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Glossary and Character Taxonomy  Breakdown by Country of Origin   Bibliography   Table of Contents    The Best of the Encyclopedia

Tarzan (I). Tarzan (I) was created by Edgar Rice Burroughs (John Carter, David Innes, Carson Napier, Shoz-Dijiji) and appeared in forty-three stories and serials and twenty-one novels from 1912 to 1947, beginning with “Tarzan of the Apes” (All-Story, Oct. 1912).

Tarzan (I) is the archetypal Jungle Hero. John Clayton, Lord Greystoke, and Alice Clayton, John’s wife, are marooned in a remote jungle section of Africa when the crew of the ship Fuwalda mutinies. Alice Clayton dies a year after giving birth to a young son, John, and soon after that John, Sr., is attacked and killed by an intelligent ape. The infant John is raised by a kindly female ape, Kala, and grows up to become Tarzan, the Lord of the Jungle. He eventually discovers his heritage but rejects it and returns to the jungle. He goes on to fall in love with Jane Porter, fight with evil animals and Germans, and to discover Lost Races.

* I'm including the Tarzan (I) stories and novels in the Best of the Encyclopedia list because of their historical importance and because of Tarzan's archetypal status. Edgar Rice Burroughs wasn't, technically, a good writer. He was capable of some very bad purple prose indeed. But he was also capable of writing stories with primal qualities that seemed to speak directly to the id. The Tarzan (I) stories have that quality, and Tarzan (I) quickly became a cultural archetype, not just one of the pulp archetypes, because of this. Endless Tarzan (I) lifts, imitations, and copies were churned out around the world; the very name "Tarzan" has come to stand in for the entire genre. As critic John Clute wrote, "Tarzan is a figure with the iconic density of Sherlock Holmes or Dracula."

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