Tarzan is a fictional character created by American novelist Edgar Rice Burroughs, and first published in the October 1912 issue of All-Story Magazine. The son of an English nobleman who grows up in Africa among a pack of apes, Tarzan, through the subsequent novels by Burroughs and many motion pictures, has become one of the most familiar literary characters ever created.
Edgar Rice Burroughs had failed at a number of jobs prior to becoming a writer. During his last job as a pencil sharpener salesman, he read the many pulp magazines that his advertisements were placed in, and began writing several stories which were eventually published; among them was A Princess of Mars for All-Story Magazine in 1911, the foundation of his Martian stories featuring protagonist John Carter, and for which he was paid $400. Having found a niche that he liked - and encouraged by his publisher - he began the first of what would become a series of twenty-five novels featuring Tarzan.
Tarzan, according to Burroughs, is John Clayton, son of Lord and Lady Greystoke of England, who were on a trip overseas when their vessel is taken over by mutineers, who later deposit them alone on the west African coast. As they struggle to survive, John is born. His parents killed by apes, the infant John is taken to live with Kala, a she-ape who raises him as one of their own, taking the name "Tarzan" in reference to his white skin. Tarzan who grow to adulthood, challenging the supremacy of Kerchak as "king of the apes"; teaching himself to read and write from a chance encounter with the old Greystoke cabin his parents had built; meeting a human tribe for the first time; and finding Jane Porter, an American exploring the African jungle with her father, and of whom he would later marry.
The Burroughs novels, in public domain from Project Gutenberg
- Tarzan of the Apes
- The Return of Tarzan
- Jungle Tales of Tarzan
- Tarzan and the Jewels of Opar
- Beasts of Tarzan
- Tarzan the Terrible
- Tarzan the Untamed
- Son of Tarzan
- Official website, from the estate of Edgar Rice Burroughs
- Tarzan of the Apes (1918) starring Elmo Lincoln