Tarzan (book series)

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Tarzan
Tarzan of the Apes in color.jpg
Author Edgar Rice Burroughs
Country United States
Language English
Genre adventure
Publisher A. C. McClurg
Media type Print (hardback)

Tarzan is a series of twenty-four adventure novels written by Edgar Rice Burroughs, followed by four novels either co-written by Burroughs, or officially authorized by his estate. There are also two works written by Burroughs especially for children that are not considered part of the main series.

The series is considered a classic of literature and is the author's best-known work. Tarzan has been called one of the best-known literary characters in the world. Written by Burroughs between 1912 and 1965, Tarzan has been adapted many times, complete or in part, for radio, television, stage, and cinema. (It has been adapted for the cinema more times than any book except Dracula).

Even though the copyright on Tarzan of the Apes has expired in the United States, the name Tarzan is still protected as a trademark of Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc. Also, the work remains under copyright in some other countries where copyright terms are longer.

The twenty four main books[edit]

Tarzan of the Apes (1912)[edit]

Main article: Tarzan of the Apes

The novel tells the story of John Clayton, born in the western coastal jungles of equatorial Africa to a marooned couple from England, John and Alice (Rutherford) Clayton, Lord and Lady Greystoke. Adopted as an infant by the she-ape Kala after his parents died (his father is killed by the savage king ape Kerchak), Clayton is named "Tarzan" ("White Skin" in the ape language) and raised in ignorance of his human heritage.

Feeling alienated from his peers due to their physical differences, he discovers his true parents' cabin, where he first learns of others like himself in their books, with which he eventually teaches himself to read.

On his return from one visit to the cabin, he is attacked by a huge gorilla which he manages to kill with his father's knife, although he is terribly wounded in the struggle. As he grows up, Tarzan becomes a skilled hunter, exciting the jealousy of Kerchak, the ape leader, who finally attacks him. Tarzan kills Kerchak and takes his place as "king" of the apes.

Later, a tribe of black Africans settles in the area, and Kala is killed by one of its hunters. Avenging himself on the killer, Tarzan begins an antagonistic relationship with the tribe, raiding its village for weapons and practicing cruel pranks on them. They, in turn, regard him as an evil spirit and attempt to placate him.

Subsequently, a new party of whites is marooned on the coast, including Jane Porter, the first white woman Tarzan has ever seen. Tarzan's cousin, William Cecil Clayton, unwitting usurper of the ape man's ancestral English estate, is also among the party. Tarzan spies on the newcomers, aids them in secret, and saves Jane from the perils of the jungle. Absent when they are rescued, he is introduced further into the mysteries of civilization by French Naval Officer Paul D'Arnot, whom he saves from the natives. D'Arnot teaches Tarzan French and how to behave among white men, as well as serving as his guide to the nearest colonial outposts.

Ultimately, Tarzan travels to Jane's native Baltimore, Maryland only to find that she is now in the woods of Wisconsin. Tarzan finally meets Jane in Wisconsin where they renew their acquaintance and he learns the bitter news that she has become engaged to William Clayton. Meanwhile, clues from his parents' cabin have enabled D'Arnot to prove Tarzan's true identity. Instead of claiming his inheritance, Tarzan chooses rather to conceal and renounce his heritage for the sake of Jane's happiness.

The Return of Tarzan (1913)[edit]

Main article: The Return of Tarzan

The novel picks up where Tarzan of the Apes left off. The ape man, feeling rootless in the wake of his noble sacrifice of his prospects of wedding Jane Porter, leaves America for Europe to visit his friend Paul d'Arnot. On the ship he becomes embroiled in the affairs of Countess Olga de Coude, her husband, Count Raoul de Coude, and two shady characters attempting to prey on them, Nikolas Rokoff and his henchman Alexis Paulvitch. Rokoff, it turns out, is also the countess's brother. Tarzan thwarts the villains' scheme, making them his deadly enemies. Later, in France, Rokoff tries time and again to eliminate the ape man, finally engineering a duel between him and the count by making it appear that he is the countess's lover. Tarzan deliberately refuses to defend himself in the duel, even offering the count his own weapon after the latter fails to kill him with his own, a grand gesture that convinces his antagonist of his innocence. In return, Count Raoul finds him a job as a special agent in Algeria for the ministry of war. A sequence of adventures among the local Arabs ensues, including another brush with Rokoff. Afterward Tarzan sails for Cape Town and strikes up a shipboard acquaintance with Hazel Strong, a friend of Jane's. But Rokoff and Paulovitch are also aboard, and manage to ambush him and throw him overboard.

