On the Trail of the Real Moon
by Alan Hanson
Before I even started reading The Moon Maid
for the first time, I knew there were two different versions of the story.
Ace Books’ first paperback printing of The Moon Men in 1962
contained “A Foreword About Burroughs’ Originals” by “ERB-dom”
editor Camille Cazedessus II, which explained that Burroughs’ stories were
often changed in the transition from original magazine appearance to first
book publication, with The Moon Men being a case in point.
Caz’s brief comments are essentially all there is to be found in the fan
and commercial press about how and why the two versions of The Moon
Maid are different. Not even Irwin Porges in his 1975 Burroughs
biography addressed the subject. That being the case, quoting Caz’s foreword
in full below serves as both a review of the literature on the subject
and as a baseline for an in-depth look at the varying versions of The
“When Edgar Rice Burroughs sent his manuscripts to
‘All-Story,’ ‘Blue Book,’ ‘Argosy,’ etc., the editors of those magazines
frequently asked for revisions of the original text. It has been stated
that when the stories appeared in hard covers, it would ‘always contain
Burroughs’ original version.’ Though this statement is ‘true,’ it deserves
some explanation, for in many cases, Burroughs revised his own original
version in the transition from his own original version in the transition
from magazine to hard cover.
“When an editor revised one of Burroughs’ stories,
it usually ranged from changing story and chapter titles through rewriting
certain sentences and paragraphs, to discarding particular parts. It is
doubtful whether any editor every actually wrote anything extra into a
“When Burroughs revised one of his stories, he might
do anything from changing the book title, the chapter titles, redividing
the chapters, to rewriting some parts, deleting other episodes, and writing
new things into the tale, including new characters.
“You hold in your hand the original, longer and more
episodic, magazine version of The Moon Men and The Red Hawk,
appearing respectively in the February to March, and the September issues
of Argosy All-Story Weekly for 1925. For those of you who have not heard
of ‘ERB’s polar beat hunt in 1969,’ for instance, I suggest you read on,
for here in this Ace Book is the first complete publication of the original
Caz wrote these comments at the onset of the “Burroughs
Boom” of the early 1960s. Since then much has come to light about the
changes made in Burroughs stories between the time they were submitted
to magazine editors and their appearance in those publications. Caz’s speculation
that, “It is doubtful whether any editor ever actually ever wrote anything
extra into a story” is now known to be false. Tarzan and the
Forbidden City, Beware! and Tarzan and the
Jungle Murders, for instance, all underwent extensive editor-sponsored
rewrites for magazine publication.
In the case of The Moon Maid, Caz’s comments
in 1962 bring up more questions than they answer. First of all, exactly
how are the magazine and book versions different? Why were changes made?
Who made them and when were they made? Of course, the surest way to answer
those questions would be to take ERB’s original manuscripts and compare
them with the texts that appeared in “Argosy All-Story Weekly” and the
McClurg first edition. Unfortunately, those original manuscripts are unavailable,
and as they are never likely to be, we must depend on speculation and intuition.
Since Porges did not address this problem, let’s go back
to Caz and begin by tentatively accepting his basic explanation for how
Moon Maid underwent various changes. Caz suggested that ERB submitted
his Moon manuscripts to magazine editors, who made changes
in the text prior to the stories appearing in their magazines. Later, Caz
says, ERB’s original manuscripts were edited again, this time by Burroughs
himself, in preparation for book publication. Keep in mind, then, that
there are really three versions of The Moon Maid. The first,
which will be referred to as the “original version,” consists of the three
manuscripts Burroughs initially wrote and submitted to Munsey magazines
When the Munsey editors made changes in the original version and printed
it in “Argosy All-Story Weekly,” they created the “magazine version.” The
third, or “book version,” was a result of ERB editing his original version
for book publication. Using this as a framework, then, let’s try to follow
ERB’s Moon trilogy from conception through first book publication, always
looking for answers to the questions what?, who?, why?, and when? about
the three versions of The Moon Maid.
