs sees himself as more polished than his Mucker creation.  Bridge is a voluntary exile from a wealthy Virginia family so that he unites The Prince And The Pauper in his identity while reversing the order of Little Lord Fauntleroy.  It will be noticed however that Bridge combines all three of Burroughs’ most favorite books.

     In the denouement Burroughs gives the society girl to the Mucker while Bridge goes off in search of the ideal ‘mate’ who is Out There Somewhere.

     The second sequel, Bridge And The Oskaloosa Kid (The Oakdale Affair), of 1917 continues the story of Bridge in, really, a very good story, in which at the end Bridge is revealed as not a bum, assuming his true identity as a Virginia gentleman.  The Pauper become the Prince, Fauntlroy comes into his own.

     The last of the quartet is 1924’s Marcia Of The Doorstep in which in a wholly fictitious way Burroughs’ Anima and Animus are united in the characters of Chase III and Marcia.  This novel appears to conclude this particular exploration that has lasted for eleven years.

     The Mucker was followed by October-November’s The Mad King.  The Mucker was written in both Chicago and San Diego while the Mad King was written wholly in San Diego.

     The Mad King returns to the theme of the Cave Girl of ERB’s relationship to Emma.  He even names the lead female Emma.  It seems possible that the uprooting from Chicago with all their possessions had an unsettling effect on Emma so that ERB’s difficulties with her probably become more pronounced.  Certainly her discomfort is understandable but the Mad King may have determined her fate.

     The title The Mad King is probably significant in this context.  Once again Burroughs creates doppelgangers so that both characters are split from his own personality.  Once again we have The Prince And The Pauper theme of an interchange of roles.  At this stage ERB may have felt like a king but realized he was acting in a mad way.

     The Mad King is followed immediately in November-December actually a matter of only twenty days by The Eternal Lover-  Nu Of The Niocene.  The two stories must be closely related in Burroughs’ mind.  Indeed the sequel to Nu Of The Niocene, Sweetheart Primeval includes several characters from The Mad King.  So one would have to ask how does Barney Custer’s sister Victoria relate to Emma.

     I intend to devote a few pages to the The Eternal Lover which I consider perhaps the most imaginative and interesting of Burroughs’ stories.  The inspiration for the story can be related to two of Burroughs significant influences, Rider Haggard and Rudyard Kipling.  Among others of Haggard’s work She stands out most prominently while Kpling’s very interesting ‘The Finest Story In The World’ bears directly on the theme of reincarnation and close encounters in time.

     From further reading that I am doing all the time it is also becoming apparent that Burroughs is part of a very large intellectual and literary background activity.  In reading a volume: H.G. Wells’ Literary Criticism I came across this entry:  (p. 62, note 2.)

     Quote:  At the end of (Grant) Allen’s novel, Frida Monteith, now a Liberated Woman, hoping that suicide will enable her to join her lover in the twenty-fifth century, ‘walked on by herself…across the open moor and purple heath, towards black despair and the trout-ponds of Broughton.’


     I don’t suggest that ERB read Grant Allen’s novel but as ERB himself said ‘plots are in the air.’  So that ERB is working within an intellectual milieu.  His notion of time travel in 1913 is not unreminiscent of Mark Twain’s posthumous 1916 novel Operator 44.  While I would not suggest that Twain received any inspiration from Burroughs certainly conceptions of time and time travel were ‘in the air.’  I merely suggest that there is a milieu from which all are drawing inspiration.   Burroughs also seems to have in mind H.G. Wells’ When The Sleeper Wakes although he claimed virtually to have never heard of ‘Mr. Wells.’  In Wells’ story his hero had fallen asleep awaking several centuries in the future to find his investments had accrued making him the richest man in the world, the object of a religious cult and an impediment to its continuation.

     In The Eternal Lover Nu has been asleep for a hundred thousand years.  Burroughs’ title for Chap. III is ‘Nu The Sleeper Awakes.’  No chance of a coincidence.  Instead of monetary rewards Nu will find that which makes life worthwhile- the perfect mate he had left behind in the Niocene.  Burroughs make an unbelievably subtle comment on Wells.  Wells did read Burroughs but whether he caught this is open to conjecture at this time.

     In fact, Burroughs setting up Nu’s return to consciousness and his relationship to Victoria, Barney’s sister, is extremely well handled by ERB.  I doubt if there is anything in genre literature that surpasses it.

     Victoria and Barney have just passed the rock structure within which Nu lies sleeping.  The Once And Future King motif is also suggested here as well as possibly Vivien’s enchantment of Merlin.

     Speaking of her sensations she says to Barney:  p. 14


     “Barney, there is something about these hills back there that fills me with the strongest sensation of terror imaginable.  Today I passed an outcropping of volcanic rock that gave evidence of a frightful convulsion of nature is some bygone age.  At sight of it I commenced to tremble from head to foot, a cold perspiration breaking out all  over me.  But that part is not so strange- you know I have always been subject to these same silly attacks of unreasoning terror at the sight of any evidence of the mighty forces that have wrought changes in the earth’s crust, or the slightest tremor of an earthquake; but today the feeling of unalterable loss which overwhelmed me was almost unbearable- it is though one whom I loved above all others had been taken from me.’ 

