City of Gold
The City Of Gold itself, which is a white and gold city, evokes the image of the red and gold city of Opar and the Forbidden City of the same title as well as the White City Of The Columbian Exposition. As Burroughs was writing construction was going on for Chicago's second great exposition on the fortieth anniversary of the first. Chicago, incorporated in 1833 was about to present its Century Of Progress expo of 1933-34. So Burroughs would have had his mind redirected to the scenes of his childhood.
What I'm going to suggest may seem far fetched to many but having gained some idea of the way Burroughs' brain worked I think the suggestion plausible. Emmett Dedmon tells the following story about the Great Sandow at the '93 Expo. If anyone doesn't know Sandow by now he was the first great bodybuilder who also performed at the Expo. As Florenz Zeigfeld was representing Sandow there is no reason to think of the story as other than a publicity stunt, but I leave the judgment to you. (Emmett Dedmon, Fabulous Chicago, 1953, NY, p. 235)Amy Leslie, the drama critic for the News, described Sandow as a fascinating mixture of brute force and poetic sentimentality. On a walk through the Wooded Island...Sandow snipped a tiny cup from a stock of snapdragon. "Now, when we were little in Germany," Sandow told the astonished Miss Leslie, "we took these blossoms and pressed them so, and if the flower mouth opened, why that was a sign they were calling us home." As Amy reported it, "he touched the tinted bud and its rosy lips parted in a perfumed smile." Just as Sandow finished his sentence, a Columbian guard shouted that he had violated the rule against picking flowers. To emphasize the reprimand, the guard seized Sandow by the elbow and attempted to push him away. At this effrontery Sandow lifted the surprised guard off the ground and held him at arm's length, examining him as though he were a curious discovery. Miss Leslie, more conscious of the dignity of the law, persuaded Sandow to put the guard down, which the strong man did with an outburst of German expletives and an explanation (in English) to Miss Leslie that he did not think much of humans as guards. "I prefer nice well-bred dogs," he said.This made a great story that made the rounds of the fair. The question is did 17-year-old Burroughs hear it and did it make an impression on him? Strangely enough we can definitely answer that question in the affirmative. Nearly twenty years later Burroughs borrowed the incident for his first Tarzan novel. Not only that but he has Tarzan play the part of Sandow. So, Sandow, Tarzan: Tarzan, Phobeg.
At the end of Tarzan Of The Apes Burroughs replicates the Sandow scene on the Wooded Island when he terrorizes Robert Canler holding him at arms length with one hand. Thus in this novel Tarzan not only holds Sandow/Phobeg at arm's length but raises him above his head throwing him into the stands. Burroughs usually has his characters going their models one better as Tarzan does here.
As Sandow was strolling through the Wooded Island with Miss Leslie so Tarzan strolls through town with Gemnon. Instead of picking a flower Tarzan notices a lion eating a human while no one takes any notice. Gemnon calmly explains the quaint custom just as Sandow so pleasantly explained his snapdragon story. Dragons, lions, all the same thing. Burroughs does a neat parody and makes his joke but the original was such a great story he can't let it go.
Indeed, Tarzan's habit of picking men up and tossing them around can probably be traced back to this one arm trick of Sandow's. Like I said, you'll probably think it a stretcher but I think it both plausible and probable. Can't be proven of course, but we can and have proven that the incident left an indelible imprint on ERB's memory.
That said and moving along to 1920-24 there is also a flavor of H.G. Wells' utopian novel Men Like Gods to be found here. Once again Burroughs turns Wells' utopia around a bit but the tour of Cathne with Gemnon seems to be a parody of a similar tour in Men Like Gods. ERB was still in the thick of his literary duel with Wells at the time.
The plot involving Nemone is slightly more complex and better worked out than is usual for ERB. Tomos, Erot, M'duze and Nemone reflect other influences. The plot has the feel of French overtones. Of course we know that ERB read Eugene Sue's The Mysteries Of Paris, Dumas' the Three Musketeers and the Count Of Monte Cristo while the prisoner behind the golden door points in the direction of The Man In The Iron Mask. We also know ERB had read victor Hugo's Les Miserables.
