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Sunday, July 1, 2012 4:15 PM
R.E. Prindle

R.E. Prindle

* DOB:  5/26/38 (Confidential, do not  disclose.) ~ POB:  Saginaw, Michigan ~ TOB:  11:16 PM         Mother: Yes. ~ Father: Briefly.
        * Sister  Catherine of St. Luke’s Hospital acknowledges, according to questionable  documentation, that REP was born at their institution.  REP was a  healthy         baby weighing in at 11/3.
        *  Contrary to appearances REP is not nor ever has been affiliated with the Roman  Catholic Church.  Maybe the doctor was Catholic.  Mr. Prindle’s  religious         training was  Congregational, Presbyterian and Methodist.  He has since renounced all  religious affiliations being of the Scientific Consciousness.
        * He  attended the following grammar schools – Emerson, Adams (uncertain as to which  Adams), Emerson again, Longfellow, Fuerbringer.
        * 7th to  9th:  North Intermediate School ~ 10th to 12th:  Arthur Hill High  School
        * Some  people complain about their schools, especially high school, claiming they  received useless information.  Prindle doesn’t.  Some of the  information         was irrelevant but he  feels that if he had absorbed the 98% he didn’t while at the same time taking a  number of useful courses that he failed to do, that he  very         likely would have been much  better off than he was with a meager 2% absorption rate.  Still, and this  is amazing, he believes he left high school  intellectually         ahead of 98% of his  fellow graduates.
        * The  above astonishing fact has never been noted by Mr. Ripley but it might well be  included in his compendium.
        *  Prindle attended the following colleges:  Oakland City College, Merritt  Campus, Marin Community College, Chabot Community College (all in the Bay  Area         of California).
        *  California State College at Hayward (since having undergone numerous name  changes.  At last report it may have been named California  State         University-East Bay.   Might I suggest UC-Berkeley South?)
        *  Prindle obtained a BA in History from the above vari-named institution.
        *  Graduate studies were undertaken at UC-Berkeley North and the University of  Oregon at Eugene.  No advanced degrees resulted rather Mr. Prindle  was         asked to leave the University  Of Oregon on the grounds that ‘he wasn’t the academic type.’  This may  possibly have been true but if true, Mr. Prindle believes  it         was irrelevant.
        *  NB:  Unlike high school where Prindle believes a lack of application  resulted in an under utilization of both his and the school’s facilities he  believes that with         the exception  of his summer at UC Berkeley his college years were wasted time and effort, at  the least unproductive.  However the vagaries of space  and         time are such that one thing  leads to another.
        * In the  interim between high school and college Mr. Prindle did time in the US Navy for  no sins of his own commission.  The less said about the this period  the         better.  Experience is  said to be a hard school and the Navy was one of the hardest.  While the  experience Mr. Prindle obtained was of value he feels that  the         price was overvalued.  He  hasn’t been able but help notice that those without the valuable experience  suffered no adverse effects in life.  But as a wise  old         commentator noted about a  famous American card game:  You plays ’em like you finds ’em. These were  momentous times of great excitement.  Being one  of         the elect 2% Mr. Prindle took  his chances and prospered.
        * From  the time he left his collegiate studies, such as they were, behind in 1969 he  never looked back.
             Mr. Prindle is not clear on what the last sentence actually means but he has  seen it used so often is similar situations that he thought it  might              apply.  Your comments are welcome.  Not appreciated but  welcome.
         To those addicted to  sequential reporting Mr. Prindle apologizes for reporting the Navy period out of  sequence.  He disliked the experience so much there is a  good     chance he would have left a blank spot in the record  instead.  Take what you can get.
         The next fifteen years of  the Prindle ‘Odyssey’ were spent in the phonograph record business.   Vinyl.  First in Eugene then in Portland a hundred miles up I5.
         As the saying goes:   If you’re not doing one thing you’re doing another.  The period was both  lucrative and instructive.  Whatever you put in the bag is in the  bag.  As     Bob Seger once said, or sang:  I wish I  didn’t know now what I didn’t know then.’  Mr. Prindle feels there is a  certain amount of wisdom in this statement.  However what  is     done is done.  There is no going back.
          As Mr. Prindle was  in the phonograph record business actually having listened to thousands of  records many a hundred or more times he naturally picked up  many     pearls of wisdom from the grooves as per Mr. Seger’s  sage comment.
         Mr. Prindle and Mr. Paul  Simon came to the same conclusion at the same time but rather than start a fight  Mr. Prindle wishes to allow Mr. Simon priority.  Suffice it  to     say that each woke up one morning something along about  1978 and said to himself:  I don’t think this stuff is funny anymore.
         No, the range of  possibilities had been exhausted.  Tedium alone loomed ahead.  Perhaps  a lifetime of inanity.  That’s insanity without the S.  Enough was  enough,     perhaps, too much.
         A famous group once  sang:  Change is now.  Well, they knew whereof they spake.  The  record industry cooperated by collapsing.  Just kind of went away.   Prindle did     not consider this a tragedy; he picked up his  marbles and went home.
         Had he seen all that life  had to offer?  Quite frankly, yes, and if it had more of the same he didn’t  want to see it.
