In the Fall 2005 BB #64 Danton Burroughs released
information on the third woman in ERB's life, Dorothy Dahlberg. With
the addition of Mrs. Dahlberg a pattern was established in ERB's relationship
The pattern was the product of ERB's subconscious.
I'm sure that while he may have known what he was doing he didn't know
why he was doing it. I would like to see if I can understand him
and explain his actions.
As I said in another place a human being is
a bilateral creature. He is a construct of two contributions of genetic
material. One half from a female, the other half from a male.
The two halves combine to form a whole. The union can be made in
varying degrees of perfections. Fully twenty percent of fertilized
eggs are aborted almost immediately due to gross imperfections of union.
Getting it right isn't easy even for nature. Most successful unions
produce reasonable facsimiles but not perfect matches. In most
if not all people the right side of the body is stronger than the left
while feet, for instance, are almost always two slightly different sizes.
So the product of ovum and sperm seldom make a perfect match. The
left side of my face, for instance, is quite different from the right.
As is sometimes painfully obvious one of a woman's breasts may be quite
large while the other is quite small.
The brain and the body are a psycho-somatic
unit. That means that all bodily functions are monitored or controlled
by the brain. The autonomic system such as breathing, digestion and
excretion function without conscious effort. An insult to the ego
for which no appropriate response is available will then subconsciously
be converted into a somatic reaction such as ulcers, constipation or whatever.
In some cases the response may be directed
outward on other people in a vengeful manner. One becomes a psychopath
or sociopath. Child molestation and such are extreme cases of this
response. This response is subconscious; the ego will certainly not
know why it does destructive or anti-social things and it may not even
be aware it is doing them. These responses are properly caused by
As is known the female chromosomes are XX and male
are Xy. Therefore the female has two female chromosomes which means
she is unalterably different from the male. Her brain functions differently
as a result and nothing can change that. The male has a female component
in the X which is psychologically represented as his Anima ideal and a
male component the y which is represented as his Ego, himself, his person,
When he is unable to respond to an insult to
his Ego his Animus suffers a degree of emasculation which may result in
a permanent fixation or if not too severe a temporary one.
An injury to his Anima will also have serious
consequences. In this essay we are only going to be concerned with
the Anima. Because of the baby's relationship to the Mother the mother
fills the complete Anima for a number of years. Other women over
the years will share the Anima, placed there either by affection or trauma.
A well known fact is that the Mother controls
the social status of the son. A strong Mother will usually produce
a strong son. The father is secondary.
As Kipling said: A woman is only a woman
while a good cigar is a smoke. Mothers are only women. Therefore
Mothers come in all female personality types. The kind one gets is
the luck of the draw but she will affect your life for good or evil.
We have one event in Burroughs life which affected
his Anima that we know for sure. That was his encounter with John
the Bully when he was eight or nine. Since Burroughs wrote extensively
around that encounter we have a fairly good idea of how that affected his
Anima and the relationship of his Animus to it.
Every writer talks incessantly about his Anima
and its relationship to his Animus if you know how to read him. The
understanding of the Anima and the Animus is not a new thing. The
ancient Egyptians developed the idea fully perhaps well before -2000 and
probably -3000. It would be pure speculation to go beyond that but
I wouldn't be surprised if the understanding went back tens of thousands
of years into the civilization of the prehistoric Mediterranean; back into
the depths of the ice age when very large habitable areas of the Med basis
were above water. It is an indisputable fact that they were.
It's like that wonderful knowledge you have
as a child that grown ups have forgotten that you say you never will but
you do. As you learn more some things disappear into the mists of
your mind, still there but unretrievable. Undoubtedly it's part of
that lost knowledge that is hopefully buried beneath the Sphinx.
The knowledge was never in general distribution
but part of the learning of the colleges of Priests. The ancient
Egyptian imparted it to the Cretans who, when they were made the Priests
of Apollo at Delphi brought it to Greece while certain Greeks studied at
the source in Egypt long after that ancient land had fallen from glory.
A fine understanding of part of this knowledge can be found in Rider Haggard's
World's Desire. you'll need a little background to understand
A lot of people without the background don't
think much of the novel. They don't understand the significance of
Odysseus Golden Armor. While I'm here on the subject I might as well
give you more detail than you likely want. Let me ramble.