All these may have provided some inspiration. However more directly influential I believe are two other books found in ERB's library as listed on ERBzine. They are Rafael Sabatini's Scaramouche and Stanley J. Weyman's Under The Red Robe. Never heard of Stan Weyman? Me neither but, believe it or not, there is a Stanley J. Weyman Society on the internet that you may join.
Both books were hugely influential in Hollywood, each being filmed several times with at least one version getting very good reviews. Let's start with Sabatini. While Weyman, one would believe was all but forgotten, Sabatini enjoyed an excellent reputation down to at least my graduation from high school. Probably not so much lately although my copy of Scaramouche is the Common Reader edition published in 1999 so there must be fans out there.
Sabatini was Burroughs' exact contemporary - 1875-1950. Like Burroughs he had to defend himself against charges of plagiarism. His stuff all reads like you've read it somewhere before, so in Scaramouche he presents an extended defense of himself.
Nevertheless he writes in a simple direct style that is 'easy to understand' but cleverly presented. Sabatini was obviously one of the first to understand that stories written like movie scenarios had a better chance of selling to the movies.
Like Burroughs he has his point of view which is admirably presented. Also like Burroughs he was intellectualy unsympathetic to Communism. His reaction was less emotional than ERB. Although Scaramouche is about the opening years of the French Revolution Sabatini gives it only a slanting attention as he concentrates on people who are caught up in the flood much against their wishes. In that sense there is very little politics in the novel. The participants are merely caught up in the political events.
Scaramouche is a country lawyer unsympathetic to revolutionary ideology but he becomes a revolutionary fugitive when his Red friend is murdered by a reactinary nobleman. The story is well developed and an exciting one with a lot of swordplay. In fact Scaramouche becomes the fastest swordsman of France. You can see what drew ERB's attention on that level.
Of more importance for ERB and an undeveloped subplot of City Of Gold is Scaramouche's ancestry. Bearing in mind that ERB became a voluntary orphan when he was sent to the MMA I think Burroughs found the mystery of Scaramouche's ancestry compelling. Scaramouche is named after the clown of the Italian Comedia Del Arte which also nests neatly with the clown aspect of ERB's psychology.
It is thought that Scaramouche was the illegitimate son of a village nobleman. The fact that the boy was well looked after by this man seemed proof. In fact, as we learn later in the book Scaramouche is the bastard son of his foster father's sister, the noblewoman, Madame de Plougastel. She bore Scaramouche then trusted him to her brother. Thus on one side Scaramouche was of noble birth. An orphan or pretended orphan's dream. His father remains a mystery for the moment.
Scaramouches's friend had been murdered by the reactionary nobleman Le Tour D'Azyr. Scaramouche had sworn eternal enmity to him. At a crucial moment in the story Scaramouche learns that this same La Tour d'Azyr is his father. I should have seen it coming from a long way off but I didn't. It is possible that ERB was surprised too. Sabatini handles it well. Thus Scaramouche the illegitimate child is a nobleman by birth on both sides but the Revolution invalidates this advantage.
It would have been normal for Burroughs to have concocted a fantasy in which his parents now dead to him were not his real parents but some mysterious others. In fact he did concoct two fantasies: the one of John Carter who has been alive forever but can remember no parents and Tarzan whose parents were killed with the result that he was raised by ape foster parents. Not exactly noble people in the ordinary sense but his deceased parents were. One imagines the impact this really good story had on him although he first read it in the early twenties.
In any event he attempts to weave in a subplot providing mysterious parentage for Nemone and her brother Alextar. The subplot isn't very well developed. On the one hand we are led to suspect that Nemone was the child of the old king and a Black M'duze who in her youth was tall and beautiful while on the other hand it is insinuated that Nemone is the child of Tomos and M'duze. The latter through her machinations has placed Nemone on the throne and imprisoned Alextar. So Burroughs throws in some miscegenation which has always been the most exciting literary topic of America, then and now.
Not convincingly done by ERB he had nevertheless carried the story of Scaramouche around in his head for a decade waiting for an opportunity to employ it.