Miraculously, Tarzan manages to swim to shore, and finds himself in the coastal jungle where he was brought up by the apes. He soon rescues and befriends a native warrior, Busuli of the Waziri, and is adopted into the Waziri tribe. After defeating a raid on their village by ivory raiders he becomes their chief. The Waziri know of a lost city deep in the jungle, from which they have obtained their golden ornaments. Tarzan has them take him there, but is captured by its inhabitants, a race of beast-like men, and condemned to be sacrificed to their sun god. To his surprise, the priestess to perform the sacrifice is a beautiful woman, who speaks the ape language he learned as a child. She tells him she is La, high priestess of the lost city of Opar. When the ceremony is fortuitously interrupted, she hides him and promises to lead him to freedom. But the ape man escapes on his own, locates the treasure chamber, and manages to rejoin the Waziri.

Meanwhile, Hazel Strong has reached Cape Town, where she encounters Jane, and her father Professor Porter, together with Jane's fiancé, Tarzan's cousin William Cecil Clayton. They are all invited on a cruise up the west coast of Africa aboard the Lady Alice, the yacht of Lord Tennington, another friend. Rokoff, now using the alias of M. Thuran, ingratiates himself with the party and is also invited along. The Lady Alice breaks down and sinks, forcing the passengers and crew into the lifeboats. The one containing Jane, Clayton and "Thuran" is separated from the others and suffers terrible privations. Coincidentally, the boat finally makes shore in the same general area that Tarzan did. The three construct a rude shelter and eke out an existence of near starvation for some weeks until Jane and Clayton are surprised in the forest by a lion. Clayton loses Jane's respect by cowering in fear before the beast instead of defending her. But they are not attacked, and discover the lion dead, speared by an unknown hand. Their hidden savior is in fact Tarzan, who leaves without revealing himself.

Later Jane is kidnapped and taken to Opar by a party of beast-men pursuing Tarzan. The ape man tracks them and manages to save her from being sacrificed by La. La is crushed by Tarzan's rejection of her for Jane. Escaping Opar, Tarzan returns with Jane to the coast, happy in the discovery that she loves him and is free to marry him. They find Clayton, abandoned by "Thuran" and dying of a fever. In his last moments he atones to Jane by revealing Tarzan's true identity as Lord Greystoke, having previously discovered the truth but concealed it. Tarzan and Jane make their way up the coast to the former's boyhood cabin, where they encounter the remainder of the castaways of the Lady Alice, safe and sound after having been recovered by Tarzan's friend D'Arnot in another ship. "Thuran" is exposed as Rokoff and arrested. Tarzan weds Jane and Tennington weds Hazel in a double ceremony performed by Professor Porter, who had been ordained a minister in his youth. Then they all set sail for civilization, taking along the treasure Tarzan had found in Opar.

The Beasts of Tarzan (1914)[edit]

Main article: The Beasts of Tarzan

Not long after Tarzan claims his hereditary title of Lord Greystoke and marries Jane, their infant son, Jack, is kidnapped in London by his old Russian enemies, Nikolas Rokoff and Alexis Paulvitch. Following an anonymous call about the whereabouts of Jack, Tarzan himself falls into Rokoff's trap and is imprisoned aboard a ship carrying Jack. Jane, fearing Tarzan was entering a trap, follows him and also finds herself in Rokoff's clutches aboard the boat. Rokoff sets sail to Africa, eventually exiling Tarzan on an island near the African coast and telling Tarzan that Jack will be left with a cannibal tribe and raised as one of their own.

Using his jungle skill and primal intelligence, Tarzan wins the help of Sheeta, the vicious panther, a tribe of great apes led by the intelligent Akut, and the native warrior Mugambi. With their aid, Tarzan reaches the mainland, kills Rokoff, and tracks down his wife and son. Paulvitch, the other villain, is presumed dead, but manages to escape into the jungle.

