THE WOLD NEWTON UNIVERSE
This page contains several articles by the great creative mythographer, Philip José Farmer, and are generally harder to locate than some of his Wold Newton books, such as Tarzan Alive, Doc Savage: His Apocalyptic Life, and The Other Log of Phileas Fogg (go to this page and this page for a full listing of Mr. Farmer's Wold Newton books and stories). The articles are reproduced here with Mr. Farmer's permission and with my thanks. Many thanks also go to Michael Croteau of The Official Philip José Farmer Home Page, who made my life much easier by acting as a liaison with Mr. Farmer and providing preliminary OCR conversions of some of the texts.
The remainder of the Wold Newton Articles pages contain several types of articles, ranging from pure information about the Wold Newton Universe (such as Lou Mougin's The Continuing Crossovers Affair and Brad Mengel's The Edson Connection), to more speculative pieces (such as Chuck Loridans' The Daughters of Tarzan), to a mixture a both. The presence of an article on these pages does not necessarily constitute an integration of that article's theories and speculation into the history described in The Wold Newton Universe Crossover Chronology. Rather, the purpose of the articles pages is encourage free thinking, theorizing, hypothesizing, and research into the mysteries of the Newtonverse.
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Mark Brown's Wold Newton Chronicles follows the tradition of featuring the very best in scholarship and articles on Wold Newton topics ranging far and wide.
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From now on, please forward your articles to Win, to Mark, and to Dennis. We will consider submissions and coordinate for posting on one of our sites.
(The English Nobleman whom Edgar Rice Burroughs called John Clayton, Lord Greystoke)
NOTE: The speech published here is not quite that given during the Dum-Dum banquet on Burroughs' Day, September 5, 1970, in Detroit, Michigan. Some changes have been made and insertions and additions worked in due to corrections of errors on my part and a failure to resist the temptation to gild the lily. It is, however, in the main, the same speech.
Ladies and gentlemen, mangani, tarmangani, gomangani, and bolgani.
I'm happy to be here. Whether or not you will be happy remains to be seen. I warn you that what I am going to say has little "relevance." I'm all for relevancy to the problems of our time. I belong to the ZPG (Zero Population Growth), have worked in the WRITE FOR YOUR LIFE campaign, and have consistently tried to combat prejudice and inhumane thinking in my writings. I've been working for some time on a book concerning the need for an Economy of Abundance. I've just finished two short stories about pollution in our times. I'm writing a novel, DEATH'S DUMB TRUMPET, about the effects of pollution twenty years from now.
But you won't be getting any of that today. Men must have hobbies, otherwise they go mad. The works of Edgar Rice Burroughs (ERB) are, to me, a gate into parallel worlds where there are problems, but none that my hero, and, therefore, me as the hero, can't handle. There I can relax and forget, for the time being, the noisy, stinking, dusty, and hostile world that exists outside my window. And, too often, inside the window.
It's not my purpose today to justify my love for ERB's worlds. You know why I love them, otherwise you wouldn't be here.
I propose today to inspect a very small segment of the world of Tarzan, one that has been left entirely unexplored, as far as I know. For that purpose, I've had some transparencies of the subject for today, the Greystoke coat-of-arms, prepared. You can observe it in widescreen color on this wall while I lecture.
(Please show the first transparency.)
I furnished the original research for these arms, the first rough sketches, and the blazoning. But Bjo Trimble did the actual execution, which I consider to be superb. She took a keen interest in the project and put in much time she could ill afford in research on her own and in the actual calculations and drawings. The result exceeded my expectations; her visualizations surpassed my own.
NOTE: This illustration is at present, September, 1971, scheduled to be part of the jacket illustration of my THE PRIVATE LIFE OF TARZAN. This is a biography of Lord Greystoke along the lines of W.S. Baring-Gould's SHERLOCK HOLMES OF BAKER STREET and NERO WOLFE OF WEST THIRTY-FIFTH STREET, and also of C. Northcote Parkinson's THE LIFE AND TIMES OF HORATIO HORNBLOWER. The latter was issued after the Ms for the Tarzan Life had been turned in to the publisher, Doubleday.
The Tarzan books describe, or hint at, many things. But in none is there any reference to the coat-of-arms of the "Greystoke" family. There is a reference in TARZAN OF THE APES to the family crest on the great ring which Tarzan's father wore. But the crest is not described. Greystoke, as you know, is not the actual title of the noble family that engendered the immortal ape-man. Greystoke is a pseudonym used by ERB to cover the real identity of a line of English peers. I intend to speculate about the real title. But Greystoke has been associated too long with Tarzan for any of us to be at ease in using any other title. This is the way it should be, and this is why I have placed the legend, GREYSTOKE, under the arms.
However, though Greystoke is not Tarzan's real title, he is descended from the de Greystocks, the ancient and distinguished barons of Greystoke, Cumberland, England. I refer you to Burke's EXTINCT PEERAGE, Nicolas' A SYNOPSIS OF THE PEERAGE, Cokayne's THE COMPLETE PEERAGE for their history. This descent of Tarzan through several lines of this family is one of the reasons ERB chose Greystoke for a pseudonym.
Now--the blazoning, I'll give it to you as it would be in Burke's GENEALOGICAL AND HERALDIC HISTORY OF THE PEERAGE, BARONETAGE, AND KNIGHTAGE. Burke's PEERAGE (to use its short title) has over 2475 pages of very small, closely set print devoted to genealogy.
After the blazoning, I'll explain the technical terms I used. Then I'll go into the history of each family represented here. I'll demonstrate that Tarzan, king of the tribe of Kerchak, chief of the Waziri, a member of the English peerage, lord of the jungle, demigod of the forest, has a noble genealogy indeed. In fact, no one in Europe, not even Queen Elizabeth of Great Britain, can boast of a more ancient and varied lineage.
ARMS -- Quarterly of six: 1st, GREBSON OF GREBSON, argent, on a saltire azure drinking horns in triskele gules; 2nd. DRUMMOND, or, three bars wavy gules; 3rd,O'BRIEN, gules, three lions passant guardant in pale, per pale or and argent; 4th, CADLWELL, sable, a torn or; 5th, RUTHERFORD, gules, a wild bull's head cabossed, eyes of the first, otherwise of its own kind, between the horns a wildman's head affrontée, eyes of the first; 6th, GREYSTOCK, barry of six, argent and asure, over all three chaplets of roses gules. CRESTS -- A sleuth-hound argent, collared and leashed gules, for DRUMMOND; issuing from a cloud azure an arm embowed brandishing a sword gules, pommel and hilt sable, for GREBSON; a spear or transfixing a Saracen's head gules, for GREBSON. SUPPORTERS -- Dexter, a savage wreathed about the middle with oak leaves, in the dexter hand a bow, with a quiver of arrows over his shoulder, all vert, and a lion's skin or hanging behind his back; sinister, a female great ape guardant, all proper. MOTTOES -- "Je Suys Encore Vyvant"; "Kreeg-ah!"
The explanation of the technical terms:
Quarterly of six. Quarterly originally meant the four equal parts into which the shield was divided for showing four arms. But some people added even more, and the family of Dent, the Baronage of Furnivall, has a quarterly of ten. The Greystokes could add a hundred, if they wished, since they are descended from that many different noble families. But the shields generally are restricted to a reasonable number.
Argent is a heraldic term for silver or white. Azure is blue. A saltire, or St. Andrew's cross, is a cross in the form of an X. The St. Andrew's cross is usually found in the field of a Scots family but not always. Gules is red. In triskele indicates a figure composed of three usually curved or bent branches radiating from a center. Triskele, or triskelion, is from a Greek word meaning three-legged.
Or is gold. A bar is a horizontal division of the shield occupying one-fifth thereof. Wavy means undulating. Passant is a term for beasts in a walking position with the right forepaw raised, although I've seen the left front paw raised, for instance, in the lion passant of the crest of a branch of the English family of Farmer.
Guardant is front or full-faced. In pale indicates that the charges, in this case, the lions, are arranged beneath one another. Per pale indicates the particular manner in which a shield or field or a charge is divided by a partition line. Thus, the lions, in pale, per pale or and argent are arranged in a vertical column and each is half-gold and half-silver, as you see.