         Prindle retired to his  books and studies.  Having amassed a huge pile of psychological detritus he  wanted to sift through the mass for the flecks of gold.  This notion  is     a very romantic approach to life which seems on the  surface as though it would be productive.
         As above, so below.   As it seemed it was.
         If anyone has read  Prindle’s ‘stuff’ they can piece the rest together.  He has studied and  written.  His interests are included in his writing.
         As of 7/31/05 his health  is as good as it was on the day he was born.  If he can never go home again  that is no loss, it wasn’t that good the first time.  Let the dead  bury     their dead.  (Another obscure saying that  requires some thinking out.)  Home is where you’re happy and Mr. Prindle  would be happy wherever he was.
         The above is copyright  2005 by Mr. Prindle.  Any unauthorized use will be will be visited by  divine punishment pronto!  Just a word to the wise.
                                                       THE INTERVIEW
        ERBzine:  I recently had  what some might call the pleasure of interviewing a frequent contributor to our  pages.  Mr. R.E. Prindle.  Without further ado I  present         the results of that  interview.
        How do you do, Mr.  Prindle.  Er, it is Mr. Prindle isn’t it?
        REP:  Could be.  Why  do you ask?
        ERBzine:  Well, I just  meant it as an introductory pleasantry.  Nothing personal.  Where  shall we start?  Oh, I know, what is your real, er, uh, full name?
        REP:  That’s between me and  my god.
        ERBzine:  Sure it is.   Well, I see that you use a number of different names in your articles.
        REP:  Essays.  Yes, I  do.  The umbrella name for the group is Ronald E. Prindle, that was the  name I was registered under with the government but I  use         mainly R.E. Prindle, Dr. Anton  Polarion and Dugald Warbaby.  Anton is my favorite but he doesn’t appear  that frequently.  Such is life.
        ERBzine:  Registered with  the government…?
        REP:  Yes, certainly, birth  certificate, Social Security, you know, an official identity, something that  will go on an identity card.  You have a birth certificate  don’t         you?
        ERBzine:  I never looked at  it…Yes. of course.  Were you born…pardon me, where were you born?
        REP:  That’s  disputed.  Some say that like Stewball I blew down in a storm but St.  Luke’s Hospital in Saginaw, Michigan perversely registered me there  so         there is some dispute about the  actual event.  They claim that they can produce a birth certificate stating  that I was born there but as I haven’t seen  the         certificate from St. Luke’s I  am reluctant to take their word for it.
        ERBzine:  I’m betting on  St. Luke’s but we’ll let that pass.  May I ask who or what Stewball is?
        REP:  You’re the  interviewer.  Stewball was a famous racehorse from out in California.   Some say Stewball was born but some say she blew down in a storm.         If you bet on Stewball you might  win.
        ERBzine:  Sounds like a  song.
        REB:  It is.
        ERBzine:  Was there a  particular date when you…uh…blew down in a storm?
        REP:  That’s an easy  one.  Remember it well.  5/26/38.  I look 67 but I feel ageless,  one with the universe like John Carter.  Haven’t figured out how to  look         thirty yet, though.
        ERBzine:  I think we may be  getting somewhere.
        REP:  My advice is stay  away from the difficult questions.
        ERBzine:  That’s a  tightrope act.  I see you quote a number of musicians in your art…uh,  essays, any favorite music?
        REP:  Fa.
        ERBzine:  Fa?
        REP:  Yes.  Fa is my  favorite note.  I am a one note man.  I sometimes practice it for ten  minutes or so in the shower.  Much more satisfying than Om  which         isn’t even a note.  All  my favorite songs make frequent use of Fa.
        ERBzine:  In that case you  should have a large number of favorite songs.  Could you share some of  those with us?
        REP:  I’ll tell ya.  I  like Wild Thing by the Pretty Things OK.  Written by Chick Taylor.
        ERBzine:  Chip.
        REP:  Chip what?
        ERBzine:  Chip  Taylor.  His name is Chip not Chick.
        REP:  How do you  know?  You say Chip, I say Chick, but for the sake of harmony let’s agree  on Chip.  Feel better?  And then I like a variety of things.         Driftwood On The River by Ernest  Tubb, Redwing, Somewhere My Love, Poor People Of Paris, some things like  that.  Webb Pierce, Hank Snow,  Jesse         Winchester, my folks were  hillbillies before the coal companies tore the hills down.  Now they live  on the flats.  Flatbillies.  I have a strong streak of  schmaltz         too.  Tommy Collins,  Roy Acuff, Mac Wiseman, people like that.  I’m more interested in a sound  than specific songs, but there are especially good songs.         Ever hear ‘There Ain’t No More  Can On This Brazos?’  Ask me again and I’ll give you a different  list.  Same tunes, different words.  Ha. Ha.
        ERBzine;  no.  This  might not be as bad as I feared.  Do you have a favorite color?
        REP:  Not anything you can  see.  But, yes.  More than one.  Depends on the time of the day  for the visible spectrum.  Of course, sometimes I get hung up  and         stay with a color for up to 36  hours  but mostly I’d have to say my favorites are off the visible  spectrum.
        ERBzine:  Off the visible  spectrum?
        REP: Oh yeah.  I have an  affinity for the shortest and most active waves ever since I learned about  magnetars.
        ERBzine:  I’m afraid the  term magnetar isn’t familiar to me yet.  Can you explain or are you making  this up?