The Son of Tarzan (1914)[edit]

Main article: The Son of Tarzan

Alexis Paulvitch, a henchman of Tarzan's now-deceased enemy, Nikolas Rokoff, survived his encounter with the ape-man in The Beasts of Tarzan and wants to even the score. Paulvitch lures Jack, Tarzan's son, away from London and into his clutches, but Jack escapes with the help of the ape named Akut. Akut & Jack flee into the deep African jungle where two decades earlier Tarzan himself had been raised. The young Jack Clayton, now on his own, becomes known as Korak the killer and builds a reputation for himself in the Jungle. Korak, like his father before him, finds his own place in the Jungle among the great apes, and also like his father, meets and rescues a beautiful young woman, Meriem. Meriem is the daughter of a Captain in the French Foreign Legion, who was also a Prince (Prince de Cadrenet), named Armand Jacot. Arguably, the book is as much about Meriem, wife of Korak, as it is about Tarzan's son.

Tarzan and the Jewels of Opar (1916)[edit]

In the previous novel Tarzan and Jane's son, Jack Clayton, a.k.a. Korak, had come into his own. In this novel Tarzan returns to Opar, the source of the gold where a lost colony of fabled Atlantis is located. However, while Atlantis itself sank beneath the waves thousands of years ago, the workers of Opar have continued to mine all of the gold, which means there is a rather huge stockpile. Tarzan follows a greedy Belgian and an Arab into the jungle, where this criminal pair manages to stumble upon this lost city. John Clayton loses his memory as an after effect of an earthquake, and La, the high priestess who was the servant of the Flaming god of Opar, and who is also very beautiful, takes advantage of his amnesia. She had fallen in lust with the ape man during their first encounter. But while his amnesia opens the door for La's lustful advances, her high priests are not going to allow Tarzan to escape their sacrificial knives this time. In the meanwhile, Jane is in trouble and wonders what is keeping her husband from once again coming to her rescue.

Jungle Tales of Tarzan (1919)[edit]

Collection of twelve loosely-connected short stories.

  1. "Tarzan's First Love"
  2. "The Capture of Tarzan"
  3. "The Fight for the Balu"
  4. "The God of Tarzan"
  5. "Tarzan and the Black Boy"
  6. "The Witch-Doctor Seeks Vengeance"
  7. "The End of Bukawai"
  8. "The Lion"
  9. "The Nightmare"
  10. "The Battle for Teeka"
  11. "A Jungle Joke"
  12. "Tarzan Rescues the Moon"

Tarzan the Untamed (1920)[edit]

Main article: Tarzan the Untamed

The action is set during World War I. While John Clayton, Lord Greystoke (Tarzan) is away from his plantation home in British East Africa, it is destroyed by invading German troops from Tanganyika. On his return he discovers among many burned bodies one that appears to be the corpse of his wife, Jane Porter Clayton. Another fatality is the Waziri warrior Wasimbu, left crucified by the Germans. (Wasimbu's father Muviro, first mentioned in this story, goes on to play a prominent role in later Tarzan novels.)

Maddened, the ape-man seeks revenge not only on the perpetrators of the tragedy but all Germans, and sets out for the battle front of the war in east Africa. On the way he has a run-in with a lion (or Numa, as it is called by the apes among whom Tarzan was raised), which he traps in a gulch by blocking the entrance. At the front he infiltrates the German headquarters and seizes Major Schneider, the officer he believes led the raid on his estate. Returning to the gulch, he throws his captive to the lion. Tarzan goes on to help the British in the battle in various ways, including setting the lion loose in the enemy trenches, and kills von Goss, another German officer involved in the attack on the Greystoke estate.

He then becomes embroiled in the affairs of Bertha Kircher, a woman he has seen in both the German and British camps, and believes to be a German spy, particularly after he learns she possesses his mother's locket, which he had given as a gift to Jane. His efforts to retrieve it lead him to a rendezvous between Kircher and Captain Fritz Schneider, brother of the major Tarzan threw to the lion previously, and the actual commander of the force that burned the estate. Killing Schneider, Tarzan believes his vengeance complete. Abandoning his vendetta against the Germans he departs for the jungle, swearing off all company with mankind.

Seeking a band of Mangani, the apes among whom he had been raised, Tarzan crosses a desert, undergoing great privations. Indeed, the desert is almost his undoing. He only survives by feigning death to lure a vulture (Ska in the ape language) following him into his reach; he then catches and devours the vulture, which gives him the strength to go on. The scene is a powerful one, a highlight both of the novel and of the Tarzan series as a whole.

