A Review

Greil Marcus: Lipstick Traces

Part V

The Crash Of Yesterday’s Art

by R.E. Prindle

 

     At this stage of the review it will turn into a secret history of the secret history.  Since last writing I have read Mr. Marcus’ opus on Dylan’s Like A Rolling Stone, The Dustbin Of History and Mystery Train plus a few articles available on line.  The qualities not as apparent from a volume or two become more apparent when enough material is read.  No writer can write several hundred pages without revealing himself and his intentions.

     Thus it becomes clear that Mr. Marcus was reared as both a Communist and a Jew.  Of course he uses the palliative, socialist.  He seems to have come from a privileged background while having received a Jewish conditioning.  He was born in the summer of 1945.  His father, Greil Gerstner, died during WWII so he must have been adopted by his stepfather, obtaining the name of Marcus.

     As part of the Critical Theory of The Frankfurt School he has been trained to view life as one tragedy after another.  Whereas in the Western tradition we are trained to see life as a series of adventures in which if we triumph, good; if not, then efforts must be taken to rectify the situation.  There is no mystery in situationism; it is just the way it is.  Thus the Westerner even more that the Jewish Guy Debord is trained as a situationist.

     In his criticism Mr. Marcus unremittingly condemns the United States as fatally flawed and ripe for destruction.  As this is his vision he is compelled to work toward its realization.  This might be considered strange because when his grandparents or great-grandparents landed on these shores c. 1900 they thought they had found the Promised Land.  So what happened in the years between then and now to turn the Promised Land into the shitheap Mr. Marcus sees?  Nothing.  The conditioned Jewish character merely asserted itself and Paradise turned into fecal matter.  One might look to Freud for a solution but I think the answer can be found even earlier in that ridiculous Holy Book of the Jews that Westerners call the Bible.

     Now, they are always looking for a paradisical ‘situation.’  According to their Holy Book 5700 and some odd years ago which is when they believe that the world was created they lived in the literal Paradise.  All they had to do was keep their nose clean and mind their manners.  So as to leave room for no mistakes their mentor God, or as Jews spell it G-d, told them all of Paradise was theirs to enjoy but they must never eat of the fruit of a forbidden tree.  Pretty clear wasn’t it? 

      So then the Jews defied their mentor by eating the forbidden fruit.  This act enraged their mentor so greatly he picked them up and bodily threw them from Paradise thus beginning a very long list of expulsions.  Also their God did not fool around.  He was unforgiving telling them to never come back at the same time setting up a guard who couldn’t be fooled to make sure they never did come back.  Thus the first act of the conditioning of the Jewish people took place.

     So, the scenario is that the Jews are welcomed, then the Jews repel  mentor or hosts, the host eventually becomes sufficiently angry with the Jews to expel them from their midst.  This scenario has been repeated for, by Jewish calculations, 5700+ years.

     C. 1900 Mr. Marcus’ ancestors arrived in what they jubilantly described as the Promised Land, in another word, Paradise.  They prospered mightily.  Mr. Marcus himself is the product of that prosperity but, like the Jews in the Garden of Paradise, Mr. Marcus is busily trashing the Land of Promise.  As he sees it the United States is fecal matter that has to be flushed down the toilet.  Further he wants you to view the United States the way he does and trash the only home you have ever known or will ever know.  Mr. Marcus is a dual citizen; when the country is trashed he and his successosrs will just move on as they have always done.

     That’s the short form.

     Now, Mr. Marcus and his fellow culturalists have declared war on the Aryan species as well as on the United States and, actually Europe.  They will settle for nothing less, according to their spokesperson Mr. Noel Ignatiev, than the abolition or genocide of the entire species, one billion strong.

     While this goal can be achieved by psychological means, indeed is well advanced, the fun comes from openly fuddling people.  To do that one needs a power base.  A power base was first achieved in Russia in 1917 but that one slipped through their hands.

     But then this summer Sarkozy got himself elected President of France thus placing the power of that State in Jewish hands.  One of the first things Sarkozy did was to begin to distribute French atomic weapons to France’s enemies.  Unless the Jews and Moslems are secretly allied this act seems suicidal for the Jews.  Who knows maybe it has reached that point in Jewish minds.  It should be clear to all that as there is no God  the story of Paradise is merely a reflection of the Jewish ego.  In the search for anti-Semitism it is quite clear that it is a product of the Jewish outlook.  In the conflict within the Jewish mind God became the first anti-Semite.  The whole Jewish scenario develops from this inner psychological conflict.

     A second thing that began happening after the Sarkozy election was that key Jews were beckoned to France for instructions in somewhat the same manner as Judaeo-Communist revolutionaries returned to Russia just after the October Revolution when as Mr. Marcus quotes Trotsky as saying, the Mensheviks were tossed into the dustbin of history.

