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Edgar Rice Burroughs (1875-1950)


American novelist, creator of Tarzan, one of the indispensable icons of popular culture. Burroughs also published science fiction and crime novels, some 26 books dealt with the Apeman. Critics have considered Burroughs's fiction crudely written and chauvinist. His books, however, are still widely read and usually more interesting than the films. It is true that Burroughs often portrayed Africans, Arabs or Asians as evil or comic, but the stories contain elements that have kept them 'politically correct': Waziri warriors are brave, and such female characters as the cave girl Nadara and Dejah Thoris, the princess of Mars are – besided good looking – smart, courageous, and resourceful.

"As the body rolled to the ground Tarzan of the Apes placed his foot upon the neck of his lifelong enemy, and raising his eyes to the full moon threw back his fierce young head and voiced the wild and terrible cry of his people." (from Tarzan of the Apes, 1914 )

Edgar Rice Burroughs was born in Chicago, Illinois, into a prosperous family. His father, George Tyler Burroughs, was a Civil War veteran. To glamourize his own origins, Burroughs later claimed that he was born in Peking at the time his father served as a military adviser to the Empress of China, growing up there, in the Forbidden City. But it is true, that Burroughs attended several private schools, including the Michigan Military Academy, Orchar Lake (1892-95), where he was instructor and assistant commandant (1895-96). He served in the 7th Cavalry in the Arizona Territory (1896-97) and Illinois Reserve Militia (1918-19). During this period he met and heard stories of men who had fought the Sioux and Apache. However, though he admired Zane Grey and Owen Wister, and shared their love of the out-of-doors, the Great Plains and the life in the West never played an important part in his literary imagination.

After his military career Burroughs became the owner of a stationery store in Pocatello, Idaho (1898), and had then dealings with the American Battery Company, Chicago (1899-03). In 1900 he married his childhood sweetheart Emma Centennia Hulbert (divorced in 1934); they had two sons and one daughter. Possibly in Idaho he became familiar with the work of H. Rider Haggard, Kipling, Swift, Verne, and Wells, all of whom may have influenced his own writing. Burroughs also admired Jack London and once thought to write his biography.

For the next ten years the family lived in near poverty. Burroughs was associated with Sweetser-Burroughs Mining Company in Idaho (1903-04), he was a railroad policeman in Salt Lake, Utah (1904), a manager of a stenographic department at Sears, Roebuck and Company in Chicago (1906-08), a partner of an advertising agency (1908-09), an office manager (1909), a partner of a sales firm (1910-11). In 1910-11 Burroughs worked for Champlain Yardley Company, and from 1912 to 1913 he was manager of System Service Bureau.

Before Tarzan, Burroughs led a life full of failures. The turning point came at the age of 35 when he began to contribute to pulp magazines – firmly convinced that he could write as rotten stuff as was published in them. His first professional sale was 'Under the Moons of Mars', serialized in 1912. It introduced the popular invincible hero John Carter, who is transported to Mars apparently by astral projection, following a battle with Apaches in Arizona. Carter's adventures were compiled in book form under the title A Princess of Mars (1917). The 'Martian' series eventually reached eleven books. The Carson of Venus books blended romance and comedy, the Pellucidar tales were located inside the Earth.

Burroughs's first successful story was 'Dejah Thoris, Princess of Mars' which appeared in 1912 in All-Story Magazine. His breakthrough novel Tarzan of the Apes (1912) was followed by 24 other Tarzan adventures, which he never took too seriously. ''If I had striven for long years of privation and effort to fit myself to become a writer,'' Burroughs said, ''I might be warranted in patting myself on the back, but God knows I did not work and still do not understand how I happened to succeed.'' In 1913 Burroughs founded his own publishing house Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc. Burroughs-Tarzan Enterprises and Burroughs-Tarzan Pictures were founded in 1934. 

From The Oakdale Affair (1937), a western, John Coleman Burroughs began to illustrate his father's books. The novelette 'John Carter and the Giant of Mars,' which he wrote and illustrated, was published under Edgar Rice Burroughs's name in Amazing Stories (1941). John Coleman was more of a visual artist than a writer. When readers of the magazine questioned the authenticity of the text, the editor Raymond A. Palmer insisted that the manuscript had been published exactly as received from Burroughs, Inc. 

"If it's any of my business, how the devil did you ever get into that bally jungle?"
"I was born there," said Tarzan, quietly. "My mother was an Ape, and of course she couldn't tell me much about it. I never knew who my father was."