        REP:  Answering your  question in reverse order:  No and possibly.  A magnetar is some sort  of collapsed star which periodically burps out these  massive         clouds of gamma rays which  then careen around the universe.  The earth passed through a gamma cloud  last December which was so strong it lit up  the         atmosphere and also lit up the  moon.  There very likely would have been mass extinctions, including you  and me if it had gotten through the atmosphere.   I         prefer gamma clouds or some such  sort of thing to account for various mass extinctions in the past to the silly  notions that comets were that destructive.         Everytime some of these so called  scientists want to explain something they lay it off on comets.  I’m tired  of the comet routine.  They don’t explain anything.
        ERBzine:  Do I understand  you to mean that you would like to cause mass extinctions.
        REP:  Oh absolutely, I want  peace in the world.  Nothing would give me greater pleasure.  The  misunderstood Roman emperor Nero is one of my heroes.
        ERBzine:  Nero?  He’s  generally thought of as being insane isn’t he?
        REP:  That’s what his  enemies say but what else would they say?  The term insanity is not to be  tossed about lightly.  True insanity is very rare; there  are         crazies, and nutcakes and the  like but the line between insanity and genius is so close that I wouldn’t go  around calling people insane unless I had a firm  grip         on the meaning of the term.
             I  really think of Nero as one faced with insuperable challenges, for his  personality and intelligence of course, who responded to his own  subconscious         needs when the going  got rough.  Life isn’t all that easy.  All the mythological heroes  have periods of madness as they try to adjust inner wishes with  external         realities.  The  stresses on Nero were much more than he or anyone else could bear.  Besides  people got used to zany emperors as witness Heliogabalus.         No one ever calls him  insane.  Still I like Nero’s responses to events..
        ERBzine:  Which were?
        REP:  Well, he once said he  wished all Romans had the same neck so he could strangle them all at the same  time.  If he could have transformed himself into  a         gamma cloud he probably would  have been overjoyed.  And then when he died he said something to the effect  that the world was losing a great artist  and         would never see his like  again.
        ERBzine:  You consider  yourself a great artist then?
        REP:  Not being an emperor  modesty forbids my saying so but if I were to be remembered I would wish to be  remembered as an artist, a good artist,  if         possible a great artist.   Yes.  But great artists are very rare.
        ERBzine:  Might I ask who  you consider to be great artists?
        REP:  Yes.
        ERBzine:  Well…OK…Who  do you consider great artists?
        REP:  Salvador Dali.
        ERBzine:  That’s it?   Anyone else?
        REP:  No.  there are  picture painters and writers and whatever but only Dali had all the attributes  of the great artist.  You mentioned the term insane a  minute         ago.  By ‘insane’ I  understand someone on the other side of the boundary of sanity.  Someone  who has hopped the fence so to speak.  I equate sanity  with         conventionality.  Nutty  or mad are usually fairly conventional states, no imagination, if you know what  I mean.
              Therefore I consider Dali to have been insane.  He’s really looking at the  world from the other side of the fence.  The very antithesis of Picasso who  was at         best conventionally  unconventional.  The guy was a bourgeois whereas Dali viewed life from the  other side but he was not maniacal which is to say insane  and         irrational.  It’s not  always easy to tell whether such a person is irrational or a genius.  Nor,  will everyone recognize the difference but it can be  demonstrated         that Dali was  supremely rational.
        ERBzine:  Hm.  No one  else?
        REP:  No.  Mozart  maybe.  A couple writers come close.  Dumas pere has moments when he  has moved over into a parallel universe as does his  countryman         Eugene Sue but the  state of mind is difficult to maintain, especially in literature.  Scott  and Balzac operate on the edge but they didn’t have what it took to  hop         the fence.  Balzac may be  a special case as was, now that I think of it, E.T.A. Hoffman.
        ERBzine:  OK.  Do you  have a favorite breakfast cereal?
        REP:  Cheerios.  And I  favor raw whole milk.  No pasteurization.  Although the enemies of  mankind’s enjoyment are doing their best to completely outlaw it.   I         would hope they couldn’t succeed  but prohibition is in that type’s blood and they always do.
        ERBzine:  I suppose, I  know, you’re right.  One wonders where these nobodies get their  power.  Before I ask you questions about your work on the  ERBzine         which is getting extensive  would you say that if you had your life to vie over you would change anything?
        REP:  Very fair  question.  Yes.  I’d change everything.  First thing I’d do is  eliminate 90% of the world’s population, move everybody I didn’t like to the  Bight of         Benin and leave the rest  of the world to me and my friends…
        ERBzine:  Mr. Prindle  no.  No, Mr. Prindle what I mean is would you live your very own life over  the same way.
        REP:  I see you’re looking  for a conventional answer.  Well, Son, as a question that doesn’t merit an  answer.  What is done is done and can’t be undone.         Remember that .  Things are  just the way they were and that’s it.  Suffice it to say that I have gone  through some very difficult times that I would have avoided if  I         had had the sense and  means.  I had a bad attitude but the attitude was given me by others before  I had a chance to put up the proper defences.
