Edgar Rice Burroughs


The Accreted Personality

Part I


R.E. Prindle

Dr. Pinel Unchaining The Inmates


The post-French Revolution period begins the rapid development of the Aryan mind. The Enlightenment laid the foundation of that development. Shortly after mid-nineteenth century the French astronomer, Camille Flammarion, was able to announce that Astronomy and Psychology would be the key disciplines of the future. The break with the religious consciousness of the past ten thousand years or so would be fraught with immense dangers, dangers which we are still combating.

The social ideology of the present asserts that all people are of the same stage of mental development. This is, of course, absolute nonsense. There are still hundreds of millions if not a billion or two who still maintain a stone age view of the world. Nor are all of them in other parts of the world, a vast number are here in the Americas and Europe. In addition there are billions still enmeshed in a religious consciousness while only perhaps a hundred million or two have actually evolved into the scientific consciousness. Hence we have the terrifically repressive  attempted subversion of science by the Semitic religions.

So, it should be clear at first glance that not all people are equally developed or endowed nor are all cultures of the same value.

The French scientist and neo-romantic novelist Camille Flammarion noted mid-nineteenth century that the two most important intellectual disciplines for the future would be Astronomy and Psychology. I think that has proven true.

A major discovery of the century was the notion of the split or multiple personality. A term currently in use is Dissociation. Neither is accurate. I advance the term Accretive Personality. That is one’s personality is made up of many personality variations as a result of growth and experience. In periods of stress it is quite easy to escape oppressive reality by slipping into what is essentially an alternate reality or a parallel personality, if you will.

The Salpetriere

This was not a new phenomenon, merely the shock of recognition. In Greek mythology, for instance, when the stress of the mid life crisis hit, the hero went through a period of madness, that is to say he adopted a parallel personality until he was able to reorganize his mental attitude to new realities.

In Europe, under the stress of an insane quasi-Semitic religion in which Satan took a prominent role, it was common for the stressed to become ‘possessed’ by demons or, in other words, to split the personality. That is the person showed a parallel personality. The transition point to the beginning of secular understanding came when Dr. Anton Mesmer matched his secular method of exorcism against the ecclesiastical method of exorcism and won. So one might say that modern psychology derived from the problem of the dual personality- the Jekyll and Hyde effect. However dual or multiple personality was not recognized as such until announced in Jean-Martin Charcot’s clinic at the Salpetriere hospital in Paris in the mid-eighties.

Charcot studied hysterics. Hysterics are dealing with a lot of stress, hence escape through an alternate personality would be an easy choice. Charcot and the Salpetriere aren’t exactly household words so let’s take a moment to explain the situation in which modern psychology was born.

It is also necessary to bear in mind changes in scale. What is good for one stage of growth is not good for another. As the scale of things progresses from tiny to small to medium to large to huge to gigantic new forms have to be adopted to suit the new circumstances. These transition points are difficult to adjust to but once adjusted to are considered so normal that those who resisted the old change are equally resistant to adapt to the next level. Of course the young of each scale is born into it and has no adaptation to make although they will at the next change of scale.

Thus the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Era masked to a very large degree a major change of scale so that after Waterloo a seemingly complete break with the past had taken place. It was a new world in the morning. So in the years leading up to the Great War another change of scale had taken place that masked the new world that popped into place in the twenties. I picked up the concept from that astute observer, H.G. Wells, who noted the emerging change in scale at the turn of the century. That great ship, the Titanic, that went down in ‘12 may be considered as representative of that change.

Thus with the change of consciousness that actually took place in 1795 the new consciousness became clear after Waterloo. Gone was the religious notion of ‘possession by evil spirits’ to be replaced soon by the concept of multiple personality. Thus whereas in the past the insane had been treated as raving beasts, chained to walls and whatever a Dr. Pinel at Paris’ Salpetriere began a more humane treatment with an attempt to understand the causes of insanity. The approach was parodied amusingly by Edgar Allen Poe in his story The System of Dr. Tarr and Professor Fether in which the inmates revolted and took over the asylum.

The Salpetriere was a large compound of several acres with thousands of residents, mainly women from whom the subjects who became the hysterics that the great Dr. Jean-Martin Charcot began to study as a neurologist, as the early psychiatrists were known. The field of Psychology is divided in two. On the one side psychiatrists who must be MDs and who believe mental ailments are biologically derived and hence to be treated medically with drugs or, one shudders to think of it, operations like pre-frontal lobotomy or electric or insulin shock ‘therapy.’ Psychologists, who are PhDs with little or no medical training treat neuroses and psychoses as malfunctions of reason caused by experiential traumas.

Charcot as an MD originally sought biological causes for the hysteria he studied although he was coming around to a psychological viewpoint just before he died in 1893. Thus from being chained before Dr. Pinel released them these women, hysterics, while being confined to the Salpetriere were given freedom of movement within the hospital with its flowers and walkways making for a much more pleasant environment for them and one unobtainable to them on the outside.

Now, the great Dr. Anton Mesmer introduced hypnotism to Europe as a discipline in the years just before the Revolution. Naturally something so new and seemingly revelatory did not find immediate acceptance, indeed, it was treated as nonsense. Nevertheless people of learning, doctors, persisted in experimenting with it. Thus, when Charcot came to be the director of the Salpetriere, to the dismay of his profession he introduced the practice in his treatment of his hysterics and thus legitimized its use. Hypnosis, too, was new and little understood.