Haggard's story takes place just before the
Dark Age that occurred after the big battles between the declining Matriarchy
and the emerging Patriarchy. The war represents the development of
human consciousness on its way to the Scientific. A big battle was
represented by the story of Perseus and the Medusa. Only one detail
is important to us here and that is the beheading of the Gorgon, Medusa.
She personifies the Matriarchy whose consciousness had suppressed the intellect
of the male beneath a yoke of excessive sexuality, not unlike what is emerging
Men formed a little chorus line as the kicked
their legs and sang: I just gotta be free.
When Perseus cut off the head of the Gorgon
a strange thing happened - out flew the great winged white horse Pegasus
and the Golden Knight Chryseis. This represents the freeing of the
male intellect from the oppression of the Matriarchy.
The horse is a symbol of the female so Pegasus
represents the perfect Anima while the Golden Knight represents the perfect
Animus. Gold is the metal of perfection. Perseus, who assumes
the attributes of the Golden Knight, mounts Pegasus to go off to rescue
his Anima ideal, Andromeda, from the perils of what became Freud's Unconscious
which is represented by a sea serpent rising from the depths, i.e. the
Unconscious. Man having been freed from the chains of the Unconscious
then frees the female.
The following war between the Trojans and the
Greeks represents a hoped for conquest over the Matriarchy.
Helen was the object of that war. Now,
Helen was one of the four offspring of the coupling of the Swan King and
Leda. In sort of the model for Burroughs' Mars Leda laid two eggs
which, I suppose, shows what happens when a Swan and human female mate.
Out of one of the eggs Castor and Polydeuces
were hatched while the other produced Helen and Clytemnestra. What
these four deities represent are the four portals of the calendar year.
The two solstices and the two equinoxes. Castor is the first or mortal
half of the year. Born on 12/21 he dies on 6/21 when the days begin
to shorten. Polydeuces is the immortal part of the year when although
the days shorten the unconquerable Sun is born again, the once and future
king, on 12/21 and the cycle starts again.
Clytemnestra represents the Fall Equinox, the
evil sister, Libra of the balances when the year tips into the worst months.
Helen then represents Aries, the Spring Equinox when the fairness of the
Earth returns. Thus she has the beauty of eternal youth - The World's
Desire as Haggard accurately divined. The ideal Anima.
There were some who said that Helen didn't
go to Troy at all, that only a shadow of Helen went there while the real
Helen was spirited off to Egypt. She must have passed Menelaus on
After the Great Trojan War, Poseidon, the god
of the waters, in a fit of pique refused to allow Odysseus to go home.
The Great Wanderer then roamed for ten more long years. During this
time he refused to become the sexual slave of any woman or combination
of women. He had a pocket full of Moly to enable him to resist the
charms of Circe. While his fellow sailors were turned into sexual
lusting beasts Odysseus subdued the female bending her to his will.
The same was true of Calypso and the Sirens before her
Odysseus stuffed his ears with wax to avoid
hearing their seductive song while he had himself tied to the mast so he
couldn't go to them. The Patriarchal Revolution was safe in the hands
of the great Odysseus. He was to seek the purity of a union with his Anima,
Helen, even abandoning his wife Penelope in the pursuit of this perfection.
Thus when he come ashore in his golden armor
in Egypt he represents Chryseis the perfected Golden Knight who emerged
from the defeated Matriarchy. His adventures lead him to the sanctuary
of his Anima ideal - Helen.
Helen lives in a castle fortified by charms.
Only one man can succeed while imposters die by the thousands in a foolhardy
attempt to find bliss in her arms. Sounds a little like the sword
in the stone doesn't it?
Of course Odysseus succeeds in this brilliant
story of genius by Rider Haggard. We know that Edgar Rice Burroughs
read a number of books of Haggard but as there were none in his library
we can only guess which from the contexts. Certainly ERB read King
Solomon's Mines, She and Allan Quatermain. There
is evidence in Forbidden City that he read Cleopatra while
he follows Haggard's lost civilization formula in all his lost city novels.
There is clear evidence he read The World's
Desire and that it made an indelible impression on him.