On the other side of the desert Tarzan locates the ape band. While with them he once again encounters Bertha Kircher, who has just escaped from Sergeant Usanga, leader a troop of native deserters from the German army, by whom she had been taken captive. Despite his suspicion of Bertha, Tarzan's natural chivalry leads him to grant her shelter and protection among the apes. Later he himself falls captive to the tribe of cannibals the deserters have sheltered among, along with Harold Percy Smith-Oldwick, a British aviator who has been forced down in the jungle. Learning of Tarzan's plight, Bertha heroically leads the apes against the natives and frees them both.

Smith-Oldwick becomes infatuated with Bertha, and they search for his downed plane. They find it, but are captured again by Usanga, who attempts to fly off in it with Bertha. Tarzan arrives in time to board the plane as it takes off and throw Usanga from the plane. Smith-Oldwick and Bertha Kircher then try to pilot it back across the desert to civilization, but fail to make it. Seeing the plane go down, Tarzan once more sets out to rescue them. On the way he encounters another Numa, this one an unusual black lion caught in a pit trap, and frees it.

He, the two lovers and the lion are soon reunited, but attacked by warriors from the lost city of Xuja, hidden in a secret desert valley. Tarzan is left for dead and Bertha and Smith-Oldwick taken prisoner. The Xujans are masters of the local lions and worshippers of parrots and monkeys. They are also completely insane as a consequence of long inbreeding. Recovering, Tarzan once more comes to the rescue of his companions, aided by the lion he had saved earlier. But the Xujans pursue them and they turn at bay to make one last stand. The day is saved by a search party from Smith-Oldwick's unit, who turn the tide.

Afterward, Tarzan and Smith-Oldwick find out that Bertha is a double agent who has actually been working for the British. Tarzan also learns from the diary of the deceased Fritz Schneider that Jane might still be alive.

Tarzan the Terrible (1921)[edit]

Main article: Tarzan the Terrible

In the previous novel, during the early days of World War I, Tarzan discovered that his wife Jane was not killed in a fire set by German troops, but was in fact alive.

In this novel two months have gone by and Tarzan is continuing to search for Jane. He has tracked her to a hidden valley called Pal-ul-don, which means "Land of Men." In Pal-ul-don Tarzan finds a real Jurassic Park filled with dinosaurs, notably the savage Triceratops-like Gryfs, which unlike their prehistoric counterparts are carnivorous. The lost valley is also home to two different races of tailed human-looking creatures, the Ho-don (hairless and white skinned) and the Waz-don (hairy and black-skinned). Tarzan befriends Ta-den, a Ho-don warrior, and Om-at, the Waz-don chief of the tribe of Kor-ul-ja. In this new world he becomes a captive but so impresses his captors with his accomplishments and skills that they name him Tarzan-Jad-Guru (Tarzan the Terrible), which is the name of the novel.

Jane is also being held captive in Pal-ul-don, having been brought there by her German captor, who has since become dependent on her due to his own lack of jungle survival skills. She becomes a pawn in a religious power struggle that consumes much of the novel.

With the aid of his native allies, Tarzan continues to pursue his beloved to rescue her and set things to right, going through an extended series of fights and escapes to do so. In the end success seems beyond even his ability to achieve, until in the final chapter he and Jane are saved by their son Korak, who has been searching for Tarzan just as Tarzan has been searching for Jane.

Tarzan and the Golden Lion (1922/23)[edit]

In the previous novel, Tarzan rescued Jane after he discovered that she was alive, and was reunited with his son Korak. In this story he and his family encounter and adopt an orphaned lion cub, whom they name Jad-bal-ja ("The Golden Lion" in the language of the lost land of Pal-ul-don, which they have recently left). They then return to their African estate, gutted by the Germans during the course of World War I in Tarzan the Untamed. They find it already being rebuilt by Tarzan's faithful Waziri warriors, including old Muviro, who first appears in this novel after a previous mention in Tarzan the Untamed. Muviro reappears in a number of later novels as sub-chief of the Waziri. Back at home, Tarzan raises Jad-bal-ja, who in adulthood is a magnificent black-maned golden lion devoted to the Ape Man.

Later Tarzan is drugged and delivered to the priests of Opar, the lost colony of Atlantis that he had last visited in Tarzan and the Jewels of Opar. Once again La, the High Priestess of the Flaming God, who is consumed by her hopeless infatuation with Tarzan, rescues him. But when her people discover that she had betrayed them, she flees with Tarzan into the legendary Valley of Diamonds, where savage gorillas rule. The good news is that Tarzan and La are followed by the faithful Jad-bal-ja. The bad news is that they are also being trailed by Esteban Miranda, who happens to look exactly like Tarzan, who hopes to locate and loot Opar.

