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Tarzan of the Apes (Dover Thrift) Paperback – April 14, 1997
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About the Author
Edgar Rice Burroughs (1875-1950) is the creator of Tarzan, one of the most popular fictional characters of all time, and John Carter, hero of the Barsoom science fiction series. Burroughs was a prolific author, writing almost 70 books before his death in 1950, and was one of the first authors to popularize a character across multiple media, as he did with Tarzan s appearance in comic strips, movies, and merchandise. Residing in Hawaii at the time of the attack on Pearl Harbour in 1941, Burroughs was drawn into the Second World War and became one of the oldest war correspondents at the time. Edgar Rice Burroughs s popularity continues to be memorialized through the community of Tarzana, California, which is named after the ranch he owned in the area, and through the Burrough crater on Mars, which was named in his honour.
Top Customer Reviews
As countless reviewers - Amazon and otherwise - have exhaustively pointed out, Edgar Rice Burrough's enduring "Tarzan of the Apes" (hereafter TOTA) is generally not considered haute couture or advanced literature for various reasons - latent African racism, ignorance about African terrain, wildlife, and culture, broad stock characters, latent imperialistic superiority, improbable situations. Then why has TOTA survived, and produced one of the most recognized and admired characters in all of literature? I believe the main reason for this success is that Tarzan is one of the few characters who has reconciled the "savage" and "civilized" aspects of his personality into a glorious archetype. He certainly does not suffer the tortures of a Henry Jekyll, or a Bruce Banner, or any other multiple personality sufferer. In fact, Burroughs in TOTA seems to suggest that to survive and thrive anywhere, you must combine the best of nature AND nurture, and the best of instinct and intelligence.
Under the fierce protection of Kala the she-ape (herself the literary epitome of indomitable motherhood), the orphaned Tarzan harrowingly and gradually experiences the literal law of the jungle. He is at a primitive disadvantage, since he will always be smaller than the hostile anthropoids he lives with. Although he eventually masters animalistic skills, strength, and cunning, TOTA demonstrates that pure instinct and the feral will to live, by themselves, will not be enough to prove Tarzan's worth. Tarzan discovers that his superior brain gives him the knowledge, learning, memory, and invention (that instinct cannot) to become the anthropoids' equal and eventually their master. Tarzan is an exceptional evolutionary success.Read more ›
"Tarzan of the Apes", the first of 23 Tarzan adventures by Edgar Rice Burroughs, is full of surprises. The Tarzan of this book is not the Johnny Weissmuller or Ron Ely that you might know. He is not raised by gorillas (as I had thought) but by mythical 'anthropoids', a sort of missing link between man and gorilla, with rudimentary speech and a social structure that includes ritual and dance. This is a science fiction tale, a sort of "Lost World" meets "Jungle Book". Tarzan befriends and converses with (and kills and eats) a variety of beasts.
There are aspects of the story that modern readers will find as hard to swallow as some of Tarzan's raw meat dinners. For example, this jungle is populated with lions, hyenas and elephants, creatures that in reality never go near rain forests. We are also asked to believe that Tarzan teaches himself to read and write from books that he finds.
Many modern readers will also find the racialism difficult to take. He boasts of being "Tarzan, killer of beasts and many black men". Coming on a village deep in the jungle, he immediately readies his bow and poisoned arrows. When his European companion admonishes him that it is wrong to kill humans, the hero protests "But these are black men". (Correct me if I am wrong, but I don't believe that scene was included in the Disney version). This is a 1914 American novel, with all the prejudices intact.
It's quite well written; Burroughs is very readable.Read more ›
I really enjoyed most of this book. The ending kind of ticked me off but at the same time I'm interested in reading more of this classic series.
While reading I got attached to these characters. Alice and John Clayton, Tarzan, the beloved Kala, and so many others.
It was cool seeing Tarzan come across the cabin and learn how to read and write English over the years. However it was kind of creepy that he left the skeletons of his parents and Kala's dead baby in the cabin with him. At the same time I understand that he had no concept of what to do with them anyway so what else was he supposed to do.
I seriously didn't like Jane's father, not because of how he treated her, which was fine, but because he kept saying 'Tut, tut.' It was driving me bonkers. There is one chapter where it's there maybe 20-30 times. Didn't count it but that's what it felt like.
Spoilers for the ending...
I liked Jane alright, she wasn't amazing but she was a decent character. But after finishing the book I'm annoyed at Jane. Cecil Clayton asks her to marry him, now that she's free from marriage to Canler, free because Tarzan made that possible, and she says she'll marry Cecil. And this is after she's told Tarzan that she loves him and has thought it many times.
However I also don't believe the love story between Tarzan and Jane. Basically he saved her (and the party she's with) a couple times in the jungle. During one particular time she alone is saved and Tarzan feeds her fruits and she instantly think she's in love with him.
Hopefully I'll like more of their story in later books.
Overall I'm really happy I read this, it was a fun adventure story of survival and I look forward to revisiting this world again soon.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Read this when I was 10 years old.(Many, many years ago) Having seen the recent "Legend of Tarzan" I was motivated to read it again. Just as good as the first time.Published 5 days ago by Stosh
it was a gift for an 8 year old boy. apparently the wording was to adult for him.Published 1 month ago by Debra Burns
Good book. So much better than both Disney movies. Didn't realize it until now but I prefer how the book takes place with shorter episode type stories. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
I first read a kids version at 8 now I am 72 and reading the original is a fascinating experience, I heartily recommend it for grown ups, in heart and mind.Published 2 months ago by Tomas Engel