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Tarzan of the Apes

Edgar Rice Burroughs

Book Overview: 

Tarzan of the Apes is Burroughs’ exciting story of an English lord, left by the death of his stranded parents in the hands of a motherly African ape who raises him as her own. Although he is aware that he is different from the apes of his tribe, who are neither white nor hairless, he nevertheless regards them as his “people.” When older, larger, stronger apes decide that he an undesirable to be killed or expelled from the tribe, it is fortunate that Tarzan has learned the use of primitive weapons.

Although small and weak by ape standards, Tarzan is a human of god-like strength and agility to men who discover him. By studying these people, he gradually decides he is not an ape at all, but human.

And when he meets Jane, a beautiful American girl marooned with her father and friends on the hostile coast of Africa, Tarzan conceives love for her. When they are unexpectedly rescued before Tarzan can find a way to reveal his feelings to Jane, he determines to become civilized and follow her into the world of people – to find her and wed her, though he must cross continents and oceans, and compete with two other suitors for her hand.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .found the knife, now red with rust from its exposure to the dampness of the ground and from the dried blood of the gorilla.

He did not like the change in its former bright and gleaming surface; but it was still a formidable weapon, and one which he meant to use to advantage whenever the opportunity presented itself. He had in mind that no more would he run from the wanton attacks of old Tublat.

In another moment he was at the cabin, and after a short time had again thrown the latch and entered. His first concern was to learn the mechanism of the lock, and this he did by examining it closely while the door was open, so that he could learn precisely what caused it to hold the door, and by what means it released at his touch.

He found that he could close and lock the door from within, and this he did so that there would be no chance of his being molested while at his investigation.

He commenced a systematic search of the. . . Read More

Community Reviews

Here: the fountainhead & the story buried below a myriad adaptations.

E. R. Burroughs's dream did come true after all: his Tarzan spun off into countless later tales & films-- heck, even Broadway musicals. Read this scant but brutal adventure tale with its due respect, for it includes: ex...more

Pulp fiction at its best.

I went in with low expectations and enjoyed it more than I thought I would. It's pulp fiction, but it's good pulp: a fun romp and so very very silly. Burroughs buys into all the prejudices of his time, but it's tough to blame him for being merely mortal. Ignore it. He's...more

I must say, I was expecting more from this book. It takes inspiration from a wide array of very good adventure novels, but manages to be more bigoted than the colonial literature that inspired it and less factual and forward-looking than books written thirty years before.

One of the major inspirat...more

Tarzan of the Apes was a pulp classic that spawned a slew of sequels, movies, radio and television shows and a community in California.

I was surprised, pleasantly by the style of writing, Edgar Rice Burroughs was a talented craftsman, and I am amazed at his ability to again and again draw the re...more

An extremely racist book with a premise based on eugenics. Not how you remember the Disney version? Tarzan is all strong and intelligent and special and amazing. Why? Because he has the genetics of a well-bred, white, European, aristocrat. Oh, and the whole thing about encountering other humans f...more

Silly to the point of being nonsensical: unabashedly and un-self-consciously racist - still, I enjoyed it when I first read it as a teen. Tarzan is a member of the British aristocracy who is raised by the great apes. Being an English aristocrat, he's much superior to all the animals of the jungle...more

Ah, how to begin... Tarzan raised me from a little boy and helped me become a man. After the Bobsey Twins, Hardy Boys, and, yes, Nancy Drew, I admit, came Tarzan, Return of Tarzan, Beasts of Tarzan, Son of Tarzan, Tarzan and the Jewels of Opar,... yes 24 in all, and then the Mars series, and Moon...more

Tarzan has become a larger-than-life myth that supersedes his own literary footprint; signature traits like his yodeling yell and broken English "me Tarzan, you Jane" greeting are actually a Hollywood variation from the original story. Burroughs' tale of an Englishman raised by apes in the unexpl...more

I feel like I've been waiting for a book like this my entire life, and here it was all this time, published long before I was even born.

Is the light cast upon race and gender in this novel wrong and inappropriate? Most definitely. However, I read this book ignoring these things, not out of ignora...more

Viscount Greystoke will see you now. One of the advantages of riding the subway to work is getting extra reading time. Coming home, though, I often have to stand for a good while before I can get a seat. As it is not comfortable wrangling the actual book I am reading at a given time while stand...more

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