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Volume 0754
A Collector's Hypertexted and Annotated Storehouse of Encyclopedic Resources
J. Allen St. John: Outlaw of Torn - no interiors
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1st Ed Cover from the Bob Hibbard Collection
ERB's second story ~ written between Under the Moons of Mars and Tarzan of the Apes but rejected at that time.
Dedication: "To my friend Joseph E. Bray" (McClurg editor and later president)


News Story Magazine: Jan., Feb., Mar., Apr., May 1914
    The same B/W headpiece was used for each of the five installments
McClurg: February 19, 1927 ~ March 1927 ~ 298 pages ~ 1st Ed. Print Run: 6,000 ~ McClurg Total: 57,000 ~ Heins word count: 65,000
    J. Allen St. John dust jacket ~ no interiors
Grosset & Dunlap: 1928 ~ numerous printings
    J. Allen St. John dust jacket
Ace Books: November 1928 ~ 255 pages
    Roy G. Krenkel: cover and title page art
Ace Books: January 1973 ~ 75 cents
    Frank Frazetta cover art
Ace Books: 95 cents
    Frank Frazetta cover art
Ace Books: $1.50 cents
    Frank Frazetta cover art
Ace Books: November 1978 ~ $1.95 cents
    Frank Frazetta cover art
For detailed information, see Robert B. Zeuschner's
Edgar Rice Burroughs: The Bibliography (ERB, Inc., 2016).
Click on or call 214-405-6741 to order a copy.
ERB's Non-Series Stories
Although Edgar Rice Burroughs is best known as the creator of the classic Tarzan of the Apes, his restless imagination knew no bounds. During a prolific wrting career that began in 1911, Burroughs' pen ranged from the American West to primitive Africa and on to romantic adventure on the moon, the planets and even Beyond The Farthest Star. Still it is not at all surprising that the author who created the monumental Tarzan of the Apes should find his other literary efforts overshadowed by one of the most popular fictional characters of all time.

In Beyond Thirty, written in 1915, Burroughs draws a picture of the earth two centureies hence, on the assumption that the United States did not enter the First World War, and that the great conflict ended with the destruction of all European civilizations. Beyond the Farthest Star and Tangor Returns have as their locale the rather earthlike planet Poloda, which with ten companions move in a common orbit around a small star situation far outside the limits of our own Milky Way.

The list is endless. Even after his death in 1950, Edgar Rice Burroughs' hypnotic influence has continued to add to interplanetary geography through the pens of other writers. Indeed, as long as his books await discovery by future generations, one can only wonder about those other, unborn worlds waiting.

The Outlaw of Torn
THE MOST FEARED WARRIOR IN ENGLAND. At 17 - The Greatest Swordsman in England -- At 18 - A Price On His Head --At 19 - The Leader Of A Band Of A Thousand - Who was this Norman of Torn? Where did he come from? All that anyone knew was that his blade was sharp, his arm strong. Then - As he was about to uncover the secret of his birth - he found himself in the greatest peril he'd ever known. 'These then, be my men father; and together we shall fare forth upon the highways and into the byways of England to collect from the rich that living which you have ever taught me was owing US. "All’s well, my son, and even as I myself would have it; together we shall ride out, and where we ride a trail of blood shall mark our way. " "From now, henceforth, the name and fame of Norman from Torn shall grow in the land, until even the King Shall tremble when he hears it, and shall hate and loathe ye as I have even taught ye to hate and loathe him." 'All England shall curse ye and the blood of Saxon and Norman shall never dry upon your blade. Such was the heritage of the fearless youth who became known throughout Medieval England as the Outlaw of Torn. But who he really was, how he fared, and how his sword won him the way to his true The Outlaw of Torn birthright.
ERB's Second Novel: The Outlaw of Torn
"I think it is the best thing I ever wrote. . ." ~ Edgar Rice Burroughs
Irwin Porges, through his concentrated research on ERB documents at ERB, Inc., pieced together the interesting evolution of Ed Burroughs' second novel - The Outlaw of Torn. Highlights of these findings follow:
Following ERB's success with his first story, Under the Moons of Mars, Thomas Metcalf of "All-Story Magazine" suggested that Ed should consider creating his next story in a different setting. "I was thinking last night, considering with how much vividness you described the various fights, whether you might not be able to do a serial of the regular romantic type, something like, say Ivanhoe, or at least of the period when everybody wore armor and dashed about rescuing fair ladies. If you have in mind any serials, or anything of that sort, and if you think it worth your while, I should be very glad indeed to hear from you in regard to them.

So, somewhat reluctantly, Ed found himself returning to the thirteenth century to write a pseudo-historical romance about a gallant outlaw. Amazingly, he completed the story within three weeks. In his letter of November 29, 1911, Ed reported the dispatch, by United States Express, of The Outlaw of Torn

He explained that the story was set in medieval England. About his hero, the fictitious second son of Henry III, he wrote, "The story of his adventurous life, and his love for a daughter of the historic Simon de Montfort, Earl of Leicester, gives ample opportunity for thrilling situations, and hair raising encounters. . .  while the story hinges, in a way, upon certain historic facts in connection with The Barons' War of that period, I have not infused enough history, scenery or weather in it to in any way detract from the interest of the narrative." 