The story of John Carter and his disrupted
love affair with his princess, Dejah Thoris is clearly the story of Odysseus
and Helen. Tarzan of the Apes is the same as regards to La/Helen
who lives in a ruined castle in the ruins of an Atlantean city while Tarzan
is married to a Clytemnestra lookalike. The Odysseus-Helen theme
can be applied to David Innes and Dian the Beautiful also. Dian can
be pronounced Die-ann also so she can be associated with the goddess Diana.
We know that ERB was a student of the
Greek myths so that his readings in Haggard would support his readings
in mythology. Between the myths and Haggard, one of the greatest
mythologists who ever lived, his reading would be augmented.
Haggard was also a very perceptive
student of Egyptian religion. The Egyptians developed the idea of
the Anima and Animus or perhaps inherited the idea from the Med Civilization.
In any event the notion was central to Egyptian religion. There is
no reason Burroughs didn't grasp the notion whether he understood it in
full or not.
Legend has it that a great knowledge
- the Lost Word - disappeared about the time of the Great Flood.
Legend has it that this knowledge is in subterranean chambers beneath the
Sphinx. It is imagined that this knowledge is very advanced.
I suppose in a way it might be.
If this knowledge is ever found I imagine that
it will be about mind and body and the laterality of the body. The
Word was lost when life became too complex to hold it in memory.
In a more primitive state with little learning to occupy the mind certain
material states were easier to capture. This was not knowledge for
the multitudes. Few in the Priesthood were taught the knowledge and
fewer still understood it. Rituals were developed to represent the
knowledge using various pictures and symbols.
That any of this knowledge survived is remarkable
yet even today there are a learned few who have penetrated the mysteries,
at least in part, I haven't seen a comprehensive survey while perhaps I
would not have recognized it if I had.
In 1938 Dr. Hoffman isolated the chemical substance
LSD. By the sixties the use had become widespread. I myself
have never taken LSD so I can only speak second hand and from observation.
The people who did take LSD speak of a number of physical effects such
as becoming aware of the cellular structure of their bodies. It is
quite possible that they saw their Animus and Anima but didn't recognize
them. Perhaps they had too many distractions what with phonograph
records, movies, TV and all the distractions of the city. In fact
they placed themselves in the way to become victims of the hypnopaedic
Back when the Med Valley showed its face to
the moon and stars the proto-Libyans had no such distractions. They
had no electric lights, the principles of lamps were not either well known
or known at all or perhaps they were one of the first things invented.
When the sun went down in the those days you were faced with twelve to
fifteen hours of weary darkness. There was nothing to do but sit
and listen to your heart beat and study the stars. There is no reason
to believe that they weren't aware of Nature's pharmacopoeia - the opium
poppy and possibly the hemp plant.
Just as in the Middle Ages the ergot of the
wheat plant from which LSD is manufactured sometimes undoubtedly was eaten
by whole villages making them cavort about in wondrous ways.
There were no books, language if it existed
at all was at its most primitive. Probably communication of ideas
was transmitted with sand painting or some such as with the Indians of
the American Southwest. The accretion of consciousness and knowledge
is truly miraculous in conditions such as these. As I say, they learned
of the Great Year by studying the stars of the North Pole, Hamlet's Mill
as Professor Santayana calls it. He was pilloried for the knowledge
The ancient Libyans must have also have discovered
the nature of laterality which they carried with them to the Delta of the
Nile when the great waters rose.
What one calls the Egyptians is a generalization
because the people of Upper Egypt had no cultural relationship with the
people of Lower Egypt. The unification of the two Egypts c-3400
was tenuous at best. The Upper Egyptians occupied the former highlands
when the Med Valley lay exposed. The Lower Egyptians were Libyans
flushed out of the Basin by the Great Flood thus they were much more culturally
advanced than the Upper Egyptians.
By the Third Dynasty the Libyans had succeeded
to the Pharaohate. Then Heliopolis and the Great Pyramids came into
existence. Heliopolis - the great city of Sun worship.
I'm sure that most if not all the great symbols
associated with Egypt were of Libyan origin. The wonder of the ancient
world, the religion of Egypt was surely of Libyan devise. The Uas
symbol. The Uas scepter was a long staff representing the backbone
surmounted by a bird like head with the lower end bifurcated, In
one instance it was separated and curved inward to represent the male genitals
while in the other curved outward to represent the female, a perfect symbol
of human consciousness. When held in the left hand it symbolized
the ovate or left side and when held in the right the spermatic side.
