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Old 04-15-2020, 04:45 PM   #16
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I think he also realised some of the ethical failings of that system.
I agree. But keep in mind some of the European antagonists in the Tarzan stories were WWI or WWII enemies. Lord Greystoke was a remarkably patriotic Brit.
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Old 04-15-2020, 04:57 PM   #17
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I didn't like the blatant racism. It was just way too in your face for the book to be enjoyable.
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Old 04-15-2020, 09:36 PM   #18
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Remember reading this with fondness from when I was younger, and it's held up about as well as can be expected.

Philip Jose Farmer's retelling/reworking/pastiche Tarzan Alive: A Definitive Biography of Lord Greystoke is interesting, but it's hard to tell if it didn't go far enough, or it went too far. It does do a good job of tidying up some of the coincidences and insconsistencies and so forth though. (and apparently there is another retelling, Wild by Alex Mallory, a YA from 2014).
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Old 04-15-2020, 11:02 PM   #19
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I just finished the book--I'd never read it or any of the other ERB works. I don't even know that I'd ever seen any of the movie versions, except in bits and pieces, until the Disney adaptation.

So it was mostly new to me, except in the broadest outline. I enjoyed it in the beginning--the writing seemed lively and exciting, and I liked the story of how the family came to be in the African jungle. Then it bogged down; I did not like all the gratuitous violence and the endless tales of jungle life and killing. I was waiting for Jane to arrive, and for the "romance." Which was a disappointment.

There was so little interaction between Tarzan and Jane; heck, if I'm supposed to believe that some murderous ape man is her secret fantasy, the writer needs to do a more convincing job of it. But, okay, I'll go along with it. Then suddenly she's gone, and it takes forever (mostly boring again) for them to reunite--and after all that, boom, it's over for the star-crossed pair. Say what? No payoff, just Tarzan being all civilized and noble, and Jane being all proper and prim? What kind of ending to an adventure tale is that?
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Old 04-15-2020, 11:29 PM   #20
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The ending is ... interesting.

I can't remember what I thought when I first read it, but as I was very young I probably thought Tarzan had just had a narrow escape from servitude and could now swing back to the jungle where all the fun was to had .

But looking back now, I think the ending was inspired - pure marketing genius. It gave this first book an acceptable (to many) conclusion but still leaves that dangling hook to bring you back for "The Return of Tarzan", "The Beasts of Tarzan" and then ... "The Son of Tarzan"! So you know Tarzan's going to get some payoff eventually.


As for any romance to the romance ... I think we're supposed to accept white nobility calling to each other across the void of language ... combined with some animal magnétisme.
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Old 04-16-2020, 12:05 AM   #21
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My reaction was the same as Catlady. I have not read ERB as well, and I have vague recollections of what must have been the movies or TV series from childhood. The book was also darker than I expected (e.g. cannibalism). I found the ending a disappointment because he doesn't get the girl, and it ends as a cliff-hanger. I understand why now. However, I did not know previously that Tarzan was such a big literary franchise (24 books in the series - wow!). The information upthread about the real estate development was very interesting. I never linked Tarzana, CA to Tarzan.

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Old 04-16-2020, 12:12 AM   #22
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And the second was swinging through the trees of Wisconsin - over the top of a bush fire. This gave me trouble (hot air rises, trees burn). Isn't it odd that, of all the things I could have picked on, this stood out? And I've never even been to Wisconsin. Okay, so I've never been to Africa, either.
I thought this last section with the Wisconsin fire was odd and maybe too much of a stretch. I certainly don't think of fire threats in Wisconsin. One thinks of them more in the forests of the far Western US, especially in drier areas. Perhaps at the time period of the book Wisconsin was wild Western territory and not as populated so the trees were really dense. It was likely before there were also policies of intentional thinning of forests to reduce the threats of fire. So maybe it was not unusual to the reader of this time period.
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Old 04-16-2020, 12:21 AM   #23
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As to Burroughs' literary franchise, I might adapt an observation about Burroughs that I posted on another thread on MR a few years ago...

