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Tarzan of the Apes (Illustrated): with free audiobook download (Tarzan #1)

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This is an illustrated and unabridged edition of the popular classic Tarzan of the Apes. It comes with a free audiobook download. The audio files are in standard MP3 format. Download the audiobook to your reading device and listen using your favourite audio player app. Enjoy! *** *** *** *** *** *** Tarzan of the Apes tells the story of John Clayton, born in the western co This is an illustrated and unabridged edition of the popular classic Tarzan of the Apes. It comes with a free audiobook download. The audio files are in standard MP3 format. Download the audiobook to your reading device and listen using your favourite audio player app. Enjoy! *** *** *** *** *** *** Tarzan of the Apes 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, Clayton is named “Tarzan” and raised in ignorance of his human heritage. Feeling alienated from his peers due to their physical differences, he discovers his true parents’ cabin, where he first learns of others like himself in their books, with which he eventually teaches himself to read. On his return from one visit to the cabin, he is attacked by a huge gorilla which he manages to kill with his father’s knife, although he is terribly wounded in the struggle. As he grows up, Tarzan becomes a skilled hunter, gradually arousing the jealousy of Kerchak, the ape leader. Later, a tribe of black Africans settles in the area, and Kala is killed by one of its hunters. Avenging himself on the killer, Tarzan begins an antagonistic relationship with the tribe, raiding its village for weapons and practicing cruel pranks on them. They, in turn, regard him as an evil spirit and attempt to placate him. Finally Tarzan has amassed so much credit among the apes of the tribe that the envious Kerchak at last attacks him. In the ensuing battle Tarzan kills Kerchak and takes his place as “king” of the apes. Subsequently, a new party of whites is marooned on the coast, including Jane Porter, the first white woman Tarzan has ever seen. Tarzan’s cousin, William Cecil Clayton, unwitting usurper of the ape man’s ancestral English estate, is also among the party. Tarzan spies on the newcomers, aids them, and saves Jane from the perils of the jungle. Absent when they are rescued, he is introduced further into the mysteries of civilization by French Naval Officer Paul D’Arnot, whom he saves from the natives. D’Arnot teaches Tarzan French and how to behave among white men, as well as serving as his guide to the nearest colonial outposts. Ultimately, Tarzan travels to Jane’s native Baltimore, Maryland only to find that she is now in the woods of Wisconsin. Tarzan finally meets Jane in Wisconsin where they renew their acquaintance and he learns the bitter news that she has become engaged to William Clayton. Meanwhile, clues from his parents’ cabin have enabled D’Arnot to prove Tarzan’s true identity. Instead of claiming his inheritance, Tarzan chooses rather to conceal and renounce his heritage for the sake of Jane’s happiness.


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This is an illustrated and unabridged edition of the popular classic Tarzan of the Apes. It comes with a free audiobook download. The audio files are in standard MP3 format. Download the audiobook to your reading device and listen using your favourite audio player app. Enjoy! *** *** *** *** *** *** Tarzan of the Apes tells the story of John Clayton, born in the western co This is an illustrated and unabridged edition of the popular classic Tarzan of the Apes. It comes with a free audiobook download. The audio files are in standard MP3 format. Download the audiobook to your reading device and listen using your favourite audio player app. Enjoy! *** *** *** *** *** *** Tarzan of the Apes 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, Clayton is named “Tarzan” and raised in ignorance of his human heritage. Feeling alienated from his peers due to their physical differences, he discovers his true parents’ cabin, where he first learns of others like himself in their books, with which he eventually teaches himself to read. On his return from one visit to the cabin, he is attacked by a huge gorilla which he manages to kill with his father’s knife, although he is terribly wounded in the struggle. As he grows up, Tarzan becomes a skilled hunter, gradually arousing the jealousy of Kerchak, the ape leader. Later, a tribe of black Africans settles in the area, and Kala is killed by one of its hunters. Avenging himself on the killer, Tarzan begins an antagonistic relationship with the tribe, raiding its village for weapons and practicing cruel pranks on them. They, in turn, regard him as an evil spirit and attempt to placate him. Finally Tarzan has amassed so much credit among the apes of the tribe that the envious Kerchak at last attacks him. In the ensuing battle Tarzan kills Kerchak and takes his place as “king” of the apes. Subsequently, a new party of whites is marooned on the coast, including Jane Porter, the first white woman Tarzan has ever seen. Tarzan’s cousin, William Cecil Clayton, unwitting usurper of the ape man’s ancestral English estate, is also among the party. Tarzan spies on the newcomers, aids them, and saves Jane from the perils of the jungle. Absent when they are rescued, he is introduced further into the mysteries of civilization by French Naval Officer Paul D’Arnot, whom he saves from the natives. D’Arnot teaches Tarzan French and how to behave among white men, as well as serving as his guide to the nearest colonial outposts. Ultimately, Tarzan travels to Jane’s native Baltimore, Maryland only to find that she is now in the woods of Wisconsin. Tarzan finally meets Jane in Wisconsin where they renew their acquaintance and he learns the bitter news that she has become engaged to William Clayton. Meanwhile, clues from his parents’ cabin have enabled D’Arnot to prove Tarzan’s true identity. Instead of claiming his inheritance, Tarzan chooses rather to conceal and renounce his heritage for the sake of Jane’s happiness.

30 review for Tarzan of the Apes (Illustrated): with free audiobook download (Tarzan #1)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Will Byrnes

    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. 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. 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? 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. 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. 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. 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. 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

  2. 5 out of 5

    Lyn

    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.

  3. 3 out of 5

    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 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 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.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Vanessa J.

    Remember this? I liked that movie when I was younger. Being the bookworm I am, as soon as I found out it was based in a book, I wanted to read it, thinking what I'm sure most of us think when a book has movies: "Surely it is better". And since the movie I knew is Disney's, then my second thought was: "It's gonna be hella different to the movie, and maybe even a childhood ruiner". Only the second of my thoughts was right. Because Tarzan of the Apes is almost like an ode to insta-love and, above al Remember this? I liked that movie when I was younger. Being the bookworm I am, as soon as I found out it was based in a book, I wanted to read it, thinking what I'm sure most of us think when a book has movies: "Surely it is better". And since the movie I knew is Disney's, then my second thought was: "It's gonna be hella different to the movie, and maybe even a childhood ruiner". Only the second of my thoughts was right. Because Tarzan of the Apes is almost like an ode to insta-love and, above all things, stalking. We all know the story, don't we? A couple gets lost somewhere in Africa, they have a son there, but they die before him growing up. After that, some apes come into their cabin, and one of them - Kala - decides to take the child as her own and raise him as if he were an ape. The problems started as soon as the animals appeared. And I'll explain why with a question I'm sure you've heard before: "Is a lion cruel because he hunts?". The answer is always "no", but here, it's stated several times that Sabor the lioness is cruel because she kills and eats. Oh, but that isn't so bad as this: Tarzan, our handsome and mighty hero, kills too, and he does it for food, vengeance and pleasure, yet... he is justified. His murdering for pleasure is justified because "he is M-A-N and not A-P-E". Actually, everything for Tarzan has an explanation because he is super special and we have to love him. For example, at one point he almost strangles a man because Jane (the love if his life *rolls eyes*) was going to marry him and he has to force his mate upon him. Not so sweet as Disney told is, right? Besides, he's a victim of insta-love, and before you say "Jane was the first female of his species he ever saw", let me correct you: She is not the first woman he saw - she is the first white woman he saw, because he also saw women with dark skin, but all were ugly to his eyes. So when our hero meets beautiful and - let's not forget it - white Jane, he immediately falls in obsession love and starts observing and stalking her, à la Joe from You. This is what Tarzan wrote to Jane after he stood over her room for hours and stole the letter she had been writing to a friend of hers: I am Tarzan of the Apes. I want you. I am yours. You are mine. It doesn't end there, though, because some days after he saves her from danger, and he starts kissing her even when he knows she's repulsed by him. This repulsion, by the way, does not last long. As soon as she examines him, she realises he's the most good-looking man she has ever seen, and so she returns his love, forgets she already wanted another man, and then starts moaning that she doesn't feel safe if he's not with her. As if that weren't enough, we then have another of my bookish pet peeves: Love triangle. and a very annoying one, for that matter, with lots of whining and an obvious answer. And the last ingredient of all: Sexism. Oh God, I know this was written in a sexist era, but that doesn't mean I'm going to accept it. Quotes like this: “Ah, John, I wish that I might be a man with a man's philosophy, but I am but a woman, seeing with my heart rather than my head, and all that I can see is too horrible, too unthinkable to put into words.” ... are enough to make me hate a book, especially if there are lots of them. So you see? Nothing like the Disney version. And I'm not surprised - that's how it always is. The difference this time is that I prefer that movie than this sorry excuse of a book, especially with its last line, which basically says "for more of Lord Greystoke's adventures, read The Return of Tarzan". Yeah, like I'm going to do that.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Fabian

