Tarzan of the Apes (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)

Tarzan of the Apes (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781593082277
Publisher: Barnes & Noble
Publication date: 04/01/2006
Series: Barnes & Noble Classics Series , #1
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 43,954
Product dimensions: 5.18(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.76(d)

Read an Excerpt

From Maura Spiegel's Introduction to Tarzan of the Apes

Tarzan of the Apes was a runaway success when it first appeared. Before he knew it, Burroughs had created a Tarzan industry. He struck deals for daily Tarzan newspaper comic strips and movies (and, later, radio shows), and he licensed Tarzan statuettes, Tarzan bubble gum, Tarzan bathing suits, and an assortment of other merchandizing ventures. Burroughs would write twenty-three Tarzan sequels, and estimates of his lifetime sales range between 30 and 60 million books.

With all the enthusiasm came detractors, those who said Tarzan was unoriginal, his hero just a variation on Kipling’s Mowgli, who, in The Jungle Books, is adopted as an infant by wolves. Kipling himself was of this opinion, writing in his autobiography, “If it be in your power, bear serenely with imitators. My Jungle Book begot Zoos of them. But the genius of all genii was the one who wrote a series called Tarzan of the Apes. I read it, but regret I never saw it on the films, where it rages most successfully. He had jazzed the motif of the Jungle Books, and, I imagine, had thoroughly enjoyed himself.”

In some respects, Tarzan is a distant descendant of frontier legends such as Daniel Boone, Davy Crockett, and James Fenimore Cooper’s character Hawkeye. Tarzan follows the tradition of frontier stories in which white heroes achieve their full manhood by emulating the ways of Indian hunters and warriors, of “savages.” In Tarzan of the Apes, the frontier is replaced by the jungle, and the “savages” are apes and Africans instead of Indians. Like the pioneer heroes, Tarzan symbolically merges the skill and ferocity of the savage with the superior mental and moral acuity attributed to the “civilized” man. Richard Slotkin has argued that the false values of “the metropolis,” be it European culture or urban modernity, can be purged by the adoption of a more primitive and natural condition of life, by a crossing of the border from civilization to wilderness. But adopting the ways of the beast or “savage” does not mean becoming one; it means you know how to turn his own methods against him.

Critic Leslie Fiedler described Tarzan of the Apes as “that immortal myth of the abandoned child of civilization who survives to become Lord of the Jungle.” This basic plot has been adapted and readapted in several dozen film versions. There are many Tarzans; there are noble savages, simple and gentle guardians who protect the jungle and its creatures from arrogant but frightened jungle-intruders, and there are fierce fighting Tarzans, whose primitive existence is poignantly harsh and brutal. Specific features of the Tarzan that Burroughs created, however, are commonly omitted from adaptations; rarely is he represented as the son of an English lord and lady who teaches himself to read and who demonstrates, through his demeanor and skill at killing, his Anglo-Saxon “racial superiority” and his inherited aristocratic taste and sense of honor. These elements of the story don’t have the kind of appeal they once did. As early as the first sound film adaptation in 1932, Hollywood democratized Tarzan, taking away his title and his British heritage. Over the years the representations of Tarzan’s Africa have varied as well. In many of the films, including the 1999 Disney animated version, no Africans appear at all, nor does Tarzan employ his method of killing by hanging, an evocation of lynching that, dismayingly, Burroughs seems to have been untroubled by. Because we want our heroes to embody our principles, Tarzan continues to evolve.