Sable is black. A torn is a heraldic spinning wheel. Torn was an archaic English word for the early type of spinning wheel used in the late 13th century.
A wild bull's head cabossed. Cabossed, or caboshed, indicates the head of any beast looking full-faced with nothing of the neck visible. "Of the first" means that the color is the first one mentioned in the blazoning. In this case, of the first means gules. The eyes of the bull and the wild man are bright red, giving the Rutherford charges a fierce and sinister look. Making the eyes red was Bjo's idea, a stroke of genius on her part, as far as I'm concerned. Of its own kind, or proper, are terms applicable to animals, trees, vegetables, etc. , when they are their natural color.
A wild man's head affrontée. Affrontée is a term applied to full-faced human heads.
Barry describes the field or charge divided by horizontal lines. Thus, GREYSTOCK, barry of six, argent and azure, means six horizontal bars alternately silver and blue.
Crests over coat-of-arms were originally derived from the actual crests of helmets worn by the nobles. The only term used for the crests so far not explained is embowed. (Pointing to the center crest.) An arm embowed. Embowed means bent or bowed.
The Saracen's head originally indicated an ancestor who went to the Holy Land on one of the crusades. The head is gules, instead of a proper or natural color, because of a story associated with Tarzan's crusader ancestor. The story will be told in the genealogy of Tarzan in THE PRIVATE LIFE OF TARZAN. 
Regard the two supporters, the figures holding the shield up. One is dexter; the other, sinister. Dexter means the right-hand supporter. Right and left, in heraldry, are as seen by the man behind the shield. Sinister, of course, has no evil meaning in heraldry; it merely indicates the left-hand position.
The savage, or woodman, or wildman, is all vert, that is, green.
The upper motto is French in archaic spelling. Je Suys Encore Vyvant. Translation: I Still Live. Or I am Still Living. Or I Yet Live.
Tarzan, as you no doubt recall, said these words more than once in seemingly hopeless situations. In TARZAN THE UNTAMED, Bertha Kircher, the supposed German spy, and Tarzan are about to be caught by the insane Xujans and their hunting lions. She says to Tarzan, "You think there is some hope, then?"
"We are still alive," was his only answer.
And in TARZAN THE TERRIBLE, when Jane and Tarzan are soon to be sacrificed, Jane asks, "You still have hope?"
"I am still alive, " he said as though that were sufficient answer.
Thus Tarzan echoed the motto of his ancient family, the old war cry his fighting ancestors used to rally their men around them when the battle seemed to have turned against them.
I probably don't need to point out that "I still live" is also the motto of another great fighter, John Carter of Mars.
The lower motto, "Kreeg-ah!" is, of course, the warning cry of the great ape. (As an aside, I'd like to suggest that it's long past time for the great ape to be given a scientific classification. And since Tarzan's father was the European to describe the great ape -- in his diary, of course -- l propose that we honor him by terming this new genus Megapithecus greystoki. This would also honor his son, who knows more of the great ape than anyone in the world, civilized or uncivilized.
The lower motto, "Kreeg-ah!", was added by Tarzan to the family arms when he assumed the title in late 1910 (according to my reckoning). The great ape supporter is also Tarzan's idea. The original supporter was a heraldic Sagittarius, a centaur with a bow. But Tarzan wanted to honor his foster mother, Kala, and so he replaced the Sagittarius with a female mangani. This changing of supporters in a coat-of-arms for personal reasons is not unprecedented. The 10th Duke of Marlborough, for instance, replaced both supporters on his family's arms. However, this type of arms is usually regarded as a personal coat- of-arms, a variation on the family's, and other members of the family may use the older type if they desire. I would imagine that Korak would keep his father's arms, inasmuch as he was also closely associated with the mangani.
While I'm at it, I might as well say that these arms are not complete or even accurate from the strict viewpoint of the College of Heraldry. All of the quarters except the first and fourth should have little symbols, such as a crescent or mullet (a five-pointed star) or others to indicate that these are different branches from the main Drummond, O'Brien, Rutherford, and Greystock lines. However, the symbols for difference are not always used, and Tarzan's noble forebears never got around to conforming to strict usage.
Also, the Drummond crest, the sleuth-hound (that must be Sherlock Holmes' crest, too) should be on the sinister side. The crests of the primary family, the Grebsons, should occupy the dexter place of honor and the center. But these crests entered the Greystoke arms a long time before heraldry became regulated by a college of heralds or by royal authority. The crests should be somewhat smaller and all placed above the shield, but, again, they were drawn thus in the distant old days, and the Greystoke family has never seen fit to change them.
The headpiece you see on top of the shield is the coronet of a duke, not to be confused with the ducal or crest coronet. It has a circle, or coronet, of gold surmounted by eight golden strawberry leaves, of which only five are visible, and by the red golden-tasseled cap with the ermine under-rim you see. I know that some of you are thinking: Why the coronet of a duke? Tarzan, according to his own statement in TARZAN, LORD OF THE JUNGLE, is a viscount. And several other Tarzan books assert that he is viscount.
Is he? My own theory is that he may have been a duke, a marquess, earl, baron, or baronet (a baronet is not a noble but a sort of hereditary knight), or any combination of these. But he would not be a viscount. Or, if he were, it would be only one of his titles. ERB took great pains to conceal the true identity of "Lord Greystoke. " He would have altered the reply Tarzan really made when asked (by Sir Bertram of the city of Nimmr) what his rank was. ERB knew that Tarzanic scholars would search through the some 120-plus viscounts listed in Burke's PEERAGE for evidence that one was Tarzan. So he directed them down a blind alley.
I don't want to go into this theory in detail at this time. But the feudal society Tarzan found in a lost valley in Ethiopia was supposed to be descended from two shiploads of Englishmen who had set out with Richard I on the First Crusade. This was in 1191, but viscount, as an English title, was not used until 1440. If Tarzan had "truly" said he was a viscount, Sir Bertram wouldn't have known what he meant. Obviously, Tarzan did not say that. Or, if he did, seeing that Sir Bertram did not understand him, he went on to his other titles. Sir Bertram would have heard of "earl" and "baron", since these were the only English titles of nobility extant in Richard's time.
From the above argument, we can assume, with a good amount of reasonableness, that Tarzan is an earl or baron. Given the ancientness and honourableness of his line (stressed by ERB in the first Tarzan book), the chances are that he is both.
On the other hand, very few Englishmen, that is, men of Old English descent, actually accompanied Richard. Most of his crusaders were Normans, and it is doubtful that Richard had enough Englishmen to fill one ship, let alone two. (Accounting at least 60 knights per ship as a shipload.) This would mean that the people of the valley were descended from Normans and so spoke an evolved Norman. This leads to developments that I don't have time for here but will lay out for the interested reader in THE PRIVATE LIFE OF TARZAN.
It is, however, incredible that the man we know as Lord Greystoke would not be a duke. If Peter Wimsey's father was Duke of Denver and Lord John Roxton's father was Duke of Pomfret, then surely Tarzan must be a duke, regardless of how many other titles he holds. Don't forget that Tarzan is referred to as a "dook" twice, once in TARZAN AND THE FOREIGN LEGION. I do have more solid reasons than this for placing him in the highest rank of nobility. But I have to expound these elsewhere, due to lack of time here.
(Please put in the second slide.)
(This was a close-up of the shield.)
To arms. The first, first. GREBSON OF GREBSON. Am I revealing, for the first time by anyone anywhere, the true name and title of Tarzan's family?
The present Lord Greystoke wishes to have his identity stay hidden, and I respect his reasons. (Besides, I would not think of offending the Lord of the Jungle.) So I have picked a title and a coat-of-arms which reveal certain facts about him, or come close to the facts, without disclosing his genuine identity. The title and the arms are analogs. They are not the real title and arms. But they are near enough to give an idea of what the genuine items are.
