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Volume 1501
Adapted from
Tarzan Alive
A Definitive Biography of Lord Greystoke
by Philip Jose Farmer

Jean-Paul Goude Art
Bison Press Edition 2006
Other Editions
Doubleday & Company Inc., HC 1st - 1972 - Milton Glaser art
1972 Doubleday 1st Printing

1973 & 1976 Popular Library

1974 Panther 1st British Printing

1981 Playboy Press Reprint

Playboy Press 1981 Cover Art By Jorge Longarón

Mention the name of Tarzan and most people think of the brawny hero of a series of B-movies made in the '30s and '40s. Elmo Lincoln was the first actor to portray the so-called "Ape Man" way back in 1918, a mere five years after the publication of the first of Edgar Rice Burroughs' books! Lincoln was followed by a succession of actors, including Johnny Weissmuller, Buster Crabbe and Lex Barker. Each of these films showed a well-built man in a loincloth, honorable and heroic, more comfortable in the jungle than in society. His image was updated, and more finely drawn in later films and television programmes. Ron Ely's TV Tarzan from 1966-67 certainly modernized him, but kept the beefcake image. 1984's Greystoke was an attempt to be faithful to Burroughs' books, but ultimately failed because the historical image created by the earlier films was stronger than the impression made by the source material.

If you have read any of the twenty-four books in the Tarzan series, you know that Lord Greystoke was fluent in several languages: French, English and the language of his simian family. He spent almost equal time (after being "rescued" from the jungle) in a tuxedo as he did in the jungle. And he never swung through the trees on vines!

Well, you do not have to read the two dozen Burroughs classics, although I recommend that you do (they are pure entertainment); instead you can read Philip Jose Farmer's biography of Tarzan, called Tarzan Alive. Farmer describes Lord Greystoke in his original foreword as "a living person." This is a biography, not of the author of the books, but of the main character. Farmer condenses and organizes the major events of Tarzan's life into chronological order, and makes the same kind of judgments as any biographer might. This new edition also includes an interview with Lord Greystoke, from a meeting "in a motel near Chicago" as well as "Extracts from the Memoirs of 'Lord Greystoke'," which Farmer published in 1974.

Nothing can really replace a leisurely reading of the original books. You must read at least the first three (Tarzan of the Apes, The Return of Tarzan, The Beasts of Tarzan) to get the basic story and appreciate the levels of cultural and philosophical questions which Burroughs dealt with. It's a lesson in cultural bias from the Victorian Age to today! Farmer touches on these points, but it's more enlightening to read them in the original.

Farmer does a fine job of consolidating all the material. He leaves the reader with a three dimensional portrait of the main characters, their foibles, and motivations. Of course most of his time is spent on the "Ape Man" himself, but Tarzan is the most interesting character anyway. Farmer traces his ancestors and makes great characters of fiction into flesh and blood relatives of the Greystoke line. Included are literary icons like Sherlock Holmes, Doc Savage, the Scarlet Pimpernel and Nero Wolfe. What a bloodline it was indeed!

For an introduction to one of the most resilient heroes in literature, Tarzan Alive is a remarkable offering. Disney is readying an all-singing, all-swinging Tarzan for Broadway right now. The time is right for an all out revival, and Farmer's book is a fine place to start. But please don't finish here. Go on to read the originals, put your modern political correctness on hold, and spend some time with the untamed, terrible ape man himself -- Tarzan!

Review Blurbs:

The old vine swinger is one of a handful of fictional characters to rank a biography. Such books give the authors the opportunity to expound on the characters, providing background, side stories, and updates not offered by their creator. Farmer’s 1972 volume borrows from Edgar Rice Burroughs but also adds to the legend by tracing Tarzan’s lineage . . . and extends his exploits beyond the African jungle as an RAF pilot in World War II. Great fun.”