              Nevertheless, I have been blessed with a very active and intelligent mind.   By standing on the shoulders of giants, as the saying goes, Freud not least  who         despite himself gave something  of value to the world, no artist though, I have been able to integrate my  personality, reconcile my Anima and rectify  my         Animus.  As you can see I  am a healthy animal, what has gone awry science has corrected.  I didn’t  wait around hoping for Allah to do anything for me.   The         only thing that counts is  ‘now’ and now life couldn’t be better; if things take a turn for the worse which  in this Time Of Troubles is very possible I have  the         psychological means to deal  with things.
             I  have gone from bad to better and from better to good which is if not a miracle a  rare exception.  Since I can’t change the past I have learned to  understand         it.  I am at peace  as much, I think, as any man can be.  I have an active mind, I have  interests, I get up every morning with zest.  I like my house, like myself,  I         like my wife.  Convert  those into psychological symbols and see what you get.  OK?  Now, kid,  did I answer your question?
        ERBzine:  OK.  Maybe  you’re not insane after all.
        REP:  I may be, I may not  be.  The point is, how would you know?  Besides by my definition of  insane, I’m not even close either as a genius or a lunatic.
        ERBzine:  I didn’t mean  anything by it.  Now, about your essays.  What are you trying to  say?  I mean, other than the obvious?
        REP:  My writing?   What am I doing?  1.  I’m an historian.  I try to get beneath the  surface of the facts to see how the facts became the facts, then interpret  the         facts according to the intent  of the participants along with the unintended consequences.  What we think  we’re doing is irrelevant it is what we’re actually  doing         that counts, the unintended  consequences you see.               2.  I also consider myself a student of the history of the development of  human consciousness hence my interest in psychology.  I mainly follow Freud  for his         organization of personal  psychology but I am also aware of the contributions of the Jungian school.   Works such as Eric Neumann’s The History Of  The         Development Of Human  Consciousness.
        ERBzine:  Um, I know you’re  going to be sensitive about this but…uh…you know, Mr. Hillman at the ERBzine  has gotten letters and phone calls  complaining         that  you’re…um…well, you know, very prejudiced against certain uh…groups.   How do you answer that?
        REP:  By groups I suppose  you mean religious groups.  Well, I’m not surprised.  They complain  every time you mutter the word evolution.  But, you know,  to         include yourself in one  religious group is to exclude all others which is the nature of an ideological  or religious stance.  So for a religious person to call  anyone         else a bigot is like the  pot calling the kettle black.  Forget ecumenism, the word’s an  oxymoron.  I thought I had to get oxymoron in at least once,  it’s  kind of a         mark of something.   One can’t be of a religious mind without thinking all other religions or  understandings are in error.  That’s what religion is, can’t be  any         other way.  If anyone  says it can they’re looking you in the eye and lying or so ignorant they aren’t  worth talking to.  A religion is an exclusive point of  view,         hence the very bigotry they  decry in others .  Bigotry, that’s the word you meant to use, wasn’t it?
        ERBzine:  Well, yes.   The ERBzine has had some complaints.
        REP:  Once again, I’m  sure.  I can only say that if I were a bigot Mr. Hillman would have shut me  down since bigotry certainly doesn’t befit the image of  his         magazine.
              However, I can say that I have no more feeling for or against one religious  group than another and that feeling is not ‘hatred.’  I have compassion for  them as         one would for a little  child.  When one combines the states of human consciousness with Freud’s  ideas of group psychology both of which have  scientific         validity, then it  becomes clear that with the mental development of, at least, a portion of  mankind to a scientific consciousness that moves thought from  opinion         to fact.  Science in  its own way is an exclusive approach to knowledge but that knowledge is based on  objective truth which make religion irrelevant  and         obsolete hence the charges of  bigotry.  People can believe anything they want but one isn’t required to  respect those beliefs no matter how many laws  are         passed requiring you to.   Shovel sand against the tide!  Leave me alone.
              One can’t be scientific and religious at the same time.  If Einstein said  one could, that proves  Einstein was religious and not a scientist.   In other words, the         evolution of  Homo Sapiens has evolved past the religious types whatever sect they may  be.  Garbage is garbage, it doesn’t matter how you pronounce it.         There is nothing supernatural,  and that is the basis of religion.  Do you see?
        ERBzine:  You don’t mean  that science, the scientific consciousness is better than religion, do you?
        REP:  Why sure.   That’s the reason for the complaints.  Is Homo Sapiens superior to the  ape?  Of course.  The difference between the scientific and  the         religious is not so obvious  but it is no less real.  That is largely my message and what they object  to.  It has nothing to do with bigotry, however it is  necessary         to reject religious  claims for consideration on a scientific basis.  And then what I am saying  is also revolutionary.  It overturns the belief system that  the         religious consciousness has  insidiously imposed on the scientific consciousness in reaction to it since,  say, 1893.
              The scientific consciousness simply cannot let itself be imposed on.  The  result would be the planet of the apes, you see?