Some of you know that ERB, in the original Ms of TARZAN OF THE APES, used Bloomstoke as Tarzan's title. Then he changed it. Why? For one thing, Greystoke sounds more aristocratic than Bloomstoke. Also, Tarzan is descended from the Greystokes. (So is half of the peerage of England as you may ascertain if you care to take the trouble to trace them through Burke,) But the Grey in Greystoke was also provided by ERB as a clue for some scholar who might want to tackle the formidable hunt for the real Tarzan. (We know that ERB was fond of codes and sometimes used them in making up names or disguising real names for his characters and places.)
Following this coded lead (among many others), I hunted down and identified the real-world Tarzan. The project took me two and a half years and involved reading every word of the lineages in 2457 pages of Burke's PEERAGE. However, all the work I put in would not have led me to the real Tarzan if I had not stumbled across a certain clue through sheer good fortune. Only a highly improbable sequence of events could permit another to follow the trail I followed. I am sorry, but I cannot supply the necessary clue, since "Lord Greystoke" himself has asked me not to. Therefore, I am compelled to suppress everything I know for sure and behave as if I were as ignorant as everybody else in the matter. I have to proceed by analogy, and if you choose to dispute my theses, you have a perfect right to do so.
I will tell you one thing. Tarzan's real title does not start with GR (as in Greystoke or Grebson). That initial letter cluster will, however, lead you to some of his ancestors and relatives in Burke's PEERAGE. Nor does his title contain the word grey. It does contain an archaic word implying grey. I won't tell you if the word is of Germanic, Latin, Pictish, or Celtic origin, however.
Grebson, our analog family name and title, comes from the Old English Graegbeardssunu. This means The Son of the Grey-Bearded One. And who was the Grey-Bearded One? He was Woden, the chief god of the Anglo-Saxons or Old English, the same as the Othinn of the Old Norse or the Wuotan of the Old High Germans or Othinus of the continental Saxons. According to the Norse Edda, the great god had many epithets. To read off all his titles would take several minutes, so I resist the temptation.
Tarzan's real title contains an epithet for Woden, though not the one I give here, which is an analogous epithet.
Note the argent field and azure saltire of Grebson's arms. Argent and azure are Woden's colors. Note the three drinking horns with interlocking tips. This ancient sign for Woden (or Odin) is found carved on rocks in many places in Scandinavia and a number of places in the British Isles. In Old English it would be called the waelcnotta and in Old Norse is the valknutr. It means the "knot of the slain" and stands for Woden (Or Odin) in his aspect of the god of the warriors who've died in battle. Hence the gules, or red, color of the drinking horns.
You won't find this symbol on Tarzan's real shield. But you will find something analogous, if you are persistent enough and wildly lucky.
Apparently, the founder of Tarzan's family, the original Grebson, claimed to be descended from the god Woden. The Queen of England makes exactly the same claim, as you can find out by reading The Royal Lineage section of Burke's PEERAGE. She is descended from Egbert, King of Wessex (died 839 A.D.). Egbert, like the other kings of English states at that time, Mercia, Deira, Kent, Eastanglia, etc., had a traditional genealogy which went unbroken back to Denmark of circa 300 A.D. and to the great god Woden.
Those interested can refer to page 165, Vol. 1, of Jacob Grimm's TEUTONIC MYTHOLOGY, Dover Books.
I submit that a human being can't have a more highly placed or illustrious ancestor.
That Tarzan's arms bear the ancient symbol of Woden indicates that his ancestors clung to the old religion long after their neighbors were christianized. Originally, their shields bore only the drinking horns gules in triskele on an argent and azure field. Then the saltire was added to convince others that the family was truly of the new faith. History tells us of the tenacity with which parts of rural England held on to the ancient faiths. And ERB, in THE OUTLAW OF TORN, says of the peasants' love for the outlaw, "Few...had seen his face and fewer still had spoken with him, but they loved his name and his prowess and in secret they prayed for him to their ancient god Wodin and the lesser gods of the forest and the meadow and the chase..."
Second, DRUMMOND. Drummond comes from the Gaelic druim monadh, meaning back of the mountain. This Scots family is presently represented by the Earl of Ancaster and the Earl of Perth. The family was founded by Maurice, the son of George, a young son of Andreas, King of Hungary. Maurice came to Scotland in 1066 and settled there. He, in turn, could trace his ancestry unbroken back to Arpad, the Magyar chief who conquered Hungary (died 907 A.D.).
Third, O'BRIEN. A prominent member of this ancient Irish family is the Baron of Inchiquin. In an unbroken line it descends from Brian Boroimhe, chief Irish monarch in 1002 A.D. and victor of the battle of Clontarf, though he himself was killed by the Danes. This line can actually trace itself back to Cormac Cas, son of Olliol Olum, King of Ireland, circa 200 A.D.
Fourth, CALDWELL, sable a torn or.
Some of you pricked up your ears when I first blazoned these arms. You remembered that Tarzan, in THE RETURN OF TARZAN, used the pseudonym of John Caldwell when he was a French secret agent traveling on a liner from Algiers to Cape Town.
Why would he use that pseudonym? Obviously, he picked the first name that came to mind, that of his illustrious ancestor, John Caldwell. No doubt, Tarzan had been reading in Burke's PEERAGE about the Greystoke lineage and the story of John Caldwell was fresh in his mind.
Another reason you pricked up your ears was the mention of the torn, the heraldic spinning wheel. You recalled Richard Plantagenet, son of Henry III, he who would later be called Norman of Torn or the Outlaw of Torn. You probably asked yourself, "What does Farmer mean by that? The Outlaw of Torn is Tarzan's ancestor? But Norman killed one of Tarzan's ancestors, a Greystoke!"
Did he? ERB did not say that this particular Greystoke was an ancestor of Tarzan. That's an assumption by some of his readers. Perhaps the slain Greystoke was a member of the genuine de Grestocks of Greystoke Castle, Cumberland. He may or may not have been Tarzan's forefather, but I'm inclined to believe that Norman of Torn certainly was. Tarzan would certainly have the greatest warrior of the Middle Ages in his family line.
The Outlaw was born in 1240 A.D. and was 15 years old when he slew Greystoke. This would be in 1255, the 39th year of Henry III's reign. So the Greystoke whom Norman killed was probably the son of Baron Robert de Greystock (died before 1253) and the younger brother of William de Greystock. William's son, John, was the first Greystoke summoned as a baron by writ to Parliament. This was in 1295 A.D. in Edward I's time. This, by the way, was the first regular parliament, recognized as such.
We know that Henry III finally became aware that the famous, or infamous, outlaw was his long-lost son, Richard. But Henry died in 1272, and his son, Edward I, called Long shanks, was, though a very good king for those days, proud, jealous, and suspicious. His younger brother Richard, too popular with the common people, would have been forced to flee on a trumped-up charge of treason (nothing rare in those days). By then Bertrade de Montfort his wife, had died, probably in childbirth or of disease, very common causes of fatality then. Richard would have taken a pseudonym again, that of John Caldwell, landless warrior. In the North of England he met old Baron Grebson. The baron had no male issue, and so, when his daughter fell in love with the stranger knight, he adopted him. This was nothing unusual; you will find similar examples throughout Burke's PEERAGE. The family name became Caldwell-Grebson, though the Caldwell was later dropped. Similar examples of this also abound in Burke.
John Caldwell could not use the same arms as the Outlaw of Torn, of course. So, instead of argent a falcon's wing sable, he used sable a torn or. That he chose the torn showed he could not resist an example of "canting arms," a heraldic pun. One, indeed, that proved as dangerous as might be expected. Edward I heard of the appearance from nowhere of a knight who bore a torn on his shield, and he investigated. The king's men ambushed John Caldwell, and though he slew five of them, he, too, died.
How can we be sure of this?
An obscure book on medieval witchcraft, published in the middle 1600's, describes the case of a knight who was, for reasons unknown to the writer, slain by Edward I's men in a northern county. When his body was laid out to be washed, his left breast was found to bear a violet lily-shaped birthmark. This was thought to be the mark of the devil. But we readers of THE OUTLAW OF TORN will recognize the true identity of the man suspected of witchcraft.
