Four Crucial Years

In The Life Of Edgar Rice Burroughs

Part II

by

R.E. Prindle

…presumptuous attempts to conquer the outer world of appearances by the inner world of wishful thinking.

–S. Freud, Letter To Arnold Zweig 5/8/32.

Quoted by Schur:  Freud: Living and Dying

     Now back in Chicago he had to consider what direction his life was to take.  At least secure working for his Dad, ERB made a tentative move in the direction of an artistic career.  During the summer he enrolled in the Chicago Art Institute.

     Chicago is billed as America’s Second City but in many ways it is or was, America’s First, certainly West of the Appalachians.  The city was much more important to the Southern States than New York City, while its importance to the West is shown by the fact that the Outfit- the Chicago Mafia- considers the whole West as its province.  The Outfit ruled everything west of the Appalachians by the end of the fifties

     At the time in question when Chicago’s population was a mill six the population of the country was about 75 million so Chicago represented over 2% of the total.  West of the towers rising from the mud there was virtually no one and those that existed were rubes and hicks or living on the reservation.  During Burroughs entire youth this most modern of American capitals stood a beacon of civilization, such as it was, on what was then known as the great American desert.

     Burroughs was to approach this metropolis from the West several times so is it any wonder that when John Carter emerged from the deserts of the Green Men- read Indians- the towers of Helium rose from nowhere much like Chicago.  The twin of Chicago was probably New York City in ERB’s mind.

     As the capital of the Empire, Helium, like Chicago, reflected the racial and ethnic makeup of Mars. 

     Chicago was polyglot and the mix was troubling.  Bruce Grant who wrote the history of the Union Club of Chicago entitled characteristically ‘Fight For A City’ in 1955 characterized the situation during Burroughs’ time in this manner, page 96:

     The thousands of laborers and adventurers who were attracted to Chicago during the rebuilding era following the fire of 1871 were for the most part uneducated newcomers.  Ignorant of the underlying spirit of American institutions.  Chicago was the Western distributing point for a vast European immigration.  With the good came the bad, and borne along with the stream were the scum and dregs of countries where despotism had made paupers and tyranny had bred conspirators.  From Russia came the Nihilists, described by one newspaper as ‘the gift of centuries of Slavic slavery and cruelty.’  From the German states came the Socialists, the offspring of military exactions and autocratic government.  And from Europe generally, including Great Britain and Ireland, Chicago drained the feverish spirit of human resentment against laws and life; of property and of conduct which it had no hand in making or enforcing.

     This was the environment Burroughs was growing up in.  I suppose he was getting his Russian and Jewish information from the newspapers.  Therefore it was heavily slanted in favor of the Jews.  But as he walked around Chicago he must have thought himself a Stranger In A Strange Land.  I do today.  No more than 10% of Chicago’s population could be considered native.  The city had a larger Irish population than Dublin, was the most populous German city in the world, The Polish population could compete with Warsaw and on down the line.

     The Socialists paraded shouting and screaming Revolution under the Red banner which may have made sense in Germany but made no sense to the native born.  Anarchists unfurled the Black Flag with their preposterous social conceptions.

     The remarkable thing about America is the extent that the Anglos went to accommodate the immigrants.  Of course there were movements such as the APA- American Protective Association- and later the Ku Klux Klan, but these were scorned and ineffective in any event, regardless of how seriously some paranoid immigrant writers like Gustavus Myers might take them.

     Then as now Liberals controlled the country.  More typical of the reaction was this querulous little poem gleaned from the pages of ‘Chicago’s Public Wits:  a Chapter In The American Comic Spirit,’ Edited by Kenny J. Williams and Bernard Duffy.  LSU Press, 1983:

I Wish I Was A Foreigner

by

An American

I wish I was a foreigner, I really, really do.

A right down foreign foreigner; pure foreigner through and through;

Because I find Americans, with all of native worth,

Don’t stand one half the chances here with men of foreign birth.

It seems to be unpopular for us to hold a place,

For we are made to give it up to men of foreign race.

The question of necessity and fitness to possess

Must never be considered- who cares for our distress.

Perhaps it is not wicked to be of foreign birth,

Or to mutter a mild protest when an alien wants the earth;

But the latest importation is sure to strike a job,

And be the sooner qualified to strike and lead a mob.