    Here: the fountainhead & the story buried below a myriad adaptations. E. R. Burroughs's dream did come true after all: his Tarzan spun off into countless later tales & films-- heck, even Broadway musicals. Read this scant but brutal adventure tale with its due respect, for it includes: examples of poetic and natural justice; often tableaux with two male warrior bodies battling it out--always a spectacle to behold; cannibalism; animal eroticism; killer! savage! hot!-ness; plot twists and Here: the fountainhead & the story buried below a myriad adaptations. E. R. Burroughs's dream did come true after all: his Tarzan spun off into countless later tales & films-- heck, even Broadway musicals. Read this scant but brutal adventure tale with its due respect, for it includes: examples of poetic and natural justice; often tableaux with two male warrior bodies battling it out--always a spectacle to behold; cannibalism; animal eroticism; killer! savage! hot!-ness; plot twists and many examples of schizophrenic scope (the world becomes incredibly large and then ridiculously small). It is the story of kingdoms regained--surely my favorite amongst a dozen Disney conventions is, like the Sleeping Beauty, that which dabbles in the innerworkings of a regal fate, the inheritance of some forgotten nobility. It is cinematic--the imagination probably behind countless Hollywood blockbusters can be found here--a champion of good fun. There are climaxes which occur merely paragraphs from each other. The effervescent prose is vicious, savage, alive; the actions depicted all merciless and gory, R-Rated before that very classification came into existence. Tarzan's mother turns mad--the jungle environment is enough to drive ANYONE insane. Ends in optimistic Shawvian mode. Sufficient amounts of comedy via wacky characters, like Esmeralda or Professor Porter. And Lord and Lady Greystone's (and Kala's child's) bones all give off a rather mystical and effortless poetry to the whole fantasia.

  6. 3 out of 5

    J.G. Keely

    I must say, I was expecting more from this book. It takes inspiration from a wide array of very good adventure novels, but manages to be more bigoted than the colonial literature that inspired it and less factual and forward-looking than books written thirty years before. One of the major inspirations is H. Rider Haggard's early pulp adventure stories, including the tales of Allan Quatermain. Like Tarzan, these stories take place in the depths of colonial Africa, but the attitudes and portrayal o I must say, I was expecting more from this book. It takes inspiration from a wide array of very good adventure novels, but manages to be more bigoted than the colonial literature that inspired it and less factual and forward-looking than books written thirty years before. One of the major inspirations is H. Rider Haggard's early pulp adventure stories, including the tales of Allan Quatermain. Like Tarzan, these stories take place in the depths of colonial Africa, but the attitudes and portrayal of other races are far more insulting in Tarzan than in Haggard's books, despite the fact that Haggard was writing three decades before. Of course, having actually visited Africa numerous times during the Colonial period, Haggard had a much better idea of what was going on there. African tribes are portrayed as noble savages in Haggard, which is a rather silly portrayal, but Tarzan's tribes are made up of ignorant, warlike, half-human cannibals. Throughout Tarzan, one consistent theme is the popular colonial concept from the previous century that 'Blood Will Out'. This was a theory that genetic traits were responsible for social classes, and that if a prince were raised by pig farmers, he would instinctively know how to bow and pick out a salad fork. Some stories even indicated that a nobleman could defeat any commoner in a sword duel, even if the commoner were a soldier and the noble had never held a sword before. While Tarzan does not stretch credulity quite that much, it does state that Tarzan naturally understands the concepts of honor, bowing, marriage, and social class. This explanation is also meant to underscore how Tarzan could learn to read simply by looking at books. Though he might come to recognize some of the symbolism, Burroughs takes for granted that he could understand not only that the pictures represented people, but other complexities such as 'lights' and 'clothes'. Even if he could decipher the pictures, coming to understand the text without a key is a nearly insurmountable task, as Burroughs should have known from the Rosetta Stone of popular Egyptology. Even if he could see that the symbols for 'Man' coincided with pictures of human beings, coming to understand the use of articles and copulas would be many degrees more difficult. Without training in linguistics or the scientific method, solving such problems is unlikely, especially alone. Even if we take for granted that Tarzan could decipher the pictures and intuit the meaning of things he'd never seen before and break down the code of letters, words, sentences, tone, and symbolism (which his he does, in the letters he writes). Even so, there is no explanation how he could have known how to pronounce words, as he had no phonetic understanding of how English actually sounds. Yet he signs his letters 'Tarzan', his ape name. There are also some errors in the portrayal of animal behaviors. For example, lions are depicted as solitary, and jaguars are unable to climb trees. While Natural History was still in its early stages at this point, there were plenty of accurate accounts (including Haggard's) from which to draw inspiration. Likely, Burroughs was more influenced by the sensationalist tales of 'Darkest Africa' than the experiences of actual travelers and experts, such as Haggard and Conrad. The 'apes' in the series are particularly interesting, as they share little resemblance to any great ape, descending instead from evolutionary ideas about early humans. It is unsurprising that Burroughs would pick up on this popular contemporary idea. His 'apes' use tools, make music, communicate by spoken language, eat meat, perform social rituals, and commit war on one another. Of course, any ape with these traits would have been driven to extinction by competition with humans. This helps to explain why Gorillas survived, since they are herbivores, and hence do not compete with humans for resources. Even then, the only remaining gorillas live in mountainous, jungle regions too remote for humans to settle. If a warlike and omnivorous species of protohumans were to survive, they would have to be in an isolated pocket of jungle or perhaps an island, an idea which Burroughs later explored in 'The Land That Time Forgot'. Verne portrays a similar group of proto-humans in 'The Village in the Treetops', but he actually refers to them as a species of homo sapiens, not as super-apes. Verne's depiction is a more thoughtful expansion of Darwin's ideas, showcasing his talent for extrapolating new ideas into interesting, forward-looking books. If Burroughs had created some bridge between Verne and Haggard, then Tarzan would have been a book worthy of its reputation. Instead, it is a silly and naive adventure that fails to explore the most fertile ideas and instead relies on the least likely ones. Burroughs is a creative and ingenious author, combining concepts from natural history with sci fi and adventure stories. However, his plots are often unfocused, simply leaping from one moment to the next without build or connection. He will sometimes squander good opportunities for plot or characterization, instead focusing on fragmentary bits of adventure. For example, the romance between Tarzan and Jane goes off without a hitch. This is despite an inability to communicate and the fact that Tarzan is a frighteningly powerful and alien figure. Pride and Prejudice creates an entire plot three times the length of Tarzan based on the fact that it's hard for two people to get along, even if they are both well-off, attractive nobles from the same culture. Burroughs overrides the development of a romance by the constant insistence that Tarzan's nobility is evident to Jane, mitigating any frightening elements of her animal attraction to him. Despite immediately recognizing his nobility in his every thought, step, word, and deed, she is unable to recognize that he actually is a noble, even when he gives her a picture of his father, Lord Greystoke. She responds how he looks exactly like Tarzan, but Burroughs tells us through third person narration that she never even imagines that they might be related. So, Burroughs invents an implausible and difficult reason to maintain conflict by doubt of Tarzan's birthright, but squelches the opportunity to present a troubled love story, even though it would be the most likely result of the situation. It is almost as if he cannot bear to provide more than a moment of fleeting hardship to his characters, and when he needs a man's life threatened by the natives, instead of using an established character, he creates a new one on the spur of the moment. Burroughs combines many sources of inspiration in his books, and creates vivid, fast-paced adventures. However, his brand of wild, free-wheeling adventure seems to work better on Mars, where there is no fact-checking or colonial philosophizing to strain his credibility. The romanticized idealism in Burroughs' high adventures cannot be sustained on a world as small and mean as Earth. Perhaps Burroughs was simply more enamored of the John Carter series, since they are more imaginative and more well-written. In any case, Tarzan was his money-maker, so it's no wonder that he returned to it so often, but Tarzan lacks Carter's charm, and a nonsensical Martian world is more plausible than a nonsensical African one. No doubt I'll pick up more of the Tarzan books in time, and will have to suspend my credulity about ant men, immortality, mad scientists, and talking gorillas. But really, as long as it's written well, I'm willing to extend my disbelief. Perhaps the problem with this book isn't that it's too strange, but that it's not strange enough. Burroughs tries to realize his world with facts, but only shows that he is not familiar enough to write about them.