—Library Journal, Classic Returns

“Farmer goes one step further than mere literary fun. He takes engaging advantage of the reader’s inherent susceptibility to myth.”
—Publishers Weekly

“Tarzan is seen as a 20th-century heroic figure having much in common with the mythical demigods of an earlier day, and this book will not fail to please and enthrall his many followers.”
—Library Journal

“The most innovative part of the book [is] Tarzan’s family tree linking him to every great hero in pulp literature. . . . Farmer is less well known today than he was forty years ago. Nevertheless, Alive ages well and gives the reader the sourcebook for so many writers today.”
—American Book Review

"Farmer does a fine job of consolidating all the material. He leaves the reader with a three dimensional portrait of the main characters, their foibles, and motivations. . . . For an introduction to one of the most resilient heroes in literature, Tarzan Alive is a remarkable offering."
—Green Man Review

“This easily readable scholarly tome filled me with nostalgia for the first time I visited Africa with Tarzan many years ago and reminded me that, in the books, at least, Tarzan still lives.”
—Mark Graham, Rocky Mountain News (Denver, CO)

Cover Blurg from the Popular Library, NY, edition:
Through the brilliant, exhaustive research pf Philip José Farmer, the true, astonishing saga of Lord Greystoke — better known as Tarzan of the Apes — can at last be told. It's all here, the fact meticulously separated from the fiction:

Tarzan's imperiled birth on the shores of Africa . . . an intimate account of his upbringing by Kala (proven more hominoid than gorilloid) . . . his lifelong love for Jane (38-19-36) . . . the adventures in the golden city of Opar . . . travels to England, Paris, and Hollywood . . . the previously unknown years as an R.A.F. pilot . . . ancestry to Sherlock Holmes, Nero Wolfe, "Doc Savage," and Bulldog Drummond . . . .

A feast of knowledge for Tarzan freaks, adventure lovers, and truth seekers everywhere.

Through the tales of Edgar Rice Burroughs, generations of readers have thrilled to the adventures of Lord Greystoke (aka John Clayton, but better known as Tarzan of the Apes). In this biography Philip Jose Farmer pieces together the life of this fantastic man, correcting Burroughs's errors and deliberate deceptions and tracing Tarzan's family tree back to other extraordinary figures, including Sherlock and Mycroft Holmes, the Scarlet Pimpernel, Doc Savage, Nero Wolfe, and Bulldog Drummond.

Tarzan Alive offers the first chronological account of Tarzan's life, narrated in careful detail garnered from Burroughs's stories and other sources. From the ill-fated voyage that led to Greystoke's birth on the isolated African coast to his final adventures as a group captain in the RAF during World War II, Farmer constructs a comprehensive and authoritative account. Farmer's assertion that Tarzan was a real person has led him to craft a biography as well researched and compelling as that of any character from conventional history.

Philip Jose Farmer has had a long and illustrious career in scinece fiction, winning three Hugo awards, the World Fantasy Lifetime Achievement award, and the Nebula Grand Master award.

This Lord Greystoke Chronology has been adapted from Farmer's "Addendum 5."

ONE: Out to Sea I-1 (Tarzan of the Apes)

1888, May 11 or 23 John Clayton and his pregnant wife, Alice, sail from Dover for Freetown. 

TWO: The Savage Home  I-2 (Tarzan of the Apes)