The Egyptian priesthood was able to maintain
this knowledge in a recondite manner. To try to explain it to the
unprepared minds of the multitude would indeed be casting pearls before
The sixties rock group, Fleetwood Mac had an
LP titled Mystery To Me. The cover portrayed a sad wise
old man handing the book of wisdom to a baboon. The baboon promptly
took a chomp out of it and sat there puzzled because it wasn't good to
eat. When the student is ready the teacher will appear. Sometimes
he arrives a little early.
There are those who say that the Great Pyramid
and the Sphinx were used as religious colleges which is probably true.
The great Egyptian religious establishment was shattered when the conquering
Assyrians crossed the River of Egypt to destroy the foundations of Egyptian
civilization. A most bitter moment for the proud Priesthood.
Now, remember that Burroughs read Rider Haggard.
Haggard is absolutely uncanny in his ability to understand this ancient
civilization. Perhaps in his story of Smith And The Pharaohs
he is symbolically telling his own experience. Nevertheless he understood
completely and Burroughs sat at his feet. How well he understood
is a matter of opinion.
When the Assyrians came in, intolerant of all
thought but their own as the Semites always have been, the Priesthood hurriedly
gathered the mummified bodies of the Pharaohonic gods and cast them down
shafts heaping great piles of rubbish on top of them to keep them from
the Assyrian wolf who would surely have destroyed them.
The entrance to the great subterranean chambers
of the Great Pyramid was filled with rubble to prevent the Assyrians from
disturbing the sarcophagus of Osiris resting in its subterranean replica
of the Nile.
Professor Hawass emptied the shaft to gain
entrance once again to these storied chambers of Osiris and the hall of
initiation. This was shown on TV. Of course legend and Herodotus
had exaggerated the story of Osiris and the great river flowing beneath
the Pyramid and the tomb of Osiris but there it was, a stone sarcophagus
in a pool of water symbolic of the Nile.
There are some who insist that there were halls
of initiation also in these chambers. Hawass found evidence of corridors
but they were filled with what? rubble. There's a dead giveaway
that the halls contain something sacred. If the corridors were filled
with rubble how and why did it get there. The Priesthood obviously
placed it there so that the conquering Assyrians should they get that far
would be too discouraged to go further.
The shrines were no longer usable. They
Egyptians would never be able to drive the Assyrians out. The Assyrians
would be replaced by the Persians, of Indo-European origins they were tolerant
of the 'native' religion at least allowing it to breathe, the Persians
by the Ptolomaic Hellenes and they by the Romans followed by the Moslems.
The Priesthood daren't reclaim the Pharaohs
or tidy up the Pyramids so things stayed as they were. There wasn't
even an obvious entrance to the great stone mountain.
The wisdom, the knowledge, the learning of
the Priests of ancient Egypt couldn't be allowed to die, the true religion
couldn't be allowed to disappear so the Priests devised other means to
perpetuate the Religion Of Their Fathers. One way was the Tarot deck
which degenerated into Medieval playing cards.
There is a fairly large number of very intelligent
men who have tackled ancient civilizations from the point of view of consciousness.
Conventional historians are pure materialists. To them history consists
only of ruined monuments, pot sherds, literature, numismatics and other
hard artefacts. They describe and measure these artefacts but they
consider it unwise or foolish to try to understand their meaning.
The former group while they find the efforts
of academic historians useful wish to penetrate into the psychological
and intellectual meaning of these artefacts. Naturally their findings
are controversial. No one of them has penetrated to the bottom of
the arcana however they have all added solid bits of interpretation for
which they should be appreciated. Not being an academic myself I
am free to roam about amongst all the points of view without fear of losing
One of the shortcomings of the alternate school
is that they always end up with notions of spacemen having visited the
earth millennia ago. If these visitors were as intelligent as they
must have been to get here they were eons ahead of the earthmen they were
attempting to educate. It would be the same as the wise old sage
handing the baboon the Book Of Wisdom. Chomp, chomp.