  7. 4 out of 5

    John Conrad

    Ah, how to begin... Tarzan raised me from a little boy and helped me become a man. After the Bobsey Twins, Hardy Boys, and, yes, Nancy Drew, I admit, came Tarzan, Return of Tarzan, Beasts of Tarzan, Son of Tarzan, Tarzan and the Jewels of Opar,... yes 24 in all, and then the Mars series, and Moon, and Venus, and Pellucidar, I own over 65 Edgar Rice Burroughs books, but Tarzan was an inspriation to me, so I have to give the credit to this book, despite its flaws, for many happy hours of reading. Ah, how to begin... Tarzan raised me from a little boy and helped me become a man. After the Bobsey Twins, Hardy Boys, and, yes, Nancy Drew, I admit, came Tarzan, Return of Tarzan, Beasts of Tarzan, Son of Tarzan, Tarzan and the Jewels of Opar,... yes 24 in all, and then the Mars series, and Moon, and Venus, and Pellucidar, I own over 65 Edgar Rice Burroughs books, but Tarzan was an inspriation to me, so I have to give the credit to this book, despite its flaws, for many happy hours of reading. Tarzan is essentially a romance novel, so be prepared for a lot of mooning in between fierce battles and heroic feats of strength and agility. Burroughs has only a half dozen characters in his repertoire, and most of them appear in every book he writes, but you learn to like them even though their names keep changing. His hero overcomes any obstacle or adversity. He will take any risk without fear. He cannot even comprehend anything but truth, justice, and fair play. The heroine is someone out of a Bronte or Austen novel who is ultimately beautiful, constantly in need of rescue, and always puts duty ahead of herself, even if it means marrying someone she doesn't love. Burroughs villians are known mostly for craftiness, greed, and obsessive revenge. These guys never forget being thwarted, even if they started the whole thing. Don't try to read any racism into Burroughs treatment of Blacks and Africans. He was a man of a different century, and times were different. For his day he was a very liberal thinker, and I'm convinced that he never intended any offense. I highly recommend the first four or five Tarzan books, but for heaven's sakes, quit there. Burrough's sci-fi is great for someone wants to read one of the true pioneers of the genre. It over-explains scientific detail and gets way too technical, but writers like Heinlein were heavily influenced by it. Mars was the best and Venus was okay, but the Moon series was crap. Actually, Burroughs western novels the Bandit at Hells Bend and the Mucker were not bad either.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Celise

    I feel like I've been waiting for a book like this my entire life, and here it was all this time, published long before I was even born. Is the light cast upon race and gender in this novel wrong and inappropriate? Most definitely. However, I read this book ignoring these things, not out of ignorance as the word would imply, but with an acceptance of the flaws, and deciding instead to fall in love with the adventure and the horrible violence of Tarzan's growing up in the jungle. I didn't read thi I feel like I've been waiting for a book like this my entire life, and here it was all this time, published long before I was even born. Is the light cast upon race and gender in this novel wrong and inappropriate? Most definitely. However, I read this book ignoring these things, not out of ignorance as the word would imply, but with an acceptance of the flaws, and deciding instead to fall in love with the adventure and the horrible violence of Tarzan's growing up in the jungle. I didn't read this looking for a realistic survival study on apes and men either. I was not expecting the gritty and gruesome nature of the story, as my only experience of Tarzan prior to reading this novel is with the Disney animated movie version. There is no child-friendly telling of Tarzan winning the love of the great ape Kerchak and Jane teaching him how to read, or Tarzan gallivanting around with his ape buddy Terk (view spoiler)[ Terkoz is actually an antagonist here (hide spoiler)] and the elephant Tantor. This adventure is much more primal than that, and so fucking beautiful I couldn't finish it without crying. Others will find this much more flawed than I have, I'm sure, but it's been a long time since I've loved reading and this book has brought me out of that slump. Sidenote: Margot Robbie and Alexander Skarsdård will be starring in next year's Tarzan adaptation, based off of one of the sequels in this book series. That's my dream cast for any movie so I'm super excited, and hoping that they keep to the darker nature of the novels.

  9. 3 out of 5

    Nandakishore Varma

    Silly to the point of being nonsensical: unabashedly and un-self-consciously racist - still, I enjoyed it when I first read it as a teen. Tarzan is a member of the British aristocracy who is raised by the great apes. Being an English aristocrat, he's much superior to all the animals of the jungle (of course!) and soon becomes the Lord of All He Surveys. This superman learns to read English without the help of anybody from childhood picture-books and soon learns to speak it also in record time. ( Silly to the point of being nonsensical: unabashedly and un-self-consciously racist - still, I enjoyed it when I first read it as a teen. Tarzan is a member of the British aristocracy who is raised by the great apes. Being an English aristocrat, he's much superior to all the animals of the jungle (of course!) and soon becomes the Lord of All He Surveys. This superman learns to read English without the help of anybody from childhood picture-books and soon learns to speak it also in record time. (However, I was unable to understand how he wrote "Tarzan" without ever learning the sounds of the letter.) Also, I was a bit confused about how his aristocratic ancestry was confirmed in the days when DNA testing was science fiction. (view spoiler)[Surprisingly, he does not get the girl in this story, but does a heroic sacrifice and gives her up. You have to read The Return of Tarzan to find out how Jane ultimately marries Tarzan. (hide spoiler)] If you can get beyond these issues, it is an enjoyable pulp-read.

  10. 3 out of 5

    Tara

    An extremely racist book with a premise based on eugenics. Not how you remember the Disney version? Tarzan is all strong and intelligent and special and amazing. Why? Because he has the genetics of a well-bred, white, European, aristocrat. Oh, and the whole thing about encountering other humans for the first time? He's seen humans around before, but, you know, they were Africans; they're primitive and stupid and clearly don't count. But other white people... revelation of revelations! You're sma An extremely racist book with a premise based on eugenics. Not how you remember the Disney version? Tarzan is all strong and intelligent and special and amazing. Why? Because he has the genetics of a well-bred, white, European, aristocrat. Oh, and the whole thing about encountering other humans for the first time? He's seen humans around before, but, you know, they were Africans; they're primitive and stupid and clearly don't count. But other white people... revelation of revelations! You're smart and sophisticated and use tools like me! (Unlike those other people who clearly must be some other lower species or something.) Just imagine that Phil Collins song in your head. Yeah, I'm glad they left those parts out of the movie too. Is it an interesting work of pulp fiction that says something about its time period and the exploration of certain ideas? Yes, of course, but that can be said about all books and works of the imagination. It's also rather different to have a book with problematic content that is a reflection of its time and to have a book with a premise based entirely upon said problematic content. The feral child concept has always been a fascinating one, though, and this seems to be the iteration that has captured and inspired the most imaginations. For that I give it an extra star.

