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. So popular was the character that Burroughs continued the series into the 1940s with two dozen sequels.
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....Continua
I finally decided to read it in its original language, and I appreciated even more the style.
Tarzan has a magical appeal to the inner-boy in most men. Yes, its depictions of the savage African cannibalistic jungle dweller with the sharpened teeth and bloated lips is mildly racist. And its depiction of swooning women perhaps objectionable. Yet one has to take into account the time in which this rousing fantasy was written, where such attitudes in literature were commonplace. One might as well get upset with the clearly inaccurate descriptions of savage lions roaming the jungle, or be offended that almost all the European sailors in the story are mercilessly depicted as savage, murderous, cut-throat mutineers.
Political incorrectness aside, Tarzan Of The Apes is a magnificently heroic tale that combines the fantasy of a superior born gentleman with that of a flawlessly handsome jungle god of savage nobility. Something in these tales made Tarzan probably the most popular and widely known fictional character of all time. That, by any measure, is no mean achievement.
I have read this book many times since I was a young boy, and still now, so many years later, it stirs at times goose-pricks in remembrance of the unsurpassed heroic fantasy that so impressed me as a teenager. Tarzan is so well known that I do not have to detail the story of his origins. All I need say is that this first book in the series is ingenious in its crafting of an entirely new kind of hero, and is also the most critically acclaimed of the whole series.
I cannot recommend this book to girls or women any more than I would recommend Nancy Drew to boys or men, except for the fact that Tarzan is, whatever else it may be, a phenomenon of the early Twentieth century that is as unlikely to fade in popular culture as Sherlock Holmes or Conan The Barbarian.
The story is visceral, the characters larger than life. Tarzan is a fantasy hero born into obscurity, who must endure trials and tribulations before discovering his true heritage and destiny. This is, in fact, the Classical Hero writ large upon the rude canvas of the early Twentieth century pulp fiction page.
Burroughs somehow captured the imagination of the entire world with this book. You might want to check it out.
Note: most of Edgar Rice Burroughs works are available as free downloads from several internet sites: there is no longer any copyright restriction on them. So check out www.feedbooks.com or www.gutenberg.org for your free copies of Tarzan or John Carter Of Mars books....Continua