Pierre Janet

The essence of hypnosis is suggestion and Charcot did not understand suggestion. The rival hypnosis school led by Auguste Liebeault and Hippolyte Bernstein at Nancy to the East of Paris was aware of the effect of suggestion but not necessarily the nature of what it was. Actually suggestion is whatever enters the mind and is accepted. If one wakes to a beautiful sunny morning it is suggested to oneself that the day will be a good day. Acting on that suggestion, post-hypnotic one might say, one will try to make the day a great one to hang onto that feeling. The mind is naturally open to suggestion as it must be; in an active mind one can discriminate to some extent as to what suggestions will be accepted and which rejected. Under hypnosis in which the mind has been put into a passive state the ability to discriminate and reject has been greatly reduced so that a hypnotist can plant a suggestion that then becomes what Charcot’s associate, Pierre Janet, called an idee fixe, or in other words, a fixation that will remain in your mind until executed. This notion may be imparted by a human agent, books, movies, radio or any medium that is capable of influencing the mind. One must be aware of this. It isn’t necessary to have a hypnotist standing in front of you saying ‘look into my eyes.’

As I say, Charcot was convinced that hysteria was biological, that is to say caused by a lesion to the brain, so that while he hypnotized his female subjects at the Salpetriere he wasn’t aware of the nature of suggestion.

Marie Corelli

Now, the eighteen seventies and eighties were terrifically exciting at all levels. They did things differently then. As has been said: The past is another country; they do things differently there. The past is never to be judged by current standards although the latter are useful for comparison. Thus when Lister suggested that antiseptics ought to be used in the operating room his suggestion was stoutly resisted although true and nearly universally accepted today. On the other hand Evolution although true is more stoutly resisted today in a religious reaction than it was in the last quarter of the nineteenth century so don’t feel all that superior.

While Charcot was arguing with himself as to whether hysteria was biological or mental, in the mid-eighties two of his associates easily grasped that hysteria was a mental problem. These two were Sigmund Freud and Pierre Janet.

Freud at that time, 1886, was making the transition to psychology from medicine. He was an MD. Charcot was not alone in dealing with mental matters. The understanding of dreams for instance was developing rapidly. When Freud published his Interpretation Of Dreams in 1900 he cited dozens of competent researchers dating as far back as the 1860s. In 1886 alone two novels dealing with the subconscious and split personality were published, Robert Louis Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde and Marie Corelli’s Wormwood. Corelli cites Charcot as an influence so she very likely had attended his semi-public presentations of hysterics under hypnosis at his hospital.

Sigmund Freud

Going back further, Freud, a German Jew, was undoubtedly familiar with the psychological work of the German romantics. At any rate he spent about four months at the Salpetriere studying Charcot’s work and methods. It is likely that the foundation of his psychoanalysis was laid there. While Charcot was struggling to determine whether hysteria was biological or mental, Freud, himself a neurologist, was able to perceive that, as he later put it, hysterics were suffering from reminiscences. In other words they fixated on past experiences which dominated their minds and behavior.

Pierre Janet, Charcot’s student and associate, came to the same conclusion probably at the same time. He expressed the problem more accurately when he determined that hysterics suffered from one or more idee fixes, that is a fixed idea or, in other words, a fixation centered around a specific past event or events.

Indeed, all the women at the Salpetriere had been battered and brutalized by life with no means of self-assertion or resistance. Unable to express their own will they retreated into ineffective hysterics finally ending up as semi-insane in Charcot’s hospital.

Now, split or multiple personality. No one, especially these women, have the personality they are born with. Over the course of our lives circumstances require us to respond in different ways, sometimes a personality is overwhelmed with a consequent personality adaptation or change and in extreme cases, insanity.

All very well, but what happens to the original and/or various personalities that were submerged. It is impossible for them to vanish from the mind so they must live on submerged by a more powerful personality impulse. Depending on the individual then, everybody must have at least one alternate personality. Stevenson and Corelli were demonstrating this in their novels.

The good Dr. Jekyll had had a wild streak in his youth that he forcefully repressed to become the totally respectable man of medicine. But, he longed for his rough and rowdy days so in Stevenson’s story he invents a potion, I’m sure whisky would have been just as effective, that allows him to free his original personality. In the course of his experiment the earlier personality suppresses the later one assuming control of Jekyll’s mind. Much the same thing happens in Corelli’s novel. Thus we have personality accretion.

Charcot’s hysterics, because of the side show atmosphere the Good Doctor created, became world famous, a sort of show people. Charcot even took them on the road for demonstrations and, heaven forbid, loaned them to other doctors for experimentation.

It was during one such loan in 1888 that Jules Janet, Pierre’s brother, made a startling discovery. He was experimenting on Blanche Wittman, the Queen of Hysterics, when having hypnotized her into what Charcot called the first state, instead of progressing to the second state, he decided to put her into a deeper trance. At that point Blanche was able to dissociate her personality from her normal state to what I assume was her original personality. She turned into a happy effervescent bubbly girl. In other words she had stripped every accreted personality adjustment to return to the period before society violated her womanhood.

One might ask where this personality came from? It is not necessary to assume either the supernatural or the paranormal. The personality did not come from outside her but was merely an early personality that had been submerged and denied existence by repeated abuse. If Jules Janet had pressed on he might have found three, four or more variations of Blanche Wittman. Indeed, when Charcot died in 1893 Blanche ceased having hysterical attacks and became quite normal assuming yet another personality although it was not recognized as such. She then took responsible employment at the hospital until she died under tragic circumstances.