  11. 3 out of 5

    David

    Things I love: 1. Tarzan puts both a lion and a gorilla in a full-nelson. 2. Tarzan taught himself to read. From a dictionary. 3. He dug up pirates' treasure even though he didn't see any purpose for it, just because he didn't like them. 4. Tarzan learned French in about two weeks from a wounded French soldier. Things I don't love: 1. Tarzan grew up shaving with a knife. Even though he had never seen a human until grown, he knew it was unseemly to have hair on one's face like an ape. 2. When he co Things I love: 1. Tarzan puts both a lion and a gorilla in a full-nelson. 2. Tarzan taught himself to read. From a dictionary. 3. He dug up pirates' treasure even though he didn't see any purpose for it, just because he didn't like them. 4. Tarzan learned French in about two weeks from a wounded French soldier. Things I don't love: 1. Tarzan grew up shaving with a knife. Even though he had never seen a human until grown, he knew it was unseemly to have hair on one's face like an ape. 2. When he comes upon African villagers, he regularly (without moral qualms) kills them for their stuff. By hanging. Not joking. Yikes. 3. The European family's black servant is portrayed as so incompetent and ridiculous that Al Jolson would cringe. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Upon finishing, there were several other things that happened that I didn't love, and few that I did. Overall the book was pretty enjoyable if you view it as a period piece. There was too much racism, sexism, and pro-colonial hogwash to really take it seriously. Even the good parts were ridiculous, but it was a rather quick read and mostly enjoyable. So if you like... Tarzan... worth a read. If not... meh.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jason Pettus

    (Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography [cclapcenter.com:]. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted here illegally.) The CCLaP 100: In which I read for the first time a hundred "classic" books, then write essays on whether or not they still deserve the label Book #25: Tarzan of the Apes, by Edgar Rice Burroughs (1914) The story in a nutshell: Set in the last great days of the British Empire (i.e. the first decades of (Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography [cclapcenter.com:]. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted here illegally.) The CCLaP 100: In which I read for the first time a hundred "classic" books, then write essays on whether or not they still deserve the label Book #25: Tarzan of the Apes, by Edgar Rice Burroughs (1914) The story in a nutshell: Set in the last great days of the British Empire (i.e. the first decades of the 20th Century), Tarzan of the Apes is the story of one John Clayton, Viscount of Greystoke, actually born in the jungle on the western coast of Africa after his parents were marooned there by a mutinous ship crew, while they were passengers and bystanders on a long sea voyage. Ah, but it turns out that his parents both die while he's still a newborn, prompting a hasty "adoption" by a local ape named Kala and a childhood raised not as a human, but rather as the palest, weakest, least hairy ape of the entire region. The first half of this book, then, is an examination of tribal life itself, as "Tarzan" (his ape name) navigates the tricky politics and graphic violence of the animal society he finds himself in, even while slowly coming to realize during his puberty just how different he actually is. (See, he ends up stumbling across his parents' old jungle homestead while a teen, a surprisingly domestic setup because of the mutineers letting the Claytons unload all their worldly possessions before being abandoned; and thus does Tarzan end up just naturally learning how to read and write on his own, how to use a weapon and more, eventually using these things to bloodily conquer all his foes and become the famed "King of the Apes" we know today.) The plot's pace picks up again in the second half, though, after yet another wreck by a ship full of lily-white Europeans; and who should this party include but none other than the evil William Clayton Robert Canler, who's been using his personal fortune to bully into marriage our adventurous heroine Jane Porter, a Victorian with a wild streak who ends up enjoying their impromptu African adventure much more than the nerdy French scientists American professors also along for the ride. Needless to say, Tarzan ends up saving their lives numerous times; has a chick-lit-esque wordless romantic night of vine-swinging with the clearly "Jungle Fever" infected Jane; and of course somehow manages to be the catalyst behind not only Robert's fall from grace but a surprise financial windfall for the Porter family, thus erasing the debt that was forcing Jane into a marriage of convenience to begin with. And thus does our "origin tale" end in the rural farmlands of Wisconsin (the rural farmlands of Wisconsin?), with the baddies punished and the goodies rewarded and with a now-civilized Tarzan ready for the two dozen official sequels that would soon follow. The argument for it being a classic: Even this book's fans admit that it's not the quality of the prose itself that makes this a classic, but rather its place in artistic history; for as most people know by now, Tarzan turned out to be an insanely loved character by the public at large, prompting one of the first-ever "character franchises" in the history of the entertainment industry. (In fact, Burroughs himself started one of the first artist-owned production companies in history as well, the still-existing "Edgar Rice Burroughs Inc.," which has overseen each and every one of the thousands of Tarzan books, movies, TV episodes, comics and more that has ever been made.) And besides, its fans say, even the writing itself isn't as bad as some make it out to be; sure, some of the later sequels get awfully cheesy and formulaic, but this first novel is surprisingly sophisticated for its time, deliberately avoiding many of the lazy racial stereotypes that defined this age and even offering up a refreshingly independent female lead too. Add up all of these things, its fans argue, along with the fantastic snapshot of its times that it provides (a look at an overextended British Empire first seriously questioning the ethics of colonization), and you have yourself a book that still easily deserves to be revisited by a whole new generation of readers. The argument against: Oh, and did I mention the CRAPPY, CRAPPY WRITING on display in Tarzan? Because that's certainly the first thing this book's critics will bring up, many of whom openly laugh at the entire concept of this being considered a "literary classic." That's like giving a Best Picture Oscar to a Will Smith movie, they argue, merely for it being the biggest moneymaker that year; just because Tarzan himself has become entwined into our entire popular culture, they say, doesn't make any of the actual projects better in quality than they were when they first came out, i.e. not very good at all. In fact, it could be argued that today's title perfectly illustrates the challenges inherent in defining what exactly the word "classic" even means, the issue that inspired this "CCLaP 100" essay series to begin with; that although this title is certainly historically important, it might be better at this point to actually study the "Tarzan Phenomenon" and its impact on culture than to read the literal books themselves. It's something that can be said these days of more and more popular old genre novels from the Victorian and Edwardian ages, and Tarzan they'd say is no exception. My verdict: So first, let's quickly admit that this book's critics are right about its quality, and that Burroughs' own attitude about his ouevre while alive profoundly supports this: turns out that the Chicago-born author never cared much about being a "good" writer at all, and only stumbled into the profession in the first place after a failed career in the US Cavalry (weak heart) and a decade of demeaning odd jobs in the Manifest-Destiny-era western territories. It was while mired in such circumstances that he was first introduced through a friend to the adventure serials of the pulp industry, at which point the non-writing Burroughs famously declared that if this was the kind of crap that sold pulps, he could do such stuff in his sleep and never have to be a day-laborer again; and that's exactly what he did, forging a 75-book "literary career" that for him was much more about simply paying the bills than about any artistic considerations. So is its overwhelming commercial success enough, then, to declare the book a "classic?" Certainly, for example, it almost single-handedly set the tone for the way Hollywood still works even to this day, not just from a "franchise-building" aspect but even in the way this genre-actioner's plotline is set up: there is the main "A" story of the title (Tarzan's struggles both in the wild and among "civilized society"); then a "B" romantic story featuring two good-looking airheads (in this case, Jane and the suave French sailor Paul D'Arnot William Clayton, Tarzan's cousin -- note that the infamous "Me Tarzan, you Jane" love affair isn't explored in the original books until much later in the series); and then a humorous "C" story featuring a pair of bumbling nerds, existing for almost no other reason than to provide comic relief. This has been the basic framework of nearly every Hollywood action movie since, so much so that most of us take these tropes for granted by now; and we have the original Tarzan to thank for this, because of it just happening to be a runaway bestseller at the same exact moment in history that the nascent Hollywood was first starting to write the formulas and rules of its industry, the story conventions that thousands of lazy hacks have leaned on ever since. So what I'm arguing today, then (and it's rare that I argue this, so enjoy it), is that maybe this is enough to label Tarzan of the Apes a classic, and to encourage people to keep reading it to this day; not for the quality of the writing itself, but rather the overwhelmingly important role it played in the history of both the film industry and popular culture in general. The "summer blockbuster" wouldn't be nearly the thing it currently is if not for Tarzan; and given how important in our modern times the summer blockbuster is to the overall history of the American arts, this alone I feel makes the original slim novel still worth reading. And besides, what its fans say about the book's quality is true too, that ultimately it's not much worse than most of the other serialized genre-actioners that were churned out at the end of the Victorian Era (yes, Jules Verne, I'm looking at you), and in some ways is actually much better than typical; just to cite one excellent example, as mentioned Burroughs goes out of his way to avoid metaphorical comparisons between black people and the ape society on display here (a major point of many of the other eugenics-obsessed genre-actioners of the period), instead deliberately showing through the characters' actions that the shipwrecked white people and local black villagers possess exactly the same amount of intelligence, in both cases way above what even the smartest ape is capable of. Certainly no one is going to mistake this book for the Early Modernist masterpieces that were coming out at the same time; but maybe a book doesn't always have to be such a thing to be considered a classic, or to argue that people should still continue to read it to this day. Maybe sometimes it's simple competence combined with extraordinary historical significance that justifies such a label; like I said, it's not an argument I make often, but in the case of Tarzan of the Apes is one where I will. Although caution is advised, it's ultimately a title I recommend everyone checking out. Is it a classic? Yes