              The conflict is largely between the Semitic concept that a supernatural being  created the world six thousand years ago in the exact form in which we find it.         The evolutionary concept which  really begins in astronomy seeks to integrate mankind into this cosmic  reality.  So you say some religious people  have         complained and I should take  them seriously.  I can’t, no one can, but that isn’t bigotry.   Nonsense is nonsense and they are going to have to face themselves.         The ape in the mirror so to  speak.
        ERBzine:  It sounds  reasonable the way you explain it.  I certainly don’t believe the earth was  created six thousand years ago.
        REP:  Exactly.  So,  welcome to the scientific consciousness.  If you hadn’t before you now  have  no choice but the accept the concept of evolution.
              Now that we’ve got that settled we are at one with ERB.
              So, the foundation of what I mean to say is the three books of Something Of  Value which Mr. Hillman has been gracious enough to publish.  Revolutionary         stuff.
        ERBzine:  I only know of  two books.
        REP:  The third is on the  way.  The two books you have read, I assume you have, are both a defense of  the scientific consciousness which seemed  necessary         in light of the  religious bigotry that resulted in 9/11 and an offensive against that religious  bigotry.  Whether I have succeeded or not I have attempted to  give         we scientifics a defense and  offense for ourselves.
            If it  has been necessary to criticize the policy or agenda of specific religions then  that is because the aggression against the scientific consciousness  is         coming most strongly from those  quarters.  I must defend my own belief system and that is not bigotry so  that is my answer to the complaints.  I hope it  is         adequate.
        ERBzine:  Alright.  Fine.  I can accept that but we’ve also had complaints, and I think this is  legitimate that your beliefs don’t have anything to do with  Edgar         Rice Burroughs and this is  an ERB site.  What do you say to that?
        REP:  How do I answer  that?  This might not be so easy.  Let’s go back to the 1893 Chicago  Columbian Exposition.  Everything I have just been  discussing         was laid like a feast  at ERB’s feet at the Fair.  Mr. Hillman, coming from a completely different  angle from mine, I don’t mean to implicate him in any way  in         what is my understanding, and I  have realized the importance of the Expo on Young Burroughs.  I certainly  didn’t and I presume Mr. Hillman didn’t realize  the         breadth and depth of the  experience of the Fair.
              The doings not only took place on the fair grounds but throughout the city as  with the Parliament Of Religions which has been discovered by we scholars  at         the ERBzine.
             So  that Burroughs was presented with scientific and technological wonders as well  as sociological, anthropological, psychological, historical,  agricultural         and even religious  wonders in a huge mass at one time.  Further he had a whole summer at the  Fair to have his senses bombarded.  It appears to have  come         into his mind as a lump which  he only slowly began to differentiate and which found its way into his writing  in bits and pieces strewn throughout his work.   Even         if one considers his farming  activities at Tarzana.  It is quite possible that the vision of all those  fruits and vegetables on display at the Fair may have  resulted         in his planting every  conceivable type of fruit or vegetable plant at Tarzana.  The Fair  literally blew him away.
              So, the things I discuss in Something Of Value can be and are related to the  formative forces on ERB.  I have the advantage of seeing the same things  in         a more evolved state so that I  can read them back into what ERB understood or what I understand him to have  understood.  You see?  So that  having         organized these beliefs  into a whole I can then apply them to specific works of ERB in my current series  of essays.  You dig?
              The ERBzine published the list of books in ERB’s library.  The man noted  the date he finished reading Edward Gibbon’s Decline And Fall Of The  Roman         Empire.  The book made  a huge impact on him as it should have.  I have read that work also so I  potentially know what ERB knew.  The same with  other         books in his library.   When I read du Chaillou and his book on West African gorillas I am sure I will  have a key to the first four Tarzan novels which appear to  be         based on that book.              So  you see it all builds toward the goal of how Burroughs’ thought and  reasoned.  Of course, the readers may think I have failed in the attempt  but, you         know, it’s like the old  folks say, C’est la vie.
        ERBzine:  Yes, but how can  you be sure you’re right.
        REP:  I can’t be sure I’m  totally right but my contribution so far as it goes is reasonably  accurate.  If you read my Men Like Gods it attempts to relate  ERB’s         fascination with the body  builders of his time, which no one else has attempted, with his mythological  knowledge of the man-god Heracles.  At some  future         time I will have to trace  the concept of the man-god in Burroughs’ work.  I have the background,  that’s all I can say, I have developed the background to  see         these things and now I can  apply them to Burroughs’ career.
              I’m tired now, can we continue this tomorrow or the next day?
        ERBzine:  Sure, Mr.  Prindle.  Maybe Wednesday?  We at the ERBzine appreciate your taking  the time to explain this stuff.  Eleven AM Wednesday, then?
—– Original Message —–
Sent: Sunday, July 01, 2012 6:03 PM
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A Contribution To The