Under the Red Flag
ERB’s Moon trilogy had its genesis in the author’s apprehension
about both the Russian revolution and U.S. disarmament following The Great
War. To show the threat posed by communism, ERB wrote a short story entitled
the Red Flag, in which his hero, Julian 9th, was born into a 21st century
world dominated by repressive Soviets. The story was rejected 11 times
by magazine editors between 1919 and 1921. According to Porges, Burroughs
felt the story was not accepted because the editors feared readers would
view it as unpatriotic.
Not willing to waste the time he had invested in the story,
Burroughs revised it in 1922, changing the setting and converting it into
a science fiction story. Under the Red Flag became The Moon Men.
Later that same year, Burroughs wrote The Moon Maid, recounting
the events that led up to The Moon Men. (The final part of the trilogy
would not be written until two years later.)
In either late 1922 or early 1923, Burroughs sent his
manuscript of The Moon Maid to Robert H. Davis, the Munsey editor
with whom ERB had dealt amicably for eight years. While Davis was a steady
buyer of ERB’s stories, he often wrote to Burroughs explaining the weaknesses
he saw in many of them. Davis apparently had no qualms about The Moon
Maid because he rushed it into print, the first installment appearing
in the May 5, 1923, issue of Argosy All-Story Weekly.
Perhaps because of his haste to get the story into print,
Davis made very few changes in Burroughs’ manuscript. No text was removed
or added. A quick read through by Davis, or, more likely an unknown Munsey
copy editor, resulted only in changing a spelling or two to conform with
the magazine’s style. One thing Davis, or his designee, had to do was write
titles for the story’s 14 chapters. It is known that Burroughs disliked
writing chapter headings, and since the magazine and book titles for this
story are all different, it is likely the story was submitted to Davis
with only numbered chapters, and Davis had titles added. Speculating here,
it is possible that when it came time for book publication, Burroughs decided
to discard the magazine chapter titles and write his own. Perhaps he was
unwilling to let something he didn’t write, even chapter titles, appear
under his name in book publication.
While The Moon Maid got by the copy editor’s desk
virtually unscathed, the same cannot be said for its sequel. Extensive
changes were made in The Moon Men, even though the types of changes
made could also have been made in The Moon Maid but were not. Perhaps
it was because Davis felt The Moon Men needed so many changes that
its publication was delayed. It could also be that “Argosy All-Story Weekly”
had a backlog of stories at the time, and while The Moon Men waited
its turn in print, it was given to one or more copy editors who needed
something to keep them busy.
Whoever worked over The Moon Men spent a lot of
time doing so and made hundreds of changes in Burroughs’ text. Let’s start
with the mechanical changes the Munsey editor made and work up to the more
significant and interesting changes. First, in the area of capitalization,
a number of terms Burroughs had capitalized were changed to lower case.
These included “The Flag,” “Father,” “Mother,” “Sun,” “Moon,” and “The
Butcher.” Conversely, the Munsey editor capitalized a few terms ERB had
lowercased, such as “tevois,” “hellhound,” and “nature.” There were more
than a dozen different terms with switched capitalization.
The Munsey editor also made over a hundred changes in
Burroughs’ punctuation, almost all of them adding a mark where Burroughs
had none. Normally, you’d expect a copy editor to follow a standardized
set of punctuation to give some consistency to all the stories in his magazine,
but, in the case of The Moon Men, it’s hard to find consistency.
For instance, when Burroughs wrote a subordinate clause, sometimes he set
it off with a comma and sometimes he didn’t. Instead of correcting ERB’s
inconsistency, the Munsey editor was inconsistent himself in making changes.
Sometimes he removed a coma separating off a subordinate clause, and at
other times he put in a comma where Burroughs had left one out. The same
inconsistency in the use of commas on the part of Burroughs and the Munsey
editor applies to participial phrases, prepositional phrases, and independent
clauses. The Munsey editor also made other changes in Burroughs’ use of
commas, as well as adding or taking out dozens of other punctuations marks,
including dashes, quotation marks, hyphens, semi-colons, and exclamation
points. Several years later, when the time came for book publication, Burroughs
ignored all the changes in capitalization and punctuation that Munsey made
and left these things the way they were in his original manuscript.
