Themes And Variations

The Tarzan Novels Of Edgar Rice Burroughs

#15 Tarzan Triumphant

by

R.E. Prindle

Part 3:

Two Peas And The Pod.

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

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

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

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

—————-

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

——————-

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Continued in Part 4: Lafe Smith, Born Again.

Tarzan And The River

by

R.E. Prindle & Dr. Anton Polarion

I know those ideas;

In my boyhood days I read Shelley

and dreamed of Liberty.

There is no Liberty save wisdom and self-control.

Liberty is within-

not without.

It is each man’s own affair.

–H.G. Wells, When The Sleeper Wakes

The River don’t stop here anymore.

–Carly Simon, Let The River Run

     Dr. Polarion and I have undertaken to write this essay together:  He to handle the psychological aspects while I deal with the literary parts.  As he has been called away on business I write his ideas from personal coversations and notes he has given me.

     The reference to the river in the title is not to the Congo as one might suspect but to the river of life in the psychological sense and to the roman a fleuve or River Novel in the literary sense.

     In the psychological sense the River refers to the Flood on which we are all borne heedlessly to the sea of oblivion unless we somehow free ourselves  of the current.  That is the meaning of the quote from Carly Simon.  She thought she had gained control of her life and emotions; reclaimed herself from the vast irresistable flow of the River, so to speak.

     As Dr. Polarion has explained in the other essays, ERB was working out his psychological difficulties through his writing.  He first integrated his personality and then rectified his Animus concluding with reconciling his Anima and Animus.  As in all lives ERB’s early life was an accumulation of fixations that had to be exorcised in later life.  One either succumbs to one’s psychology in the sense of Hamlet’s complaint: To be or not to be…whether ’tis nobler, in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune or to take arms against a sea of troubles, and by opposing, end them,’ or, in other words, one confronts the psychological issues and resolves them.

     Understanding, that is the problem.  For ERB’s first thirty-seven years he suffered the slings and arrows in his mind, but then at age thirty-seven a glimmer of understanding appeared in his mind and he chose to take arms to end his sea of troubles.

     One can only guess at the pricks and prods that drove him on his way.  Fortunately ERB left a very wide and detailed paper trail of the workings of his mind.  For the first thirty-seven years of his life the subliminal pressures built and built until with a mighty roar they rose to the surface in a terrific eruption not unlike the fabled gusher Spindletop.

     Title after title spewed forth from ERB’s pen in an impetuous irresistible flow.  From 1912 to 1915 no less than seventeen novels were unleashed on the world.  Included in those novels was the creation of one of the great mythological figures of world literature- Tarzan Of  The Apes.

     It was through these novels that Burroughs took up arms against that sea of troubles to end them.

     Dr. Polarion who is a Depth psychologist, believes and demonstrates to my satisfaction that as a result of ‘talking’ his way through his fixations  ERB integreted his personality in 1915.

     The integration of the personality is a major desideratum although, while a blessing, the integration is much less of a blessing than many Depth psychologists believe.  When one eliminates one thing one must replace it with another.  An empty self cannot be allowed to exist, nor will the self tolerate it.  I have had to fill the void left left when with Dr. Polarion’s assistance I integrated my personality.

     For ERB who had little understanding and no guidance, the integration of his personality was as much a curse as a blessing.  But more on that in Part II.

     Following Dr. Polarion: the disintegration of the personality occurs when  the individual is presented with challenges to which he cannot satisfactorily respond.  The most serious reactions occur in one’s youthful years when one’s understanding is least developed. Quite minor incidents cause the most serious fixations as the child or youth has not the intellectual means to understand and respond to them successfully.

     Each failure of response causes a fixation in the subconsious mind.  At this point Dr. Polarion discards the Freudian notion of the Unconscious in favor of the subconscious.  He believes that there is no such thing as the Unconscious.  Each psychological fixation has a corresponding psychological or physical affect.  These are what Freud identified as neuroses and psychoses or what were later recognized as psychosomatic reactions.  Thus a neurosis may interfere with one’s basic responses while a psychosis has a debilitating effect.  An example of a neurosis might be a nervous twitch while the most debilitating of psychoses might be manic-depression or schizophrenia.  The less severe the cause, the easier to reach.

     It is here that Freud’s ‘talking cure’ comes into effect.  Freud discovered, or learned from his colleague, Breuer, that when a person recognized his fixation and discussed it the physical or psychological manifestations disappeared.  In many cases such affects appear only in certain circumstances.

     Let me give you three quick examples:  The modern pop singer Meatloaf,, the nineteenth century explorer Richard Francis Burton and ERB himself.

     The pop singer, Meatloaf acquired a deep inferiority complex during his childhood.  He had been made to believe that he was worthless.  When he became a pop star he felt unworthy of his success.  Hence, having a subconscious fixation or need to reject his success for which he felt unworthy, he one day lost his singing voice.  In orther words, his subconscious fixation blocked his ability to vocalize and continue to be a success.  The physical manifestation of his fixation was the loss of his singing voice.

     Meatloaf sought the advice of a psychologist who was both astutue and honest.  After talking to Meatloaf for a few minutes in his first session, the psychologist had his client figured.  he simply asked Meatloaf to admit out loud that he was a Star.  Meatloaf resisted as one might expect, but on the psychologist’s insistence he reluctantly said:  ‘Oh, all right, I’m a star.’

   That’s all it took.  That is the ‘talking cure’.  From that moment on, Meatloaf exorcised his fixation and regained his singing voice.  Of course, that only eliminated the symptom but not the underlying cause.  Meatloaf just shifted his psychosomatic affect to another manifestation of it.

     Not all fixations are that easy to reach.  The more painful the fixation the harder it is to reach.  Thus while Meatloaf’s symptom was relieved the fixation of unworthiness remained intact. The explorer Richard Burton (Richard Francis Burton, not to be confused with the late actor husband of the late Elizabeth Taylor.) sought the source of the Nile in the eighteen-sixties.  If he had succeeded, he would have been made for life as well as having a secure place in history.

     Burton was however severely conflicted on the Animus while have a debilitating central childhood fixation in his subconscious, a killer combination.  Actually, he was a latent homosexual.

     There was only one way to travel in Africa and that was on foot.  Hence his subconscious placed a psychosomatic affect on his legs making it impossible to walk!  Burton naturally failed in his quest but regained the full use of his legs when failure was irremediable.  He never had trouble with his legs again.

     While suffering from fever in Africa, Burton had the remarkably vivid vision of himself as two different personalities, the one always defeating the ambitions of the other.  The two personalities were visions of his conscious and subconscious minds  Thus the fixation symbolically represented itself to him, but Burton was unable to penetrate the symbol.  Had he been able to do so he would immediately have been able to get on his feet as nimble as ever.

     The true natue of Burton’s conflict was that he couldn’t acknowledge his homosexual reaction to his fixation.  His youthful sexual violation or molestation was his central childhood fixation, but we’ll let that pass.  The central childhood fixation is the most fearful of all.

     Edgar Rice Burroughs had a fixation from his father.  He believed his dad to be a great man, probably one that could never be equaled or surpassed.  ERB’s early failures may have been a fear of challenging his father’s image.  His father had been a military success in the War Between The States.  ERB probably joined the Army to emulate his father.  He was sent to Apache territory.  However, the fear of failing to measure up to his father or exceed him caused a psychological reaction or psycho-somatic affect.

     For the length of his service, which was cut short by his appeal to his father, he contracted a case of diarrhea which didn’t leave him until he gave up the military, thus ending any fear of equaling of surpassing his father.  ERB’s diarrhea was purely a defensive psychological reaction to his fixation.

      ERB began his writing career in desperation.  It probably never occurred to him that his writing would make him not only as successful as his father but more successful, else he mgiht not have been able to write.  Judging from the context of the Tarzan novels,  I would say that this conflict with his father was resolved between the writing of The Son Of Tarzan and The Jewels Of Opar.  There is a decided change of direction from the one to the other.

     The Russian Quartet of the first four novels therefor forms a sort of prolegomena or introduction to the rest of the oeuvre  There is a fair amount of indecision in the four novels as ERB seeks for the handle of his great works

     In his tradition of Tarzan doppelgangers the two novels of Tarzan Of The Apes and Son Of Tarzan may be considered near duplicates of each other; in fact, Father and Son as the titles indicate.

     Two other novels separate from but related to the Tarzan oeuvre may be counted as part of it due to their role in the development of ERB’s psychology.  These two are The Mad King and The Eternal Lover.  The MadKing is a preliminary attempt by ERB to rectify the conflicting aspects of his Anima through the doppelgangers of the Mad King and Barney Custer, while the Eternal Lover is a precocious attempt to reconcile his Animus and Anima.  Not surprisingly, Barney Custer is prominent in both novels.  Custer then melds into the neo-Tarzan of Jewels Of Opar where the two conflicted aspects Burroughs’ Animus appear in one Tarzan, off set.

     The name Barney Custer as an alter ego for ERB is interesting, General George Custer who we all know was massacred at the Little Big Horn a year after ERB was born was amongst the greatest of American heroes for about seventy-five years.  After 1950 the luster was diminished and then turned completely around to the point that he is now the most prominent villain of American history and a symbol of shame to the Paleface.

     But in 1914, by taking the name of Custer, ERB was identiying himself with America’s greatest contemporary hero.  The first name, Barney, undoubtedly refers to the daredevil auto racer Barney Oldfield.  This must be especially apparent in the Mad King in which Barney Custer is a daring, even wild auto driver.  It should be noted too that ERB had only recently become an auto owner and driver so he is probably projecting an ideal of what he wanted to be.  So the character of Barney Custer itself is a doppelganger rolled into one.

     The novel The Eternal Lover takes place either in the time between Return Of Tarzan and Beasts or between Beasts and Son.  In either case, Barney Custer is melded into either Tarzan or boy Jack, probably the latter as Tarzan repesents Burroughs’ father in Son.

     Son Of Tarzan is a charming coming of age novel in which boy Jack emulates his father, grows into his loin cloth, or g-string and is finally reunited with his dad in London.  Here the Russian Quartet is completed and the story logically comes to an end, as there are no loose ends for sequels.

     In real life during this three year period from 1912 to 1915 ERB has risen from a more or less abject failure to a towering success.  From a position of hapless inadequacy compared to his father as the novel Son Of Tarzan records, he has succeeded in his mind at least in equaling his father, athough as on the return to London Tarzan remains a patriarch and boy Jack recedes into the background it is fairly obvious that ERB did not really believe he surpassed his dad.  Lingering traces of diarrhea, no doubt.

     What ERB has done however is to eliminate the fixation in his subconscious.  By doing so he integrated his personality.

     Conflicted as he was, this rapid turnaround in financial status must have been a tremendous ego boost to a very frustrated man on the cusp of his mid-life crisis.

     One can argue the relative value of the dollar but I estimate the buying power of Burroughs’ earnings for the period in today’s dollars of least three to five million dollars.

     When one considers that he bought a house, which he turned into a country club with out buildings and enough land to build a city for one hundred thousand dollars which wouldn’t equal a single lot today the value of the dollar has no real comparison.   ERB chose to call his new estate Tarzana which gives some indication of the importance of Tarzan in his mind.

     Following the principles of Freud’s ‘talking cure’ somewhere in that great gush of writing ERB brought his central childhood fixation into the open where he resolved it so that the fixation’s mental and physical affects disappeared, uniting his conscious and subconscious minds into one interated personality.

     Following psychological roles ERB must then have resolved fixation after fixation until he was free of compusive behavior.

     Having united his conscious and subconscious minds, ERB was then given the psychological task of rectifying his Animus into one single directed sexual identity or Ego and then reconciling his Animus with his Anima.   ERB did this, placing him ahead of Freud and Jung as a psychologist, although he may not have known how to express his achievement in scientific terms.

     Dr. Polarion believes that ERB was aware of his achievement but as he had no scientific standing he must have thought it better to demonstrate his achievement in the Tarzan oeuvre while keeping his mouth shut.

     There can be no question that ERB was a very educated, even learned man, although without the Ivy League credentials for which he so obviously yearned.  The amount of learning evident in the Tarzan oeuvre is really quite astonishing.  His background n African studies alone is extensive.

     Having integrated his personality through the Russian Quartet, those four novels form a completed unit.  In order to keep writing Tarzan novels Burroughs had to shift his emphasis.  Then with the novel Tarzan And The Jewels Of Opar he began a more extended roman a fleuve or River Novel.

     The subsequent novels are all involved with the problem of working out the rectification of the Animus and reconciliation with his Anima.

     I personally (Dr. Polarion concurs) do not consider Tarzan And The Foreign Legion part of the true Tarzan oeuvre.  The book was an afterthought written duing World War  II for propagandistic purposes, consequently being outside ERB’s psychological development.

     The last book apart from Foreign Legion published during his lifetime was Tarzan The Magnificent.  Richard A. Lupoff discovered three stories after Burroughs’ death which were combined into Tarzan And The Castaways and a completed manuscript, Tarzan And The Madman, which is the culminating value in ERB’s psychologcal development and may be genuinely considered part of the oeuvre.

     Thus the liberty of which H.G. Wells spoke in the introductory quote was achieved by ERB.  He had acquired wisdom and self-control.   One might say he was as ‘free’ as any man can be which, after all, as the mystics say, is merely uniting oneself with the ‘will of god’ or nature, in other words, integrating one’s personality.

     Having disposed of the Russian Quartet which forms a sort of prolegomena to the oeuvre, I will now turn to Part II to the explication of the Tarzan oeuvre as a roman a fleur.

A Review
Themes And Variations
The Tarzan Novels Of Edgar Rice Burroughs
#23 Tarzan And The Mad Man
Part III
That Old Time Religion

The Aquarian Archetype

Burroughs’ stories are always concerned with religion in one respect or another.  He never stopped investigating religion or religions.  When Swami Prahavananda brought Vedanta to LA from Portland, Oregon of all places Burroughs if not the first in line was not that far back.  It’s no surprise that the novels of the first half of the thirties all reflect Vedanta or Hindu religion to some extent.
The Tarzan series was virtually founded on the avatar of sun worship, La of Opar.  She appeared sporadically until 1930 when she was entombed in Opar and abandoned by Tarzan and Burroughs.  Here she appears again in the form of the mundane normal rich girl, Sandra Pickerall, the Scottish beer heiress.  A common place White Goddess.
One should always bear in mind the original White Goddess, She, of Rider Haggard.  Thus one always compares Burroughs’ White Goddesses to the original.  Apart from Greek mythology’s White Goddess, represented as the moon, I think the White Goddess reigning in a Black or off-tone population, was actually a Haggard original.  Of course, La was a carbon of She.  An aside- I’m discoverying that I’m using some outdated terms incomprehensible to younger people.  Carbon copy is one of these.  You get the blankest of stares.  For any readers not familiar with carbon paper, in the days before printers turned out endless perfect copies of documents if one wanted a copy of a typed letter, typed in a typewriter, one inserted a piece of carbon paper between the original and the desired copy.  One side was coated with carbon so that the stroke imprinted on the clean sheet.  Those were the days, children, when we walked three miles to school through eight foot snow drifts.  Life wasn’t so easy back then.
So, La was a carbon of She.  Not quite; She was actually two thousand years old.   Burroughs couldn’t figure out how to do that without being a carbon copy of Haggard so he made the priestess of the Flaming God part of a multi-thousand year tradition. Sandra was a one off with short duration.  There was no mystique there; this is the common woman triumphant.  Rand himself was a phony Tarzan who was also a phony rather ditso god.
While there was no real historical basis for She but a tenuous connection to Egypt’s influence on Sub-Saharan Africa that Haggard repeatedly invokes there was a historical basis for the Portuguese colony of Alemtejo in Ethiopia.  A fairly remarkable one and one that Burroughs knew of.  Possibly the story was gleaned from the pages of the National Geographic also bu there is a basis for it in Burroughs library
.
Let’s tackle the groundwork for Haggard’s White Goddess first.  Obviously with Haggard and Burroughs we are dealing with men and writers of stupendous imagination.  These men are able to build cities and civilizations from the merest scraps of evidence.  And then in Haggard’s case, from his sojourn in South Africa he was familiar waith legends and archaeological evidences unknown except to the specialist and possibly not to them.  Burroughs read many books of African history including J.W. Buel’s Heroes Of The Dark Continent.  The book mentions legends and stories that Haggard heard but so fleetingly one wonders what impression they could have made on the forming mind of ERB.  Buel himself took his early history from a fabulous Arab work called The Travels Of Ibn Batuta, sort of the Richard Burton of his culture.

The Renowned Arab Traveler- Mohammed Ibn Batuta

Writing in the fourteenth century Ibn Batuta had visited the East African coast trodding the soil of Kilwa Island on the southern border of Tanganyika, now Tanzania.  Zanzibar replaced Kilwa as the Moslem trading entropot on the East Coast.  Haggard apparently had done the same as he mentions ruins that dated back to before the tenth century.  So, we have established commercial activity in Southern Africa before the arrival of the Shona people in Zimbabwe.