My own feeling which runs counter to the feelings
of everyone I've ever talked to is that we're all alone out here; there's
no one out there to visit us. But that doesn't mean these scholars
haven't gone a long way in explication of the meaning of ancient symbolism.
One who has done a fine job, although he too finishes with the inevitable
spacemen, is Paul A. Laviolette. I refer now to his Beyond The Big
Bang: Ancient Myth And The Science Of Continuous Creation. God only
knows what continuous creation is but Laviolette's scholarship on ancient
Egyptian myths is superb.
He discusses examples of Egyptian laterality
without understanding the physical or psychological meaning. As I
read this before developing my views on laterality I suppose Laviolette
may be the impetus for my views so I will give examples from his book.
These are what Laviolette describes as Masculine
and Feminine symbolic stereotypes:
As can be readily seen the attributes of the feminine
correspond to the qualities of the ovum while the masculine correspond
to the sperm. Bear in mind that the female also has an ovate and
spermatic side but the spermatic side is an X not a y.
|Left Hand Side- Feminine
||Right Hand Side- Masculine
The Uas scepter which connotes the human being
gathers its significance from whether it is being in the right or left
hand. When held in the left hand it denotes the feminine with the
qualities of the ovum which is the female contribution to laterality while
when held in the right hand it denotes the spermatic qualities of laterality.
Not only did the Egyptians have a very highly
developed notion of the sexual nature of laterality but they transmitted
it to the Cretans and Pelasgians, ultimately to the Greeks who received
their early notions from the Pelasgians and Cretans ultimately going to
the source, Egypt itself.
In Greco-Cretan mythology, as well as in Egyptian
mythology, the Animus was represented by vigorous symbols such as the Bull,
the Ram or the Sun. While in the female the Anima and Animus were
represented by two snakes, two lions, etc. They symbols are duplicated
because the female is constructed of two X chromosomes hence being the
same although the ovate is still passive while the spermatic remains the
Thus Cretan images portray the Goddess as the
Good Mother with a Snake in each hand held hip high sexually erect with
a dreamy look on her face; the Bad Mother is portrayed by a violent expression
on her face holding squiggling snakes above her head in threatening manner.
Now, because the female has two Xs she is lacking
a y. As the complete organism before sexualization was XXXy the female
misses this component and is fatally attracted to it in the male.
This is what Freud was criticized for naming 'penis envy.'
Thus the Cretan goddess is also depicted standing
on a mountain top on a pillar, which represents the penis, flanked by two
lionesses as symbols of the sun supporting themselves against the pillar.
She as 'the moon' is longing for her mate 'the Sun.' Astronomically
the Sun on the Summer Solstice and the Full Moon occur very close together
once in every nineteen years. This is called the marriage of the
Sun and Moon. These two orbs then quite clearly represent the Anima
These ideas became part of Greek psychology.
The Assyrian conquest of Egypt was followed
by the Persian occupation which was succeeded by the Greeks subsequently
by the Romans and then in the seventh century by the Moslem Arabs.
Egyptian religion if it were to survive then had to compete with a host
of other religions in the Mediterranean area.
The religion of Isis and Osiris was then adapted
for universal dissemination ultimately being incorporated into Christianity.
Thus in its limited way Christianity reflects
Egyptian concepts of the Anima and Animus in Mary and Jesus. Mary
may be assumed to be a representation of Isis and Jesus as Osiris-Horus.
In Roman times a priest of the Isiac religion
Apuleius wrote a religious allegory called The Golden Ass. The centerpiece
of the Golden Ass is the Anima story told as the fable of Psyche and Eros.
How old this story was at the time is beyond
anyone to determine but the form it has taken in Western literature is
that of Cinderella. If Burroughs was wrestling with his Anima problem
Cinderella should show up in his oeuvre which indeed it does, most clearly
in Marcia Of The Doorstep. The chapters titled The Drab Girl and
Cinderella are Burroughs version of the story. Perhaps also as Tarzan
and La and a few other representations.
The gist of Psyche and Eros is that Psyche
was the most beautiful girl in the world which excited the jealousy of
the goddess Aphrodite. The goddess sent her son Eros (Cupid in Roman
mythology) to make Psyche fall in love with the most vile man in the world.
Instead Eros falls in love with Psyche himself, taking her to wife.