This theory could be wrong, of course. I propose an alternate to consider. You may have noticed the remarkable resemblance between the Outlaw and Tarzan. Both were tall, splendidly built, and extremely powerful men. (Anybody who can drive the point of a broadsword through chain mail into his opponent's heart is strong enough to crack the neck of a bull ape.) Both men had grey eyes. Both wore their hair in bangs across their foreheads. Neither knew the meaning of fear.
But the description of the Outlaw could also apply, except for a few minor points, to John Carter of Mars. What if the Outlaw did not die, as I first speculated, but had somehow defeated the aging process? What if, like Tarzan, he had stumbled across an elixir for immortality? During his wanderings in rural England, he came across a wizard or witch, actually a member of the old faith, who had a recipe for preventing degeneration of the body. If a witch doctor in modern Africa could have such, and give it to Tarzan, then a priest of an outlawed religion in the Middle Ages could give such to the Outlaw of Torn.
Sometime during the following six centuries, the Outlaw suffered amnesia. This was either from a blow on the head (again recalling Tarzan, who suffered amnesia many times from blows on the head) or because loss of memory of early years is an unfortunate by-product of the elixir. Thus, on March 4, 1866, the Outlaw, a long-time resident of Virginia, an admitted victim of amnesia, left a cave in Arizona for the planet Mars. ERB called this man John Carter. Notice the J.C. I suggest that he may have been Richard Plantagenet, Norman of Torn, John Caldwell, and, finally, John Carter.
It is possible that John Caldwell was not killed, that he slew all of Edward's men, who actually numbered six, mangled the face of one tall corpse, and stained a violet lily mark on the corpse's left breast. And, once again, he disappeared into pseudonymity but gained immortality as the Warlord of Mars.
It's true that the Outlaw's hair was brown and Carter's was black. But hair gets darker as one ages (until it starts to gray), and 626 years are long enough for anybody's hair to get black.
If this theory is correct, the Outlaw of Torn is not only John Carter of Mars but Tarzan's ancestor by about 600 years. But John Carter may have been the ancestor of Tarzan many times over. He may have followed the fortunes of his descendants with keen interest and, every now and then, remarried into the line and begat more powerful, quick thinking, fearless, grey-eyed men and fearless grey-eyed beautiful daughters. I wouldn't be surprised if he were not only the ancestor of Tarzan's father but of Tarzan's mother, Alice Rutherford. Perhaps this regular insertion of Carter's genes into the line is why ERB insists so strongly on the influence of heredity in Tarzan's behavior.
And I point out, as something for you to chew on, that Sherlock Holmes, Professor Challenger, Raffles, Richard Wentworth, Lord Peter Wimsey, and Denis Nayland Smith were all grey-eyed. And, though some were slim, all had very powerful muscles. Could these, together with Tarzan, be descendants of John Carter of Mars?
Their relationship, with those of Doc Savage, Kent Allard, Korak, Lord John Roxton, Nero Wolfe, and The Scarlet Pimpernel, will be described in a separate essay.
Oh, yes, I almost forgot Bulldog Drummond.
As we know, Tarzan's mother was the Honourable Alice Rutherford. The Honourable indicates that she was the daughter of a baron or a viscount, though ERB does not tell us what the title of her father was. The Rutherfords are an ancient and once-powerful Scots border family. Its name comes from the Old English hrythera ford, meaning wild cattle of the ford. The arms you see here, the wild bull cabossed and the wildman's head between the horns, are the arms of the lords of Tennington. Internal evidence in THE RETURN OF TARZAN convinces me that Tarzan's mother was the aunt of the Lord Tennington who married Hazel Strong, Jane Porter's best friend. The reasons for this conclusion will be given in a separate essay.
Tarzan is descended through at least half a dozen lines from the barons of Greystoke. At present, the barony is in abeyance, the last male heir having died in 1569. The Earl of Carlisle, the Baron of Petre, and the Baron of Mow bray, Segrave, and Stourton are co-heirs. The Earl of Carlisle bears the Greystoke arms on his shield, and a cousin of the Duke of Norfolk resides in Greystoke Castle. I have a letter from the cousin in which he says that he was very fond of the Tarzan books when he was young. But, he adds, "...as you know, I am not Tarzan."
What he doesn't say is that he is a relative of Tarzan's.
(Please put the first slide back on.)
About all that remains to explain in the arms is the dexter supporter. Aside from its being green, it looks like the usual savage or woodman supporter. Actually, it represents the son of John Caldwell. After his father's supposed death, the son had to flee into the wilds of northern England to escape the King's officers. There he adopted a green costume and used a green-painted bow and green arrows. Because of these, he was known as The Green Archer or, sometimes, as The Green Baron. His legend was combined with that of Robert Fitzooth to create the Robin Hood legend.
The golden lion skin which he wears here was added by Tarzan to honor Jad-bal-ja.
So you can see that the baby born in a little log cabin on the West African coast, raised by apes, naked until twenty and the wearing second-hand clothes, yet came from a lineage few can match and eventually inherited the golden coronet and crimson miniver-edged mantle of a peer of the realm.
Before I close, let me summarize the illustrious ancestors of Tarzan.
First, the nonhuman founder of his line, Woden, chief god of the Old English tribes.
Henry III and through him William the Conqueror and Rolf the Ganger (the Viking who conquered Normandy). Through Henry III's wife, Alfred the Great, Egbert, and Charlemagne, Charlemagne could trace his ancestry back to Pepin the Short, died 768 A.D.
Also, through Henry III, the Outlaw of Torn and his son, The Green Archer, one of the two men whose exploits contributed to the Robin Hood legend.
And possibly, many times over, the genes of the Outlaw of Torn, later known as John Carter of Barsoom.
Through the Scots Drummond family, Tarzan is descended from Arpad, the Magyar conqueror of Hungary.
Through the O'Briens, from Olliol Olum, Irish King, early 200's.
I don't have time to go into the many other famous ancestors of Tarzan, such as Sir Nigel Loring (whose story is told in Doyle's THE WHITE COMPANY and SIR NIGEL). Or such as William Marshal, the Earl of Pembroke, who served Richard I and King John and was undoubtedly the greatest warrior of his time and probably of the entire Middle Ages (outside of the Outlaw of Torn). These will be described in detail in the lineage of Tarzan, which will be in my, THE PRIVATE LIFE OF TARZAN.
I hope you have enjoyed this visitation into Tarzan a ancestry via his coat-of-arms.
I thank you.
re-read your article on Tarzan's and Korak's age (THE RED HERRING - ERBANIA
27) a number of times and also studied Harwood's and Starr's, which I knew
fairly well before your article came to me.
It looks like a tossup, as
far as validity goes. Either you accept Harwood and Starr's adopted-relative
theory to explain Korak or you push the date of Tarzan's birth back to 1872.
Whichever theory you choose, you do violation. You
have to change a number of things in the
novels and say, "No, ERB didn't present the truth here. But, of course, he had
good reason. Now, here is what we believe is the truth ...."
You make a good case, and if
I had thought about it more, I might have used 1872 and proceeded from there. I
would have satisfied very few people, the various schools of thought would all
have jumped on me. Not that I mind that. But it was too late to rewrite the book* from the 1872 viewpoint;
the work I did on the version now in Doubleday's
hands was enormous and changing it to start from 1872 would have required an
equal amount. Just about every page would have to be rewritten, many cast out
and entirely new ones written. And I would still have felt that I was departing
from the truth.
Yet--would ERB have given
the true date of Tarzan's birth? Would it not have been simple then to look into
the records of that year, including tile sailing dates of ships from Dover in
May, 1888, and locate the young nobleman and his wife who sailed out, never
again to return?**
No, the answer is, it would
not be simple. Because I wrote to the Dover Port Authority two years ago to
ascertain this point, and I was told that the records are not available. I
deduced that they had been destroyed in the bombings (WWII), though the
Authority didn't say so. BUT--what if money and influence has been used
by--guess whom?--to make sure that these records are not available? Or no longer
available, I should say.
I wrote two letters to the
Freetown, Sierra Leone, Port Authority, inquiring about ships that put out in
the May-July, 1888, period, especially those sailing ships that went southwards
along the coast with the intention of setting a young English nobleman and his
wife on shore on the west coast. Or, I said, I'd be satisfied with just the
lists, let me do the searching. But the Freetown Authority never bothered to
reply or else the mail is such that it didn't get my letters.