ERBzine ERB Library Project

The Beau Ideal Trilogy Of

P.C. Wren

Beau Geste~Beau Sabreur~Beau Ideal

Review by R.E. Prindle

Part I.    Introduction

Part II.  Review of Beau Geste

Part III. Review of Beau Sabreur

Part IV. Review of Beau Ideal

      The first novel of the trilogy signifies a good, beautiful or noble deed.  The deed being the Geste brothers taking the odium of the theft of the sapphire on themselves.  The second, Beau Sabreur, meaning the Noble Warrior or Fighter.  The story then centers on its Lancelot like character, De Beaujolais with attention to the noble actions of subsidiary characters.  Hank and Buddy fit in as noble warriors also.  Beau Ideal then centers on the noble ideals that activate the characters and are part of Western Culture as against that the the others.

     I will put the dramatic first chapter second begin with the second section called The History of Otis Van Brugh, perhaps meant to be a Gawaine type.   Beau Ideal is Otis’ book as the first was that of Michael Geste and his brothers and the second that of De Beaujolais.

     Otis, Hank and Mary are brothers and sister with a last sister who remained at home in Texas.  Their father was a brute of a fellow who drove all his children from home except the last sister.  Wren himself must have had a wretched father because all the fathers in the trilogy are failed men, fellows who don’t have a grip on the meaning of really being a man.