The ruins of Zimbabwe are, of course, famous but the builders are undetermined although the relics are claimed by the Shona which is impossible.  There are additional stone ruins further South than the Shona ever penetrated.  Therefore it follows that others than the Shona built them.  The ruins and Zimbabwae turn up frequently in Haggard’s novels also.
I have always believed the ruins were Malagasy which is also Trader Horn’s position.  I wasn’t clear on the arrival of the Malagasy but then ERB’s novel Jungle Girl showed me the way.  Jungle Girl is concerned with the Khmer people and the ruins of Cambodia and Thailand.  Few of us, I believe, have any idea of the history of this area and its connection to India.
According to some somewhat limited research on my partI find that  the Balinese were a major naval power in the archipelago and the adjacent mainland.  When the Khmer king threatened the Balinese king the King of Bali mounted a thousand ship expedition to the Mekong to punish the Khmer king.  This would be a substantial flotilla if true and not legendary.  If each ship transported twenty to fifty soldiers that would be an army of twenty to fifty thousand men.  Logistically a superior achievement, especially just to punish one guy.
Bali today is 90% Hindu in religion so that the Hindus or Indians had made a religious conquest of Bali by the ninth century.  One assumes that contact was continuous from, say, 800 to 1500 AD so that Balinese regularly sailed to India.  The Balinese also have fabulous ruins such as the magnificent manmade mountain, Borobudur that date from the earlier period.
Now, the Malagasy of Madagascar are genetically linked to a Bornean people opposite Bali on inland sea.  It is highly doubtful that the Borneans made any voyages to India.  Let us assume however that those people of Borneo were troublesome to the Balinese, harassing their shipping and possibly raiding Bali.  Now, there doesn’t appear to be continuous migration to Africa; the migration seems to have been a one time affair.
Let us suppose then that the Balinese knew of Africa from their excursions to India.  After all, the Chinese admiral, Zheng He touched on Africa if not claiming it for his Emperor in the fifteenth century.  There are Africans with Chinese DNA from sailors shipwrecked from that expedition.  Kilwa was active from at least the ninth century when Persians established a colony leaving ruins behind.  Pottery sherds found on Kilwa come from the whole of the East including China.
In an effort to solve their Bornean problem, then, let us assume the Balinese organized a flotilla and shipped the entire troublesome Bornean population to Africa in one shot.  It could easily have been done by revictualing and rewatering at several points on the way to India or Ceylon at which point the monsoon could be used to aim for the African coast.  Whether Madagascar was known or not the flotilla could easily have blundered on it.  It was uninhabited at the time.  The Bantus had not yet penetrated that far.  Their presence was probably insignificant on the mainland- Mozambique and Zimbabwe.  That was it- a people transported from Borneo in one consignment.
Finding the malarial coast uninhabited but unhealthy the Malagasy’s then moved up on the plateau where the air was more salubrious.  The Shona may or may not have already been there.  In any event the population would have been small.  It is possible they began to filter in some time thereafter settling North of actual Zimbabwe.  The ruins then were built by the Malagasies either as protection from wild beasts or as defensive forts.  As the additional ruins are further South the Malagasies either prospered and expanded or unable to maintain themselves against the Bantu Shona kept retreating further South as did the Bushmen.  On the other hand the kingdom of Monomotapa that existed in this area at approximately this period must have been founded by the Malagasies.  That it was stamped flat by the Bantus would indicate that it was a culture alien to theirs much as the White culture now being exterminated by the Bantus.  With the Whites gone and the ruins of the cities dotting the plains the Bantus could then claim their ancestors built them.  An exact duplicate situation.  Shoot, even Mugabe could claim he built Salisbury.
Now, there are a variety of complexions in Zimbabwe tending toward a red.  That could only come about by the mixing of the Black Shona and the copper Malagasy.  So, obviously the Malagasy were either killed or bred out of existence on the mainland although still existing on Madagascar.
The Shona having no use for the stone forts which were unfamiliar to them ignored them for their traditional grass hut villages.
The Malagasies mined for gold probably trading with Kilwa Island although that is some distance and there seems to be little refuse in Zimbabwe to suggest a trading period.  Nevertheless the gold was mined and it isn’t there now.
Using whatever knowledge he had of the legends or history of Zimbabwe Haggard created his own magnificent legends of King Solomon’s Mines and the superb She.  She was was placed somewhere on the coast between Zimbabwe and Kilwa Island.
For his shadow of the story of She Burroughs then moves the location of She up to Ethiopia also incorporating the story of the Portuguese expedition of the fifteenth century to that formerly mythical and fabulous country thought to be the home of the equally mythical and fabulous Prester John.
ERB combines two threads of history.  On the one hand Vasco da Gama the explorer did send his brother Cristoforo da Gama on a military expediton to Ethiopia to aid the Queen of Ethiopia. Initially successful Cristoforo was untimately defeated although the Portuguese left the country rather than building ERB’s castle on the Mutia Escarpment.  On the other hand the Galla people subsequently invaded Ethiopia where they existed against the Ethiopians in the sort of standoff that ERB depicts.
The faux Tarzan, Rand, then parachutes into the midst of the Portuguese castle of Alemtejo.  In his descent the wind slams him against a turret causing the inevitable amnesia.  Tarzan’s loss of memory that recurs periodically means that ERB is severely stressed.  Tarzan’s losses of memory always occur at periods of extreme stress for ERB when he is facing difficult problems.
Rand had embarked on his expedition to prove he could rough it a la Tarzan for thirty days so his mind occupied by this illusion he believes he is Tarzan.  As he descended from the sky the Portuguese, now a cholcolate brown, believe he must be God, not a god but the God.  Even though God Rand takes orders pretty well.  Da Gama orders him to find a goddess as God must have a goddess.  After having had his Black candidates rejected Rand goes back to find a White Goddess.
At this point Rand, the faux Tarzan, finds the beer heiress Sandra Pickerall.  Thus God and goddess are in reality ordinary folk, the common people.  The descent has been from the immortal She to the mortal but still divine, La, who was the high priestess, to an ordinary girl dressed in ordinary clothes who knows nothing of the goddess mystique.  ERB’s hopes had deflated quite considerably.
This was on the eve of ERB and Florence’s departure into exile from LA to Honolulu so there is a bewildered sadness to the story.  It’s as though ERB were asking:  Where did the dream go wrong?
There is a faint echo of The City Of God story from Tarzan And The Lion Man.  In this case Tarzan/Rand/ERB is God and Sandra/Florence is his goddess but no longer the vision of his dreams he imagined in 1926.  He’s pretty disappointed.
The religious scene is quite astounding, presenting aspects of the whole history of religion.  ERBs’ life study of religion is here condensed into a few paragraphs and scatterings throughout the text.
Ruiz stood behind a low, stone altar which appeared to have been painted a rusty brown red.
For a long time Ruiz the high priest held the center of the stage.  The rites where evidently of a religious nature that went on interminably.  Three times Ruiz burned powder upon the altar.  From the awful stench Sandra judged the powder must have consisted mostly of hair.  The assemblage intoned a chant to the weird accompaniment of heathenish tom toms.  The high priest occasionally made the sign of the cross, but it seemed obvious to Sandra that she had become the goddess of a bastard religion which bore no relationship to Christianity beyond the symbolism of the cross, which was evidently quite meaningless to the high priest and his followers.
She heard mentioned several times Kibuka, the war god; and Walumbe the god of death, was often supplicated, while Mizimo departed spirits, held a prominent place in the chant and the progress.  It was evidently a very primitive form of heathenish worship from which voodooism is derived.
What reading, what study went into this religious scene isn’t clear but it is clear that ERB’s reading here led back to the religious practices of the Yoruba people of Nigeria, or perhaps it might better be said the lower Niger River.  In what they call the Yoruba diaspora the people as slaves were dispersed throughout the Americas, South and North and the Caribbean.
Apparently deeply religious the Yoruba took their religion with them grafting it unto a semblance of Catholicism, bastard religion here in Burroughs.  Perhaps that is what ERB means when he says the Alemtejos took the cross as a symbol but it had no meaning to them.  The Yoruba religion took different names and forms from Brazil to New York.  As ERB points out here the Yoruban religion in Haiti developed into Voodoo while in Cuba it became known as Santeria by which name it passes into the US.  Chief centers are Atlanta and New York City.
While Burroughs merely says that Voodoo was derived from some ancient form implying lost in the mists of time he may very well have known that these new world religious impressions were derived from the Yoruba of Africa.
And then a little further on, Ballantine, p. 55, ERB goes on to describe a different religious ritual:
Looking up, she saw a dozen naked dancing girls enter the apartment, and behind them two soldiers dragging a screaming Negro girl of about thirteen.  Now the audience was alert, necks craned and every eye centered upon the child.  The tom-toms beat out a wild cadence.  The dancers, leaping, bending, whirling, approached the altar; and while they danced the soldiers lifted the still screaming girl and held her face up, upon its stained brown surface.
The high priest made passes with his hands above the victim, the while he intoned some senseless gibberish.  The child’s screams had been reduced to moaning sobs, as Ruiz drew a knife from beneath his robe.  Sandra leaned forward in her throne-chair, clutching the arms, her wide eyes straining at the horrid sight below her.
A deathly stillness fell upon the room broken only by the choking sobs of the girl.  Ruiz’s knife flashed for an instant above his victim; and then the point was punged into her heart.  Quickly he cut the throat and dabbing his hands in the spurting blood sprinkled it upon the audience, which surged forward to receive it…
To consider this scene from several angles:  I hope no one will be offended but put into current Hollywood cinematic terms this is the very purest of pornography.  It there was a battle at this time to get James Joyce’s Ulysses through customs, Joyce is smirkingly smutty compared to Burroughs here.
I mean, a dozen naked dancing girls leading the procession, a child snuff scene;  the dwelling on the flash of the knife, its point entering the body, the spurting blood from the child’s cut throat then the sprinkling of the surging, screaming crowd with the blood, truly they were washed in the blood of the lamb.
If the Voodoo harked back to an early period it was before this intermediate sacrificial period.  On the one hand La of Opar seemed to flash back to to Aztec ceremonies in ERB’s mind.  In that gory society the victims were indeed laid out face up beneath the Flaming God as the priest no only stabbed them but cut the heart out holding the still beating vessel aloft for the sun’s acceptance.
Here ERB seems to combine the Aztec practices with the Semitic practices of child murder from which the term ‘blood of the lamb’ must be derived.  Blood purifications were common in the various Classical religious consensuses.  With Mithraic worshippers of the bull god Mithras communicants were lowered into a pit while a bull was slaughtered on a slatted platform above them, the blood dripping down on the initiate then washed the communicant in the blood of the bull, or in another word, Mithras.
Among the Semites, Carthaginians of North Africa and the Jews of Palestine child murder was the chief offering to placate the gods or God.  The Carthaginians had a huge statue of Baal with oustretched arms on which the child was placed to roll down into a flaming pit.
The Valley of Hinnon was the site of the Jewish sacrifice of the first born.  While the practice was suspended in the story of Abraham and Isaac when the sheep or lamb was allowed to be substituted for the first born.  While the practice was suspended in the story of Abraham and Isaac when the sheep was allowed to be substituted for the born the idea lived on in the imagination of the Jews.
Then commenced the eternal round of sacrificing in the temple when the priests stood before a large basin called the brazen ocean and sacrificed sheep from sun up to sun down.  The blood collected in the brazen ocean was used for its special purposes.  Think washed in the blood of the lamb and compare it with the Mithraic rite.
Even then before the Jews left Egypt they smeared their lintels with the blood of the lamb or first born to save themselves from God’s slaughter of the first born of Egypt.  Thus the Jews were symbolically washed in the blood of the lamb.  The slaughter of the innocents in Herod’s time will also come to mind.  Jesus as the first born would have been sacrificed as the lamb  if the slaughter had been successful.
Certainly if read properly it is easy to understand why Sandra fainted.  Perhaps in 1940 ERB found his psychological situation unbearable reacting by creating this bit of sado-masochistic pornography.
Having completed this part of his survey of religious evolution ERB moves on to what might be described as the late Classical to Medieval phase, Ballantine p. 67:
“Well, what of it?’  demanded da Gama.  “I am king.  Do I not sit on a level with God and his goddess?  I am as holy as they.  I am a god as well as a king; and the gods can do no wrong.”
“Rubbish!” exclaime the high priest.  “You know a well as I do that the man is not a god, and the woman no goddess.  Fate sent the man down from the skies- I don’t know how; but I’m sure he’s as mortal as you or I; then you get the idea that by controlling him you could control the country.  You were jealous of me that’s all; then you get the idea that by controlling him you could control the church, for you know that who controls the church controls the country.  You were jealous of me that’s all; then you conceived the idea of having a goddess, too, which you thought might double your power.  Well, you have them; but they’re going to be just as useful to me as they are to you.  Already, the people believe in them, and if I should go to them and say that you had harmed the god, they would tear you to pieces…”
Here we have the cynical conception of priest craft that was still current when I was a kid.  Religion as the opiate of the people.  Priests and kings who are totally insincere in their beliefs, the divine right of kings, a potent belief in its time ridiculed in another.
This could be the stuff of a stand up comedy routine by Bob Newhart in 1960 or the Smothers Brothers with some modifications of the struggle between the English Tudors with the Catholic Church.
“…you don’t stand any too well with the people, Chris, anyway; and there are plenty of them who think da Serra would make a better king.”
“Sh-h-h,” cautioned da Gama.  “Don’t talk so loud.  Somebody may overhear you.  But let’s not quarrel, Pedro.  Our interests are identical.  If Osorio da Serra becomes king of Alemtejo, Pedro Ruiz will die mysteriously; and Quesada the priest will become high priest.  He might become high priest while I am king.”
That would have gotten a knowing laugh from ERB’s readers who would have felt they had been let in on a cosmic truth.  And with the proper inflection and delivery you have some stand up.
Of course the spectre of Christianity is running through this.  ERB then tosses in a Moslem bit to bring things up to time; Sandra has bneen captured by Rateng the hunter, a Moslem Galla, Ballantine, p. 132:
“What do you want of me?”  she asked.  “What are you going to do with me?”
“You should know,” he said.  “You are a woman.”
“I am not a mortal woman.  I am a goddess.”  She grasped at a straw.
Rateng laughed at her.  “There is no god but Allah.”
“If you harm me you will die.”  she threatened.
“You are an infidel,” said Rateng, “and for every infidel I kill, I shall have greater honor in heaven.”
Thus we have the last testament of Edgar Rice Burroughs on religion.  Having delivered this he got on the plane for Honolulu leaving LA.  His epic struggle to free himself from 1911 to 1940 ended in defeat.  Ironically he was on a salary of 250.00 a month in Honolulu which had been his salary at Sears, Roebuck before he began writing.  Life is funny sometimes.
Recapitulation and Conclusion.
Thus ended the confrontation between Edgar Rice Burrughs and the Judaeo-Communists.  Little did ERB realize that in 1919 when he excercized what he thought was his American Constitutional rights by opposing Communism that he was engaging in a life and death struggle for supremacy.  Nor did he realize that when that survey sent to him by the American Jewish Committee that was fatally forwarded to in Hollywood from Chicago by the post office was coded so that he would indicate his acceptance or rejection of subservience to the Jews.   Had he known he would still probably have rejected the yoke but he at least then would have known that he was in open warfare for supremacy.
The America he had been raised in and on which his thoughts had been centered had been slipping away with each boatload of immigrants that arrived.  From a population of a few hundred thousand in 1890 the Jewish population had grown to several million.  They now had the strength of numbers as well as an implacable will to recreate the new glittering Promised Land in their own image.
There was a short reaction led by Henry Ford before any resistance was scattered.  In that brief period to 1924 ERB had aligned himself with Ford as my analysis of Marcia Of The Doorstep shows.
So in that brief period between 1919 and 1924 ERB’s fate was sealed.  In Marcia he was making desperate efforts to placate the hollywood Jews who after all had control over much of his ability to earn income.  His hostility to the Communists continued unabated.  They weren’t protected by a charge of anti-Semitism as were the Jews.   In 1926 he published his anti-Communist trilogy The Moon Maid.  His defence was countered by the direction of no less than Josef Stalin himself and through his agent H.G. Wells.  ERB’s resistance to both the Communists and the Jews in my estimation produced the sequence of his greatest Tarzan novels and in his other works.
Given his own shortcomings, which were fatal, he hadn’t the skill, although he may have had the resources, to resist the evil so that by 1934 and Tarzan And The Lion Man the war was all but over.  The end came in 1940 when, I presume, it was politely suggested that he retire from LA.  The stage of his youth had been replaced by the aeroplane so that ERB’s mode of departure was by plane and not on the stagecoach.
MGM disdainfully made another movie, Tarzan In New York, in which Tarzan as it were is led to New York with a rope around his neck.  There in New York he is symbolically forced to submit to the Law .  While in an American court it seems fairly clear that the Law is Talmudic Law rather than, to use the term loosely, American justice.
With the release of Tarzan In New York MGM essentially threw the character away giving Tarzan over to Sol Lesser to do as he pleased.
Apart from a spate of stories in 1940 and the war novel, Tarzan And The Foreign Legion, the voice that had thrilled a nation for nearly thirty years was silenced.
ERB’s dissidence was crushed.  Nor was he the only author.  While the pre-1919 publishers seem to have been all Liberals and Communist fellow travelers the authors were anti-Communist or, at least, apolitical in that sense, to a man.  They all seem to have fared no better than ERB.  Certainly, in my life experience the period from 1914 through the fifties is a virual literary block.  The non-Communists writers of pre-1919 had their reputations obscured while after 1919 no writers but Communists were nurtured and allowed into print.  Thus all the social realist third rate Communist garbage of the period has disappeared from genuine lack of interest.  There are attempts to buck up the reputations of John Steinbeck and Ernest Hemingway with some success while there are also attempts to create some interest in failed Jewish writers of the period but that seems to be of no avail.  They, like Philip Roth, are too culturally specific to hold the general interest.
One wonders why Burroughs didn’t publish Tarzan And The Mad Man.  He locked the book in his safe and forgot about it.  Certainly the novel is as good as any he wrote.  Perhaps the admission of defeat it contains would have been too gratifying to his enemies or too painful to admit.  I don’t know.
Perhaps the challenges life gave ERB were too strong.  First his early childhood centered around high expectations was countered by John The Bully and ERB’s ceaseless movement from school to school orchestrated by his father who seemed to have a love-hate relationship with him; then the cruel bludgeon of fate that fell on him in Toronto which literally addled his brains for a decade if not for life perpetrated by a rival for the hand of Emma whose enmity never ceased and who plagued him in Chicago through 1919 and then the war with the Jews and Communists through the twenties and thirties.
Ah well, we all have to play the hand we’re dealt.

Themes And Variations

The Tarzan Novels Of Edgar Rice Burroughs

#23  Tarzan And The Madman

by

R.E. Prindle

The One And Only

 

What A Long Strange Trip It’s Been

      In everyone’s life there comes a time to recapitulate.  Tarzan And The Madman was that time for Edgar Rice Burroughs.  The Great Saga began in 1912 and in this novel of 1940 unpublished during his lifetime the long strange trip, to quote the Grateful Dead, came to an end.  The Big Bwana and his imposter got on a plane and flew out of Africa never to return.

     Two more unpublished  novels in his lifetime would follow but they were placed in the Pacific either in or near Indonesia.  The succeeding  Tarzan And The Castaways was also unpublished during his lifetime while Tarzan And The Foreign Legion could find no takers so was published by ERB, Inc.  It almost seemed as though the sun had gone down on the Great Ape Man.

     Of course the movie Tarzan still prospered, first with the great Johnn Weismuller and then Lex Barker.  ERB even tips his hat to MGM by replicating the flight through the fog to the great tabletop of the Mutia Escarpment, an MGM invention.  Thus, the last game is played out on the MGM playing field.  Just as ERB and Florence left LA on a plane so Rand and the Goddess and Tarzan do Africa in this novel. In a short 157 pages ERB  manages to recap the Big Fella’s entire career in print or on film.

     In reading through the book this last time I suddenly realized the significance of all those doppelgangers.  They signified the problem ERB was having realizing his ambition to be the man who was Tarzan.  In Madman he gives up the ghost realizing his failure to become the Man-who-thought-he-was-Tarzan but wasn’t.  Now typing away in exile from LA on Hawaii he throws in the towel.

     As I have tried to show in my other reviews ERB read Robert Louis Stevenson’s  The Strange Case Of Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde probably sometime before 1890 within four years of its issue.  The book must have been a sensation during his years at the Michigan Military Academy, the subject of endless discussions among the cadets.  As hard as it must be for us to realize what we consider a classic was an exciting new book for ERB.  No movies could be made of it because the technology hadn’t been developed as yet.  Even the primitive Nickelodeons were shimmering a ways into the future.  Yea, verily, the future lay before them.

     The novel was significant enough to be in the first batch of talkies being  produced in 1931.  I’m sure ERB was transfixed as  the story unfolded on the screen.  The theme of psychological doubles had dominated the Tarzan oeuvre from the beginning.  While it seems repetitious to a first reading of the novels the theme is actually developing as the series progresses.   ERB didn’t so much fall back on a cliché  but he was working out a variation on the theme of Jekyll and Hyde.

     He says that he was convinced that every man had two sides to his personality, perhaps not as pronounced as that of Jekyll and Hyde but there nonetheless.  He was aware of his own duality chronicling it in the pages of the Tarzan oeuvre.  The duality is often prompted by a blow to Tarzan’s head.  The blow certainly commemorates the hit ERB took in Toronto while perhaps the aftermath split ERB’s personality so that he became two nearly different people.  Perhaps that’s the secret of his writing career as he said that he was able to disappear into the alternate reality when he wrote.

     Tarzan always had two personalities from the beginning.  He was both a civilized man and a beast.  This undoubtedly represents ERB’s feelings about himself.  Perhaps he had periods when he was something of a wild man, not unlike Tarzan on the Rue Maule in The Return Of Tarzan who became a beast and then shook himself back into a human not unlike the transformation of Jekyll and Hyde.  This type of duality would characterize the Russian Quartet, the first four novels.

     The Tarzan true doppelganger first appeared in Jewels of Opar where having received a blow to the head he loses his memory during which he lived as an uncivilized beast, regaining civilization with his memory, but he had not yet split into two co-existing  separate identities.    That would first occur in Tarzan And The Golden Lion and Tarzan And The Ant Men  when the great character of Esteban Miranda served as a doppelganger.  Esteban was identical to Tarzan in appearance but an arrant coward  compared to Tarzan.  This was a characteristic of all the doubles.  Esteban represented the negative pre-success side of ERB while Tarzan the positive post-success side.  Thus in these two novels ERB is beginning the attempt to become Tarzan- The-Man-Who-Thought-He-Could-Be-Tarzan.

     ERB was very sensitive about his early failings in his relationship with Emma.  In these two novels he offered Jane/Emma the chance to recognize him as the strong Tarzan and not the weakling Esteban doppelganger.  Having overcome the failures of his past he felt he had proven himself as a man and a supreme provider demanding recognition.  Given the decision to make Jane/Emma chose ERB’s former existence, Esteban, thereby sealing her fate.  After her ill fated choice Jane disappears from the oeuvre except for the chance encounter in the succeeding novel Tarzan Lord Of The Jungle whereas the Golden Lion assumes a prominent role.

     While the next double, Stanley Obroski, appears in Tarzan And The Lion Man a double of sorts in the form of Lord Passmore makes his appearance in Tarzan Triumphant.  Another double appears in Tarzan And The Leopard Men when felled by a giant tree in a storm Tarzan blanks out assuming another persona.   Also, in Tarzan And The City Of Gold Valthor serves as a double.  In a strange variation ERB repeats the story of Jewels Of Opar when Tarzan rescues Jane from the Arab boma.  Here, in an exact duplicate of that scene, he rescues Valthor.  Thus Jane and Valthor are connected in ERB’s mind.

     In Tarzan And The Lion Man Burroughs kills off his weaker persona thus assuming the role of Tarzan himself.   Then in Tarzan And The Forbidden City Brian is his look-a-like although the role of double is not explored.  Perhaps this is the initial realization the ERB has failed in his quest to be Tarzan.

     After a decade of trials and tribulations struggling against the Communists and MGM and losing ERB sat down in exile at the beginning of 1940 to write this confession of defeat.

     The man-god Tarzan himself remains the same but The-Man-Who-Thought-He-Was-Tarzan but failed confesses his defeat getting into his airplane up there on MGM’s Mutia Escarpment flying out of Africa forever.  First he was expelled from Opar by the Communists and then from Africa by MGM.

     Although Tarzan was in the plane with him, the Big Bwana shows up again in Africa for a moment in Tarzan And The Castaways.  This novel written in a style entirely different from the rest of the oeuvre was also unpublished during Burroughs lifetime hidden away in a safe.

     In this novel Tarzan is defeated by a Black chief, symbolically perhaps, captured and sold as a wild man, a feral child.  Once again Tarzan has lost his memory reverting to a pure beast or feral boy.  As this novel was written after King Kong and Tarzan ends up on yet another island perhaps ERB was conflating the movie with this novel.   Tarzan is put aboard ship with the other animals destined for the circus and taken from the continent.

     Running all through Burroughs is the ghost of Jule Verne’s Mysterious Island.  Once aboard ship a storm assaults the ship which, signficantly loses its rudder.  Thus like the now rudderless Burroughs the ship is adrift.  In a scene reminiscent of both Verne’s novel and Robert Louis Stevenson’s Kidnapped the ship is tossed atop a reef while all aboard including a Noah’s Ark of animals find their way to shore as the Castaways.

     Stevenson and Verne were two of ERB’s earliest influences thus ERB returns full circle to his origins.

     In the last Tarzan novel and the last published in his lifetime, Tarzan And The Foreign Legion, at the very end the fugitives from the Japanese army approach the remains of the Mysterious Island that after the volcanic explosition of Verne is a mere spire of rock in the vast ocean.  Not a refuge in the world left for Tarzan or ERB.  Like Capt. Nemo a submarine surfaces to rescue Tarzan and the Legion from a watery fate.

     It seems amazing that as an honorary Frenchman Tarzan was never placed in a situation with the real French Foreign Legion.  Perhaps P.C. Wren had preempted the genre with his magnificent FFL trilogy which left no room for ERB’s imagination to operate.

     The long odyssey had ended.  ERB could not imitate his man-god but he left him to us as an avatar for the coming New Age.  What a long strange trip it was and for us, will be.

Johnny Weissmuller- The Image Of Tarzan

Part II follows.

 

Themes And Variations

The Tarzan Novels Of Edgar Rice Burroughs

#5 Tarzan And The Jewels Of Opar

by

R.E. Prindle

Part III

From Opar To Achmet Zek’s Camp

 

     Tarzan and Werper begin the trek back to the Estate.  As Tarzan is an amnesiac that indicates that Burroughs is under stress.  What kind of stress?  As the stress involves sparkling Jewels it is therefore sexual stress.  During the stories of the Russian Quartet the personalities of Tarzan and Burroughs were much more separate and distinct.

     Success seems to now affect Burroughs so that he begins to identify himself with his great creation.  He begins to assume a dual personality.  His last Tarzan novel, Tarzan And The Madman will be a confession of his failure to realize his dream.  For now we may consider the bewildered Tarzan as the emergence of the new Burroughs while Werper represents the loser Burroughs of his first 36 years.  Bear in mind at all times that Burroughs has to tell his sotry so the apparent story has a different appearance than the allegorical story.  The jewels then represent the discovery of his submerged sexuality.

     As Werper and Tarzan are trekking they have gotten ahead of the slower moving Waziri.  The Waziri catch up to them each bearing 120 lbs. of gold or two 60 lb. ingots.  Six thousand pound or three tons of gold.  So, for a brief moment Burroughs financial success and sexual prowess are on the same spot.

     Tarzan not recognizing the jewels for what they are in his befuddled state indicates that Burroughs isn’t aware of how to take advantage of his new desirability.

     Tarzan’s first thought when he sees the Waziri is to kill them as he vaguely recalls that Kala, his ape mother, was murdered by a Black.  Werper talks him out of it.  What story lies behind Kala?

