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Paperback Tarzan of the Apes Book

ISBN: 1591940109

ISBN13: 9781591940104

Tarzan of the Apes

(Part of the Tarzan (#1) Series and Tarzan in Color Series)

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Book Overview

Excerpt: ...the steel forearms of the ape-man about the back of Sabor's neck. Weaker and weaker became the lioness's efforts. At last Clayton saw the immense muscles of Tarzan's shoulders and biceps leap into corded knots beneath the silver moonlight. There was a long sustained and supreme effort on the ape-man's part

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

tons of fun

I remain a big fan of the book and the Johnny Weismiller movies some 40 years later. However, there's only a vague relationship between the series of Tarzan books written over a 30 year period and the movies, which continue to be made in various forms even now. Any fictional character that remains fixed in the public's attention over a 100 year period is a powerful invention indeed. Tarzan the creature of the books is far more than the half wild man of the movies, a highly intelligent, self-made superman, unfettered by the chains of civilization and its artificial morality and forged in the fires of the ultimate Darwinian environment, the jungle, which of course he not only survives, but dominates by force of will, intellect and physical prowess. Raised by apes from infancy, after the death of his aristocratic British parents, he has no concept of his own humanity for a substantial portion of his youth. It's difficult to say that he ever really comes to find the company of humans to be superior to that of the apes who raised him. At no point does he ever succumb entirely to the weakening charms of civilization. It takes relatively little to drop his civilized veneer and charge into action, knife bared. Burroughs himself was a reporter and pulp fiction writer. Most of these works and others that he also wrote appeared in serial format in various magazines. The first few books of the Tarzan series remain highly readable and are very creative. Then they devolved into a highly formatted plot structure that he found commercial and easily repeatable. As a pulp fiction writer, he reflects most of the prejudices of his time, making them painful at times to the modern reader, as would many of the earlier works of Robert Heinlein, if anyone read them today. But they are generally better in this regard than many of the movies. None of the movie characters ever became principal chief of an African tribe. But for sheer fun, Tarzan has had few equals over the decades

Blast from the past

This book takes place in an alternate universe, just a little more strange than the was in 1915. Suspend your belief, and any sense of political correctness, for a bit and you'll enjoy the guilty pleasure of what pulp fiction is all about, more similar to Conan the Barbarian of Robert E. Howard in feel than the Maltese Falcon by Hammett.

Tarzan, pre-cartoonification

It's hard to imagine a time when no one had ever heard of Tarzan, when the ape man hadn't swung his way across countless B movie screens and Disney features. When I saw Edgar Rice Burroughs' 1912 novel Tarzan of the Apes listed among the public domain texts easily downloaded to the Kindle for free, I was curious to see what the original Tarzan looked like, before his cartoonification. It was worth the download. The outline of the story told in Tarzan of the Apes--the first of what would be 24 Tarzan novels written by Burroughs--will be familiar. It begins with the story of Tarzan's parents, who were generously put ashore by a mutinous crew rather than killed, abandoned on an island that was inhabited only by wild beasts and cannibals. John Clayton is an Englishman's Englisman, brawny and brave and possessed of an innate nobility. His pregnant wife Alice strives to be a suitable companion to such a man. They survive in the jungle for a time, until their son is a year old, and then they both die from separate causes. Tarzan is adopted into a family of apes, where he eventually thrives because he is able to compensate for his physical shortcomings (compared to apes; compared to your average man he is a god) by employing his intellect. Tarzan teaches himself to read from the books he finds among his dead parents' possessions, and so he is able to communicate when the island is finally visited by Europeans, Jane Porter and her bumbling father, who've been marooned themselves. A romance ensues, which leads Tarzan to civilize himself and follow Jane to America. One can complain that Tarzan is sexist and racist. Jane's black servant Esmeralda is a beloved but comically uneducated appendage to the family, wont to faint at the slightest disturbance, while the cannibals Tarzan runs across are scarcely portrayed as human. Tarzan's mother is all fluttering female, striving to deserve her man. These biases are hardly surprising, however, given the book's age. Like Esmeralda, but without the racist subtext, Jane's father is portrayed comically, as a blithering idiot, in passages which seem ill-fitted to the rest of the rather serious narrative. Burroughs also offers the occasional over-long, poorly written sentence: "From this primitive function has arisen unquestionably, all the forms and ceremonials of modern church and state, for through all the countless ages, back beyond the uttermost ramparts of a dawning humanity our fierce, hairy forebears danced out the rites of the Dum-Dum to the sound of their earthen drums, beneath the bright light of a tropical moon in the depth of a mighty jungle which stands unchanged today as it stood on that long forgotten night in the dim, unthinkable vistas of the long dead past when our first shaggy ancestor swung from a swaying bough and dropped lightly upon the soft turf of the first meeting place." Tarzan impresses as a character both because of his physical prowess and his mental acuity. He is portrayed as a noble