1888, June  The Claytons sail on the Fuwalda for an Oil Rivers port. 
1888, late June The Claytons are stranded in the jungle of French Equatorial Africa (Gabon) by the mutineers. 
THREE: Life and Death  (Tarzan of the Apes:  I-3)
1888, Nov. 21, 
a Wednesday
 A "great ape" attacks the Claytons. 
1888, Nov. 22, 
a Thursday
John Clayton III, the future "Lord Greystoke," is born a few minutes after midnight.
1889, May 22,
a Wednesday
The infant John accidentally puts his inky fingers on a page of his father's diary.
1889, Nov. 22, 
a Friday
Alice Clayton dies. Kerchak kills John Clayton II. Kala adopts the human infant and names him Tarzan (White Skin). 
FOUR: The Apes   (Tarzan of the Apes: I-4 through I-5)
1890, Jan. 1, 
a Wednesday
Jane Porter born in Baltimore, Maryland. 
1898, Early Nov. Nine-year-old Tarzan escapes from Sabor by learning to swim.
1898, Late Nov. Ten-year-old Tarzan first enters his parents' cabin; he kills a mad gorilla with his father's hunting knife
FIVE: The Difference   (Tarzan of the Apes  I-6, I-7)
1898, Dec. Tarzan begins to teach himself to read and write English
1901, Nov. The thirteen-year-old Tarzan kills his foster father, Tublat, with his father's knife during a Dum-Dum. He begins his lifelong friendship with Tantor. 
SIX: Loss and Revenge (Tarzan of the Apes I-8 through I-10)
1906, Nov. The eighteen-year-old Tarzan can read and understand almost all the books in his father's library. Mbonga's people establish a village near the territory of Kerchak's tribe.
1906, Dec. Kulonga, Mbonga's son, kills Kala. Tarzan kills Kulonga. 
 SEVEN: Growing Up (Tarzan of the Apes Part of I-11 ~ Jungle Tales of Tarzan VI-2 through VI-4)
1907, Jan. Tarzan finds the diary, photograph, and locket. 
1907, Feb. Tarzan falls in love with Teeka, a female great ape, and loses her to Taug.
1907, March  Tarzan is captured by Mbonga's warriors but is rescued by Tantor. 
1907, Nov. Teeka bears a son. Tarzan kills a nameless bull managani.
1907, Dec. Tarzan puzzles out the meaning of the word God in his father's books. He invents an ingenious method for pronouncing the letters of the alphabet. 
EIGHT: The Outsider: Dreamer and Joker (Jungle Tales of Tarzan VI-5 through VI-12)
1908, March Tarzan kidnaps a little black boy, Tibo, to raise as his own but compassionately returns him to this mother.
1908, April The horrible, but poetically just, end of Bukawai, the witch doctor.
1908, June One of Tarzan's many trickster jokes backfires. He finds out that Manu, his monkey friend, has courage and is mangani friends have learned the value of cooperation.
1908, July Tarzan eats rotten elephant meat and has a terrible nightmare. He kills his second gorilla, unsure that he is not still dreaming. Teeka throws Tarzan's father's cartridges against a rock, and the explosions save Tarzan's life. Babba Kega, w ith doctor, is hoisted by his own petard (with Tarzan's help). 
1908, Aug. "A Jungle Joke" episode. (Tarzan Rescues the Moon, being entirely fictional, is not included in the chronology.) 
NINE: Kingship and Love  (Tarzan of the Apes I-11  through I-20)
1908, Aug.  Tarzan kills Kerchak and becomes "king."
1909, Late Jan Tarzan abdicates the "kingship" and invents the full-Nelson. 
1909, Feb. 2, 
a Tuesday
Tarzan sees his first whites. He saves William Clayton from the mutineer Snipes, Sheeta, and Sabor. Using a full-Nelson, he breaks the neck of Sabor as she tries to get into the cabin after Jane. 
1909, Feb. 3, 
a Wednesday
Tarzan digs up the treasure buried by the mutineers and reburies it. He steals Jane's letter to Hazel Strong. 
1909, March 5, 
a Friday
Terkoz abducts Jane, and Tarzan kills him. The "jungle idyll" episode. 
TEN: Renunciation  (Tarzan of the Apes I-21 and through I-28)
1909, March 6, 
a Saturday
A French cruiser appears. Tarzan returns Jane to the cabin. Lieutenant d'Arnot is rescued by Tarzan
1909, March 7,
a Sunday
The French sailors, thinking d'Arnot has been eaten by Mbonga's people, give no quarter to the adult males. Tarzan and d'Arnot communicate in written English. 
1909, March 14, 