A Dutchman (German) or an Irishman, a Frenchman or a Turk

Comes here to be a voter, and is always given work;

A native born American is here, and here he must stay;

So it matters little how he lives, he cannot get away.

The Spaniard and Bohemian, the Russian and the Pole,

Are looking toward America with longings in the soul,

Because the politicians will receive them with open arms,

And the goddess of our freedom bid them welcome to her charms.

But the law abiding Chinaman from the Celestial shore,

Because he has no franchise, is driven from our shore;

Americans and Chinamen are not in much demand,

The one remains neglected while the other is barred the land.

So I wish I was a Dutchman, or some other foreign cuss

I’d lord it over the natives- who don’t dare to make a fuss,

But my blushes tell the story, I am native to the soil’

So the aliens hold the places- visitors must never toil.

     With the real American response as above, the retiring Bill Moyer doesn’t have to worry much about ‘the thunder on the Right’ caused by a few radio announcers.  The real threat to them is that the Liberal ideology will be shown to be false and ridiculous not that the ‘danger from the Right’ is pernicious.

     One believes that if Burroughs were alive today Rush Limbaugh and Bill O’Reilly would find him an ardent supporter. One wouldn’t want to be called ‘an unapologetic Conservative.’  The Liberal oppression is that strong.

     The resignation is fairly bitter in the above poem.  The Chinese, the only nationality  ever excluded, had been denied entry in 1882, which was shortly before the above poem was written; thus the writer laments that ‘Americans and Chinamen are not in much demand’ comparing natives with the excluded Chinese.

     By the nineties the Irish had seized control of many municipal administrations, including Chicago’s, so that they were in control of political patronage.  The boodle as it was known.  All the sinecures, city and county, were theirs to distribute to friends and cronies.  The Irish effectively controlled Chicago.  As the poem indicates this privilege was obtained by the vote and votes were obtained by corruption thus the Irish and the Democrats, then as today, were the party of corruption.  All Irish city administrations were corrupt.

     The failure of the potato, of course, sent the Irish fleeing Ireland for more emerald pastures, but the Scottish emigration to the US and Canada  caused by the Highland Clearances  is virtually unknown.  There were two clearances, one in the eighteenth century which sent the Highlanders to the colonies or US and second , 1800-1860 which populated Canada.

      After the Union when the Scottish Lairds no longer had need of armed retainers they simply cleared the natives off the land in about as brutal a manner as the Americans cleared the Indians to make room for sheep.  All these people who had lived in the highlands for centuries discovered they were mere squatters on land which legally belonged to the Laird.  Past services were forgotten; they were literally thrown off the land.  How do you like that?  Matches any hardluck story you’ve ever heard, doesn’t it?

     The Lairds then invoked the law to kick their former retainers not only off the land but out of the country.  Dig that, and take heed for the future.  Sheriffs burned down their houses around their ears.  There was then no place for them in their homeland.  They were ordered to emigrate.  What was that Walter Scott said:

Breathes there a man

With Soul so dead,

Who to himself hath not said,

This is my home,

My native land…

     Well, with a mere change of place you can that about Canada, too.  That’s how the Scots came to the US and Canada.

     The Irish supremacy in the US lasted until the thirties when the massive immigration of the nineties through 1914 wrested power from them.  Fiorello LaGuardia, the Jewish-Italian politician, replaced Jimmy Walker in New york ending the long Celtic rule of that city.  James T. O’Farrell in his Studs Lonigan trilogy has the Irish lamenting that the Slavs are swamping the Irish causing them to lose control of the boodle.  The Irish of Chicago must have rallied because Mayor Daley put the Irish back on top but because of the huge Negro influx into Chicago the Irish have to share power with the Blacks.

     If one makes an analogy of the present with the past it won’t be long before Mexicans and Moslems are directing the affairs of municipalities and States.  A vote is a vote.

     Be that as it may, in 1897 I believe ERB would have been in sympathy with the author of I Wish I Was A Foreigner.  The Irish certainly figure largely in both his personal and political images of the time.  David Adams writing in the ERBzine has come up with several possible origins for the name of the Mahars of Pellucidar.  I think the most obvious is that the Mahars are intended to be a parody of the Irish administration of Chicago.  Mahar is an Irish name.

