New Tarzan Academic Study
Vernon, author of On Tarzan, began writing to us three years ago,
asking such questions as why Red Book published the death of Jane
in its first issue of the pulp magazine serialization of Tarzan the
Untamed in 1919. As most of us know, ERB’s wife, Emma, insisted that
her husband bring Jane back to life, so he does as she suggests before
sending the concluding chapters to All-Story Magazine (“Tarzan and
the Valley of Luna”) in 1920. Red Book only published the first
13 chapters of the story. Mr. Vernon has done a thorough job of research,
so we are anxious to read his book!
... "Ye Editor"
The publisher describes On Tarzan as "a
sometimes playful, sometimes serious, and always provocative consideration
of the twentieth century's best-known fictional character. It is also the
first book-length investigation of a century's worth of Tarzan's incarnations
and our varied imaginative responses to them. As Alex Vernon looks at how
and why we have accorded mythical, archetypal status to Tarzan, he takes
stock of the Tarzan books, films, and comics as well as some of the many
faux- and femme-Tarzan ripoffs, the toys and other tie-in products, the
fanzines, and the appropriation of Tarzan's image in the media. Tarzan
first appeared in 1912. To ponder his journey from jungle lord then to
Disney boy-toy now is, as Vernon writes, to touch on 'childhood, adolescence,
and adulthood, especially for the male of the species; on colonialism and
nationhood; on Hollywood and commerce, race and gender, sex and death,
Darwin and Freud. On nature—is Tarzan friend or foe? On imagination
and identity.' Vernon exposes the contradictions, ambiguities, and coincidences
of the Tarzan phenomenon. Tarzan is noble and savage, eternal adolescent
and eternal adult, hero to immigrants and orphans but also to nativist
Americans. Edgar Rice Burroughs’s Tarzan story is racist, but Tarzan himself
is racially slippery. Although Tarzan asserts his white superiority over
savage Africans, his adventures flirt with miscegenation and engage our
ongoing obsession with all things primitive. As the 2012 centennial of
Tarzan’s creation approaches, the ape-man’s hold on us can still manifest
itself in surprising ways. This entertaining study, with its rich and multilayered
associations, offers a provocative model for understanding the life cycle
of pop culture phenomena.”
"An elegantly written foray into the cultural
jungle that has grown up around Tarzan." —Matt Cohen, editor of Brother
Men: The Correspondence of Edgar Rice Burroughs and Herbert T. Weston
"On Tarzan is a wonderful read . . . a great introduction
to cultural studies, to American studies, and also to the 'American Century.'
The book hinges neatly on Vernon's continual discovery of paradox and/or
contradiction both within relevant contexts (gender, sexuality, colonialism,
etc.) and across them.” —Kevin Kopelson, author of Sedaris
University of Georgia Press (October 15, 2008),
256 pages, $22.95 paper, $59.95 hardback.
Paperback ISBN-10: 0820332054; ISBN-13: 978-0820332055.
Hardback ISBN-10: 082033183X; ISBN-13: 978-0820331836.