The mechanical changes that Munsey made probably did not
bother ERB. The same cannot be said about some of the other changes. When
an editor started changing the words and the contents of one of his stories,
Burroughs’ blood pressure went up. ERB voiced his displeasure with such
practices in a 1927 letter to McClurg editor Joseph Bray, noting that “no
one has the right to do more than suggest changes — not make them.”
Burroughs could not have been happy, then, when a couple of passages had
been removed from The Moon Men. The first involved the specter of
rape. In a scene in which Peter Johansen attacks Julian 9th’s mother, Burroughs
wrote, “She was trying to fight him off; but he was forcing her slowly
toward her bedroom, for he was a large and powerful man.” The Munsey
editor deleted the italicized words. Later in the same scene the words
“befoul my mother” were changed to “attack my mother.” Apparently,
Munsey feared offending the sensibilities of its readers by directly referring
to the act of rape, even in a scene that so obviously depicts an attempted
The Munsey editor excised another passage in The Moon
Men before magazine publication, apparently because he feared it would
offend one group of Americans. As Julian 9th traveled from Chicago in search
of the mines where his father was imprisoned, he stopped to ask questions
of farmers working in their fields. Julian did not have a high opinion
of American farmers. In Burroughs original manuscript, Julian made the
“They were poor clods, these descendants of America’s
rich and powerful farming class — those people of olden times whose selfishness
had sought to throw the burden of taxation upon the city dwellers where
the ignorant foreign class were most numerous and had thus added their
bit to fomenting the discontent that worked the downfall of a glorious
nation. They themselves suffered much before they died, but nothing by
comparison with the humiliation and degradation of their descendants —
an illiterate, degraded, starving race.”
It appears here that ERB was voicing his own frustration
with American farmers in the 1920s. Apparently the Munsey editor either
didn’t agree with Burroughs, or, more likely, simply didn’t want to alienate
the magazine’s rural readership, and so cut the italicized words above
from the manuscript submitted by Burroughs, who, never fond of being censored
by pulp editors, restored the passage for book publication.
Finally, Munsey’s editor made a number of minor word changes
in ERB’s manuscript. Some were needed, such as when a few words were changed
or rearranged to correct grammatical errors or to make a sentence less
awkward. A few times, however, some words were changed for no apparent
reason. For instance, when the American prisoners rebelled at the mines,
Julian 9th described the scene. “We swarmed in upon them like wild bees
upon a foe and we shot them and bayoneted them until none remained alive.”
Munsey’s editor decided to substitute “beasts” for “bees,”
thereby creating an image quite different from the one Burroughs intended.
ERB’s simile was the more effective of the two, as “bees” matched
with the verb “swarmed,” a word the Munsey editor chose not to change.
Other word changes were seemingly prompted solely by the
editor’s preference. In one scene, Burroughs explained that it was too
dark to see what was going on “50 feet away.” In “Argosy All-Story
Weekly” that came out as “a few feet away.” In another instance,
ERB wrote of light coming from the “east window of the room.” The
editor made the light come from the “port hole of the room.” Finally,
Burroughs ended one quotation with the attribution, “I insisted.”
In a burst of creativity, Munsey’s man changed that to “I persisted.”
In the final analysis, though, with the possible exception
of ERB’s criticism of American farmers, no real substantive changes were
made in ERB’s manuscript as it made its way through Munsey’s editing process.
No key incidents were removed, added or changed. None of the editing affected
characterization, pace, or mood. Burroughs’ style survived intact, and,
in fact, the magazine version of The Moon Men reads very much as
if ERB had written every word of it. (That certainly is not the feeling
one gets in reading some other magazine versions of ERB’s stories.) And
so while a Burroughs purist might fault Munsey for its editing, certainly
the editor did no undue harm to The Moon Maid, which began serialization
in “Argosy All-Story Weekly” in February 1925.