(from Tarzan of the Apes)

As for the origins of Tarzan, Burroughs himself once wrote in a letter: "I have tried to search my memory for some clue to the suggestions that gave me the idea, and as close as I can come to it I believe that it may have originated in my intrest in Mythology and the story of Romulus and Remus. I also recall having read many years ago the story of a sailor who was shipwrecked on the Coast of Africa and who was adopted by and consorted with great apes to such an extent that when he was rescued a she-ape followed him into the surf and threw a baby after him." The world famous protagonist in Tarzan books is John Clayton, Lord Greystoke, whose aristocratic parents, John Clayton and his wife, Lady Alice, are abandoned on the west coast of Africa by mutinous sailors. Lady Alice dies insane and John Clayton is killed by a great ape named Kerchak. The surviving baby is raised by an ape, Kala, and like Kipling's Mowgli in the Jungle Books, he befriends animals, large and small. After finding a book in the remnants of his parents' hut he learns to read. "As he had grown older, he found that he had grown away from his people. Their interests and his were far removed. They had not kept pace with him, nor could they understand aught of the many strange and wonderful dreams that passed through the active brain of their human king." Another party of whites is marooned on the same west coast – the Porters from Baltimore and William Clayton, the present Lord Greystoke. During the tale, Tarzan finds love, and discovers his aristocratic roots. He falls in love with Jane Porter, but in Tarzan of the Apes, Jane rejects his offer of marriage and accepts the proposal of William Greystoke.

Eventually Jane Porter becomes Tarzan's wife, and they also have a son. With the help of animals – mostly elephants and apes – and due to his intelligence and fighting skills, Tarzan gains the unofficial status of the king of the jungle, and immortality through an African shaman's secret formula. In several books the invincible hero is involved with lost races, hidden cultures, or even with an entire lost continent. Moreover, during his long career in the jungle, Tarzan battles against Germans, Japanese, and communists. In the first four books the hero is known variously as "Tar-Zan" ("white-skin" in the ape tongue), "John Clayton," and "Lord Bloomstoke" (later changed to "Lord Greystoke").

In addition to his four major adventure series, Burroughs wrote between the years 1912 and 1933 several other adventure novels, including The Cave Girl (1925), in which a weak aristocrat develops i nto a warrior, two Western novels about a white Apache, The War Chief (1927) and Apache Devil (1933), which showed sympathy for Native Americans, and Beyond the Farthest Star (1964), a science-fiction novel about the brutality of war.

Burroughs's science fiction novels are full of a sense of adventure. They take the reader on a fantastic voyage to chart strange and unfamiliar lands as Homer did in his Odyssey; his Mars and Venus are no more real than African, where Asian tigers roam in th jungle. The Land That Time Forgot (1924) is a Darwinist story set on a mysterious island near the South Pole, where dinosaurs and other primitive species have survived. It consists of three novelettes, 'The Land That Time Forgot,' 'The People That Time Forgot,' and 'Out of Time's Abyss'. Together they form the Caspak-trilogy, first published in serialized form in 1918 in The Blue Book Magazine.

Possibly the idea of a lost city in Tarzand and the Jewels of Opar (1916) was inspired by H. Rider Haggard's later installments of the Quatermain series. This book has often been considered as the last novel in the original Tarzan chronology. In Haggard, the goddess-queen of Ophir is called "She," in Burroughs the priestess-queen of Opar is "La." References to the land of Ophir are found in the Bible.

"Before me lay the Lost Sea of Korus, while farther on I caught the shimmering ribbon of Iss, the River of Mystery, where it wound out from beneath the Golden Cliffs to empty into Korus, to which for countless ages had been borne the deluded and unhappy Martians of the outer world upon the voluntary pilgrimage to this false heaven." (from The Warlord of Mars, 1919)

The Barsoom books were set on Mars, where the civilization and nature is dying. John Carter, the major hero, is transported to Barsoom by magical means. In the distant workd he wins the hand of Princess Thoris, a beautiful red woman. John Carter of Mars (1964), the final book in the Barsoom series, collected the stories 'John Carter and the Giant of Mars' and 'Skeleton Men of Jupiter.'

The Pellucidar series started from At the Earth's Core (1922), in which a group of scientist use their drilling machine to tunnel down into the hollow space at the centre of the planet. As in Jules Verne's A Journey to the Center of the Earth (1864) they find new life forms which have survived for millions of years. Compared to Tarzan, Burroughs's hero has again a rather normal name, David Innes. '"David," said the old man, "I believe that God sent us here for just that purpose--it shall be my life work to teach them His word--to lead them into the light of His mercy while we are training their hearts and hands in the ways of culture and civilization."' (from At the Earth's Core) Pellucidar is lit by a miniature sun which burns in the centre of the hollow. Tarzan also visits this subterranean timeless world in Tarzan at the Earth's Core (1930). Andrew Stanton's film John Carter of Mars (2012) is based on the novel series, starring Taylor Kitsch as John Carter, a Civil War veteran mystically transplanted to Mars, and Lynn Collins as Dejah Thoris, the Princess of Helium.