From Wikipedia:
Quote:
By 1911, after seven years of low wages as a pencil-sharpener wholesaler; Burroughs began to write fiction. [...] In 1929, he recalled thinking that

...if people were paid for writing rot such as I read in some of those magazines, that I could write stories just as rotten. As a matter of fact, although I had never written a story, I knew absolutely that I could write stories just as entertaining and probably a whole lot more so than any I chanced to read in those magazines.
And then look at his output in the first three years of publication: Tarzan, Barsoom, Pellucidar, The Mucker, Outlaw of Torn, The Mad King.

Not only was he prolific, he was playing the field. I am amazed at what he achieved in such a short time. As much as I might find details to criticise, I can't help but admire the effort and the result.
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Old 04-16-2020, 06:17 AM   #24
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I did not find the inconclusive conclusion at all satisfying and so I read the “The Return of Tarzan” which continues the story. I should not have been surprised at the cliff-hanger quality because EBR does the same thing in the Barsoom series. “The Princess of Mars” leads directly to “The Gods of Mars” and finally concludes with “Warlords of Mars”. He then moves onto a different, but related, story arc with “ Thuvia of Mars”.
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Old 04-16-2020, 06:35 AM   #25
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Given that this end on a cliff-hanger and I didn't like it. I wish it had not won the vote.
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Old 04-16-2020, 07:01 AM   #26
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As to Burroughs' literary franchise, I might adapt an observation about Burroughs that I posted on another thread on MR a few years ago...

From Wikipedia:


And then look at his output in the first three years of publication: Tarzan, Barsoom, Pellucidar, The Mucker, Outlaw of Torn, The Mad King.

Not only was he prolific, he was playing the field. I am amazed at what he achieved in such a short time. As much as I might find details to criticise, I can't help but admire the effort and the result.
It's fascinating to hear Burroughs use 'rotten' and 'entertaining' in the same breath. He knew EXACTLY what he was doing.
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Old 04-16-2020, 08:13 AM   #27
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I have no reliable way to assess the book afresh, the story is too familiar to me. But I can understand how the ending might seem unsatisfying: a fairytale story like this should, perhaps, have a fairytale ending.

We might applaud the author for not bowing to a stereotypical ending, were it not that we know the intention was more cynical: if you are not satiated it suggests you care what happens next and so will buy the next book (or magazine or whatever). And sometimes it works, fantasyfan . But not always, Catlady and Bookworm_Girl .

But I would not characterise it as a cliff-hanger ending. The story is finished. The heroine is satisfying her idea of honour, intending to keep her promise, and William Clayton is a good man (and rich!), so we can't feel too sorry for her. The hero has satisfied his idea of honour and (we assume) will return to the jungle he knows. All the pieces are wrapped up and apparently finished, there is nothing more to be said or done (unless/until you say or do an entire book). There are many stand-alone books that leave much more unexplained than this one does.


Perhaps it's thanks to my long history with the series that I find it quite satisfying enough that I have no need to read more this time around. For me it's like watching an episode of of Doctor Who, or Star Trek, or Tarzan! I never expected the love interest would steal the hero away from a life of adventure, and so I leave this story knowing the hero is still out there rescuing others in distress, and I can join them again whenever I care to pick up the next book.
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Old 04-16-2020, 08:39 AM   #28
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Burroughs had a fundamental problem with Tarzan's family. Tarzan can't be free to wander the jungle dispensing justice if he's guarding the homestead. A few stories place Tarzan's loved ones in predictable peril, but eventually Burroughs just stops mentioning them at all.
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Old 04-16-2020, 10:13 AM   #29
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I have no reliable way to assess the book afresh, the story is too familiar to me. But I can understand how the ending might seem unsatisfying: a fairytale story like this should, perhaps, have a fairytale ending.

We might applaud the author for not bowing to a stereotypical ending, were it not that we know the intention was more cynical: if you are not satiated it suggests you care what happens next and so will buy the next book (or magazine or whatever). And sometimes it works, fantasyfan . But not always, Catlady and Bookworm_Girl .

But I would not characterise it as a cliff-hanger ending. The story is finished. The heroine is satisfying her idea of honour, intending to keep her promise, and William Clayton is a good man (and rich!), so we can't feel too sorry for her. The hero has satisfied his idea of honour and (we assume) will return to the jungle he knows. All the pieces are wrapped up and apparently finished, there is nothing more to be said or done (unless/until you say or do an entire book). There are many stand-alone books that leave much more unexplained than this one does.