     The Waziri reach the burned out Estate, bury the gold, and go in search of Jane.  Tarzan and Werper arrive on the heels of the Waziri.

     Tarzan sees the Waziri burying the gold.  Werper tells him that the Waziri are hiding it for safe keeping.  Tarzan decides that would be an excellent thing to do with the jewels.  When he believes Werper is asleep that night he digs a hole with his father’s knife burying the jewels.

     On the ashes of his former existence then the gold representing his novels and the jewels representing his sexuality are buried.

     Werper representing Burroughs old self was not sleeping; waiting for Tarzan to sleep he digs up the jewels fleeing to the camp to  Achmet Zek and Jane.  Thus the jewels and Jane are reunited with Werper being the possessor of the jewels and hence Jane.  Fearing that Zek will murder him for the jewels in the middle of the night Werper persuades Jane to accompany him in flight thus setting up the next transfer of the jewels and Jane.

     Meanwhile Tarzan wakes up finding Werper missing and reverts back to his role as an ape, or Great White Beast.  peraps this signifies returning to his rough and rowdy ways of bachelorhood.   However La and the little hairy men have left Opar in search of Tarzan and the sacred knife.  They track him down to essentially the Estate.  Perhaps this represents a new beginning on the ashes of the old. 

     This is the first time La has been outside the gates of Opar.

     She is infuriated that Tarzan has rejected her love.  After the usual hoopla about sacrificing the Big Guy night falls.  La spends time pleading with Tarzan to return her love.  She collapses over Tarzan much as over Werper in Opar.  She lays atop Tarzan.  Remember both Tarzan and La are always nearly nude so we have a very sensual image here.  Finding Tarzan unresponsive La curls up beside Tarzan thus sleeping with him although chastely.

     The next day the sacrificial hoopla begins again.  Just as Tarzan is about to be sacrificed he hears Tantor the elephant in the distance.  He emits a cry to attract Tantor.

     As the elephant approaches Tarzan realizes that Tantor is in must, sexually aroused.  He warns La who releases him just as Tantor charges into the clearing.  Seizing La Tarzan runs up the convenient tree.  Tantor thoroughly aroused directed his lust specifically at Tarzan and La.  The tree is a large one but Tantor tries to bull it over.  Failing this the mighty beast wraps his trunk around the bole and rearing titanically actually manages to uproot the tree.

     As the tree topples Tarzan throws La on his back making a terrific leap to a lesser tree.  Tantor follows as Tarzan leaps from tree to tree.  Tantor’s attention wanders and he runs off in another direction leaving La and Tarzan.

     So what does this scene mean?  Possibly the temptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs.  As I said it would be highly improbable if, as a successful writer, Burroughs didn’t attract the attention of other women who would make themselves available to him.  This would place incredible stress on him making himself unable to ‘remember’ who he was, what he had been for 36 years.

     He said he walked out on Emma a number of times.  Leaving for Opar could be equivalent to walking out on Emma.  The first night with La could be the first temptation.  The elephant in must might indicate surrender to the temptation or at least a terrific struggle to avoid it.

     In any event Tarzan returns La to the little hairy men then returning to the Estate to recover the jewels.  This could be interpreted as a reconciliation.  He finds the jewels gone.  Realizing Werper stole them he sets out on the spoor to Zek”s camp.

     In the meantime Basuli wounded as he was had crawled after Zek.  Recovering his strength he returns to fighting form.  The fifty Waziri also followed after Zek.  All three parties arrive at the same time.

     Clambering over the wall as usual Tarzan discovers that both Werper and Jane were gone.  Now in pursuit of the jewels and Jane Tarzan returns to the jungle.

Part IV follows.

 

Themes And Variations

The Tarzan Novels Of Edgar Rice Burroughs

#5: Tarzan And The Jewels Of  Opar

Part II

by

R.E. Prindle

Reliving Past Crimes And Humiliations

     Let us put Chapter 6: The Arab Raid at this point in the discusssion so as to achieve greater continuity at the scenes in Opar.

     With Tarzan absent from the Estate Zek makes his move to obtain Jane.  The brave Waziri warriors rally around Jane putting up a fierce resistance.  For whatever reason Tarzan hasn’t armed them with the latest repeating rifles and perhaps a Gatling Gun preferring they fight their battles with spears; hence they are no match for Zek whose men are armed with some woefully outdated firearms.  We aren’t even told whether they’re Snyders.  Burroughs just calls them ‘long guns.’

     Jane herself  is armed with what seems to be a repeating rifle.  While there are those who refer to Jane as wimpy she is far from wilting here as she gamely fires through the closed door.

     It is difficult to determine ERB’s intent here.  In 1903-04 when Emma traveled to the wilds of Idaho with her husband she was far from the frontier type.  ERB undoubtedly wanted her to be the dauntless frontier woman perhaps as was the wife portrayed in the Virginian but he discovered she was a citified fashion queen.  Perhaps here he is demonstrating to Emma what he had wanted her to be.

     The Estate is fired as it will be again three years hence when the Germans arrive.  At that time ERB led us to believe that Jane was murdered while here she is about to be taken far away.  In ERB’s troubled mind it would appear that he wanted to be rid of Emma.  He would actually say he always wanted to be rid of her twenty years hence.

     Oblivious of the fate of Jane Tarzan is in far away Opar loading the remaining faithful Waziri with the oddly shaped gold ingots.

     Werper has followed him into the vaults.  As an allegory Werper in this place can represent Ogden McClurg.  The vaults can represent ERB’s mind where the wealth of his imagination is stored.  Thus the publisher is taking what is rightfully ERB’s labor.

     In actuality Ogden McClurg was seldom in Chicago.  He was a naval officer who was in the Caribbean most of the time coming back briefly and then when The Great War broke out he became involved in those operations.  The manager Joe Bray seems to have been the responsible person.  I haven’t been able to ascertain McClurg’s position while I have been told the records for McClurg’s were destroyed so that may be impossible.  I have gone through the correspondence between McClurg’s, A.L. Burt and Grosset and Dunlap in the archives of the University of Louisville.  There seems to have been an agreement between McClurg’s and G&D to, how shall I say it, defraud Burroughs of royalties.  If Burroughs was the best selling author of the time he is represented to be his royalty checks were ludicrously small, by the late thirties five, six and seven dollars per title.  Hardly worth either McClurg’s or G&D’s bother if accurate.  One is at a loss to understand why they clung so obstinately to the titles.  One compares such small checks with the enormous sales of the 1960s.  You can draw your own conclusions but it definitely seems there are some unsolvable contradictions.

     Burroughs always believed he was being cheated.  Based on the evidence I have seen I have to agree with him.

     The gold has been brought to the top of the shaft.  Tarzan goes back for a last look when the roof literally caves in.  An earthquake occurs; a portion of the roof  lands on Tarzan’s head putting him out.  Werper who was in the same place with Tarzan is uninjured.  Unable to go forward he takes the candle stub fleeing down the corridor toward Opar.  In this instance he appears almost as a doppelganger of Tarzan.

     Tarzan when locked in a cell on the previous occasion had removed the bricks in the wall opening into this corridor.  Werper now traces Tarzan’s steps in reverse.  Coming to the well he makes the same leap with with same success.  Removing the bricks he retraces Tarzan’s steps back up into the sacrificial chamber.  Here the little hairy men seize him tossing him onto the altar where La awaits.  Duplicating the sacrifical scene with Tarzan she is about to plunge the knife into Werper’s breast when the air is shattered by a deafening roar.  A lion has announced his presence in the chamber.  The little hairy men flee, La faints and Werper prays.

     We know this story because it is ERB’s favorite theme written in many variations.

     ERB leaves Werper at the altar and returns to Tarzan who we last saw lying on the floor in a spreading pool of blood.  The sequence in Opar recapitulates the main psychological traumas in ERB’s life in one of its many variations.  The story changes and evolves but the facts remain the same.  The overriding trauma here was ERB’s bashing in Toronto in 1899.  The blow from the sap or pipe had a fixating effect on ERB.  I’m sure he relived the situation over two or three times every day.  It remains to be discovered if he blamed Emma for it.  Had he not been competing with Martin for her hand the blow would never have happened.  Here he couples the memory of the blow with the abduction of Emma.

     Inert for a period of time he recovers but has lost his memory.  A usual occurrence in periods of great stress for ERB.  He didn’t think he lost consciousness in Toronto but he was knocked down having his scalp torn so that he was covered in blood by the time he arrived at the hospital.  I think he did lose consciousness although he may not have been ‘out cold.’

     I compare the situation with one of mine.  At fifteen I was ice skating when I saw a boy scoot between two girls holding hands at arm’s length.  I thought I would emulate him but the two girls closed up as I came from behind.  I was better at starting than stopping.  My legs flew up and I landed on the back of my head.  I literally saw stars, five pointed colored stars in a burst of light.  I can still recall the sound of my skull striking the ice.  It was an odd sound.  I never thought I lost consciousness but I remember opening my eyes so I must have been unconscious for some seconds at least.  I suspect that ERB as he fell lost consciousness for at least a few seconds if not longer.  Here in Opar he has Tarzan knocked cold for some time which must have been the way he had felt.  ERB had fairly serious mental problems for at least a couple decades.  While he doesn’t record losing his memory as such he has the hero of Girl From Farriss’s  who received a blow duplicate to that received by himself, Ogden Secor, walking past friends as though he didn’t know them.  A form of memory loss.

     There is no story of Burroughs in which the main character doesn’t get bopped once or twice.  This was noticed by Raymond Chandler, the creator of Philip Marlowe, who wrote a semi-dissertaion on bopping in one of his stories.  Chandler had read Burroughs extensively.  He speculated that no man could survive so many bashings as Tarzan received.  Probably true.  Chandler then proceeds to have a character bashed twice in succession.  Chandler preferred the lump behind the ear which produces euphoric dreams.

     At any rate Tarzan recovers while dimly remembering his ‘heavy war spear’ that he searches for.  It is interesting that Tarzan never adopts modern weapons even though Jane had a repeater and one as knowledgeable as Tarzan must  have been up on the Maxim gun by the time these stories were written.  Rope, knife, spear and bow and arrows, Tarzan scorned guns.

     Now, following in the footsteps of Werper, he comes to the well and falls in but doesn’t lose his grasp of his heavy war spear.  The well probably represents a descent into the subconscious into the waters of the feminine.  Bobbing to the surface he clambers out where the waters are level with the floor.  An odd situation.  Perhaps overflowing into the corridor from time to time making the floor treacherous, Tarzan has a difficult time keeping his footing until he climbs some stairs of many turnings.  This is all terrific atmosphere although the meaning eludes me.  Tarzan thus enters the forgotten jewel room of Opar.  Here the Jewels of Opar come into play.  Like the old singalongs at the Saturday movie matinee where you followed the bouncing ball now we begin to follow the course of the Jewels through the rest of the story.

      This associates Werper and Opar with the novels of Tarzan And The Golden Lion and Tarzan And The Ant Men.  In that sense Werper becomes a prototype of Esteban Miranda, one of my favorite characters.  In those two novels Miranda like Werper tries to steal the gold.  Miranda unlike Werper was a Tarzan lookalike.  Instead of following the jewels in those two novels we follow Tarzan’s locket containing the pictures of his mother and father.  Thus the stories change but the themes remain the same.

     Tarzan merely sees the jewels as fascinating pretty baubles unable to discern their value because of his memory loss.    He keeps the cut stones which diffract the light throwing the uncut stones back.  Odd detail but perhaps significant.  Just as the gold represents Burrough’s writing earnings the Jewels, especially diamonds, are associated with his sexual goals.  Thus in Lion Man he associated Balza, who represents Florence, with an abundance of diamonds as he thinks he has realized his sexual goals.  Then when he realizes his error in Tarzan And The Forbidden City the much sought after ‘father of diamonds’ turns out to be a piece of coal.

     He then emerges into the sanctuary just as the lion emits its fearful roar.  Let’s examine this scene in detail as ERB here replicates symbolically his confrontation with John the Bully on the street corner in the fourth grade.

     For those who haven’t followed my essays ERB was confronted by a bully named John when eight or nine who terrorized his soul fixating him forever.

     I know there are Bibliophiles who find the analysis of the confrontation as I have dealt with it to this point difficult to believe.  The majority of people, in fact, appear to not undertand how something that happened when you were eight or nine can affect your mind for life.  Most people think things are just forgotten.  It is all a matter of suggestion when your mind is in a hypnoid state.  The interpretation of the event enters your mind where it becomes fixated.  Compare it to the clipboard of your computer.  You can’t see the information copied  but it exists on your computer nonetheless and in certain conditions manifests itself.  This is probably  close to what the French psychologist Pierre Janet meant by his term ‘idee fixe.’  Once in your mind the idea may take a few days or longer to become fixed thereafter directing your actions.  The suggestion becomes a reality to your essentially hypnotized mind.

     When confronted by John, a much larger and older boy, and a hoodlum, the young ERB was terrorized; this opened his mind to the hypnotic suggestion creating a hypnoid state.  As ERB replicates this scene almost as often as the Toronto incident these two scenes are the twin poles of his psychosis.  They are closely allied in his mind as Tarzan has just come from a bashing and now meets his nemesis John in the form of the lion.  The lion is big and fearsome as was John.

     When ERB was a child John, or the lion, destroyed ERB’s self-image.  In this instance Tarzan is a giant with the thews of steel, a heavy war spear and his father’s knife.  He is loaded for lions and eager to kill.

     On the sacrifical altar, probably a metaphor of the psychological death he experienced with John, is Werper.   As I believe Werper is a prototype of the latter doppelgangers Esteban Miranda and Stanley Obroski.  Miranda and thus Werper represent the inefective Burroughs who quailed before John.  Miranda is a Tarzan lookalike, an identical twin as it were.  Neither in Werper nor Miranda does ERB resolve his conflict between the defeated wimp of his youth and the heroic Tarzan he now visualizes himself as.  Werper and Miaranda then will morph into Stanley Obroski of Tarzan And The Lion Man who is another twin where Werper/Miranda/Obroski die as ERB beilieves or hopes that he has succeeded in realizing a heroic character.  When he wrote Tarzan And The Madfman he realized that he was not the man he hoped to become.

     In Opar the lion is about to leap on Werper and La has fainted across his body thus associating the Anima and Animus.  In this instance La represents ERB’s failed Anima while Werper is the emasculated Animus.  Tarzan/ERB then steps between the lion and La and Werper to save them.  He drives his heavy war spear into the lion’s chest, itself an act that ERB portrays often.

     Then, leaping on the back of the lion he repeatedly drives his father’s knife into its side.  This is in itself a simulation of the sexual act, probably anal.  At the same time the violence of copulation is an act of supreme hatred, very homosexual in nature actually.  Having killed his adversary, John the Lion, he puts his foot on the body and exults with the terrifying victory cry of the bull ape.  In his fantasy then he corrects his defeat on the street corner.

     Now, the effect of the encounter with John on ERB’s psychology was profound.  When John defeated the child ERB here represented by Werper and La, he assumed a half share role in both ERB’s Anima and Animus.  Remember the fainted La is lying over the body of Werper.  Thus the lion becomes Tarzan/ERB’s symbol of both helper and enemy; the lion becomes the enemy of his Animus and helper to his Anima.  It is quite possible that if it hadn’t been pointed out to him after the publication of Tarzan Of The Apes that there were no tigers in Africa that the lion would have been a helpmate and the tiger the enemy.  In that case there mgiht have been dramatic lion and tiger fights in which the tiger was always defeated.  It is also possible that the lion would have been male and the tiger female thus prefiguring Burroughs’ later pronounced misogyny.

     As John was male so is the lion so we have the anomaly of an Anima represented half by a loser female and half by a man in drag while the Animus is a loser male that ERB has to dispose of if he is to reintegrate his personality.  This must have been a terrible conflict with potentially disastrous consequences.

     The dilemma is most clearly represented in ERB’s second written book, The Outlaw Of Torn.  Outlaw is not a book he chose to write but one which was suggested to him by his editor, Metcalf, at All Story Magazine.  ERB casts his story in his familiar Prince and Pauper format.  His mental dilemma is clearly depicted.

     Norman, the hero, is the son of the English king, Henry.  Henry insults his fencing instructor De Vac who avenges himself on Norman.  The child is playing in a fenced yard attended by his nurse, Maud, who represents his Anima.  She is chatting with a domestic failing to keep a close eye on Norman.  He is lured through the gate outside the garden (of Eden) where De Vac waits to kidnap him.  Realizing the boy’s danger Maud rushes to Norman’s rescue where De Vac brutally murders her.  Thus Norman/ERB’s Anima is now destroyed.  The mind cannot exist without an Anima so De Vac takes the young boy to London where they occupy the attic of a house over the Thames.  The river represents the waters of the feminine while the house represents ERB and the attic his mind.  Now, to replace the anima De Vac dresses as an old woman associating with Norman in that guise until Norman/ERB’s mind heals enough for ERB to function.  At that time De Vac shifts to the Animus side training Norman in the manly arts.  Thus Norman becomes a sort of predecessor of Tarzan.  Tarzan Of The Apes will be the third novel ERB writes.  At that point drawing on the clear example of Outlaw Of Torn ERB began to evolve his way out of his psychological dilemma.

     The reason he can never develop a relationship with La is because she represents ERB’s failed Anima.  In this scene La is on her knees pleading with Tarzan to accept her love.  Tarzan coldly replies that he does not want her.  Then walks away taking Werper his alter ego with him.

     The little hairy men come shrieking after them.  Tarzan’s heroic side clubs them down with his heavy war spear thus replicating the blow he recieved in Toronto on his enemies, correcting that insult and injury.  Over and over the heavy war spear falls on head after head.  Werper, befitting a coward, follows Tarzan in his shadow as it were clutching the sacred sacrifical knife of Opar.

     Thus we have two knives.  Tarzan’s father’s knife and the sacred knife of Opar as two sides to the same man.  The hairy men do not attack Werper out of respect for the sacred knife.  Werper discovers this.  Reversing the role he precedes Tarzan waving the sacred knife as the little hairy men part before them.  I don’t have an explanation of the sacred knife at this time.

     The hairy men do not pursue them.  Searching for the exit they come upon a tribe of great apes.  Not content with having reenacted his  traumas once ERB gains a little extra gratification by having Tarzan challenged by a large bull much, once again, as John confronted him on the street corner.  Thus the apes may have an association with John.  Tarzan is ready for the ape:

     Werper saw a hairy bull swing down from a broken column and advance, stiff legged and bristling, toward the naked giant.  The yellow fangs were bared, angry snarls and barkings rumbled threateningly through the thick and hanging lips….

     But there was no battle.  It ended as the majority of such jungle encounters end- one of the boasters loses his nerve and becomes suddenly interested in a blowing leaf, a beetle, or the lice on his hairy stomach.

     Notice how all these offensive types are hairy.

     And so ERB  caps the reliving of Toronto and John.  in his imagination he had corrected both encounters reversing actuality to a more psychologically comfortable conclusion.  But, after all, it was just a fantasy and temporary fix.  ERB would continue to deal with the two traumas in an attempt to exorcize them.  I don’t think he ever found a satisfactory resolution.  In fact in a manner Frank Martin continued the warfare from his grave to that of ERB.  After ERB died R.S. Patchin, Martin’s partner in crime, sent a letter to John Coleman Burroughs in which he maliciously related the story of the bashing or, in reality, attempted murder.  Martin through Patchin got the last laugh.  Emma was dead by then anyway.

     We can continue to Part III.

 

Edgar Rice Burroughs On Mars

A Review

Thuvia, Maid Of Mars

Part II

by

R.E. Prindle

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

B.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Tarzan Over Africa

February 23, 2009

 

Tarzan Over Africa

The Psychological Roots Of Tarzan In The Western Psyche

by

R.E. Prindle

As the strong man exhibits in his physical ability, delighting in such exercises as call the muscles into action, so glories the analyst in that moral activity which disentagles.  He derives pleasure from even the most trivial occupations bringing his intellect into play.  He is fond of enigmas, conundrums, hieroglypics; exhibiting in his solutions of each a degree of  acumen which appears to the ordinary apprehension as praeternatural.  His results brought about by the very soul and essence of method, have in truth, the whole air of intuition.

Edgar Allen Poe- The Murders In The Rue Morgue

…he dreams of the sight

of Zulu impis

breaking on the foe

like surf upon the rocks

and his heart rises in rebellion

against the strict limits

of civilized life.

H. Rider Haggard- Allan Quatermain

Yes!  I noticed this dichotomy in the Western soul myself at least two thirds of a lifetime ago.  I was always puzzled by it.  Why in the midst of plenty and seeming perfection should the Western psyche be so discontented with its lot.

     Well, time has passed.  Two thirds of a lifetime in fact.  After much mental lucubration and travail I now find myself in a position not only to understand it myself but to be able, perhaps, to make it clear to others;  perhaps hopefully to you who are looking at this screen.

     The problem began we are told, by people who ought to know, about one hundred fifty thousand years ago when our species, Homo Sapiens, evolved  from its predecessor hominid, which has never been traced being the famous Missing Link, to begin its odyssey through time and space.

     We are told that Homo Sapiens originated in Africa and that Black Africans, or what Tarzan would call savages, were the first Homo Sapiens.  We are told, once again, that White people mutated from this original Black stock.  This may or may not be so.  I am in no position to affirm or deny the fact myself but, if so, there was a qualitative difference as well as a quantitative difference that then occurred.  In fact, if one were to judge solely from appearances two sub-species of Homo Sapiens came into existence when the White evolved from the Black.  This qualitative difference between the sub-species or what we have been taught to consider races, was noticed by all the early explorers with differing interpretations.

     As the English novelist, H. Rider Haggard, who as a man of considerable experience and acumen, put it:

I say that as the savage is, so is the white man, only this latter is more inventive, and possesses a faculty of combination…

     Rider Haggard was quite right, both sub-species evolved from the same stock, both had the same emotional makeup, but what Haggard dismisses as only ‘more inventive’ and ‘a faculty of combination’ is precisely that which separates the White sub-species from the Black sub-species and makes it evolutionarily more advanced.  In conventional terms invention and a faculty of combination is called the scientific method.

     The scientific method is not to be dismissed lightly.  It is a faculty of mind that is an evolutionary step in advance of the White sub-species’ evolutionary predecessor, the Black sub-species.

     This may be a startling interpretation to you, however if one is to follow the scientific logic adduced by scientists of Evolution the facts follow as day follows night.  They cannot be avoided nor can they be explained away.   They must be dealt with head on, just as our Attorney General Eric Holder has stated.