Thus during one’s life one assumes many variations as one’s personal circumstances dictate. And one expresses them in many different ways. As an example of personality accretion I am going to use the history of the American fantasy and science fiction writer, Edgar Rice Burroughs. He has especial value as his biography is well developed and he has talked voluminously about his mental states through his large body of fiction which is all autobiographical in nature.

Dr. Jean Martin Charcot Demonstrating Hypnosis And Hysteria

Part II follows.

A Review



Marie Corelli

Essay by

R.E. Prindle

And Essay On Dual Personality From 1886 To The Present

Saginaw Bay In Winter

Key texts:

Burroughs, Edgar Rice: Corpus

Corelli, Marie: Wormwood, 1886

Ouida: Under Two Flags, 1867

Stevenson, Robert Louis: Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde, 1886


When I grew up in Michigan not too far from the Saginaw Bay, in a good, cold winter the Bay froze over several feet thick.  People drove their cars far out over it to laboriously dig holes through the ice in hopes of catching a fish.  Then one day in late Spring when the warmer weather relaxed the bond of the frozen H2O molecules, if you happened to be there at the right time, a loud sharp crack not unlike thunder rose from the ice as the grip of winter ceased its hold and the tens of thousands of acres of ice began their metamorphosis back to water

As the water of the Bay began once more to heave they inexorably drove floes back on the beach in an incredible mountain or ridge of ice twenty feet high stretching for miles that began slowly to dissolve until in the early summer the beach was clear.

In Europe in the eighteenth century a similar process began in 1789-93 when the old social order with a similar loud noise began to dissolve until after Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo in 1815.  A new world order became discernable as different as the ice and water on Saginaw Bay, yet clearly recognizable as the Bay under its two regimes.  The reign of the fabulous nineteenth century had made its appearance.  Now, at least Western Man had emerged from the cocoon able to assume its powers but first going through a growth period.  This was a necessary but difficult period that produced differing results.

A number of conflicting dichotomies arose.  Science struggled to be born while its religious antagonist refused to die.  Old gods trying the swallow the new.  The agrarian basis of wealth began to be supplanted by the Money Trust as the nouveaux riches paired off against the landed nobility.  The money managers quickly became the new lords of the earth.

The old standard of slavery began to disappear with the end of the agrarian supremacy as after the American Revolution White Slaves were freed first, then the Black Slaves, the serfs of Central and Eastern Europe were liberated to a freedom they scarce knew how to use.  Populations left the countryside to migrate to cities  to work in industries as wage slaves until Henry Ford gave them independence and dignity in 1914.  Change was everywhere as singers and dancers and fine romancers rose from being members of ignoble professions to become the most admired and wealthy members  of the new world order far surpassing in wealth the old landed aristocracy.

The son of a servant and a cricket player, H.G. Wells, became a famous author and savant.  Conan Doyle created Sherlock Holmes from nothing but his imagination and made fortunes while directing the future course of the world.  Robert Louis Stevenson wove dream portraits and became a playboy of the western world.  Reality as it had been known dissolved like the ice of Saginaw Bay.

Naturally all this very rapid change caused intolerable stresses on society and the personalities  of its members as it and they struggled to understand the changes and organize the consequences of those flying changes.  As a fact, the last known witness of Waterloo where Napoleon lost his bid died on 5/10/1904.  She had witnessed it all from Waterloo to the Wright Bros. flight, if she paid attention to what was going on.

In 1886 two remarkable novels made their appearance on this incredible stage.  Robert Louis Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde and Marie Corelli’s Wormwood.  Perhaps the subject of split personalities had been suggested to their intellects by the multitude of dichotomies  cast up on the beach from the old world order to exist in conflict with the new.  Perhaps it was the discovery and investigation of the unconscious mind as the unconscious was first exposed by Dr. Anton Mesmer just before the cataclysm began.  Whatever it was, before Freud, it began the long investigation of dual and multiple personalities surviving to this day.

I concern myself here with the novelists Marie Corelli, Ouida and Edgar Rice Burroughs.

Ice On The Move- Saginaw Bay


     As much as the revolutionaries would have liked to smash the Catholic Church and religion in general they only succeeded in ending its dominance of European culture which was indeed a good thing.  In the process the heresies formerly suppressed by the Church were released to flower in all their glory plus a whole catalog of new ones created by Science.  The more ancient heretical sects springing from the destruction of the Knights Templar such as Freemasonry and Rosicrucianism and, even, Satanism rapidly spawned a host of related sects not least of which was Spiritualism.  Hindu and Buddhist missionaries began to proselytize Europe and the Americas.  Related to these were the various Theosophical groups.  Thus the Church had to contend with all these plus the Jews who were emancipated with the Revolution and thus placed on a par, as it were, with the Church and hence actual competitors for the soul of Europe.

Science had destroyed the intellectual basis of both Christianity and Judaism at the first blow; Darwin gave both sects a body blow in ‘59 so that after 1859 all was in a state of religious confusion.  One consequence of the shattering of religious pretensions was that life after death was put in doubt.  This loss was more than most people could bear who cherished an afterlife even if heaven had disappeared in smoke hence the efflorescence of Spiritualism which promised at least contact with the dear departed in some Great Beyond.  At the same time psychology initiated by the discoveries of Dr. Anton Mesmer with the recognition of an unconscious was making inroads on ancient views of the mind.  Scientists worked with Spiritualists in such organizations as the English Society For Psychical Research in the hopes of demonstrating life after death.  While we today minimize the significance of Spiritualism at the time it was quite a serious matter.  The writers who began their careers sometime after Darwin’s announcement of Evolution dealt with what we would call occult phenomena as a distinct scientific possibility if not probability.