However he visits her only at night (sort of
an ideal situation) while forbidding her to ever look at him. (Wow, what
Psyche has two older sisters who she wishes
to tell of her good luck. Eros advises her against it, she persists
and like a good husband he permits it but warns here she may lose him.
Psyche's sisters persuade her to look at her husband as he is probably
an ugly old monster. Psyche does, is entranced by the beauty of Eros
but awakes him. He leaves. Both become ill at the separation.
After a lifetime of searching Psyche and Eros
Thus at birth the Anima and Animus are in harmony.
Circumstances eventually disrupt this perfection while both the Anima and
Animus receive impurities that have to be rectified while the two have
to be reconciled. So, at separation Psyche and Eros become 'sick.'
This knowledge of laterality was lost sometime
after Apuleius' The Golden Ass and wasn't rediscovered until the time of
Jung and Freud when they broached the notion of 'bisexuality.'
laterality and the Anima and Animus under a different name.
If Freud's unconscious exists at all then the
feeling of laterality unconsciously appears in many works by many writers.
Rider Haggard's 'She' is perhaps the most famous example. Edgar Rice
Burroughs work is characterized by his search to reconcile his Anima and
I wish we knew more about his relationship
with his mother which appears to me to be cold and distant. As Freud
indicated the, not so much relationship, but experience of the mother when
the child is very young is instrumental in establishing the character of
The relationship is very special nor do I think
Freud really understood it. The ancient statue of the mother, The
Great Mother, seated on her throne, which represents the Earth, with her
infant on her lap while the father stands discreetly on her left side is
a perfect symbol of the situation. The goddess is looking tenderly
at her infant with her hands raised as though to say behold the man.
In nature the previous husband has been replaced by the new year while
the Great Mother Earth goes on forever. Thus the infant is son and
husband to be replaced by another in virgin birth after virgin birth.
In human terms the son displaces the father
in the mother's affection. The relationship between the mother and
son is very special. I do not believe with Freud that the relationship
is sexual in any manner. The mother feeds the infant from her body
thereby establishing an economic connection that the child requires until
perhaps five years of age as Freudians assert, then beginning to cut himself
free of his mother's apron strings.
I am not a clinician but I believe that for the development
of a healthy Anima the mother and only the mother administer to the child's
needs. The current rage for involving the father in bathing and diaper
changing is, I think, a major mistake. Likewise it is impossible
for two homosexual males to adopt and raise a psychologically healthy child.
The Anima must be distorted as ERB's was to be distorted by John the Bully.
However Burroughs experienced his mother his
experience with John the Bully accounts for, perhaps, ninety percent of
the damage to his Anima. That damage affected how ERB related to
women. The evidence indicates that he both loved and resented them;
he wanted to punish them for his Anima's abandoning him so he abandoned
them. This is all on the unconscious level, of course. Over
his lifetime he developed serious relationships with three women each one
of diminishing importance. The first two, Emma and Florence, he married;
the third Dorothy Dahlberg he seduced and abandoned.
The interesting characteristic is that he took
each woman from another man. Emma from Frank Martin and the last
two from their husbands. In each case to one degree or another he
ruined these women's lives. In doing so he was imitating John the
Bully who took his Anima from him ruining his own life.
The most tragic case is that of his first woman,
Emma. ERB attended Brown School with her. Burroughs records
only that he had an encounter with John the Bully on a street corner on
the way to school. He doesn't say whether he was alone or with others.
Possibly, I suspect, he may have been walking with Emma and possibly others.
It would be normal to want to humiliate your victim if front of others
in these childhood confrontations. Indeed, there is very little satisfaction
if you don't. Such a situation then would affect his relationship
with Emma possibly unconsciously commingling Emma into his Anima problem.
Although he began proposing to Emma in his
early teens, possibly as a result of his emasculation by John, by the time
he graduated from the MMA his attitude may have changed so that he wanted
her on the shelf perhaps as a witness to his humiliation but he appears
to have had no intention of marrying her. For all practical purposes
he abandoned her when he joined the Army going to Arizona without even
communicating with her.
Some five months after he joined Emma
wrote him in September 1896 to indicate she was there. This could
be construed as pursuing him indicating a deep affection. Indeed,
my interpretation of Emma is that she was a one man woman. She put
up with whatever he did without leaving him including his long affair with
Florence of which she could not have been ignorant.