     Earlier in the century the city of Chicago which was built on slightly different gradients so that sidewalks had a lot of up and down stairs had been literally jacked up to one level making the sidewalks even.  Entire huge buildings and city blocks were raised several feet above ground to make a level city.  The resulting cavity produced an underground city which the indigent occupied.

     This might suggest the image of the occupants as slimy reptiles into an imaginative mind.  Putting the images together one comes up with an Irish administration of slimy reptiles.  I haven’t figured out why they’re deaf and female yet unless ERB was unhappy with Emma who may have been deaf to his entreaties.  For the present I’ll leave that one up to you.

2.

     I shall permit myself to send you a small book which is sure to be unknown to you.  Group Psychoogy And The Analysis Of The Ego, published in 1921.  Not that I consider this work to be particularly successful, but it shows a way from the analysis of the individual to an understanding of society. 

S. Freud to Romain Rolland.

Quoted by Max Schur: Freud Living And Dying

     Working at the Battery Company, starting from the ground up, his father must still have allowed ERB flexible hours because Our Man found time to attend classes at the Chicago Art Institute.  He was not a very cooperative student, refusing to accept any discipline.  According to Porges he only wanted to draw horses and that without acquiring the fundamentals of drawing.  As he couldn’t find anyone willing to drop some hints on the fine points of equine deliniation he lost interest dropping out of school

     I for one would be very much interested in learning exaclty how he passed his time during this halcyon period.  If he and Emma went to the theatre as Porges suggests I would like to know what shows or lecture they attended.  Lecturers were a much more important adjunct to entertainment than they are today.  Robert Ingersoll had a huge reputation and of course Mark Twain.  There was also the Chautauqua Circuit.

     In the much discussed issue of Theosophy in Burroughs’ life it is quite possible that he attended a lecture or series of lectures either in their own building or some other place.  There undoubtedly would have been reviews of lecture in the papers.  Chicago had at least a dozen, in which the tenets or beliefs would be discussed.  In the crowd in which Burroughs associated I’m sure the fairly amazing doctrines would be discussed.

     When the US government places its 30 million pages of newspapers on the internet by 2006 dating back to the earlyh nineteenth century we will be able to examine this pertinent period in detail.

     At the theatre he and Emma would most likely have seen an actor by the name of John McCulloch who was a fixture of the Chicago stage.  This would have struck ERB as quite a coincidence as his mother had a John McCulloch as an ancestor.  If I am right in my surmise John the Bully was surnamed McCulloch.

     Nor would this be such a far fetched coincidence.  There must have been a couple dozen John McCullochs in Chicago at the time, probably hundreds in the United States.  As I write, my phone book lists a half dozen John McCullochs in this area.

     If Emma introduced ERB to the theatre at this time, there seem to be no reference3s to the theatre earlier, it held an attraction for him he never lost.  The old actor in Marcia Of The Doorstep is probably based on John McCulloch while ERB wrote his play You Lucky Girl at about the same time for his daughter Joan.

     Then at the beginning of the thirties ERB wrote his novelette Pirate Blood using the pseudonym John T. McCulloch which united the McCulloch references in his life.  It is said that ERB capitalized too much in his writing on improbable coincidences which on the one hand may be true but on the other, life is just like that, isn’t it?

     A near contermporary of ERB, Vachel Lindsay, who was born in 1879 in Springfield, Illinois, catalogs the influences to which he and his generation were subject.  It might not hurt to look through the poem here to try to capture some of the essence of what it meant to be young during this period.  The piece is entitled: John L. Sullivan, The Strong Boy Of Boston.

      The poem may be especially relevant to Burroughs as it centers on boxing which was a special interest of his.  During the period from 1892 to 1897 Burroughs’ idol, Gentleman Jim Corbett, was the heavyweight champion.  Corbett had defeated the incredible hulk, John L. Sullivan, in 1892 by landing one on the solar plexus making that piece of anatomy a topic of conversation down to when I was a kid.   In 1897 Bob Fitzsimmons took the title from Corbett.

     In the poem, Lindsay lists the many influences on his young life centered around 1889.  Pervading and overriding all is the ominous figure of Sullivan and the Irish.  Both Lindsay and Burroughs were Anglos.  The refrain ‘East side, West side’ refers to the Irish domination of New York City while the capitalized LONDON BRIDGE IS FALLING DOWN  of the last stanza implies that the Irish were conquering the Anglos.

When I was nine years old in 1889,

I sent my love a lacy valentine.

Suffering boys were dressed like Fauntleroys,

While Puck and Judge in quiet humor vied.

The Gibson Girl came shining like a bride

To spoil Tennyson’s Elaine.

Louisa Alcott was my gentle guide….

Then…

I heard a battle trumpet sound.

Nigh New Orleans

Upon an emerald plain

John L. Sullivan

The strong boy

of Boston

Fought seventy-five red round with Jake Kilrain.

In simple sheltered 1889

Nick Carter I would piously deride.

Over the Elsie books I moped and sighed.

St. Nicholas magazine was all my pride;

While coarser boys on cellar doors would slide.

The grownups bought refinement by the pound.

Rogers groups had not been told to hide.

E.P. Roe had just begun to wane.

Howells was rising, surely to attain!

The nation for a jamboree was gowned.

The hundreth year of roaring freedom crowned.

The British Lion ran and hid from Blaine

The razzle-dazzle hip-hoorah from Maine.

The mocking bird was singing in the lane….

Yet…

“East side, west side, all around the town the tots sang: ‘Ring a rosie-

‘London Bridge is falling down.’

And…

John L. Sullivan

The strong boy

Of Boston

Broke every single rib of Jake Kilrain.

In dear provincial 1889

Barnum’s bears and tigers could astound

Ingersoll was called a most vile hound,

And named with Satan, Judas, Thomas Paine!

Phillips Brooks for heresy was fried.

Boston Brahmins patronized Mark Twain.

The baseball rules were changed.  That was a gain!

Pop Anson was our darling pet and pride.

Native sons in Irish votes were drowned.

Tammany once more escaped it chain.

Once more each raw slaoon was raising Cain.

The mocking bird was singing in the lane….

Yet…

“East side, west side, all around the town

The tots sang:  ‘Ring a rosie’

‘London Bridge is falling down.'”

And…

John L. Sullivan

The strong boy

Of Boston

Finished the ring career of Jake Kilrain.

In mystic, ancient 1889

Wilson with pure learning was allied.

Roosevelt gave forth a chriping sound.

Stanley found old Emin and and his train.

Stout explorers sought the pole in vain.

To dream of flying proved a man insane.

The newly rich were bathing in champagne.

Van Bibber Davis, at a single bound

Displayed himself and a simpering glory found.

John J. Ingalls, like a lonely crane

Swore and swore and stalked the Kansas plain.

The Cronin murder was the ages’ stain.

Johnstown was flooded, and the whole world cried.

We heard  of Louvain and Lorraine,

Of a million heroes for their freedom slain.

Of Armageddon and the world’s birth-pain,

The League of nations, the new world allied,

With Wilson crucified, then justified.

We thought the world would loaf and sprawl and mosey,

The gods of Yap and Swat were sweetly dozy,

We thought the far off gods of Chow had died.

The mocking bird was singing in the lane….

Yet…

“East side, west side, all around the town

the tots sang: ‘Ring a rosie’

‘LONDON BRIDGE IS FALLING DOWN.'”

And…

John L. Sullivan knocked out Jake Kilrain.

     So many of the references which had an influence on Vachel Lindsay have lost their relevance but there are two which are important for our story.  One is that:  The Gibson Girl came shining like a bride to spoil the cult of Tennyson’s Elaine.  Elaine came from Tennyson’s Arthurian poem ‘Idylls Of The King.’  She was sort of pale and wan.  The Gibson Girl was created by the illustrator, Charles Gibson.  The latter girl was a robust saucy temptation of the All American Girl.  Emma made the choice between the two the Gibson Girl  her role model which is why I find her so entrancing.  In that sense Emma was forward looking heading into the twentieth century.  The Gibson Girl may be said to epitomize the woman of the myth of the twentieth century.  From the Gibson Girl the ideal  progressed to the Vargas pinup girl of the heyday of Esquire Magazine and from there she degenerated to the sex fantasies of Hugh Hefner and on down to Larry Flynt’s Hustler.  The story could have had a happy ending but didn’t.  It’s gotten worse.  I don’t want to go into that.

     The second key point is the general regretful tone concerning the Irish.  Just as in the poem I Wish I Was A Foreigner where the American complains …’the foreigner comes here to be a voter,’ so Lindsay notes ‘Native sons in Irish votes were drowned.’  This is serious.  This was a major problem with the ‘democracy’ when its intended fairness was turned against itself.  In a homogeneous society votes are used to determine an issue regarding the welfare of the whole people.  In a heterogeneous society votes are used to advance the interests of one segment against the others.  Thus the whole democratic process is subverted.

     Thus while the Anglos were concerned with regulating the country and immigration for the benefit of all, the Irish put themselves forward as the benefactors of the immigrants against the Anglos taking moral shortcuts which undermined the integrity of the State.  Immigrants then were brought in on the Irish side condemning the Anglos who were their true benefactors.

     Hence the baffling undercurrent of condemnation and complaint that runs thorugh American historical writing.

     Vachel Lindsay would also run afoul of the Diversity with his poem of the Congo which the Left portrayed as anti-Negro while it merely was an expression of Lindsay’s understanding of the culture of the Negro Group within the Diversity.  The Negro deserves to have his own psychology and he does.  We should value and honor that.

     Such censoring of opinion will have its consequences.  Burroughs himself was and is charged with racism merely for having prescient views.  The man was a deep thinker.  Viewing the world around him at this time he came to a remarkably accurate conclusion.  I can’t tell what his thought processes were but analyzing history he came to this conclusion.

     In his prophetic futuristic novel ‘Beyond Thirty’ of 1915, just after the Great War began, he has a post-war Europe ruled, as I thought improbably by Black Africans.  In light of recent events this now seems not so improbable.

     Life is not what we would have it:  The world is not run on any principles we can cheerfully accept.  The twentieth century was one of unprecedented disasters in their scope.  Shiva and Kali rule whether we will or not.  The twenty-first century will be even more destructive.  Now, beginning in the fifteenth century Europe, in essence, began the invasion of the world.  Scientifically far in advance of the rest of the world its success was dazzling.  However, somewhere in these years, we are considering, perhaps specifically 1893, the Euroamericans, the West, lost its will to dominate.  This lack of will was presciently picked up by a number of writers including Burroughs.

     The way of the world is that one either conquers or one is conquered.  Having begun to impose its will on the world there was no turning back for the West.  However it has attempted to do so.  The result is that instead of invading and conquering the West is now being invaded and conquered.

     Any Freudian analysis of the ego of the various peoples or, Groups, will provide a record of their mental processes, objectives and desires, not mention, capabilities.  The myth of the twentieth century was destroyed on 9/11/01 when the Moslems destroyed the religious symbol of the World Trade Center.

     The West at the height of their confidence moved peoples about the world to satisfy their needs.  East Indians were taken to all corners of the world while Chinese were moved into areas in the Pacific where their skills were in advance of the native populations.  During the two wars Africans were recruited to fight from Europe to the Far East.  A great deal of the consequences have been suppressed.  Having set the peoples of the world in motion, the West withdrew from its conquests, the conquered peoples began to assert their Group egos realizing that it was either conquer or be destroyed.  Then they began their invasions.

     The Japanese attempt to expel the West from Asia was successful although costly for themselves.  Nevertheless by the 50s the West had been expelled from Asia while the enclave in Hong Kong was allowed to live out the terms of their lease.

     By the early sixtes the Africans had expelled the West except in South Africa.  that fearful drama is not yet finished.

     Africans had been dispersed throughout the Americas during gthe 16th through 19th centuries.  Beginning recently they have begun to invade Europe from the North African ports especially from Libya.

     At the same time the world’s population has grown so large that there are areas that can no longer support their populations.  Whether by design or natural increase the Semitic States were so productive that they began exporting people throughout th world  beginning in the seventies while their populations at home continue to grow.

     As the Moslems invaded the world in this second Eruption From The Desert this narrow, bigoted, antiquated religious faith came into conflict with Western Scientific knowledge.