     The evolutionary step within the Homo Sapiens species is almost tentative to our White minds, not so clear cut as to separate, say, the Chimpanzee species from the Gorilla species.  The transition is however in that direction.

     In the nineteenth century the cleavage between the scientific mind and that of  the savage or first Homo Sapiens mind was beginning to become felt in the Western psyche.  A malaise of spirit was created which troubled the soul of Western man.  The ‘strict limits’ of scientific civilization versus the seeming naturalness and open simplicity of the African became a dichotomy in the Western psyche.

     Haggard was not the first to confront the problem but before I begin at the beginning with who I consider to be the first let me elucidate the problem further by another quote from Rider Haggard.

     Ah!  this civilization what does it all come to?  Full forty years and more I spent among savages, and studied them and their ways, and now for several years I have lived here in England and in my own stupid manner have done my best to learn the ways of the children of light; and what do I find?  A great gulf fixed? No, only a very little one, that a plain man’s thought may spring across.

     Haggard was quite correct as far as he went.  What he failed to understand, ‘in his own stupid way’, was that there was a small gulf over which civilized man thinks he could spring backward without difficulty but from the other side that small gulf appears a great chasm which the completed mind of the first Homo Sapiens can never find a way across.

        Edgar Rice Burroughs who read Haggard and was also struck by this really important introductory chapter to  ‘Allan Quatermain’  pondered the issue long and hard and resolved the issue in his own mind when he said that the savage mind could never grasp science while only one in a hundred of the White species could, with perhaps one in a thousand being able to advance science.  ERB intuited what modern genetics would prove.

     This dichotomy between the primitive and scientific mind does not become truly prominent until the mid-nineteenth century.  It wasn’t observable to the naked eye before then and only begins to establish itself in literature with the apperance in 1841 of Edgar Allan Poe’s ‘Murders In The Rue Morgue.’

     Poe created a whole new genre of literature, not only of the detective story, but of the conflict between what Freud would later identify in his system as the Unconscious and the Conscious mind.  Prior to Poe reason, or the forebrain, was the sole approach to knowledge; after Poe awareness of the Unconscious element began its long rise until today it is dominant.

     When dissatisfaction with Haggard’s strict limits of civilization began to forcibly intrude into White consciousness, causing the split identity, is not clear to me although it may well have been the introduction of the Age of Steam.  Certainly by 1841 the intrusion of the steam railroad was going a long way to condition man’s mind to a rigid one way view of reality as laborers spun out the long steel ribbons along which the great unyielding iron locomotives ran.

     The science of steam was unforgiving, with a low level of tolerance for human error, and making no allowance for individual idiosyncracies.

     In the days of the great steamboat races on the Mississippi boiler pressure was controlled by a little governor.  Greater speed could be attained if the governor was removed allowing boiler pressure to increase.  Of course, the inevitable result was the explosion of the boiler and destruction of the steamboat and crew.  Even knowing the scientific consequences of removing the governor operators time after time did  it in hopes of defeating physics and winning the race.

     Thus science seemed ‘unfair’ and the White man’s limited undeveloped understanding began to rebel.

     When evolution gave man access to science he reached the limits of what human exertion alone could do.  Thus the forebrain was frustrated, driving it back toward the brain stem and the Unconscious.  A new scientific frontier was opened thereby- the study of the human mind.

     Edgar Allan Poe grasped this significance expressing it in poetic language.  ‘Murders In The Rue Morgue’ posits the problem in the form of C. Auguste Dupin who, while using rigorous scientific method is mistaken for being intuitive.  The Conscious mind versus the Unconscious.

     The Unconscious is always disreputable.  It is there that little understood sexual urges and primitive egoistic rituals reside.  It  is there that the primitive man resides; the savage of Rider Haggard, the Negro of the present day.  It is there that the Western psyche rebels, seeking to emerge triumphant over science and understanding.  That is the little leap backwards that Rider Haggard saw.  In academic writers of the nineteenth century it was called ‘the thin veneer of civilization.’

     Thus the initials of C. Auguste Dupin spell CAD, or a slightly disreputable man.  A man who thinks only of himself.  If Poe doesn’t introduce the notion of the doppel ganger, he certainly defines the role and purpose.  Dupin and the narrator are two halves of the same person.  They are in fact one personality.

     This notion would be further developed in Conan Doyle with his creation of Sherlock Holmes and his doppelganger,  Dr. Watson.  The notion would be brought to horrifying fruition in the classic tale of the split between the conscious and unconscious minds, Robert Louis Stevenson’s ‘Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde.’

     Poe’s narrator being of greater means than Dupin who is seedy and down at the heels rents an old dilapidated house in the Faubourg St. Germain which creaks as lustily as the House of Usher.  The house is a symbol of psychological decay. The Faubourg St. Germain is itself a symbol of decay. Formerly the home of the pre-revolutionary elite, since the French Revolution it is the home of shattered fortunes.

     The two men, who are inseparable, lock themselves up in this mansion by day with all the curtains drawn, sure sign of intense depression, going out only after dark into what the narrator calls the ‘real night’ as opposed to the night of the soul; the dark Freudian unconscious.

     And then two women are murdered in mysterious circumstances.  Using all his scientific method  Dupin divines the murderer to be an Orang-outang, which was no small feat whether scientific or intuitive.  Thus the highest mental powers were symbolically pitted against man’s animal nature.

     Poe thus states the central problem of the Western psyche which is still unresolved at this time while still being discussed as much.  While Rider Haggard was wrestling with the problem Conan Doyle was writing his Sherlock Holmes stories.  Holmes like Dupin is a bit of a cad; not entirely an admirable person.  He has placed himself above the law, being quite capable of executing summary judgment on one who might  in his sole opinion escape the toils of the law.  Holmes companion, Dr. Watson, is a sturdy unimaginative burgher who serves as the example of the unconscious to Holmes’ conscious but scientifically unfeeling mind.

     Robert Louis Stevenson takes matters to an even more intense level at roughly the same time.  Jekyll and Hyde are in fact one man.  Jekyll is the example of what Freud would call the repressed man but one which society calls a disciplined and respectable man.  He is in total control of himself but he suspects there is another side to his character which he would like to discover.

     Unable to find access to this other side by psychological or rational means, he uses his scientific acumen to invent a potion which releases this demon, Mr. Hyde, concealed inside his unconscious.  Hyde is a very destructive character and having been once released he proves impossible to put back in the bottle.  He returns unsummoned.  Eventually he suppresses Jekyll becoming the sole personality.  The jump only works one way.

     Thus Stevenson predicted the evolution of the twentieth century.  This little cluster of writers bridging the nineteenth and twentieth centuries is very interesting.

     In the intervening near fifty years between ‘Murders In The Rue Morge’ and ‘Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde’ science had been revealing nature at a galloping pace placing even greater stress on the Western psyche.  Central to the further deteriorization of the psyche was Charles Darwin’s ‘Origin Of Species’ which appeared in 1859 just on the eve of the exploration of Central Africa when the stressed scientific Western psyche confronted its dark unconscious in the form of the African Black man.  Thus Africa became the Heart Of Darkness for the White man just as Hyde was the heart of darkness to Jekyll.  That little gulf across which he thought he might leap appeared as a gigantic chasm.

     The notion of evolution versus Biblical creation not only caused a tremendous social dislocation but the notion of evolution from a lower to a higher, from Ape to White man, placed the Black man or Negro in an intermediary state of development just as Burroughs would later depict the role of Tarzan Of The Apes.

     Beginning c. 1860 with the expedition of Capt. Richard Francis Burton into the lake regions of Central Africa the problem began to take a concrete form.

     What the White Man found in the interior of Africa startled him.  For here the dichotomy between his unconscious and conscious was juxtaposed in reality between himself and the Black African.  The Black African seemed to represent unchanged what man had been one hundred fifty thousand years before when he evolved from the hominid predecessor.

     For Burton and Henry Morton Stanley who followed him as an explorer the superiority of the White was apparent.  In the Negro they saw only the child of nature;  men without alphabets, physics, chemistry, astronomy or intellectual attainments of any kind.  The Negro was to be pitied, treated paternalistically as a little brother or as the Negro would later be known:  The White Man’s Burden, Idi Amin notwithstanding.

     The main period of exploration and discovery was ending when Rider Haggard began publishing his great African adventure trilogy from 1885 to 1888.

     While Burton and Stanley felt an easy superiority over the Blacks, Rider Haggard took a more disquieted attitude.  He was troubled when he noted that for all the White man’s scientific attainments there was no difference in the emotional development of the two sub-species.

     And what did he find?  A way forward?  A great gulf fixed?  No.  ‘Only a little one, that a plain man’s thought might spring across.  I say,’ he said, ‘that as the savage is, so is the white man, only the latter is more inventive, and possesses a faculty of combination…’

     Well, indeed.  But wasn’t Haggard undervaluing the quality of being more inventive and possessing a faculty of combination?  Those two qualities, after all, comprise the scientific faculty which cannot be attained by effort but is evolutionarily ingrained.  It is forever beyond the reach of the first Homo Sapiens.  Haggard and all other writers recognized that this faculty is what the Africans lacked.

     Consider then in one hundred fifty thousand years the Africas were so incurious that they had never observed the heavens.  They had no astronomy!  When the White split off probably one hundred thousand years ago this is the first science they established.  Think about it.

     Is this scientific faculty such a small thing?  If, in fact, a White man of plain understanding can make the leap backward to a natural state can the Black or natural man leap the chasm to a scientific state of consciousness?

     Darwin’s theory of evolution is based on natural selection, actually a form of eugenics, by which he believed new species were evolved.  It would appear, however that evolution is caused by genetic mutations and when a species has mutated into the complete expression of itself evolution stops for that species which then becomes, as it were, a living fossil.

     Rather than natural selection there is perhaps natural rejection.  When a new sub-speices forms with its differences it is more likely that the predecessor recognizes the differences and ejects the new comer rather than the new species recognizing itself and banding together.  Consider Tarzan among the apes.

     When the White sub-species came into existence perhaps one hundred thousand years ago it is more than probable that the sub-species was rejected by its Black predecessors and forcibly ejected from sub-Saharan Africa.

     Thus  in the two closest known predecessors of Homo Sapiens, the Great Mountain Ape and the Chimpanzee both species are completed and now await extinction as they are unable to compete with their successor hominids.

     Scientists tell us, I have no way of disputing their conclusion only interpreting them, that Homo Sapiens evolved from a predecessor about a hundred fifty thousand years ago.  They further tell us that the first Homo Sapiens was the Negro sub-species.

     The predecessor, who has disappeared without a trace, unless he is the Bushman, was a completed species; he was incapable of further evolution himself but from him the Negro sub-species of Homo Sapiens evolved.

     Now comes the hard part to accept.  Science is science; one must either follow its facts or abandon the pretence of being scientific man.

     As the first Homo Sapiens was the Negro sub-species, is the Negro sub-species complete as an example of evolutionary development?  If the Negro was the first Homo Sapiens then the White sub-species must be evolved from the Negro and as nature is ever groping toward higher intelligence the White must be an intellectual improvement on its Black predecessor.   The apparent facts indicate this.

     Evolution appears to be always toward a form of higher intelligence.  Thus the qualities of combination and inventiveness may be completely beyond the reach of the Black sub-species.  The Black may stand in relation to the White as the Great Mountain Ape stands to the Chimp.

     Further, if one assumes, as one must, that evolution has not stopped either with the development of Homo Sapiens or its sub-species the White man, then the White man must carry the genetic makeup for the mutation to the next step of evolution.  As only fifty thousand years intervened between the evolution of the first Homo Sapiens and its White successor than the next evolutionary sub-species or species may already be among us.   This is what H.G. Wells novel The Food Of The Gods is about.  Apparently the evolutionary bud, like a swelling on a tree, may only blossom once and then the sub-species or species is incapable of budding again becoming fixed in form

     The question then arises will the next step be to a new species that will make Homo Sapiens a completely inferior species such as now exists between Homo Sapiens and the Chimpanzee or a new sub-species that will merely increase the distance between it and the first sub-species.

     If the new mutation increases its intellectual capabilities will it also be able to evolve a new emotional organization that will separate it from Homo Sapiens and its animal nature completely?  Or is it possible that the dichotomy between the two under which Western man suffers will increase involving some sort of evolutionary insanity  or suicide?

     Well, as the nineteenth century drew to a close vitamins hadn’t even been discovered let alone genetics so people muddled along in a dissatisified condition.

     The unconscious aspects of man began to predominate over the conscious as Western man confronted with his natural state in Africa began to slip back across the little gulf in admiration of the seeming ‘natural ‘ state of the ‘noble savage.’  This slip backward was aided and abetted by Sigmund Freud’s vision of the unconscious.

     Late in the century Thomas Alva Edison invented the movie camiera.  This invention was to have a major effect on the rise of the Unconscious or retrogression to the primitive as the dominating factor in the Western psyche.  At approximately the same time as the film industry was becoming important Sigmund Freud published his seminal work:  The Interpretation Of Dreams.  Thus a scientific vocabulary  began to come into existence by which the workings of the mind could be analyzed and discussed.  the Unconscious became an established entity.

      Now, writing is work of the forebrain or in other words, a scientific pursuit, while movie making is a function of the Unconscious.  A good story is more important in writing while subliminal drives are the stuff of movies.  It is only required that movies make emotional but not rational sense. They follow a different logic.

     Edgar Rice Burroughs was to be confused by this difference when he tried to translate his books to the screen.  While the early Tarzan films were not unsuccessful they were not all that satisfying; it was not until MGM invented the Tarzan of primal desires impersonated by Johnny Weismuller that the movie Tarzan became potent.  However in that guise Tarzan was entirely another creation.  His being had become independent of ERB’s mind.

     One movie is capable of finding more viewers than a thousand books can find readers.   Thus the subconscious began to dominate over the conscious Tarzan.

     I am of the opinion that Freud was already aware of the effect of the emergence of the Unconscious as a formative factor in society before he codified the phenomenon in scientific language.  After all Freud was subject to the same influences as Poe, Haggard, Doyle, Stevenson and Burroughs.

     Freud himself came from an earlier school which delighted in the unrestrained indulgence of the unconscious or passions.  In English terms the attitude took form as the Hell Fire Club to which the American Benjamin Franklin belonged.  Its motto was:  Do What Thou Wilt.  Its bible on the continent was ‘Gargantua and Pantagruel’ by Rabelais, while in Jewish circles the credo had been established by Jacob Frank and his descendants.  Frank’s position was that man will never be good until he commits evil to his heart’s content.  Freud being Jewish was of this school.

     These groups of people were quite extreme.  Their credo was startlingly expressed in the eighteenth century by Tobias Smollet when his hero, Roderick Random, is introduced into a woman’s home who wrote the following:

Thus have I sent the simple king to hell

Without or coffin, shroud or passing bell.

To me what are divine or human laws?

I court no sanction but my own applause!

Rapes, robb’ries, treasons, yield my soul delight;

And human carnage gratifies my sight;

I drag the parent by the hoary hair,

And toss the sprawling infant on my spear,

While the fond mother’s cries regale my ear.

I fight, I vanquish, murder friends and foes;

Nor dare the Immortal gods my rage oppose.

       The above pretty much defines Freud’s intent in his psychology.  So long as such sentiments were consciously expressed in print they horrified a rational thinker while remaining strictly an underground movement.  But now Freud combined the attitude with the malaise of soul which had been called into existence by the dichotomy of the scientific and unconscious minds.

     Freud reduced the mind, including the Unconscious, into scientific terms by which such Rabelaisan attitudes could be discussed and disseminated into polite society as scientific thought rather than eccentric opinion.

     Freud despised what he called the morality of the day or in other words, Christian morality.  He determined that the main cause of mental illness was the repression of disorderly or anti-social desires.  He glorified these base desires as the Ego and proclaimed that where the Unconscious was Ego shall be.  This is another way of saying:  Do What Thou Wilt.

      Thus in the decades following Freud the whole notion of self control and a disciplined mind fell into disrepute as Western man began to revel in his most criminal desires; for the Unconscious which always disregards the rights of others is alway criminal.

     So it was that the terrible figure of Dracula who began his rise in the 1890s  became the dominant psychological projection of the twentieth century.  Dracula is the Unconscious incarnate.  Completely despising the rights of others, even their right to life; he sucks anyone’s life blood so that he alone may live.

     Like Dupin and the narrator of ‘Murders In The Rue Morgue’ Dracula only comes out in the ‘real night’. In fact, one ray of the sun, in other words, consciousness, will turn him to dust.  Light is anathema to him; he must shun the day.

     Alongside Dracula the cult of the Phantom Of The Opera has grown into huge proportions being disseminated to polite society by Andrew Lloyd Weber’s opera of the same name.

     Talk about conscious and unconscious, the Phantom lives in a sewer, the very home of the Unconscious, where he has installed a huge organ on which he plays the most glorious conscious creations of Johann Sebastian Bach.

     Deformed in soul, the deformation has been extended to his exterior in the form of a burned face which he covers with a mask just as one masks one’s interior motives from others.  Attracted to the higher things from the depths of his sewer he haunts an opera house directly above where, spying from secret passages, he falls in love with the beautiful opera singer who, initially repulsed by the soul shown on his face gradually succumbs to the lure of the unconscious.

     Edgar Rice Burroughs was born into this strange social milieu, as we know, in 1875.  Seemingly failing in every thing he did, he had scant prospects in life until at the age of 37 in 1912 his education jelled into the creation of his life, Tarzan the Magnificent.

     Tarzan is extraordinary in that he runs counter to the other expressions of the Western malaise.  Tarzan is whole and entire.  In Freudian terms, where Unconscious was, now Ego reigned and it was good Ego, not the criminal model of Freud.

     As Tarzan was, so must have been Burroughs, although I have no idea how he achieved this.  It appears, nevertheless, to be true.  In fact, whatever Burroughs read or was thinking about he seems to have resolved in Tarzan the mental dilemma which was first formulated by Poe.  Further, he acknlowledges Poe’s influence.

     We know that Burroughs read and revered the African adventure novels of Rider Haggard.  It can be stated certainly that he read the African explorers Capt. Richard Burton and Henry Morton Stanley.  Whether he read the other seekers of the source of the Nile, Speke and Baker, I don’t know, as I cannot so state with certainty.  It is not impossible that Baker’s wife was a model for Jane.

     It is certain nevertheless that the great age of African exploration thrilled him while occupying a prominent place in his daily thoughts.

     Being scientifically inclined, he applied his reading in evolution, exploration, geology, psychology  and other subjects to the formation of his great creation, Tarzan.  As he says, he wrote to amuse and entertain (read: make money) so that he expressed the results of his deepest study in seemingly frivolous tales.  Then, while he captured the imagination of the reading public, he offended the critics of ‘serious’ literature who refused to take him seriously.  He even found it difficult to find a book publisher even though he was a proven popular success.

     Yet he pondered deeply the dilemma propounded by Poe while apparently puzzling out the deeper meaning of Haggard’s introductory chapter to ‘Allan Quatermain.’ Stevenson’s Jekyll and Hyde filled his thoughts.

     There is little doubt that Haggard’s hero, Sir Henry Curtis, is a progenitor of Tarzan.  One can see Tarzan in the great White English warrior standing tall in a sea of Black soldiers.  Sir Henry Curtis leads the Black Kukuana into battle against their foes.  The first Big Bwana had come into existence.

     Burroughs wants his hero Tarzan to be born in Africa so in 1888 the year ‘Allan Quatermain’ was published and Sir Henry Curtis sealed himself in his valley high in the Mountains Of The Moon, Lord Greystoke and his wife, the Lady Alice Greystoke are abandoned on the West Coast of Africa where, as we know, they both lost their lives but not before Lady Alice gave birth to a son who was then adopted by the great she ape, Kala.

     In The Return Of Tarzan the putative successor to Lord John Greystoke is voyaging through the Suez Canal around Africa in his yacht, the Lady Alice, when he is shipwrecked near the exact spot where his father and mother built their tree house in Africa.

     To understand fully this sequence in Burroughs’ imagination one has to examine the other source for his creation, Tarzan- Henry Morton Stanley.

     There can be no question that before Burroughs wrote Tarzan he had read if not studied the books of H.M. Stanley.  And, why not?  Stanley’s most important titles are: How I Found Livingstone In Central Africa, Through The Dark Continent and In Darkest Africa.

     ‘Through The Dark Continent’ is one of the great adventure stories of all time.  The conscious living out of Stanley’s unconscious needs and desires is remarkable reading.

     One might think that Burroughs’  yacht ‘Lady Alice’ was named after Clayton’s mother, Lady Alice Greystoke.  Not so.  Burroughs is full of subtle jokes and elaborate circumlocutions.  If not Clayton’s mother then how did Burroughs come up with the name ‘Lady Alice’ for the yacht?  Well, if you read Stanley’s ‘Through The Dark Continent’ you will find that he carried for thousands of miles through Africa a boat in sections that could be broken down and rebuilt.  With this boat Stanley circumnavigated Lake Victoria as well as Lake Tanganyika, then sailed the boat down the entire length of the mighty Congo River.  That boat was named the Lady Alice.  Thus Tarzan like Stanley was carried by the Lady Alice.  That’s a very subtle joke, Son.  Stanley himself had named the boat after his Cincinnati fiancee, Alice.  During his sail down the Congo she ditched him for another man.  In weird synchronicity Stanley ditched the Lady Alice on a bluff overlooking the Atlantic nearly at the end of his journey.  What a true coincidence.

     As an aside, the psychology of it is very interesting.  Psychologically a vessel represents a woman.  the Holy Grail which is a chalice represents woman while the blood it contains represents man.  Thus you have the man, Stanley in the boat, woman.  Stanley’s mother abandoned him as a child.  He saw her only once thereafter.  Thus, his mother, the most important woman in any man’s life abandoned him.  In the Lady Alice, Stanley was obviously carried once again by his mother although I don’t know if her name was Alice also.  He then abandoned his boat the Lady Alice.

     Stanley didn’t follow the Congo to the sea as is popularly believed but abandoned the river after traversing an incredible series of rapids when he came to an identified rapids at Stanley Pool where, completely exhausted and having reached an explored point, he considered his job done.  He had the Lady Alice carried to a hill top where he left it to the elements.  Now, in Burroughs mind he may have landed the Lady Alice at the approximate place he thought Stanley had abandoned his Lady Alice.  So, Tarzan’s house may have been intended to be on the coast directly below the Lady Alice.  That would also make the location in Gabon.  In that sense Tarzan was the successor of H.M. Stanley.

      One may therefore assume that the Greystokes were put ashore near the mouth of  the Congo where the fictional yacht Lady Alice ws shipwrecked within sight, as it were, of the real Lady Alice.  That’s how the mind of Edgar Rice Burroughs worked.