     “And yet,” she continued, “through all my inexplicable sorrow there shone a ray of brilliant hope as remarkable as the deeper and depressing emotion which still stirred me.”


     That sets the premonition of what is coming as discreetly as anything I’ve read.  The psychology of Victoria’s emotions is as succinctly and accurately expressed as possible.  It is very difficult to imagine the scene bettered by any writer.  Haggard and Kipling who may have recognized their own work as a source of inspiration must have shook their heads in awe.

     Barney is sympathetic:  p. 16


     “Oh, Barney.” she cried, “You are such a dear never to have laughed at my silly dreams.  I’m sure I should go quite mad did I not have you in whom to confide; but lately I have hesitated to speak of it even to you- he has been coming so often!  Every night since we first hunted in the vicinity of the hills I have walked hand in hand with him beneath a great equatorial moon beside a restless sea, and more clearly than ever in the past have I seen his form and features.  He is very handsome, Barney, and very tall and strong, and clean limbed- I wish that I might meet such a man in real life.  I know it is ridiculous, but I can never love any of the pusillanimous weaklings who are forever falling in love with me- not after having walked hand in hand with such as he and read the love in his clear eyes.  And yet, Barney, I am afraid of him.  Is it not odd?”


     So in a few pages Burroughs has created a mystery of instense interest that will be explained in the next few pages to stunning effect, certainly in 1913 if not today.  Since 1913 the topic has been explared in a number of ways not least of which was the very interesting movie Somewhere In Time.

     Victoria is afraid of earthquakes.  As might be expected a major quake hits.  The rock facing of the cave in which Nu has been sleeping for the last hundred thousand years sheers away releasing the gas and allowing fresh air to awaken the sleeper, much as in H.G. Wells excellent story.

     Burroughs’ treatment of Nu’s experiencing the new world is exceedingly well done.  Through a series of well wrought adventures Nu and Victoria/Nat-Ul are reunited then split asunder again as the Arabs capture Victoria carrying her to the well known fate worse than death in the hands of a Northern Sheik.

     Barney and his crew find Nu taking him back to Tarzan’s house.  Here Burroughs tells a story before Nu leaves to recover Natu-Ul that seems strange.

     The story is told by an unnamed narrator who happens to be a guest of Lord Greystoke at the time.

     As the whole scenario is taking place in the mind of Edgar Rice Burroughs we may be forgiven for assuming that the anonymous I is he.

     ERB has a strange attitude toward his creation Tarzan here, almost demeaning.  When Nu escapes with the wolf hound Greystoke just off handedly asserts that Nu had killed the missing dog.  When this proves wrong ERB allows the others to verbally abuse their host.  Rather strange, I thought.

     It appears that this story that follows Mad King I can be construed as a continuation of that story as when Barney shows up at John Clayton’s ranch, the man formerly known as Tarzan, he is fresh from Lutha and there to forget.  As he lost Emma in Lutha one assumes that she is what he’s trying to forget.

     An American named Curtiss shows up.  Victoria says:


     “Mr. Curtiss!…and Lieutenant Butzow!  Where in the world did you come from?”

     “The world left us,” replied the officer, smiling, “and we have followed her to the wilds of Equatorial Africa.”


     A charming compliment to Victoria.  Indeed, Curtiss is there to propose to her.  Curtiss begins very charming then slowly turns vicious.  Reminds one of Robert Canler or perhaps Frank Martin in real life.   At one point Victoria was about to consent to marry Curtiss (Frank Martin?)  but then demurred.

     But then she made contact with her dream lover, Nu.  the interchange of time sequences is extrememly well handled as Burroughs manages the hundred thousand year gap betwen Nu and Victoria in inventive and satisfying ways.  Once again he has mingled prehistory and the present in what is definitely his most virtuoso performance.  His depiction of Victoria/Nat-Ul’s blending of dream states and waking states is handled flawlessly and convincingly.

     As Curtiss realizes that Nu is  his competitor for Victoria/Nat-Ul he derides Nu calling him a ‘white nigger.’  I found the use of the term strange within the context.

     When Nu had recovered Victoria from the Arabs Curtiss comes upon the two in the jungle unawares.  He is about to shoot Nu in the back (Martin’s arranged bashing of ERB in Toronto?) when the wolf hound who has been protecting Nu and Natu-Ul leaps on him ripping out his throat and chest.

     Burroughs seems to gloat over this gruesome death so that one must ask who Curtiss could represent in Burroughs’ real life.

     That means, who are Nu and Nat-Ul?

     Once again we have to go back to the period 1896-1900 and the subsequent years.  It seems likely that Curtiss must represent Frank Martin who courted Emma during those crucial four years in ERB’s life.  In ERB/Nu’s absence Curtiss/Martin courted Emma/Victoria/Nat-ul.  We may assume that Emma was about to say yes to Martin/Curtiss’ proposal when Burroughs/Nu returned from the Niocene/Idaho thus foiling Curtiss/Martin’s hopes.