     Neal, or Hank Vanbrugh, refused to put up with it taking to a wandering life.  On the road he met Buddy where they became pals ending up in the Legion.

     Otis and mary being younger subsequently left Texas to lead a peripatetic ex-patriot life of the well to do.  The history of Mary, Hank and Buddy has been given in Beau Sabreur.

     When Otis left De Beaujolais he tried to reach the French contingent in the fort.  Along the way he ran into Redon who filled him in.  Otis was to try to reach the fort to request them to assist a detached unit fighting their way to the fort.  He succeeds.

     In the process Redon diverting the attack away from the fort is shot by friendly fire.  Both he and Otis were dressed as Moslems.  Otis attempts to reach Redon but is shot falling unconscious outside the fort.  Thus when the French are massacred he is the sole survivor.

     He returns to England where psychologically shattered he is stopped by a policeman.  While being interviewed he is conveniently rescued by the leading ‘alienist’ of England.  Given refuge  in his asylum Otis discovers Isobel whose mental health is destabilized because her husband John Geste is in the penal battalion of the FFL.  She implores Otis to find John and bring him back alive.  Here’s a beau ideal.  Ever loving Isobel Otis agrees to sacrifice his happiness to go back to Africa to find John.

     What a guy!  Otis joins the Foreign Legion with the intent of being sent to the penal battalion called the Zephyrs.  He joins and succeeds in being sent to the Zephyrs.  Now we return to the opening chapter.

     Anyone who ever fancied joining the Legion, and the notion was discussed a lot down to the sixties of the last century when I was launching my bark upon the waters, should  have read Erwin Rosen’s In The Legion first.  The Legion was unconcionably cruel to its soldiers in everyday life let alone the penal battalion.  As an example, the Legionnaires complained of excessive marching.  They were required to do thirty miles a day carrying 50 lbs. or more with pack and rifle.  One really has to read Rosen’s description to realize the horror.  Those who dropped out were left where they fell.  Arab women found them subjecting them to horrid tortures.

     This became so common that the Legionnaires were given leave to slaughter the Arab women as a lesson.  This they did with a vengeance.  Rosen was shown a purse by a fellow soldier made from the severed breast of a woman.  Rosen said they were common at one time; an example of what  can happen when civilization meets savagery.  Civilization is lowered but savagery isn’t raised.  The Beau Ideal is lost.

     One of the punishments Rosen mention was called the Silo.  As he describes it these were holes dug into the ground with a funnel put where the victim had to stand exposed to the blazing sun during the day and freezing cold at night.

     Wren converts the idea of these silos into an actual underground grain storage unit capable of holding several men.  In his version the funnel was closed off admitting no light.  As the story opens several men are sweltering in the pit.  A Taureg raid was made on the penal colony building a road near the pit that  killed the whole contingent so that no new supplies were lowered.  The men are dying one by one.

     Otis is in the silo the next to last survivor.  He discovers that the other survivor is none other than John Geste.  On the point of expiring a scout from Hank and Otis’ tribe, or headquarters,  discovers the silo and hauls the two out.  Coincidences and miracles just naturally go with the desert.

     The scout take them to a member tribe of the federation.  Both are now wanted men by the FFL with no hope of salvation.  They have no alternative but to get out of Africa hopefully avoiding France.

     I can’t ask you to guess who was in the camp because you wouldn’t.  Remember the Arab dancing girl Otis met in Beau Sabreur?  She’s the one and she’s still in love with Otis.  Wren names her the Death Angel.  Wren was heavily influenced by E.M. Hull’s The Sheik.  Maud in Beau Sabreur was mad about sheiks, overjoyed when she won one in the person of Hank.  Of couse Hank was an American sheik and not an Arab one, much as Hull’s sheik was in reality half English and half Spanish.

     So, perhaps Otis and the Death Angel are revenants of the Sheik and Diana from Hull’s novel.  In this case the woman has power over the man but the sexual roles remain the same as the king trumps the queen every time as Larry Hosford sings.  If you don’t lose track of who you are it’s true too.  Otis doesn’t lose track of who he is.  Revisit the story of Circe and Ulysses.

     The tribe that rescues Otis and Geste is a rival of Hank Sheik’s but a subordinate member of the confederation.  Hank has organized a sort of United Emirates of the Sahara of which he serves as President for life but without any democratic trimmings.  In a parody of the Sheik then the Death Angel demands ‘kiss me’ of Otis.  He’s not so easy to deal with as Diana.  Even with the Death Angel’s knife at his breast he refuses.

