The Son Of Tarzan

would not be published today. The book would be deemed racist and sexist. Because in the postmodern world we find ourselves in – that would be true. Therefore, no publisher could touch it without considerable risk of a social backlash. Thankfully, the book was published (1917) as part of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ tremendously successful Tarzan science- fiction series. Twenty-four books in the series were published from 1912 through 1947.

In fact, the Tarzan series might well have been the first of its kind. Being a series of books and stories that became a franchise. Tarzan was a super hero fighting bad men, and in general – evil. It’s possible that Burroughs got the idea from Jack London’s immensely popular books The Call Of The Wild (1903) and White Fang (1906). Wherein London gave human characteristics and super powers to dogs. The public loved it!

The Call of the Wild

is actually referenced early on in this tale. Jane, Lord Greystoke’s wife, says to her husband John (aka Tarzan) in their London manor: “Something must be done to discourage Jack’s (their son) tendency toward anything that may excite the craving for the savage life which I fear he has inherited from you. You know from your own experience how strong is the call of the wild [emphasis mine] at times.” (p.15)

The Superman with Super Powers

is as old as man himself. In so much as we have a record of it. As in say Greek Mythology, the Legend of King Arthur and so on. In Tarzan we have a boy-child raised by apes in Africa around the time of the British Empire’s world dominance (1900). Tarzan learned how to speak Mangani, the language of the great apes, swing through the trees, hunt and kill, and developed muscles and stamina unmatched by any other Tarmangani (human).

Jane feared her son, Jack, would share his father’s passion for the wild life if he even ever heard of it. As it turns out, Jack did. Thus this improbable, exciting adventure begins.

Burroughs’ writing

style and story telling, in my opinion, can’t be matched. However, at times the writing can be a little clunky – sentences being of sixty or more words. But, there is a lot to fill the reader in on. Such as, how the precarious predicaments our characters find themselves in come to pass. It’s a page turner!

The Story

is an old one. It’s a rescue for sure. And at the heart of it is a beautiful, young girl, Meriem. Everybody wants a piece of her, for various very ancient reasons – revenge, money, sex, and love.

 

Tarzan's only rival - Korak the Killer!
Korak fights for love 

About words and style

I can’t say enough. Here’s a sample sentence:

This was no case for the modern detective of civilization, yet several of these threw themselves into the search-the bones of some are already bleaching beneath the African sun upon the silent sands of the Sahara.

I boxed words I found extraordinary: metamorphosed, countenanced, conscientiously, accentuating, inexorable, sobriquet, cognizance, nebulous, inculcate, reciprocated, egotism, perfidious, credulous, heterogeneous.

That’s a sample of over one-hundred. I first read this when I was fourteen. There’s no doubt in my mind Burroughs’ writing and story telling had a huge influence on my subsequent (another one) love of literature, words, books, and stories. And there is so much wisdom and truth regarding the diversity of human motivation and emotion.

It’s a beautiful story. Racism and sexism be damned. That was the way things were back then.

Five stars. The Son Of Tarzan goes into my Top Ten, for sure.

 

 

 

 

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