  13. 4 out of 5

    BAM The Bibliomaniac

    I've actually started with no preconceived notions. I know nothing about this story. Finished with a great respect for this underrated novel. I think it's been relegated to pulp status due to those cheesy movies from the 50s. This was actually a potent love story. Speaking of which, if you saw me on the car as I was listening to the ending, you would have seen me bellowing "NO" and shaking my fist in the air. I may have to read the next novel in the series to see how this turns out. 2017 Reading I've actually started with no preconceived notions. I know nothing about this story. Finished with a great respect for this underrated novel. I think it's been relegated to pulp status due to those cheesy movies from the 50s. This was actually a potent love story. Speaking of which, if you saw me on the car as I was listening to the ending, you would have seen me bellowing "NO" and shaking my fist in the air. I may have to read the next novel in the series to see how this turns out. 2017 Reading Challenge: eccentric character

  14. 5 out of 5

    Keri

    I read this book because my sister recommended it. I thought, what's the big deal? It's Tarzan. I continued to feel this way throughout the first 50 or 60 pages, but then I couldn't put it down! I loved this adventure story, especially because it's so different from all the movies that have been made from it. I also adore the author's writing style. I guess I'm just a lover of classic literature - the formal and kind of stuffy voice is highly entertaining to me. I absolutely recommend this to ev I read this book because my sister recommended it. I thought, what's the big deal? It's Tarzan. I continued to feel this way throughout the first 50 or 60 pages, but then I couldn't put it down! I loved this adventure story, especially because it's so different from all the movies that have been made from it. I also adore the author's writing style. I guess I'm just a lover of classic literature - the formal and kind of stuffy voice is highly entertaining to me. I absolutely recommend this to everyone - men, women, and teenagers alike. I enjoyed it so much I'm going to read the sequel!

  15. 3 out of 5

    Alex

    The problem with Tarzan is that it sucks. It's deeply silly, of course, adolescent wish fulfillment stuff, the plot makes no sense. But more than that, it's suuuuuper racist. Full of comments about values intrinsic to white people and black savages, and (somehow worse) the fat comic relief mammy Esmeralda, always rolling her big eyes and misusing words. It's way more racist than, for example, King Solomon's Mines, another book about white people in Africa, written 30 years previous in 1885. But The problem with Tarzan is that it sucks. It's deeply silly, of course, adolescent wish fulfillment stuff, the plot makes no sense. But more than that, it's suuuuuper racist. Full of comments about values intrinsic to white people and black savages, and (somehow worse) the fat comic relief mammy Esmeralda, always rolling her big eyes and misusing words. It's way more racist than, for example, King Solomon's Mines, another book about white people in Africa, written 30 years previous in 1885. But the problem with Tarzan is that it's a great story. If it wasn't a great story we could just throw it out as silly, racist trash, and move on. But Tarzan stays with us because the boy raised by apes to be the king of the jungle is fun, and everybody likes swinging on vines and yelling. So a hundred years later we're still dealing with Tarzan. So what do you do with the shitty source material for a great story? With Lovecraft you can just sortof not read the most racist stories, but you don't have that luxury with Tarzan. I think you have to treat it like Faust. The original chapbook is not that great, but it spawned great retellings by Marlowe and Goethe and so now you just pick one of those and ignore the original. Others have fixed it. What I'm saying here is that you should watch the Disney movie and not read this book. It sucks.

  16. 3 out of 5

    Randy

    Tarzan has become a larger-than-life myth that supersedes his own literary footprint. It's perhaps no surprise that the Johnny Weissmuller yodeling yell and the broken English "me Tarzan, you Jane" greeting which have become the character's signature traits are actually a Hollywood variation from the original story. Burroughs' tale of an Englishman raised by apes in the unexplored jungles of Africa was written and published in installments before being collected in book form over 100 years ago. Tarzan has become a larger-than-life myth that supersedes his own literary footprint. It's perhaps no surprise that the Johnny Weissmuller yodeling yell and the broken English "me Tarzan, you Jane" greeting which have become the character's signature traits are actually a Hollywood variation from the original story. Burroughs' tale of an Englishman raised by apes in the unexplored jungles of Africa was written and published in installments before being collected in book form over 100 years ago. Overall it hasn't aged particularly well. Burroughs' characterization of both the black natives and the black servant Esmeralda is offensive for a modern audience, and probably crossed the border of good taste even at the time of publication (I read the Dover edition, published in 1997, which contained a publisher's Note deploring the stereotypes). The storyline meanders aimlessly at times and often grinds to a halt altogether, especially during the numerous lengthy explanations of a character's thoughts or motives. The prose often feels stuffy and over-explanatory, not to mention chock-full of early 20th Century English-centricism. But there are moments of pure pulp joy to be had, sometimes during fight/action scenes, other times as Tarzan moves quickly through the jungle (vine-swinging is not played up quite as much as it was in the movies), where you find yourself riveted to the page wondering how our hero will escape his latest peril and what will become of him in the next installment. But the fleeting moments of fun weren't enough to convince me to continue on with the 24 sequels, many of which are of dubious quality by most accounts.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Stephen Collins

    Everybody has hear of Tarzan but not lot have read ERB books I read all but 2 of his 98 books .Tazan of the Apes was second series I read after The Princess of Mars series. I have NEVER seen a movie that does the book justice the nearest is Carry on Up the Jungle.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jen from Quebec :0)

