Tarzan of the Apes (Tarzan, #1) by Edgar Rice Burroughs Download (read online) free eBook .pdf.epub.kindle

Tarzan of the Apes (Tarzan, #1)

In 1888 Lord and Lady Clayton sail from England but to West Africa and perish on a remote island. When their infant son is adopted by fanged, great anthropoid apes, he is Tarzan of the Apes. His intelligence and caring mother raise him to be king. Self-educated by his parents’ library, Tarzan rescues genteel Jane Porter from the perils of his jungle.


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    Will Byrnes

    Apr 10, 2015

    rated it
    really liked it

     · 
    review of another edition

    Shelves:
    fantasy

    Viscount Greystoke will see you now.

    One of the advantages of riding the subway to work is getting extra reading time. Coming home, though, I often have to stand for a good while before I can get a seat. As it is not comfortable wrangling the actual book I am reading at a given time while standing, I lift my trusty iTouch and am able to read a bit until the crowd thins. I save my hardcore reading for when I am sitting and can take notes. iTouch reading is of a different sort, at least it has b

    Viscount Greystoke will see you now.

    One of the advantages of riding the subway to work is getting extra reading time. Coming home, though, I often have to stand for a good while before I can get a seat. As it is not comfortable wrangling the actual book I am reading at a given time while standing, I lift my trusty iTouch and am able to read a bit until the crowd thins. I save my hardcore reading for when I am sitting and can take notes. iTouch reading is of a different sort, at least it has been to date. Nothing too challenging. Tarzan of the Apes was a free download from somewhere I cannot recall. I had first read this, of course, back in my wastrel youth, in the early 60s most likely. While I am a fan of ERB’s Barsoom series, I was never all that taken with jungle boy. Maybe it was not sci-fi enough for my pre-adolescent self.

    description
    Tarzan is introduced to the world in October 1912 – from erbzine.com

    In looking at it anew with a bit more lifetime and some extra inches under my belt, a few things stand out. At first blush it appears incredibly dated, awash in the racism of its era. It was published in 1912, not all that long after the Bronx Zoo displayed a pygmy in the monkey house. We have come a long way, hopefully. Not nearly far enough, but some distance nonetheless. Burroughs was a product of and reflects his time. Black Africans were regarded by the ignorant as barely human, cannibalistic, and of inferior moral substance (unlike King Leopold). The stuff of cartoons, hurtful cartoons.

    description
    ERB with Maureen O’Sullivan and Johnny Weismuller – from classiccinemagold.com

    The Tarzan of the title is the son of privilege, his English upper crust parents done in by dark forces while in Africa. Coincident with the downfall of mom and dad Greystoke, aka Alice and John Clayton, a mother gorilla, mourning the recent death of her baby, hears the baby crying, takes him in as a substitute and raises him as her own. The boy’s human ingenuity (and mom’s fierce protection) gives him the equalizer he needs against the larger and much stronger apes in his tribe, and he thrives. As he grows, Tarzan is intrigued by the unoccupied house in which he was orphaned. He begins to explore, and discovers books. Of course, being an Englishman of gentle birth he has the cranial capacity to figure out the alphabet, language, the whole megilla. Who needs teachers when you have such high-end genes?

    description
    The 1st Edition cover – from erbzine.com

    Tarzan of the Apes (BTW – Just so’s ya know, Tarzan was not the first name Burroughs had in mind for his hero. That would be Zantar. And Greystoke was also a revision, of Bloomstoke.) was first published in All-Story Magazine, in October 1912. The text included errors such as the existence of tigers in Africa. Those were removed for the book version. Note the sub-title, A Romance of the Jungle. Jane, in the introductory episode, serves as the damsel in distress, with her black maid shrieking in eye-roll-worthy comedic panic. At least some clueless white guys are served up for comic relief as well. There are dastardly mutineers, a bit of buried treasure, and Tarzan, the original swinger, hoists not only Jane through the jungle with one arm, but also a young man who would love to have Jane for his own. (Maybe he swings both ways?) If it sounds to you like something Team Edward might have purloined for their guy, I think so too. But after the real Mister T has flexed his pecks, hand-killed a lion in front of his European visitors, and slaughtered a few other menacing jungle residents, really, Jane is smitten. Now if he could only learn to translate the English he has come to know so well in print into speech. Not that it matters, Jane is ready to rip bodice.