The Red Hawk Revised
Two months later, Burroughs began writing the third and
final part of his Moon saga. ERB certainly knew that the first two parts
together were long enough to make a book, so he probably purposely kept
Red Hawk short. Between May 1925, when Burroughs finished writing the
story, and the following September, when it began its serialization in
“Argosy All-Story Weekly,” three months passed during which Munsey
had the story in house and had a chance to edit it. It is possible that
the same person who edited The Moon Men also got his hands on The
Red Hawk, for the latter underwent the same kind of changes as did
As with the rape and farmer passages in The Moon Men,
one scene was edited out of The Red Hawk because the Munsey editor
probably thought it would offend some readers. Early in the story, Julian
20th’s warriors gathered for an evening meal. As narrator, Julian explained,
“Before each warrior was an earthenware containing beer and another
filled with wine, and there were slaves whose duty it was to keep these
filled, which was no small task, for we are hearty men and great drinkers,
though there is no drunkenness among us as there is among the Kalkars.”
That sentence was not in the magazine version. Perhaps the Argosy editor
didn’t think his readers would accept even this small flaw in the character
of future Americans. [“Prohibition had been in effect since 1920. The
Argosy editors may have wanted to avoid any reference to the delicate subject
of alcoholic consumption — even in the depiction of a future world ignorant
of the Constitution and the Eighteenth Amendment.” — Comment by George
Again, dozens of changes in wording were made. Many were
done to conform with Munsey’s style rules (e.g. using “although”
instead of “though”) or to get rid of unneeded words (e.g. “ …
dotted with the glowing embers of a thousand dying camp fires” became
“ … dotted with dying camp fires”). A few wording changes, though,
leaves one wondering what the copy editor was thinking when he made them.
For instance, at one point ERB had Julian 20th say, “About us waved
The Flag.” The magazine version reads, “About us waved the Flag,
not the Flag of Argon, but a duplicate of it.”
In the area of capitalization and spelling, the editing
of The Red Hawk is much more consistent than it was in The Moon
Men. Burroughs considered the word “The” as part of the proper
nouns he created in the story and so capitalized them. Some examples are
“The Wolf,” “The Flag,” “The Rattlesnake,” “The
Vulture,” and “The Council Ring.” Munsey’s editors lowercased
“the” in all of those names and several others. As in The Moon Men,
Munsey lowercased terms such as “earth,” “moon,” “fate,”
and “hell,” which ERB capitalized. Many times when Burroughs used
a hyphen to create a compound noun (“clan-sign,” “man-slave,”
“war-cries”), Munsey changed them into two words. On the other hand,
ERB’s spelling of “today” and “tomorrow” were changed to
“to-day” and “to-morrow” for magazine publication.
Again as with The Moon Men, the Munsey copy editor
added dozens of commas where Burroughs had none. Independent and subordinate
clauses; adjective, adverb, and prepositional phrases; items in a series;
words of direct address — all were set off by commas in the magazine version
but were removed again by Burroughs for Part Three of the book version.
The final assessment of Munsey’s editing job on The
Red Hawk turns out to be the same as it was on The Moon Men. No major
changes were made. While reading the magazine version, the reader always
has the feeling that what he is reading is authentic Edgar Rice Burroughs.
In conclusion, then, Munsey handled the three parts of ERB’s Moon trilogy
with care, making mostly minor changes to conform to the company’s style
of mechanics and grammar. What few deletions of text they made, while debatable,
were brief and usually with the sensibilities of their readers in mind.
No one at Munsey felt the need to rewrite Burroughs or change his style,
and so the essence of the stories was left intact.