     To accept scientific knowledge would destroy the Moslem faith in much the same way that the Christian and Jewish faiths in the West have been affected.  There can be no compromise between the two; this is an either-or situation.

     While Moslem proselytizing has never ceased since the seventh century there was now a renewed burst of activity combined with an all out assault on the West, well conducted within Moslem military limitations.

     On 9/11/01 they were successful in destroying the symbol of scientific achievement, the World Trade Center in New York City.  They aimed directly at the strength of the West- its economic system.

     It is a mistake to think that anything can be achieved by fair minded discussion or concessions, otherwise known as appeasement.   Appeasement didn’t work out so well in the thirties when another determined ideology asserted its will.  This is a war to the knife; only one side will be left standing.

     More remarkable still, having disturbed the Africans in their nest, the Africans are on the move having begun an invsion of Euorpe which is already over populated there being no room for vast numbers of either Africans or Moslems, unless….  Religious and racial intolerance began to take a vicious turn in the twentieth centgury when racial clashes began almost simultaneoulsy in Europe and Asia.

     Since then genocidal wars of either a racial or religious nature have proliferated.  The Moslems have opened a guerilla war on the world.  In areas where resources are insufficient to support an Arab or Semitic population against other races the Semites or Arabs are conducting genocidal wars as in the Sudan where they are wiping out the Negroes or driving them beyond the borders.

     As Moslems and Negroes flood into Europe this must result in a terrific struggle for survival of the Europeans, probably breaking out within the next ten or twenty years.

     The resultant war must be genocidal in nature.  If the European struggle is successful it must result in the death of alien populations or their being driven out of Europe the same as the long struggle to drive the Moslems out of Spain.  Or the Europeans will be annihilated.

     This is an unpleasant but inevitable prospect.

     If the Europeans fail as I am sure they will then Burroughs remarkable prophecy of a Black Europe in ‘Beyond Thirty’ is almost certain to become a reality.  Life does not give you any easy choices.  Here in America you’re not even supposed to talk about this problem in a realistic manner so  there is no hope of avoiding destruction.

     ERB’s head must have been aswirl with all these thoughts that society forbade him to express directly.

     Probably wrestling with all these macro thoughts he had the really important micro thoughts to deal with.  Really, what to do with Emma who he wanted but didn’t want to marry, while still not losing her to Frank Martin.

     In February of  ’98 he once again for some reason decided to seek an officer’s appointment.  He wrote to a former commandant at the MMA, Capt. Fred A. Smith, seeking his assistance.  Smith, of course, replied that there was nothing he could do.  ERB still didn’t understand the consequences of abandoning his post in 1896.

     Shortly thereafter ERB pulled up stakes to return to Idaho abruptly abandoning Emma again.  Why he should have done so is not clear although perhaps there is a clue in the Return Of Tarzan.  Remember that dream displacement and disfiguration are in operation so that one cannot expect a literal representation of the incident.  One has to demythologize it.l  In the Return W.C. Clayton, Tarzan’s rival for Jane, and Jane have been stranded in the jungle. 

      Tarzan has chanced upon their camp.  As he watched an aged, toothless lion was about to spring on a cringing W.E. Clayton as Jane watches.  Tarzan transfixes the lion with his spear.  He then sees Clayton get up to embrace and kiss Jane.  Mistaking the import of the embrace and kiss, Tarzan turns sorowfully back to disappear into the jungle.

     Burroughs himself may have seen Frank Martin kissing Emma.  Perhaps he thought that a pauper like himself had lost out to a prince like Martin.  Thinking himself cut out might have been the reason for his departure to Idaho much as Tarzan melted back into the jungle..  With no more thought for his Dad at the Battery Company than he had for Col. Rogers at the MMA ERB just up and left.  Poor old Emma must have been wondering what she had done.  Couldn’t have been anything she said.

Continue to Part III.

 

Edgar Rice Burroughs On Mars

A Review

Thuvia, Maid Of Mars

Part II

by

R.E. Prindle

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

B.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Edgar Rice Burroughs On Mars

A Review

Thuvia, Maid Of Mars

by

Edgar Rice Burroughs

Part I

Review by R.E. Prindle

     This very interesting sdtory was written shortly after ERB returned to Chicago from his first San Diego excursion.  It was placed between the Girl From Fariss’s, the last story written in San Diego and The Cave Man.