One can only conjecture why it was so urgent
for ERB to want a release from his Army obligation, just being in is enough
to want out, but it may have involved the courting of Emma by Frank Martin.
ERB seems to have been deeply impressed with his time in Arizona.
He returned to the State a number of times in life including a hermitage
just before he divorced Emma. It may be significant that he has John
Carter visit him in his hermitage. Thus both he and Carter returned
to Arizona nearly forty years on. Perhaps he might not have returned
to Chicago except for Emma. Or, perhaps, merely romanticized the
period in later years as is so common with soldiers and sailors in old
He was not Emma's father's favorite, in fact,
Hulbert was absolutely opposed to Emma's marrying what he considered a
ne'er do well. Adamantly. He much preferred Frank Martin. So,
Burroughs was competing for Emma and he won her, or took her away from
Martin. He very likely would never have married her except under
that circumstance. Thus he began a pattern of taking women from other
men. He was to repeat this two more times.
By all reports he and Emma had a tempestuous
marriage. He himself says that he walked out on her a number of times
before he finally divorced her. She put up with a lot as Burroughs'
friend Herb Weston says. As he probably associated her with this
humiliation at the hands of John, while his self-humiliation in Idaho in
1904 when he gambled away the couples resources must have been thrown up
to him in many arguments, his trouble with Emma would have had more to
do with himself than with her. Of course, there is the question of
why he would have risked his money and marriage by gambling. Perhaps
he expected her to leave him or was trying to drive her away.
In 1927 he began his affair with Florence Gilbert who was
then married to Ashton Dearholt. He was her second husband so ERB
was her third. She was easy enough, marrying a fourth time shortly
after being discarded by ERB.
I don't say Burroughs intentions where conscious.
I believe he was driven to avenge his Anima ideal through these women.
His Anima had abandoned him under the terror of John the Bully. He
then tormented these three women in vengeance. But, he wasn't necessarily
aware of why he was doing what he was doing although he knew he was doing
Thus he tortured Emma for seven long years
while he fooled around with Florence. She had to know. I suspect
ERB left little evidences of his infidelity around so that she couldn't
miss it. At this time her drinking became serious. Why shouldn't
it? That she drank herself unconscious and had to be carried back
into the house is evidence that her hurt was too much to bear.
When ERB left her behind he was particularly
vicious about it just as when his Anima deserted him. He was unrelentingly
cruel to her even dancing on her grave, as it were, when she died.
He may have perhaps thought that life with
Florence would be idyllic which was a serious mistake, the problem lay
within him not in any woman. On his honeymoon he took Florence to
the earthly paradise of Hawaii which proved futile. When it came
time to abandon her he took her back to Hawaii where he drove her from
Still not satisfied he took up with Dorothy
Dahlberg, another married woman. His treatment of this woman was
particularly callous. Having ruined her marriage, separated her from
her husband, he coldly abandoned her, left her standing.
Perhaps this cruel treatment gratified his
need for revenge on his Anima or perhaps he was too old to consider pursuing
The three women give a definite pattern of
wooing, winning and abandonment. This cannot be coincidental, there
must be a reason for it. Such a reason must be psychological.
One's treatment of women is involved with the state of one's Anima.
It therefore follows that Burroughs had a malaise of his Anima.
The most obvious source of the malaise would
come from his mother which could occur at any time from birth to the mother's
death but most likely no later than twelve. If his mother did contribute
the source can't be found, although it is possible he may have thought
that she deserted him also.
The central childhood fixation of ERB's life
occurred on that street corner with John. ERB was both emasculated
on his Animus while his Anima was annihilated being replaced by a man in
drag as evidenced by De Vac in the Outlaw of Torn.
As hard as ERB tried, as evidenced by his writing
in The Girl From Farris's, The Mucker Trilogy and Marcia Of The
Doorstep he was apparently never able to successfully completely reconcile
his Anima. Thus he was driven unconsciously to take vengeance on
his Anima substitutes Emma, Florence and Dorothy. This was tragic
for himself as well as his three women but inescapable in this world that
functions without regard for good or evil. What IS is unavoidable.
How responsible can anyone really be?