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Tarzan of the Apes (Modern Library Classics) (edition 2003)

by Edgar Rice Burroughs, James Taliaferro (Introduction), Gore Vidal (Afterword)

Series: Tarzan (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
2,547None2,354 (3.79)1 / 143
Member:hirotani
Title:Tarzan of the Apes (Modern Library Classics)
Authors:Edgar Rice Burroughs
Other authors:James Taliaferro (Introduction), Gore Vidal (Afterword)
Info:Modern Library (2003), Edition: Modern Library Pbk. Ed, Paperback, 288 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***
Tags:Classic

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Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs

1001 (17) 1001 books (16) 20th century (21) action (13) adventure (233) Africa (86) American literature (23) animals (27) apes (31) classic (100) classics (67) ebook (37) ERB (12) fantasy (165) fiction (390) jungle (32) Kindle (25) literature (37) novel (50) own (15) paperback (15) pulp (48) read (29) science fiction (47) series (19) sf (16) sff (17) Tarzan (132) to-read (29) unread (27)
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English (61)  Spanish (1)  All languages (62)
Showing 1-5 of 61 (next | show all)
Really enjoyed this. Full of action and romance. Particularly enjoyable was Tarzan's childhood. ( )
  sweetzombieducky | Feb 14, 2014 |
Very strong first half - like a Jack London survival tale, but the second act gives way to social farce & plodding romance with a very rushed, sloppy ending. ( )
  pmcnamee67 | Jan 15, 2014 |
" Jane her lithe, young form flattened against the trunk of a great tree, her hands tight pressed against her rising and falling bosom, and her eyes wide with mingles horror, fascination, fear, and admiration - watched the primordial ape battle with the primeval man for possession of a woman - for her.
As the great muscles of the man's back and shoulders knotted beneath the tension of his efforts, and the huge biceps and forearm held at bay those mighty tusks, the veil of centuries of civilization and culture was swept from the blurred vision of the Baltimore girl."


Edgar Rice Burroughs knew how to tell a good story; his prose carries the reader along effortlessly page after page. Pulp fiction it may be, but it is so well written and at times so convincing that he makes his fantastical stories seam real. I used to gobble these books up as a teenager, and re-reading Tarzan today I was soon under it's spell and could hardly put the book down. Burroughs was in love with his male characters especially his hero Tarzan and if his descriptions of that perfect body are going to put you off then perhaps it's not for you:

She watched him from beneath half-closed lids, Tarzan crossed the little circular clearing toward the trees upon the further side. She noted the graceful majesty of his carriage, the perfect symmetry of his magnificent figure and the poise of his well-shaped head upon his broad shoulders. What a perfect creature! There could be naught of cruelty or baseness beneath that godlike exterior. Never, she thought had such a man strode the earth since God created the first man in his own image."

Burroughs Tarzan is a savage creature, but he is also a noble savage and this is the hook that makes him so attractive. Episodes of the Tarzan story first appeared in 1912 and it was published in book form in 1914 and while the story is very much of it's time as regards attitudes to women and black people, I did not find it overtly racist or sexist; a black maid is singled out as a figure of fun, but then so are two English academics. The black natives are savage and cruel, but Burroughs points out that this is the result of even crueller barbarities practiced on them by white officers of Leopold II's of Belgium regime.

Tarzan is still a rip roaring adventure yarn with a super hero who one could almost believe in and one you might want to believe in. If ever I am in a reading slump I shall just pick up one of these stories, hell I might pick one up if I am not in a slump especially as the Tarzan and Jane story in this first of the series ends in a cliff hanger. Great fun and a four star read. ( )
2 vote baswood | Jan 11, 2014 |
Tarzan has never been my favourite character, be it the comics or the cartoons - now Mowgli was an entirely different story! And the irony strikes. In the last year or so, I have read both the Jungle Books, which were barely readable, the characters nowhere as snappy as I remembered them from my childhood cartoons.