Another book in ERB's library which is influential here is Stanley J. Weyman's Under The Red Robe. Like Scaramouche this story was very well thought of in Hollywood being filmed more than once. It seems a fact that ERB saw the 1923 silent film. He was so impressed that he went out and bought the 1923 Grosset and Dunlap Photoplay Edition. I obtained an identical copy so as to have read the same text and viewed the same plates.
I think I'll have to include a few more comments about Sabatini and Burroughs' experience at the MMA to bring this all together. It would seem that Sabatini considered himself a psychological orphan also. The man was born in Italy to an Italian father and an English mother. As they were traveling actors, not unlike what Scaramouche becomes at one point in his story, they sent young Rafael back to England to live with relatives. As Sabatini's stories often concern orphans it follows that his reaction to being put away from his parents was that he considered himself an orphan.
Burroughs was also put away by his father. Three times. He was sent to Idaho, Massachusetts and Michigan. Thus he too was put away by his parents. As his reaction was to play the clown developing an off beat sense of humor we know that he reacted negatively to all this shuffling about. His exile to the Michigan Military Academy was the straw that broke the camel's back. He rebelled, running away. the incident is treated rather uncomprehendingly by Porges in his biography which of course is my authority.
From ERB's point of view the MMA was an elite reformatory where bad rich boys were off-loaded by their parents. Thus the boy was declassed and slightly criminalized in his own mind. As he treated his own sons and the Gilbert boy the same way it is easy to see how seriously he was affected by the experience. ERB was cast adrift with no direction home which happened so many times to characters in his stories, most notably in the original short version of The Lad And The Lion. ERBzine should publish the magazine version of this novel.
Having run away from the MMA he was promptly escorted back by his father becoming in his own mind an orphan as in Tarzan's case and a motherless child as in John Carter's. Like the race horse Stewball of musical fame, Carter just blew down in a storm. Another standard orphan's solution to being forced outside society.
Stanley J. Weyman's (1855-1929) novel also meshes with this persona. As a result of his mistreatment Burroughs developed a very negative self-conception. He became, in fact, a ne'er-do-well. Much to his father's satisfaction I might add. This self-conception would explain his eccentric behavior from the time he left the MMA in 1896 through 1903 if not for the rest of his life. The man was conflicted. On the one hand he knew he was very capable and on the other he felt worthless so he sought failure.
A fact easily glided over is his quarterbacking and captaincy of the MMA football team. One's team members don't elect one captain unless they have confidence in you. One also cannot be quarterback without their confidence while quarterbacking requires organizational and executive abilities. In fact the Burroughs-led team defeated all comers in their class while yet high schoolers they played the varsity teams of the University of Michigan and Notre Dame. The Burroughs led MMA fought the U of M to a tie.
As a result he was offered a football scholarship to the University. He might well have become a football hero having an entirely different kind of life. ERB inexplicably declined the U of M offer. He offered some lame excuse that both his brothers had attended Yale and it was Yale or nothing for him. Possible but hardly probable. Most likely he felt comfortable leading the juvenile delinquents of MMA while he didn't feel respectable enough to lead the Wolverines.
Leaving for the Army as an enlisted man instead he and a few other ne'er-do-wells formed a group calling themselves The Might Have Seen Better Days Club. You don't have to be a Freudian to figure that one out. So I think his history in these years can be explained by his negative orphan self-image.
There is one very crucial event, the shame of which never left him, that figures into the Nemone story. That was when in Idaho he gambled away his and Emma's last forty dollars. Certainly this was a turning point in his life.
In Weyman's Under The Red Robe his hero is a ne-er-do-well who has exhausted all his chances but one. Named de Berrault the story opens when he is accused of using marked cards in a French game of the early seventeenth century. "Marked Cards!" are the opening words of Weyman's novel.
Indeed it would seem certain that Burroughs felt he had been cheated of his forty dollars. In my experience of card games I'm certain he was. De Berrault insists he didn't use marked cards but that he used the mirror behind the player. Perhaps Burroughs said to himself when reading this: Yeah. That must have been it. At any rate thirty years later the incident was green in his mind. And why not?