Tarzan and the Ant Men (1924)[edit]

Tarzan, the king of the jungle, enters an isolated country called Minuni, inhabited by a people four times smaller than himself. The Minunians live in magnificent city-states which frequently wage war against each other. Tarzan befriends the king, Adendrohahkis, and the prince, Komodoflorensal, of one such city-state, called Trohanadalmakus, and joins them in war against the onslaught of the army of Veltopismakus, their warlike neighbours. Tarzan is captured on the battle-ground and taken prisoner by the Veltopismakusians. The Veltopismakusian scientist Zoanthrohago conducts an experiment reducing Tarzan to the size of a Minunian, and the ape-man is imprisoned and enslaved among other Trohanadalmakusian prisoners of war. He meets, though, Komodoflorensal in the dungeons of Veltopismakus, and together they are able to make a daring escape.

Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle (1927/28)[edit]

Tarzan finds an outpost of European knights and crusaders from a "forbidden valley" hidden in the mountains.

Tarzan and the Lost Empire (1928)[edit]

Tarzan and a young German find a lost remnant of the Roman empire hidden in the mountains of Africa. This novel is notable for the introduction of Nkima, who serves as Tarzan's monkey companion in it and a number of later Tarzan stories. It also reintroduces Muviro, first seen in Tarzan and the Golden Lion, as sub-chief of Tarzan's Waziri warriors.

Tarzan at the Earth's Core (1929)[edit]

In response to a radio plea from Abner Perry, a scientist who with his friend David Innes has discovered the interior world of Pellucidar at the Earth's core, Jason Gridley launches an expedition to rescue Innes from the Korsars (corsairs), the scourge of the internal seas. He enlists Tarzan, and a fabulous airship is constructed to penetrate Pellucidar via the natural polar opening connecting the outer and inner worlds. The airship is crewed primarily by Germans, with Tarzan's Waziri warriors under their chief Muviro also along for the expedition.

In Pellucidar Tarzan and Gridley are each separated from the main force of the expedition and must struggle for survival against the prehistoric creatures and peoples of the inner world. Gridley wins the love of the native cave-woman Jana, the Red Flower of Zoram. Eventually everyone is reunited, and the party succeeds in rescuing Innes.

As Tarzan and the others prepare to return home, Gridley decides to stay to search for Frederich Wilhelm Eric von Mendeldorf und von Horst, one last member of the expedition who remains lost (The missing Von Horst's adventures are told in a sequel, Back to the Stone Age, which in the event does not involve either Gridley or Tarzan).

Tarzan the Invincible (1930/31)[edit]

Main article: Tarzan the Invincible

Tarzan, his monkey friend Nkima, and Chief Muviro and his faithful Waziri warriors prevent Russian communists from looting the lost city of Opar.

Tarzan Triumphant (1931)[edit]

Main article: Tarzan Triumphant

Backed by Chief Muviro and his faithful Waziri warriors, Tarzan faces Soviet agents seeking revenge and a lost tribe descended from early Christians practicing a bizarre and debased religious cult.

Tarzan and the City of Gold (1932)[edit]

After encountering and befriending Valthor, a warrior of the lost city of Athne (whom he rescues from a group of bandits known as shiftas), the City of Ivory and capital of the land of Thenar, Tarzan is captured by the insane yet beautiful queen Nemone of its hereditary enemy, Cathne, the City of Gold, capital of the land of Onthar. This novel is perhaps best known for two scenes; in the first, Tarzan is forced to fight Cathne's strongest man in its arena. While an ordinary man might have been in trouble, Tarzan easily overpowers his antagonist. The second scene, in which Tarzan is forced to fight a lion, starts with the ape man being forced to run away from a hunting lion, Belthar, which will hunt him down and kill him. Tarzan at first believes he can outrun the beast (lions tire after the first 100 yards at top speed). This lion, however, is of a breed specifically selected for endurance, and ultimately Tarzan must turn to face him, though aware that without a knife he can do little but delay the inevitable. Fortunately his own lion ally, Jad-bal-ja, whom he had raised from a cub, arrives and intervenes, killing Belthar and saving Tarzan. Nemone, who believes her life is linked to that of her pet, kills herself when it dies.