     In the meantime the Zephyrs reclaim Geste and he goes back to his old job of building roads.  Rosen’s account of the FFL compares with Burroughs’ account of his army days.  ERB too was put to work building roads, complaining of moving or perhaps breaking huge boulders.  Both his experience and that of the penal colony of the FFL are quite similar to the chain gangs of the old South of the United States.

     Even when not of the Zephyrs the Legionnaires were given detestable tasks unbefitting the dignity of soldiers.  According to Rosen the men were required to clean out sewers in the Arab quarter of Sidi Bel Abbes.  That’s enough to make anybody desert.  And then get sent to the penal battalion. Crazy, crazy world.  Rosen’s In The Legion is well worth reading if you like this sort of thing.  Download it from the inernet.  Only a hundred pages or so.

     Geste then has to be re-rescued.  This forms the central part of the story along with Otis’ struggles with the Death Angel.  Hank and Buddy get windof the two FFL captives coming to investigate.  Otis then discovers his long lost brother.  It is settled then that Hank and Buddy will give up their Sheikdom to return to pappy’s farm, or ranch.

     Even though Hank and Buddy are powerful sheiks they are still deserters from the Legion so getting out of Algeria is a problem.  Rosen tells a story of a deserter who made it back to Austria where he became a rich and  successful manufacturer.  He made the mistake of exhibiting his manufactures  in Paris in person.  There he was recognized by his old officer who arrested him sending him back to Africa.  There he died.  So Hank and Buddy run the risk of being recognized and arested on the way out of Africa as well as Otis and Geste.

     Geste’s rescue is effected.  The quartet successfully exit Africa arriving safely back in Texas.  However the Death Angel’s help was necessary.  To obtain that help Otis promises to marry her.  He doesn’t want to but a Beau Ideal is a Beau Ideal and so he is going to honor his commitment. On the eve of departure the Angel gives Otis a locket she wears as a good luck charm.  Very bad move.  The locket contains pictures of her mother and father.  Otis examines the mother with some interest then turns his attention to the father….

     Should I ruin a perfectly good ERB ending for you?  Sure, why not?  I’ve got a little sadistic streak too.  Everyone was using this one.  No fooling now, the Death Angel was Otis’ sister because dear old Dad was her mother’s wife; he was known as Omar out there on the burning sands.  Well, there’s a revelation, not that keen sighted readers like you and I didn’t see it coming from miles away.  You can see a long way out there in the desert.

     Hank, Buddy and Otis’ excellent African adventure is over.  The whole episode was like watching a movie except real.  But, back in Texas it may as well have been a dream.  The old codger is still living as the troop of Mary and De Beaujolais, Hank and Buddy and Otis assemble at the ranch, John and Isobel are there too.  Sister Janey is still waiting on her father.

     Well, Hank has Maud, De Beaujolais has Mary, Geste has Isobel but Buddy’s staring at the moon alone.  Still there’s Janey and that’s a match made in heaven but Dad won’t let her go and Janey waon’t leave without his consent.  Otis intervenes pushing Janey toward Buddy then turning to face down his Dad for the first time in his life.

     Pop doubles his fist moving to deck Otis.  Otis holds up the locket like a cross before Dracula stopping the old man in his tracks.  Confronted with the truth the old fellow buckles giving his son the triumph.   So the Beau Ideal triumphs.

     That’s all there is, no more verses left.


Zane Grey, Edgar Rice Burroughs And The Anima And Animus


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

Bad Blood In  The Valley Of The Hidden Women:

Thoughts On Riders Of The Purple Sage And The Rainbow Trail


Burroughs, Edgar Rice: Corpus 1911-1940

Grey, Zane:  The Riders Of The Purple Sage 1912

Grey, Zane:  The Rainbow Trail, 1915

Grey, Zane:  The Mysterious Rider, 1921

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

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

Zane Grey


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


Edward Borein: Six Riders Of The Purple Sage

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

     To reconcile or not to reconcile?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Edward Borein: Riders On The Mesa

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rainbow Bridge

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Edward Borein: Lassiter on his blind horse?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     So why should we care?


Edward Borein: The Three Caballeros

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Edward Borein: Four Navajos Crossing The Desert

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Edward Borein: The Apaloosa

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     On this incomplete note Grey ends his novel.

Edward Borein: Grazing Cattle


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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