Perhaps it's thanks to my long history with the series that I find it quite satisfying enough that I have no need to read more this time around. For me it's like watching an episode of of Doctor Who, or Star Trek, or Tarzan! I never expected the love interest would steal the hero away from a life of adventure, and so I leave this story knowing the hero is still out there rescuing others in distress, and I can join them again whenever I care to pick up the next book.
I don't think it's a cliff-hanger ending either. The story's over; loose ends are neatly tied up. Jane's getting married and Tarzan's going back to the jungle; both are following their predictable paths of domesticity and adventure (though I don't know how Tarzan realistically sheds civilization for his old primitive life of isolation). Sure, I can see how the character can have lots more adventures, as he obviously did, but I don't see how there can be much more in the way of character growth--the story's done.

Speaking of Tarzan becoming civilized, I expected Jane to be the civilizing influence--to be the one teaching him to speak and understand, etc. (Me Tarzan, you Jane). Why offload all that?

The fairy-tale ending I expected was Jane joining Tarzan in the jungle--that's what happened in the Disney version, and it's what I thought happened in all the movie versions; wasn't Jane in them, and didn't they have a son (Boy)?

Then again, if ERB didn't want to go for the fairy-tale ending, I would rather have seen an ironic ending--Jane rejecting Tarzan because he's become too tame for her, no longer a beast but a milksop.

The ending we got, though, is just blah. Jane's being sensible and realistic, which is true to her nature, but Tarzan? This guy who's used to getting what he wants, who's traveled continents to reclaim his woman--he just gives up? He doesn't even TRY to convince Jane to run away with him? He HAS become a milksop.
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Old 04-16-2020, 03:43 PM   #30
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The fairy-tale ending I expected was Jane joining Tarzan in the jungle--that's what happened in the Disney version, and it's what I thought happened in all the movie versions; wasn't Jane in them, and didn't they have a son (Boy)?
I think I had this problem too. The franchise spinoffs through time have been so successful at spreading a story (legend?) of Tarzan (faithfully or not to the initial book) that there was for me a basic expectation to the story ending, which is that Tarzan and Jane fall in love and have a boy. So, after I finished the book, I researched the rest of the books in the series to see if that's how they play out.

As an aside, I then also learned that the original silent films were more true to the plot than the more famous later ones - Jane's last name was changed from Porter to Parker and even nationalities (American vs British were changed too).

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I have no reliable way to assess the book afresh, the story is too familiar to me. But I can understand how the ending might seem unsatisfying: a fairytale story like this should, perhaps, have a fairytale ending.

We might applaud the author for not bowing to a stereotypical ending, were it not that we know the intention was more cynical: if you are not satiated it suggests you care what happens next and so will buy the next book (or magazine or whatever). And sometimes it works, fantasyfan . But not always, Catlady and Bookworm_Girl .

But I would not characterise it as a cliff-hanger ending. The story is finished. The heroine is satisfying her idea of honour, intending to keep her promise, and William Clayton is a good man (and rich!), so we can't feel too sorry for her. The hero has satisfied his idea of honour and (we assume) will return to the jungle he knows. All the pieces are wrapped up and apparently finished, there is nothing more to be said or done (unless/until you say or do an entire book). There are many stand-alone books that leave much more unexplained than this one does.
I believe that on one hand you can find the story is a finished ending. And to me it was a very unsatisfying ending as a stand-alone because of similar reasons that Catlady mentioned. I was not so thrilled with her honor-bound decision to continue into a marriage with a man she didn't love as much. But, because I know how the story continues on, then I did feel like it was a cliff-hanger because I know that something happens in the future to reunite Tarzan & Jane to meet what were my expectations.

If the book had ended like I did, and I didn't have any expectations of what was to come rightly or wrongly how those expectations were set by modern franchise expansion, then I wouldn't say it was a cliff-hanger too and was just an ending. Perhaps it would have been more satisfying that way in that moment in that time period!

In other words, I think that the success of the franchise continuation for the last 100 years has prevented even someone who has never read the book from approaching it with completely fresh eyes.
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