But it must be remembered
that ERB could have shoved the true date of sailing from England a year or two
ahead or behind. More probably behind, because the exploitation of the Congo by
Leopold had really not begun yet. Also, from what British colony were the
Belgians seducing the natives for their armies? Look at the map of Africa, 1888.
I believe that the truth is that Greystoke was sent to investigate what the
Germans were doing on the Kamerun-Oil Rivers. This is the only thing he could
have been sent to investigate at that time. ERB knew this, of course, but
deliberately misled the reader about the true destination and mission of
you take 1872 as the true date, then you have to think up an entirely new reason for
the Greystokes going to Africa. You would end up by theorizing that the two were
really just taking a trip to South Africa, or that Greystoke was an amateur
explorer and injudiciously took his wife along, or that he was sent to
investigate the illegal slave trade but first meant to accompany his wife to S.
Africa and leave her there to visit relatives while he returned to the tropics.
Or he may even have gone to Gabon, with his wife, because she wanted to find out
what had happened to her uncle. (It's my contention that Trader Horn's George T-----
was Alice Rutherford's uncle. The reasoning for this you will read in THE
PRIVATE LIFE OF TARZAN.)
As you know, I have gone
through Burke’s vast PEERAGE in an effort to find a candidate for Tarzan. I
think I know who the real Tarzan was, but I can't reveal that at this moment. To
make sure I'm not in error, I'm going to have to go through Burke several times
more and search tile records of births from 1872 on. Inasmuch as Burke contains
over 1250 pages of small close-set type of genealogy, I won't be finished with
my study for some time to come.
Another point. Besides the
wrong date of sailing, ERB might have given the wrong port.
And perhaps Tarzan's
parental ancestors weren't nobility after all but just baronets. ERB made the
Greystokes even more distinguished than they were, made them viscounts. (Though,
as you know from my Detroit speech, Tarzan couldn't have been a viscount, or,
at least, if he were, he must also have been either an earl or a baron or both.)
The possibility that
Tarzan's ancestors may have been baronets extends the search through Burke,
extends it very much, since baronets take up much of the space therein. The
chances are that his ancestors were of the lesser nobility or of the baronetage,
since it would have been difficult to hide from the press the fact that a
long-lost heir to a dukeship or marquessate or even an earlship had been found
in the jungles of Africa. On the other hand, if enough money were spent in the
right places, it might be done. But not very easily.
You say that the idea that
Korak might be adopted, not Tarzan's real son, spoils THE SON OF TARZAN for you.
This book is one of my favorites; I've read it many times and it doesn't spoil
it for me to think that Korak is adopted. The way I look at it, there are two
Tarzans, the real Tarzan and the fictional Tarzan. The fictional Tarzan is based
on the real Tarzan that ERB knew, and, undoubtedly, ERB drew the long bow now
and then in his "biography", added some things, left others out, and
even wrote several Tarzan books that were total fiction, such as TARZAN AT THE
EARTH'S CORE, or only partly true, such as TARZAN AND THE ANT MEN. Knowing this
doesn't spoil them for me. When I read them, I read them as I would any other
book of fiction and enjoy them as they are.
When I study them as
biography, then I differentiate to the best of my ability and knowledge between
the fact and the fiction. This is not always easy to do, but it's a lot of fun
and rewarding in many ways. Thus, when I read THE SON OF TARZAN, I know that Korak is adopted (or I should say, I believe he is).
My own theory is that
he is the younger brother of Bulldog Drummond, reasons for which theory I give
in the LIFE. I believe that Korak's career in the jungle did not last more than
a year, or two years at most. A proper chronology of Tarzan's life demands
this. But this doesn't bother me. In the first place, Korak was an
extraordinarily strong and adaptive individual, but he wasn't Tarzan, as he was
the first to admit. There is only one Tarzan, and Korak, mighty though he was,
was not his equal.
Undoubtedly, John Drummond was an unusually strong person, like his older
brother, who, as you may remember, in his first recorded adventure, snapped the
neck of a half-grown gorilla with only his fingers. (I think it was a gorilla.
On the same page, the beast
is called a gorilla, a baboon, and
a monkey. McNeile wasn't very strong on zoology.)
On the same page, the beast
is called a gorilla, a baboon, and
a monkey. McNeile wasn't very strong on zoology.)
Anyway, when I read SON, I
forget the facts behind this story and read it as ERB wrote it, knowing that he
had to fictionize the true story and that, as you suggest, he did want it to be
regarded as fiction.
By the way, what are your
thoughts regarding ERB's killing of Jane in the magazine version of TARZAN THE
UNTAMED? Was she really killed but ERB realized that an investigator could find
out her identity and thus Tarzan's, by looking into the deaths of plantation
owners' wives killed in western Kenya in 1914, and so brought her back to life
in the book version to throw such investigator off the trail?
As far as I know, your idea
that the person who first told ERB about Tarzan was D'Arnot is original. It
seemed a likely one, but there are problems about it.
the first place, the "I" of the first few pages of TARZAN OF THE APES could not have been ERB. ERB was never in England.
What happened, I think, is that the "I" was a man, or woman, who got
the story from the "convivial
then told it to ERB who was, I believe, living in Chicago in 1911. ERB was
inclined to give the narrator his own identity, as you will recall from A
PRINCESS OF MARS, where the "I" could not possibly be ERB. (I mean, of
course, not the "I" of John Carter but the "I" of his
supposed nephew.) Besides, ERB couldn't read French and so wouldn't have been
able to read the elder John Clayton's diary.
Was D'Arnot the person who
told the story to the "I" of TOTA? If he were, he must have been in
England, since he and "I" went to the Colonial Office to dig through
the "musty manuscript, and dry official records". And why did he have
access to British Colonial Office records? He was neither British nor a member
of any secret agency which might have gotten permission to look into the
records. Especially since, it seems to me, the Clayton family would have made
sure that the records were not accessible to anyone except the highest
But there is the matter of
Clayton's diary. The last we see it is in Chapter XXVI of TOTA, in which the
police official is reading it. Did he give it back to Tarzan or to D'Arnot?
Tarzan left for America the next day, so I think it likely that D'Arnot kept it
for further perusal while he waited for M. Desquerc, the fingerprint expert, to
arrive. The "I" of TOTA read the diary, so he must have gotten it from
D'Arnot or his "convivial host", whoever he was.
Would D'Arnot reveal to
anybody, without authorization from the Claytons, the story of Tarzan?
Undoubtedly not. What happened, as I reconstruct it, was that Tarzan, or a
member of the Colonial Office, placed the diary with the records of Clayton's
mission to West Africa. The "musty manuscript" must have been the
summary of the story of the Claytons and their son. It was written by a Colonial
Office clerk. The "I" was a visiting American who got loaded over a
bottle with a British official who was one of the few who knew the story. The
official must have been a very vain man to have insisted on "I" seeing
the Greystoke material just so he could prove he wasn't lying. And he must have
been unethical, too. I suspect that "I" may have used a bribe to get
the official to show him the records. What the nature of the bribe was I don't
have the slightest idea, of course.
"I" told ERB the story and then either forgot about it or was
prevailed upon not to disclose the truth after the first book about Tarzan came
out and was such a hit. Perhaps, "I" died shortly after revealing to
ERB what he had learned about the "Greystoke" case. ERB, of course,
took care to conceal the true identities of the "principal
characters", though there is evidence (as H. W. Starr has pointed out) that
ERB only changed the titles of the noble persons concerned and retained the
family names. Clayton and Rutherford are, after all, not unusual names in Burke's
PEERAGE and LANDED GENTRY.
The reconstruction, based on
the above: Tarzan never picked up the diary again, though he made sure that he
could see it whenever he wished. The diary was transferred to the Colonial
Office for keeping with the records pertinent to the Greystoke case. A clerk
made a summary, in handwriting, of the story. (Unless "I" means that
the "musty manuscript'' is also the diary, since diary is written, or was
in those days, in handwriting.) The manuscript was never, for some reason, typed
out. Perhaps because it was a summary for the eyes of some high authority only.