     Mr. Marcus was called to France in July of this year under the auspices of The Cartier Foundation For The Contemporary Arts [ http//www.time.com/time/printout/0,8816,1649503,00.html  ]

ostensibly to give his views on Buddy Holly.  Whether Mr. Marcus actually met with Jewish conspirators in private to receive instructions I can’t say but it would have to be proved to me he didn’t, especially as this ‘cultural’ forum turned into a podium for America bashing in which Mr. Marcus gleefully participated.

     Speaking of Elvis Presley and Jackson Pollack the director Alain Perrin described them as “Two young people living in a society that they want to provoke to rebel against, and to mock sometimes.”  I think perhaps Mr. Perrin is projecting his and France des Juifs’ opinion on Elvis, I don’t know about Pollack.  I never had the notion that Presley was mocking America and I wouldn’t have liked him if he did.  The early Rock n’ Rollers were not mocking anything they were just trying to break in a different musical form against great opposition and make it big.  That opposition merely had to do with people who were shocked at the musical departure.

     I graduated HS in ’56 and was one of a minority who accepted the music in my class.  The new era began really with the class of ’57 when the form had penetrated to the youth consciousness.

     The skewed Mr. Perrin goes on to say “This was the America that had liberated the world of Nazism…’  Surely Mr. Perrin meant France although in his skewed imagination it may have seemed like the world. “…but this was also a racist America, a puritan America, (no capital.  It might be possible to say America was still Puritan but it was not puritan.) a hyper conservative, McCartyite America.”  Well, one out of five ain’t bad especially for France as America did what the French couldn’t do themselves.  I hope Mr. Perrin wasn’t offended that America wasted its own men, some of whom were my relatives, money and resources to save an ungrateful France from itself.  As I understand it there was no scarcity of French collaborators in that glorious lovely Liberal Communistic ‘pure’ France of Mr. Perrin’s imagination.  One would expect a Communist of Mr. Perrin’s stripe to be opposed to weird old ‘conservative’ America.  But, then I’m sure he doesn’t want to talk about that in an open forum.  No one expects gratitude from the French but a little realistic appraisal of the past wouldn’t hurt.  Liberals are Liberals, but, geez.

     Mr. Marcus slips and slides in with his two cents worth: 

     Quote:

     In the 1950s (ten long years note) the official story was that America was back to normal (the Depression?) women were out of the factories, (happened in the forties) everything was working like clockwork, (not so, but Mr. Marcus was a nine year old and it may have seemed so) but underneath this was an entirely different story (secret history again) of confusion, conflict, desperation, (how did I survive?) desire for grandeur.  Life could have been an epic story, life was dangerous ( aw,  come on, Mr. Marcus, don’t put me on with all these cliches) you could step outside the role that had been preordained for you.  (by whom?)

     Unquote.

     Now, let’s see.  How many cliches are in that novelistic approach to history.  Mr. Marcus says he was born in the summer of ’45.   McCarthy was shot down in ’54 so Mr. Marcus would have been eight or nine. His memories of the fifties then are pretty thin so he must be reading the Time-Life Decade series for the 50s.  Even then they wouldn’t have made such puerile remarks.  Well, I’ve read the series and they do, so…  My memory of the time was that there was no normal.  The discord was right on the surface and that was no fooling around.  Our town was virtually in the hands of the Chicago Outfit.  Jimmy Hoffa and the Teamster bomb wielders were serious, the Korean War, the Commie Threat (that Mr. Marcus and the French refer to as ‘McCarthyite America’) produced great tensions.  The Atom Bomb, my god Mr. Marcus don’t you ‘remember’ the Rosenbergs in 1953?

      If you’re going to try to write history give up your sophomoric Jewish presentation.  Hunker down.  Get objective.

     Mr. Marcus has his own secret history and mocking America is central to it.

     In concentrating on the nonentities clowning it up in Zurich Mr. Marcus fails to relate Da Da to the course of the evolutionary development of Western society thus exaggerating the importance of these clowns grossly.  Their effect on the development of society was minimal.  The Da Da art movement did have some effect.  Bear in mind that Da Da is merely a state of mind shared by a percentage of any age cadre from say 17 to 25 or so when they are struggling to find their way.  Finding one’s way isn’t easy and does have its stresses.  The situation of this particular group occurred as the Scientific Revolution, the real revolution, begun in 1859 with the publication of Darwin’s Origin Of Species was disrupting Western society to the maximum extent.  Science challenged religious concepts including those of the Jews.

     The ethos of art had run its course having achieved all that representational art could achieve.  The search for novelty or an avant garde, if you will, produced Cubism, Da Da and Surrealism.  Thus these clowns in Zurich who produced nothing but had a narcissitic crush on themselves were presumably able to make a noise.  In reading Mr. Marcus  one isn’t sure exactly what that noise was.  In any event the Cabaret Voltaire changed nothing that had not already been changed or was changing.