     On his way from England on the Emin Relief Expedition which forms the content of ‘In Darkest Africa’  just like Lord Greystoke Stanley sailed from England through the Suez to Zanzibar where he collected his porters, sailed with them to Capetown and from thence to the mouth of the Congo.  Then Stanley began his incredible journey up the Congo across Africa from West to East into the Northern lake regions where on this trip he located and identified the fabled and thought mythical, snow capped on the equator, Mountains Of The Moon.

     Anyone who doesn’t admire Henry Morton Stanley has the heart of a dullard.  What a man!  What terrific incredible adventures.  I’d rather read about them than live them myself but what a story.  So thought Edgar Rice Burroughs who never tried to live such adventures either.

     Very important to Tarzan is Stanley’s dealings with the various African tribes.  Stanley is virtually a single White man leading a faithful band of Negroes just like Tarzan and his faithful Waziri.

     Africa was virtually Stanley’s province as it was for Tarzan.  Tarzan’s reputation was far famed throughout Africa or at least the areas of Africa through which Stanley traveled.   Tarzan doesn’t have much to do with South Africa which has no association with Stanley although Tarzan does travel in North Africa of which Samuel Baker wrote.

     Stanley, whose three major expeditions covered a period of about fifteen years must also have become legendary amongst the Blacks.  The exploration of Lakes Victoria and Tanganyika coupled with the journey down the Congo must have been the subject of astonished conversation in every village in Central Africa.  The more so because Stanley was on scientific expeditions to map geographical features like lakes and rivers which reason no African could ever comprehend.

     They could comprehend slaving and ivory buying but they couldn’t comprehend scientific endeavors.

     Stanley’s situation in Uganda near the Ripon Falls, the outlet of the Nile from Lake Victoria, with its emperor Mtessa is the stuff of legend for either Blacks or Whites.  Stanley, virtually singlehandedly at the head of a band of African natives successfully negotiated months at the court of Mtessa and lived to the tell the tale which I believe few could have accomplished.  Then traveling South through areas that had never seen a White man he successully negotiated the circumnavigation of Lake Tanganyika.  Both Victoria and Tanganyika are among the largest bodies of fresh water on earth, huge lakes.  Then transporting the Lady Alice to the Congo he made the extraordinarily hazardous descent of that enormous and hostile river.  This is really mind boggling stuff.

     There are too many allusions in Burroughs to the adventures of Stanley to believe that he wasn’t a source for Tarzan.

     As more or less an aside there is even a possible allusion to a scene in Burton’s ‘Travels In The Lake Regions Of  Central Africa.’  Burton describes in particularly vivid detail an apparition he had while suffering from fever.  In a fairly remarkable psychological projection he experienced himself as two different people, not unlike Jekyll and Hyde, who were at war with each other; the one attempting to defeat the best efforts of the other.

     In 1857 this psychic manifestation could not be understood.  Today it can be interpreted.  It would seem that Burton was consciously aware that he seemed to thwart his own projects.  He undoubtedly worried about this a great deal but as an unresolved subconscious controls the conscious mind he couldn’t penetrate the mystery.

      Under the influence of malarial fever the psychic barriers of the subconscious broke down and his desire was shown to him symbolically by his unconscious mind.  Had Burton been psychologically capable of pursuing this insight to its logical conclusion unearthing the fixation on which it was based then he would have resolved his problem and integrated his personality becoming a single unit or whole person.  His legs wouldn’t have given out on him as he came close to his goal.  Depth psychology was unknown in 1857 so the psychological manifestation remained a mystery to him.

     It seems clear that Burroughs was equally impressed by this incident which he later used to create an alter ego for Tarzan called Esteban Miranda.  If you recall,  Miranda’s inept activities were bringing Tarzan into disrepute.  Africa began to wonder.

     As the evolution of Tarzan, as I mentioned in my earlier essay, the idea of Tarzan entered the back of Burroughs’ mind bearing a candle which in a pitch black cave is a pretty strong light.  This idea was probably an identification with Sir Henry Curtis of Rider Haggard but Burroughs was unable to develop the train of thought when he came to the water barrier in the vaults of Opar.

     Tarzan successfully leaped the barrier but Burroughs lost his train of thought when the candle symbolically blew out leaving the idea of Tarzan to gestate in his subconscious.  There Curtis slowly combined with Henry Morton Stanley to erupt from Burroughs’ forehead fully formed in 1912 as Tarzan.

     Burroughs probably read Stanley in the nineties.  His creative juices would have been jogged when Stanley died in 1905.  Stanley’s devoted wife gathered several chapters of Stanley’s autobiography of his childhood, composed by himself, then cobbled together the rest of his life from diaries, news clippings and the like.

     Stanley’s autobiography was released in 1909.  The first Tarzan book was written in 1912.  I don’t know when Stanley’s autobiography came to Burroughs’ attention but sometime before 1912 he read it completing the idea of Tarzan in his mind.  As Burroughs’ prospectus to All Story Magazine indicates, Burroughs was struggling to combine a number of ideas into the entity that was to become Tarzan.

     The publication of Stanley’s autobiography plus the pressure at age 37 of having to so something to merit his high opinion of himself probably forced the jelling of the idea of Tarzan which erupted from his forehead bearing gold ingots like Tarzan emerging from the rock of Opar above the gold vaults.

     Burroughs now had the ideal vehicle to give expression to all his social theories.  Critics may see Burroughs as a mere shallow entertainer but I don’t.  I bought my first Tarzan book the year Burroughs died in 1950 with I was twelve.  I continued to buy them until 1954 when I was sixteen.  I was totally absorbed in them; not as mere entertainment.  I thought Burroughs was writing some pretty heavy stuff even if I missed the much I picked up later when my interests were subconsciously directed to the same social problems that concerned Burroughs.  I found to my surprise that Tarzan having entered the back of my mind had formed much if not most of my social thought.  I give you the results of my education by Burroughs here.

     I find myself amazed by the depth and profundity of Burroughs’ thinking.  The ease with which he handled these complex problems without directly identifying them or preaching is fairly amazing.  I pointed out in my earlier essay how Burroughs addressed the problem of eugenics in the males and females of Opar.

     So he took on the problem of psychic dislocation in the White sub-species in the very nature of his creation, Tarzan.

     We know he was heavily influenced by Poe’s ‘Murders In The Rue Morgue’ because he retells the story in the ‘Return Of Tarzan’ in Chaper 3, ‘What happened In The Rue Maule.’  Now this retelling is close enough to be considered borrowing if not plagiarism if his purpose hadn’t been to develop Poe’s theory.  Poe was positing the problem; Burroughs was offering the solution.

     Just by way of reference; my copies of Tarzan are those of Grosset and Dunlap from the late forties and early fifties.  They also have what I consider the finest artwork on Tarzan, a matter of taste, I know.

     Where in Poe, Dupin is a human while the Orang-outang a beast, Burroughs combines the two in one.   The sub-conscious and the conscious are integrated.  Tarzan is at once the most charming and civilized of men but once aroused he quickly reverts to animal ferocity.  But he is able to pass back and forth at will, unlike Jekyll and Hyde, and at a moments notice; he is in control of both his animal and human nature.

     He even escapes by leaping from the window to a telephone pole, which had appeared since Poe’s time, shinnying up the pole, having had the good sense, or science, to look down first to see a policeman standing guard, he then makes a fairly daring leap, the result of his jungle training, to the roof of the building scampering across numerous rooftops.  Tarzan then descends to earth down another telephone pole.  There were telephone poles in Chicago but I don’t know whether Burroughs checked to see if there were telephone poles in Paris.

     Running wildly for a few blocks he then enters a cafe, successfully cleaning himself up to a gentlemanly appearance in the rest room.  Now fully human again he ‘saunters’ down the avenue where he meets the countess as his charming urbane self.

     These two stories of Poe and Burroughs are fairly remarkable; one posits the problem which the other resolves.  Was either conscious of what the problem was that they were dealing with?  The results would indicate yes but in the chapter on the Rue Maule Burroughs has this to say:

     ‘Tarzan spent the two following weeks reviewing his former brief acquaintace with Paris.  In the daytime he haunted the libraries and picture galleries.  He had become an omnivorous  reader and the world of possibilities that were opened to him in this seat of culture and learning fairly appalled him when he contemplated the very infinitesimal crust of the sum total of human knowledge that a single individual might hope to acquire even after a lifetime of study and research, but he learned what he could.

     Surely Burroughs is here reflecting on his own study and research with becoming modesty.  His thirty-seven years have not been wasted in idleness.  As an omnivorous reader he has acquired some small store of knowledge which he has considered deeply.  He does think about the problems of his times.  The conflict between the split conscious and unconscious mind of the White man which was commonly discussed as we have seen interested him.  Tarzan is simply the result of his cogitations.

     Tarzan, born in Africa, the seat of the primitive, reared by Kala a she ape as a pure animal, then progressing straight from his animal nature to the civilized pursuits of study and absinthe he returns to the jungle to experience the intermediate Black nature as chief of his faithful Waziri.  This pretty well describes the historical reality of Western man.  Then Tarzan rules over Africa as an avatar of science.

     Sometime after 1915 when Freud’s body of work began to develop in translation Burroughs must have done a quick study finding, apparently, no difficulty in understanding what Freud was talking about.  Further, I think he quickly went beyond Freud’s own understanding, or at least, he applied Depth psychology in a positive way while Freud chose the negative way.  Thus Tarzan integrates his personality while Freud exacerbates the separation of conscious and unconscious.

     Both Freud’s and Tarzan’s influence grew during the period between the wars.  However when MGM preempted the influence of the books in the thirties withe the invention of the movie Tarzan, the great jungle hero began to be lost in the Freudian miasma.  The movies turned him into part of the unconscious.

     At the same time Africa became a known quantity and while not losing its charm for the Western dichotomy it lost its mystery becoming more commonplace as the Black African absorbed the forms of Western culture.  A Black African in a shirt, pants and shoes is just an ordinary Black man.  He is no longer the ‘noble savage.’

     Then, too, Black resentment at White dominance came to the fore and resistance to the White began along with an offensive for not only equality but superiority.

     Thus Marcus Garvey appeared with his Universal Negro Improvement Association.  While he was ridiculed in America and had his credibility destroyed he nevertheless laid the ground work for what has followed.  His UNIA was truly universal organziaing Blacks in Africa, the West Indies, Brazil and the United States.

     At the same time White scholars like Lothrop Stoddard were proposing the innate superiority of the White man.  As the science of the time posited one species of Homo Sapiens composed of three separate ‘races’ there were slight grounds to suppose that there were any other than superficial differences between the ‘races.’  There was no basis to differentiate substantial qualities as between two sub-species of different developmental stages.  Stoddard and the ‘racists’ were discredited and ridiculed as much as Marcus Garvey had been.

     The Second World War intervened suspending discussion for a few years.  After the war Freudian thought had taken hold of the psychological community.  The founder’s ideas were revered rather than questioned or tested.  Freud’s ridiculous map of the mind took on concrete form as students struggled to understand such nonsense as the Id, Libido and Super-ego.  Really laughable stuff.

     His notions of the unconscious were embraced by the people at large.  The ideas of self-discipline and mental training were rejected in favor of avoiding ‘repression.’  The criminal aspects of the unconscious gained the ascendance furthered along by the avatars of the unconscious- movies and movie makers.

     As 1960 dawned the Whites began a precipitous slide back across that narrow little gulf, which Haggard saw, toward savagery.

      However as there was a difference in the quality of the mind of the White it became apparent that it was not so possible as it seemed to abandon their scientific nature.  While the Black without the scientific ‘gene’ could be relatively comfortable in a scientific milieu supported by Whites, the scientific White could not be comfortable in a savage world,  He was troubled either way.

     Freud had thus injured the sub-species greatly by insisting on the ego occupying the unconscious rather than melding the two halves of the mind by eliminating the destructive elements of the subconscious.

     I had taken my Tarzan in subconsciously so that in 1960 when the challenges to White intellectuality became confusing I was able to hold on to my standards if not undisturbed then at least securely.  When I later integrated my personality I became proof against the destructive elements of Freudiansim.

     Through Burroughs then I identified with his hero Tarzan to save my soul.  When I say that Tarzan lives I mean that he was my sheet anchor on the stormiest of seas.  It was because of ERB’s creation of Tarzan that I have survived whole and entire.  May Tarzan ever prosper and never die.  May he have discovered the fountain of youth.  Look to the future and keep you eye on the bouncing ball.

 

Exhuming Bob IX, Pensees 7:

Into The Lost Land

by

R.E. Prindle

Texts:

Dylan, Bob, Chronicles Vol. I, Simon And Schuster, 2004

Prindle, R.E.   Exhuming Bob, VIII The Walls Of Red Wing, idynamo,wordpress.com 2008

Thompson, Toby, Positively Main Street, U. Minnesota, 2008, reprint from 1971

http://www.hibbing.org/dylan1/story.html  Life In Hibbing: Hibbing Chamber Of Commerce

http://www.interferenza.com/bcs/interw/85-dec.htm  Bob Dylan Is Not Like A Rolling Stone Interview, Spin Magazine, Volume One, Number Eight, December 1985

http://www.interferenza.com/bcs/interw/play78.htm  Playboy Interview: Bob Dylan 1978

http://www.interferenza.com/bcs/interw/66-jan.htm  Playboy Interview:  Bob Dylan  February 1966

                                                                               1940

Abe And Beattie

Abe And Beattie

     In attempting to put together a reasonable facsimile of Bob’s life in Hibbing and Minneapolis, Minnesota and New York City as he mythologized it in his chapter of Chronicles, The Lost Land, I have come to the following tentative conclusions.

     Bob was born in Duluth, Minnesota on 5/24/41.  In 1943 he was taken to Hibbing where he lived from then until graduation from high school in the Spring of 1959.

     Within the concept of normal Bob had a fairly advantaged childhood.  His parents were indulgent buying him anything he wanted while providing adequate pocket cash.  Bob’s family was one of the more important in town both within the Jewish community and the town at large.  In what appears to have been a tight small town social scene Bob either excluded himself or was excluded from the dominant social groups within which he had a right to be included.

     Perhaps Bob’s conception of the Hibbing period could be best interpreted from his favorite movie, Rebel Without A Cause, starring James Dean.  Bob is said to have seen the movie several times.  This was unusual as few people ever saw a movie more than once. He would have been a very impressionable fifteen at the time.   Most of us didn’t have the money while quite frankly few movies, if any, were worth watching twice including Rebel Without A Cause.  I was seventeen when I saw it and while I was in awe I wasn’t submerged.  Of course Bob’s relatives owned the theatres so he got in for free.

     As he set up a Dean shrine in his basement which greatly offended Father Abe we may be justified in assuming that Dean was a controlling influence in his life from the time he saw the movie.  It is of interest that Abe was to remove the Dean shrine from the basement after Bob left replacing it with a shrine to his own son Bob Dylan ne Zimmerman.

     Abe Zimmerman (1911-1968)   worked for Standard Oil in Duluth when Bob was born.  According to the C of C he lost his job in 1943 moving to Hibbing where his wife’s family, the Stones, could help the young couple.  Why Standard Oil should lay Abe off in the middle of the war during a manpower shortage seems to pose a question.  As can be seen from the photograph of Abe and Beattie above borrowed from the Flickr photostream of <drineevar> he was a well set up handsome man.  He appears to be exceptionally self-possessed, sound in the eyes.  Beattie appears to be a haughty high fashion queen which would accord with later facts.

      Abram Zimmerman, for such was his name.  Usually called Abraham, the name on his tombstone is Abram, and his two brothers Maurice and Paul bought the Micka Electric Company in 1943 changing the name to Zimmerman Appliance.  In 1968 Paul Zimmerman told Thompson that they had been in business for twenty-five years which would mean 1943 although the date seems odd.

     According to the C of C Abe came down with polio in 1946 requiring a lengthy convalescence.  The C of C says that the Zimmermans bought Micka’s after his convalescence but if Paul Zimmerman is accurate it would have to have been 1943.  There would be no record of what Abe did for a living then from 1943 to 1946.  As Bob says both his uncles served in the Army it would seem that they bought Micka’s going into the Army shortly thereafter leaving Abe to tend the business.

     Maurice and Paul became President and Vice-President of the corporation while Abe siginficantly assumed the controlling post of Secretary-Treasurer.  Managed the money, paid the bills.

     During the fifties at least Abe spent a fair amount of money on both Bob and Beattie.  Angel Marolt whose family bought the Zimmerman residence after Abe’s death was trying to tell him of Beattie’s several fur coats, diamonds and Cadillac but Thompson says he wasn’t paying attention.

     Thompson quotes Echo Helstrom as saying that the Zimmermans had stores in both Hibbing and Duluth.  Having a customer base of approx. 250,000 makes more sense when one considers the amounts of Abe’s expenditures and the fact that the profits had to be split three ways.

     The C of C describes Abe as a ‘big man’ in town partial to those big thick long cigars.

 

The Dylan Home

The Dylan Home

    The couple had enough money on arrival to buy the large nine room house that Bob grew up in so Abe must have been well paid at Standard Oil before he was laid off.  Both he and Beattie are well dressed in the picture while Beattie is actually overdressed.

     Bob was entrolled at Alice School for his kindergarten year in 1946 at five years of age.  The status of Alice School is unclear.  Perhaps it was closed the following year or consolidated with the Hibbing High complex as Bob was transferred.  Hibbing High housed kindergarten through twelve as well as the Jr. College.  Thompson describes it as a huge and rambling building.

     So from first grade to graduation Bob was with the same group of students.  I sure wouldn’t have wanted to move into town in tenth grade and try to break into that one.  While he wouldn’t have known them all well he must have known the entire student population on sight.  This presents the problem then of why Bob, who was the son of the Big Man in town, wasn’t included in the top social cliques.  Those cliques undoubtedly formed early persisting through graduation.  If Bob was in one he was either forced out early or found it uncongenial to remain for whatever reason.  Perhaps he thought his Jewishness excluded him.  So if something happened we don’t know what it was and won’t; unless Bob tells it’s going to be difficult to trace.

     Growing up in a small town anyone with any ambition looks around and sees very limited opportunities.  Working for his father wasn’t a viable option.  Not everyone wants to be a doctor or lawyer either.  Nuclear Science is OK but a lot of those guys are out of a job now too.  My next door neighbor when I was a kid for one.

     Bob’s mind turned early to music and then to Rock and Roll.  While Rn’R went on to conquer the world and become as respectable as such a spectacle could it was definitely considered discreditible and low class almost volunteer outlawry in the fifties.  At the very least it was ‘pimple’ music.  It took a certain amount of courage to say you liked Elvis Presley.  Pat Boone was set up as his rival and you had better say you liked ol’ White Bucks.  If you don’t think Elvis was considered a social criminal check out a couple of his movie roles like King Creole or Jailhouse Rock.  What was the Colonel thinking?  Clown roles, that’s all Elvis ever got.

      And then Bob chose as his hero and model Little Richard.  People looked at you funny if you said you

Young Bob On Harley

Young Bob On Harley

liked Little Richard!  I mean, Bill Doggett was a respectable Negro with music you could understand, Fats Domino was as lovable as a chubby ten year old but Little Richard!  They hadn’t even created the ghetto he could come out of.  His band might have passed but then he opened his mouth.  If there was ever a direct challenge to middle class sensibilities Tutti-Frutti was it.  Not only was the song incomprehensible it was about queers.  Nobody ever quoted the lyrics correctly, while I’m walking around saying ‘Tutti Frutti, I want Rudy?’  What does that mean?  I hope no one overheard me.  So when Bob gets up, ignoring Pat Boone entirely,  and launches into some screaming vision like Rip It Up or She’s Got It or God only knows what, was the crowd taken aback?  Chuckle, chuckle.

     So Bob having opted for the lifestyle was forced to associate with the hoody crowd or have become a loner.  Besides Colin Wilson’s book The Outsider  had appeared in 1956 that began a cult of The Loner that peopled the early sixties.  These guys, who were by no means rebels but deep thoughtful guys who had a line on the truth denied anyone else and that  penetrated sham and hypocrisy sat alone ever ready to resolve a situation setting things right were highly romanticized fellows.  There were as many Loners in those days as there were Hawkeyes a couple generations later.  So Bob wouldn’t necessarily have been thought of as weird, strange but a Loner.  A Loner was next door to weird and strange.  Thin line if you get my meaning.

     On the other hand the C of C describes the L&B Cafe as a regular jumping Bop Street right there in the heart of Hibbing, Minnesota.  Bands set up and played continuously.  They knew how to party in Hibbing.  The C of C even says there was a radio station in town playing Bob’s kind of music thereby contradicting every other source even Bob.  He says he had to go to Shreveport on the radio waves  to get his kind of music.  In this case I’m betting on Bob.

     The C of C  tells of Bob’s musical debut like this putting the best possible face on it:

Described by fellow students as polite, easy to talk with, and somewhat introspective, it was a total shock when he pushed back the piano bench and stood up to pound the first notes of a song into the auditorium, electrifying the student body.  Kids jumped up, stared at each other open mouthed not knowing what the reaction would be.

     Well, yes, they were electried but did they like it?

Rockin' Bobby Zimmerman

Rockin' Bobby Zimmerman

     According to the C of C, looking back fondly, Bob went over real well with his fellow students.  If you like this version don’t check the other sources as this is at variance with every other known account but then this is the Chamber Of Commerce  speaking.  Up to this point in the C of C account there is no reason for Bob to be as bitter as he is about Hibbing at all.

     A note of interest is the reoccurence of Fourth Street in Hibbing, Minneapolis and New York City.  Quite a coincidence, I knew there had to be some association with Fourth St. in Hibbing.  So far we learn that Bob attended Jewish shule there.  Whether the synagogue was also located there isn’t clear.  The synagogue Bob attended is no longer anywhere at any rate.  Tore it down.  It was in the way.  Had to go.  Even though Bob’s father was the most prominent Jew in town, the President of B’nai B’rith and ADL as well as his business interests, and even though Bob had a mega Bar Mitzvah with four hundred people in attendance some say at the most prominent spot in town, the Androy Hotel, some say at the synagogue, he wished to conceal he was Jewish.  This attitude may have contributed to his renouncing the Jewish fraternity house to which he pledged at UM while also hiding his religion in New York.  The attitude was strange since he seemed to prefer Jewish musicians around him to  the exclusion of goys.