Burroughs created the Venus sequence, concerning the exploits of spaceman Carson Napier, relatively late in his career, in the 1930s. A posthumous story, 'Wizard of Venus', was published in 1964 and then as the title story of The Wizard of Venus (1970). Carson of Venus has telepathic powers, Carter is immortal and he can project himself astrally. According to Fritz Leiber, Burroughs found in Theosophy a rich source of background materials for Mars books. However, Tarzan stories did not have supernatural elements, except that Burroughs kept Tarzan forever young and referred to him in Tarzan and the Forbidden City (1938) as "this super-man." (The Gothic Wanderer: From Transgression to Redemption by Tyler R. Tichelaar, 2012, pp. 252-252)

Richard Lupoff has argued that the source of Burroughs's Barsoom series was Edwin Lester Arnold's novel Lieut. Gullivar Jones (1905; US title: Gulliver of Mars, 1965), in which Jones tells of his trip by flying carpet to Mars and his adventures there with a princess. Burroughs's A Princess of Mars was first published in a serialized form in All-Story magazine (1912). Arnold wrote also the novel Phra the Phoenician (1890), which features a character much like Carter. Burroughs had a copy of the book in his personal library. The author himself was reluctant to speak of the influences he had absorbed. 

Especially in the early Tarzan stories, the theme of exploitation of Africa's resources comes to the fore. Tarzan is fully aware of the power of money after learning the ways of the civilized world. In The Return of Tarzan, he steals gold from the lost city of Opar, and in order to reestablish his fortune, he returns to the city in Tarzan and the Jewels of Opar. However, material wealth meant less to the Lord of the Jungle than to the author himself. Burroughs purchased in 1919 a large ranch in the San Fernando Valley, which he later developed into the suburb of Tarzana. Following the example of Jack London, whom he admired, Burroughs aimed to pursue a career as a rancher-writer. Eventually his personal retreat contained a mansion-like ranch house with huge fireplaces, a library and schoolroom, a swimming pool and a gym, a ballroom, a thearer for private screenings, and a nine-hole golf course. The stables held finely bred horses.

To pay for his expensive lifestyle and to cover his misadventures in financial investments Burroughs wrote an average of three novels a year. He married in 1935 Florence Dearholt; they divorced in 1942 due to Burroughs's alcoholism. She said that "He preferred to live alone. Ed regretted the marriage and felt that we would be much happier if we went our own ways." (Edgar Rice Burroughs and Tarzan: A Biography of the Author and His Creation by Robert W. Fenton, 2003, p. 172)

As a businessman Burroughs was creative and never satisfied. After selling the film rights to multiple Tarzan stories to too many produces he lost his authorial control over the Tarzan story world. In a letter to his brother he compained: "As far as I know, no one connected with the making of a single Tarzan picture has had the remotest conception of either the story or the character, as I conceived it." (Historicising Transmedia Storytelling: Early Twentieth-Century Transmedia Story Worlds by Matthew Freeman, 2016, pp. 118-120) The first Tarzan films from 1918, starring Elmo Lincoln, were shot in the swamps around Morgan City, Louisina. Lincoln was five feet, eleven inches tall, and weighted 210 pounds. Before becoming the pioneering Tarzan of the apes, he had played in D.W. Griffth's Birth of a Nation at least five roles, including that of a Ku Klux Klan raider. ('Swinging into Oblivion: Elmo Lincoln,' in Forgotten Hoosiers: Profiles from Indiana's Hidden History by Fred D. Cavinder, 2009) When the Olympic swimming champion Johnny Weissmuller took the role in the 1930s, the films became really popular. According to some stories, in later life he was kicked out of a mental hospital because he had adopted the habit of yelling out his famous jungle cry at nights.

Because of financial reasons Burroughs decided to rent out his home and moved in 1940 to Hawaii, where he could according to his own calculations cut his expenses to a third of what they were in California. Despite being sixty-seven years old, Burroughs was allowed to serve as a war correspondent in the South Pacific during World War II. He also published columns ('Laugh It Off) in Honolulu Advertiser and the Star-Bulletin.

At the end of the war, Burroughs moved  back to California. Suffering for health  problems, he wrote little in his final years. Burroughs died of a heart ailment on March 19, in 1950, while reading a comic book in bed.

Arthur C. Clarke has said that "I want to go along with Ray Bradbury's views on the importance of Edgar Rice Burroughs. It was Burroughs who turned me on, and I think he is a much underrated writer. The man who can create Tarzan, the best-known character in the whole fiction, should not be taken too lightly! Of course, there's not much left of his Mars, and his science was always rather dubious. I can still remember even as a boy feeling there was something a little peculiar about cliffs of solid gold, studded with gems. I think it might be an interesting exercise for a geology student to see how that phenomenon could be brought about." (Mars and the Mind of Man, 1973, p. 27)

After Burroughs's death, enthusiasm for his books gradually waned. He once admitted to The Los Angeles Times interviewer: "I don't think my work is 'literature,' I'm not fooling myself about that." In 1960s Edgar Rice Burroughs Corporation managed to stir a new interest in the author's work and his books have since been profitably in print. While criticized as repetitious and clumsy, Burroughs's stories share the same colourful imagination familiar from the classic works of H.G. Wells and H. Rider Haggard and have become a target for academic research. Feminist theorists have taken Tarzan very seriously. (See below Laura Havaste's work Tarzan and the Mystery of the White Man.)