     Other than rescuing this crew from the dustbin of history and amusing us aside it is difficult to understand what significance Mr. Marcus finds in this clown act performing hackneyed stunts.

     He somehow segues this act into his following act, even more insignificant than the opening act.  The Crash Of Yesterday’s Art concerns the career of another complete and insane non-entity, one Isador Isou.

     In order to give some significance to Isou he manages to compare him with both Elvis Presley and Tony Curtis.  Not bad footwork for a fancy dancer.

     As is usual with Mr. Marcus all the people he considers important are Jewish and those he denigrates are goys.  Thus in the comparison between the earth shaker Presley and the non-entity Isou the latter comes out as the more signficant of the two.  How Tony Curtis comes in isn’t clear unless it is his famous pompadour that is said to have influenced Presley’s hair style.  At any rate the two Jews to one goi with Presley basing his hair style on one Jew while the other’s portrait often mistook him for a ‘pop star’ which it would appear raises him to a level slightly above Presley seems relevant in Mr. Marcus eyes.  I don’t know, hard to dicipher.

     As Mr. Marcus describes the megamaniacal Isou it would appear that he could have been at the famous dinner at the Maison de Sante described by Edgar Allan Poe in his famous The System Of Dr. Tarr And Professor Fether.  In fact much of Mr. Marcus writing reminds me of nothing so much as Poe’s lady who tried to get outside her clothes rather than in them.  I have great difficulty taking Mr. Marcus discussion of Isou as seriously as he seems to, although I find the story a fascinating bit of trivia.

     Leaving Isou’s manias aside it seems that his contribution to the deconstruction of Western Civilization was to insist that paragraphs, sentences and words were meaningless while the only thing of importance was the bare letter itself.  A building block.  You see what I mean by trying to get outside one’s clothes than inside.  Mr. Isou grandiloquently called his ‘organization’ The Lettrist International with he and his other member.  He wished to establish the Lettrist Dictatorship.

     Actually as a Jew Isou was merely following the letter mysticism of the Jewish alphabet in which not only does each letter have incredible symbolic meaning but each curve and segment of a letter is also endowed with incredible symbolism.  A whole several hundred page volume could easily be written concerning the letter aleph and each additional letter thus adding up to a magnificent Harvard five foot shelf of the Jewish alphabet.

     Somehow Charlie Starkweather and Caril figure in here but I’ll have to go back and study to get it which would scarcely be worth it.  I’ll see if I can find the time.

     Mr. Marcus also recasts a version of his musings on what appear so be his favorite song:  It’s Too Soon To Know of the mid-forties.  Favorite songs are often inscrutable to anyone who doesn’t ‘get it.’  I know the song and while I like it, I don’t get it like Mr. Marcus does.  On the other hand I don’t expect Mr. Marcus to get a couple of secret favorites of mine, one by a singer whose name I forget, Clint something or other, although I should still have the 45.  I got the disc in a close out mystery package of 10 for 99 cents.  The song goes something like ‘Bertha Lou, Bertha Lou, I wanna conjugate with you.’  I like it however I have never met another person who has ever heard the song.

     Another favorite of mine is by the Crows (Orioles-Crows- the bird, the bird, the bird’s the word) of Gee fame that reads something like this:

I’ve got a girl named Rosie Lee,

I wanna tell ya what she did for me.

She took me in when I had nowhere to go

And that is the reason I love her so.

—-

Face like a tadpole, shape like a bear,

But when it comes to lovin’ Rosie is there.

     The lyricist is certainly no Allen Ginsberg but as you can see both these songs and Ginsberg’s Howl are concerned with a certain word begining with the letter F.  And the usage is indeed international.  God bless Isidore Isou and the Lettrist International.

     Well, enough of this funnin’, let’s get on with the serious stuff.  So Isou and his Lettrist Interntional is going to segue into Guy Debord and his Situationist International but first we have to go to church.  It seems to me that I have a vague memory of Part VI so the invasion of Notre Dame must have been a true international scandal.

Part VI Follows.

Springtime For Edgar Rice Burroughs

by

R.E. Prindle

4c

How Waldo Became A Man

 

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

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

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

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

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

page 1.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     In reply to Rosenberger Weston says:

     Quote:

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

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

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

     Unquote.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     Quote:

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

     Unquote.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

e.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     Quote:

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

—-

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

     Unquote.

     And so Waldo decides to remain in the stone age.

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

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

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

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

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

End Of Part 4c.

 

Springtime For Edgar Rice Burroughs

3.

In The Beginning:

The Renascent Burroughs

a.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     Quote:

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

     Unquote.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Also he may be ridiculing his own former self.

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

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

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

4b.

It’s A Lover’s Question

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4c.

How Waldo Became A Man