Unusually for lost cities in the Tarzan series, which are typically visited but once, Cathne and Athne reappear in a later Tarzan adventure, Tarzan the Magnificent. (The only other lost city Tarzan visits more than once is Opar.)

Tarzan and the Lion Man (1933/34)[edit]

Tarzan discovers a mad scientist with a city of talking gorillas. To create additional havoc, a Hollywood film crew sets out to shoot a Tarzan movie in Africa and brings along an actor who is an exact double of the apeman himself, but is his opposite in courage and determination.

Tarzan and the Leopard Men (1935)[edit]

An amnesiac Tarzan and his monkey companion Nkima are taken by an African warrior to be his guardian spirits, and as such come into conflict with the murderous secret society of the Leopard Men.

Tarzan's Quest (1935/36)[edit]

Main article: Tarzan's Quest

Tarzan's wife Jane, in her first appearance in the series since Tarzan and the Ant Men, becomes involved in a search for a bloodthirsty lost tribe reputed to possess an immortality drug. Also drawn in are Tarzan and his monkey companion, little Nkima, and Chief Muviro and his faithful Waziri warriors, who are searching for Muviro's lost daughter Buira. Nkima's vital contribution to the adventure is recognized when he is made a recipient of the treatment along with the human protagonists at the end of the novel.

Tarzan and the Forbidden City (1938)[edit]

Tarzan cared little for the fate of adventurer Brian Gregory, drawn to the legendary city of Ashair by the rumor of the Father of Diamonds, the world's hugest gem. But to the ape-man the tie of friendship was unbreakable, and Paul d'Arnot's pleas moved him to agree to guide the expedition Gregory's father and sister organized for his rescue. The enigmatic Atan Thome was also obsessed with the Father of Diamonds, and planted agents in the Gregory safari to spy out its route and sabotage its efforts. Both parties reached their goal, remote Ashair... as prisoners of its priests, doomed to die in loathsome rites.

Tarzan the Magnificent (1939)[edit]

Tarzan encounters a lost race with uncanny mental powers, after which he revisits the lost cities of Cathne and Athne, previously encountered in the earlier novel Tarzan and the City of Gold. As usual, he is backed up by Chief Muviro and his faithful Waziri warriors.

Tarzan and the Foreign Legion (1947)[edit]

While serving in the R.A.F. under his civilian name of John Clayton during World War II, Tarzan is shot down over the island of Sumatra in the Japanese-occupied Dutch East Indies. He uses his jungle survival skills to save his comrades in arms, and fight the Japanese while seeking escape from enemy territory.

Tarzan and the Madman (1964)[edit]

Main article: Tarzan and the Madman

Tarzan tracks down yet another impostor resembling him, who is under the delusion he is Tarzan.

Tarzan and the Castaways (1965)[edit]

Collection of three unconnected short stories.

  1. "Tarzan and the Castaways" (originally entitled "The Quest of Tarzan")
  2. "Tarzan and the Champion"
  3. "Tarzan and the Jungle Murders"

Other official works[edit]

The Eternal Lover and The Mad King (1914–15, 1925, 1926)[edit]

Originally written as a series of four novellas, they were first published as novels in 1925 and 1926.

Main article: The Eternal Lover

The Eternal Lover recounts a sister and brother visiting the Greystoke estate in Africa before the first World War. While there, the sister falls unconscious, and remembers her adventures from a past life thousands of years ago. Tarzan makes occasional appearances as their present day host.

Main article: The Mad King

The first half of The Mad King is set before the African visit, and focuses on the brother, finding out that they are related to the royalty of a small kingdom between Austria and Serbia. The second half is set after the African visit as the brother returns to the European kingdom on the eve of World War I. Tarzan does not appear in these two stories, although the sister from Eternal Lover does.

The Adventures of Tarzan (1921, 2006)[edit]

A licensed novelization serialized in 15 parts by newspapers in 1921. This work by Maude Robinson Toombs is based on the scripts for the 15-part film-serial of the same name, and was first released as a collected edition in 2006.

Tarzan and the Tarzan Twins (1927/1936)[edit]

Originally written as a pair of novellas specifically for younger readers, the two stories; "The Tarzan Twins" and "Tarzan and the Tarzan Twins, with Jad-bal-ja, the Golden Lion" were published together in 1963. While the fact that they were written for children usually excludes them from lists of the main Tarzan novels, the family in the stories does make an appearance in Tarzan and the Lost Empire (1929).