a Sunday
The Porter party leaves on the cruiser. Tarzan and d'Arnot arrive too late.
1909, April 16 to May 15 The two, traveling north, reach the village and the mission (Lambaréné). 
 1909, June 26, a Saturday The two arrive at the mouth of the Ogowe (Ogooué) River. 
1909, July 26, a Monday The two embark for Lyons, France.
1909, Early Aug Tarzan's fingerprints are taken in Paris, and he leaves for America 
1909, Middle Aug. The forest fire. Telegram from d'Arnot:" Fingerprints prove you Greystoke." Tarzan's self-sacrifice. 
1909, Late Aug. Tarzan travels from Wisconsin to New York City, sightsees. 
1909, Nov. 7, a Sunday Tarzan sails on La Provence for France. 
ELEVEN: From Ape to Savage (The Return of Tarzan  II-1 and through II-15)
1910, Jan.   Rokoff's frameup and the duel with Count de Coude.
1910, Feb. to Apr The Gernois case. 
1910, late April Tarzan ordered to Cape town, meets Hazel Strong on the steamer. They pass the Tennington party, going the other way.
1910, early May Rokoff and Paulvitch throw Tarzan overboard. He discovers the Waziri. 
1910, late May The yacht, the Lady Alice, sinks. Jane is in a boat with Rokoff, the seventh duke, and three sailors. 
TWELVE: The Chief, the She, the City of Gold (The Return of Tarzan II-16  through II-23)
1910, early June  Tarzan and the Waziri defeat the Arab slavers. Jane is dying in a lifeboat. 
1910, early June 
to early July
The lifeboat lands five miles south of the old cabin. Tarzan and the Waziri travel to the lost city of Opar. 
THIRTEEN: Journey's End (The Return of Tarzan II-23 and through II-26)
1910, early July 
to early Aug.
La of Opar falls in love with Tarzan. He escapes, returns to the coast, saves Jane and his cousin from a big cat but leaves without revealing himself. 
1910, mid Aug. 
to mid Sept.
Jane abducted by the fifty frightful men. The seventh duke sickens; Rokoff deserts him. Tarzan goes after Jane. 
1910, mid Sept. Tarzan rescues Jane, finds that she is not married and that she loves him. The seventh duke dies after confessing that he told no one about the telegram. 
1910, late Sept. D'Arnot's ship finds the lost Tennington party at the cabin. Tarzan and Jane appear. Tennington saves Tarzan's life. Rokoff is arrested. 
1910, Sept 22, 
a Thursday
Tarzan and Jane and Tennington and Hazel are married in a double ceremony 
1910, Sept. 23, 
a Thursday
Tarzan and Jane sail away. He has the Oparian gold, his woman, and the title of eighth duke of Greystoke
FOURTEEN: The Great Trek and The Elixir (The Return of Tarzan - Beasts of Tarzan Between II and III)
1910, Oct. to 1911, Oct. Tarzan and Jane live in London. 
1911 Oct. through Dec. The Great Trek to Kenya. 
1912, Jan. Tarzan receives the immortality treatment from the ancient witch doctor 
1912, March to April Tarzan and Jane at the Kenyan plantation. 
1912, late April They return to London.
FIFTEEN: The Beasts (Beasts of Tarzan III)
1912, May 20, a Monday  Tarzan's son, John Paul Clayton, born in Greystoke House, London. 
1912, late June to late Sept.  The events of the The Beasts of Tarzan
1912, Sept. to Oct. Tarzan and Jane in London.
SIXTEEN: Problems  (IV, 1-12; XX)
1913, May to Nov.  First part of The Son of Tarzan.
1913, June to July Tarzan searches for Korak. During this time the events, if any, of Tarzan and the Forbidden City occur. Tarzan fails to find his son and returns to the plantation, meeting Jane there.
 SEVENTEEN: The Waters of Lethe, The Jewels of Opar (V; IV, 13-27)
1913, Nov. to 1914, 
Jan. 12, a Monday
The events of Tarzan and the Jewels of Opar
1914, Feb. to May Tarzan saves Meriem from rape and the rest of the events of The Son of Tarzan follow.
1914, June to July Tarzan and Jane in Kenya; Korak and Meriem in Europe with Meriem's parents.
EIGHTEEN: War and Freedom  (VII)
1914, Aug. to 
1918, Oct.
The events of Tarzan the Untamed. Also, a "lost adventure," during which Tarzan traced the route on the map of the dead giant Spanish soldier.
1918, Nov. 
to 1919, March 
 The events of Tarzan the Terrible.
TWENTY: The Lion and the Ants  (IX & X)
