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Tarzan Alive: A Definitive Biography of Lord Greystoke (Bison Frontiers of Imagination) Paperback – April 1, 2006
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This is truly the definitive edition of TARZAN ALIVE, and Bison Books has wisely added a number of extras that will make this edition worth owning even if one already has a Doubleday, Popular Library, or Playboy Paperbacks copy of the book. Collected here, but missing from the older versions of the book, are two gems: 1) "Extracts from the Memoirs of 'Lord Greystoke' (previously only available in the hard-to-find anthology MOTHER WAS A LOVELY BEAST); and 2) "Tarzan Lives: An Exclusive Interview with the Eighth Duke of Greystoke" (in which Farmer himself interviews the Jungle Lord). Further, the Bison Books edition includes an insightful new foreword by Win Scott Eckert (editor of MYTHS FOR THE MODERN AGE: PHILIP JOSÉ FARMER'S WOLD NEWTON UNIVERSE), which places TARZAN ALIVE in the context of "Sherlockian biographical scholarship," showing how Farmer's book is truly exemplary (and also transcendent) in the field of fictional biography.Read more ›
In Farmer's case, he had to explain, among other things, how the young Tarzan learned how to speak, when the known great apes don't. Reconciling the history of Tarzan with what was known then, and at the time of the book's writing, was an exercise that took a lot of time and effort, and Mr. Farmer was up to the task.
A family tree, linking Tarzan to other famous literary figures, is included.
There have been biographies of fictional character prior to the appearance of Tarzan Alive, most noticably perhaps C. Northcote Parkinson's biography of Horatio Hornblower and William S. Baring-Gould's biography of Sherlock Holmes. In terms of research I would rate Tarzan Alive as equal to either of those two volumes. In presentation of material I would have to rate Tarzan Alive above the other two books, for not only does Farmer give up a biographical presentation of Tarzan's life he also gives us a chronology and as an additional bonus he delves into Tarzan's genealogy demonstrating that Tarzan's lineage not only includes other characters from Burroughs' writings but also some very famous figures from world literature such as the aforementioned Sherlock Homes.
Tarzan Alive is a fascinating, wonderful read that truly makes you wonder if Tarzan was indeed a living person. He did his job well. At the age of thirteen when I first read it I was convinced that he was a real, living person... and quite truthfully, I have not totally shaken that belief.
I am glad that this new edition came out my original Bantam paperback has been read so many times that it is held together by prayers and many layers of scotch tape.
If you are a fan of Tarzan, Burroughs, Philip Jose Farmer,pulp fiction, fictional biographies or just a fan of well written and entertaining literature, I cannot recommend Tarzan Alive highly enough.
This new edition of "Tarzan Alive" is already a treasured possession. In addition to having the original text, they have included some of Philip Jose Farmer's extras, such as the text of his interview with Lord Greystoke and his worship's memories. We can, therefore, call this the "Director's Cut" edition.
By the way, the cover art takes the cake! I has to be my favorite image of Lord Greystoke!
For the uninitiated, "Tarzan Alive" is a faux-biography of Burroughs's famous ape man. What makes this book interesting is Farmer's extensive research: take a look at the Greystoke coat of arms-you get a feel for Farmer's desire to make Tarzan as real as possible. Another gem is Farmer's assertion that the apes were really a form of Australopitheci. This makes more sense, in as much as the apes have their on language, Mangani.
Although the book asserts that it is reprint "in its entirety" (p. vii), there is one omission. In the hardback editions, Farmer had included a genealogical table of Tarzan, and his many famous relatives, such as Sherlock Holmes, James Bond, and Doc Savage. Admittedly, in many of the later paperback editions this family tree was also omitted; however, I would have preferred it to be included.
For the curious, any good "World Newton Family" web page will have a copy of this key chart.
With that one let-down, I recommend this book for fans of the Ape Man, or anyone into the Victorian Classics or the retro Steam Punk novels. Hopefully with the success of this book, Bison will publish its companion volume "Doc Savage: His Apocalyptic Life," and include the revised family tree.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Philip Jose Farmer started it all with this book. The Anno Dracula series, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Planetary, they are all inspired by Farmer's Wold Newton Family... Read morePublished 17 months ago by Jason Aiken
Birthday gift had lots of fun reading this but got strange looks from people on the train. Anyone into fanticy adventure will enjoy this book it helps explain why thing happened as... Read morePublished 22 months ago by James C. Lyman
Loved it when I read it in a library 35 years ago in my hometown and am ecstatic I as able to get my own copy through amazon - and still love the bookPublished 22 months ago by Musia
Philip Jose Farmer was a fan of the pulp characters of the early 20th Century, but his great love was Tarzan of the Apes. Read morePublished on February 15, 2014 by Kindle Customer
This is a very interesting book. It was written around 1970 something. The book was trying to prove that Edgar Rice Burroughs had really based his Tarzan series on a real person. Read morePublished on July 9, 2013 by Chloe
Biographies of fictional characters are just fun. Sherlock Holmes of Baker Street: A Life of the World's First Consulting Detective and The Life and Times of Horatio Hornblower: A... Read morePublished on July 15, 2012 by David
What can I say about Bison Books' edition of Philip Jose Farmer's groundbreaking biography of Lord Greystoke that hasn't already been said? Plenty. Read morePublished on May 14, 2012 by Amazon Customer