Tarzan and the Valley of Gold (1966)[edit]

Authorized by the Burroughs estate as the 25th official novel, this work by Fritz Leiber is based on the screenplay for the film of the same name. The book includes footnotes connecting the story to events from Burroughs' twenty-four prior novels.

Endless Quest Books[edit]

In the 1980s, TSR, Inc. published two Tarzan books as part of their Endless Quest gamebook series.

Tarzan: the Lost Adventure (1995)[edit]

Eighty typed pages for an unfinished Tarzan novel were found in Burroughs' safe after his death. In the mid-1990s the Burroughs estate and Dark Horse Comics chose Joe R. Lansdale to complete the novel which was released as a co-authored work in 1995.

Tarzan: The Epic Adventures (1996)[edit]

The pilot episode of the 1996–1997 television series Tarzan: The Epic Adventures was adapted into an authorized 1996 novel by R. A. Salvatore. The book is nominally set during the middle of The Return of Tarzan as it chronicles a time after Tarzan returned to Africa from Paris, but before he married Jane.

The Dark Heart of Time (1999)[edit]

Following The Lost Adventure the Burroughs estate authorized Philip Jose Farmer to write an official Tarzan novel, released in 1999 as The Dark Heart of Time.

Best known for his Riverworld series, Philip Jose Farmer has also written a number of Tarzan based pastiche works. He also authored Tarzan Alive: A Definitive Biography of Lord Greystoke (1972/2006), and two authorized Opar novels set thousands of years in the past: Hadon of Ancient Opar (1974) and Flight to Opar (1976).

Tarzan: The Greystoke Legacy (2011)[edit]

Author Andy Briggs has rebooted the series[1] as young-adult fiction, in the vein of Young Bond, with the first novel—Tarzan: The Greystoke Legacy—published in June 2011.[2][3] The reboot is set in modern Africa and features Tarzan at around 18 and Jane as the teenage daughter of doctor turned illegal logger.[4][5]

Tarzan: The Jungle Warrior (2012)[edit]

Andy Briggs's second book in the young adult reboot.

"Tarzan: The Savage Lands" (2013)[edit]

Andy Briggs also released the third book on February 7, 2013.

Critical reception[edit]

While Tarzan of the Apes met with some critical success, subsequent books in the series received a cooler reception and have been criticized for being derivative and formulaic. The characters are often said to be two-dimensional, the dialogue wooden, and the storytelling devices (such as excessive reliance on coincidence) strain credulity. While Burroughs is not a polished novelist, he is a vivid storyteller, and many of his novels are still in print. In 1963, author Gore Vidal wrote a piece on the Tarzan series that, while pointing out several of the deficiencies that the Tarzan books have as works of literature, praises Edgar Rice Burroughs for creating a compelling "daydream figure.

Despite critical panning, the Tarzan stories have been amazingly popular. Fans love his melodramatic situations and the elaborate details he works into his fictional world, such as his construction of a partial language for his great apes.

Tarzan walking, in this display from an Ankara amusement park.

Since the beginning of the 1970s, Tarzan books and movies have often been criticized as being blatantly racist. The early books give an overwhelmingly negative and stereotypical portrayal of native Africans, both Arab and Black. In The Return of Tarzan, Arabs are "surly looking" and say things like "dog of a Christian," while blacks are "lithe, ebon warriors, gesticulating and jabbering." Other ethnic groups and social classes are likewise rendered as stereotypes; this was the custom in popular fiction of the time. A Swede has "a long yellow moustache, an unwholesome complexion, and filthy nails" and Russians cheat at cards. The aristocracy (excepting the House of Greystoke) and royalty are invariably effete. In later books, there is an attempt to portray Africans in a more realistic light. For example, in Tarzan's Quest, while the hero is still Tarzan, and the Black Africans relatively primitive, they are portrayed as individuals, with good and bad traits, and the main villains have white skins. Burroughs never does get over his distaste for European royalty, though.