However, although Tarzan is definitely a virile primitive and archetypical character, such psychoanalysts as Jung or Freud have not written much about him. John F. Kasson's interpretation in The White Male Body and the Challenge of Modernity in America (2001) takes under scrutiny "the urge to recover a primitive freedom and wildness." Kasson sees Tarzan as the ultimate self-made, self-taught man, who challenges the restrictions of modern civilization, and shows his own answer to the "new 'crisis' of masculinity."

For further reading: Golden Anniversary Bibliography of Edgar Rice Burroughs by H.H. Heins (1964); Edgar Rice Burroughs: Master of Adventure by Richard A. Lupoff (1965); Tarzan Alive by Philip José Farmer (1972); Burrough's Science Fiction by Robert R. Kudlay and Joan Leiby (1973); Tarzan and Tradition by Erling B. Holtsmark (1981); Edgar Rice Burroughs by Irwin Porges (1975); Edgar Rice Burroughs by Erling B. Holtsmark (1986); Burroughs Dictionary by George T. McWhorter (1987); King of the Jungle by David Fury (1994); The Burroughs Cyclopaedia, ed. by Clark A. Brady (1996); Edgar Rice Burroughs by Robert B. Zeuschner (1996); Tarzan Forever: The Life of Edgar Rice Burroughs, the Creator of Tarzan by John Taliaferro (1999); Edgar Rice Burroughs and Tarzan: A Biography of the Author and His Creation by Robert W. Fenton (2003); Edgar Rice Burroughs: Master of Adventure by Richard A. Lupoff (2005); Edgar Rice Burroughs: The Exhaustive Scholar's and Collector's Descriptive Bibliography of American Periodical, Hardcover, Paperback, and Reprint Editions by Robert B. Zeuschner (2007); 'Edgar Rice Burroughs (1875-1950),' in American World War II Correspondents, edited by Jeffery B. Cook; Global Perspectives on Tarzan: from King of the Jungle to International Icon, edited by Annette Wannamaker and Michelle Ann Abate (2012); Tarzan, Jungle King of Popular Culture by David Lemmo (2017); Jetan: The Martian Chess of Edgar Rice Burroughs by Fredrik Ekman (2022)  

Tarzan and Finland: In the 1920s Tarzan movies became highly popular in Finland. Following the enthusiasm of the public, twelve Tarzan books were translated into Finnish. In The Critical Book Catalogue, published by the State Library Office, The Son of Tarzan was considered among the best juvenile adventure novels ever written, but the same reviewer later thought that it is not necessary for the public libraries to acquire the whole Tarzan series. New Tarzan translations were not published until 1942. Harold Foster's newspaper-strips of the jungle lord appeared in the 1930s in the magazine Kerron sinulle... and Rex Maxon's Tarzan strip was bought by the newspaper Helsingin Sanomat. In 1942-43 Eeli Jaatinen (1905-1970) combined Tarzan with Robinson Crusoe in his comic strip Keskellä viidakkoa. Burroughs inspired Lahja Johannes Valakivi (1892-1956), an officer and a teacher, to publish under the pseudonym L. Valakivi four Tarsa novels, Karhumies Tarsa (1940), Tarsa Hyrsylän mutkassa (1940), Tarsan kuudes kolonna (1941), and Tarsa ja pakoluolan salaisuus (1941). In the first book the young and orphaned Tarsa is raised by a bear and gains enormous strength from its milk. Similarities with Burroughs's stories were not coincidental. Tarsa's archenemies were the Russians – a natural choice after the Winter War (1939-40), in which the nation fought against the Soviet aggression.

Comic books started to appear in Finland regularly in 1949 and the ape-man made his own comic book debut in Tarzan Viidakon valtias (1964). It was followed by Tarzanin poika (Tarzan's Son), which was published between the years 1969 and 1981. Also comic albums attracted readers. The most expensive collector's piece was Tarzan Afrikan Kuningas (1973), illustrated by Burne Hogarth.

After television made its breakthrough in Finland, many small movie theaters died. Some of them managed to survive a few more years in the 1960s by showing porn on weekdays and Tarzan adventures and other family movies on Sundays. When the Finnish Broadcasting Company began to run Tarzan films after Sunday schools, theater owners protested in vain about TV's program policy.

Burroughs's books appeared in new translations in the 1970s. Time was ripe for the politically correct translator to use the word "black" instead of "negro". The Lord of the Jungle also became milder – he was not the "wild apeman" but only the "apeman." In 1970s Burroughs was voted among the ten most popular writers. Tarzan of the Apes was translated into Finnish in 1997 for the third time.