     Now, when Nu rescued Victoria/Nat-Ul from the lion Curtiss shot him in the dark creasing his skull.  This is a theme seldom or never absent from any of Burroughs’ books, therefore  it follows that as Martin was responsible for Burroughs’ bashing in Toronto that Martin/Curtiss are the same.

     Curtiss becomes abusive of Nu after he recovers from the effects of the near miss revealing his ‘true’ or mean side.  So Martin may have, or probably did, become abusive of ERB upon their return from Toronto.  It is not to be believed that he just disappeared from the couple’s life without some demonstration of anger.  As we know that Martin paid close attention to Burroughs and Emma from 1900 to at least the divorce when he sent his friend Butzow/Patchin to LA to talk to Burroughs it is very likely that he interfered in their marriage through the whole Chicago period.  This would explain the gruesomeness of Curtiss/Martins’ killing and ERB’s seeming to revel in it.  So the whole Narrator, Barney Custer, Lord Greystoke and Curtiss story is somehow related.  The missing piece of the puzzle is Burroughs’ seeming hostility to Tarzan/Greystoke.  I haven’t got that yet.

     Having rescued Victoria/Nat-Ul from the Arab abductor in one of the most satisfying fight sequences in the corpus Nu tries to claim Nat-ul as his own.  He is still confused as to how Victoria can be of two minds as both Victoria and Nat-ul.  Before we consider Burroughs’ masterful handling of the fictional situation let us consider the relation of the sequence to Burroughs’ and Emma’s real life situation.  This story was written in San Diego not Chicago.

     The prehisoric aspect of the story may represent the early days of their marriage before ERB lost Emma’s trust in Idaho.  Thus Victoria/Emma remembers the old days but she isn’t necessarily willing as yet to replace her trust in ERB.  Nu/ERB having now the two tusks of Oo the saber toothed tiger on him as proof of his devotion, possibly once again representing  his John Carter and Tarzan successes, insists that Victoria/Emma return to the past with him.  i.e. the early days of the marriage.  In other words Burroughs wants to start all over again.  The name Nu- New- may mean that ERB thinks himself a new man but the same old guy he used to be. 

My hair is still curly,

My eyes are still blue,

Why don’t you love me

Like you used to do.

Hank Williams

As this half of the story ends somewhat in a quandary regarding the relationship, Victoria nevertheless agrees to return to the past with Nu.

     As ERB tells the story in the novel he creates a most extraordinary scene.


     “You do not love me Nat-Ul?”  He asked.  “Have the strangers turned you against me?  What one of them could have fetched you the head of Oo, the man hunter?  See!”  He tapped the two great tusks that hung from his loin cloth.  “Nu slew the mightest of beasts for his Nat-ul- the head is buried in the cave of Oo- yet now I come to take you as my mate I see fear in your eyes and something else which never was there before.  What is it Natu-ul- have the strangers stolen your love from Nu?

     The man spoke in a tongue so ancient that in all the world there lived no man who spoke or knew a word of it, yet to Victoria Custer it was as intelligible as her own English, nor did it seem strange to her that she answered Nu in his own language.

     “My heart tells me that I am yours, Nu,” she said, “but my judgement  and training warn me against the step that my heart prompts.  I love you; but I could not be happy to wander, half naked through the jungle for the balance of my life, and if I go with you now, even for a day, I may never return to my people.  Nor would you be happy in the life that I lead- it would stifle and kill you.  I think I see now something of the miracle that has overwhelmed us.  To you it has been but a few days since you left your Nat-ul to hunt down the ferocious Oo; but in reality countless ages have rolled by.  By some strange freak of fate you have remained unchanged during all these ages until now you step forth from your long sleep an unspoiled cave man of the stone age into the midst of the twentieth century, while I doubtless, have been born and reborn a thousand times, merging form one incarnation to another until in this we are again united.  Had you, too, died and been born again during all  these weary years no gap of ages would intervene between us now and we should meet again upon a common footing as do other souls, and mate and we to be born again to a new mating and new life with its inevitable death- you have refused to die and now that we meet again at least a hundred thousand years lie between us- an unbridgeable gulf across which I may not return and over which you may not come other than by the same route I have followed- through death and new life thereafter.”


     Wow!  I don’t know that that can be topped in fantasy or other fiction.  And there are people who say that Burroughs has no occult background.  The passage fairly drips of Haggard and Kipling.  Novels and stories that he’d read perhaps twenty years or more before had been working away in his mind to surface in this magnificent speech and wonderful story.

     The unbridgeable gulf clearly refers to Haggard’s Allan Quatermain.  The influence of the story of She is unmistakeable while Kipling’s The Finest Story In The World is clear.  yet Burroughs has built an entirely new edifice that rises magnificently above the old foundations.

     Haggard and Kipling read the story too, I’m sure with their mouths hanging open.  It inspired them four years later to collaborate on Haggard’s own Love Eternal.  While inspired by his masters Burroughs also inspired them.  It’s a pity they didn’t all three sit down to smoke a cigar and have a brandy together.

     That this story has gone unrecognized seems incredible.  With this half of the story ERB capped his incredible year of 1913.

     The tone of the corpus changes after Nu of the Niocene.