While the City Of Gold is critical of Nemone/Emma ERB could never forget that he had done Emma wrong in gambling away those forty dollars. Perhaps as much as anything his shame required a separation. Perhaps he thought Emma was too good for a ne'er-do-well like him.
And then there is this very interesting passage in Under The Red Robe, p. 208:I stood a moment speechless and disordered; stunned by her words, by my thoughts- so I have seen a man stand when he has lost all, his last at the table. Then I turned to her; and for an instant I thought that my tale was told already. I thought she had pierced my disguise, for her face was aghast, stricken with sudden fear. Then I saw that she was not looking at me but beyond me, and I turned quickly and saw a servant hurrying from the house to us.Just as I admired ERB's version of the device of looking past the intermediate person so he admired Weyman's.
The lines 'I stood there speechless and disordered, stunned by her words, by my thoughts - when I have seen a man stand when he has lost his all, his last, at the table...' must have resonated with ERB from the time he had experienced the same emotion in 1903 as Emma waited upstairs.
It becomes seen how ERB wove his various influences into his writing. At this point I would like to bring up another very long novel that formed a backdrop to ERB's writing in general. That novel is the ten volume, five thousand page work of George W.M. Reynolds entitled The Mysteries Of London or alternatively The Mysteries Of The Court Of London. Modeled after the Mysteries Of Paris Reynolds lacks the lunacy of Eugene Sue but maintains a fantastic level of excitement all the way through. 'The Master Of Adventure' may very well have learned his own mastery from the pages of Reynolds.
The further one gets into ERB's library the more clear things become but to really understand the man I highly recommend the reading of the Mysteries of Paris and London.
Another almost irrelevant theme ERB takes up in this novel is the theme of the Grand Hunt or the Man Hunt. The idea is in no way original to ERB; he seems to be in reaction to it, repelled by it. I can't pretend to trace the story back to its origins but the theme has been used repeatedly in the movies and on television. The story is attributed to Richard Edward Connell who is credited with writing the original short story in 1924 for which he received the O. Henry Prize for that year, entitled The Most Dangerous Game. Perhaps the story was original with him but it doesn't seem likely.
The story was made into a movie starring Joel McCrea in 1932. Whether this movie was released early enough in the year to influence City Of Gold I don't know, or perhaps Burroughs saw an advance screening. At any rate ERB gives the idea an extended treatment and prominent place in his novel, actually using it twice.
If Connell did indeed originate the story in 1924 which seems unlikely then Burroughs treatment comes as close to plagiarism or, perhaps, appropriation, as any story could. That he is in reaction to the story condemning its implications is obvious.
In his version Tarzan defeats the aims of the hunters by carrying their intended victim to safety while adding the fillup that he too was an intended victim. At the very least the Man Hunt is one of the least disguised influences in the corpus. Extraordinary in that no ruckus was raised by his use of the story. Either ERB was not taken seriously or he led a charmed life.
c. Should I Stay Or Should I Go?
The crux of the story is Tarzan's relationship with Nemone or, in other words, ERB's relationship with Emma. If the oeuvre is a guide ERB had already decided to throw his lot with Florence. That seems clear from Tarzan And The Leopard Men. City Of Gold then is mere procrastination. One imagines that Florence was pestering him to break the news to Emma. He would only muster the courage to do this at the end of 1933. For now he seems torn and indecisive.
The appearance is that Tarzan and Nemone would have gotten together but for two things. The first was M'duze who seemed to exert some sort of hypnotic control over Nemone and the other was her pet lion, Belthar.
M'duze was determined to maintain control over Nemone while Tarzan just left a bad taste in Belthar's mouth. It were well that Tarzan kept his distance.
In point fact Tarzan was a prisoner on parole. He could easily have escaped or walked away but for two things: one was his fascination with Nemone and the other was that he was bound by oath to Gemnon to not escape. In those days people had a sense of honor unlike today.
ERB has constructed an interesting psychological situation in the female image of Nemone. ERB has been really successful in portraying the Xy male construction of the Anima and Animus throughout the corpus but this is his first attempt as far as I know of constructing the XX of the female.