1919, April to 1921, Nov The events of Tarzan and the Golden Lion begin.
1921, May 7, a Tuesday John Armand, Korak's and Meriem's son and Tarzan's grandson, born at Cadrenet Château, Normandy
1921, Nov. The end of Tarzan and the Golden Lion
1921, Dec. to 1922, Oct. Tarzan and Jane in Kenya except for one trip to London to see the newborn Jackie (John Paul).
1922, Nov. to 1922, Dec. The events of Tarzan and the Ant Men (excluding the fictional part of this biography).
TWENTY-ONE: Lord of Many Places  (XI & XII & XII)
1923, Jan. to 1926, May Tarzan and Jane in Kenya and then on visits to England, Rome, Berlin, and other parts of Europe.
1926, June 
to 1927, March
The events of Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle. Professor Porter and Mr. Philander die in March in London within a few days of each other.
1927, April to July The events of Tarzan and the Lost Empire. Tarzan at the Earth's Core would have occurred between Tarzan and the Lost Empire and the next volume, but it is entirely fictional.
1927, July 1, a Friday Meriem's father, the retired General Jacot, dies at Cadrenet Château, Normandy.
1927, Aug. to 1928, Dec. Tarzan divides his time between English and African estates.
1929, Jan. to May  The events of Tarzan the Invincible. Ave atque vale to La of Opar.
1929, June to Dec. Tarzan and Jane stay at the Kenya plantation.
1930, Jan. to April The events of Tarzan Triumphant.
1930, May to early Sept. The Greystokes in England, France, and Kenya. Tarzan takes a jungle vacation.
1930, mid Sept. to mid Nov.  The events of Tarzan and the City of Gold.
1930, late Nov. to 1931, Jan. Tarzan is at the Kenyan plantation.
1931, Jan. to April  Major part of Tarzan and the Lion Man (excluding the fictional parts).
1931, June 1, a Monday 
to June 11, a Thursday
The events of Tarzan and the Leopard Men.
1931, June to 1932, March Tarzan and Jane are at Greystoke plantation or in England.
1932, April to July  Tarzan visits the United States; final "Hollywood" part of Tarzan and the Lion Man, though the screen test for a Taran movie is fictional.
1932, Aug. to 1933, April Jane in England and France; Tarzan in Africa
1933, May 1, a Monday, 
to June 23, a Friday
The events of Tarzan's Quest.
1933, late June, 
to May, 1934
Tarzan and Jane in England and Kenya.
1934, June 1, a Friday, 
to Sept. 7, a Friday
The events of Tarzan the Magnificent.
1934, Sept., 
to Sept. 1938
Tarzan, Jane, and grandson on a round-the-world trip in 1935. In 1937 and 1938, he is in Africa with several jungle vacations between his plantation duties.
1938, Sept. 7, a Wednesday, 
to Sept. 29, a Thursday
 The events of Tarzan and the Jungle Murders. (There is no chronology for Tarzan and the Champion, since this is entirely fictional.)
1938, Oct., to May, 1939 Tarzan and Jane in East Africa.
1939, June 1, a Thursday, 
to June 25, a Sunday
The events of Tarzan and the Madman.
1939, July Tarzan loses his memory in an accident while returning home from Abyssinia. He wanders around in the jungles of Mt. Elgon.
1939, Aug. to Oct. The (non-Mayan) events of Tarzan and the Castaways.
1939, Nov. Tarzan returns to Kenya, says good-bye to Jane (who follows him to England later), and joins the R.A.F. in London
1939, Dec.,
to Oct., 1942
Tarzan, as John Clayton, flies bombers. He submerges his apeman persona deep within himself. Esmeralda is killed by a bomb in London. Tarzan is promoted to group captain. Lord Tennington is killed in the North Sea.
1942, Nov. Tarzan is transferred to the Far East theatre.
1942, Nov. 3 Tarzan's son, John Paul, marries.
1943, Nov. 24 John Paul's son, John, born
1944, Jan. to Feb. Attached to the U.S.A.A.F. as an observer for the British
1944, March 13, a Monday, 
to Dec. 7, a Thursday
The events of Tarzan and the Foreign Legion.
1945, May 1 John Armand, Korak's son, marries.
1944, dec. to Feb. 1946 Flies over Burma, China, and with the U.S.A.A.F. over Japan as an observer. Discharged in London.
1946, March to April Tarzan and Jane in Kenya
1946, May to Aug. He makes his final visit to Opar.

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