      As he worked his stories were being published elsewhere.  It would not be before mid 1914 that Tarzan Of The Apes would see book form but perhaps more importantly his work was recognized and serialized in the newspapers.  We have to thank Bibliophile Robert R. Barrett for collating the newspaper publications that George McWhorter published in the Winter 2005 NS #61 of the BB.  My information is gratis Mr. Barrett’s collation.

     The New York Evening World kicked off Burroughs career when it serialized Tarzan Of The Apes beginning in January of 1913.  The paper also published many subsequent novels.  Following the Evening World Tarzan Of The Apes was published by the Los Angeles Record, Chicago Record, the Bowman ND Citizen.

     The Return Of Tarzan was syndicated by the Scripp’s Howard papers and The Cave Girl by the NY Evening World.  After 1913-14 the number of papers publishing Tarzan Of The Apes increased greatly so by the time the book was published in June of 1914 Tarzan was much more widely disseminated than the mere publication in the All Story Magazine would warrant.

     Burroughs’ book publishing history is difficult to understand.  the reports of untold millions of copies cannot be substantiated.  Indeed it appears that in 1914 fewer than fifteen thousand copies were sold.  There is no record that his publishers, McClurg’s even printed the full fifteen thousand copes of the contract.  When they leased the reprint rights to A.L.Burt in 1915 there had been no record of sales success.  Indeed Burt would only take the title if McClurg’s would indemnify them for the first twenty thousand copies if unsold.

     The cheap edition did well well but Burt reported less than seven hundred thousand copies ehen they turned the rights over to Grossett & Dunlap.  So Burroughs while having a success never realized the substantial royalties on which he had been counting and would have bought him his yacht.

     The springtime of ERB was nearly over.  By the time he wrote the sequels to The Mad King, Cave Girl and The Eternal Lover in 1914 he was already entering Summer.

     Let us now examine the year 1914.

 End Of Part V




Springtime For Edgar Rice Burroughs


R.E. Prindle


How Waldo Became A Man


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

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

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

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

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

page 1.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     In reply to Rosenberger Weston says:


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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


     And so Waldo decides to remain in the stone age.

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

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

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

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

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

End Of Part 4c.


Springtime For Edgar Rice Burroughs


In The Beginning:

The Renascent Burroughs


         The psychological release Burroughs experienced when he began to realize the potential he had always felt must have been especially gratifying.  In all likelihood he believed he was beginning a new life, born again, as it were.  It wouldn’t have been unusual in this circumstance that he wished to dissociate himself from his entire past of failure.

     For this reason it is possible that California loomed as the destination in which his new life would unfold.  Making the change was difficult and would take him six years to consummate.  One asks, why California?  Why not Florida, for instance.  I think the answer may be in his three most favorite novels:  Mark Twain’s Prince And The Pauper, Little Lord Fauntleroy and Owen Wister’s The Virginian.  Wister posits the West as a place of redemption and fulfillment while Burroughs youthful visit to Idaho may have had that effect on him.  Hence Waldo the consumptive lands on an island as primitive as Idaho was to Chicago and becomes a man.  So Burroughs may have viewed his visits in the West.

     In the Prince And The Pauper a Prince becomes a Pauper and a Pauper becomes a Prince.  In Fauntleroy the unknown princeling discovered his true identity thus exchanging the role of Pauper for a Prince while his alter ego the pauper Dick The Shoeshine Boy is transformed as well  and through luck and pluck assumes a role of success in California as a rancher at the end of the story.

     The Burroughs born a princeling then disinherited to a Pauper reassumed his role as a Prince but he had been inefaceably declassed hence though now a Prince as Fauntleroy he retains the psychology of the declasse as in the character of Dick The Shoeshine Boy.  Dick at the end of Fautleroy moves to California where he finds work on a rach eventually becoming a success as a rancher himself.

     It seem obvious that burroughs considered Little Lord Fauntleroy a book of destiny.  Thus California would appear as his destiny.  I believe that the reason for the six year delay in the actual move was necessitated by a need to combine the Fauntleroy and Dick the Shoe Shine Boy or The Prince and the Pauper into one identity.  He had to have enough money to support the appearance of the Prince.  I haven’t figured out why he wanted to raise hogs as yet but when he moved he anticipated only buying 20-40 acres which was well within his means, but when he arrived there Colonel Otis’ magnificent estate presented an opportunity to realize both identities in a property he couldn’t resist although he may have known he was acting in an unwise manner.

     Even then it may have been possible to sustain the property if his economic situation hadn’t come under attack by the Judaeo/Red/Liberal Coalition in the early twenties.

     A second very major p;roblem for him was Emma who now definitely became unwanted baggage.  But, he also had the three children who were also as definitely wanted baggage.  It is possible that for their sake he didn’t abandon Emma until they were grown.

     His Anima ideal was foreshadowed in Dejah Thoris while in Tarzan Of The Apes he creates the stodgy but beautiful Jane Porter as a flesh and blood woman but not an Anima ideal.