There is always the question of whether he knew what he was doing. This is a difficult question to answer but the evidence in the writing seems to imply he did. The situation seems too perfect to be accidental. As I've noted elsewhere when the chromosomal division took place and sexual identities came into existence of the four possibilities, XXX and y, the male received the X and y with the y making him male. You can't be male without the y, you can't be female with it. Boys are boys and girls are girls. Now, this is not an 'ow wow, isn't that interesting' type of fact; the fact has consequences.
For instance the whole burden of child bearing became the female's portion. I am not interested in all the different possiblities of how young are fertilized, incubated and born, yes, there are myriad possiblities but none of them apply to human beings but this one. The method for human beings is impregnation in the womb, a nine month incubation period and then birth followed by a very long period of helpless development outside the womb.
These simple facts determined the post partum relationship of the role of the male and female. When paternity was unknown the result was close knit communities held together by the offspring. It was a question of interdependence whether Freud thought so or not.
Physiologically the male required the female for sexual release while the female was attracted to the male, the penis envy for which Freud was castigated for uttering. He wasn't always right, but sometimes.
While the female is XX chromosomally still one X is received from the mother which is of the passive ovum; the other X is received from the father's mother in the form of an active sperm X. The two Xes while both X are not identical. If both were passive the female would be virtually immobile.
Thus ERB posits the ovate X as M'duze who dominates Nemone's Anima, which would be correct, while the male lion Belthar provides the activity of the X of the Animus. Whether Burroughs understood or not, it works out. Could be accidental, I suppose.
Lacking the y chromosome which she formerly enjoyed during the undivided period the female has an uncontrollable longing for the male or penis. Thus Nemone and her desire for Tarzan. Now, this is classic, no matter how indifferent or rude Tarzan is to her Nemone continues to have an intense longing, or love, for the Big Guy.
This may or may not reflect Emma's attitude toward Burroughs but Tarzan's attitude toward Nemone certainly reflects Burroughs attitude toward Emma. In point of fact, Emma's fidelity is nothing short of marvelous.
Also in Weyman's Under The Red Robe, which is an influence on this novel, a subplot concerns the relations between a Mademoiselle de Cocheforet and the protagonist, de Berrault. The lady distrusts the gentleman, as well she might as Cardinal Richelieu has suborned de Berrault to surreptitiously arrest her brother as a Huguenot. De Berrault conceals his intentions but is found out when he arrests Mademoiselle's brother. Construing the arrest as a betrayal of her trust, which it wasn't, de Berrault forfeits the lady's trust.
Thus this novel combines the fateful card game with the forfeiture of Emma's trust. Having lost her trust ERB was never able to gain it back even though Emma continued with him loving, one supposes, the man despite his faults. Quite possibly the situation between Tarzan and Nemone portrays the actual relationship between ERB and Emma in which as they were about to unite the past comes between them.
Thus in Tarzan and Nemone's first encounter Tarzan has fallen under Nemone's spell being about to succumb when M'duze appears as though from the past, taps the floor with her staff breaking the spell while ordering Nemone from the room. Belthar rears up on his chains roaring and clawing the air at Tarzan.
Thus both the Anima as represented by M'duze and the animus as represented by Belthar interfere in Nemone's attempt to realize her desire for Tarzan.
The scene is repeated and reversed later in the novel as Nemone is about to succumb to Tarzan's spell M'duze appears once again to disrupt the relationship. Thus as in real life neither Burroughs nor Emma could get past that fatal card game.
In the end then Tarzan presumes on Nemone's desire far too much. She turns on him in the fury we all saw coming making him the object of the Grand Hunt. One sees the influence of The Most Dangerous Game in ERB's mind. He is given a head start and then Belthar is released to pursue him. Thus he is about to be destroyed by Nemone's Animus. ERB probably felt this way about Emma in real life.
We have never seen the resourceful ape-man so defenceless and helpless before but now without this father's knife to murder virtually defenseless lions Tarzan calmly awaits death after a game attempt to outrun Belthar. He should have played dead; we all know that story by now.