     Bob’s father Abe, was quite frankly a marvelous provider, spending very large sums of money on son Bob, wife Beattie and his second son, David.  When he died in 1968 the house on 7th Ave., now Bob Dylan Ave. was sold.  The owners at the time of Thompson’s visit were the Marolts.  Angel Marolt who was at home when Thompson called offered to show him around.  One thing he learned was that Bob had a clause in the sale’s contract that allowed him to stay in his old room in the Marolt’s house whenever he was in town.  Too weird.

     What quirk in Bob’s mind compelled him to live in other people’s houses?  Perhaps Rebbe Maier back in 1954 impressed on Bob that Biblical scripture presribes that Jews would live in houses they never built.  As an article of religion that injuction is a mind boggler.  One can’t predict how anyone’s mind will interpret instruction.  Bob who functions out of his subconscious very heavily must have accepted such teachings in literal ways.  Rebbe Maier was a definite turning point in Bob’s life.  Imagine getting out of school, going upstairs at a Rn’R cafe to sit before the only bearded man you may ever have seen, dressed completely in black with a black yarmulke perched on the back of his crown intoning things like:  The Jews shall live in houses they never built and then go downstairs to boogie.  Pretty spooky, don’t you think?  And then as Bob says, he disappeared like a ghost.  Let that roll around your brain for little while and see what you come up with.

     Mrs. Marolt was trying to tell Thompson something about Mrs. Zimmerman’s multiple furs, heaps of diamonds, I’m sure all the latest fashions and her own Cadillac.

     Bob was indulged to the extent of apparently more than one motorcycle, a car, lots of amplifiers and electronic gear for his bands, whatever he wanted plus free movie admissions and plenty of pocket cash.  He must have had a large record collection for a kid as he spent his spare time at Crippas record store ordering the odd title.  You can bet Crippas didn’t discount either, charging full bore.  At the time (after 1958)   stereo was 5.98 and mono was 4.98.

     As the profits from a sole Hibbing store divided three ways could not have supported this sort of expenditure, having a store in Duluth could account for it.  It is significant also tha Abram died in June 1968 and the store closed a few months later.  Was the store a losing proposition for the last few years?  Did Bob provide the difference so Abe wouldn’t be embarrassed by going banko?  Then with his father gone there was no reason to support Uncles Maurice and Paul?

     There really is something happening here, isn’t there?

     Also as a petty expenditure for Bob (it would have been huge in my life) according to the C of C:

Almost every day Bob came in after school for his regular snack: cherry pie a la mode and coffee (or Coke.)

     And then to dinner?  No wonder the young Bob had all that baby fat. 

     If Echo bought those hot dogs for Bob and bought his story that his dad didn’t give him an allowance she was had in more ways than one.

     So, Abe was nothing if not a generous father and husband.  Beattie as President of Hadassah as well as a Stone must have made the Zimmermans the most powerful Jews in the syngogue while actually giving she and her husband the means to be petty dictators of the town,  I saw something like this in Eugene, Oregon in the sixties and seventies, or, as the C of C says a Big Man and big people.

     Bob must have a quirk in his mind to misrepresent his childhood so.  He was the Fortunate Son John Fogerty only sings about.

     In Thompson’s interview with Beattie he quotes her:

How can you know you have a genius in your house, when all my time is spent trying to feed him and keeping his clothes pressed.

     In Bob’s story, The Lost Land, Chloe Kiel is shown ironing Bob’s shirts and at the end of the chapter she ‘slaps’ a plate of steak and fried onions in front of him just before he darts out the door to begin the next chapter, A New Morning, just as in the old days when he returned home from school for lunch and was fed by his mother he darted back to school.

     Ironing his shirts and providing free steaks was a signal service for bare acquaintances like Ray and Chloe.

     Chloe comes across as cold and indifferent and indeed there is a tinge of resentment and anger beneath Beattie’s statement.  Motherly, of course, but there.  Still, she doesn’t impress me as any Yiddishe Mama of the Mrs. Goldberg variety.  Whether Bob was a good boy or not he does have an ambivalent attitude toward his parents.  But then he claims that he was really raised by his grandmother, whether Stone or Zimmerman isn’t clear.

     I believe the big change came over Bob with his Bar Mitzvah and I’m not talking puberty alone.  According to the C of C Bob attended Jewish shule during his young years.  This was done after public school hours.  Then in 1953-54 when his Bar Mitzvah was approaching Father Abe sent to Brooklyn, New York to have an ultra-orthodox, almost certainly a Lubavitcher Rebbe, sent to Hibbing to indoctrinate Bob in untra-orthodox teachings.  It can’t be any surprise that when Bob exhibited his Jewish reverence after his Jesus indoctrination with the Vineyard Fellowship he chose to show himslef as a Lubavitcher.  Welcome home, Bob.  The C of C tells it this way:

According to a 1985 Spin Magazine interview by Dave Engel, Bob said it was above the (L&B) Cafe that Rabbi Reuben Maier stayed while giving Bob Hebrew lessons in preparation for his Bar Mitzvah.  The Rabbi and his wife showed up one day and stayed for a year while Bob got ready for his big event .  The article quotes Bob as saying he would learn Hebrew after school or in the evening for an hour, then go downstairs and boogie at the L&B.  After completing his Bar Mitzvah the Rabbi just disappeared.

     In the interview Bob tells it this way:

There weren’t many Jews in Hibbing, Minnesota.  Most of them I was related to.  The town didn’t have a rabbi, and it was time for me to be bar mitzvahed.  Suddenly a rabbi showed up under strange circumstances for only a year.  He and his wife got off the bus in the middle of the winter.  He showed up just in time for me to learn this stuff.  He was an old man from Brooklyn who had a white beard and wore a black hat and black clothes.  They put him upstairs in the cafe, which was the local hangout.  It was a rock n’ roll cafe where I used to hang out, too.  I used to go there everyday to learn this stuff either after school or after dinner.  After studying with him an hour, or so, I’d come down and boogie.  The rabbi taught me what I had to learn, and after conducting the bar mitzvah, he just disappeared.  The people didn’t want him.  He didn’t look like anybody’s idea of a rabbi.  He was an embarrassment.  All the Jews there shaved their heads and, I think, worked on Saturdays.  And I never saw him again.  It’s like he came and went like a ghost.  Later I found out he was Orthodox.  Jews separate themselves like that.  Christians, too.  Baptists, Assembly of God, Methodists, Calvinists.  God has no respect for a person’s title.  He don’t care what you call yourself.

     The C of C knows the Rebbe’s name was Reuben Maier and Bob Dylan doesn’t?  There were enough people in Hibbing to have a temple and shule but they didn’t have a Rabbi?  The Rebbe Maier showed up in time for Bobby Zimmerman’s Bar Mitzvah but what? it was the first Bar Mitzvah in Hibbing’s Rabbiless history?  No wonder four hundred people showed up.  The Jews in Hibbing shaved their heads and worked on Saturday’s?  I presume Bob means they didn’t wear beards but shaved their faces unlike the Lubavitcher in white beard and one of those funny round hats.  I serously doubt there were three hundred or more Jews walking around Hibbing with shaved heads in 1954.

     They took one look at Rebbe Reuben’s weird beard and outre attire and told him to get out of town?  Now that I can believe.  Beards in ’54 were a sign of great eccentricity or a psychotic desire to draw attention to oneself.  But why in ’85 the mysterioso act?  He just showed up to teach Bobby Zimmerman, a complete unknown with no direction home Lubavitcher tales like this:  (actually this is pretty standard esoteric doctrine adapted for Jewish needs)

The messianic thing has to do with the world of mankind, like it is.  This world is scheduled to go for 7,000 years.  Six thousand years of this where man has his way and 1,000 years when God has his way.  Just like the week.  Six days work, one day rest.  The last thousand years is called the Messianic Age, Messiah will rule.

     Essentially what we have here is a variant of Madame Blavatsky’s Theosophy along with a little Hebrew Theology.  If one looks real closely one can see the outline of Sigmund Freud’s notion of the unconscious.

     According to Beattie Bob knew, oh, two hundred words of Hebrew.  So much for several years of shule and a year of intensive training by Rebbe Reuben.

     Whether Bob knows or admits it, it must be true that Father Abram sent for Reuben to instruct Bob in mysteries that Abe thought were essential to his vision of Jewish religion while they were not part of the services of the Hibbing congregation.

     It is possible that Abram brought the Rebbe in on the approval of the congregation who rejected him.  The comment by Bob of working Saturdays may be signficant here.  The Jewish sabbath begins on Friday sundown and continues to Saturday sundown.

     As a Lubavitcher, Rebbe Reuben could not have tolerated working during the sabbath while the congregation found it essential amidst a gentile population.  Likewise beards are an integral part of the orthodox religion so that the congregation  also refused to stop shaving.  The only thing mysterious is why it took Reuben so long to catch on.  Or maybe he had a contract for one year and the year was up.  Of course Bob did need help on those two hundred words.

     So Bob’s upstairs memorizing his two hundred words while the throbbing beat pounds insistently through the floor.  The super patient Reuben and his wife never object.  Bob shortly joins the revelers with his two hundred Hebrew words rattling round his skull, steps up to the mike and begins screaming: I’ve got a girl and her name is Echo.  Hmmm.  Quite an image out there in the Lost Land of Bob.

     Now indoctrinated in quaint antiquarian rites Bob is bundled off to Webster, Wisconsin and Camp Herzl to steep himself in Israeli style Jewish living.  Camp Herzl was conducted as Israel in America so those two hundred Hebrew words came in handy in that surrogate for summer in a kibbutz in the Holy Land.

     The summer sojourns must have set Abram back a handsome fee for the times.  Six to eight weeks of essentially summer boarding school does have expenses.  Abe apparently was deeply religious: in Protestant circles he would have been known as a Fundamentalist nut.  He and Mike Huckabee would have gotten along fine.  One wonders if younger son David was given the same treatment.

     So Bob from 1954 on is definitely the product of two nations.  The world of the Three Hanks as the C of C puts it and this world of Adam, Moses and the Messiah.  Bob was named after Sabbatai Zevi the last acknowledged Jewish messiah in the seventeenth century, his Jewish name is Sabtai.

     As kids we all have a lot to reconcile, begin working out at graduation.  Bob had a double load; he had two Bobs to reconcile.  Personalities wander and widen in those years, Bob made a clean split.  On the one hand he was the twerp Bobby Zimmerman of whom it may be said:  There’s no success like failure while on the other he was struggling to be the super successful Bob Dylan in which he failed to assume the mantle so that failure is no success at all.  At least he made this split off persona’s name mean something.  As a note, it was not generally known Dylan was Jewish until after Blonde On Blonde.

     Thus in his movie Renaldo and Clara he is not Bob Dylan.  Anybody can be Bob Dylan he says, you can be Bob Dylan.  Toby Thompson thought he could be and did a pretty good job of it walking a mile or so in Bob’s shoes.  Sounded just like him.

     As remarkable as it is that Bob realized his fantasy beyond anything he could have dreamed and became the hugely successful Bob Dylan he created an entire new set of problems whose solution eluded him.  Well, you know, there’s something lost and something gained while it’s hard to know whether the gain was worth the loss.  However the money has disappeared from the table.

     The result then is Bob looking backward from 2004 to create a fantasy of how it was in Ray and Chloe’s place on Vestry Street in NYC.  The chapter is approriately titled The Lost Land or possibly Never-Never Land might have been better.  The chapter isn’t a complete fabrication but it is fiction.  Something like the various incidents might have happened but not exactly the way Bob tells it.  The framing story of Ray Gooch and Chloe Kiel is pure fiction however.  They could not possibly have existed.

     Bob tells the whole story of the Lost Land within the reference of Ray and Chloe and their fabulous apartment near Vestry below Canal near the Hudson across the street fromt he Cathedral with its bell tower.  Thompson got it right.

     A troubling aspect of Bob for me is his insistance on bumming other people’s apartments.  This seems to be compulsive behavior.

     Bob was actually voluntarily homeless from January of ’61 to October  or November of the same year when he and ‘roommate’ Suze Rotolo took up digs on Fourth St.  I suspect that Father Abe would have been only too happy to supply Bob with funds to live on Vestry Street if he had asked.  Bob is simply untrustworthy in any of his stories.  As he said of what he learned from folk music:  If you told the truth, well and good; if you told the untruth, well and good also, so in Bob’s mind there are no lies, there is only the truth or untruth both having the same value and whichever is more serviceable at the moment.  You can’t believe him.

     A troubling aspect of Bob’s behavior is his habit of bumming couches in other people’s nests; gaining meaning, as it were, from other people’s lives.  Perhaps that was the way he felt of his life in his mother and father’s house.  Or perhaps as a Jewish outsider in a goyish land it was his attempt to insinuate himself in the main stream much as he appropriated Woody Guthrie’s persona.  Of the houses I have traced they have all been those of goys; he didn’t choose to insinuate himself into the houses of his fellow Jews.  His imaginary hosts Gooch and Kiel are obviously goys.

     The Lost Land then is a mythologized version of his childhood and first few months in New York City.  To my mind Ray Gooch is a combination of Dave Van Ronk, Paul Clayton, Matt Helstrom and his father.  Chloe seems simply to be an idealized notion of his mother.  (Study her picture for a few moments again.)

     As the Gooch frame brackets the period from Bob’s encounter with Gorgeous George to the apartment with Suze Rotolo it must represent a time frame from sometime in ’58 to October ’61.  In October Bob Dylan ceased sponging off others to take up his own apartment.

      The only one in this time frame he knew who had a large gun collection was Matt Helstrom.  The Helmstroms also had a large record collection that Bob listened to.  The couch and apartment undoubtedly belonged to Van Ronk while certain exoticisms of Gooch are characteristic of Clayton.  The library of Gooch may simply be the New York City Library of which the long narrow room would merely describe the stacks.

     The Southern character of Gooch must represent a time after Bob studied the South in the library since there are several references to his Civil War studies.  Gooch himself is a Southerner from Virginia gone North which is a symbol in itself.  This can be symbolically described as Father Abe being a Jew in Gentile America.

     Here then Bob creates or accentuates the more pleasant aspects of his memories in contrast to the very bitter unpleasant memories of the songs.  He tells us a great deal about his dream life but little of its realities.  At this point I am of the opinion that the party of Camilla ( who Bob says he gets to know quite intimately) is another fabrication of the based on a true story variety.

     As Bob would say, folk music taught him that if what you said was true,well and good; if what you said was untrue well and good also.  We may probably construe the Lost Land as both true and untrue while a good folk tale.  Even the title has a fictive quality a la Edgar Rice Burroughs.

     To round off the period back in the C of C milieu of Hibbing:  Bob spent his last summer at Camp Herzl in 1957.  In the summer of ’58 he was running back and forth between Hibbing and Minneapolis.  At that time he would have become familiar with Highway 61.

     In his Junior year of ’57-’58 he took up his relationship with Echo Helstrom.  They were going steady hence were not supposed to be dating others.  As he was in Minneapolis most of the summer he left Echo sitting home alone.  She resented this.  As the Senior year began she told Thompson, she took a revenge on Bobby returning his token in public in the hall at school.  Boy, that hurts.

     The feelings must have been much harder than either Bob or Echo portray them.  A key problem area is did Bob spend time in Red Wing Reformatory on Highway 61 below Minneapolis and if he did what did he do to receive his sentence:  I examine this more fully in Exhuming Bob VIII:  The Walls Of Redwing.

     He says in Chronicles that he was absent from school from some time at the beginning of April of ’59.  He was back at least by the June 5th graduation.  His birthday is May 24th.  After that date he would have been eighteen and subject to adult sentencing.  For what It’s worth he says in his song that no inmate was over seventeen.  I’m suggesting that he spent a month of two at Red Wing returning in time for graduation.  Certainly a Big Man in town like Abe could have arranged the graduation if he couldn’t get Bob off that time.

     The question is what did Bob do?  By the middle of this Senior year it appears that he had been in enough scrapes to be known as a troublesome boy; perhaps living out a Rebel Without A Cause persona.  Father Abe used his influence up to that time to avoid unpleasant consequences for the lad.

     I believe Bob’s song The Chimes Of Freedom tells the story of his crime.  Quite simply Echo set him up.  She obviously was not quite as complacent as she tells it.  See Exhuming Bob VIII:  Walls Of Red Wing.

     Returning home from Red Wing his parents threw a graduation party for him.  Bob was reluctant to attend the party, perhaps with good reason but was persuaded to do so.

     This then leaves a very sketchy account of the three or four months of the summer of ’59 for which Bob provides little information.  In Walls Of Red Wing I place his stint at Red Wing in August but that is probably wrong.  In any event the period from April of ’59 to September of ’59 needs to be explained more fully.

     Bob gives some brief details of his stay at Dinkytown but not much.   A little bit of the John Pankake episode while avoiding the important details of his theft of Pankake’s records.

     Thompson has some good information from Ellen Baker whose father’s folk song collection Bob used extensively.

     Then to NYC and his account of The Lost Land segues into his New Morning.

 

 

    

 

 

 

 

A Review

Themes And Variations

The Tarzan Novels Of Edgar Rice Burroughs

#18, Tarzan And The Lion Man

Part 7 of 10 Parts

by

R.E. Prindle

First published on the ezine, ERBzine

The Storyteller

The City Of God

7 a.

 

     The first to the Falls, Rhonda was then spotted from the plateau by some of the Apes of God.

The Reviewer

     Now begins the story within the story.  A long short story or novelette that is as fine as anything in Fantasy or Science Fiction.  This story is the eighteen caret ruby in the diadem of the Tarzan series.  That this story should have gone unrecognized for over seventy years is incredible.

     Not only is it objectively stunning but the subjective richness is beyond measure.  Just as some background on the number of influences on the story let us begin with two, both of which are interconnected in ERB’s mind.

     The novel by Mary Shelley, Frankenstein, had a profound effect on ERB’s mind.  He apparently read it early which is to say before 1900.  The possibility of creating life had interested him from the beginning of his corpus while references to it are interspersed throughout.  One of the greatest of his creations, the great physician and scientist Dr. Ras Thavas, will succeed in creating life five years hence in The Synthetic Men Of Mars but will botch the job terribly.

     In this story Burroughs’ character, God, doesn’t create life but he manipulates genes to create a whole new species.  Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein in 1818 and in 1931 Universal made the definitive movie.  That was two years before Burroughs wrote Lion Man so it is reasonable to assume the movie had an effect on him.

     IMDb provides a quote from the movie that may have inspired ERB; I don’t think there is any doubt that he saw this seminal horror film.

     Henry Frankenstein:  Look! It’s moving.  It’s alive.  It’s alive….It’s alive, it’s moving, etc.

     Victory Moritz:  Henry- in the name of god!

     Henry Frankenstein:  Oh, in the name of God!  Now I know what it feels like to be God!

Frankenstein's Monster

     The 1931 Frankenstein is stil an overwhelming experience to watch over seventy years later.  For the audiences of 1931 it must have been overpowering.  The fabulous castle of Dr. Frankenstein was surely an inspiration for the castle of Burroughs’ God.  What Burroughs did with the inspiration is as astonishing as both the Shelley original and the movie.

     In the news also at the time for over a period of a decade or more was the spectacular career of John R. ‘Goat Glands’ Brinkley.  This is an astonishing story.  I rely mainly on two accounts:  Vishwas Gatitonde’s excellent article “Magic Men’ in BB New Series #59 and the account in Wlofman Jack’s autobiography.  Wolfman Jack’s autobiography slipped by unnoticed but is one of the great autobiographies of the second half of the twentieth century, probably the twentieth century and possibly of all time.

Also see on the internet:

Dr. John R. Brinkley- A Story You Should Know

Grift, Goats and Gonads by Scott McLemee

Kansas State Historical Papers- John R. Brinkley

Border Radio Quackery by Gene Fowler and Bill Crawford

The Goat Gland Doctor by Joe Schwarcz, PH.D

     The medical practices of God involve gland transplants along with genetic implanting or splicing.  Over the years based on a foundation of Frankenstein ERB had built up a magnificent fantastical scientific edifice of life creation based on Evolution.

     There can be no doubt that he read and thought about the subject a great deal.  He was very well informed on evolutionary matters.  He was a well educated, thoughtful, intelligent man contrary to nearly every opinion about him.  His ideas as presented in Lion Man are probably as far as he could take them based on the knowledge of his time.  The discovery of DNA was only a little over a decade away, actually made a few years before he died.  One wonders what he would have made of it.  Even then ERB’s notion of ‘germ cells’ with their indestructability contains the essence of DNA so ERB was on the right track in his thinking.  I’m going to handle this out of order as the ideas explain what follows better.

     ERB was familiar with the use of cannibalism to ingest certain qualities of slain warriors.  Thus it was thought that to eat the brains of especially intelligent people transmitted that intelligence to oneself.  To eat the flesh of a brave man made oneself also brave, etc.

     From there to cellular therapy is a short step.  Even though there was probably no one who believed in the physical benefits of human cannibalism this side of Africa when it came to animals parts intelligent men threw common sense out the window.

     Cellular Therapy arose at the end of the nineteenth century.  Joe Schwarcz explains:

     Charles-Edouard Brown-Sequard, a noted French physiologist, had shocked the medical community by injecting himself with the crushed testicles of young dogs and gunea pigs.  Afterwards he claimed that he had regained the physical stamina and intellectual vigor of his youth.  Many men availed themselves of ‘La Methode Sequardienne’, but once the placebo effect was filtered out little remained.  In Vienna physiologist Eugen Steinach proposed that youthful vitality could be restored by increasing levels of testosterone.  the easiet way to do this, Steinach said, was through vasectomy.  Sperm production wasted testosterone, and if the channel leading from the testes to the ejaculatory duct were tied off, then blood levels of testosterone would rise.  Brinkley may also have heard of the work of Serge Vorenoff, a French doctor who was stirring u a storm of controversy with his experimental gland transplants.  Vorenof had been a physician in the court of the King of Egypt, and there he had spent a great deal of time treating the court eunuchs, who suffered from a variety of illnesses.  He hyposthesized that maintaining active genital glands was the secret of health.  As proof, he cited his experiments with an aging ram into which he transplanted the testicles of young lamb.  the ram’s wool got thicker, and his sexual vigor returned.  Voreneff then went on to transplant bits of monkey testes into aging men; he claimed success, although he could offer no scientific validation of his claim.  In America the stage was set for the meteoric rise of J.R. Brinkley.

     Brinkley began to transplant goat glands into the testicles of his patients.  As he began his career in the early 1920s radio made its appearance as a commercial entity.  On the qui vive Brinkley realized its potential to increase his business and spread his gospel.  He bought the first radio station in Kansas in 1923, his practice was in Melford, His call leters were KFKB- Kansas First-Kansas Best- as bold a claim as his medical ones.  He was actually a fine broadcaster transmitting Country Music, weather, farm reports and other items of interest as well as infomercials for his medical practice.  This notoriety brought the AMA and government down on him.  By 1930 he had had both his medical and broadcasting licenses revoked.