     The actual split begins to occur in The Return Of Tarzan when Burroughs bursting with confidence realizes that he is about to realize his visions of self-worth.  At that point the past and all related to it becomes hateful to him.  As might be expected he wanted to put all that behind him.  Thus in creating a land of his fossilized past in Opar he also creates a vision of the ideal woman he would like to have in La of Opar.  In Return the conflict between Jane and La becomes apparent when La is about to sacrifice Jane on the altar of the Flaming God.  That she doesn’t means that Burroughs has elected to stay with Emma undoubtedly for the children’s sake.

     But he begins to toy with ideal images in resolution of his sexual dilemma.  Another woman becomes a possiblity that didn’t exist before.  It would seem apparent that as Burroughs fame grew and he became a desirable sex object to women that opportunities for philandering would present themselves.  At one time I believed for certain that he didn’t.  Now I am less certain but there is nothing to indicate he did.

     Nevertheless he does begin to explore other ideal possibilities.  Nadara of Cave Girl can be seen as one of those explorations.  Having created other possibilities in La of Opar Burroughs begins to develop the idea with the cave girl, Nadara.  She is perhaps the most human of all of Burroughs’ Anima ideals.  She is the daughter of civilized French aristocrats raised by a caveman to be a primitive woman.  Thus she has none of the civilized inhibitions especially toward sex.  Burroughs will now begin a series of novels concerning the sexual relationship well in advance of what he may have heard about Freud.

     Once Nadara has accepted Waldo as her mate she is ready to cohabit.  Burroughs seems to be advocating this as a sociological ideal; a revolt against the strict limits of  civilization.  However in a clash of cultures Waldo who is subject to the strict limits of civilization finds it impossible to establish sexual relations unless they have married according to civilized rites and customs.  As  there is no one in this stone age society to perform these rites Waldo keeps putting consummation off until such an opportunity arises, if it ever shall.

     Bearing the psycho-sexual situation in mind an interpretation of The Cave Girl is possible on a number of levels.  The story is set in motion with a variation of what will become the familiar ship wreck motif.  In this case the Prince, Waldo, is washed off the deck of the ship by a huge wave that deposits him  on the strand of a large stone age island in the South Seas.  Thus Waldo has to begin life without any survival skills, born again as it were as a new born babe.  He has become the Pauper.

     At this point it might be best to introduce the major sources for the story that I have found.  As usual there are several.

     And then I received an email a day or so before this writing from Mr. Caz Cazedessus of Pulpdom Magazine.  Having read the first couple sections he pointed out that Mr. J.G. Huckenpohler had written an article in the first Pulpdom issue relating Cave Girl to Zane Grey’s Heritage Of The Desert.  I haven’t read Huck’s essay but I have read The Heritage Of The Desert which I have just reviewed.  I can see a possible line of argument that shows a number of similarities in the plotting of the two novels.

     Heritage was published at some point in 1910 while Cave Girl was written in February-March of 1913.  That does leave a sufficient window for Burroughs to have read Grey’s book but it seems a little light especially as Grey was a newish author at the time without a definite reputation.  However whether or not he may have read the book earlier it is possible that he read the book shortly before writing Cave Girl having elements of his plot suggested to him.

     Thus both Waldo and John Hale, the hero of Heritage, are consumptives or ‘lungers’ as they say Out West.  Waldo is from Boston, Hare from Connecticut.  Hare goes West to Mormon Country to begin his regeneration while Waldo lands on his island.  In both cases a woman is involved and two enemies are overcome by their respective heroes.  So, as I say, I don’t know Huck’s argument but I’m sure it’s a good one.  There are good reasons to believe that the plot line was an influence, an additional influence, on Cave Girl.  Thus Heritage would be another influence on Cave Girl.  OK, Caz?

     As Burroughs was beginning life over there is also a definite influence from the first eleven chapters of Genesis from the Bible which I will make apparent in my essay.

     Another very major influence seems to be the King Arthur mythology.  I will make this apparent as I go along.  While there is no doubt that Burroughs would have been familiar with Genesis it might do to try the root out his possible Arthurian influences.

     While we have at least a portion of Burroughs’ library listed here on ERBzine we should never gorget that while growing up ERB would have had access to the libraries of his brothers as well as that of his father.  George T.’s library would have gone back to the 1840s and probably earlier not including the then English classics such as Milton’s Paradise Lost, Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress et al.

     One imagines that there were Arthurian titles in the collections, at least Mallory’s Arthur.  If the young Burroughs didn’t read the volumes through he would at least have handled them, browsed them and looked at the pictures, if any.  We know his brothers recommended the related Greek mythology to him.

     Certainly the medieval world was more often discussed in papers and magazines then than in our day.  And then Burroughs did like Tennyson having his collected poems in his library.  Thus ERB was likely familiar with the poet’s Idyls Of The King dealing with Arthurian stories.  And those not following Mallory.  Perhaps the most important Arthurian influence was Howard Pyle’s four volume retelling that while similar to Mallory’s differs significantly while Pyle adjusts the story to his own perceptions and moral concepts.

     The reputation of Pyle would have loomed large to ERB.  There is one Pyle title in his library, Stolen Treasure, but Pyle’s reputation as an illustrator would have drawn ERB’s attention to him.  Pyle was the most influential illustrator of his time and perhaps in US history.  His disciples were legion including Burroughs’ own illustrator, St. John.  Pyle founded what is known as the Brandywine school of illustration.

