SELECTED LETTERS
Dear Leland:

  Thanks very much for the last 2 RQ. On reading the first part of Dr. Mullen's article on Haggard/ERB, I wrote a long critique of his critique (though his is actually more a listing than a critical article). But I decided to wait until I'd read the first three before sending in my comments.

  We should all be grateful for Mullen's lists and for your printing of It. Future articles on ERB will undoubtedly rely heavily on this handy reference. And I notice that Leslie A. Fiedler has read the listing Mullen did In a previous issue (can't lay my hands on it just now to give title and date of publication). Fiedler referred to the scholer who did it, without naming him, in his recent article on Tarzan in the Now York Times Book Review section...

  I have some hopes that the final article by Mullen will do more than list ERB's and Haggard's faults. I hope he isn't one of those critics who think it's the criticts function to ignore a writer's virtues. Such critics are, figuratively, and perhaps literally, half-assed. I rather think, though, that Mullen finds no merit whatever in these two authors, and so we will not learn from him that Jung, Henry Miller, and others have paid tribute to the abidingness of Haggard as a showor-forth of immortal archetypes. Nor will Mullen have perceived (as Fiedler does) why ERB's Tarzan is an immortal literary figure. But I may be wrong. Let's hope so.

  Fiedler mentioned me in the article as the world's greatest authority on Burroughs. If he'd said I was the greatest authority on Tarzan, he'd have been right. But I disclaim and deny any statement that I am the world's greatest authority on Burroughs. There are others, John Roy, Reverend Heins, Reverend Richardson, Frank Brueekel, Coriell, Cacadessus, and Mullen, who have made a far closer study of the complete works of Burroughs.

  Also, when I may that I know more of Tarzan than anybody else, I must qualify even that statement. Lord Greystoke himself, and his family and a few close friends, know more about him than I do. However, some of the truth about him was revealed in my biography of Groystoke. And more is about to be revealed. From time to time, I got a package in the mails. They're always from the same person, but the mailing addresses are different, and there is no return address. These contain extracts from Greystoke's memoirs, the first batch of which will be in my anthology, Mother Was a Lovely Beast, Chilton Press, Oct., 1974. One of the interesting items in the extracts is the explanation of how Greystoke was able to assume his counin's title without any publicity whatsoever. It's such a simple explanation, and an inevitable one, too, yet no one had ever guessed it.

  This revelation, by the way, is going to force me to revise certain parts of my biography of Greystoke.

  I also reveal that my interview with Lord Greystoke did not actually take place in Libreville, Gabon, as stated'in the Esquire article. Greystoke had asked me to give this city as the interview site, instead of Chicago, where it actually took place. He did not explain why he wished me to put the interview in Libreville nor did he explain why he will now allow me to give the true place. Apparently he had good reasons, but it's not up to me to ask him what they are. Especially since I don't have his address.

  I now have the latest extracts, which describe what really happened between him and La (or the woman whom Burroughs calls La). The two versions, alas, differ considerably, and Greystoke himself is not bound by any of BurrouhgsVictorian-Edwardian inhibitions and conventions.

  You might be amused by a forthcoming book of mine, a pastiche in which Watson and Holmes meet Greystoke. And encounter G-8 and the Shadow on the way to Cairo to capture Van Bork. It also describes how Holmes solves the mystery of what happened to the Zu-Vendis civilization shortly after Allen Quatermain's MS was receieed by his agent, H. Rider Haggard. Not to mention Holmes's anticipation of van Frisch's discovery of bee "language." The Adventure of the Peerless Peer, The Aspen Press, September, 1974.

  I got a letter from Bill Blackbeard some months ago. Among other matters he mentioned that a lot of people didn't like my theory (in Tarzan Alive) that G-8, the Shadow, and the Spider were three different personalities of ... Richard Wentworth. For those who are interested I've reconsidered the evidence (especially the chronological) and have abandoned that theory (which was actually more speculation than theory). But I cling steadfastly to my belief that G-8 was mad as Alice's hattor. However, he did have his lucid moments.

  Also, I got many letters, from people who want to know where they can get copies of my Essex House books. These have long been out of print, but Vernell Coriell is going to reprint A Feast Unkown, probably somtime this year. Later, The Image of the Beast and Blown. These will be illustrated by Richard Corben and will be issued by the Fokker D-LXIX Press, a subsidiary of the Acme Zeppelin Company.

  Thanks again for the RQ and I'll send my comments on Mullen's articles after I get the third part.

  Best,
  Philip Josť Farmer

  Expectations of a part three were raised, perhaps, by the conclusion's being given at the very start, which left an apparent gap in the final pages (of part two) where a conclusion usually belongs.// On the failure to list virtues--there was no claim to a "complete" appraisal. Just a discussion of the "Victorian-Edwardian inhibitions and conventions" (in Mr. Farmer's phrase) that restricted--or failed to restrict--each author. Dr. Mullen stated that the fin de siecle audience was less inhibited than that of the early 2Oth but to me this seemed a purely rhetorical device: the essay convinced me, at least, that ERB was totally bounded by the genteel tradition and that HRH was not.