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Volume 5370

Introduction and Contents
N. C. Wyeth: Return of Tarzan - 26 interior b/w headpieces by St. John (debut)J. Allen St. John: Beasts of Tarzan - wraparound DJ, FP, many b/w line interiors
Woodrow Edgar Nichols, Jr.

“We penetrated deeper and deeper into the heart of darkness. It was very quiet there. At night sometimes the roll of drums behind the curtain of trees would run up the river and remained sustained faintly, as if hovering in the air high over our heads, till the first break of day. Whether it meant war, peace, or prayer we could not tell. The dawns were heralded by the descent of a chill stillness; the wood-cutters slept, their fires burned low; the snapping of a twig would make you start. We were wanderers on prehistoric earth, on an earth that wore the aspect of an unknown planet. We could have fancied ourselves the first of men taking possession of an accursed inheritance, to be subdued at the cost of profound anguish and of excessive toil. But suddenly, as we struggled around a bend, there would be a glimpse of rush walls, of peaked grass-roofs, a burst of yells, a whirl of black limbs, a mass of hands clapping, of feet stamping, of bodies swaying, of eyes rolling, under the droop of heavy and motionless foliage. The steamer toiled along slowly on the edge of a black and incomprehensible frenzy. The prehistoric man was cursing us, praying to us, welcoming us – who could tell? We were cut off from the comprehension of our surroundings; we glided past like phantoms, wondering and secretly appalled, as sane men would before an enthusiastic outbreak in a madhouse. We could not understand because we were too far and could not remember, because we were travelling in the night of first ages, of those ages that are gone, leaving hardly a sign – and no memories.

The earth seemed unearthly. We are accustomed to look upon the shackled form of a conquered monster, but there – there you could look at a thing monstrous and free. It was unearthly, and the men were – No, they were not inhuman. Well, you know, that was the worst of it – this suspicion of their not being inhuman. It would come slowly to one. They howled and leaped, and spun, and made horrid faces; but what thrilled you was just the thought of their humanity – like yours – the thought of your remote kinship with this wild and passionate uproar. Ugly. Yes, it was ugly enough; but if you were man enough you would admit to yourself that there was in you just the faintest trace of a response to the terrible frankness of that noise, a dim suspicion of there being a meaning in it which you – you so remote from the night of first ages – could comprehend. And why not? The mind of man is capable of anything – because everything is in it, all the past as well as all the future. What was there after all? Joy, fear, sorrow, devotion, valour, rage – who can tell? – but truth – truth stripped of its cloak of time. Let the fool gape and shudder – the man knows, and can look on without a wink. But he must at least be as much of a man as these on the shore. He must meet that truth with his true stuff – with his own inborn strength. Principles won’t do. Acquisitions, clothes, pretty rags – rags that would fly off at the first good shake. No; you want a deliberate belief. An appeal to me in this fiendish row – is there? Very well; I hear; I admit, but I have a voice, too, and for good or evil mine is the speech that cannot be silenced.”

– Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness.
Heart of Darkness was written at the height of Victorian civilization by a Polish man of landed gentry living in England, writing from hard experience. Thus, to have African primitive men confronting you with their original untainted nature can be a moving and troubling experience. Could we really be from the same common ancestor? What do we have in common and how much really do we differentiate from them? These are also the questions sometimes asked in ERB’s Tarzan saga. Tarzan in fact represents the clash of two cultures – that of the primitive man and that of the cultured English aristocrat – in himself. He is a man with a dual nature.

Africa is also where European imperialism wore its most vicious mask. Conrad knew that modern man hid his primitive and all too dominant nature behind words and outward appearances that tended to rationalize the savage impulses and desires, so that the deluded could believe that he was much higher and better than his African distant brothers. Like Conrad, ERB too was not fooled by civilization, giving it a solid critique in Tarzan’s world view which sometimes offers a hilarious approach to the issue.