(The French Naval Intelligence would also have a report, you may be sure of
that. D'Arnot was Tarzan's best friend, but he would have been required, as a
matter of duty, to report on the "incident". His report, plus those of
other personnel of the cruiser, and the policemen's report about the
fingerprints, would have been put in the secret files of the French Navy, where,
no doubt, they still are. )
"I" of TOTA then learned about the British records and the diary and
got his egotistical and probably corrupt host to let him see whatever he wished
to see concerning the Greystoke case.
* THE PRIVATE LIFE OF TARZAN, by Philip José Farmer, due from Doubleday April 1972. 
** True, it was obviously
not simple in 1969, but it probably would have been simple in 1912 when the
story first appeared, and for the next few years, which is when ERB would have
been concerned about someone trying to find out the true identity of the young
is right--I shouldn't have taken the liberty of suggesting that ERB might have
visited England; we should stick to the known facts. But, irregardless of
whether ERB got the story of TARZAN OF THE APES from a first or secondhand source, he
did become Tarzan's biographer. In THE RED HERRING, I neglected to mention one
fact that we do know. If we look in ERB's notebook, we find that he transcribed
the story of THE SON OF TARZAN between January and May 1915; therefore, the
story must have
ended before this date, which is correct if we accept the altered dates. He
couldn't possibly have been transcribing a story that didn't end until
Holmes, in The Disappearance of Lady Frances Carfax, notes that Lady Frances is the unmarried daughter of the late Lord Rufton. The famous Napoleonic soldier, Brigadier Étienne Gerard, also writes in his memoirs of a Lord Rufton. (Gerard's literary agent and editor, A. Conan Doyle, was also Watson's.) Lord Rufton, in Gerard's "How He Triumphed in England" (title by Doyle), was the English nobleman who, in 1811, was the host of Gerard while he was waiting to be exchanged for an English prisoner. In his autobiography, the Frenchman gives an account of his adventures which are, as usual, highly self-revealing and amusing. We need concern ourselves here only with the relationship of Gerard's host to Lady Frances, though we won't ignore certain implications or suggestions.
Holmes's case occurred 1 July to 18 July 1902, according to W.S. Baring-Gould in his The Annotated Sherlock Holmes. However, he admits that others have a good case for 1897. For our purposes any time between 1897 and 1902 in acceptable. Holmes says that Lady Frances was "still in fresh middle age," which would mean anywhere between 40 and 43 by late Victorian (or early Edwardian) standards. If she was 42 at the time of the case, she would have been born in 1855 or 1860.
Gerard's Lord Rufton seems to have been anywhere between 25 and 30, though he could have been older. Gerard does not mention any wife or child of his, and, while Gerard was one to stick to the essentials of his story, he surely would have said something about Rufton's wife if she had existed. The brigadier was too conscious of the fair sex not to have done so.
Gerard says that Lord Rufton came to Paris five years afterwards (in 1816) to see him, and Gerard does not mention any Lady Rufton in connection with this visit. Thus, it seems likely that Lord Rufton did not get married until after the visit, though he would have gotten a wife within a year or two if he were the ancestor of Lady Frances Carfax.
It's pleasing to think that Lord Rufton met and married Gerard's sister while in Paris, but we may be sure that this event would have been commented on at length by the Brigadier.
Holmes said that Lady Frances was "the last derelict of what only twenty years ago was a goodly fleet." He also said that she was the only survivor of the direct family of the late earl. Thus, a number of the earl's children, and perhaps the earl himself, still lived in 1882 (or 1877). Any sons the earl may have had had predeceased him. Lady Frances apparently did not begin her wanderings in Europe until four years before the case began. This would indicate that the last tie to her ancestral home had died at that time and that this tie was a sister or her father. I opt for the earl himself, since the money and, presumably, the ancestral seat, went to the distant male relatives. Lady Frances would have been forced to leave home sooner than four years before if the earl had died much earlier.
If Gerard's Rufton was the ancestor of Watson's,  he would have been Lady Frances's grandfather. Her father would have been born circa 1817-1840, and his father would have been born circa 1785.
An objection to the theory of the Ruftons' being of the same family is Gerard's reference to the lord's sister. He called her Lady Jane Rufton, whereas he should have said Lady Jane Carfax, if she was of the same family as Lady Frances. But Gerard consistently shows in "How He Triumphed in England" and in other chapters of his memoirs, a deep ignorance of British titles. Indeed he displays a deep ignorance of other things British, especially British sports. It would not have occurred to him that the earl's sister would be called by her family name, not her brother's title. And it is likely that he had never heard Lord Rufton's family name.
Gerard's account and Watson's illuminate each other so that what one lacks in data the other supplies. Thus, combining the data, we know that Lord Rufton was an earl, that the ancestral seat was High Combe, located near the north edge of Dartmoor, and that it was near enough to Tavistock to get there on the north-south highway in an hour or two on a fast horse. High Combe is close to Baskerville Hall, and it is possible that Lady Frances's grandfather (or father or both) had married a daughter of the Baskervilles.
Of course, neither "Rufton" nor "Carfax" is genuine. Gerard doubtless gave the real title of his house in his memoirs, but his editor, Doyle, changed it to avoid embarrassing an old and highly placed family. Later, as literary agent for Watson (and, undoubtedly, a collaborator on some occasions), he recognised that Lady Frances was a descendant of Gerard's lord. Doyle had changed the name of Rufton in editing the memoirs, and now he could not resist changing Watson's original pseudonym for Lady Frances's father to Rufton also. (No doubts he did so with Watson's permission.)
Doyle (or Watson) chose Carfax as the fictitious family name because of association with another name or object. I suggest that Doyle derived Carfax from the actual family's coat-of-arms, probably through a reverse use of canting, or punning, arms. The family's shield may have borne a quadriga (a Roman two-wheeled chariot with a team of four) and a fox, hence, car plus fax. Or perhaps, knowing that Carfax Square in Oxford is believed to be an anglicisation of the ancient Roman quadrifurcus, and knowing that the shield bore four shakeforks (or pitchforks or eel spears), or even a cross moline voided, Doyle chose the family name. At this moment I am going through Burke's Peerage for such arms in an effort to identify the real Carfaxes.
We know that the issue of the Carfax case was successful and even happy, since Lady Frances and the Hon. Philip Green were reunited. Apparently, they got married and had issue. Watson does not take the story far along. But he may have referred to it, with typical Victorian obliquity, when he put into Holmes's mouth the comment that Lady Frances's middle age was "fresh." This would be another example of Watson's humour.
There was a typo in the original publication of this article, which has been corrected here. Read Mr. Farmer's letter about it here.
Some Problems in Writing A Tarzan Biography, Part I
"THE SON OF TARZAN"
Tarzan is a living person.
This is the basic premise of my TARZAN ALIVE, A Definitive Biography of Lord Greystoke (Doubleday, April, 1972, $5.95).
This premise that Tarzan is not a fictional character makes inadmissible any speculation about the literary origin of Tarzan. Romulus and Remus, Kipling's Mowgli, Prentice's Captured by Apes and the dozen or so other sources so far advanced as the sources from which Burroughs derived his idea of Tarzan have no relevance to reality.
Since this premise removes Tarzan from the realm of fantasy it requires that the stories about him be examined for their fidelity to fact. Or to what we can classify as fact, admitting that evidence may be uncovered in the future which will force us to reclassify.
With this in mind, we can reread the Tarzan epics by Burroughs. And we can place some in the category of largely fictious, some in the half-true, and some in the nearly all true. Few, for instance, would deny that almost all of TARZAN AT THE EARTH'S CORE and most of TARZAN AND THE ANT MEN. The reasons for these conclusions will, however, be dealt with in separate essays.
This essay is devoted to the epic about which the most controversy has raged in the world of Tarzanic scholarship: THE SON OF TARZAN. This storm is not due to ambiguous or obscure statements by Burroughs or lack of pertinent data. No, certain facts are clear enough. But certain scholars have refused to admit these facts, and they have done so because of emotional factors.