ERB Edits ERB
After the magazine serializations were over, ERB, as
usual, began preparing for book publication. As Caz pointed out, Burroughs’
usual practice was to ignore all the changes that had been made by magazine
editors and submit his original manuscript, with whatever changes he wanted
to make, to McClurg. So what appeared in the book first edition was usually
pure Burroughs, unsullied by outside editors.
With The Moon Maid, however, ERB had a major problem.
It was logical to combine his three separate stories, The Moon Maid,The
Moon Men, and The Red Hawk, for book publication, but when Burroughs’
three original manuscripts were put together, they were much too long to
fit into McClurg’s two-dollar book format. The counts of ERB’s “original”
Moon trilogy were roughly 61,500 words for The Moon Maid; 43,600
words for The Moon Men; and 36,000 words for
The Red Hawk.
Together they added up to over 140,000 words. Burroughs’ novels for McClurg
rarely exceeded 100,000 words. To get the three combined stories in hardcovers,
then, ERB was forced to do himself what he hated magazine editors doing
— cut his own stories down in size.
Burroughs had to decide where he would cut thousands of
words of text from his trilogy. Perhaps, since the book would be entitled
Moon Maid, Burroughs felt he needed to emphasize the part of the
trilogy that included the title character, and so he cut nothing from part
one. This meant ERB had to cut even more extensively from The Moon Men
and The Red Hawk in an effort to bring the trilogy down to book
length. His deletions were of two types — episodes and background information.
In the original version of The Moon Men there were
12 episodes, or scenes of interaction between characters, that Burroughs
removed for the book version. Below is a list of those episodes with a
little explanation of each.
1. ERB’s original version began with an extended prologue
giving an account of the author’s 1969 Arctic polar bear hunt. After a
close shave with a polar bear, a ship commanded by Admiral Julian 3rd rescued
the author. After ERB recovered, Julian 3rd began telling him the story
of Julian 9th as they sat in the admiral’s cabin. All of this was omitted
in the book version, which starts with Julian 3rd coming into the author’s
Washington D.C. office. That night over dinner Julian 3rd told the story
of Julian 9th.
2. Chapter Two of the original version contained
eight pages of copy, including several episodes, which were left out of
the book version. Included in this section is the story of Julian 9th’s
mother, Elizabeth, feeling ill and her husband’s being taken advantage
of by the tax collector when he bought some coal to heat their house. Also,
Julian 9th told about a visit by a fascinating man from Missouri and his
adventures in reaching Chicago. Peter Johansen came to Julian 8th’s house
and tried to get him to criticize the Kalkars. Finally, after Julian 9th
and his father were insulted by the tax collector, Julian 8th exploded
with indignation when they get back home.
3. Also left out of the book was a short paragraph
in which Julian 8th and neighbor Jim Thompson talked about the West and
their dreams of a life free of Kalkar control there.
4. Also omitted from the book was a conversation
between Julian 9th and Juana, in which they discussed the sad plight of
American farmers and the case of Dennis Corrigan, who was sent to prison
for reading at night.
5. ERB completely deleted Juana’s attempted suicide
from the book version. In the original text, Julian 9th walked Juana home
and then returned to his own house. Becoming concerned for Juana, Julian
ran back just in time to save Juana from drowning herself in the river.
While walking her home a second time, Julian 9th saw Johansen and a Kash
Guard peering through a window of his house. In the book version,
after walking Juana to Jim’s house for the first time, Julian 9th returned
home to see Johansen and a Kash Guard looking in the window.
6. The next day in the original version, Julian
9th told his parents about seeing Johansen and a Kash Guard looking in
the window. After Julian 8th walked outside with his head down in despair,
his wife voiced her fear that he might kill himself. Julian 9th then vowed
to kill Or-tis if he tried to have his way with Juana. All this was omitted
for the book version.
7. A paragraph that tells of Julian 9th, Juana,
and Moses Samuels continuing home after Johansen had followed Samuels after
church does not appear in the book version.
8. Cut for book publication were the arrangements
for the legal wedding of Julian 9th and Juana. Also deleted are Julian
9th conference with pastor Orinn Colby, Juana moving into Julian 9th’s
house, and the making of clothes for the wedding.
