The First and Only Weekly Online Fanzine Devoted to the Life and Works of Edgar Rice Burroughs
Issue 0665
The Many Worlds of
Edgar Rice Burroughs Signature
Chattering From The Shoulder
No.  26
David Arthur Adams

Thoughts about
Tarzan of the Apes:
A Literary Investigation of
The African Adventure Story

Tarzan of the Apes: 1st Ed. DJ - A.C. McClurg

Haggard was First

H. Rider Haggard

Edgar Rice Burroughs wrote one of the most famous stories of African adventure in his Tarzan of the Apes.  It was first published in The All-Story magazine in October 1912.  Although the theme of a wild boy living with animals in the jungle was most notably written by Kiplingin his two Jungle Books (seven stories and seven poems published in 1894, followed by eight stories and eight poems in 1895) the tales take place in colonial India rather than Africa.  Burroughs had never visited Africa, so his background information came from books or his own imagination.  Indeed, Holtsmark has written  persuasively about his jungle as a "psychological landscape" rather than as a place in the real world. (Holtsmark, 7-12).
The first great African adventure story was written by H. Rider Haggard, followed by many other African tales based upon his own personal experiences beginning in 1875 when he went out to Natal with Sir Henry Bulwer.  His first published work was a non-fiction study of Cetewayo and His White Neighbors published in 1882.

"Although many soldiers, travelers and hunters wrote about their experiences in Africa there were surprisingly few novels set there.  .  .. King Solomon's Mines was the first African story to find a wide readership (Higgins 84).

H. Rider Haggard's King Solomon's Mines of 1885 was wildly successful. With its publication Haggard became the talk of the literary world.  The story was written in six weeks on a dare by his brother who bet him he could not write anything to match Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island (1882).  Stevenson himself wrote Haggard a series of letters of praise mixed with criticism, ending with the postscript, "How about a deed of partnership."  He could ask for no higher accolade. (Pocock, 62-63).

In 1872 Henry Morton Stanley published his "How I Found Livingstone in Central Africa".  It was a phenomenal success, selling by ten of thousands and was was into its third edition in a single month.  Although this was not a work of fiction, the historic events he described seemed almost fantastic, the Mirambo war, the ordeal with the Ha, the crossing of the Malagarazi and the meeting with Livingston, the saint of Victorian explorers.  (McLynn, 224).  This book was followed by Through the Dark Continent in 2 vols. in 1878, the account of his crossing the entire continent, concluding with his epic trip down the Congo river.  In his bibliography, McLynn lists 53 notable book titles on African exploration available in English before 1911.  Of course, there were hundreds more, but his list is interesting and indicates some of the many titles available to Burroughs.  Atamian thinks that two books were especially relevant in the creation of Tarzan of the Apes, namely, Paul Du Chaillu's Explorations and Adventures in Equatorial Africa (1861) and J.W. Buell's Heroes of the Dark Continent (1889). (Atamian, 22).

The influence of Stanley's work is evident in ERB's Tarzan series. However, Haggard's Allan Quatermain is usually associated with the big game hunter, Selous, whose A Hunter's Wanderings in Africa of 1881 attracted much attention.  "It is unlikely that the book was unknown to Haggard, whose interest in Africa was constantly refreshed by the purchase and thorough study of a large number of non-fiction books about it" (Higgins, 72).  Of course, Haggard had his own African experiences as a source for his writing as well.  The following list records Haggard's 22 African books which would have been available to Burroughs before his writing of Tarzan of the Apes.

1882 - Cetywayo and His White Neighbors: or, Remarks on Recent Events in Zululand, Natal, and the Transvaal
1885 - The Witch's Head - a dramatic description of Isandhlwana
1885 - King Solomon's Mines
1887 - Jess -  A love story against the backdrop of the Boer War.
1887 - Allan Quatermain
1887 - She
1888 - Maiwa's Revenge
1889 - Cleopatra
1889 - Allan's Wife And Other Tales
1892 - Nada the Lily
1894 - The People of the Mist
1896 - The Wizard
1898 - Allan The Hunter.  A Tale of Three Lions  (Collected in "Allan's Wife and Other Tales.")
1899 -  Swallow.  A Tale of the Great Trek
1899 - The Last Boer War.  Actually an abridged version of his first book.
1900 - Black Heart and White Heart and Other Stories
1905 - The Return of She: Ayesha
1906 - Benita.  An African Romance.  An adventure tale involving clairvoyance and an African treasure.  The New York edition was titled "The Spirit of Bambatse."
1909 - The Lady of the Heavens   A competent telling of how yet another white woman is welcomed as a goddess by an African tribe.  Called "The Ghost Kings" in England.
1908 - The Yellow God.  An Idol of Africa.
1910 -  Morning Star.  A romance of ancient Egypt.
1910 -  Queen Sheba's Ring

Atamian, Sarkis, The Origin of Tarzan:  The Mystery of Tarzan's Creation Solved, Publication Consultants, 1997.
Higgins, D.S.  Rider Haggard:  A Biography, Stein and Day, 1983.
Holtsmark, Erling, B.  Tarzan and Tradition:  Classical Myth in Popular Literature, Greenwood Press, 1981.
McLynn, Frank, Stanley:  The Making of an African Explorer, Scarborough House, 1990.
Pocock, Tom, Rider Haggard and the Lost Empire:  A Biography, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1993.
All-Story Magazine October 1912: Tarzan of the ApesOrigin of Tarzan: Sarkis Atamian
Rudyard KiplingRobert Louis Stevenson
ERB by Erling B. HoltsmarkJungle Book IJungle Book IIHenry Morton Stanley
For more information on the art and text of this novel, 
visit the
Illustrations from the Japanese Edition are featured at:
ERBzine 0483

David Nkima Adams

Nkima's Chattering From The Shoulder Series II
ERBzine 664
Nkima Chat Series II Intro
ERBzine 665
Chat 26: Tarzan of the Apes
African Adv. Story
Chat 27: Return of Tarzan
Some Thoughts. . .
ERBzine 667
Chat 28: Beasts of Tarzan
St. John Illustrations
ERBzine 668
Chat 29: Son of Tarzan
Thoughts About. . . 
ERBzine 669
Chat 30: Tarzan and the Jewels of Opar
Two Psychological Investigations
ERBzine 670
Chat 31: Jungle Tales of Tarzan I
A Novelistic Reading I
ERBzine 671
Chat 32: Jungle Tales of Tarzan II Novelistic Reading: 12 Lunar Labors
ERBzine 672
Chat 33: Tarzan the Untamed: 
Imaginative Deaths of Enemies
ERBzine 791
Chat 34: Tarzan the Untamed: 
ERB's Book of the Lion
ERBzine 792
Chat 35: OFs of OB
ERBzine 793
Chat 36:
Tarzan and the War Against the Hun
ERBzine 794
Chat 37: The Convolutions of 
Tarzan and the Golden Lion 
ERBzine 795
Chat 38: Tarzan and the Ant Men
An Infantile Romance
ERBzine-e 796
Chat 39: Tarzan and the Ant Men
Lacanian Analysis
ERBzine 843
Chat 40: Tarzan and the Tarzan Twins
A Story for Children of All Ages
ERBzine 396
Nkima'sChattering From The Shoulder
Main Introduction and Contents Page
ERBzine 844
Chat 41: Tarzan the Magnificent
Tarzan and the Magic Women Pt. 1

Issue 0665

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