    description
    Film poster of the first Weismuller Tarzan – from Daily motion.com

    Still, a simple boy-meets-girl, boy-drags-willing-girl-into-the-jungle for some monkey business would not do. Gotta make it a challenge for the big guy, so stars are crossed and the young thing is whisked across the ocean to darkest America, pursued by a suitor no more appealing than the ill-tempered gorilla who had abducted Jane in Africa. Can Tarzan find a way to his lady love (he was of course smitten with her on first sight). Can he learn to speak English? Why stop there? Peut-être un peu le français? Vielleicht ein wenig Deutsch? I mean he already speaks elephant, and a smattering of beastial languages, so clearly has a head for it.

    description
    Christopher Lambert in Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan – from The Telegraph

    Despite the veneer, a very heavy, very thick veneer of low entertainment, racist humor and stereotyping, and bodice-ripping romance, there is more going on in this book. First, having humans raised by non-humans is as old as Romulus and Remus, and probably even older. But ERB put the notion into the more accessible present for his readers, (“My mother was an Ape…I never knew who my father was,” – Maybe not up there with “your mother was a hamster,” but not bad) albeit a fantasized present. Also, while his racial portrayals are coarse, he does not leave them there. It is not merely the black natives and silly servants who merit disdain. There are very dark-hearted whites as well. Skin of diverse color sheaths hearts both generous and unkind. And such diversity is offered the animals of the jungle as well. There is no kinder mother in literature than the bereft mother gorilla who takes in the infant Tarzan. And no darker foes than the silverbacks of her pack whose hatred of her adopted son is palpable. Beneath the surface of this pulpiest of pulp fiction there resides a theme about universality. This is something that arises again in his Barsoom series. Race plays a large role there as well. And the theme of commonality under the skin, of honor being something available to anyone, is repeated. There is also a nifty consideration of religion and superstition that enlivens the goings on. In another vein, Tarzan is a fine representative of the literary trope of the noble savage, a notion that man is essentially good, but that his better nature is corrupted by civilization. Of course ERB was not so naive as to treat this idea with clear delineations. People are complicated, whatever their moral leanings.

    description
    T and J in the 1999 Disney animated musical – from fanpop.com

    The first volume of the Tarzan series was clearly meant to be just that. The story leaves off with much yet to be resolved, much to be discovered. And Burroughs milked that notion for twenty four Tarzan novels he wrote alone and a few more that were co-written.

    There are characters from literature that seem to require a new introduction every generation or so. Greek and Roman mythology and Shakespeare’s works have been at this for centuries. More recently, our recurring characters seem to be of the pulp variety. Batman, Superman and Spider Man stand out as examples. I am not sure if James Bond qualifies, as the series has been more or less continuous since Bond, James Bond first found its way to the silver screen in the 1960s. Tarzan first graced cinemas, in silent films and serials, from 1918 through 1929, including one silent film to which sound was added after filming was completed as talkies stormed the world. For folks of my generation, boomers, our introduction to Tarzan in film was most likely Johnny Weismuller, Olympic swimmer turned action movie star, an earlier version, maybe, of Ah-nold. He appeared in twelve Tarzan films from 1932 to 1948. I expect that most of my crowd first saw these on TV instead of theaters. Of course the bod on display way back then was a far cry from what Hollywood presents as the sculpted masculine ideal these days, And of course, Weismuller’s Tarzan spoke with an American accent, as did his lady friend. 2016 will see yet another re-introduction of Tarzan to a new generation.

    description
    Alexander Skarsgård in The Legend of Tarzan just released

    There have been more than a few comic books (450) and newspaper comic strips (250) featuring Tarzan. Tarzan books have appeared in pulp, hardcover and paperback, illustrated and not, selling 100 million copies globally. There have been many adaptations of the source material, 50 for the big screen, 65 episodes for live action TV, and 32 cartoons. The story has been told in theaters and on the radio. Disney’s 1999 animation was the most recent feature length version, and the company fed this musical interpretation into a long-running stage production. There is even a Vegas Tarzan-themed slot machine.