     Now, here’s where the man showed his innovative brilliance.  This really got him attention.  Nothing daunted he moved down to fabled Del Rio, Texas, Brinkley created the fable, across the Rio Grande from Villa Acuna.  His radio station in Kansas was small, a mere 1000 watts, although probably non-directional.

      In Mexico without US regulations he was able to build a boombox of 75,000 to 100,000 non-directional watts.  This was later incresed, if this is believable, to 500,000 watts and tahen to1,000,000 watts according to Fowler and Crawford who really should know.

  

Clap For The Wolfman

   Alright.  When I grew up in Michigan in the 1950s I could clearly pick up the successor Del Rio station after dark when its power was only 250,000 watts.  Wolfman Jack who worked the station tells an amusing story of his arrival.  Driving through the desert to the transmitter he noted that all the cars parked there had left their headlights on.  This mystified him but then he learned that the wattage was so powerful that headlights glowed in consequence.  The air crackled around him.  At a half million and a million watts people must have levitated.

     So, Dr. Brinkley was much in the news all these years so that ERB as Gaitonde suggests couldn’t have missed him.  While in our time there is no reason to mention La Methode Sequardienne yet with Brinkley being reviled it is quite possible ERB came across a discussion of cellular therapy in his reading which did mention these earlier experiments.

     ERB has God, a formerly handsome Englishman, create a hybrid hominid between a gorilla and a human.  God himself has regressed being a hybrid human/gorilla.  p. 133:

     “What is this strange purpose we are to serve?”  asked Rhonda.

     “It is purely scientific; but it is a long story and I shall have to start at the beginning,” explained God.

     In the beginning.  God appears to have been a medical student back in England with a strong interest in biology.  p. 134:

     “I had always been intrigued by Lamarck’s investigations and later by Darwin’s.  They were on the right track, but they did not go far enough; then shortly after my graduation, I was traveling in Austria when I met a priest at Brunn who was working along lines similar to mine.  His name was Mendel.  We exchanged ideas.  He was the only man in the world who could appreciate me, but he couldn’t go all the way with me.  I got some help from him; but doubtless, he got more from me; though I never heard anything more about him before I left England.”

     ERB gives us a fair amount of information here.  He is familiar with the Frenchman Lamarck of the eighteenth century who centered on heridity.  A red flag goes up on Darwin because if God left England in 1859 he would have known nothing of Darwin who published that year.  In any event while Darwin’s Origin Of Species sheds light on the mechanics of the variations among a species I can’t find any evidence of how species themselves evolve.  ERB is also familiar with the genetics of the monk, not priest, Gregor Mendel, who published in 1866 sending a copy to Darwin which the latter dismissed as irrelevant.  However, Burroughs through God seems to have taken Darwin less seriously than Mendel.

     He imples that Mendel was on the right track with his peas but that following the same line of reasoning God went well beyond him which indeed he did.  Mendel was disregarded in 1866, his revival beginning in the year 1900.  So Burroughs in 1930 is keeping up his reading.

     Burroughs then goes on to explain God’s theory of heredity.  His theory is not all that bad.  It shows Burroughs obviously doing some reading and thinking on the subject.  p. 134:

     “In 1857 I felt that I had practically solved the myster of heredity, and in that year I published a monograph on the subject.  I will explain the essence of my discoveries in as simple language as possible, so that you may understand the purpose you are to serve.

     “Briefly, there are two types of cells we inherit from our parents- body cells and germ cells.  these cells are composed of chromosomes containing genes- a separate gene for each mental and physical characteristic.  The body cells, dividing and multiplying, changing, growing, determine the sort of individual we are to be; the germ cells remaining practically unchanged from our conception, determine what characteristics our progeny will inherit, through us, from our progentors and from us.

     “I determined that heredity could be controlled through the transference of these genes from one individual to another.  I learned that these genes never die; they are abosolutely indestructible- the basis of life on earth, the promise of immortality through all eternity.

     It appears that ERB’s main concern is heredity and indeed genealogy was important to him.  While his information is a clumsy account compared to what has been learned since then, given the times ERB was quite advanced.  He doesn’t have the handle on DNA which is a decade or so in the future, Watson and Crick published in 1947, but in the germ cells he’s on the track of the right idea.  The notion of the body cells is, of course, superfluous.

      But now God runs up against a brick wall when he publishes his theory in 1857.  Remember Mendel’s discoveries were still eight years in the future while so far ahead of their time that they will be disregarded for thirty-four years.

     I don’t know what horror films have been released by this time, Dracula and Frankenstein for sure, but here the plot seems very familiar, possible Burke and Hareish.  Unable to proceed in a legal manner because of society’s obtuseness God turns to criminal means, but quite novel crime.

     As he has detemined that germ cells are immortal he raids the tombs of Westminster Abbey extracting germ cells from Henry VIII and his court and entourage.  Thus he has a little time capsule when he is discovered and flees England to avoid blackmail.  He decides to conduct his experiments on gorillas in Africa.  He finds the greatest concetration of gorillas in Africa, and hence on earth, in the valleyof diamonds.  In something like seventy years he converts pure gorillas into a hybrid of gorillas and humans capable of speech and human cognition.  They build his magnificent City of God for him which must have been quite new when Tarzan arrived.

     As they are bred from the genes of medieval Englishmen  the effects of Lamarckian heredity are evident as they speak a medieval form of English and replicate the City called London after its medieval progenitor.  Following Burroughs’ earlier thought in Opar the gorillas accept only beings born in gorilla form with human attributes.  Sports and mutations are expelled.  the other are, of course, the result of Mendelian genetics that are beings with odd combination of genes.

     God was born in 1833, the same year as Burroughs’ father, thus in 1933 he is one hundred one years old.  Some forty years back or so as he realized he was aging so he decided to splice in the body cells of young gorillas in a form of cellular therapy to rejuvenate himself.  This worked well in preserving his youth but unfortunately the more gorilla body cells he spliced in the more gorilla-like he became, so that when Tarzan and Rhonda meet him he is a grotesque hybrid, more intellignet than the gorilla hybrids, but reverting rapidly to pure gorilla.  Serious problem.

     God is very pleased to capture two such fine looking human specimens as Tarzan and Rhonda because by splicing in their body cells he will be able to resume his human shape in some style.

     So Burroughs has been developing his ideas in a creditable scientific way.  While it’s true his actual science is speculative he is employing some fairly sound reasoning on the matter that may not have been too dissimilar from the tack taken by Stalin’s scientists, while creating a human-ape hybrid has apparently been a timeless fascination.  It is said that our own scientists have succeeded in actually creating a chimp-human hybrid but that the specimens have been destroyed. I haven’t any confirmed proof that such has been done but rumors are around.

     Having given a reasonable scientific explanation of the gorilla hybrids and God’s purpose for Tarzan and Rhonda, Burroughs with his usual ghoulish delight introduces his favorite topic of cannibalism.  He informs the two that after satisfying his need for body cells he intends to eat them thus imbibing their characteristics.  He also says that he will extract several glands from Rhonda for some special purpose.

      I’m not exactly clear on what cannibalism meant to ERB.  It seems he associates it with his father who was particulary hard on Burroughs in his youth which ERB may have interpreted as being eaten alive by his father.  As we have God, cannibalism and his father associated here his father may be the reason for the recurring  reference to cannibalism is his work.

     The female glands recur again in Tarzan’s Quest where the Kavuru chief Kavandavanda requires female glands for his immortality pills and Vishwas Gaitonde finds the subject mentioned again in Tarzan The Magnificent. 

     So when Rhonda arrives at the Falls and is spotted from above by the seeming gorillas, she is actually spotted by a clone of the real fifteenth century Lord Buckingham in his gorilla guise.

     Now begins a series of astonishments, jokes and twists such as are found in few novels.  As I mentioned, today much of this is old hat, but in 1933 this was startling fresh and new.  At this point we are unaware of the hybrid nature of the gorillas.  The following passage then was not only startling to Rhonda but to us.  p. 94:

     (Rhonda) felt very small and alone and tired.  With a sigh she sat down on a rounded boulder and leaned against another piled behind it.  All her remaining strength seemed to have gone from her.  She closed her eyes wearily, and two tears rolled down her cheeks.  Perhaps she dozed, but she was startled into wakefulness by a voice speaking near her.  At first she thought she was dreaming and did not open her eyes.

     “She is alone,”  the voice said.  “We will take her to God- he will be pleased.”

     it was an English voice, or at least the accent was English, but the tones were gruff and deep and guttural.  The strange words convinced her she was dreaming.  She opened her eyes, and shrank back with a little scream of terror.  Standing close to her were two gorillas, or such she thought them to be until one of them opened his mouth and spoke.

     “Come with us,” it said; “we are going to take you to God;” then it reached out a mighty, hairy hand and seized her.

     There’s a shocking opener to the twilight zone between R2 and R3 as ERB prepares the curiosity of the reader for what is perhaps the most amazing story he ever told.

King Kong

     Rhonda, physically and emotionally exhausted by the terrific events of the past few days, slips into a trance in the middle of Africa only to be brought out of it by voices speaking Enalish saying they are taking her to God.  What can that possibly mean?  When she opens her eyes she sees two gorillas are doing the speaking.

     That’s something else, isn’t it?  Had they been on the screen could they have competed with King Kong that was released in that year of 1933?   Out of King Kong came 1949’s Mighty Joe Young while the public’s fascination with gorillas continued until Planet Of The Apes which, if it doesn’t owe anything to Burroughs’ story, develops the theme ad absurdam.  Kong, Young and Planet Of The Apes, Stalin’s experiments all owe their origins to the Tarzan oeuvre.

     Burroughs raises the theme to heights that have never been surpassed.  Combining the human gorillas with the City of God was incomparable genius.

     With the background clear let’s take a leap into the future.

The City Of God

God At Work

 

7 b.

The whole thing seemed like a hideous and grotesque nightmare,

yet it was so real that she couldn’t know whether or not

she was dreaming.

Lion Man p. 95

     In taking the ‘germ cells’ of individuals from the time of Henry VIII, as the cells were cloned with those of the gorillas the hybrids cloned the environment they knew.  While clones have no mermory of a previous existence, in the popular imagination they do.  Thus in the paranoid classic movie The Boys From Brazil of 1978 the number of clones of Adolf Hitler all exhibited the supposed conditioned responses of the original which they could not have experienced themselves.

     At the same time ERB cleverly replicates the political situation between God, Church and Henry VIII.  When Rhonda was captured, two gorillas named the Dukes of Buckingham and Suffolk quarrel over whether she is to be taken to Henry VIII or God.  As we still have no idea of what is going on we are as mystified as Rhonda.

     And then as Rhonda tries to order her bobbled brain she realized she could communicate with these improbably English speaking apes.  p. 96:

     Now she had an instant in which to think clearly, and with it came the realization that she had the means of communicating with her captors.

     ‘Who are you?”  she damanded.  “And why have you made me a prisoner?”

     ‘The two turned suddenly upon her.  She thought their faces denoted surprise.

     “She speaks English!” exclained one of them.

     There’s a neat turnabout similar to when Tarzan addresses Buckingham in Mangani and the gorilla answers him in English.  The gorilla exclaims, “She speaks English.”

     Then follows an explanation of God, Henry VIII and Cranmer that only succeeds in confusing Rhonda further as she seems to be in some costume play in which for some inexplicable reason actors clad as gorillas are acting out a play  about Henry VIII.  She pinches herself to no avail.  She is awake.  This isn’t theatre, although Hamlet soon would be played in Nazi uniforms which is just about as ridiculous.

     The gorillas take her to Henry VIII where we will leave her until she is joined by Tarzan.

     While Rhonda escaped theArabs Naomi had been recaptured.  In company with the Arabs she is brought to the canyon that leads to an easy ascent of the plateau according to the map.  As the ascent becomes steep they leave the horses with Eyad going ahead on foot.  Awaiting them at the crest is Stalin’s dream corps.  Throughout the oeuvre one is always amazed at the disregard for their own well being the apes exhibit.  They  charge in story after story with complete disregard for their own well being.  Always a signficant portion are left on the field of battle but the survivors never complain while Tarzan complacently accepts their sacrifice as his due.

     So here, barehanded against the Arab firearms the gorillas launch a wave attack reminiscent of the Chinese in Korea that doesn’t stop until all the Arabs are dead.  No regard at all for casualities.  No wonder Stalin thought Burroughs was on to something.  While the apes perform as they have always performed in Tarzan stories the difference here is that these are not mere apes but hybrids with human intelligence.  If Burroughs was aware of Stalin’s experiments was he laughing at the Great Commissar?  Is this battle a reference to Stalin?  One can’t be positive of course but I am sure that the character of God-the formerly handsome Englishman- is partially based on H.G. Wells who was associated with Stalin.

     Naomi was with the Arabs.  She is captured by Buckingham  who asks her how she got away from God;  she is identical to Rhonda so Buckingham naturally confused her for the latter.  The Apes sense of smell was not as developed as Tarzan’s.  I’m sure the Big Bwana would have smelled the difference immediately.

     ERB is now dealing with his sexual problems.  Of the three women involved with the City of God- Naomi, Rhonda and Balza, it is necessary to sort out which woman represents what to ERB.  As Naomi is weak and vacillating she obviously represents Emma.  Rhonda who is strong and self-willed seems to represent ERB’s Anima ideal or in other words, La of Opar.  La disappears from the oeuvre after Tarzan The Invincible of 1930 but as Tarzan and Rhonda in God’s prison replicate Tarzan and La in the Lion’s den of Invincible it seems probable that ERB has transported La from the fantasy world of Opar to the mere imaginary world of the movies.  This leaves Balza- The Golden Girl- who probably represents Florence, but we will deal with her in the appropriate place.

     ERB has now gotten the two women, the Arabs and Tarzan to the Falls.  Orman, West and the safari are assembling at the base of the Falls so, having dissolved his story after the Bansuto attack ERB has now reintegrated it.

     After a series of adventures during which Buckingham kills Suffolk, Tarzan appears to rescue Naomi killing Buckingham.  At this point in Burroughs’ psychology he assumes the identity of his ordinary self and that of Tarzan into one being.  As the movie people have never seen Tarzan they assume that he is Stanley Obroski his identical twin.  Tarzan does not correct anyone but allows them to believe he is Stanley.

      As I perceive it then ERB has now deluded himself into believing that he is Tarzan.  Those who know him still perceive him as Ed Burroughs.  He has no choice but to let them believe that because if he attempted to impose his delusion on them he might have been committed.  Thus for a period of about five to six years from 1934 to 1939-40 Burroughs perceives himself as Tarzan but  capitulates  in Tarzan And The Madman giving up his illusion of being the Big Bwana.  In Lion Man he describes Tarzan as a madman so the two novels are linked by the concept of madness.

     After writing Madman Burroughs left California for Hawaii where he forced Florence away from him.  WWII came along which saved him from himself.  After the war he went back to LA to die.  It is interesting that he didn’t choose to live in Tarzana but bought a house in Encino that backed against the Promised Land.  thus like Moses, with whom there was a connection made in Tarzan Of The Apes, ERB was destined to view the Promised Land but not enter it.

     In Lion Man he is flush with the hope of being able to live out his fantasy.  He is now a few months from abandoning Emma so symbolically he returns Naomi to the safari at the Falls from whence she disappears from the story.

     Only Rhonda and Balza will figure in the rest of the story.  Emma is no more although Jane will appear again in Quest probably as Emma’s replacement Florence.  In Magnificent Florence is mentioned only anonymously as Tarzan’s ‘wife.’  ERB is definitely struggling.

     Having delivered Naomi to the safari Tarzan then reascends the plateau in search of Rhonda and the City of God.

The City Of God

7 c.

Every one of us, I believe, is possessed of two characters.

Often time they are so much alike that the duality is not noticeable,

but again there is a divergence so great

That we have the phenomenon of a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

in a single individual.

E.R. Burroughs- The Swords Of Mars

     Tarzan And the Lion Man was followed at the end of 1933 by the Mars story The Swords Of Mars which features the return of John Carter.  ERB had taken a vacation from Emma returning to the scene of his own early adventures- Arizona.  Not coincidentally in the White Mountain of Apache country.  ERB’s motivations are sometimes obscure.  He was in the Army in Arizona in 1896-97 which was before he married Emma.  So he took his leave of absence from Emma to a place before he married her.  Setting the clock back, so to speak, somewhat reminiscent of The Eternal Lover.

     Just as Tarzan and Stanley met in Lion Man so while about to go to sleep, O.B.- The Other Burroughs- hears the door open, the clank of a man in war gear walking across the floor; terrified like an adolescent in a bad dream, O.B. is relieved and pleased when John Carter, back from Mars, greets him.  A real Jekyll and Hyde situation.  Thus as with Tarzan and Stanley the two Martian aspects of Buroughs are reunited but not melded.  John Carter then tells O.B. a bedtime story as though Burroughs were a child again.  I’m not that familiar with the Mars stories but there must be a connection to Lion Man and the MGM situation.  This must be true because this is the novel in which the opening letters of each chapter spell- TO FLORENCE WITH ALL MY LOVE, ED.  One assumes then that although the decision to leave Emma was difficult to make, ERB made the final decision in the Arizona mountains.

     So now a few months earlier Tarzan/Stanley makes the journey to the City of God where he will be reunited with his Anima ideal, Rhonda -La of Opar- in prison.  Thus his whole person both Anima and Animus are locked up by MGM.

     Rhonda had been taken to Henry VIII by Buckingham and Suffolk.  The city was called London, the country England and the river The Thames.  As ERB jokingly smirks- The English always take a little bit of England with them wherever they go.  Pretty funny, actually.

     Here the events of Henry’s reign are being reenacted.  As the apes are clones of Henry and his court who replicate their times one wonders whether each succeeding generation will be stuck in this one period of history reenacting it over and over until the end of time.  Once again I am reminded of The Eternal Lover.  ERB seems to be obsessed by the idea of time.

     Rhonda was first placed with the wives of Henry, a week later being moved to a cell in God’s castle where Tarzan found her when he too was captured.

     For now he was moving through the night until he came up against the ten foot high wall surrounding the City of London and within it the City of God.  Here we have the historical confrontation between the spiritual and temporal powers.  At the least the story is a very humorous parody of the religious situation of Henry VIII.  Once again ERB ridicules religion and this is done so cleverly and with such genius.

     But there are many levels of meaning.  Earlier I mentioned that the capture of Tarzan may have been meant to replicate ERB;’s capture by MGM.  In that sense then the City of God might represent MGM which boasted that it had more stars then Heaven.  So there is probably a joke there too.

     On the other hand, God is described as a formerly handsome Englishman.  The only candidate for that role I can come up with is ERB’s bete noir, H.G. Wells.  I think that I have adequately documented the literary feud between Wells and Burroughs.  Wells began well with his scientific romances.  While not as fresh and stunning as they were at the time of issue they still hold up well today.  Even though ERB denied having ever read Wells I think that claim can be dismissed out of hand.  ERB, then, would have been as impressed with Wells’ early romances as anyone else.  Then when Wells began his campaign of defamation and ridicule which is most clearly represented in his Mr. Blettsworthy On Rampole Island  he fell from favor in Burroughs’ eyes, hence the grotesquely deformed ‘formerly handsome Englishman.’

     As much as I like Wells he does pontificate.  Like all Liberals he has a difficult time distinguishing his opinion from truth, right and wrong, or reality.  While he does sometimes make a hit in his prophesying he is mostly wrong.  Backing the Worker’s Paradise of Stalin’s USSR was certainly wrong and more than enough to discredit him in the staunch anti-Communist Burroughs’ eyes.

     Wells probably shook Burroughs’ faith in the glory of England which had been a keystone of his secular faith fromt he beginning.  Thus, combining MGM, Stalin and the USSR and Wells, Burroughs packages all the troublemakers of this perilous time for him into one big box with a bigger bow on top.

     As his story could have no effect on his situation let us hope it was at least cathartic for him.  When Tarzan ends up in the cage with Rhonda that about epitomizes Burroughs’ situation vis-a-vis MGM, Stalin and Wells.  There are so many coincidences here that the brain revolves like a turret.  Was it wholly coincidental that Wells showed up in Hollywood at the end of ’35 to visit fellow Red Charlie Chaplin just as Burroughs was completely boxed in because of his Guatemalan adventure?

     Isn’t it amazing that Burroughs met his fate in Guatemala, the scene of the adventures of his early hero General Christmas and also the scene of some of the adventures of Ogden McClurg who was killed shortly after this return from the area in 1926?  It may be truly coincidental but the further one digs very often the more dirt one turns up.

      Burroughs may have felt confident he could write his way out of this box just as he was able to escape by self-publishing in 1930; perhaps he thought he could escape this time by making his own movies.  If so, a little analysis would have shown him that the rules had drastically changed.  Especially as he had signed the rights to represent his character Tarzan away.

     Coincidental with the release of the MGM Tarzan movies which preempted the nature of Tarzan from literature came the decline in Burroughs’ own literary powers.  Whereas in 1930 he was able to respond to the challenge with a series of top novels, after Lion Man there is a preciptious decline in the the quality of is work.  While the later novels have their charms for Burroughs’ admirers they do lack commercial appeal.

     By 1935 also Burroughs had antagonized radio which had become the major source of his income so that that medium was closed to him during his lifetime.  With publication revenues declining and the comics by Burroughs’ own admission producing a pittance, ERB had only one major source of income left and that was the moves.  MGM had him over a barrel.

     MGM might have produced a whole series of Tarzan films along the lines of the Charlie Chan movies as Burroughs reuefully remarked but they chose instead to issue only four movies between 1932 and 1939.  Obviously the makret would have borne more.  The limited release schedule kept EBB on a short financial tether.

     It is said that events cast their shadow before them so that it is possible, if not probable, that Burroughs foresaw the shape of things to come even as he wrote Lion Man.

     In 1930 when the Reds invaded his dream land of Opar ERB abandoned that fantasy.  The fabled city ceased to exist in his imagination while disappearing from the oeuvre.  Now in Lion Man it appears that the enemy had captured the castle while building a ten foot wall around it with Tarzan/Burroughs on the outside.  Thus Burroughs’ dream of separating himself from the world by a tne foot wall has been inverted in his imagination.  He wasn’t keeping the world out; the world was keeping him out.