These people cannot admit that Jack Clayton, or Korak, cannot be Tarzan's son.
The Great Korak Time-Discrepancy Controversy must be old ground for most of the readers of this publication. For the benefit of the new, I'll go over the familiar material. However, I'll introduce some aspects not considered before. And I'll then go on to an examination of other features of the book. (My textual source is the 1918 A. L. Burt reprint edition.)
THE SON OF TARZAN, written in 1915, is a sequel to THE BEASTS OF TARZAN. In BEASTS, Tarzan's and Jane's son is a babe in arms, and, from all internal evidence, is less than a year old. Burroughs does not say so, but it is evident that Jane is nursing the baby she carries with her in her flight from Rokoff. This baby is the same age as little Jack.
The events in BEASTS must take place in 1911 or, at the earliest, in late 1910. In SON, Sabrov, a Russian, is rescued after ten years as a captive in an African cannibal village. Burroughs says that his real name was Paulvitch, though he does not say how he could have know that. Sabrov never told anyone that his real name was not Sabrov. Thus, if Burroughs is writing a novel based on certain events which did, in fact, happen, he had no way of knowing that Sabrov was Tarzan's old enemy. But it would make for a fine dramatic point to have Sabrov be Paulvitch, and Burroughs, first and foremost a story teller, would not be likely to let such drama go by.
Burroughs does state that it is ten years since the events in BEASTS. This means that Sabrov is rescued from the cannibals circa 1921.
In SON, Jack (Korak) must be ten or eleven years old. He is a remarkably powerful youth, since he can subdue his young male tutor with ease. A few months after this, he strangles to death with his bare hands an adult black savage. This man is presumably much more powerful than the tutor and is fighting for his life.
A year later, Korak, himself only eleven or twelve years old, throws the eleven-year old Meriem across his shoulder and leaps nimbly into the lower branches of a tree. A year or two later (Burroughs is vague about the exact time), Korak fights a mighty mangani male with his bare hands and teeth and rips open the great bull's jugular vein. Immediately after follows a scene in which it is obvious that both Korak and Meriem are well into puberty. This is succeeded by a scene in which Korak uses fists to beat another giant bull into near-unconsciousness.
All of the above except one are just barely credible. It's possible that Korak could carry Meriem as easily as Burroughs says, that Korak and Meriem were coming into sexual maturity, and that Korak was skilled enough and powerful enough to hammer a bull great ape into submission. But it is difficult to believe that any human's teeth, let along a twelve year old male's, could bite through the hair and thick skin and jugular vein of a massively muscled anthropoid the size of a gorilla. Especially while the anthropoid was tearing away with his hands at Korak. The great apes are described by Burroughs as being equal to a gorilla in strength, and a gorilla's strength has been estimated as equal to at least ten men's strength.
I don't doubt that Korak did win in his fights. But I think it's likely that Burroughs was gilding the lily for story purposes and that Korak used his knife and may even have had some help from Meriem and her spear. Even so, these feats would be remarkable and would need no exaggerating to get our admiration and respect.
Meriem, or Jeanne Jacot, is ten years old when Korak is forced to flee London with Akut, the great ape. When the book ends, she is sixteen. Thus Korak would have been in the jungle for almost six years. He was also sixteen. It would not be discreet to ask why Korak's parents permitted their son to marry at such an early age.
It is permissible to wonder about the Honourable Morison Baynes. He must have been at least 21 years old and was probably at least 25, judging from his considerable hedonistic experience on the Continent and his sophistication. Yet he estimates that Korak was his own age or possibly older. This can be explained as due to Korak's unusual large size, an accelerated maturity due to the rigors of jungle living, and the possibility of a beard. Burroughs says nothing about Korak shaving, so we can at least speculate that he could have had facial hair. Some youths do get rather heavy beards at sixteen. Tarzan didn't; he does not seem to have had to shave until he was about twenty.
In TARZAN THE TERRIBLE, Korak is old enough to fight during the Meuse-Argonne operation (Sept-Nov, 1918).
Peter Ogden, editor of ERBANIA, has published a theory to account for the Korak Time Discrepancy. He says that Burroughs could have given the wrong date for Tarzan's birth in TARZAN OF THE APES. He would have done this as one more cover for the true identity of Lord Greystoke. And, working backwards from 1914, so that the chronology of SON will be consistent with reality, Ogden figures that Tarzan was probably born in 1872.
(It's not relevant, but is interesting, to note that 1872 was the year of Phileas Fogg's amazing dash around the world and of the mysterious case of the Marie Celeste. I am presently working on a book which will tie the two together.)
Thus, Tarzan could have met Jane by 1893 and married her in 1895. Korak would have been born in 1895 and would be ten years old in 1905. He and Meriem would've married in 1911.
Ogden's theory raises more problems than it solves, and these will be dealt with in my essay on TARZAN OF THE APES. However, after all the evidence for the 1888 or 1872 theories is in, neither can be "proved." The reader is free to choose whichever he prefers. What he is not free to choose as the truth, if he insists on being logical, is Burroughs' version of SON in its entirety.
The central insurmountable fact that SON was written in 1915 means that all events in SON have to have taken place before Burroughs started writing it. Korak married Meriem before 1915, when both were sixteen. If Korak was sixteen in 1914, he would have been born in 1898. Tarzan did not meet Jane until Feb. 1909 (See TARZAN OF THE APES).
The Burroughsian has two choices. Believe Ogden's theory or believe Harwood-Starr's. If you choose the latter, then you must accept as a fact the adoption of a boy born about 1898 by Tarzan and Jane. Probably, he would have been a close relative who had been orphaned. In my book TARZAN ALIVE, I opt for Bulldog Drummond's younger brother, John. (That is, for the younger brother of the man on whom the fictional character of Bulldog Drummond was based. Do not, however, be misled by the statement of McNeile that this man was Gerard Fairlie.) My reasons for this are developed in TARZAN ALIVE; to present them here would expand this essay to too great a length. But the reader may examine the evidence presented in my biography and say yea or nay to it.
Harwood and Starr also suggest that Tarzan's son really was the baby who died in BEASTS and that Burroughs suppressed this and distorted other facts to give the book the happy ending which he knew his readers would demand. I reject this. Otherwise, how do you account for the "youthful Jack" in THE ETERNAL LOVER?
I believe that Tarzan's real son lived but that we shall never know anything about him except what Burroughs tells us in BEASTS and LOVER. Because of having presented Korak as Tarzan's true son in SON, Burroughs was obliged to leave out any reference to the true son thereafter in the novels. At the time, Burroughs may have thought that this was a small price to pay, since Jackie was a baby and it would be many years before he, too, could have adventures and so become a worthy subject of Burroughs' fictionalized biographies. But I wonder if, around the time of World War II, he did not regret this. Surely, the real Jack Clayton III, first in line to the title of Greystoke, must have been a remarkable man in his own right. Nor do we have to suppose that Tarzan and Jane had no other children after him just because Burroughs does not mention them. If the Claytons had daughters, for instance, we may be sure that they would have been tall, lovely, and grey-eyed and very capable of taking care of themselves.
THE SON OF TARZAN has to end in 1914, before August of that year. From August on, Tarzan was looking for Jane until after the end of World War I. The chronology of THE ETERNAL LOVER indicates clearly that the Custers were visiting the Greystokes at their plantation in 1914 not too long before WWI broke out. Tarzan's baby son and Esmeralda were present then; Korak and Meriem, if present, are not mentioned by Burroughs. But they were undoubtedly still in Europe, visiting Meriem's parents. Tarzan and Jane would have accompanied them to England first, as indicated at the end of SON, and then would have returned to Africa, where they were visited by the Custers. For some reason, Esmeralda took young Jackie to England, since the two were not at the plantation when it was destroyed by the Germans (in TARZAN THE UNTAMED). Perhaps the "business" which Tarzan was attending to in Nairobi when UNTAMED opened was sending Esmeralda and Jackie away to England or France.