Arising out of this intellectual milieu was Robert Lewis Stevenson (1850-1894).  Coming aware shortly after the Origin Of Species was published he came to maturity during this important era of rapid scientific development.  He captured the tone of the period magnificently in his novella Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde.  While not the first split personality story, Poe had explored the idea in various stories during the 1830s and 40s, his was the story that riveted world attention then and now.

Robert Louis Stevenson

Most of us I’m sure base our ideas of the story on the 1930s’ movie which differs significantly from the book being more involved with the sexual exploits of a sadistic Edward Hyde.  His other side, Henry Jekyll, was in his fifties which means he would have been born about 1830, post-Napoleonic but wholly within the reign of Queen Victoria and the height of the Empire.  While something of a rake in his youth Jekyll believes he has his wild side under control but longs for his rowdy ways.  He would have been about twenty-nine in ‘59 so that he is more or less au courant in scientific ideas, apparently a chemist of some merit.  Employing that skill he concocts a beverage that made LSD look as weak as tea, definitely more powerful than any single malt whiskey, which not only releases him from the restraints of conventional morality but physically converts him into a monster.  Thus he splits his personality in two becoming alternately Henry Jekyll or Edward Hyde.  While as mild mannered as Clark Kent when Dr. Jekyll he becomes the devil incarnate as Edward Hyde.  But, of course you know the story, at least the movie version.  Eventually Jekyll devolves from the civilized Jekyll into the demonic Hyde permanently.

Jekyll And Hyde

The dichotomy of Jekyll-Hyde symbolized and was probably suggested by the many dichotomies of nineteenth century society not least of which was the huge gap between the affluent and the impoverished, the educated and the brutalized, Science and Religion- Jekyll and Hyde.

The story electrified the English speaking world.  Indeed two years later a real Edward Hyde stalked the East End killing women along the way. He was known as Jack The Ripper.

Perhaps at the same time in far off Chicago a thirteen year old Edgar Rice Burroughs read the book which made an indelible impression on him as we shall see.


     Something that is seldom mentioned is that Europe had quite a drug problem in the nineteenth century.  The opiates were quite common.  Laudamun may have been the first of the opiates, apart from opium itself, which was first created by the great Paracelsus sometime in his life between 1493-1541 which went through many changes before being marketed in England as a cough depressant.  In order to calm babies mothers gave them a little dollop.  So, perhaps a sizable proportion of the population had known opiates from babyhood.

Morphine was reduced by Friedrich Suternus in 1804, distributed by him beginning in 1817 and marketed by Merck from 1827.  It came into its own in 1857 when the hypodermic needle was invented.

By the time of Marie Corelli’s novel, Wormwood, morphine was a recreational drug for society ladies.

Heroin was synthesized in 1874 being marketed by Bayer from 1895 to the time it became a controlled substance in the second decade of the next century.  Bayer originally sold Heroin as a non-addictive replacement for morphine.  Missed the boat on that one.  Hard to believe that mankind was so backward in recognizing addictive drugs for what they are.

Cocaine was first isolated in 1855 from which point it began its career.  Perhaps its most famous user was the fictional Sherlock Holmes and his 7% solution.  He made his first appearance in 1886 along with Stevenson’s and Corelli’s novels.  Cocaine’s most famous pusher man was the deviser of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud, who turned everyone within reach on during these same 1880s.

And while it little effect in the nineteenth century, amphetamine was isolated in 1885.  Subsequently famously used by Adolf Hitler and Jack Kennedy.

In 1886 then, the thirty-one year old Marie Corelli (1855-1924) published her novel Wormwood in which morphinism took a minor role while the novel was

Marie Corelli

essentially a polemic against the use of  absinthe, an alcoholic drink with apparently hallucinatory side effects while being essentially addictive.  Marie Corelli while not being a household word today was one of the best selling authors in the world from 1886 to the Great War.  I am newly introduced to Corelli’s work with her novel Wormwood hence can say nothing of her as a possible influence on Edgar Rice Burroughs.  It isn’t obvious from Wormwood.

The relation of the novel to the split personality occurs when midway through the novel the hero, Gaston Beauvais, having been shocked out of his senses by disappointed expectations falls into a deep depression which is then abetted by his becoming an absintheur or, essentially, a drug addict thus assuming a second personality not unlike that of Henry Jekyll and Edward Hyde also caused by drugs only more dramatically.

While absinthe didn’t seem to make much of an impression in England, although Ouida in her 1867 novel, Under Two Flags, does mention its use, according to Corelli in 1886 the liqueur was devastating the manhood of France.

As this novel opens Gaston is the prosperous son of a banker for whom the future seems to be clear sailing.  Gaston is the proverbial good boy who is outstandingly proper in dress and ideas.  He and his father are great friends with the De Charmilles family whose daughter Pauline of eighteen years has just emerged from convent school much as Corelli had in her own life.

Gaston is charmed by the female beauty of Pauline undertaking to win her hand.  Being almost a total innocent, although she does not love- i.e. have a grand passion- for Gaston, she accepts.  Gaston is elated as he pins his life hopes on this whimsical girl.

Corelli, who is believed to have been a lesbian, was certainly a man hater while placing womanhood on a pedestal higher than any man ever thought of.  Thus the snake in the grass arrives as the aspirant priest, Silvion Guidel.  While Corelli paints Gaston as a sort of humdrum fellow, Silvion is electricity itself, every girl’s vision of passion painted in high colors.