9. A paragraph in which Julian 9th stood up for
his rights when he was denied land of his own to start a family was left
out of the book version.
10. In the original version, the day after a raid
on the Americans’ church, Old Samuels the Jew gave Julian 9th a crucifix
as a wedding present. The Kash Guard then burst in and held Julian while
Samuels was tortured to death. The next day, Julian, his father, and Jim
Thompson buried Samuels. The narrative continued with, “A week after the
death of Samuels …” In the book version, Chapter Six ends with the raid
on the church. Chapter Seven begins with “A week later …”
11. Absent from the book version are nearly three pages
of text in which a group of Americans met to discuss the new tax plan and
were coaxed into rebellion by Julian 9th.
12. Left out of the book version is a half paragraph,
after the church meeting above, in which the rebellious Americans scattered
when approached by the Kash Guard.
Prior to book publication, Burroughs also excised a number
of episodes, about 10 of them, from The Red Hawk. Many of them are
minor incidents, but two are worth mentioning. In Chapter Two of the book
version, as the clans of Julian 20th begin their march out of the desert,
Julian and his brother Rain Cloud rode side by side. Gazing at the stars,
the curious Rain Cloud said, “There is so much that we do not know,
yet all that we can spare the time for is thoughts of fighting. I shall
be glad when we have chased the last of the Kalkars into the sea, so that
some of us may sit down in peace and think.” In Burroughs original
version, however, are merely the closing comments in a long and interesting
philosophical discussion between Julian 20th, the warrior, and Rain Cloud,
the thinker. When Rain Cloud questioned his brother’s belief that The Flag
created the earth, a frustrated Julian 20th replied, “I do not enjoy
thinking about such useless things. It is a waste of time.” Rain Cloud
countered with, “I would know the truth. It is not well to be ignorant.”
It was a useful passage in the story, because it provided a glimpse of
the Americans’ future. Warriors like Julian 20 dominated American society
when the defeat of the Kalkars was paramount, but after that was done,
the thinkers, like Rain Cloud, would take the lead in rebuilding all the
knowledge lost since the invasion of the Moon Men four centuries earlier.
Another incident left out of the book version, this one
less significant but nevertheless interesting, occurred after Julian 20th
saw the ocean for the first time. In the book version, after gazing at
the vast expanse of water from an overhanging cliff, Julian rode off up
a canyon aboard Red Lightning for an encounter with the Nipons. In the
magazine version, however, after seeing the ocean from the cliff, Julian
road down an old trail to the beach. There the thirsty Julian and Red Lightning
both took a drought of water from an incoming wave. Both became sick. Julian
thought he was about to die on the verge of achieving his family’s centuries-old
goal. After about an hour, though, both horse and rider recovered; then
they ride up into the hills to encounter the Nipons.
In addition to the 22 episodes present only in the magazine
versions, many passages giving background information did not make it into
hard covers. ERB cut nearly 40 descriptive passages, all of them again
in parts two and three, ranging in length from one sentence to four paragraphs.
A few examples in The Moon Men include two paragraphs explaining
the use of money in Julian 9th’s day; three paragraphs about the demise
of railroads and other methods of transportation and communications under
the Kalkars; and four paragraphs about religion, its survival to that point,
and Julian 9th’s fear that it might die out. Some examples from The Red
Hawk are four paragraphs on American horse combat strategy; two sentences
on Kalkar facial hair; and six paragraphs on Julian 20th’s observations
about the Kalkar Capital and how its state of disrepair underscored the
utter futility of human effort.
When the cutting was done, Burroughs had eliminated over
15,000 words. He took the most from The Moon Men reducing it by
10,700 words, or about 25 per cent. The Red Hawk lost 4,800 words,
or about 13 percent. By cutting more from The Moon Men, which was
considerably longer than The Red Hawk in their original versions,
ERB may been trying to equalize the lengths of parts two and three. In
the book version, part one took up 204 pages, while part two filled 104
pages and part three ran 100 pages.