     It should be borne in mind that Burroughs had an aborted career as an illustrator before he began his successful career as writer.  Burroughs was very proud of the time he spent at the Chicago Art Institute.  So it would seem that ERB would have kept up on Pyle, Maxfield Parrish and others.

     Pyle began rewriting the Arthurian story in 1903 completing the last volume in 1910 so Burroughs had plenty of time to ingest and digest the work before he began to egest it.  Nor would Pyle and Tennyson be his only Arthurian influences.

     I didn’t catch this in time to include the idea in my review of The Lad And The Lion but that story seems to be highly influenced by Pyle’s telling of the story of Percival from Pyle’s second volume, The Champions Of The Round Table.  Naturally Burroughs borrows elements rather than the complete story.

     Percival, I follow Pyle, was an orphan living in the forest with his mother far from the haunts of men.  P. 263, prologue to Percival.


     Nor did he ever see anyone from the outside world, saving only an old man who was a deaf mute.


     So Burroughs took the hint of the deaf mute and elaborated the idea.

     The Lad’s entry into the world follows that of Percival.  So also the Lad’s first sight of the desert horsemen replicates Percival’s first view of the ‘angelic’ knights.

     As I did mention in my review there is a similarity between lad’s being named Aziz, translated as Beloved, by Nakhla and Percival’s thinking his name was ‘Darling Boy’ as his mother referred to him.  If this last connection is valid then Burroughs also read some other Arthurian story as Pyle doesn’t tell his version in that way.

     So, as usual, Burroughs mines the literature of the world to tell his story.  Just as I was not aware of the influence of Grey’s Heritage Of The Desert I’m sure there are more I haven’t noticed.  I may even find more as my essay unfolds.

     Across the strand at no great distance is a forest representing the search for self-discovery and realization.  On the mragin of the forest at dusk a figure appears.  As we will learn this is the beautiful Nadara but Waldo in his hyper-fear and cowardice imagines the form to be some kind of monster of which he is terrified.  The monster stands between him and the food and water he needs.  In a metaphoric way then he is between the devil and the deep blue sea.  He cannot go back and he is afraid to go forward. 

     In Burroughs own situation as he is making the fateful decision to quit his day job to devote his life to full time writing the meaning of the metaphor is quite clear.

     There is also a way of looking at the tale as retelling of the Biblical Genesis.  This opening scene may be represented as the Biblical chaos in which nothing is differentiated  with the upper and lower firmaments resting on each other.  Then a divine wind arose which separated the upper and lower firmaments.

     Waldo is a comic figure while the novel itself is intended to be a comic or satiric novel.  Thus Waldo who can stand the tension between the devil and the deep blue sea no more runs howling and screaming into the forest to do or die against the monster.

     The shrieking may be seen as a humorous representation of the divine wind.  Man having been created first as it seems pursues the phantom who turns out to be a woman.  Thus Waldo and Nadara represent Adam and Eve.

      Waldo’s charge into the wood can also be seen as a representation of Burroughs’ decision to become a full time writer.  This must have been as stressful a decision for him as was Waldo’s charge against the demon.  Once through the wood Waldo is presented with a sheer cliff that appears to be inpenetrable.  So, another barrier presents itself. 

     Having traversed the forest that was after all fairly narrow Waldo had seen a woman scrambling up the barrier.  Rather than pursue her directly Waldo reenters the wood to pick fruit and refresh himself.

     This can be seen as Burroughs’ desperate attempt to become a writer.  Another view of the strand and the demon of the forest- between the devil and the deep blue sea- is that Burroughs had to make the desperate attempt to redeem his life by writing.  Thus that original difficult decision  that might possibly be compared to Waldo’s being washed off deck by the wave while now Burroughs is faced with the even more difficult decision of working at it full time.  Thus the charge through the woods might represent his giving up his day job.

     It would be interesting to know at what point in the story’s composition his father died.  What is even more interesting is that his father’s death did not interrupt his writing schedule.   In fact in a year packed with traumatic occurrences nothing did; Burroughs continued to turn out his stories at two month intervals no matter what.  It is true that he had several incomplete stories in this year which means he hadn’t thought the stories through so that it is possible that while he averted severe writer’s block when he reached the end of his chain of thought he just stopped, resuming the story when he had thought it out.

     A prime example would be The Girl From Farris’s that he began about this time finishing it nearly a year later.  The Cave Girl was completed at this point while The Cave Man its other half and sequel was completed the following July and August of 1914.  It is possible Burroughs was trying to double his monetary return but I think it more probable that he was writing so fast with such a tight schedule that he didn’t have time to worry over completion so he just terminated his story at a convenient point and moved on to the next one that was also only half thought out.

     As all this stuff is based on autobiography I am truly astonished that Burroughs was so undisturbed by the happenings in his life that he had so little reaction.  I have read of authors who found writing personal stuff so difficult that they were driven to bed for a week or two at a stretch.  I have never faced a long stretch like that but I have sought refuge in bed for a day or two a couple times.  So Burroughs writing achievement here over 1913, ’14 and ’15 is fairly remarkable.