The plot, quite ingenious, and with no actual basis in fact, concerns the incredible revenge of Sir Jules de Vac, French fencing master in the household of Henry III, for the insult he has suffered from the English King.  To a critical reader, however, The Outlaw of Torn was nothing more than a ragged patchwork of assorted characters and incidents, hastily conceived and ineffectively bundled together. Even as a picaresque romance with the customary string of loosely related adventures it was a failure. The semblance of a medieval atmosphere, which Ed attempted to create through brief descriptions and bits of historical reference, was completely unconvincing. Metcalf, on December 19, 1911, offered a summary of the novel's defects:

"I am very doubtful about the story. The plot is excellent, but I think you worked it out all together too hurriedly. You really didn't get the effect of the picturesqueness of Torne. Opportunities for color and pageantry you have entirely missed. The worth of some of the figures of which you might make a great deal, you do not seem to realize. As, for instance, the old fencer whom you use for about three chapters and then ignore entirely until the very end of the story. In him you have a kind of malevolent spirit who might pervade the whole book."

Ed promptly sent a letter in defence of the rejected Torn. His belief had been that All-Story would want something with a good plot and "as rapid action as possible, so as to not entail too much matter." He conceded that since this story was completed so soon after his first one, a reader might receive an impression that it was hurriedly written; this was clearly not the case, he insisted. "I work all day and late into the night studying my references and writing alternately. An experienced writer would doubtless cover much more ground in the same time." He stressed that the flaws that Metcalfe had pointed out  in The Outlaw of Torn, were "errors" subject to speedy correction.  "I can see no reason why I cannot make the story satisfactory to you, for the errors you cite are purely of omission, and they can easily be remedied."

Ed's confidence was shaken somewhat when Metcalf responded with a devastating analysis of the novel. "I think you have neglected great opportunities." He believed that Ed's first chapter should have been "full of color and excitement." After a brief summary of the plot, Metcalf referred to the ending: "I am not sure that there is any particular value in the happy ending. It seems to be more legitimate to have both De Vac and the outlaw die in the end, leaving the lady dissolved in tears, possibly on her way to become a nun." He followed this up with a series of specific suggestions.

With the rejection of The Outlaw of Torn Ed had become dubious about his writing ability. As a result, he now had little faith that "Tarzan," the story that he had started writing after his first draft of Torn, would be accepted. ". . . When I finished it I knew that it was not as good a story as The Outlaw of Torn," he commented, "and that, therefore, it would not sell...." 

Metcalf's appraisal of the manuscript evidently convinced Ed of the necessity for careful, studied revision, for he now worked slowly, not returning The Outlaw of Torn until February 2, 1912. For this revised manuscript Ed had devised two separate endings for the story, "one happy and the other tending toward the opposite, but leaving the matter somewhat in the reader's hands. For business reasons I lean to the 'happy' one, because as all classes read fiction purely for relaxation and enjoyment, I imagine they do not care particularly for stories which leave a bad taste. However, I leave it to your greater experience."

A month later, Metcalfe sent word that although he liked the plot, he could not use Torn in its present form. . .but he would be willing to buy the story for $100 and have one of his staff writers who was more experienced in medieval history do a re-write as a co-author. Ed responded:

"I am very sorry that you do not find `The Outlaw of Torn' available in its present form; but I thank you for your alternative offer, which, however, in view of the time I have put on the story, I cannot see my way to accept.. . . I really think your readers would have liked that story. I am not prone to be prejudiced in favor of my own stuff, in fact it all sounds like rot to me, but I tried the Mss on some young people; extremely superior, hypercritical young people, and some of them sat up all night reading it. [I am convinced] that nobody knows anything about the manners, customs or speech of 13th century England. . . . So who may say that one story fairly represents the times and that another does not? If I had written into The Outlaw of Torn my real conception of the knights of the time of Henry III you would have taken the Mss with a pair of tongs and dropped it in the furnace. I made my hero everything that I thought the men of the time were not.

After another rejection Ed let the Torn project lie dormant until October when he renewed his efforts:  "Am working on The Outlaw of Torn and think that I am whipping a good story out of it. Do you really think it worth while submitting it to you or would you suggest that I fire it to some other magazine?" After Metcalfe's promise to consider the story again Ed sent the revised script on November 19: "Please don't return it to me. When you are through with it let me know and I will send you a shipping paster and the coin to forward it elsewhere. I know that you will not like it any better than you did before. It's funny too, for everyone who has read it except yourself has thought it by far the most interesting story I have written." Following yet another rejection, Ed responded: "I am going to do it over again when I have time — I shall stick to The Outlaw of Torn until it is published — I come of a very long lived family."