    WHAT!!?? This was an excellent novel- better than I expected, even, and it end with a cliffhanger and a note to read the sequel to see what will happen next!? How disappointing! Thus, no 5 stars for you, Tarzan! How dare you, Mr. Burroughs! This would have been a great, encapsulated book and instead it spun out into this ridiculously LONG franchise, I know, but I still expected the FIRST book in the series to be its own complete story! GAH! How frustrating! In 1908 or whenever this came out, I c WHAT!!?? This was an excellent novel- better than I expected, even, and it end with a cliffhanger and a note to read the sequel to see what will happen next!? How disappointing! Thus, no 5 stars for you, Tarzan! How dare you, Mr. Burroughs! This would have been a great, encapsulated book and instead it spun out into this ridiculously LONG franchise, I know, but I still expected the FIRST book in the series to be its own complete story! GAH! How frustrating! In 1908 or whenever this came out, I can only imagine how angry ppl must have been to await further publications- at least I can get the next free Kindle book and read on, but at the moment I am too upset to even do so! -Jen from Quebec (Aside from this ending though, it *is* a great adventure, and NOT your Disney fairy tale- there is murder, bloodlust, genocide, greed, etc etc)

  19. 4 out of 5

    bup

    Amid a charmingly terrible understanding of his chosen setting (example - Burroughs seems to believe that 'ape' is a species, as distinct from gorilla, chimpanzee, etc), Burroughs constructs an absurd, laughably unbelievable tale. Then, the last two chapters blew me away. They kicked my ass and called me Nancy. I had no idea Burroughs had it in him - it was like it was ghost-written by Hemingway or something. Seriously - if you can make it through the first twenty-six, the last two make it all wo Amid a charmingly terrible understanding of his chosen setting (example - Burroughs seems to believe that 'ape' is a species, as distinct from gorilla, chimpanzee, etc), Burroughs constructs an absurd, laughably unbelievable tale. Then, the last two chapters blew me away. They kicked my ass and called me Nancy. I had no idea Burroughs had it in him - it was like it was ghost-written by Hemingway or something. Seriously - if you can make it through the first twenty-six, the last two make it all worth your while. Did I mention how bad his understanding of nature was? Lions roam singly and thickly in the densest, lushest part of Africa - I'd say there's about one per acre/one per chapter. Tarzan, by the way, teaches himself to read English, from books - alone - no people, but cannot speak English. However, he can write his name. Don't think about that too hard. It'll make you less willing to accept all the other ridiculousness (like where bad guys decide to bury treasure. Yep, we got bad pirates burying treasure herein). I'll leave you one more teaser if it will encourage you to read the book just to find out if I'm lying - the book ends in a train station just beyond the reaches of a forest fire. In WISCONSIN. Check your brain at the door, and you'll enjoy the heck out of this book.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Quentin Wallace

    A true classic. Most people are at least a little familiar with this story so I won't get too deep into details. It's basically a jungle adventure telling the improbable tale of a human male being raised by apes in the jungles of Africa. Something that sounds silly actually turns out to be a great story. It's just so well written and the characters come to life. It feels like you are right in the jungle with the roars and growls in your ears. Everyone knows this as the jungle adventure tale, but A true classic. Most people are at least a little familiar with this story so I won't get too deep into details. It's basically a jungle adventure telling the improbable tale of a human male being raised by apes in the jungles of Africa. Something that sounds silly actually turns out to be a great story. It's just so well written and the characters come to life. It feels like you are right in the jungle with the roars and growls in your ears. Everyone knows this as the jungle adventure tale, but it also has a hint of historical romance about it. The tale of Tarzan and Jane begins here, and while it's not the focal point of the novel, it's very much a traditional romance type tale. You have different suitors vying for Jane's affections, and pros and cons of each. This one has a little bit of everything, and as such I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys reading. Regardless of your gender or preferred genre, there's a little something for everyone here.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Ben Loory

    holy shit! i am bashing my head against the wall for never having read this book before! i always thought edgar rice burroughs was supposed to be a joke... like, pulpy nonsense... lots of over-emoting... i don't know what... but this book is amazing! i mean, yeah, there's a certain awkwardness to the prose (which almost made me quit a couple pages in, it seemed so bad)... but that awkwardness turns out to be a screenwriter's awkwardness; the awkwardness of a writer who thinks in desires and moveme holy shit! i am bashing my head against the wall for never having read this book before! i always thought edgar rice burroughs was supposed to be a joke... like, pulpy nonsense... lots of over-emoting... i don't know what... but this book is amazing! i mean, yeah, there's a certain awkwardness to the prose (which almost made me quit a couple pages in, it seemed so bad)... but that awkwardness turns out to be a screenwriter's awkwardness; the awkwardness of a writer who thinks in desires and movement and images and goals and hardly even sees the words on the page. but there's no preciousness to it-- he's not a bad poet, he's just a guy who says what he means and moves on. after five or six pages, the awkwardness fades into a style and what you have left is pure story, distilled, nonstop, every sentence moving inexorably forward. never a misstep, never anything out of the place or beside the point. every scene is a great little story, every chapter is a great bigger story, and the book as a whole is just wonderful. i got chills on the last page as it all came together (despite the awkwardness of the last couple sentences). really, this book could not have surprised me more. yes, there are problems. once tarzan leaves the jungle to go to paris (!) and america, suddenly we have to listen to people talk and that is harder for burroughs to pull off, he's a lot better with action and description than he is with dialogue. there's this background racism "problem," which i'm sure some people will care about though to me mostly it just seems funny. this biggest problem i had was with some of the minor characters who are played for laughs. they seemed out of place. i don't mind comic relief but walk-on clowns are not appreciated. whatever, it's not borges, but i'm sure borges would have been delighted by it. i wonder if he read it? he must have. When Tarzan killed he more often smiled than scowled, and smiles are the foundation of beauty. also, i never really thought about it before, but there's a pretty good chance tarzan is the most well-known literary figure in the world. or at least my world. i mean who could beat him? he's about 7000 miles ahead of gatsby, holden caulfield, and hamlet. i'm sure he beats sherlock holmes. and it's amazing he was only invented 100 years ago. tarzan seems like an age-old myth. but he's not. he's just some guy this guy made up one day and wrote this book about him. good stuff, man. i say god damn. also, was king kong just a rip on tarzan? it sure seems like it from here. same symbols and themes, just everything's flipped around. i am going to be very happy to put this on the shelf next to Austerlitz!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Monk

    I probably picked this up initially because I enjoyed the Ron Ely TV series on Saturday mornings as a kid. Had no idea what I was getting into. "Tarzan" evokes many well-deserved images of cheesiness. The Burroughs series itself after the first couple of books becomes pretty bad pulp fiction, with weird tie-ins to his Center of the Earth series, Tarzan's son going through exactly the same experience as his dad, etc. But this first book is something very different. Not just one of the best pulp fic I probably picked this up initially because I enjoyed the Ron Ely TV series on Saturday mornings as a kid. Had no idea what I was getting into. "Tarzan" evokes many well-deserved images of cheesiness. The Burroughs series itself after the first couple of books becomes pretty bad pulp fiction, with weird tie-ins to his Center of the Earth series, Tarzan's son going through exactly the same experience as his dad, etc. But this first book is something very different. Not just one of the best pulp fiction books I have read, but one of the best books I have read, period. Perhaps too strong an endorsement, but several years ago I cajoled my wife, who is NOT into this genre, to read the book, and she thought it was genius. She has encouraged our kids to read it. The book is much darker than the various film and TV treatments, and considerably smarter. Burroughs creates a new world in the jungle, complete with a new language of the Great Apes (not gorillas, thank you very much, but another "higher" type of ape of Burroughs' own creation). Tarzan is a complex, interesting character. The story moves with a quick, engaging pace. Set aside what you think you know about the Ape Man and give this version a test-drive. As a stand alone novel, it is hard to beat.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Katherine