     The material deals almost exclusively with suggestion and hypnosis.  Although hypnosis is a recurring theme in Burroughs one is startled by his concentration on the subject and his seemingly informed ideas of  it, especially  the role of suggestion.

     One wonders why his interest surfaced at this time and where ERB learned or developed this information.  He was just back from San Diego and I’m going to suggest he picked it up from his hero, L. Frank Baum.  As Baum was such a significant influence on Edgar Rice Burroughs perhaps it may be worthwhile to attempt an assessment on Baum’s role in literature and history.  There can be no question but that the OZ series of Baum took a central place in the American psyche and a place in the European psyche.  Baum’s books have been in demand since 1900 when he began writing them to the present.  Baum put Kansas on the map.  The Wizard, Dorothy and Toto are household names.  Baum’s play from the Wizard was a box office success while MGM’s movie is certainly in the top ten of influential movies, perhaps even in a tie for first with Gone With The Wind.  Even American Negroes made their own Black version called The Wiz.  The list goes on.

     I’m going to suggest that Fritz Lang, the movie Director, was highly influenced by Baum as reflected in his important film, The Testament Of Dr. Mabuse.  I wouldn’t be surprised if Lang was also very familiar with Burroughs.

     Baum himself was a committed Theosophist.  Introduced to the religion by his mother-in-law Baum picked up his card in 1893.  By 1913 when he met Burroughs he had been a practicing member for twenty years.  When he left Chicago he first went to Coronado across the Bay from San Diego.  Katherine Tingley had established her Theosophical organization on Point Loma near that city.  Baum must have been an important member of that congregation.  Perhaps he had a falling out with Tingley but he did remove himself to Hollywood in 1910.  In Hollywood he undoubtedly connected with the Pasadena Theosophical Society that at present is the mother organization.

     As a Theosophist Baum would have had to have been familiar with the works of Madame Helena Blavatsky.  Her great works are Isis Unveiled and The Secrect Doctrine.  Theosophy of course is on a par with the Semitic religions of Judaism and Christianity.  While Madame B is often referred to as nonsense she is in fact very learned in the ancient religious doctrines of the human mind that went to form all Middle Eastern religious expressions.  Hence while Madame B’s works are metaphysical in nature they are no less relevant to the development of the human intellect than say, St. Augustine or others of the metaphysical ilk.

     Madame B had some strong opinions on hypnotism.  Hypnotism had come to the fore of Euroamerican consciousness in the years preceding the French Revolution through the efforts of  Dr. Franz Mesmer.  Though discredited as as a charlatan he was dealing with the real thing as subsequent history shows.  He originally called hypnotism Animal Magnetism.  That was changed to Mesmerism and then to Hypnotism.  As far as possible influences on Burroughs it will be remembered that Edgar Allan Poe wrote Mesmeric Revelation in 1844 and The Facts In The Case Of M. Valdemar in 1845.  There are clear indications that ERB was familiar with the Valdemar story.

     Now, the essence of hypnotism is the suggestion.  Suggestion is perhaps the most important intellectual or psychological phenomenon.  Suggestion isperhaps the basis of intellect, intelligence and psychology.  C.G. Jung in his investigations of symbols was dealing with the nature of universal suggestion from nature.  Freud early learned to separate suggestion from the hypnotic trance.  Artfully used suggestion obviates the need for trancelike states.   Thus people don’t understand that and how they are hypnotized by movies and TV.

     The art of successful literature is merely to suggest scenes and situations and have the reader visualize them in his own mind.  Once accepted the suggestion becomes part of the intellect of the reader.  He may be able to reject it later but that is a separate volitional act.  The great writers realize this.  Freud understood perfectly, while Baum developed the art of the concrete image to a remarkable degree.  His works are a series of remarkable images.  If Freud had had Baum’s skill, and he wasn’t far short, he would have been even more effective than he has been.

