RE CAWTHORN'S comment that it's about time to drop this game that Tarzan really exists. For me, it's not a game. I know that there was a real Tarzan and the he still lives. I'm dead serious, though not deadly serious, I hope.
Nor have I pursued this "game" for money, as Cawthorn says. If I was primarily interested in financial gain, I would never have written TARZAN ALIVE. In the time I spent on the biography I could (no exaggeration) have written four novels. And gotten bigger advances from each one than I made on the bio. The book was a labor of love, and love of labor, though lots of fun for me.
If others insist it's just a game or that Tarzan is purely fictional, I won't argue with them. Let the kafir dwell in the darkness.
As for the controversy about Barsoom. Was is in a parallel universe or its entrance through a time gate et al? This is a game. The game is based on the assumption that there was indeed a John Carter and a Barsoom. I personally think that the Barsoom stories are fiction (and minor classics in world literature). So was everything else that ERB wrote, that is, they were one hundred percent fiction. Except for the Tarzan stories, which, though often fictionalized and exaggerated, contain a kernel of truth.
A thought concerning the 1888/1872 controversy. If Tarzan was born in 1872, then the fingerprints on the diary would have been examined, and his identity as Greystoke proved, in 1893. The identification was done in Paris. But it wasn't until 1891 that identification by fingerprints was removed from the field of theory and made practical. This was the system introduced by Vucetich of Argentina. Not until 1900 did this system become used in Great Britian. To be more precise, Sir Edward Henry published his book on the use of fingerprints in 1900, and the Metropolitan Police Fingerprint Bureau was established in July 1901.
Somewhere in my still unorganized collection of books is a statement about the French Sûrété's first use of fingerprints. I'll send you the information when I find the book. In the meantime, I have a vague and possibly incorrect memory that the French preceded the English in the use of fingerprints. But if they didn't, then it's doubtful that a Tarzan born in 1872 could have been identified by his thumbprint.
Not by the French anyway.
This is a matter to be ascertained later.
In any event, the question is irrelevant if there is a true Tarzan. Obviously, if Tarzan had succeeded his cousin, or, rather, ousted the false claimant, then worldwide publicity would have resulted. We would know exactly who Tarzan was, his real name and title.
But this didn't happen. There was no publicity in real life. So - Tarzan must be fictional right?
No, because ERB did not give us the true sequence of events. As "Lord Greystoke" says in his "Extracts from the Memoirs of Lord Greystoke" (see MOTHER WAS A LOVELY BEAST and THE PEERLESS PEER) Tarzan took his cousin's role after his cousin died. Nobody except a very few confidants knew about this. This is the way it was, and this is how Tarzan avoided publicity. This is also the reason why it is so difficult to determine the true identity of "Lord Greystoke" from a perusal of BURKE'S PEERAGE.
So, there wasn't any telegram from Paris proving that Tarzan was the real heir. Nor was there any notice of a British Peer dying on the coast of West Africa.
Nor is Tarzan's name "John Clayton." ERB makes that clear in TARZAN OF THE APES in the very beginning of the narrative. He says (page 2 A.L. Burt ed.) "we learn that a certain English nobleman, whom we shall call John Clayton, Lord Greystoke..." (italics mine.)
It's possible that "Clayton" wasn't even a member of the nobility. His father may have been a baronet, which is a sort of hereditary knight. But he would have been descended from nobility, as are many of the landed gentry and baronetcy. And it's possible that "John Clayton" earned a noble title in his middle age for his services to the king.
Enough of that. Unlike some of your correspondants, I thought THE LAND THAT TIME FORGOT was a bad movie. It only looks good in comparison with AT THE EARTH'S CORE. Here I am, having waiting all my life for the splendors and colors and great adventure of these two books to be transfered to the screen, and they were blown, wasted, ruined. Maybe it is impossible to put the essence of ERB's qualities on film. It's never been done yet. The Tarzan movies were fun, but they weren't the real Tarzan.
Philip Jose Farmer (Peoria, Ill.)