Tarzan of the Apes
|Tarzan of the Apes|
Dust-jacket illustration of Tarzan of the Apes
|Author||Edgar Rice Burroughs|
|Illustrator||Fred J Arting|
|Cover artist||Fred J Arting|
|Publisher||A. C. McClurg|
|Media type||Print (Hardback)|
|Followed by||The Return of Tarzan|
Tarzan of the Apes is a novel written by Edgar Rice Burroughs, the first in a series of books about the title character Tarzan. It was first published in the pulp magazine All-Story Magazine in October, 1912; the first book edition was published in 1914. The character was so popular that Burroughs continued the series into the 1940s with two dozen sequels. For the novel's centennial anniversary, Library of America published a hardcover edition based on the original book in April 2012 with an introduction by Thomas Mallon (ISBN 978-1-59853-164-0).
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 die (his mother dies of natural causes on Tarzan's first birthday, and 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, gradually arousing the jealousy of Kerchak, the ape leader.
Later, an African tribe 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.
The twelve short stories Burroughs wrote later and collected as Jungle Tales of Tarzan occur in the period immediately following the arrival of the natives, the killing of Kala, and Tarzan's vengeance.
Finally Tarzan has amassed so much credit among the apes of the tribe that the envious Kerchak at last attacks him. In the ensuing battle Tarzan kills Kerchak and takes his place as "king" of the apes.
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, 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 to conceal his identity and renounce his heritage for the sake of Jane's happiness.
Burroughs' novel has been the basis of several movies. The first two were the silent films Tarzan of the Apes (1918) and The Romance of Tarzan (1918), both starring Elmo Lincoln as Tarzan, based on the first and second parts of the novel, respectively. The next and most famous adaptation was Tarzan the Ape Man (1932), starring Johnny Weissmuller, who went on to star in eleven other Tarzan films. Clayton was substituted by Harry Holt. It was remade twice, as Tarzan, the Ape Man (1959), featuring Denny Miller, and Tarzan, the Ape Man (1981), with Miles O'Keeffe as Tarzan and Bo Derek as Jane. Three more movie adaptations have been made to date: Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes (1984), a film starring Christopher Lambert that is more faithful to the book; Tarzan of the Apes (1999), a direct to video animated film; and Tarzan (1999), a Disney animated film with Tony Goldwyn as the voice of Tarzan.
A number of Burroughs' other Tarzan novels have also been adapted for the screen. Numerous Tarzan films have been made with no connection to his writings other than the character.
The book has been adapted into comic form on a number of occasions, both in the original Tarzan comic strip and comic books. The strip itself began with Hal Foster's adaptation of the story. Notable adaptations into comic book form include those of Gold Key Comics in Tarzan no. 155 (script by Gaylord DuBois, art by Russ Manning), dated September 1966 (reprinted in no. 178, dated October 1969), DC Comics in Tarzan nos. 207-210, dated April–July 1972, and Marvel in Tarzan Super Special no. 1 (reprinted in Tarzan of the Apes nos. 1-2, dated July–August 1984). Probably the most prestigious comic version, however, was illustrator and former Tarzan comic strip artist Burne Hogarth's 1972 adaptation of the first half of the book into his showcase graphic novel Tarzan of the Apes. (Hogarth subsequently followed up with another graphic novel Jungle Tales of Tarzan (1976), which adapted four stories from Burroughs' identically titled collection of Tarzan stories). Dynamite Entertainment have adapted the story for the first 6 issues of Lord of the Jungle, albeit loosely; for example, the cannibal tribe was replaced by a village of literal apemen.
The copyright for this novel has expired in the United States and, thus, now resides in the public domain there. The text is available via Project Gutenberg, Internet Archive, Google Books, LibriVox and elsewhere.
- Bleiler, Everett (1948). The Checklist of Fantastic Literature. Chicago: Shasta Publishers. p. 67. OCLC: 1113926
|Wikisource has original text related to this article:|
- Tarzan of the Apes at Internet Archive and Google Books (scanned books original editions)
- Tarzan of the Apes at Project Gutenberg (plain text and HTML)
- Tarzan of the Apes at LibriVox (audiobook)
- Tarzan of the Apes Publishing History
- Summary: Tarzan of the Apes, by David Bruce Bozarth.
Tarzan of the Apes
The Return of Tarzan