Despite his fair exterior and the apparent virtue of his calling Silvion is the devil in disguise, a seducer and a cad.  Although herself aware of the psychological ideas of the time as evidenced by her references to the contemporary psychologist Jean-Martin Charcot and Pierre Janet Corelli merely draws her picture in such a way that eschews explicit explanations  leaving only inferences to the reader to interpret.  For instance she casually mention Janet’s idea of the Idee Fixe  with which both Pauline and Gaston are possessed but says nothing about it.  Thus I am uncertain whether I am reading into the story rather than interpreting her intent.

Guidel, and this interpretation is left open, arriving from the provinces to Paris, introduced into this society quickly sizes up the situation.  In his hauteur he despises the simple trust of Beauvais and more to spite him than anything else charms and seduces the lovely airhead, Pauline.

This is not enough.  Gaston and Pauline’s wedding date had been set.  Within a few weeks of the wedding Gaston is allowed to learn of the romance between Pauline and Guidel.  Further which Pauline who has always played the virgin with Gaston we have the first hint of an inference that she is with child by Guidel.

Corelli now poses a moral dilemma in which through her character of Helisie, Pauline’s cousin, she sides with Pauline because every woman lives for a grand passion that no man can possibly understand and hence must be forgiven and forgotten.  Gaston is just an average guy; he expects Silvion to step up and assume his responsibilities.  He has renounced his right to be a priest and should take Pauline off his hands.  Having worked his evil Guidel is satisfied.  Rather than face a duel with the enraged Beauvais he flees Paris for the safety of the Church and Brittany where he immediately takes orders placing him out of reach of Beauvais’ vengeance.

Corelli does not see the betrayer and seducer of Pauline as the cad he is but she sees Gaston who has no intention of now marrying Pauline who has distributed her ‘passion’, as the ununderstanding cad.  Gaston is between the proverbial rock and the hard place which seems to escape Corelli.  He must choose to either marry the girl or shame her by renouncing her.  Horrible position for any man but Gaston gets no pity from Corelli, not where a woman’s grand passion is involved.

As Guidel makes no appearance or communication before the wedding day Gaston exposes Pauline’s shame and denounces her at the altar.  The consequences are of course horrific.  All the blame falls on Gaston’s shoulders who immediately not only loses the girl but all social caste.  Having had the greatest expectations of happiness he is now plunged into the deepest of depressions.  As the rain pours down he rushes from the altar to find himself a place on a bench in the Champs Elysee where he sits for hours drenched to the bone in the downpour.  Very symbolic.  There can be no more accurate description of his absolute despondency.  His personality splits, he becomes a different man as completely as Jekyll and Hyde.

As the title Wormwood indicates the novel is meant by Corelli to be a denunciation of the drinking of absinthe in France.  She equates absinthe drinking as a manly vice while she equates morphinism as a female vice.  Thus these two twin addictions are destroying the flower of France in her eyes.  In point of fact both absinthe and morphine became controlled substances within a decade or two.

As Gaston wallows in his despondency in the downpour an impoverished artist he had helped out a few times discovers him on his bench.  The devil’s helper is always at hand.  This fellow in his cynical way consoles Gaston while taking him to a bistro in which he introduces the susceptible Gaston to– absinthe.  Absinthe takes the place of Jekyll’s chemical concoction.  The result is the same as in all drugs as all sense of social responsibility is dissolved and what remains is a pure sense of self and – anarchy.  As Shelly put it:

Last came Anarchy: he rode

On a white horse, splashed with blood;

He was pale even to the lips,

Like Death in the Apocalypse.

And he wore a kingly crown;

And in his grasp a scepter shone;

On his brow this much I saw–

‘I am God and King, and Law!’

And so the course of the last half of the story is worked out as Gaston took his vengeance.

Of course there are consequences to drugs and the exaltation of self and the personation of anarchy.  One loses one’s discipline and then one loses the trust of friends and family.  And so Gaston neglected his responsibilities while naturally being unable to render a justification of his actions to his father.  The end result is that he is cast away by his father.

But the beauteous Silvion Guidel, he of the fair face and lax morals has unleashed a train of horrors that can’t be avoided.

Pauline’s father, old De Chamilles, commits suicide- it was either that or challenge the innocent but increasingly debauched Gaston Beauvais to a duel.  The shamed young thing Pauline also cast into a depression because her grand passion is balked leaves home to take up a life on the streets of Paris.  Guidel having taken orders, because of his good looks is called to Rome to delight the Cardinals with his handsome presence.

This tale of degradation and woe moves rapidly on in a supremely well told fashion by Corelli.  And then comes the denouement.

Gaston’s descent takes only three or four months from August to the onset of cold weather.  Taking a turn through the Bois de Boulogne Gaston chances on Silvion and Pauline’s trysting place where his trust had been betrayed.  There he finds Silvion who had taken unauthorized leave from his duties in Rome, in other words, he just disappeared, no one knows where he is.

Silvion, who in what he must have known was a mortal insult, asks how Pauline is.  ‘You married her, didn’t you?’  Obviously his intent is to resume his liaison behind Gaston’s back.  Once again Corelli lectures us on the necessity of this passionate affair before turning Gaston loose to throttle Silvion which he does to my immense satisfaction at least.  I find my own moral judgments in direct opposition to those of Corelli.