The clichés of Tarzan mythology have for decades attracted humorists, among them Martti Innanen who wrote parodying radio plays about jungle adventures. Ami Aspelund urged the apeman to lift her into the tree in her cover version of the English-language song 'Big Fat Orang Uman' by Jungle Jim. Uolevi Nojonen published a juvenile novel, Tartsan Koivula suomalaisessa leppämetsässä (1977), in which the protagonist founds a Tartsan Association and starts to solve local crimes with his friends Jane, Puskapää, and Mosse. Perhaps the best humoristic work from the 1970s was Veikko Huovinen's short story 'Tarzan ja Suomi' (Tarzan and Finland). Huovinen pondered how the King of the Jungle would survive in the Northern pinewoods. The author was pessimistic: the climate is too arctic, animals are gloomy, and the authorities would not tolerate Tarzan's life style. Another writer, Kari Aronpuro, composed in his collection of poems, Terveydeksi (1966), the degree requirements of Tarzanology. The major achievement in the feminist Tarzan research in Finland is Paula Havaste's dissertation Tarzan ja valkoisen miehen arvoitus (Tarzan and the Mystery of the White Man) from 1998. Havaste takes her subject with disarming seriousness. She sees homosexual undercurrents in Tarzan's relationship with D'Arnot, a French officer who tries to save Jane in Tarzan of the Apes. According to Havaste, Tarzan's polished shoes in The Beasts of Tarzan symbolize his impeccability, but his superior physical ability is actually a kind of hysteria. And of course, Tarzan's knife is a phallic symbol. Tarzan and Finland, see: Tarzan ja valkoisen miehen arvoitus by Paula Havaste (1998); Portti, ed. by Raimo Nikkonen, published by Tampereen Science Fiction Seura, no. 2 (1991, special Edgar Rice Burroughs number); 'Tarzan ja Suomi' by Veikko Huovinen, in Vapaita suhteita (1975). Burroughsilta on suomennettu nelisenkymmentä teosta. Tarzan-kirjoja ja Mars-sarjaa kustansi 1960-70 -luvuilla T.A. Engströmin Taikajousi Oy.

Selected Tarzan novels:

  • Tarzan of the Apes, 1912 - Tarzan apinain kuningas (suom. Lauri Karila, 1921; Seppo Ilmari, 1964) / Apinoiden Tarzan (suom. Pekka Markkula, 1997)
  • The Return of Tarzan, 1913 - Tarzanin paluu (suom. Valfried Hedman, 1922; Seppo Ilmari, 1965; Pekka Markkula, 1999)
  • The Beasts of Tarzan, 1914 - Tarzanin pedot (suom. A.J. Salonen, 1923; Seppo Ilmari, 1973; Pekka Pakkala, 2000)
  • The Son of Tarzan, 1915 - Tarzanin poika (suom. Valfrid Hedman, 1923; Seppo Ilmari, 1966)
  • Tarzan and the Jewels of Opar, 1916 (All-Story Cavalier Weekly) - Tarzan ja Oparin aarteet (suom. A.J. Salonen, 1923 Seppo Ilmari, 1967)
  • Jungle Tales of Tarzan, 1919 - Tarzanin viidakkoseikkailuja (suom. Alpo Kupiainen, 1923; Seppo Ilmari, 1967)
  • Tarzan the Untamed, 1920 - Talttumaton Tarzan (suom. Lauri Karila, 1924; Seppo Ilmari, 1968) / Tarzan ja valkoinen nainen (suom. Alpo Kupiainen, 1924)
  • Tarzan the Terrible, 1921 - Kauhea Tarzan (suom. V. Hämeen-Anttila, 1925; Seppo Ilmari, 1975)
  • Tarzan and the Golden Lion, 1923 - Tarzan ja kultaleijona (suom. Valfrid Hedman, 1925; Seppo Ilmari, 1970)
  • Tarzan and the Ant Men, 1924 - Tarzan ja pikkuväki (suom. Väinö Meltti, 1925; Jaakko V. Tapio, 1978)
  • The Tarzan Twins, 1927 - Tarzan-kaksoset (suom. Alpo Kupiainen, 1929; Jaakko V. Tapio, 1978
  • Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle, 1928 - Tarzan, viidankon herra (suom. Valfrid Hedman, 1929) / Tarzan viidakon valtias (suom. Jaakko V. Tapio, 1971)
  • Tarzan and the Lost Empire, 1929 - Tarzan taistele jälleen (suom. Werner Anttila, 1942) / Tarzan ja kadonnut valtakunta (suom. Marjatta Jokimäki, 1953; Jaakko V. Tapio, 6. p. 1991)
  • Tarzan at the Earth's Core, 1930 - Maan uumenissa (suom. A.J. Salonen, 1924) / Tarzan maan uumenissa (suom. Jaakko V. Tapio, 1976)
  • Tarzan the Invincible, 1931 - Voittamaton Tarzan (suom. Verner Anttila, 1950; Jaakko V. Tapio, 5. p. 1991)
  • Tarzan Triumphant, 1932 - Tarzan Midianin maassa (suom. Marjatta Jokimäki, 1955) / Urhea Tarzan (suom. Jaakko V. Tapio, 1973)
  • Tarzan and the City of Gold, 1933 - Tarzan ja kultainen kaupunki (suom. Jaakko V. Tapio, 4. p. 1991)
  • Tarzan and the Lion Man, 1934 - Tarzanin kaksoisolento (suom. Heikki Jokimäki, 1947) / Tarzan ja leijonamies (suom. V. Tapio, 1974)
  • Tarzan and the Leopard Men, 1935 - Tarzan ja leopardimiehet (suom. Marjatta Jokimäki, 1954; Jaakko V. Tapio, 4. p. 1988)
  • Tarzan's Quest, 1936 - Tarzan ja valkoiset villit (suom. Marjatta Jokimäki, 1948) / Tarzan ja tytönryöstäjät (suom. Jaakko V. Tapio, 1975)
  • Tarzan and the Tarzan Twins with Jad-bal-ja the Golden Lion, 1936 - Tarzan-kaksoiset: kertoelma Keski-Afrikasta (suom. Alpo Kupiainen, 1929) / Tarzan ja Tarzan-kaksoset (suom. Jaakko V. Tapio, 1978)
  • Tarzan and the Forbidden City, 1938 - Tarzan ja Ashairin timantti (suom. Marjatta Jokimäki, 1948) / Tarzan ja kielletty kaupunki (suom. Jaakko V. Tapio, 1975)
  • Tarzan the Magnificent, 1939 - Tarzan ja amatsonit: apinain Tarzan villinaisten maassa (suom. Marjatta Jokimäki, 1951) / Mahtava Tarzan (suom. Jaakko V. Tapio, 1976)
  • Tarzan and the Foreign Legion, 1947 - Tarzan käy sissisotaa (suom. Marjatta Jokimäki, 1949) / Tarzan Sumatran viidakossa (suom. V. Tapio, 2. p. 1988)
  • Tarzan and the Tarzan Twins, 1963 - Tarzan ja Tarzan-kaksoset (suom. Jaakko V. Tapio, 1978)
  • Tarzan and the Madman, 1964 - Tarzan ja mielipuoli (suom. Jaakko V. Tapio, 1977)
  • Tarzan and the Castaways, 1965 - Tarzan ja haaksirikkoiset (suom. 1979)
  • Tarzan: the Lost Adventure, 1996 (by E.R.B. and Joe R. Lansdale) - Tarzan ja kadonnut seikkailu (suom. Arvi Tamminen, 1996)