Nowhere does this critique manifest itself more than in the second and third Tarzan adventures, The Return of Tarzan and The Beasts of Tarzan, which have the Russian nobleman and scoundrel, Nikolas Rokoff, as a linking character. But, while Conrad usually deals with dramatic elements in an offstage manner, ERB cuts to the chase and makes the same story much more exciting and thrilling, a stage removed from Conrad’s intellectualism.

In some ways their styles are remarkably similar, which I attribute to the fact that ERB had a classical grammar background, at the expense of English grammar, while Conrad was a Pole with English as a second – or third; he was fluent in French also – language. Thus, both Conrad and ERB provide a grand tour of the dark continent at the beginning of the Twentieth Century and should be read together as an exercise in English literature. Rarely does Pulp Fiction and classic English literature have this much in common.

(A New Chapter Featured in Each Week's ERBzine)

The Return of Tarzan
 Part Chapter No. and Title ERBzine No.
 I  I. The Affair on the Liner  5371
II II. "Forging Bonds of Hate and –" 5372
III III. What Happened in the Rue Maul 5373
IV IV. The Countess Explains  5374
V V. The Plot that Failed  5375
VI VI. A Duel  5376
VII VII. The Dancing Girl of Sidi Aissa  5377
VIII VIII. The Fight in the Desert  5378
IX IX. Numa "El Adrea" 5379
X X. Through the Valley of the Shadow  5380
XI XI. John Caldwell, London  5381
XII XII. Ships that Pass  5382
XIII XIII. The Wreck of the "Lady Alice" 5383
XIV XIV. Back to the Primitive  5384
XV XV. From Ape to Savage  5385
XVI XVI. The Ivory Raiders  5386
XVII XVII. The White Chief of the Waziri  5387
XVIII XVIII. The Lottery of Death  5388
XIX XIX. The City of Gold  5389
XX XX. La  5390
XXI XXI. The Castaways  5391
XXII XXII. The Treasure Vaults of Opar  5392
XXIII XXIII. The Fifty Frightful Men  5393
XIV XIV. How Tarzan Came Again to Opar  5394
XV XXV. Through the Forest Primeval  5395
XXVI XXVI. The Passing of the Ape-Man  5396

The Beasts of Tarzan
(A New Chapter Featured in Each Week's ERBzine)
Part Chapter No. and Title ERBzine No.
XXVII I. Kidnapped  5601
XXVIII II. Marooned  5602
XXIX III. Beasts at Bay  5603
XXX IV. Sheeta  5604
XXXI V. Mugambi  5605
XXXII VI. A Hideous Crew 5606
XXXIII VII. Betrayed 5607
XXXIV VIII. The Dance of Death 5608
XXXV IX. Chivalry or Villainy 5609
XXXVI X. The Swede 5610
XXXVII XI. Tambudza 5611
XXXVIII XII. A Black Scoundrel 5612
XXXIX XIII. Escape 5613
XL XIV. Alone in the Jungle 5614
XLI XV. Down the Ugambi 5615
XLII XVI. In the Darkness of the Night 5616
XLIII XVII. On the Deck of the "Kincaid" 5617
XLIV XVIII. Paulvitch Plots Revenge  5618
XLV XIX. The Last of the "Kincaid" 5619
XLVI XX. Jungle Island Again 5620
XLVII XXI. The Law of the Jungle 5621


The Return of Tarzan in ERB C.H.A.S.E.R: 0484
The Return of Tarzan: eText

The Beasts of Tarzan in ERB C.H.A.S.E.R.: ERBzine 0485
The Beasts of Tarzan in ERB C.H.A.S.E.R.: ERBzine 0486
The Beasts of Tarzan: eText

The Gods of Mars in ERB C.H.A.S.E.R.: ERBzine 0423
The Gods of Mars: eText

Tarzan of the Apes in ERB C.H.A.S.E.R.: 0483
Tarzan of the Apes: eText

The Personal Library of Edgar Rice Burroughs
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Title page and frontispiece from The Beasts of Tarzan by ERB - illos by J. Allen St. John

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By Woodrow Edgar Nichols, Jr.


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