Having now gratified his sense of injury on Silvion, Gaston still seeks vengeance of Pauline.  She has successfully eluded all detection although Gaston has caught a couple of fleeting glimpses of her on the streets.  Now, driven by the imp of the perverse, he determines to track her down.  He comes across her singing for her supper on a street corner, a real Edith Piaf.  By this time after several months of being an absintheur he is reduced to total anarchy.  Being told that she is still in love with Silvion he goes into a grand passion of his own telling her that Silvion is dead and when she wouldn’t believe him he informs her that he murdered him with his own hands in their old trysting place.

Of course Corelli takes this opportunity to expatiate further on the grand passion every woman needs and the anarchic precedence this passion takes over everything else not unlike the absinthe or morphine.  Pauline has a locket around her neck that she had worn when she and Gaston were engaged which he now discovers contains a picture of Silvion and a lock of his hair.  Enough to drive a guy to any violence.

Pauline escapes his rage fleeing for that repository of souls, that which had taken Silvion’s, the Seine, and throws herself in.  Good riddance of bad rubbish was my thought while Gaston was much gratified.  One doesn’t have to guess Marie Corelli’s thoughts on this point in the history of a grand passion.

At that point Gaston’s anger is rectified so while the story effectively has climaxed an ending is needed.   Like many a writer Corelli had her story supremely elaborated until her own psychical crisis was reached, her hysterical grand mal described by Charcot and then she has to limp along for fifty pages or so until she wraps things up.  Still, the novel was a very satisfying read.  Four and a half stars.  If Corelli had studied her Ouida a little more she might have brought the prize home.


Under Two Flags

In all the dichotomies of the nineteenth century none split the public psyche more than that of the conflict between science and religion.  Nor has the split and conflict gone away as the recent recurrence in fundamentalist Jewish, Moslem and Christian sects reveal.

Indeed all three sects have hurled themselves with full ferocity against the science of Evolution.  Nothing denies religion more.  Indeed Corelli opens Wormwood with a troubled discourse on science contra religion.  The conflict can probably be seen in the same light as that between Paganism and Christianity at the turn of the Age of Pisces.  Science at the time was viewed as more or less an evil by the majority while that majority has only lessened its opinion by somewhat today.

The conflict with science, quite frankly, is that it denies the evidence of the senses and asks us to accept as fact, not belief, what can’t be seen except perhaps by extremely sophisticated instruments.  The religionists  make the Scientific Consciousness relatively dangerous too.  While we might not have to fear for our lives as in previous centuries, too outspoken a criticism of religion, especially Moslemism, might result in one’s head rolling toward the gutter.  College professors at that time had to be very careful.  They were permitted to be ‘agnostics’, that is, they didn’t deny the probability of God but were allowed to doubt it.  A little concession to science.  Corelli appears not to be able to deny science but is troubled by the conflict with religion.

So, this is the  social malaise which Freud forty years hence would call Civilization And Its Discontented.  The growing demands of Civilization that divided the old ‘natural’ life from the new ‘artificial’ life was disquieting; made people uneasy.  Thus in the mother of all French Foreign Legion novels, Ouida’s Under Two Flags of 1867 that author flatly lays the problem out.  Life had already grown too complex for the average person to handle.

In Under Two Flags Ouida creates two lives for her hero, Bertie Cecil; thus while his psyche remains unsplit his career requires him to assume a totally


different character.  The first part showing Cecil in civilization is a superb novel on its own.  Compelled, as it were, by his circumstances to seek ruin, Bertie fakes his death in a train crash then hopping the Med to Algeria he renounces his socialite life to enlist in the French Foreign Legion.

In the novel when it resumes his history Cecil has been a Legionnaire for twelve years.  As the novel was published in 1867 it must have written in 1866 or perhaps if published late in 1867 possibly that year; Ouida wrote huge novels at the rate of one or two a year.  Bertie must have enlisted in about 1855.  The French conquered Algeria only in 1830 so that the Legion took form quickly as Bertie would very nearly be in the first draft.  Ouida writes as though the Legion was ancient.

At the time of the story 1866-67 the desert had already become a vacation spot for the English, exerting an almost hypnotic attraction for them; the Garden Of Allah as the Bedouins called it.  Ouida has already dissociated herself, in mind anyway, from loyalty to England and Europe.  Bertie in Algeria is unresolved whether to live his exile from civilization with the Bedouins or the French.  He stakes his future on the throw of the dice with a French commander; if Bertie won, to the desert; if the commander won Bertie would go to the French.  Thus it is only by chance Bertie remains a European.  However having once accepted the French flag, duty makes him loyal.

In his heart, and of necessity in Ouida’s, he regrets the chance that made him French.  As Ouida says France was might, while the Bedouins were right.  Never mind that the conquest was to remove the Barbary Pirates who had been plundering the European coast for centuries; never mind the conquest by the Arabs as far as France when the Eruption From The Desert seized European lands for Moslemism; in some curous way, the historical memory of Ouida and, indeed, the West, was obliterated.  Not only are the Bedouins in the right but they live as Man ought to live, the ‘natural’ man some might say, the primitive, the good life.  For myself I would find the social organization of the natural life far too oppressive, the social organization of Civilization suits me fine and the key term here is social organization, one is always under some social discipline and in the primitive one it is as a slave of the chief.  Not for me.

Thus in the evolutionary process Western man is still too in touch with his primitive mind to feel comfortable with the new social demands of Western Civilization.  So we have this Western love affair so in evidence during this period with a romantic, if false, appreciation of natural life in association with the desert- The Garden Of Allah as in Robert Hitchens’ novel of that name.

