Edgar Rice Burroughs
Edgar Rice Burroughs (1 September 1875 – 19 March 1950) was a best-selling American novelist, best known as the creator of Tarzan, one of the most enduring and endearing characters in popular culture. He also wrote numerous science fiction, crime and mainstream novels and one play.
Despite the continuing popularity of his works today, during his lifetime he attracted little critical acclaim. Indeed, critics have considered his work to be poorly written and chauvinistic, with plots based on incredible coincidences, wooden characters, bad science, too many nested flash backs, and virtuous heroes fighting excessively evil enemies. However, by the 1960s, over 60 of his books had been published, of which more than 50 million copies had been sold. His work is still being published today and a whole new generation of young people are "rediscovering" him, mainly through the efforts of media promotion and motion pictures, such as the animated "Tarzan" by Disney.
Edgar Rice Burroughs was born on 1 September 1875 in Chicago, Illinois, the son of a Civil War veteran. He was educated at several local private schools, including the Michigan Military Academy. His studies were interrupted by the Chicago influenza epidemic of 1891, during which time he was sent to his brother's ranch on the Raft River in Idaho.
Upon graduating in 1895 and failing the entrance examination for West Point, he joined the 7th Cavalry as an enlisted soldier, serving in the Arizona Territory. He was discharged in 1897, having been diagnosed with a heart condition. He later returned to military service, joining the Illinois Reserve Militia between 1918 and 1919.
He found work in his father's stationery company in 1899, after a period of drifting and ranch work in Idaho. In 1900, he married Emma Centennia Hulbert, although they were later to divorce in 1934. He resigned from his job in 1904 and for the next 7 years drifted between a number of poorly paying occupations, including a gold miner, a storekeeper, a police officer in Salt Lake City and another stint as a ranch hand in Idaho. In 1911 he made his breakthrough into the literary world when he began to write for a pulp magazine. At the time, he was 35 and working as a pencil sharpener salesman. His first professional sale was Under the Moons of Mars, serialized in 1912 in The All-Story Magazine. he took up writing full-time and by the time the serialisation of his first book was complete, had completed two further novels, one of which was Tarzan of the Apes.
Despite the lack of critical acclaim, Tarzan was a cultural phenomenon when it first appeared and Burroughs was determined to take full advantage of the public's interest. In 1913 Burroughs founded his own publishing house Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc. Burroughs-Tarzan Enterprises and Burroughs-Tarzan Pictures were later founded in 1934.
In addition to his four major adventure series (Tarzan, Barsoom, Pellucidar and Venus), he wrote several other adventure novels between 1912 and 1933, including The Cave Girl in 1925, two Western novels about a white Apache; The War Chief in 1927 and Apache Devil in 1933. In these, he showed sympathy for Native Americans, and in Beyond The Farthest Star (published posthumously in 1964), he wrote about the brutality of war.
Burroughs purchased a large ranch in the San Fernando Valley, in 1919, which was later developed into the suburb of Tarzana. In 1933, he was elected mayor of California Beach and married his second wife, Florence Dearholt, in 1935 (they divorced in 1942).
Burroughs was living in Hawaii at the time of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour. Despite his advanced age - he was 66 at the time - he applied for and was granted permission to serve as a war correspondent, becoming the oldest U.S. correspondent. After the war, he returned to Encino, California where he died of a heart attack on 19 March 1950.
List of Edgar Rice Burroughs' works
- Minidoka - 1903
- A Princess of Mars - 1911
- The Outlaw of Torn - 1911
- Tarzan of the Apes - 1911
- The Gods of Mars - 1912
- The Return of Tarzan - 1912
- At the Earth's Core - 1913
- The Cave Girl - 1913
- The Monster Men - 1913
- The Warlord of Mars - 1913
- The Mucker - 1913
- The Mad King - 1913
- The Eternal Lover - 1913
- The Beasts of Tarzan - 1914
- The Lad and the Lion - 1914
- The Girl from Farris's - 1914
- Thuvia, Maid of Mars - 1914
- Pellucidar - 1914
- The Son of Tarzan - 1915
- The Man-Eater - 1915
- Beyond Thirty - 1915
- Tarzan and the Jewels of Opar - 1915
- The Rider - 1915
- Jungle Tales of Tarzan - 1916
- The Oakdale Affair - 1916
- The Land That Time Forgot - 1917
- Tarzan the Untamed - 1918
- The Moon Maid - 1919
- The Efficiency Expert - 1919
- Tarzan the Terrible - 1920
- The Chessmen of Mars - 1921
- The Girl from Hollywood - 1921
- Tarzan and the Golden Lion - 1922
- Beware! (Scientists Revolt)- 1922
- The Bandit of Hell's Bend - 1923
- Tarzan and the Ant Men - 1923
- Marcia of the Doorstep - 1924
- The Master Mind of Mars - 1925
- The War Chief - 1926
- The Tarzan Twins - 1926
- You Lucky Girl! - 1927
- Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle - 1927
- Apache Devil - 1927
- Tarzan and the Tarzan Twins with Jad Bal Ja, the Golden Lion - 1928
- Tarzan and the Lost Empire - 1928
- Tanar of Pellucidar - 1928
- Tarzan at the Earth's Core - 1928
- A Fighting Man of Mars - 1929
- Jungle Girl - 1929
- Tarzan the Invincible - 1930
- The Deputy Sheriff of Comanche County - 1930
- Tarzan Triumphant - 1931
- Tarzan and the Leopard Men - 1931
- Pirates of Venus - 1931
- Tarzan and the City of Gold - 1931
- Pirate Blood - 1932
- Lost On Venus - 1932
- Tarzan and the Lion Man - 1933
- Swords of Mars - 1933
- Tarzan's Quest - 1934
- Back to the Stone Age - 1935
- Tarzan the Magnificent - 1935
- The Resurrection of Jimber Jaw - 1936
- Carson of Venus - 1937
- Tarzan Jr. Miniature Book - 1937
- Tarzan and the Forbidden City - 1937
- Synthetic Men of Mars - 1938
- Land of Terror - 1938
- Tarzan Clans of America Handbook - 1939
- Tarzan and the Jungle Murders (Tarzan and the Castaways) - 1939
- Tarzan and the Champion (Tarzan and the Castaways) - 1939
- Tarzan and the Madman - 1940
- Escape On Venus - 1940
- Llana of Gathol - 1940
- Savage Pellucidar - 1940
- Beyond the Farthest Star (Tales of Three Planets) - 1940
- The Quest of Tarzan (Tarzan and the Castaways) - 1940
- Tangor Returns (Tales of Three Planets) - 1940
- John Carter and the Giant of Mars (John Carter of Mars) - 1941
- The Wizard of Venus (Tales of Three Planets) - 1941
- I Am a Barbarian - 1941
- Skeleton Men of Jupiter (John Carter of Mars) - 1941
- Tarzan and the Foreign Legion - 1944
- Tarzan and the Lost Adventure - 1946
- The Burroughs crater on Mars is named in Burroughs' honour.
- His science fiction works contain descriptive predictions of such things as Mars space ships having "cloaking devices," and the use of rays resembling holograms and lasars.
- His first work Under the Moons of Mars was published under the name Norman Bean, as he felt the story was too far-fetched for him to sign his own name to. He signed the manuscript Norman Bean and it was published under that name. He also wrote under the name John Tyler McCulloch.