    ”’What are you, Tarzan?’ he asked aloud. ‘An ape or a man?’ First of all, I’m just going to narcissistically give myself a pat on the back for actually reading a classic all by my little self. This RARELY happens, but I’m trying to get into classics more and just read them at my own pace. Usually, this means a very slow, snail-like pace of two chapters a day, but I read this one in a period of two days, so I’m quite proud of myself actually. Anyways, onto the book. Tarzan was always one of thos ”’What are you, Tarzan?’ he asked aloud. ‘An ape or a man?’ First of all, I’m just going to narcissistically give myself a pat on the back for actually reading a classic all by my little self. This RARELY happens, but I’m trying to get into classics more and just read them at my own pace. Usually, this means a very slow, snail-like pace of two chapters a day, but I read this one in a period of two days, so I’m quite proud of myself actually. Anyways, onto the book. Tarzan was always one of those critters who I always heard about but never read. And my first introduction to him was through (what else?) the Disney movie of the same name. Altogether now, TWO WORLDS, ONE FAMILYYYYYYY!!!!! We all know the Disney movie is good, but how does the book compare? Well..... For my first classic, it wasn’t half bad. It kept me reading and genuinely interested all the way throughout. It’s rare that a classic makes me do that, but this book did. However, there were three main problems I had with this book. I Am Tarzan, the Special Snowflake I honestly think that the character of Tarzan was written as a bit of a wish fulfillment for the author. The guy is long dead, so there’s no sense asking, but as I was reading about Tarzan, it seemed like the author was trying to construct the male ideal through Tarzan. And it got ANNOYING after a while. He’s just the specialist snowflake in all of snowflakeville ”Though but ten years old he was fully as strong as the average man of thirty, and far more agile than the most practiced athlete ever becomes.” OK, that’s enough.... ”He could not swim, and the water was very deep; but still he lost no particle of that self-confidence and resourcefulness which were the badges of his superior being.” Dude, I said stop. ”’I am Tarzan,’ he cried. ‘I am a great killer. Let all respect Tarzan of the Apes. There be none among you as mighty as Tarzan. Let his enemies beware.” JESUS, MARY, AND JOSEPH, WILL YOU STAHP??? ”’Look!’ he cried, ‘Apes of Kerchak. See what Tarzan, the mighty killer, has done. Who else among you has ever killed one of Numa’s people? Tarzan is the mightiest amongst you for Tarzan is no ape. Tarzan is-‘” Ugh... You get the idea. Tarzan can do no wrong. He does so little wrong in fact that he singlehandedly has to kill pretty much every male gorilla he encounters because they all become immediately jealous of how special Tarzan is that THEY want to kill him. Hey, I Just Met You, and This Is Crazy, But You’re Mine... The instalove force is STRONG with this couple. Tarzan and Jane are probably the most famous jungle couple of all time, but my God, the instalove was strong with this one. They don’t even officially meet until about ¾ of the way through the book, but spying at Jane through the trees, it’s enough for Tarzan to fall in lurv with Jane. He even writes her this romantic note! ”I am Tarzan of the Apes. I want you. I am yours. You are mine.” Holla, holla, holla, Tarzan. You should probably actually stand in front of Jane and INTRODUCE yourself to her first before declaring things of this sort. It gets even better folks, just wait for it. They actually do meet later on after he saves her life from a jealous male gorilla (surprise, who’s trying to get back at Tarzan for being so special), and literally rips his heart out. And what does out dear Tarzan do after this particularly gruesome task ”He did what no red-blooded man needs lessons in doing. He took his woman in his arms and smothered her upturned, panting lips with kisses.” Because making out with a woman you just met after ripping the heart out of a gorilla is SO romantic, right ladies? Right? Yeah, didn’t think so.... And how does Jane react to being made out with a jungle man she’s only met two seconds ago? I was hoping it would be something like this... But alas, my hopes were dashed rather quickly... ”For a moment, Jane lay there with half-closed eyes. For a moment- the first in her young life- she knew the meaning of love.” I just lost faith in humanity there for a little bit... Call the Sexism Police!!! And you thought the Ghostbuster remake trolls were sexist. They ain’t seen nothing yet, because this book was abhorrently sexist. I’m not one to pay much attention to things like that in books (I probably should though), but this book was filled with so much sexism it could poop a Star Wars ship. Apparently, we can’t possibly think with our heads AND hearts, we gotta choose one or the other... ”Ah, John, I wish that I might be a man with a man’s philosophy, but I am a woman, seeing with my heart rather than my head, and all I can see is too horrible, too unthinkable to put into words.” We can’t cuss for fear the men shall have heart attacks. ’There could be but one suitable reply to your assertion, Mr. Clayton,’ she said icily, ‘and I regret that I am not a man, that I might make it.’”” We can’t possibly be expected to ignore that damn letter sitting on the table. Nope. We have no willpower , you see! ”Jane saw the little note and ignored it, for she was very angry and hurt and mortified, but- she was a woman, and so eventually picked it up and read it.” Even the gorillas aren’t spared.... ”Tarzan scolds them both and threatens Gunto with taste of the death-bearing slivers if he abuses Tana further, and Tana, for her part, is compelled to promise better attention to her wifely duties.” THEY’RE GORILLAS. GORILLAS DON’T HAVE WIFELY DUTIES. THEY’RE MOTHERFUCKING GORILLAS. So other than the rampant sexism, insane instalove, and Tarzan the special snowflake, how’d it go? Not as bad as I thought it was going to be, but I’ll probably just stick with the original trilogy and head back into my pillow fort to watch the Disney movie like the mature, grown-ass adult I am.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jim

    Definitely a dated classic, but wonderful for all that. I re-read it for The Pulp magazine group I'm in & am glad I did. You really want to read the next book, "The Return of Tarzan" immediately after since we're left with a cliff hanger. Burroughs hasn't aged as well as some authors, mostly because of his handling of PC subjects such as racism & sexism. It is too easy to see the outward signs of both in his books, but careful reading shows that while he may have catered to the views of t Definitely a dated classic, but wonderful for all that. I re-read it for The Pulp magazine group I'm in & am glad I did. You really want to read the next book, "The Return of Tarzan" immediately after since we're left with a cliff hanger. Burroughs hasn't aged as well as some authors, mostly because of his handling of PC subjects such as racism & sexism. It is too easy to see the outward signs of both in his books, but careful reading shows that while he may have catered to the views of the day, he didn't seem to really believe in the racism, in this book. For instance, the majority of blacks in this book are degenerate brutes. They're a tribe of barbaric cannibals who killed the 'mother' of our hero, though. They have the misfortune to have a society that Burroughs denigrates at every opportunity. Esmeralda, Jane's servant/confidant/nanny, is also an object of humor, but then so is her father & his secretary/companion. All are caricatures, as is Tarzan himself. When it comes right down to it, Burroughs makes a point that fingerprints from an ape might be simpler, but there was no difference between those of a black & a white. This admission of equality of physical evolution wasn't common in his day. He treats the white pirates the same way as the black tribesman - they're bad guys & so contemptible. The story hinges on coincidence & stupid, heroic restraint consistently & that doesn't do it any favors nor did the cliff hanger ending. Still, it was a fun read & I'd highly recommend it to anyone. Tarzan has been so warped by movies, TV & add-ons that it's nice to see the original.