Not to worry. All during the novel a mysterious lion has been tracking the Big Bwana appearing at intervals in the story. Perhaps some people were mystified as to who this lion was but not this writer, no sirree, Bob. I knew it Jad-Bal-Ja all along. I was just surprised the Golden Lion didn't bring Nkima with him.
Now just as Belthar rears to cut the Big Guy down to size Jad-Bal-Ja flashes past Tarzan to destroy Nemone's lion. As ERB says, Jad-Bal-Ja won because he was bigger. Does that mean that ERB's ego was bigger than Emma's?
The oeuvre needs a complete analyis of Tarzan and his relationship to animals for on one hand he is a beast. The lion situation is complicated by the fact that originally there were to have been both lions and tigers in the series. That would have changed the complexion of the stories.
However after the magazine publication of Tarzan Of The Apes the readers created an uproar about the fact that there were no tigers in geographical Africa so Burroughs was forced to change tigers to lions for book publication. I am unaware whether changes were made to the newspaper serializations of the story.
The appearance is that Burroughs intended tigers to be villainous while lions were intended to be noble, as witness Jad-Bal-Ja. In that situation most, if not all, the lions Tarzan killed would have been tigers. Thus while as David Adams points out Tarzan kills a lion to put a seal on a sexual situation the very likely killing would have been a tiger.
So the story gets skewed. Just as Burroughs has insisted that Tarzan killed deer while there are no deer in Africa so his readers forced him to change Bara the deer to Bara the antelope by Tarzan The Invincible.
This ending returns us again to the problem of lions in Burroughs. As David Adams points out Tarzan kills a lion to put a seal on a sexual situation. In this instance Tarzan is helpless but Jad-Bal-Ja his Anima substitute comes to his rescue which is the same as Tarzan killing Belthar. Thus the killing of Belthar seals off Tarzan's relationship to Nemone and ERB's to Emma.
I'm sure David Adams would take exception with me but I see Jad-Bal-Ja as an Anima figure of Tarzan/Burroughs while I see Belthar as the Animus figure of Emma/Nemone. I know both lions are males but the lion male or female is associated with the goddess or Anima in Greek mythology. A case can be made that the six gods and six goddesses are generalized archetypes of the character types.
Now, Jad-Bal-Ja came into the oeuvre at a critical time in the lives of ERB and Emma and at a critical juncture. It is known that ERB walked out on Emma several times in the course of their marriage. These instances are not well documented at this time. It would appear that a very serious conflict in the marriage began at the time of Tarzan The Untamed through the period leading up to the writing of Tarzan And The Golden Lion.
As Golden Lion opens Tarzan, Jane and Jack are returning from Pal-Ul-Don from whence Tarzan has retrieved Jane.
As I read the story there seems to be a certain coolness and distance between Tarzan and Jane on Tarzan's part. At this point the lion cub who will become Jad-Bal-Ja makes his appearance standing in the middle of the trail. David's sexual seal of the killed lion would be the cub's mother who was accidentally killed by a Native who stumbled on the lioness and cub. As a defense mechanism against Emma/Jane Tarzan/Burroughs adopts the cub as an Anima surrogate.
In an email to me of 1/23/07 David makes these comments:Through the first nine Tarzan novels the hero gradually establishes the lion symbol as his own until in Tarzan And The Golden Lion he is completely aligned with his source of power in the merging of lion symbol and self-Jad-Bal-Ja. Even though Jad is described as a glorified dog, this is only his personal devotion to the ape-man being explained in easy terms. Tarzan himself always respects Jad, saying "A lion is always a lion." He is far from the domesticated ones in Cathne in purpose and spirit.My thinking is that David is right in that the lion symbol and self are united but not within the ego but separately as the Anima and Animus. So what we have Anima/Jad-Bal-Ja and Animus/Tarzan.
There wouldn't be too much of a conflict between the female Anima and Male Anima figure as ERB's Anima was subsumed by the male fencing master Jules de Vac of The Outlaw Of Torn. De Vac killed ERB/Norman's Anima figure Maud and then assuming female attire lived with Norman in the attic of a house over the Thames for a fairly long period of time.