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Tarzan of the Apes (Barnes & Noble Classics Series) 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 238 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I had seen some Tarzan films before I read this book. I wanted to read it to see how Burrough's vision differed from the diffrent films that chronicled Tarzan's origin. And, I must say that I was amazed at how rich and entertaining THIS FANTASTIC BOOK was. I so enjoyed it. I highly recommend this book to anyone who would like to see this legendary character in his true splendor, or to anyone looking for a good read.
theokester More than 1 year ago
I think most people have at least a vague concept of the Tarzan story and its characters. There have been many official Tarzan movies over the years and many stories and other movies that refer to or borrow from the Tarzan mythos. To a large extent, I went into this first Tarzan book (there were over 20 books written) with a pretty good feel for what to expect from the storyline. Despite that, I found some unique elements that I didn't expect. The adventure story within the book is pretty much what I had expected from the movies and TV shows I'd seen. There were a few elements where movie-makers had taken some liberties (possibly with concepts from other books and sometimes to make things more "screen worthy" - such as "me tarzan, you jane" which never happens in the book). I actually found that the adventures of the book were pretty fun to read and kept the pace of the book moving rather well. The book dealt a lot with exploring the character of the characters and the concept of what makes a man. At some times, these sections of narrative were interesting and insightful. At other times, these segments felt poorly informed, assumptive and racist/misogynistic . Generally speaking, the negative aspects of character development distracted me from the positive workmanship to the point that I had a hard time placing any validity on any of the characters. Scientifically speaking, Tarzan's development in the wild is completely unbelievable and his later development of "human" traits is likewise unbelievable. Setting those concepts under the "suspension of disbelief" clause used in fiction, I then got hung up on the behavior of the animals and especially of the other humans. The Women are as helpless lumps of life with their main purpose in life being to provide something that man can provide for and save from hardship and peril. The Men are inconsistent and can either be heartless self-centered ingrates willing to hurt (or kill) anyone for their own advancement, well-intentioned heroes who are physically incompetent and unable to follow through, or complete idiots unfit to do anything productive at all. Tarzan is the only "true man" and as such he finds himself ostracized and unable to find a happy existence either in civilization or the jungle (though he definitely prefers the jungle). Despite not being a fan of the way the characters were portrayed or the way everyone interacted with each other, I still enjoyed the story and there's a part of me that wants to read some of the other books simply for the fun, fluffy enjoyment of wild adventures. Burroughs writing style was fluid and rich and provided for a quick and enjoyable read. This is a book worth reading for the fun of it and to look at its influence on the media and culture of the 100 years since it was written. 3 Stars
shelley1AL More than 1 year ago
I thoroughly enjoyed Tarzan of the Apes when I was a kid, I read it several times, and reading it again many decades later has been a delight. It's been a great escape. I appreciate B&N Classics Series, the great prices encourage me to revisit many classics I grew up with, and also read some great classics for the first time.
PureMagick More than 1 year ago
I very much believe this belong in every reader's library.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book not long after the Disnesy movie Tarzan of the Apes came out and I must say that this book is one of the BEST I've ever read!!! I would definately recommend it to anyone who loves adventureous or romantic stories! Those are my favorite types of books. Tarzan of the Apes kept me always looking forward to reading the next page, always wondering what would happen to the characters next. There are so many twists and unexpected turns in the story that it always kept me interested. IT'S THE MOST AMAZING BOOK EVER!!
Wompus More than 1 year ago
Everyone knows the Tarzan story, right? Well, I thought I did but I didn't. This story was thoroughly engrossing and moves very, very fast. There are some uncomfortable themes (Burroughs' ethnocentric view towards other races, etc.), but I think it comes with the times in which it was written. The storylines are fantastic and leave you wanting to read the next chapter. Some parts are unbelievable (a man killing apes, lion, etc. or a man swinging through the trees carrying another person), but the escapism and adventure are thrilling. It was a fun read that I would definitley recommend.
Crewman_Number_6 on LibraryThing 3 months ago
People always laugh when I tell them that Tarzan is one of my favorite fictional characters of all time. Unless you have actually read Burrough\'s book, you really have not experienced anything even close to what the Tarzan story is about. This has always been a favorite from the day I first read it as a child.
lassiter on LibraryThing 3 months ago
The "true" story of the Lord of the Jungle--Tarzan. Read the story of a young boy, orphaned, then adopted and raised by the apes. Read of his struggles and how he finds his heritage and the woman who changed his life--Jane. The story of Tarzan has been told over and over; read the book for yourself
Anonymous 10 months ago
Always loved these books since it was the first book I rember reading as a child of 5 or 6
Roscoe95 More than 1 year ago
Tarzan of the Apes is a wonderful read. For someone like me who had never read Edgar Rice Borroughs’ work before it was a nice change from the other science fiction/fantasy novel I was used to reading. Before reading this book my only perspective of Tarzan was from the Disney adaptation from my childhood and the 2016 movie adaptation of the story. Since the book was written in 1912 it is written in a bit older English than many other novels, but it is still a pretty easy read. I loved the humor that Borroughs put into his character Tarzan and how you get to see Tarzan’s journey from just an outsider in his clan of apes to an educated English gentleman. It is an exciting read as well because it has many fights, escapes, love, and of course lots of flying through the trees swinging on vines. Since it was written so long ago there are some parts that are somewhat sexist, but these are far and in between. If you want to broaden your vocabulary, then this is an excellent book to use. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves reading or is just interested in finding out the original story of Tarzan as I was.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the classic adventure that birthed a legend. The author was pedestrian as a stylist, but had a vivid imagination for someone who never even visited Africa. Today it would likely be denounced as racist. Read it even if you think you know Tarzan.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
She puts food in her pu.ssy going up to the gorrilla
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chinitaNJ More than 1 year ago
Very good book, my child love it!
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I never thoght I would like Tarzan of the Apes until I read A Princess of Mars. I liked it so much that I thought I would see what Tarzan was like, since it was written by the same auther. As soon as I picked it up, I couldn't put it down until I had finished it. Edgar Rice Borroughs was an incredibly imaginative writer and I can't wait to read his other books!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago