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Volume 1662e
Themes And Variations
The Tarzan Novels Of Edgar Rice Burroughs
#16: Tarzan And The Leopard Men
Blue Book: October1932 - Tarzan and the Leopard Man 3/6
Part VI
Edgar Rice Burroughs In His Milieu
R.E. Prindle
An age's habits of thought and feeling
And imagination
Are shared by all who live and work within that age-
by all,
From the journeyman up to the genius.
~ Aldous Huxley  After Many A Summer Dies The Swan


     From 1930's Tarzan The Invincible to 1934-35's Tarzan's Quest is perhaps the most critical of Edgar Rice Burroughs adult life.  For a man who said he led a humdrum life it seems to me that his life was exciting from beginning to end.  The period in question seems to be fraught with dangers of various kinds.  My intent is this section which may be thought to bridge the two novels, Leopard Men and Lion Man is to give some continuity to ERB's political and emotional development during this critical period.  Really, I think ERB failed in the temporal area of his life.

     ERB ran afoul of the Judaeo-Communists shortly after the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917.  On the one hand he faced the antagonism of the Soviet apparatus while on the other he was opposed by the Jewish religion which meshed with Soviet Communism.  To take the former first.

     As the Soviet State consolidated and became organized it could devote itself to the infiltration of other States and the control if their institutions, especially the media which at that time was limited to the press and the movies.  By the thirties radio would be added.  This meant that the control of who was published became paramount.

     While the membership of the Communist Party in the United States was small in itself it could control the allegiance of a huge number of Liberals, Fellow Travelers, Parlor Pinks and whatever name they were known by.  Combined together Burroughs represented them as the Leopard Men.  Their council always favored the Soviet Union as Sobito's did the Leopard Men of Africa, against Europe and America.

     The Soviets formed any number of writer's collectives to manage who could and couldn't be published.  Direction of these organization was always under the control of Reds.  Thus one adhered to the Party line  or one didn't get published.

     It is clear to me that Burroughs understood this. He formed his publishing company at this time while the first book he published was the stridently anti-Communist Tarzan The Invincible followed by the equally anti-Communist Tarzan Triumphant and Tarzan And The Leopard Men.

     A key international writer's collective called P.E.N. was either formed under Soviet direction in 1921 or captured by them shortly thereafter.  P.E.N. stands for Poets, Playwrights, Essayists, Editors and Novelists.  That pretty well covered the opinion makers of the day.  The key element is Editors.  Since the Editors were Sovietized they threw a roadblock across literary access that allowed only Red authors or Red edited books through.  Thus when Ballantine published the Burroughs corpus in the sixties they edited the texts to conform to prevailing prejudices bringing ERB more into line with the Red ideology.

     As I have noted before, H.G. Wells became a Soviet literary hatchet man.  By the early thirties he was president of P.E.N.

     The Soviet State was of a split personality.  On the one hand the Jews wanted an international variant of Communism plumping for revolution throughout the  world.  This faction was headed by Leon Trotsky.  On the other hand Stalin favored a form of National Socialism.or socialism in one country.  After the death of Lenin Stalin was able to capture the Party and government essentially condemning the international faction to death by the time of the show trials in 1936.  Trotsky who had escaped the Soviet Union was finished off in Mexico in 1940,

     A strange thing is that Stalin was a fan of the Big Bwana.  It seems clear that he had read at least The Beasts Of Tarzan while as a movie buff he ordered showings of the MGM Tarzan movies.

     It appears that he was so affected by the fantasy of Tarzan's ape auxiliaries in Beasts Of Tarzan that he was entranced by the idea of an army composed of expendable hybrid ape-men who could be sustained on a cheap rough diet.

    Now, this is true.  In the late twenties Stalin ordered Soviet scientists to create a hybrid ape-man.  So now we're edging into the area of Aldous Huxley's Brave New World and Edgar Rice Burroughs' Tarzan And The Lion Man but Stalin precedes them.

    First Burroughs had always been fascinated by the concept of creating life.  It is clear that he was enchanted by Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.  He mentions the book more than once within the corpus.  He himself makes several attempts to plausibly create life through his characters.  The great Martian physician Ras Thavas succeeds in creating life as did Dr. Case but they both botch the job.

   While "God" (from Tarzan and the Lion Man)does not create life he succeeds in creating a hybrid ape-man along the lines proposed by Stalin to his scientists.  Such creations might be considered  more eugenics although more on the dysgenic side.  Cellular therapy probably arose out of eugenics.  The notion had been around for some time.  Another influence on Burroughs at this time was the famous John R. 'Goat Glands' Brinkley.  I'm indepted to the Indian Bibliophile Vishwas Gaitonde for calling my attention to the connection.

     Let me say first that I take no offense at medical quacks or religious charlatans.  I find them the most interesting of people.  I am not susceptible to their lures myself while if one is then the fault lies with oneself rather than the quack or charlatan.  After all, who would answer a Nigerian email?  Since ERB had an extended association with the quack Dr. Stacey presumably helping him sell his nostrums one might assume that ERB was sympathetic to the type also.

     I will reserve an extended account of Dr. Brinkley (the Dr. part is largely assumed)  for the body of the Lion Man review.  Suffice it to say here that Dr. Brinkley said that he could sexually invigorate a man by injecting him with goat glands.  It is to be noted that God intends to use the glands of both a man and a woman in his attempt to restore his appearance.  I'm sure the splicing of male Xy and female XX genes into the same body would have produced an interesting result.   XXXy would restore the original unisex organism.

     Here ERB is blending his evolutionary ideas into his political confrontation with the Reds and Stalin's attempt at hybridization in a very interesting and exciting way.  It is also to be noted that Aldous Huxley's Brave New World was issued about the time of Leopard Men so it is possible that ERB could have read it by the time he penned Lion Man.  There is a similarity of interest in that Huxley is treating evolution along the same lines as Stalin and Burroughs.  Thus it is possible that Stalin and Huxley had some influence on the God of  Lion Man.

     It has been said that Brave New World was a parody of Wells' Men Like Gods.  That book did deal with Burroughs although Huxley was yet to make his mark.  During the twenties and thirties Wells engaged Burroughs in a literary duel.  A couple years before Brave New World he had paodied Huxley in one of his novels so one has Wells versus Huxley and Burroughs.  The contest was not unnoted by Huxley while by whatever means he was kept informed of developments it seems that Burroughs did too.

     Thus Brave New World was probably written with an intent by Huxley to avenge himself on Wells.  Wells quickly retorted with The Shape Of Things To Come which is his put down of Brave New World, offering a different conception of the shape of things to come.  In his novel Wells makes some sharp criticisms of Stalin that the Man Of Steel was quick to note.

H.G. Wells ~ Maxim Gorky ~ Holy Terror ~ Doctors' Plot Arrests
     Stalin had assigned the State prostitute Moura Budberg as Wells' consort and handler.  The fatuous Wells actually fell in love with this fairly well traveled prostitute.  I mean, quite seriously in love.  Stalin then arranged that Wells should see her in a compromising situation with Maxim Gorky in revenge for Wells' criticisms.   Wells was absolutely shattered.  Digesting the situation, a few years later he wrote a book entitled The Holy Terror.  The book advocated the assassination of a Stalin-like dictator who had outlived his usefulness to the Revolution.  The plot used a method that prefigured the actual Doctor'sPlot of 1953 in which Stalin was assassinated.  Holy Terror was 1939, a year after Burroughs' rewrote, rather interleaved alternate chapters to The Lad And The Lion to reflect the situation of Wells and Moscow.

     I find this period of Burroughs career terrifically exciting.  It merits much more extensive research which I hope to be allowed to do.  In conjunction with the Soviet threat to his carreer and possibly, life, ERB also had to deal with the Communist backbone,  Militant Judaism.