  25. 3 out of 5

    [Name Redacted]

    This was one of my all-time favorite books when I was a boy. The ending was heartbreaking (so unlike every film version) but felt absolutely true to the characters.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Seth

    This quote from Rudyard Kipling sums it up nicely: Burroughs wrote Tarzan of the Apes so he could "find out how bad a book he could write and get away with it." And wow, was it bad (spoilers to follow). Like Tarzan the gorilla kid learning to read and write fluently with only the aid of a picture book. Like Tarzan the adult shooting around the jungle saving every stupid civilized person right at the exact moment when they are about to die. Like him killing a rival gorilla right when he had stole This quote from Rudyard Kipling sums it up nicely: Burroughs wrote Tarzan of the Apes so he could "find out how bad a book he could write and get away with it." And wow, was it bad (spoilers to follow). Like Tarzan the gorilla kid learning to read and write fluently with only the aid of a picture book. Like Tarzan the adult shooting around the jungle saving every stupid civilized person right at the exact moment when they are about to die. Like him killing a rival gorilla right when he had stolen Jane to make her his wife (yuck). Like him wandering from his remote African beach to civilization, and then catching the first boat to the U.S. East Coast, THEN finding that Jane had moved and following her to Wisconsin, only to save her from a forest fire right when it was about to toast her. She doesn't find it too strange that he can now speak English--he learned it and French on his trip--or that he is showing up on the day she is supposed to get married to a creep. Tarzan gets rid of the creep by threatening to tear his head off, but then another guy proposes to Jane the same day (she is in high demand), and she accepts because she is worried about being married to a man who eats without utensils at the dinner table (Tarzan). Later that SAME DAY when Tarzan himself proposes, she realizes she made a mistake, but can't go back on her word. That would be too uncivilized. Half way through the book, I had an epiphany--this book was Twilight, 100 years ago. The parallels are astounding: a hot, strange dude with dashing good looks saving his accident-prone woman over and over and over. They even hang out in a jungle (forest) clearing, though he does not sparkle. But they can't be together. Both books even start with a 'T'. However, unlike Twilight, there are 25 (!) sequels to Tarzan, which should keep the casual reader busy for the rest of his or her life.

  27. 3 out of 5

    Matt

    Rumble in the Jungle This first book (out of 25!) in the Tarzan series features ● a hero of superhuman strength and agility (who is also incredibly resourceful and intelligent) ● anthropomorphization galore (apes even have their own language and rituals) ● racist stereotypes (savage blacks; noble whites; savage whites (but no noble blacks)) ● gender stereotypes (weak women (including the classic damsel in distress); strong and brave men; weak men (but no strong woman)) ● lots of killing (people killin Rumble in the Jungle This first book (out of 25!) in the Tarzan series features ● a hero of superhuman strength and agility (who is also incredibly resourceful and intelligent) ● anthropomorphization galore (apes even have their own language and rituals) ● racist stereotypes (savage blacks; noble whites; savage whites (but no noble blacks)) ● gender stereotypes (weak women (including the classic damsel in distress); strong and brave men; weak men (but no strong woman)) ● lots of killing (people killing people (a massacre out of revenge; implied cannibalism); people killing animals; animals killing animals (but not animals killing people)) ● a sort of cliff vine hanger at the end. There's indeed a lot that can be criticized about the story, but, gosh darn it!, I love it anyway. 🙈 🙊 🙉 PS. Best read during a heat wave, for maximum effect. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Melissa Jeanette

    There are a few things I liked about this book. For one, I liked Jane. She is always cool under pressure, and very often, she’s the most logical of the characters in the story. She seems to be an antecedent to the strong female leads we see in stories today. I also liked the whole idea of the plot. It’s wildly implausible and laughably absurd at times, which is part of what made it a fun adventure tale. That being said, I only gave this two stars because of the the constant racism, sexism, and c There are a few things I liked about this book. For one, I liked Jane. She is always cool under pressure, and very often, she’s the most logical of the characters in the story. She seems to be an antecedent to the strong female leads we see in stories today. I also liked the whole idea of the plot. It’s wildly implausible and laughably absurd at times, which is part of what made it a fun adventure tale. That being said, I only gave this two stars because of the the constant racism, sexism, and colonial imperialistic attitudes. I normally give books a pass for sentiments that were considered acceptable in former time periods, but instead of these attitudes being a peripheral part of the book, they were major themes, and I felt inundated by them. The descriptions of the black villagers and Jane’s black maid were especially hard to take. I might have even liked the nature vs. nurture theme if Burroughs hadn’t been so heavy handed in equating noble bloodline with superior human beings. I almost quit several times, and my dislike of leaving books unfinished is the only thing that compelled me to continue.

  29. 3 out of 5

    Adam

    It's nice to be able to read a classic and have fun doing it. Edgar Rice Burroughs didn't bowl me over with his writing in this story but I enjoyed the imagination and the story that he brought to it. Heck, it's Tarzan so it's hard not to have a good time with this. I am looking forward to trying some of Burroughs more fantastic work like the John Carter series, especially with the new movie coming out soon as it looks great.

  30. 3 out of 5

    Susan Molloy

    A conversation with my beau about the afternoon he swam with Johnny Weissmuller lead to my research to the original Tarzan books written by Edgar Rice Burroughs. The Tarzan that Weissmuller portrayed (as most others), is not the Tarzan as created by Burroughs. The only exception on the Silver Screen is actor Herman Brix’s most faithful portrayal in the mid-1930s, and that was because Burroughs had greater control over his Tarzan character through that production company. And that’s another articl A conversation with my beau about the afternoon he swam with Johnny Weissmuller lead to my research to the original Tarzan books written by Edgar Rice Burroughs. The Tarzan that Weissmuller portrayed (as most others), is not the Tarzan as created by Burroughs. The only exception on the Silver Screen is actor Herman Brix’s most faithful portrayal in the mid-1930s, and that was because Burroughs had greater control over his Tarzan character through that production company. And that’s another article for another day and my blog. And now, back to “Tarzan of the Apes”, first published in 1918. This is the first in the series. In 1888 the Earl and Countess of Greystoke from England, were on a trip to equatorial Africa and marooned. They built a sturdy cabin, and a son, John Clayton III, was later born to them. His mother died a year later, and shortly thereafter, his father also passed away. John Clayton III was adopted by the she-ape, Kala, who gave him the name “Tarzan.” Over the next couple of decades, Tarzan lives with the apes, and learns their language and customs. He knows nothing of his human heritage or language. Enter Jane Porter from Maryland (whose father happens to own land in northern Wisconsin) and her entourage. They are marooned in the same jungle as where Tarzan lives. He is smitten with her: “Again [Tarzan] laid his hand upon her arm. Again she repulsed him. And then Tarzan of the Apes did just what his first ancestor would have done. He took his woman in his arms and carried her into the jungle.” Jungle love, indeed. She returned to Wisconsin, but not before she came to terms with her feelings for Tarzan in her little prayer to God: “"Beast?" she murmured. "Then God make me a beast; for, man or beast, I am yours.’” Meanwhile, one of the French officers, D’Arnot from the entourage, taught Tarzan French, human manners, and dress. Tarzan also learned to speak English during this time, and from now on he speaks in complete, structurally correct languages. None of that “Me, Tarzan. You, Jane” tomfoolery. Tarzan, ever so besotted with Jane, made a trip to Wisconsin, where he swung across trees, from branch to branch (no kidding). He learns he is the real Lord Greystoke through the wonders of fingerprint identification. He and Jane confess their mutual love. Tarzan wears a suit. He also can drive an automobile. Tarzan is omni-talented. Burroughs used Jane’s black maid, Esmeralda, as a comic foil and relief. It just doesn’t stop: “Esmeralda, sitting up, screamed ‘What is it now? A hipponocerous? Where is he, Miss Jane?’ . . . ‘"What's the matter with you, precious? You acts sort of disgranulated this evening. . . . What with all these ripotamuses and man eating geniuses . . Lord, it ain't no wonder we all get nervous prosecution."” Sure, it’s funny stuff, but was much fresher way back when, and is somewhat trite and worn today. Unless the reader never listened or watched “Amos and Andy”. Anyway— There are a few memorable scenes where Burroughs describes Tarzan’s uncouth manners and jungle language, then moves towards describing Tarzan’s cousin in London who is refined and well-spoken. There is a comparison and balance to their lives that mirror each other, but not quite. It’s a wonderful set-up for when their paths merge. This was, overall, not a bad book, nor a particularly good one. But it is filled with adventure and crazy scenarios, and memorable characters. Readers who only know the Tarzan from movies and television will be surprised that they really don’t know the real Tarzan. As my beau remarked to me when I gave him my verbal review of this book, “You mean Johnny Weissmuller isn’t Tarzan?” That’s right. I can hardly wait to read the next book in the series, “The Return of Tarzan”. 📌Discovered on Amazon Kindle.

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