BEASTS seems to have ended about the middle of 1912. Since SON would have started not too many months later, it is obvious that Paulvitch could not have been a prisoner of the cannibals for ten years. And it is obvious that Sabrov is not Paulvitch. Harwood-Starr's surmise that Burroughs identified Sabrov as Paulvitch for dramatic reasons is the only reasonable theory so far advanced. Even if Paulvitch had disguised his appearance, he would not have been able to conceal his individual body odor, and Tarzan would have identified him immediately.
What did happen to Paulvitch?
We'll never know. If his name had been Pyotrvitch (Peterson), I'd be inclined to think that he had made his way back Europe, had become a master at disguise, no doubt to ensure that Tarzan would never hear of him, had become as powerful as the late Professor Moriarty, and died (supposedly) in a flaming dirigible in 1927 after he'd tangled once too often with Korak's older brother.
Paulvitch, by the way, is not a standard Russian name. It should be Pavlovitch or Pavlitch. However, it is possible that Paulvitch's grandfather was a Frenchman, perhaps a captured French soldier who settled down in Russia after Napoleon's defeat, and Paulvitch was his hybrid Gall-Russian name.
Many opponents of the "adopted relative" theory point to the numerous references in SON to Korak's inheritance of his father's traits. But Burroughs would have made these up and inserted them in the novel to strengthen the premise that Korak was Tarzan's issue. The novel is consistent within its own framework, though there are some curious things to consider.
Captain Jacot, Meriem's father, is a grey-haired general at the end of the book, an "old man." In nine years he has gone from a seemingly vigorous young man and captain to an aging general. And d'Arnot, a naval lieutenant in APES, which ended in 1909, is, in 1914, an admiral.
John F. Roy, in ERB-dom #18, has explained the latter promotion. He says that Admiral d'Arnot could be the father of Tarzan's good friend. As for Jacot, it is true that Burroughs does not specify his age at the time when Meriem (Jeanne) was kidnapped. He could have been a vigorous fifty or so. And that he could see further than his men, that they called him for this reason the Hawk, may have been due to the long-sightedness brought on by middle age. And it is possible that a combination of fortunate events, good connections, and his outstanding military record, did advance him to a generalship.
Another problem. How did Korak, who was only ten, when SON began, according to Burroughs (but fourteen according to my estimate) manage in one day to get false passports for himself and Akut? He had the money to flee England, but how did he make the necessary connections with the criminal world?
Also, Burroughs says that Tarzan would not tell Korak the location of his African plantation? Would not a boy with Korak's driving interest in such matters have found out?
The Marjorie W., which picked Sabrov up, was chartered by a scientific expedition. Why would the scientists aboard have permitted Sabrov to walk off with Akut, obviously a specimen of a hitherto unknown genus of great ape? (Or, if my theory is right that the mangani were hominids akin to Australopithecus robustus, the uniqueness of Akut would have been even more apparent.)
It is probable, however, that the scientists were botanists and chemists so unqualified in anthropoid identification. And Sabrov's claims to Akut as his property could easily have prevented any attempt by the scientists to obtain Akut for their uses. But Sabrov and his property did have considerable publicity after getting to London. It is difficult to understand why scientists there would not have known that Akut was something new in the zoological world. Perhaps they did, but, again, Sabrov refused to recognize anything but the jurisdiction of private property.
This matter can be cleared up by examining the London Times of this period (say, from 1911 through 1913 to cover a broad enough area). If no such case is mentioned in the papers, then the next step is to admit that perhaps Ogden's theory of Tarzan's birth in 1872 is right. The Times for the period of 1893 through 1896 should be covered for items about Akut or a reasonable facsimile thereof.
Would anyone, even in the slums of London, have taken in such a lodger as Akut? Especially when Akut does not seem to have been locked up in a manner to satisfy the public as to its safety? Would not the police have been called in by the terrified tenants of the house where Sabrov and his "pet" lived?
Perhaps not, if Sabrov had greased enough palms. And it is possible that Akut was much more restrained during transit between the East End lodgings and the theater than Burroughs implies. It was only during the theater shows and in Sabrov's room that Akut had any comparative freedom.
Another problem is Jane's concern about Korak's clothes after hearing that he has been found. She wants Tarzan to take to Korak one of his "little suits" that she has saved. This would indicate that a long time has elapsed, since Tarzan says that Korak has grown so big that he would fit only into one of Tarzan's own suits. But this little scene is, again, one of the fictions of Burroughs to make the novel consistent in its own framework. Even so, it's doubtful that Korak, big enough at the age of ten to overpower his tutor would have been wearing a little suit when he disappeared.
The ability of the monkeys and the baboons (who are really monkeys and not apes) to speak should be examined. But this will be taken up in a separate essay.
There are some problems about the location of the Greystoke plantation, but this will be dealt with in the essay on TARZAN THE UNTAMED.
Meriem, at ten, is the Sheikh's prisoner in a small native village "hidden away upon the banks of a small unexplored tributary of a large river that empties into the Atlantic not so far from the equator. . . " (SON, p. 63). Here the Sheikh's tribe collects goods and twice a year carries them on camels to Timbuktu. An examination of the (Michelin) maps of African fails to locate any river which will fill the above requirements. The only large river near the equator which empties into the Atlantic is the Congo. Any small tributary of the Congo which emptied into the Atlantic would be about 1800 miles on a straight line from Timbuktu. A caravan route would cover two or three times that distance, perhaps four times 1800 miles. Moreover, no camels could traverse the thousands of miles of heavy jungle, rugged hills, and many rivers between the tributary and Timbuktu (which is in the present nation of Mali). Burroughs could not have meant that the tributary was one of the Congo's inland rivers, because Korak found Meriem in a village near the coast. The text clearly indicates this.
However, about 1500 miles from the equator (northwards), in the German Kamerun (the Cameroons), ibn Khatour's tribe might have had a headquarters. They would have been fairly close to Korak, who probably disembarked at Douala. Even so, the tribe still would have had to travel through considerable jungle and it would have been about 1200 miles (in a straight line) from Timbuktu. A year later, both Meriem and Korak were on the other side of Africa, near the Greystoke plantation. To get there, they had to round the great lake of Victoria and cross steep mountains. What ibn Khatour's tribe was doing in this area is not explained. Probably it had been driven out of western African because of its criminal activities and was headed for fresh opportunities for ivory poaching and slave raiding.
But on page 325 of SON is a phrase which seems to indicate that the tribe and Meriem, after a few days' march, are back at the village on the tributary of the Congo, back on the west coast. Meriem is brought back "to the familiar scenes of her childhood. . . "
Obviously, this is impossible. Burroughs must have meant for the reader to interpret this as the people and type of buildings with which she had been familiar during her childhood. But it could not have been the same location.
Why did not Tarzan recognize Malbihn when he showed up as Hanson? Meriem might have failed to recognize him because Malbihn had changed his appearance. But Tarzan should have recognized his odor. On the other hand, his contact with the Swede had been very brief. And no doubt Malbihn as Hanson not only bathed frequently when he was to be with Greystoke, he used a strong cologne.
The river on which Meriem escaped and on which Malbihn was wounded could be the Mara river of lower western Kenya and upper western Tanganyika. It is not, however, "a great African" river (p. 333) nor is it in jungle territory. But inasmuch as it seems the only candidate reasonably near the Greystoke plantation and since UNTAMED indicates the plantation is in southwestern Kenya, then the river should be the Mara. That it is a jungle river in SON can be due to Burroughs' tendency to romanticize. Also, Burroughs often deliberately confuses locations so that the true site of the Greystoke plantation cannot be found from a reading of the novels.
In conclusion, I sympathize with the fundamentalists' desire that Korak be Tarzan's real son. But I do not find that the Harwood-Starr theory of an adopted relative spoils THE SON OF TARZAN for me. It is one of my favorites, and it contains several scenes which still bring tears. Such as Meriem's joy on finding a mother's love again in My Dear's arms or in Korak's reunion with Jane. When I am not reading SON to analyze it, I read it as a novel. And I accept, for the time being, the internal premises of the story.
No reader should be disappointed that Korak is not Tarzan's real son. After all, as Korak himself says,
"THERE IS BUT ONE TARZAN ... THERE CAN NEVER BE ANOTHER."