Even with all the text that ERB cut out, it only lowered
the word count for the entire trilogy down to 126,400, probably still too
much for McClurg’s liking. At this point, Burroughs, who had probably decided
he had cut out everything he could without destroying the story, decided
to try another strategy to reduce the book’s length: he began to go through
the manuscript and combine paragraphs. (The assumption here is that the
magazine version retained the paragraphing Burroughs used in his original
manuscripts, although it is possible that the Munsey editors broke some
of Burroughs’ longer paragraphs down into smaller ones.) There are many,
many instances of shorter magazine paragraphs being combined into longer
book paragraphs. Again this editing practice was confined only to parts
two and three of the trilogy. The paragraphing of part one matches throughout
in both published versions. In The Moon Men, however, there are
20 instances in which two magazine paragraphs were combined into one book
paragraph, and three cases in which three magazine paragraphs were combined
into one book paragraph. This consolidation procedure was intensified in
Red Hawk, where fully 83 times two magazine paragraphs were combined
into one McClurg paragraph. In addition, 16 other times three paragraphs
were combined into one; six times four paragraphs were combined into one;
twice five paragraphs were combined into one; and once even seven magazine
paragraphs were integrated into a single book paragraph.
Reducing the text by 15,000 words and combining paragraphs,
along with a small typeface than McClurg usually employed in a lengthy
Burroughs book, all combined to squeeze The Moon Maid into
McClurg’s format, and in 1926, the year after magazine serialization was
complete, the first book edition of The Moon Maid was published.
(Perhaps the added cost of over 400 pages, though, was the reason only
one illustration was included.) All subsequent hardcover editions have
followed the edited down version first published by McClurg. The longer
“Argosy All-Story Weekly” versions are also readily available in Ace Books
paperback editions. Of course, ERB’s original manuscripts for The
Moon Maid trilogy have never been available to the public.
It is time, then, for a final assessment of the two published
versions of The Moon Maid. The book version has the advantage
of being pure Burroughs. The magazine version, on the other hand, had several
passages ERB wrote removed and hundreds of word, punctuation, capitalization,
and spelling changes made by Munsey’s copy editors. The magazine version
is closer to Burroughs’ original story in that it contains nearly all of
the episodes and background information that ERB originally wrote into
the story, much of which ERB himself later cut before book publication.
In the end, though, it is as my high school English teacher one said, “content
is more important than mechanics.” ERB’s original manuscripts of his
Moon trilogy do not suffer greatly under the pen of the Munsey editors,
while the book version suffers immensely from what Burroughs himself removed.
The richness of the story is compromised by the omission of so many incidents
and so much background information. In particular, the courage of Samuels
the Jew in The Moon Men and the philosophy of Rain Cloud in The
Red Hawk are jewels from the pen of Edgar Rice Burroughs that can only
be read in the magazine versions of the stories. To have these and other
passages, I can put up with Munsey’s trivial tinkering. The book version
of The Moon Maid may be pure Burroughs, but the magazine
version is closer to the original Burroughs. In the future, as always in
the past, when I want to read The Moon Maid, I’ll reach for
my well-worn Ace editions.
Postscript: In 2002 the University of Nebraska Press published
a “complete and restored” version of ERB’s The Moon Maid.
In the “Publisher’s Preface,” Editor in Chief Gary H. Dunham offered the
following comments about the book’s text:
“This edition contains the text of the original serialization
of The Moon Maid, and thus it encompasses and reflects the
scope and depth of the original version of its creator. But there’s more.
by Alan Hanson’s research and careful comparison of the magazine and
book versions of the epic, we have incorporated numerous passages, sentences,
and words that were either excised by the magazine editors or were added
later by Burroughs or an editor to the book edition. Spellings, capitalizations,
and chapter titles and organization have been standardized to follow usage
found in the 1926 book version.”
— The End —