Pellucidar series

  • At the Earth's Core, 1914 - Pellucidar 1: Maan uumenissa (suom. J. Salonen, 1924; Seppo Ilmari, 1976) - film 1976, dir. by Kevin Connor, starring Doug McClure, Peter Cushing, Caroline Munro, screenplay by Milton Subotsky
  • Pellucidar, 1923 - Pellucidar 2: Ikuisen päivän maa (suom. A.J. Salonen, 1924; Seppo Ilmari, 1980)
  • Tanar of Pellucidar, 1930 - Pellucidar 3: Kuninkaan poika (suom. Don Engström, 1983)
  • Tarzan at the Earth's Core, 1937 - Tarzan maan uumenissa (suom. 1976)
  • Back to the Stone Age, 1937
  • Savage Pellucidar, 1942
  • Land of Terror, 1944

Venus series:

  • Pirates of Venus, 1934 - Venus-tähden kantakansa (suom. Marjatta Jokimäki, 1950; Jaakko V. Tapio, 5. p. 1991)
  • Lost on Venus, 1935 - Venus-tähden prinsessa: mielikuvituksellisia seikkailuja Venus-tähdellä (suom. Marjatta Jokimäki, 1951)
  • Carson of Venus, 1939 - Venus-tähden sankari: uusia seikkailuja Venus-tähdellä (suom. Marjatta Jokimäki, 1953)
  • Escape on Venus, 1946
  • The Wizard of Venus, 1970
  • The Wizard of Venus and Pitate of Blood, 1984

Mars series:

  • A Princess of Mars, 1917 (hardcover) - Marsin prinsessa (suom. Alpo Kupiainen, 1923) / Marsin sankari (suom. Seppo Ilmari, 1969) - film: John Carter, 2012, dir. by Andrew Stanton, screenplay by Andrew Stanton, Mark Andrews, Michael Chabon, starring Taylor Kitsch, Lynn Collins, Samantha Morton, Willem Dafoe
  • The Gods of Mars, 1918 - Marsin jumalat (suom. Alpo Kupiainen, 1923; Seppo Ilmari, 1974)
  • The Warlord of Mars, 1919 - Marsin sotavaltias (suom. Alpo Kupiainen, 1923; Seppo Ilmari, 1972)
  • Thuvia, Maid of Mars, 1920 - Thuvia, Marsin neito (suom. Alpo Kupiainen, 1923) / Marsin neito (suom. Seppo Ilmari, 1972)
  • The Chessmen of Mars, 1922 - Marsin ritarit (suom. Alpo Kupiainen, 1924; Seppo Ilmari, 1973)
  • The Master Mind of Mars, 1928 - Marsin nero (suom. Seppo Ilmari, 1974)
  • A Fighting Man of Mars, 1931 - Marsin urho (suom. Seppo Ilmari, 1974)
  • Swords of Mars, 1936 - Marsin miekat (suom. Seppo Ilmari, 1975)
  • Synthetic Men of Mars, 1940 - Marsin robotit (suom. Seppo Ilmari, 1975)
  • Llana of Gathol, 1948 - Marsin ihmeitä (suom. Seppo Ilmari, 1976)
  • John Carter of Mars, 1964 (with John Coleman Burroughs; contains 'John Carter and the Giant of Mars,' and 'Skeleton Men of Jupiter') - Jupiterin luurankomiehet (teoksessa Marsin jätti, suom. Seppo Ilmari, 1977)