Now, while the authors of the central period of  the Great Century were mostly born at the end of the Napoleonic Wars, the new crop of writers beginning in the eighties were mostly born mid-century coming to maturity after Science had become fairly developed, certainly after Darwin.  Mostly they lived past 1900  when technology changed the whole direction of society virtually creating a whole new civilization.  One might say the new civilization was a cause of the Great War.



As time moves along change is ever present.  So we have Edgar Rice Burroughs who emerged as an author in 1912 some few years out of the nineteenth century although he was born in 1875 so he was familiar with that horse and buggy era.  The mind set of those writers beginning in the eighties endured from that period to the Great War which put a period to the mind set which in any event was changing rapidly.  There was a new mind set after the Great War.

As Burroughs was born on an average, perhaps, of twenty years after the group of authors, he was not a competitor for honors with them but what one might call a synthesizer of the whole body of ideas.  Thus until after 1920 when his mind evolved into the new mindset he was a Jr. Member of the set.  He shared the mind set of his seniors.  To properly understand Burroughs then up to 1920 one must be ware of the problems his older contemporaries were addressing while Burroughs addressed all the problems offering what he believed were conclusive solutions.  At the same time he wrote books in all of the new developing genres.

He found the desert romance particularly attractive as he wrote The Return Of Tarzan, partially desert romance, The Lad And The Lion, full desert romance, and Son Of Tarzan, significantly desert romance; in addition the last several Tarzans took place in Ethiopia while in several novels Arabs make slave forays into the South from the North.

The question here is did he read Ouida’s Under Two Flags?  I haven’t found an absolutely clear pointer but in Return of Tarzan, the novel begins in Civilization in Paris corresponding the first part of Under Two Flags while Tarzan obtains an appointment as a French secret agent to travel to Algeria which would be equivalent to the Foreign Legion.

Burroughs doesn’t mention the Foreign Legion until his ambiguously titled WWII novel Tarzan And The Foreign Legion in which the Foreign Legion is a group of people Tarzan gathered around himself in Sumatra.

If Burroughs did read Ouida, which wouldn’t be unlikely, then it is quite possible that her Bertie Cecil was one of the inspirations for Tarzan, although in reverse.  Ouida like Marie Corelli makes her hero extremely feminine often describing him as womanly with womanly attributes, very nurturing or motherly.  He is consequently tender hearted about the enemy while being motherly and concerned for his fellow legionnaires in a manner that would have brought scorn on him in any military organization, but according to Ouida made him much beloved, a saintly figure.  Quite a warrior in the field though.

Tarzan on the contrary is never tender; he spares no foe, gleefully, almost taking sadistic pleasure in dispatching his foes in what are often near pre-emptive strikes.  There is a large measure of sadism in the Jungle Joker humor in which he delights in tormenting his victims, unless he merely rips their heads off.  In many ways then Tarzan is Bertie Cecil turned inside out.  Of course Tarzan’s thin veneer of civilization runs no deeper than his clothes and when he takes those off he reverts to pure beast.  Tarzan does not equivocate.

Burroughs as he often says was fascinated by the notion of dual personality.  While he couldn’t have been influenced by the movie Jekyll and Hyde, Stevensons’ book made a profound impression  on his mind.  As he said, he believed that all men were two people although maybe not as pronounced as Jekyll and Hyde but he does appear to believe that Jekyll and Hydes could be found in numbers.   How pronounced his own disunion was he doesn’t say but a conception of Burruoughs the Night Stalker isn’t difficult to form.

Jekyll and Hyde and the two sides of  Corelli’s Gaston Beauvais were chemically induced but Burroughs uses another device when he split’s the personality of Tarzan.  In Tarzan’s case the roof usually falls on his head giving him amnesia when he rises as another man.  Like Jekyll and Hyde usually Burroughs provides a physical duplicate so that two Tarzan twins,  Burroughs even wrote a children’s story the Tarzan Twins, are wandering around one of which is doing things injurious to Tarzan’s reputation; a reflection perhaps on the problems Edward Hyde caused Henry Jekyll.

Thus in Tarzan and the Golden Lion and Tarzan and the Ant Men the Tarzan lookalike Esteban Miranda defames Tarzan by using the steel tipped arrows found in children’s archery sets.

In Tarzan and the Lion Man a movie actor impersonates Tarzan giving the real Big Guy headaches.  In Tarzan Triumphant Tarzan himself impersonates a dandy named Lord Passmore.  Perhaps an indication of the post-divorce Burroughs.  It is interesting the psychological stress resulting in the splitting occurs around Burroughs sexual problems.

Throughout his work, especially to 1920, then, Burroughs recapitulates the themes of his elders of the late nineteenth century, more especially he concerns himself with the problem of split or dual personality.  This theme would be further explored by writers following in his footstep beginning in 1920 when his own influence began to be felt.


Maxwell Grant/WalterGibson

The New Era as the period of prosperity that began a couple years after the War and ended with the crash of ‘29 was known while seemingly a radical departure from the Victorian and Edwardian periods quite naturally took its origins from that recent past but many of the themes that Burroughs as the last of his era was exploring lost some of their significance or perhaps were transformed by the really incredible advances in science and technology of the first two decades of the century.  The addition of Prohibition and the vote for women as the decade began also threw an entirely different cast over the period.

Not one of the least influential changes in the period was the influence of the success as a writer of Edgar Rice Burroughs.  Between 1920 and 1940 Tarzan, himself, transformed by the talkies, had become more than a household word, indeed, he was a cultural artefact, one might say the grounding of the New, or Wold Newton, Mythology.