Burroughs' opinions, made known mainly through the narrative voice in the stories, reflect common attitudes, widely held in his time, which in a 21st-century context would be considered racist and sexist. The author is not especially mean-spirited in his attitudes. His heroes do not engage in violence against women or in racially motivated violence. Still, the attitudes of a superior-inferior relationship are plain and occasionally explicit; according to James Loewen's Sundown Towns, this may be a vestige of Burroughs having been from Oak Park, Illinois, a former Sundown town (a town that forbids non-whites from living within it)--or it may very well be the fact these were common attitudes at the turn of the century.

Also, some defenders of the Tarzan series argue that some of the words Burroughs uses to describe Africans, such as "savage," were generally understood to have a different and less offensive meaning in the early 20th century than they do today.

Unauthorized works[edit]

After Burroughs' death a number of writers produced new Tarzan stories without the permission of his estate. In some instances, the estate managed to prevent publication of such unauthorized pastiches. The most notable exception in the United States was a series of five novels by the pseudonymous "Barton Werper" that appeared 1964-65 by Gold Star Books. As a result of legal action by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc., they were taken off the market and remaining copies destroyed. Similar series appeared in other countries, notably Argentina, Israel, and some Arab countries.

In Israel in the 1950s and early 1960s there was a thriving industry of locally-produced Tarzan adventures published weekly in 24-page brochures by several competing publishing houses, none of which bothered to get any authorization from the Burroughs estate. The stories featured Tarzan in contemporary Africa, a popular theme being his fighting against the Mau Mau in 1950s Kenya and single-handedly crushing their revolt several times over. He also fought a great variety of monsters, vampires and invaders from outer space infesting the African jungles, and discovered several more lost cities and cultures in addition to the ones depicted in the Burroughs canon. Some brochures had him meet with Israelis and take Israel's side against her Arab enemies, especially Nasser's Egypt.

None of the brochures ever bore a writer's name, and the various publishers - "Elephant Publishing" (Hebrew: הוצאת הפיל‎), "Rhino Publishing" (Hebrew: הוצאת הקרנף‎) and several similar names - provided no more of an address than POB numbers in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. These Tarzan brochures were extremely popular among Israeli youths of the time, successfully competing with the numerous Hebrew translations of the original Tarzan novels, and are recalled with nostalgia by many Israelis now in their fifties. The Tarzan brochures faded out by the middle 1960s, surviving copies at present fetching high prices as collectors' items in the Israeli used-book market. Researcher Eli Eshed has spent considerable time and effort on the Tarzan brochures and other Israeli pulp magazines and paperbacks. (Hebrew website with cover of "Tarzan's War Against the Germans").

The popularity of Tarzan in Israel had some effect on the spoken Hebrew language. As it happens, "tarzan" (Hebrew: טרזן‎) is a long-established Hebrew word, translatable as "dandy, fop, coxcomb" (according to R. Alcalay's Complete Hebrew-English Dictionary of 1990). However, a word could not survive with that meaning while being identical with the name of a popular fictional character usually depicted as wearing a loincloth and jumping from tree to tree in the jungle. Since the 1950s the word in its original meaning has completely disappeared from the spoken language, and is virtually unknown to Hebrew speakers at present - though still duly appearing in dictionaries.[citation needed]

In the 1950s Syria and Lebanon also saw the flourishing of unauthorized Tarzan stories. Tarzan in these versions was a staunch supporter of the Arab cause and helped his Arab friends foil various fiendish Israeli plots.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Bibliography[edit]

  • Peter Bräunlein: Ein weißer Mann in Afrika. Rassismus und Geschlechterverhältnisse in Tarzanfilmen. In: iz3w, Issue No. 280, October 2004, pp. 41–43.
  • Allen Carey-Webb: "Heart of Darkness, Tarzan, and the 'Third World'. Canons and Encounters in World Literature, English 109." College Literature 19 (1992), 121-41.
  • Eric Cheyfitz: The Poetics of Imperialism: Translation and Colonization from The Tempest to Tarzan. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1991.
  • Erling B. Holtsmark: Tarzan and Tradition: Classical Myth in Popular Literature. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1981.
  • Walt Morton: "Tracking the Sign of Tarzan: Trans-Media Representation of a Pop-Culture Iocn." In: You Tarzan: Masculinity, Movies and Men. Ed. Pat Kirkham and Janet Thumin. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1993.
  • Nwachukwu Frank Ukadike: Black African Cinema. University of California Press 1994. pp. 40–52.
  • Richard J. Utz (ed.): Investigating the Unliterary: Six Readings of 'Tarzan of the Apes'. Regensburg: Martzinek, 1995.

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