And so, it was with great skepticism that I started with Tarzan of the Apes, and was I surprised! The writing was very simple, the story captivating and the characters endearing, even if stereotypical - be it the pretty, pretty Jane, the absent minded Professor or the mighty Tarzan. The never ending victories of Tarzan were not dull, nor were the highly noticeable and distinct villains bothersome. The repetitive fainting of poor Esmeralda did get on my nerves a few time, but well, she had a character to play as well, did I mention stereotypical?

The ending of the book didn't lack in flourish either and I am left wondering, whether to dare the sequel and risk getting my impression shattered or go the way of Dune and Ender's Game and leave the series on a high with fond memories and none of the regrets.

4/5 ( )
  PiyushC | Oct 7, 2013 |
The first and best book about Tarzan. The credibility of this kind of stories is questionable, but it reads well, and you do not see the flaws immediately. Simply a good and entertaining read. ( )
  ReneH | Sep 26, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 61 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (60 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Edgar Rice Burroughsprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Erős, LászlóTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fazekas, AttilaIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Markkula, PekkaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stam, TonTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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I had this story from one who had no business to tell it to me, or to any other.
Quotations
Tarzan's grief and anger were unbounded. He roared out his hideous challenge time and again. He beat upon his great chest with his clenched fists, and then he fell upon the body of Kala and sobbed out the pitiful sorrowing of his lonely heart. To lose the only creature in all one's world who ever had manifested love and affection for one, is a great bereavement indeed.
What though Kala was a fierce and hideous ape! To Tarzan she had been kind, she had been beautiful.
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Wikipedia in English (3)

Book description
Deep in the savage African jungle, the baby Tarzan was raised by a fierce she-ape of the tribe of Kerchak of the Mangani. There he had to learn the secrets of the wild to survive - how to talk with animals, swing through the trees, and fight against the great predators. He grew to the strength and courage of his fellow apes. And in time, his human intelligence granted him the kingship of the tribe.
He became truly Lord of the Jungle.
Then men entered his jungle, bringing with them the wanton savagery of civilized greed and lust - and bringing also the first white woman Tarzan had ever seen.
---------------------
Suddenly something snapped in the wicked little brain of Kerchak, the king of the Great Apes. With a frightful roar, the savage beast sprang among the assembled tribe of apes. Biting and striking with his huge hands, he killed and maimed a dozen ere the balance could escape to the upper terraces of the forest.
Frothing and shrieking in the insanity of his fury, Kerchak looked about for the object of his greatest hatred, and there upon a near-by limb he saw Tarzan sitting. "Come down, Tarzan," cried Kerchak. "Come down and feel the fangs of a greater killer. Do mighty fighters fly to the trees at the first approach of danger?" And then Kerchak emitted the volleying challenge of his kind.
Quietly Tarzan dropped to the ground. Breathlessly the tribe watched from their lofty perches as Kerchak, still roaring, charged the relatively puny figure of the man ...
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0451524233, Mass Market Paperback)

First published in 1914, Edgar Rice Burroughs's romance has lost little of its force over the years--as film revivals and TV series well attest. Tarzan of the Apes is very much a product of its age: replete with bloodthirsty natives and a bulky, swooning American Negress, and haunted by what zoo specialists now call charismatic megafauna (great beasts snarling, roaring, and stalking, most of whom would be out of place in a real African jungle). Burroughs countervails such incorrectness, however, with some rather unattractive representations of white civilization--mutinous, murderous sailors, effete aristos, self-involved academics, and hard-hearted cowards. At Tarzan's heart rightly lies the resourceful and hunky title character, a man increasingly torn between the civil and the savage, for whom cutlery will never be less than a nightmare.

The passages in which the nut-brown boy teaches himself to read and write are masterly and among the book's improbable, imaginative best. How tempting it is to adopt the ten-year-old's term for letters--"little bugs"! And the older Tarzan's realization that civilized "men were indeed more foolish and more cruel than the beasts of the jungle," while not exactly a new notion, is nonetheless potent. The first in Burroughs's serial is most enjoyable in its resounding oddities of word and thought, including the unforgettable "When Tarzan killed he more often smiled than scowled; and smiles are the foundation of beauty."

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:22:09 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

Tarzan, raised by apes and now leader of the tribe, is forced to choose between two worlds when his presence in the jungle is discovered..

(summary from another edition)

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