Other works:

  • The Girl from Farris's, 1916
  • The Lost Continent, 1916/1957 (aka Beyond Thirty)
  • Out of Time’s Abyss, 1918
  • The People That Time Forgot, 1918 (serialized in Blue Book Magazine) 
  • The Mucker, 1921 - Väkevä Billy: seikkailuromaani Tyyneltämereltä (suom. Alpo Kupiainen, 1923)
  • The Efficiency Expert, 1921
  • The Return of the Mucker, 1922 (GB title: The Man Without a Soul) - Billy ja etsivä (suom. Alpo Kupiainen, 1924) / Sieluton mies (suom. 1924)
  • The Girl from Hollywood, 1923 - Filmikaupungin tyttö (suom. H. Vaaja, 1924)
  • The Land That Time Forgot, 1924 (Caspak trilogy) - Ajan unohtama maa (suom. Alpo Kupiainen, 1925) / Ajan unohtama manner (suom. Reijo Valta, 2021); Pois ajan syövereistä (suom. Reijo Valta, 2022) - films: 1976, dir. by Kevin Connor, starring Doug McClure, John McEnery, Susan Penhaligon, Keith Barron, screenplay by James Cawthorne and Michael Moorcock, (sequels: At the Earth's Core, 1976, The People That Time Forgot, 1977); The Land That Time Forgot, 2009, dir. C. Thomas Howell, starring C. Thomas Howell, Timothy Bottoms and Lindsey McKeon
  • Marcia of the Doorstep, 1924
  • The Bandit of Hell's Bend, 1925
  • The Eternal Lover, 1925 (aka Land of the Hidden Men) - Ikuinen rakastaja (suom. Väinö Meltti, 1926)
  • The Cave Man, 1925
  • The Cave Girl, 1925 - Luolatyttö (suom. Alpo Kupiainen, 1925)
  • The War Chief, 1926 - Intiaanipäällikkö (suom. Seppo Ilmari, 1973)
  • The Moon Maid, 1926
  • The Mad King, 1926
  • Apache Devil, 1927 - Intiaanipäällikön kosto (suom. Seppo Ilmari, 1974)
  • The Outlaw of Torn, 1927 - Kadonnut prinssi (suom. Alpo Kupiainen, 1928)
  • The Monster Men, 1929
  • Jungle Girl, 1932
  • The Oakdale Affair, 1937
  • The Lad and the Lion, 1938 - Poika ja leijona (suom. Seppo Ilmari, 1972)
  • Official Guide of The Tarzan Clans of America, 1939 (privately printed)
  • The Deputy Sheriff of Comanche County, 1940
  • Beyond the Farthest Star, 1941
  • The Man-Eater, 1955
  • The People That Time Forgot, 1963 (first published in 1918)
  • Tales of Three Planets, 1964
  • I am a Barbarian, 1967
  • Pirate Blood, 1970 (as John Tyler McCulloch)
  • Minidoka: 937th Earl of One Mile Series M, 1998
  • Forgotten Tales of Love and Murder, 2000

Selected Tarzan films:

  • Tarzan of the Apes, 1918 (starring Elmo Lincoln)
  • The Romance of Tarzan, 1918  (starring Elmo Lincoln)
  • The Revenge of Tarzan, 1920 (starring Gene Pollar)
  • The Son of Tarzan, 1920 (starring P. Dempsey Tabler)
  • The Adventures of Tarzan, 1921  (starring Elmo Lincoln)
  • Tarzan and the Golden Lion, 1927 (starring James Pirce)
  • Tarzan the Mighty, 1928 (starring Frank Merrill)
  • Tarzan the Tiger, 1929 (starring Frank Merrill)
  • Tarzan the Ape Man, 1932 (directed by W.S. Van Dyke, starring Johnny Weissmuller, and Maureen O'Sullivan as Jane. "She is frightened by him, but her heart beats quickly (and her hand rests on his thigh) as he eyes her lustily and puts his large hands all over her. She senses that underneath the initial roughness he is tender, and she knows that, despite the childish frolicking, he is a man!... An excellent beginning to the six-film series made by Weissmuller and O'Sullivan for M-G-M." Danny Peary in Guide for the Film Fanatic, 1986)
  • Tarzan the Fearless, 1933 (starring Buster Crabble)
  • Tarzan and His Mate, 1934 (starring Johnny Weismuller and Maureen O'Sullivan)
  • The New Adventures of Tarzan, 1935 (starring Bruce Bennett)
  • Tarzan Escapes, 1936 (starring Johnny Weismuller and Maureen O'Sullivan)
  • Tarzan's Revenge, 1937 (starring Glenn Morris)
  • Tarzan and the Green Goddess, 1938 (starring Herman Brix)
  • Tarzan Finds a Son!, 1939 (starring Johnny Weismuller and Maureen O'Sullivan)
  • Tarzan's Secret Treasure 1941 (starring Johnny Weismuller and Maureen O'Sullivan)
  • Tarzan's New York Adventure, 1942 (starring Johnny Weismuller and Maureen O'Sullivan)
  • Tarzan Triumphs, 1943 (starring Johnny Weismuller)
  • Tarzan’s Desert Mystery, 1943 (starring Johnny Weismuller)
  • Tarzan and the Amazons, 1945 (starring Johnny Weismuller)
  • Tarzan and the Leopard Woman, 1946 (starring Johnny Weismuller)
  • Tarzan and the Huntress, 1947 (starring Johnny Weismuller)
  • Tarzan and the Mermaids, 1948 (starring Johnny Weismuller)
  • Tarzan's Magic Fountain, 1949 (starring Lex Barker)
  • Tarzan and the Slave Girl, 1950 (starring Lex Barker)
  • Tarzan's Peril, 1951 (starring Lex Barker)
  • Tarzan's Savage Fury, 1952 (starring Lex Barker)
  • Tarzan and the She-Devil, 1953 (starring Lex Barker)
  • Tarzan's Hidden Jungle, 1955 (starring Gordon Scott)
  • Tarzan and the Lost Safari, 1957 (starring Gordon Scott)
  • Tarzan's Fight for Life, 1958 (starring Gordon Scott)
  • Tarzan and the Trappers, 1958 (starring Gordon Scott)
  • Tarzan's Greatest Adventure, 1959 (directed by John Guillermin, starring Gordon Scott, Sara Shane, Anthony Quayle, Sean Connery, Scilla Gabel, produced by Sy Weintraub. Made on location in Kenya)
  • Tarzan the Ape Man, 1959 (starring Dennis Miller)
  • Tarzan the Magnificent, 1960 (starring Gordon Scott)
  • Tarzan Goes to India, 1962 (starring Jock Mahoney)
  • Tarzan's Three Challenges, 1963  (starring Jock Mahoney)
  • Tarzan and the Valley of Gold, 1966 (starring Mike Henry)
  • Tarzan's Deadly Silence, 1966 (starring Ron Ely)
  • Tarzan and the Great River, 1967 (starring Mike Henry)
  • Tarzan and the Perils of Charity Jones, 1967 (starring Ron Ely)
  • Tarzan's Jungle Rebellion, 1967 (starring Ron Ely)
  • Tarzan and the Four O'Clock Army, 1968 (starring Ron Ely)
  • Tarzan and the Jungle Boy, 1968 (starring Mike Henry)
  • Tarzan and the Rainbow Treasure, 1968 (starring Steve Hawkes)
  • The King of the Jungle, 1969 (starring Steve Hawkes)
  • Tarzan and the Brown Prince, 1970 (starring Steve Hawkes)
  • Tarzan's Deadly Silence, 1970 (starring Lawrence Dobkin)
  • Tarzan the Ape Man, 1981 (starring Miles O'Keefe)
  • The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes, 1984 (starring Christopher Lambert. "Despite the evocative use of the Cameroon rain forests in the early scenes, some skilled work with apes (primate specialist Roger Fouts choreographed stunt persons in ape suits), and some poignant scenes with the lithe Christopher Lambert, the departures from the basic plot line are obvious. More problematic, however, is Tarzan's aforementioned inability to distinguish himself from the apes who have reared him. What kind of dimwit is he? Moreover, back is Scotland, he continually reverts to ape chatter and, in his seduction scene with Jane, assumes suggestive simian postures over her recumbent form. This Tarzan, contrary to Burroughs' original, evidently is incapable of coping with civilization and incapable of transcending his jungle nature." from Novels into Films by John C. Tibbetss and James M. Welsh, 1999)
  • Tarzan in Manhattan, 1989 (starring Joe Lara)
  • Tarzan and the Lost City, 1998 (starring Casper Van Dien)
  • Tarzan, 1999 (Disney animation)
  • The Legend of Tarzan, 2001-2003 (animated TV series)
  • Tarzan, 2003 (TV series; starring Travis Fimmel as John Clayton)
  • The Legend of Tarzan, 2016 (dir. by David Yates, starring Alexander Skarsgård, Margot Robbie, Samuel L. Jackson)

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