    Some of these various productions and products have attempted to hew closely to the original story. (My personal fave is Greystoke) Most have taken liberties. Sadly, the presentation of a mono-syllabic Tarzan mirrors the misfortune of presenting Frankenstein’s monster as inarticulate. Neither is true. Both Frankie and the Ape-Man were intelligent and, after some learning time, quite articulate. But there is clearly something compelling in a story about a man raised by animals, something that speaks to questions about human nature. How much of how we behave, what we value, is inherent, and how much is the result of nurture, of the specific family upbringing we receive, and of the cultures in which we are raised? Tarzan may have been written as popular pulp entertainment, but the questions raised as he copes with the clash between civilization and the wild, between doing what is right and doing what sates a need, between honor and dishonor, are eternal. Also, ERB showed a very early concern for the environment, as the baddies in the series tend towards the environment-killer sort. You may or may not go ape for it, but whichever way you swing it is definitely worth checking out the original source material for what has become a regular part of Western culture.

    And it also goes to show that it is a useful thing to have some classics sitting around on one’s electronic devices. You never know when one might transport you from the concrete jungle to one of a very different sort.

    =============================EXTRA STUFF

    The home page for Edgar Rice Burroughs, the corporation.

    Home site for the latest (July 2016) film The Legend of Tarzan

    4/23/17 – I finally got around to seeing this, at home. Beautiful to watch, of course, wonderful special effects, and impressive bod on Mister T. This one takes a shot at King Leopold’s rape of Congo, in the form of Christoph Waltz as his representative. This is certainly a worthy object for our scorn, even with leaving out some of Leopold’s more gruesome outrages. I suppose it is meant to echo with latter day exploitation of indigenous peoples by first-world exploiters, but I thought it fell flat in that. Too Dudley Do-Right vs the equivalent of a moustache-twirling Snidely Whiplash. On the other hand, this sort of evil-doer material might have been right at home in ERB’s pulp-fest. T’s affection for his gorilla mom was nicely presented. Still, it felt like a miss to me. Not close to Greystoke. Ah, well. Maybe in a generation or so, another film-maker (or who knows, maybe a VR or holo-maker?) will have another go at this material. There is certainly franchise potential there, and plenty of serious material to lend substance in supporting an overlay of good-guy-vs-bad-guy conflict and wowzer visuals.

    There is a nice brief history of Tarzan the character and product at Wild Stars, including images of what seems a gazillion Tarzan book covers.

    A piece from Licensing Works about a centennial celebration of Tarzan in Tarzana, CA. It was the source for the numbers of sundry publications that have been made of T-product.

    The entire text of Tarzan of the Apes is available on the Gutenberg Project

    The song You’ll Be In My Heart from Disney’s animated Tarzan film
    …more

    Lyn

    Apr 09, 2012

    rated it
    liked it

    Tarzan of the Apes was a pulp classic that spawned a slew of sequels, movies, radio and television shows and a community in California.

    I was surprised, pleasantly by the style of writing, Edgar Rice Burroughs was a talented craftsman, and I am amazed at his ability to again and again draw the reader into a cliffhanger situation.

    A good read.

    description

    Whitaker

    Pulp fiction at its best.

    I went in with low expectations and enjoyed it more than I thought I would. It’s pulp fiction, but it’s good pulp: a fun romp and so very very silly. Burroughs buys into all the prejudices of his time, but it’s tough to blame him for being merely mortal. Ignore it. He’s no worse than JM Barrie or Kipling.

    I’ve shelved it under Fantasy, and that’s what it is. There may be no Middle Earth or magic, but a novel where a child brought up among apes learns to read without hum

    I went in with low expectations and enjoyed it more than I thought I would. It’s pulp fiction, but it’s good pulp: a fun romp and so very very silly. Burroughs buys into all the prejudices of his time, but it’s tough to blame him for being merely mortal. Ignore it. He’s no worse than JM Barrie or Kipling.

    I’ve shelved it under Fantasy, and that’s what it is. There may be no Middle Earth or magic, but a novel where a child brought up among apes learns to read without human aid, and who, as an adult learns to speak fluent French and English in a matter of months…well, if that’s not a fantasy, then I’m Galadriel.
    …more