I don’t believe there was any writer working in the period who was not familiar with Burroughs’ writing and in some way influenced by it, not excluding the Man of Steel, Stalin himself.  War was declared on Burroughs by the Germans in the first half of the third decade resulting in the banishment of his books from the Weimar Republic.  Sic transit gloria.

Burroughs continued to turn out his volumes throughout the period referring frequently to the dual personality.  Through his works, but not exclusively, the dual personality became a pervasive trope. A suggestion that one picked up subconsciously. 

So many literary characters were doubles that one began to think of oneself as two people.  Perhaps the most influential of the new crop was the playboy Lamont Cranston who may or may not have been himself during the day and the Shadow by night.  Actually since Cranston was out of the country almost continuously he lent his identity to The Shadow, or so we are told.  Figure that one out; how to be in two places at once.  Most of we younger people were only familiar with the radio Shadow although the writer Maxwell Grant or, in his true identity, possibly, the magician, Walter Gibson wrote over three hundred titles for those with multiple idle moments to mull over and with a fondness for the trivial.  Some historical interesting stuff though.

The Man Of Titanium

Doc Savage split his personality into five parts with his wrecking crew of paramilitary soldats.  Savage would be recapitulated by Steve Rogers and his alter ego Captain America with his merry band of five.  Capt. America arrived as comic book literature preceded by the first of the comic book double personalities, Superman, and his daytime identity, Clark Kent

The most spectacular of the dual personalities, those who I base my double on, were Capt. Marvel and Billy Batson.  One event yet more dual than this.  Billy Batson was a little crippled newsboy, just my age at the time, or seemingly so, who was inducted into the superhero Hall Of Fame.

Billy, a little orphan boy like me was out at midnight peddling his Gospel News when a mysterious stranger, not unlike the Shadow, asked the poor but honest lad:  ‘Why aren’t you home in bed, son?’  Billy replied:  ‘I have no home, sir.  I sleep in the subway station, it’s warm there.’  Wasn’t too hard for me to identify with that.

The Mysterious Stranger or hand of fate points and says:  ‘Follow me!’  Down in the subway he means.  Billy being no fool asks:  ‘Where are we going.’  Easily satisfied he receives the answer:  ‘Wait and see.’

Suddenly a strange subway car, with headlights glaring like a dragon’s eyes, roars into the station, stops.  No one is driving it.  The MS intones:  ‘Have no fear everything has been arranged.’

Oh, everything has been arranged.  Every little crippled orphans’ dream.

The train drops them off into a cavern displaying the seven deadly sins.  A propitious beginning.  Believe me, this was close to reality for an eight year old kid, like me.  The MS takes Billy and introduces him to this grey beard in a long white flowing robe.  This is a guy with the unlikely name of Shazam but a guy everyone would want to meet.

Shazam was all virtue, been fighting injustice and cruelty all his very long life but without much success.  He explains his name to Billy.  The S stood for the wisdom of Solomon; H for the strength of Herecules; A for the stamina of Atlas (I could never remember that one, I knew what stamina meant too); Z for the all powerful mind of Zeus; A for the courage of Achilles (wasn’t sure who he was); and M for the speed of Mercury.

  Shazam tells little Billy Batson:

All my life I have fought injustice and cruelty.  But I am old now- my time is almost up.  You shall be my successor.  Merely by speaking my name you can become the strongest and mightiest man in the world- Captain Marvel!  Speak my name.’

Billy does and boy! Talk about split personalities, the little crippled orphan becomes the strongest man in the world giving Superman and Clark Kent some mean competition which is why DC Comics sued him out of existence.

I already had the split personality at eight, and how, so I used to sit around shouting Shazam over and over waiting for the lightning flash that never came.  There’s always just been me two, although I did get up to five for a while but now I have returned to one and have to be satisfied with myself.  It isn’t easy being single when you’ve been double for so long.  No one to talk to.  But me?  I take it easy, play it as it lays.  Always have, always will.  For the next couple years anyway, maybe, until I keep my appointment with the Grim Reaper.  As the saying goes:  My days are numbered.

As Eddie Burroughs believed that every person has a second self I suppose it may be true, at least Western Man; perhaps not as extreme as Jekyll and Hyde or Billy Batson and Capt. Marvel but a psychological phenomenon created both by evolution and the dichotomies created by the conflicts of the nineteenth century as well perhaps as the multiple conflicts of this global, multi-cultural world.

Say goodnight Ed I, Ed II, Ed III, ED IV and Ed V.  Goodnight all.

Billy Gets His Personality Split

Themes And Variations

The Tarzan Novels Of Edgar Rice Burroughs

#23  Tarzan And The Madman


R.E. Prindle

The One And Only


What A Long Strange Trip It’s Been

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Johnny Weissmuller- The Image Of Tarzan

Part II follows.

Tarzan Over Africa

February 23, 2009


Tarzan Over Africa

The Psychological Roots Of Tarzan In The Western Psyche


R.E. Prindle

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

Edgar Allen Poe- The Murders In The Rue Morgue

…he dreams of the sight

of Zulu impis

breaking on the foe

like surf upon the rocks

and his heart rises in rebellion

against the strict limits

of civilized life.

H. Rider Haggard- Allan Quatermain

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thus have I sent the simple king to hell

Without or coffin, shroud or passing bell.

To me what are divine or human laws?

I court no sanction but my own applause!

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

And human carnage gratifies my sight;

I drag the parent by the hoary hair,

And toss the sprawling infant on my spear,

While the fond mother’s cries regale my ear.

I fight, I vanquish, murder friends and foes;

Nor dare the Immortal gods my rage oppose.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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