There were now three versions: the original long-hand story of 215 pages; a typed manuscript, quite similar but with small corrections; and the expanded, detailed form. The revised manuscript of 1912, a collection of hand-written and typed pages, exhibited changes that were based upon additional research.  Ed's first two openings were discarded, and in the final published version of The Outlaw of Torn a more leisurely introductive section appeared. Ed's persistence eventually paid off eight months later when A. L. Sessions, Editor of the "New Story" magazine, accepted the story for publication. (The Outlaw of Torn was purchased for $1000 and serialized in the January, March, April, and May 1914 issues. WH)

Ed's belief in his beleagured second novel was vindicated thirteen years later  when McClurg published The Outlaw of Torn on February 19, 1927.  To the literary editor of the Sacramento Bee, on March 15, Ed recalled that this story drove him to the hardest "labor" he had ever done. He also noted that Bray never cared for the story, but described him as "one of the princes of the publishing world," and added, "I dedicated this one to him, as you will note from the flyleaf, to make him like it." A few months before publication Bray had been made president of A. C. McClurg & Company. Ed's faith in The Outlaw of Torn appeared justified with the report, on March 28, that the 5,000 copy first edition of the book had been sold out — a gratifying record for so short a period. For the window display of The Outlaw of Torn for Brentano's Book Store in Chicago, Ed sent a photo of himself at the Tarzana Ranch with the yearling filly named Dejah Thoris. Concerning the novel, he wrote to Maurice Simons at McClurg:

"I think it is the best thing I ever wrote, with the possible exception of Tarzan of the Apes, and next to it, I believe will rank The War Chief of the Apaches." 

Throughout the late thirties Burroughs and ERB, Inc. secretary Rothmund conducted a persistent campaign to persuade the motion picture companies to consider various stories as film vehicles. . . . . Those most determinedly marketed were Jungle Girl, Outlaw of Torn, The Mucker, Apache Devil, and The War Chief. All of the stories were judged unsuitable for film production.

New Story Magazine

New Story Magazine was published monthly between August 1911 and November 1915, initially by the LaSalle Publishing Co. of Chicago (August 1911-January 1912), and from February 1912 by the Street & Smith Corp. It was edited by Archibald Lowry Sessions, and issues were 15 cents each.

Despite its brief existence, the magazine had a complicated genealogy. In October 1910, Gunter’s Magazine (February 1905-September 1910) had been retitled The New Gunter’s Magazine. A month later, it was then retitled The New Magazine (November 1910-July 1911), which lasted less than a year before becoming New Story Magazine in August 1911.

Contributors included H. Rider Haggard, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Edgar Wallace, and James Francis Dwyer. Between June and December 1913, New Story serialized Burroughs's The Return of Tarzan—a much-anticipated sequel to Tarzan of the Apes (All-Story Magazine, October 1912). Two of the issues featured cover illustrations by N.C. Wyeth, one of which was used for the dust-jacket of the McClurg first edition of the novel.

Burroughs returned to the pages of New Story Magazine in 1914 with his Gothic romance The Outlaw of Torn. Written in 1911 and subsequently rejected by the editor of All-Story, The Outlaw of Torn was purchased for $1000 and serialized in the January, March, April, and May 1914 issues.

New Story Magazine ran for just 52 issues, until December 1915 when the title was changed yet again—this time to All Around Magazine (December 1915-March 1917). The magazine then lasted just two more years, before finally meeting its demise at the height of the First World War.

~ Patrick Scott Belk, The University of Tulsa

New Story - January 1914 - The Outlaw of Torn 1/5New Story - February 1914 - The Outlaw of Torn 2/5
New Story - April 1914 - The Outlaw of Torn 4/5

New Story pulp headpieceA.C. McClurg ad
A.C. McClurg ad

From Burroughs Bulletin No. 2
A Review by Bob O'Malley

UK Edition
Methuen: August 1937

Ace Paperback Edition: Roy G. Krenkel cover art ~ November 1968Ace Edition: Frank Frazetta cover art

click for large image
Pinnacle Paperback UK Edition: September 1953
Cover art by J. E. McConnell

The Outlaw of Torn
Frazetta cover painting (click)

Classic Books Library (February 23, 2007)
Paperback - 192 pages - ISBN: 9781600968167


ACE A-25 | 1968


Click for full-size promo splash bars

From the Thomas Yeates Tribute Site
"The Outlaw Prince"
"Michael Kaluta is doing rough layouts for ERB's Outlaw of Torn, which is going to be re-titled The Outlaw Prince. A fan named Rob Hughes is adapting and expanding on Ed's story and paying us. I'm doing the finished art, and my partner Lori and I are coloring it. Dark Horse will publish it when we get it done. Here are some sample pages:

Follow the progress of Rob Hughes'
Graphic Novel and Film project at:

Presenting a medieval adventure based on The Outlaw of Torn, written by Edgar Rice Burroughs.
Original Text | Bibliography | Background  | Interviews | Script | Layouts | Sketches | Inks | Colours | Completed Pages

J. Allen St. John: Outlaw of Torn - no interiors
Original ERB Text


Hughes Interview

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ERB C.H.A.S.E.R. Online Encyclopedia
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