     Communism in the United States was largely a matter of immigrants.  The party was divided into language sections of which English was the smallest.  As with all national Parties the US Party was fifty-five to sixty percent Jewish.  The Jews were perceived as Bolshevistic at the time.  The Jewish World Government was run from New York City as a semi-autonomous government of the United States.  Its Premier was the financier Jacob Schiff with Louis Marshall as Secretary Of State.

     As the money manager Schiff had engineered the defeat of Russia in the 1903-05 Russo-Japanese War over Manchruia.  Subsequently in conjunction with international Jewish financiers he had denied the Russian government loans.  I have already noted that Wilson broke off US relations with Russia in 1913 at Jewish insistance.  After 1917 Schiff reversed Jewish policy immediately granting huge loans to the new Soviet regime which he believed to be Jewish.

     Wilson took offense at this, summoning Schiff to Washington to discuss his suspected Bolshevism.  Probably summoning up anti-Semitic arguments Schiff was able to disarm Wilson.  While all his Bolshevic activity was successfully denied it was nonethless noticed and disparaged by a large and influential body of writers.  These too were described as anti-Semitic while the record of their criticism has been expunged from text books if not virtually from history itself.  Even then it is forbidden knowledge perilous to investigate.

     In 1919 the American Jewish Committee sent ERB a questionnaire titled The Jewish Bill Of Rights to determine his stance on Jewish matters.  ERB failed the test by asking some very pointed questions.  As an -ism he had some questions regarding Judaiism.

     To keep the perspective before us, after 1789 religion, all religions, came into conflict with Science.  In the evolution of human consciousness, which is to say intelligence, self-realization, the Religious Consciousness is anterior and inferior to the Scientific Consciousness.  The contest was placed into a context of Spirituality versus Materialism, religion being spiritual, science being materialistic.  The Religionists considered Spirituality, which is to say supernaturalism to be superior to materialism which is to say knowledge.

    For some odd reason it was permitted to disparage Christianity while Judaism and Moslemism remained sacrosanct.  The same people who disparaged Christianity as superstition would speak of the even more superstitious Judaism and Moslemism with reverence.  Very strange, very irrational.

     As an evolutionist of the Scientific Consciousness who appears to have seen through all religion, to judge by his writings, ERB would have had as little use for Moslemism and Judaism as he did for Christianity.  Indeed he is unremittingly harsh on the Moslems of Africa while critical of Judaism.  He seems to have joined with Ford in Ford's attempt to solve the Jewish problem during the twenties.  Ford has been mis-characterized as an anti-Semite by his enemies.  In fact he believed he could resolve the age old warfare between Semites and Europeans by the same techniques he used to mass produce cars.  The problem was not a matter of reason so he failed.

     For his effort to resolve the age old problem he received the enmity of his opponents and the scorn of his own people.  If ERB didn't received the latter he was at least considered someone to watch by the former.  See my review of Marcia Of The Doorstep for details.

     Thus in a citadel of Judaeo-Communism such as Hollywood ERB had to be considered somewhat of a pariah.  The Communists would wish to silence him while the Jews would wish to expel him.  The problem was how to do it.  MGM hit on a possible solution in the co-optation of the character of Tarzan.  I believe the intent was to turn Tarzan into an object of ridicule reducing him to a dismissible joke.

     The method would have been similar to that used against Ford.  As Ford published his articles William Fox, the Fox of Twentieth Century-Fox, who produced weekly newsreels vowed to show Ford automobiles only in accidents to make them appear unsafe while refusing to use Fords in his movies preferring other makes.

     A very effective propaganda method really.  So, between the Communists and the Jews in Hollywood ERB was caught between the upper and nether jaws of the vice.  Between the two he was ground down as the thirties progressed.  That coupled with his own rather serious emotional problems.

The entire six-part analysis of Tarzan and the Leopard Men will be featured over five weeks in ERBzine:

Part I:
Intro & Trader Horn
Part II: 
Debunking the Debunkers
Part III:
This Silent River 
Of Mystery And Death
Part IV:
Cast of Characters
Part V:
How the Story
Is Told
Part VI:
Edgar Rice Burroughs
In His Milieu
Horning Into Africa
W. S. Van Dyke
A Photo Gallery
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