     At any rate having made the decision to become a full time writer as symbolized by the charge through the wood.  Burroughs if faced with an unforeseen barrier so he goes back to pick fruit.  This could possibly be seen as having written his intial ideas out, that is John Carter and Tarzan, he had to organize his second crop of stories none of which had the impact of Carter or the Jungle God.  Grey’s Heritage may fit in here as Burroughs searching for ideas and plot lines may have the read Grey’s stories at this time or just previously. 

     Led on by the woman Waldo had mistaken for a demon he now faces the new barrier seeking a way through.  He has difficulty finding the path but once on  it he discovers the opening through the wall.  This is a motif Burroughs will use a number of times most notably in The Land That Time Forgot and Tarzan Triumphant, not to mention the entrance to Opar.

     Now, all these openings resemble the birth canal or being born again.  In the instance of The Cave Girl the result of the rebirth is self-evident as well as perhaps Tarzan Triumphant when he is about to leave Emma for Florence.  The Oparian episodes would have to be examined more closely from that point of view especially as the four episodes occur at critical points in Burroughs’ life while involving sexual conflict between himself and Jane/Emma and another woman represented by his Anima ideal La. Thus, in Golden Lion when Tarzan leaves Opar with La to enter the Valley of Diamonds is it possible that he had a dalliance with another woman?    One wonders.

     At any rate Waldo squeezed through the opening to come out on a wonderland on the other side.  There is never a thought of going back.  In fact a cave man places himself between Waldo and the opening driving him forward.  This could correspond to the flaming sword protecting the entrance to the Garden of Eden which would continue the biblical motif.

     At the same time we have a clear reference to Alice In Wonderland or down the rabbit hole.  We know Burroughs was familiar with the two Lewis Carroll stories.

     Yet another barrier presents itself.  Another cliff is before Waldo this one of cave dwellers another favorite motif of Burroughs especially during this period.   Burroughs would have been familiar with actual cliff houses from his sojourn in Arizona with the Army while he would have been fascinated with the replica built for the Columbian Expo of ’93.  At this point God created Woman as Waldo pairs up with nadara.  Thus Waldo’s fears on the strand when he projected the character of a demon on this beautiful and compliant female were totally unjustified.  But if Nadara represents the success that had eluded him for so long then his fears born of hysteria were warranted by his past.  This is a comic novel at least at the beginning when Waldo begins his transition from the skinny, consumptive academic bookworm  to that of a man of Tarzanic proportions.  Thus at this stage of the book Waldo is a bumbling buffoon.

     Burroughs is obviously ridiculing the Boston Transcendalist school of Ralph Waldo Emerson as Waldo’s name merely leaves off the Ralph and adds the ridiculous hyphenated Smith-Jones.  The latter of course has pretensions to nobility but is compounded of the two most plebeian and common English names.  Waldo’s name is as comic as Burroughs could make it.  Worth a laugh or two on its own. 

     He may also be making a snub at his fellow students of Phillips Academy when he went East.  It is well known that Easterners of the time, if not still, deprecated Westerners.  Burroughs would have had to put up with much jesting and ridicule while there so perhaps he is now ridiculing those who ridiculed him.

Also he may be ridiculing his own former self.

     Burroughs is fairly hostile to New England throughout his writing.  He is positive on the South having more than one hero from Virginia while he is considerate of the middle states.  Thus Waldo beginning as an effete New Englander will turn into something resembling John Carter/Tarzan or the Virginian of Owen Wister’s strange novel.  Thus if one views Waldo in light of Burroughs three most favorite novels, The Prince And The Pauper, Little Lord Fauntleroy and The Virginian the basic tenor of all the stories is made apparent.

     Waldo being pursued toward the cliff dwellings by the cave men with his legs pumping up to his chin and the stick twirling in his hand resembles a scene from a newspaper comic strip.  It would seem that Burroughs was an ardent reader of the newspaper Funnies.  David Innes Earth Borer was undoubtedly taken from a newspaper comic strip also.  This incessant modeling or borrowing may explain a bit of the contempt for his work by contemporaries.  ERB comes real close from time to time.

     Having paired up with Nadara she and Waldo hold off the cave men slipping away in the night to Chapter 3, The Little Eden, which is a key chapter.


It’s A Lover’s Question

      This chapter is so compacted I find it difficult to find a starting point.  If Burroughs’ marriage with Emma had not run smoothly from 1900 to 1913 their relationship would become even more stressed from 1913 to 1920.  The marriage apparently barely survived a major crisis c. 1918-20 finally being terminated in 1934.

     The relationship of ERB and Emma is very difficult to comprehend.  It seems clear that ERB had no intention of actually marrying her but wished to keep her on a string.  This arrangement was doing well until Frank Martin entered the scene in 1897 or ’98.  Martin forced Burroughs’ hand who was then compelled to marry Emma in 1900.

     Over the years from 1900 on Burroughs developed an intense antipathy to Emma which expressed itself in its most naked form at the time of her death when ERB did everything but desecrate her grave.  There must have been some deep psychological cause for this that isn’t apparent from what we know for sure of the relationship.