greatest adventure series

The greatest adventure series of all time -- with the greatest hero. Needless to say, the books are nothing like any of the movies. Tarzan is an intelligent, independent individual, always striving to learn, with a strong sense of justice. He never gives up, no matter how hopeless the situation. He never kneels to any authority, no matter the threat. I don't believe that there is an ounce of altruism anywhere in the stories. (He helps the innocent and helpless on occasion, but does not sacrifice himself or his goals. His goals include securing wealth, but not social approval or prestige. His self-esteem requires nothing from the opinions of others.) When in one scene he decides to give up his birth right in England for the security of the woman he loves, it is clear that her security is more important to him than the wealth and position. Indeed, it is only losing her that hurts him, for he cares little for European society. The stories are not "politically correct." As a teenager Tarzan first encounters a native tribe and realizes he is more like these "apes" than his life-long "family." He is drawn toward them, but when one kills his ape "mother," he kills the native. In one story, where Tarzan risks his life to save a man from a lion, it is only because he becomes curious as to what the white man is doing alone deep in the jungle. He does not kill the lion, by the way. Tarzan embodies the principles of accepting what he cannot change, changing what he can, and knowing the difference. There is a negative attitude toward religion (witchdoctors and religious figures are presented as frauds). While I don't know that I realized it at the time I was reading, thinking on it now I think Tarzan represented man's noble nature, when untouched by social corruption -- either that of native tribes or Western civilization. He is not alone in this nobility, simply the most pure. There are also noble Europeans and noble natives, as well as the evil doers. Again, while I did not notice it at the time, I read a comment somewhere that the writing conveys a more sophisticated, or more formal, use of language than most modern stories. Written in the first part of this century, the stories are dated by their depiction of ferocious gorillas, large apes, and unexplored Africa. In this, they remind us that much of Africa was indeed unknown to Europe as late as the first half of this century. Still, these are fantasy-adventure stories, and I had no trouble slipping into the Burroughs' world of suspenseful and weaving plots. Tarzan is a superhero of unmatched courage, who has fully developed his physical strength and agility, and fully honed his senses. The theme is that others could do so as well (given the advantages of his childhood). In fact, his son achieves much the same capabilities -- through harrowing adventures! Even Jane significantly develops her human potential, even though she begins late in life.

The Tarzan Legend Begins

I felt it would be a good idea to review the original TARZAN OF THE APES by Edgar Rice Burroughs as many are only familiar with how the character has been mishandled for the past seventy or so years. In his original form Tarzan was far from the monosyllabic simpleton as he was so often later portrayed. Instead, Tarzan was a man of aristocratic bearing who wielded great strength of both body and will, spoke several languages fluently, and easily mixed with British society.Although Tarzan first appeared in TARZAN OF THE APES, the plot and some of Tarzan's characteristics were showcased in an earlier Burroughs work called THE MONSTER MEN. But it was the infant heir to a British title that rocketed Burroughs's fame. Tarzan begins as an infant shipwrecked on the coast of Africa. The rest of his family quickly dies but a local anthropoid ape (not a gorilla) who just lost a baby, claims pale, hairless baby and raises it as her own. Tarzan grows but is always weaker than the apes. But when Tarzan finds the hut left by his family he begins learning about his human side. With knowledge Tarzan is able to stand up to the more bullysome apes and life is good.Years later thing change drastically when pirates maroon other humans near Tarzan's home. It is then that Tarzan learns to love Jane and she him although she first knows him as two different people. To her there is the forest god who rescues her and there is Tarzan who leaves her notes. But while Tarzan can read and write English and speak the language of the apes, French is the first human tongue he learns. A tongue that Jane does not understand. But eventually Jane becomes the force that drives Tarzan towards civilization and his birthright among British nobility.In this first Tarzan novel, Edgar Rice Burroughs explores the idea of class as inherent. A British lord will always be a British lord and will always rise to the top no matter how far he has been pushed down. Tarzan, being raised by an unknown species of intelligent apes, has further to rise than any lord in history. But the rise he does because class will always prove itself. This is a popular theme and one that, in detective fiction, shows the difference between the British view and the American view. The British view used to hold that an aristocrat acting as an amateur, with easily best the professional laborer as in the Sherlock Holmes stories. The American view in detective fiction is that the closer to the grit you are the better you are at solving mysteries as in the Colombo or Sam Spade mysteries. But in TARZAN OF THE APES Burroughs takes the British view to its extreme.TARZAN OF THE APES and the other early Tarzan novels are classics of adventure fiction. Lost cities, ancient civilizations, true love, heroism and other qualities of great adventures are all present in these novels. My wife really enjoys the original Zorro stories packed with romance and heroism. But when I lent her some of my Tarzan books she quic
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