     In the novel succeeding Lion Man, The Swords Of Mars, when the mad inventor Fal Sivas quails at taking hsi invented spaceship to the Martian moon Thuria the following exchange takes place between he and John Carter:

     “But you built this ship to go to Thuria,:  Carter cried.  “You told me so yourself.”

     “It was a dream,” he mumbled; “I am always dreaming, for in dreams nothing bad an happen to me.”

     Fal Sivas can be taken as an alter ego of Burroughs.  The Sivas probably refers to the Hindu god Shiva or Siva with whom Burroughs had become a devotee or developed a fascination for.  Thus while his heroes Tarzan and John Carter are men of action Sivas/Burroughs or any other combination is not.

     So in Lion Man Burroughs is desperately trying to become the man of action rather than the dreamer.  The problem now is that ERB himself is past the point of no return.  He has been walled out from the City of God.

     In dreams however Tarzan enters the Heavenly City by a fantastic feat of strength that recalls Burroughs’ 1890-1920 infatuation with the Strong Men such as the Great Sandow.

     The wall which Tarzan fancies was built to keep out lions i.e. the Lion Man has sharpened stakes pointing downward.  p. 124:

     …he leaped for the stakes.  His hands closed upon two of them; then he drew himself up slowly until his hips were on a level with his hands, his arms straight at his sides.  Leaning forward, he let his body drop slowly forward until it rested on the stakes and the top of the wall.

      That seems to be an impossible feat of strength except in dreams, but then by this point Tarzan thinks he is dreaming.  This might as well be an MGM movie lot such Burroughs spent five weeks on.  Here the dream faces a sort of reality.  As though pasing through a movie set as ERB must have done during those five weeks Tarzan comes to the steps leading to the Heaven of God.  this Stariway to Heaven, Jacob’s Ladder.

     As if to accent the relationship to MGM he passes the Apes of God who are dancing and partying.  The scene will be replicated at the foot of the Falls when the movie company duplicates this scene thus strengthening the connection with MGM.

     Tarzan begins the long climb up the Stairway to Heaven.  The fire flares illuminating him on the steps but the apes below don’t notice- high above on a parapet of Heaven, God does.  Note the resemblance to the move castle of Frankenstein.  A man of action God quickly prepares a trap.

     In real life the trap was probably the promise of the contract and money.  ERB blames the movies for being duplicitous, which is definitely true, still, he had had a dozen or more years to work out the conditions prevailing on his own.  After all, by 1932 he had proven product to sell.  The public had even given a profit to some pretty crummy movies so that had he taken the time, acted on his own conditions, rather than just signing for a few quick bucks he might have retained a position of some control, made himself an equal partner.  So, while MGM did betray him he might have been able to manage the situation.

     Tarzan enters the castle to be confronted by six doors of which only #3 is open.  Depending on how you count them there were six to eight major studios, thus the six doors may represent the Studios of which only MGM was willing to deal with him.  Remember he had been blacklisted since 1922, the blacklist having been broken in 1928 by Joseph Kennedy.

     Tarzan descends the stairs as heedlessly as Burroughs signed the contract and like Burroughs he finds himself trapped.  The nose of noses sniffs the air and detects the delicate scent of a White woman.  He has found she whom he sought, Rhonda.

7 d.

The Confrontation With God

     Now Tarzan is reunited with his Anima ideal in the person of Rhonda formerly La of Opar.  That Rhonda can be associated with La is because this scene is a replication or double of Tarzan and La in the lion’s den of Invincible.  There La and Tarzan were imprisoned in a cell beneath Opar.  They escaped the cell in a duplication of their escape from this prison.  In Invicible there was a runway within which the lion fed.  A shaft led upward to a room in a tower.  There the old man who betrayed them discovered them.

     In this case a breeze passing over the floor indicates an air shaft to Tarzan.  This is probably borrowed from Rider Haggard’s King Solomon’s Mines although it will soon if not already be a staple of the movie genre.  Tarzan locates the shaft in the ceiling in a corner of the cell.  He and Rhonda ascend it to the opening in front of which God is talking to some gorillas.  Thus the scene virtually duplicates Invincible.  La and Rhonda must be associated in ERB’s mind.

     As an aside Burrughs uses a variation of this scenario in The Swords Of Mars when John Carter is imprisoned.  There are beams some twenty feet ot so above the floor to which Carter leaps.  He takes a position above the door dropping on his keeper when he enters.

     At this point in the story Tarzan and Stanley Obroski may be considered to be reunited as one persona.  Rhonda, who has never seen Tarzan, addressed the person in Stanley’s guise as Stanley.  ERB has a little fun as he has Tarzan play along.

      As he says in Swords, he is convinced that every man has a dual Animus, that is two different aspects, sometimes nearly identical but sometimes as different as Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.  Thus at this point his mind is impressed with Shelley’s Frankenstein and Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde.  He had read both novels before 1900  while both stories were released as movies in 1931.  So the stories are very fresh in his mind.

     Tarzan/Obroski may be considered of the Jekyll/Hyde variety.  There is little doubt that Burroughs saw the pair and himself that way.  Thus Carter and Fall Sivas in Swords may also be seen as two sides (Jekyll/Hyde) of the same persona.  Tarzan does not try to convince Rhonda that he is not Stanley, but in the Jekyll side of the persona he astounds here with Hydelike feats compelling her to reevaluate him.

     There are undoubtedly snippets of other horror movies here that ERB has seen also but I can’t remember the titles or dates.  There was one about two Scottish body snatchers Burke and Hare which I think I can detect here and another about a mad doctor who operated on the brains of abducted victims that shows up here and in Swords that was called the Black Sleept or somesuch.  The latter would have had a castle along these lines as well as Frankenstein.  Of course, which of that ilk of movie didn’t?  Burroughs is combining an astounding number of influences here both literary and cinematic but both combined.

     Thus, having availed himself of ‘such a God given opportunity’ to find Rhonda he is imprisoned with her.  The joke was ERB’s.  You know, God left the doors open- God given opportunity.  I chuckled softly to myself as I read.

     After an exchange of repartee between Stanley/Tarzan and Rhonda God makes his appearance.  Not exactly what one would expect God to look like.  In fact it is almost amazing that the fundamentalist Christians didn’t create an uproar.  After all according to the Old Testament man was created in God’s image.  There’s a laugh.  Here’s the image.  p. 128:

     It had the face of a man, but its skin was black like that of a gorilla.  Its grinning lips revealed the heavy fangs of an anthropoid.  Scant black hair covered those portions of its body that an open shirt and a loin cloth revealed.  The skin of the body, arms, and legs was black with large patches of white.  The bare feet were the feet of a man; the hands were black and hairy and wrinkled, with long, curved claws; the eyes were the sunken eyes of an old man- a very old man.

     The Scopes Monkey Trial had only been about seven years before.  So here Burroughs is making sport of God with a sort of reverse evolution.  God is a cross between a man and a gorilla.  Yet ERB led such a charmed life that his mockery or parody of God created no comment.  If he wanted to start a ruckus to promote his book sales he failed miserably.

     God might have been half ape but he had a whole hearted sense of;humor.  Overhearing Tarzan say that he had come for Rhonda his opening comments are mock injury.  p. 128:

     “So you are acquainted?”  He said.  “How interesting! And you came to get her, did you?  I thought that you had come to call on me.  Of course it is not quite the proper thing for a stranger to come by night without an invitation- and by stealth.

     “It was just by the merest chance that I learned of your coming.  I have Henry to thank for that.  Had he not been staging a dance I should not have known, and thus I should have been denied the pleasure of receiving you, as I have.

     “You see, I was looking down from my castle into the courtyard of Henry’s palace when his bonfire flared up and lighted the Holy Stairs- and there you were!

     Burroughs is justly criticized for the occasional bit of wooden dialogue but I find the confrontation with God very well written.  The constantly mocking tone of God is carried off very well.  Tarzan’s indignation is very well executed.  The influence of Shelley, Stevenson and the various movies is seamlessly blended into a very tightly executed scene.

     All this is done in a very few pages while it is a remarkable bit of writing.

     God hints at his motives for their use for him.  p. 129:

     “…I shall keep you for a while for the pleasure of conversing with rational human beings.

     “I have not seen any for a long time, a long, long time.  Of course I hate them nonentheless, but I must admit that I shall find pleasure in this companionship for a short time.  You are both very good looking too.  That will make it all the more pleasant, just as it increases your value for the purpose which I intend you- the final purpose, you understand.  I am particularly pleased that the girl is so beautiful.  I always did have a fondness for blonds.  Were I not already engaged along some other lines of research, and were it possible, I should like nothing better than to conduct a scientific investigation to determine the biologial or psychological explanation of the profound attraction the blond female has for the male of all races.”

      Burroughs doesn’t tell us how blonde Rhonda and Naomi are, whether they are platinum blondes like Kali Bwana or merely blondes.  Of course today ERB would be censored for his handling of the sexual and racial preferences for blondes but it is a recurrent theme in his writing and one worth studying.

     Having piqued our curiosity as to his purpose for the couple God leaves to check up on Henry.  p. 130:

“Come back here!” (Tarzan) commanded.  “Either let us out of this hole or tell us why you are holding us- what you intend doing with us.”

     The creature wheeled suddenly, its expression transformed by a hideous snarl.  “You dare issue orders to me!”   It screamed.

     “And why not?” demanded the ape-man.  “Who are you?”

     The creature took a step nearer the bars and tapped its hairy chest with a thorny talon.  “I am God.”  it cried.

     There you go.  The cat’s out of the bag.

     The scene is dramatically successful while the reader is now left to guess the model for God.  We are told that he was a formerly handsome Englishman now deformed as a hybrid ape-human.  The city is London, the territory is England and the river is the Thames.  A reasonable place to look would be among the English.  Who among the English is bedeviling ERB?  H.G. Wells is the only one I can think of.  Regardless of whether Wells considered himself a Communist or not he is sailing his craft so close to the wind that it is impossible to distniguish between the two.  At the very least Wells is throughly subversive.  If anything he resents not being in Stalin’s place.  So Burroughs must consider him Communist.

     To my mind then, Burroughs is mocking Wells much as Wells mocked Burroughs in ‘Blettsworthy.’ God has delusions of grandeur and so does the highly pontificating Wells.  My vote for the model is Wells.

     One also notes that in the last of the MGM Tarzan movies, 1942’s Tarzan’s New York Adventure, Tarzan is captured by the circus roustabouts and thrown into a mobile cage.  The camera then pans around to front which identifies the cage as a lion cage.  One thus has the joke of the Lion Man in a lion’s cage.  A final thumbing of the nose at Burroughs exiled in Hawaii.  MGM then dropped what had been a very lucrative series.  Strange behavior indeed.

     God then returns to give his history as detailed earlier in the essay.  While for some reason everyone, fans and detractors alike, wants to think of Burroughs as a semi-literate boob who is coincidentally a ‘master of adventure’ yet both in content and exposition, God presents his story in a masterly way.  In 1930 there may have been few of his readers who had ever heard of Mendel and possibly Lamarck, although one hopes all had heard of Darwin.  So it is possible that a reader might have been puzzled by the inclusion of Darwin while dismissing Larmarck and Mendel as fictitious.  Of course if you’re reading strictly for fast-paced adventure you may not notice the details even though they are far from concealed.

     God also clears up the mystery of the map.  Surprisingly the map is not a stage prop but authentic.  In fact, God made it about seventy years previously.  It seems that he had been in love with a women back in England but she preferred wealth to being the wife of an impoverished scientist.

     This may be a coincidence but that is the premise of the plot of H.G. Wells’ In The Days Of The Comet.  Perhaps it was a message to Wells in case he hasn’t gotten it yet.  But then God discovered the immense number of diamonds in the valley so he wrote the girl promising her riches beyond imagination.  He had employed a native runner to take the letter to the coast to mail it but since he had never had a reply he wondered if it had ever been received.  Now it came back to him.  A simple but inventive twist.

     When God leaves this time Tarzan sets to work to escape.  Following the draft across the floor he finds the air shaft.  Just as in Invincible he sends La up first now he sends Rhonda up first.  As in the earlier story they are trapped at the top.

     Looking through the entrance to the shaft they spy God and some gorillas in front of it.  Their escape is spoiled.  Now begins the Gotterdamerung.

The City of God

7 e.

The Gotterdamerung

      Burroughs now has both aspects of his Animus with his Anima trapped in the tower unable to go foward or backward.  God and his gorillas stand in anticipation before the opening.  Burroughs has been stalemated.  At this point one aspect of God must be MGM and its contract.

     ERB has spun out his fantasy in a plausible way to this point, but now he has to find a way to resolve his dilemma.  As he is daydreaming and this is a mad dream, as Fal Sivas says in Swords, in dreams nothing bad can happen to you.  In this bind something bad can happen to ERB.  He can lose his grip on reality.  In that way he becomes mad or insane which is what the story is about.

     In speaking of Henry God might also be speaking of ERB. p. 143:

         “You all forget,” (God) cried, “that it was I who created you; it is I who can destroy you.  First I shall make Henry mad, and then I shall crush him.  That is the kind of gods humans like- it is the only kind they can understand.  Because they are jealous and cruel and vindictive they have to have a jealous, cruel and vindictive god.”

     There’s a lot information in that quote.  It refers to the ancient Greek saying:  Those who the gods would destroy they first make mad.  So we have an excellent joke here.  The incredible mind of Burroughs can conceive humor in the midst of the blackest despair.

     He is talking of the Yahweh of the Old Testament while he quite soundly understands that god is a psychological projection of the mind of his creator.  In a masterly grasp of Freudian group psychology, whether he knew it or not, he realized tha the people have created a god in their own image and not vice versa.  Trapped in the tower this is a real agonized cry of despair before losing his grip on reality.

     I don’t mean to say that ERB went stark raving mad but he edged into a fantasy world at least once removed from the fantasy he had been living since 1912.  For the period of his marriage to Florence he can only be described as spaced out.  Bear in mind that it’s going to get worse as he gets trapped into his movie production experience.

     The Masenas in The Swords Of Mars make the threatening moves on John Carter who keeps backing away.  Only too late he realized he had maneuvered himself where they wanted him.  The Masenas were cat-men, i.e. lions who had two mouths.  In a sly way Burroughs is caricaturing the Jews of MGM and their mascot Leo the Lion.  The upper mouth which is sort of pursy and purring to seduce one, is above a lower mouth that is all teeth and no lips to rend one.  So he is saying that he is dealing with two-faced people.  While the upper mouth is assuring, the lower rending mouth is ever ready to destroy you.

     Tarzan realizes that he has no choices left but to stay put or rush God and the gorillas.  Alone he would have had a chance of success but with Rhonda in tow he is lost.  This is an interesting reflection on the relationship of the Animus to the Anima.  I’m at a bit of a loss to explain this.

     God had sent for Rhonda to be told that she was not in the cell.  Knowing that Tarzan was in the air shaft it followed that Rhonda was too as neither could have escaped the cell otherwise.  He orders smudge pots to be  lighted to smoke them  out.  Thus Burroughs acknowledges that his own situation is untenable while he has no solution.  The only one left is the Samson like effort of pulling the temple down on his own head destroying both himself and his enemies.

     God’s plan backfires as he sets his own castle afire.  Unable to stand the smoke any longer Tarzan rushes out to be felled by a blow from one of the apes.  At this precise point ERB goes mad or loses his mental balance.  I don’t believe there is a Tarzan novel in which the Big Bwana isn’t knocked on the head at least once.  In this case when he gets up he won’t have lost his memory but he will be a different man, another round of emasculation.

     Once again he is separated from his Anima.  Rhonda is spirited off to Henry.  God and Tarzan are trapped on the patio as the castle becomes engulfed in flames.

     This chapter is appropriately titled ‘The Holocaust.’  In its way everything that ERB had hoped and dreamed goes up in flames with God’s castle.  Heaven is reduced to ashes.

     Tarzan has his trusty rope so he can escape over the parapet to the roof of a lower level.  God begs him to save him which Tarzan reluctantly does.

     Tarzan, one has difficulty in styling him the Big Bwana in this emasculated state, reverses the actual situation between Burroughs and MGM by placing the rope around God’s neck putting him on a short tether.  Henry is now in full revolt.  Tarzan agrees to help God in exchange for his help in recovering Rhonda and letting them leave.  Perhaps Burroughs was asking MGM for a release from his contract.  Let by Tarzan the forces of God defeat Henry.

     I’m not clear who Henry represents or if he is meant to represent a real individual.  Aware of his defeat Henry abandons his wives for the blonde White woman, Rhonda.  He has a secret subterranean escape route.  Thus Burroughs, who through Tarzan stormed the gates of Heaven, the heights of consciousness, has first returned to earth and now slips back into the subconscious.  In all probability then, his attempt to integrate his personality  had failed while coming so close.

     Henry had followed his tunnel to emerge into the valley of diamonds and mutants.  Here he encounters a lion.  Throwing Rhonda down he runs from the lion which we all know is the exact wrong thing to do.  Rhonda then escapes.

      Tarzan emerges from the tunnel just as the lion is rending Henry.  So Henry perishes.  Tarzan sets off into the valley of diamonds in pursuit of Rhonda or, in another word, his Anima.

The City Of God

7 f.

The Golden Girl

     While one is astonished that there was no uproar because of ERB’s treatment of God, Heaven and the gorillas, one is even more astonished that at no time since 1912 was ERB ever under attack for his views on evolution.  The oeuvre is a veritable compendium on the various possible results of evolution yet no one ever said a word nor has to this day.

     In LIon Man which treats of evolution in perhaps his most daring way yet, his effort is met with stony silence.  God, in his creation of the hybrid gorillas according to the logic of Gregor Mendel, had a large number of sports and variations.  The ‘normal’ hybrid apes refused to accept these either killing them or driving them from their society.

     God laments that the tendency to exclusivity, or like to like, was such a strong characteristic of the new species that he could do nothing to break the hybrid’s attitude.  This must be a wry comment on those who wished to break down racial and special barriers.

     Apart from the role of White women in racial politics, which ERB through God has already commented on, there is not, nor will there ever be, inclusivity of different races on the pshysiological level nor even on the intellectual level of religion.

     Thus the theme of separation in this spurious London, England was a variation on Opar where normal males were killed producing the ape-like male Oparians, while only the beautiful females were preserved.  In this case the rejected hybrids, who bear some resemblance to the Hormads created by Ras Thavas, have taken up residence across the Thames.  Among them, as one might suppose, Mendelian genetics predicts, were two human looking specimens.  The male who was perfectly human in form had a gorilla mind; the female although rumored to have a gorilla mind in fact was a perfect human in mind while also possessing a normal human form.

     She is the mate of the human looking male as kind mates with kind.  Tarzan, having recovered Rhonda, finds Balza, which means Golden Girl, being abused by her mate.  He rescues her but the trio is set upon by the whole tribe of mutants.

     Balza explains to Tarzan that having defeated her former mate Tarzan has claimed her for his own.  She is his, will-he or nil he.  She then becomes hostile to the Anima figure of Rhonda.

     So now we have a difficult psychological situation.  Burroughs, who believes that every man is of a dual personality, has first united the two Lion Men and has now killed off one half of the duality leaving Tarzan as a single psychological unit.  Not integrated but half a man so to speak.  This is in violation of his stated belief which he has clarified no further.  At the same time Balza seems to be driving his old Anima figure of La/Rhonda away, replacing her.  Thus this Wild Thing becomes both Burroughs’ Anima ideal and human woman.   We have single with single, or half with half.  Now we have a single Animus, the Lion Man, Tarzan and Wild Thing as his Anima and woman.  This is quite a combination.  That would certainly explain the nature of the next several years of ERB’s life when he seems to run completely off the rails.

     He expresses this in his work of the thirties in different ways.  The Venus series is born out of this conflict in the second half of 1932 subsequent to the release of the movie Tarzan, The Ape Man.  John Carter does reappear at the end of 1933 in  The Swords Of Mars but Burroughs in the Venus series creates a much lesser man than either Carter or Tarzan; Napier is a pale shadow reflecting Burroughs neo-emasculated state.

     In the first venus volume Napier heads for Mars in his rocket ship.  Mars or the Greek Ares is the manly planet.  But now suffering from his further emasculation Burroughs no longer feels capable of competing with men on Mars.  Thus Napier has miscalculated the influence of the Moon, or female influence,  which bends his trajectory sending him to the female planet Venus instead.  In terms of classical mythology with which Burroughs was very familiar the Moon represents the feminine principle, while Venus, the Roman form of the Greek Aphrodite, represents the force of Love.  Thus in symbolical  terms ERB/Napier is diverted from the Manly principle of Mars by the female principle of the Moon and sent to the planet representing domination by the feminine principle of Love.  Napier is not a warrior.

     In Lion Man, written a  few months after The Pirates Of Venus Tarzan follows his female Anima principle, Rhonda, into the valley of diamonds, where he is attached to The Golden Girl, Balza.  In Burroughs’ terminology diamonds represent the realization of his sexual hopes.  So Rhonda in this instance can be taken to represent Napier’s moon who leads him to Balza, the planet Venus or Florence.  Burroughs is now severely handicapped in his conflict with MGM.  In this chapter of Lion Man when he catches up with Rhonda  comes across Balza being beaten by her man, the sport with the human appearance and gorilla brain.  Balza had been misrepresented earlier, actually having a human brain.  She now attaches herself to the emasculated Tarzan.

     In their flight from the mutants- Tarzan running away again- they discover a pit full of diamonds.  Presaging Tarzan And The Forbidden City in which the father of diamonds is a piece of coal, the huge pile of diamonds has lost any value to him.  Thus Burroughs senses in 1933 that love is going to be a serious disappointment.

     As a matter of fact in his psychological malaise Balza/Florence seems to have lost any value to him.  He leads the women to the foot of the Falls where they rejoin the movie company who are living riotously.  Their dance is a double of the Dum Dum like dance of the gorillas.  Not a favorable comparison, perhaps indicating that man has not advanced much from the apes.  Leaving Balza to become a movie star Tarzan returns to the jungle to find Stanley dead, thus the dead Stanley is rather unaccountably accepted by the movie company who return to LA.  The whole story becomes a sort of mirage which, while we know it did happen, never happened.

     ERB as a writer has now completed Ring 2.  He completes his Ring construction by returning to the site of Ring Left 1, Hollywood as Ring Right 1.  As Holtsmark notes he has followed the classical mode of Homer.  He has not only done that but written his most perfect example.  I find Lion Man masterly on all levels, in fact, ERB’s Magnum Opus.

     A year after the movie company returned to the US Tarzan himself undertakes a visit to the film colony of Hollywood.

Go To Part 8, More Stars Than There Are In Heaven