Thus the anomaly of a male lion Anima is easily explained. As a symbol of the goddess Jad-Bal-Ja is, as it were, clothed in female attire as was De Vac. Further Jad-Bal-Ja is always indifferent to Jane/Emma. Jane has no real relationship with the Golden Lion.
David once again:The mad queen of Cathne, Nemone, is an example of negative Anima, a feminine power corrupt and dangerous. Her lion Belthar is the dark shadow opposite of Tarzan and Jad who are symbols of power and light and sun. Her lion is treated as a dark god and is linked to Nemone's own dark soul. When Jad kills Belthar, Nemone kills herself because the source of her power is gone. It is an archetypal case of light overcoming darkness. The masculine power of light overcoming a dark feminine anima.In the general sense I have no problem with David's analysis although I would argue that Belthar is Nemone's Animus. Nemone is playing the part of Circe in the myth of Odysseus while that story is the triumph of the male ego in freeing itself from matriarchal sexual subjection. This whole series of novels is related to the Odyssey. So that, in that sense Tarzan is imprisoned by the charms of Nemone/Circe. He is being emasculated, deprived of his will, by the feminine will by one might say, the maneater, Nemone.
In fact Nemone as ruler of Cathne has emasculated the leonine male power. As David Adams sagely observes:In Cathne lions are employed as domesticated animals for the purpose of pulling chariots, hunting and racing. This is a reduction of the power of the lion symbol to the mundane, even to the point of being ridiculous. It is a degradation and humiliation of ERB's ultimate symbol of power and virility.Yes. and that would be in keeping with the story of Circe who turned Odysseus's' crew into swine and would have Odysseus except that he had a pocketful of Moly, a charm to set Circe at naught. Likewise the queen of the City of Gold of the Legends Of Charlemagne who enchanted the paladins of that king, except for one who then freed the others.
So, Nemone had Tarzan at her mercy except for the strange situation of the lion of ERB's Anima defeating the lion of Nemone's Animus.
Once this was done the charm of Nemone/Circe/Queen of the City Of Gold was destroyed with the City Of Gold being restored to male supremacy and Alextar restored to the throne. Things were then returned to their rightful order as in the domains of Circe and the Queen. We are led to believe that a Utopian age begins. This may be slap at Wells and his Men Like Gods.
This review completes this very important series of five novels. Obviously I consider the key novels to be Tarzan The Invincible, Tarzan And The Leopard Men and Tarzan And The Lion Man. Those novels are more directly concerned with ERB's political and religious opinions. A trilogy concerning ERB's sexual problems could be made up of Triumphant, Leopard Men and City Of Gold bracketed by Invincible and Lion Man but Triumphant and City Of Gold appear to me to be in a more minor key than the other three.
Nevertheless, these five novels usually treated as the least significant of the series are the most crucial to the understanding of Burroughs while being very good stories in themselves.
Excluding Tarzan And the Foreign Legion that is outside Burroughs psychological development, although a good story, ERB p[published only another three Tarzan novels in his lifetime and they were all decidedly inferior to that which preceded them, still good stories, but ERB's concentration had been broken. Tarzan's Quest is the best of the last three but just as Lion Man ends with Burroughs' dreams going up in flames so does Quest. Perhaps eccentric best describes Tarzan And The Forbidden City. The title says it all. He was never to find salvation; the doors of the Sacred City remained closed to him. Tarzan The Magnificent while having exciting episodes just doesn't come together.
Magnificent, less Foreign Legion, concluded the oeuvre until Castaways and Madman were discovered twenty years later, however, Burroughs himself chose not to publish those books so they must be an addendum to the series. The two posthumous novels complete ERB's psychological development being important in that respect for the student.
Further his psychological development was brought to a head during the writing of these five novels. In this tremendous struggle between ERB, the Communists and the Jews ERB was routed by the time he wrote Tarzan And The Lion Man. He didn't think his tactics and strategy through to the end.
Thus ERB's whole life was a prelude to the Gotterdamerung that ended as Tarzan Fled the City Of God.
ERB's whole life is a magnificent adventure that in itself would make a tremendous movie with the right and unfettered treatment. It could be the grandest of grand opera worthy of Mozart. I'd like to see it; even better I'd like to write it.
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