     Perhaps the most critical event in their lives occurred on that streetcorner on the way to Brown School in the fifth grade when ERB was emasculated by John the Bully.  Burroughs was then removed to the girl’s school a few months later.  I have no evidence that ERB and Emma were walking to school together on that the fateful day but subsequent literary evidence points in that direction.

     As a result of his emasculation it would appear that ERB was fixated in such a manner that he was unable to form relationships with women after that date and that Emma was the only female with whom he retained one.  But as she reminded him of that fateful day he both rejected her and couldn’t do without her.  Thus he refused to marry her yet didn’t want her to marry anyone else.  When circumstances forced him to marry her this may have begun his irrational resentment toward her.  As there was no other woman possible for him until the beginning of his psychological liberation in 1913 he may have tolerated her, but just.

     Success seemed to liberate repressed areas of his personality and we find him dreaming of an ideal mate quite different from Jane/Emma.  If one assumes that John Carter is an idealized Edgar Rice Burroughs although Burroughs projects the role of uncle on him while maintaining a dissociation from him until the end then Carter’s affiliation with Dejah Thoris on Mars would be ERB’s first Anima projection.  However Dejah Thoris is more closely related to Jane.  In La of Opar and Nadara Burroughs’ Anima ideal shifts more toward a wild or nature woman.  This aspect of the ideal is realized in Balza, The Golden Girl of 1933 who is also represented by Florence.

     So, in Cave Girl an emaciated, consumptive, over intellectualized Waldo Emerson Smith-Jones mates with the primitive Nadara who still retains the imprint of her civilized parents down by the river in the Little Eden.  Thus we have Adam and Eve in the Garden before they leave never to return.

     The problem of male-female relations is a dominant theme in Burroughs’ writing.  Indeed the theme is one that preoccupies all writers of fiction in one degree or another.  In this aspect Freud is merely a prominent writer on the sexual condition of men and women.  He is perhaps more systematic but not necessarily more profound.

     For instance Freud asked in a title to one of his essays What Does Woman Want and gives neither a profound nor very thoughtful answer.  If he had read E.M. Hull’s 1921 novel, The Sheik, he would have have had somthing of an answer written by a woman.  Burroughs did read the Sheik.  He understood what Hull was saying.  His answer was the major burlesque of the Alalus people of the Tarzan And The Ant Men of 1922.  In this charming story of the The Cave Girl he give his 1913 answer to the question of what woman wants in a credible manner.

     The answer in this case is age old.  The answer was clear from ancient times to E.M. Hull’s clear story.  Mostly it would appear what woman wants is a powerful protector willing to perform her will when a problem  exceeds her own powers thus recompensing her for the missing X and more especially the missing y chromosome.  The latter what Freud called Penis Envy.  One can only conclude that woman wants to be whole, to be chomosomally undivided.  Thus as a famed LA procuress once said:  A woman is only as powerful as the man beside her.

     Now, Nadara projects a character on Waldo as her fierce and powerful protector.  As love begins in Waldo’s heart the spectre of sex arises in their little Eden in the form of the Black Panther Nagoola.  Is it a coincidence that the first syllable of both names is the smae while both end in a long A?  Nadara the sexual temptress.

     Prompting Waldo she demands whether he could kill Nagoola.  That may have a couple meanings.  It may mean could he despatch the animal and it may mean can he conquer or control the sexual urge.  In Waldo’s case the anwer will be yes to both questions.

     He does kill Nagoola in a comedy of errors in this comic novel.  In its sequel The Cave Man he will adorn Nadara with the pelt of Nagoola thus making her the physical incarnation of sexual desire.  Who says Burroughs wasn’t subtle.

     Too desirous of impressing Nadara as a man of prowess he allows her to think he has already killed several Nagoolas.

     Very pleased to hear this she says:  ‘Good.  When we get to my village I want you to kill Korth and Flatfoot.’  Well now, there was a committment that Waldo had no intention of honoring, at least in his present condition.

     Thus, we have a demonstration of the thesis that women are responsible for conflict.  Woman proposes, man imposes.

     As they can’t stay in their little Eden forever they make the trek to Nadara’s people.  Waldo is committed to killing the fearsome Korth and Flatfoot.  He is terrified to confront them as well he might be.  As they approach the village Waldo sends Nadara ahead then legs it out of there.

     Thus we have the flight or fight dilemma that is another major theme of Burroughs.  At this point in his career he isn’t ready to articulate his feelings as he will later.  The dilemma relates to his confrontation with John the Bully in the fifth grade.  At that time as Waldo in this story Burroughs elected to run.  Now, you will notice that Waldo is with Nadara which is a pretty sure indication that ERB was with Emma that fateful morning on the way to school.

     In point of fact either Korth or Flatfoot would easily have killed Waldo at this stage in his career as John would have cremated the much younger Burroughs.  When he would later rationalize it there is no dishonor if fleeing overwhelming force which is surely true but has its consequences.

     Thus Waldo like Burroughs was sent into the Wasteland.  His problem now will be to figure out how to return to kill Korth and Flatfoot to reclaim Nadara.


How Waldo Became A Man