     The prescient Fritz Lang picked up on Freud, Baum and hypnotism in his remarkable Dr. Mabuse series of movies.  The first story, Dr. Mabuse The Gambler of 1922, concerns a Freudlike megalomaniac named Dr. Mabuse.  Freud’s activities during the Great War and after would be known to the cognoscenti.  It would be foolish to think that Adolf Hitler and other Volkish leaders wouldn’t have been aware of what Freud was up to.  Mabuse is into all kinds of criminal activities to undermine society and the State, as was Freud.  He is also a master hypnotist as was Freud.  In a scene reminiscent of the scene in Thuvia where Jav says ‘You want to see them?  Then, look.’  The scene of ancient bustling Lothar then appears to Carthoris and Thuvia’s wondering hypnotized eyes.  As well as mine, certainly.  I had no trouble seeing what Burroughs wanted me to see.  So Dr. Mabuse in his role of stage hypnotizer, the man wore many hats, makes a parade appear before the wondering eyes of his audience.  It can be done.  I saw a man make Diamond Head disappear before the whole world on TV.  Pretty amazing.

     At the end of the movie Mabuse is captured and conveniently tucked away in an insane asylum.  He goes catatonic until 1930 or so when Lang made the sequel The Testament Of Dr. Mabuse.  The Dr. emerging from his catatonic state makes signs that he wants pen and paper which the head of the asylum, one Dr. Baum, provides.

     Mabuse then turns out page after endless page of instructions to destroy civilization not unlike what Herr Dr. Freud was doing from his study in Vienna.  The writing had an hypnotic effect on Dr. Baum who executes the plans of the cell bound Dr. Mabuse.

     The use of the name Baum could be a coincidence but Dr. Baum like the Wizard Of Oz is an unseen superior.  He issues orders but is otherwise an unknown to those he directs.  In issuing his orders we are led to believe that he sits behind a curtain unseen while giving his directions.  Then, just as Dorothy did, the hero dares to pull back the curtain and he finds…a phonograph player.  Unlike Dorothy who finds a tubby timid little imposter, there is no one there.  Surely this is a parody of Dorothy’s famous scene which makes the name Dr. Baum less of a coincidence.

     So it would seem that L. Frank Baum’s influence extended to Germany and an originator of film noir.  Not so unlike as Baum’s stories are much darker than they might appear at first reading.  At any rate his literary images make long remembered illusions of reality not unlike that of Dr. Baum while being of a suggestive hypnotic nature.  I can still visualize Dorothy pulling the curtain back exposing the mild mannered Big Brother sixty years after.  I can remember the image I formed.

     So, my suggestion is that L. Frank Baum was the direct inspiration for Thuvia of Mars.  As noted ERB was probably familiar with Poe’s stories of hypnotism while I am certain that he had read George Du Maurier’s Trilby concerning the hypnotist Svengali and probably also Du Maurier’s other two novels, Peter Ibbetson, and The Martian both related to unusual psychological states.  Len Carter believes that ERB read William Morris who also uses some hypnotic themes in his fantasy novels.  Lew Sweetser, ERB’s mentor in Idaho via Yale, might also have given him some information on hypnotism while ERB was still a boy.  Plus I’m sure hypnotism was a hot topic of popular discussions.

      ERB’s emphasis on suggestion as the operative means of hypnotism points to some more direct instruction.  Most think that ERB first met Baum in 1916 which means the two formed a fast friendship immediately.  I think it more likely that they met in 1913 renewing the acquanitance in 1916.  Whether Baum had read any of Burroughs’ stories in 1913 which seems would be paying pretty close atention to literary trends in pulp magazines he may have heard of Tarzan.  Probably aware of this ERB may have brought along a magazine or two to show Baum.  If Baum then read the proffered stories he certainly would have seen his influence in the Mars stories if ERB didn’t actually point them out to him hoping for the Zeusian nod of approval from the master.

     Probably flattered Baum would have encouraed the relationship.  Assuming that to be true the two men having similar interests would certainly engage in conversations on Theosophy, hypnotism, writing techniques and whatever.

     Certainly Burroughs writing style which while always colorful was a little heavy on the narrative side seems to open up to a more allusive suggestive style blossoming significantly in 1915’s Tarzan And The Jewels of Opar.

     I can’t find a more immediate source for ERB’s sudden interest in hypnotism.  But, on to the story.