A Letter from Philip Josť Farmer
Dear Mr. Atamain:
The Origin of Tarzan is a splendid work, thoroughly and ingeniously researched, and I, for one, believe that it solves many problems of origin that have been puzzling ERB scholars for years. Congratulations! I cherish the book and will reconsult it many times in the years (few as they are) to come.
Now, for the particulars. There are some things you guessed at and so went astray. For instance, my first acquaintance with Du Chaillu was not when I was researching Tarzan Alive in 1971. It was in 1928, when I was ten years old, that I came across my first Du Chaillu book. This was in the local branch library in Peoria, which also had all of ERB's works published at that time and continued to stock them as they came out. Peoria, though its population was only 50,000 at that time, had a library sytem that would have done many a much larger city proud.
There were, as I remember it, about four or five Du Chaillu books at the local branch and about ten or more downtown at the main library. (It was here, ten years later, that I discovered that the main library had most of Sir Richard Francis Burton's books.) However, when I wrote Tarzan Alive, the libraries here had no Du Chaillu books. I had one copy, which I'd gotten in a second-hand bookstore here. It was falling apart, and I eventually had to toss it-regretfully. But that one had the index you refer to-I think.
I discovered ERB's books in the local branch library when I was nine or ten, and, though the Great Depression came along in 1929, my parents purchased new Tarzan and John Carter books for my birthdays and Christmas. Of course, in those days, I read purely for adventure and exciting concepts, the more imaginative the better, etc. and had no idea that someday the ERb books would be subjected to literary criticism and analysis or that the Du Chaillu books or Haggard, whom I also read devoutly, had provided inspiration to ERB.
As for Buell, I never heard of him until your book. Many thanks.
You end the book with a fine flourish and passion and love for and empathy with Tarzan and what he stands for. I agree whole-heartedly, though I am, not above parodying or pastiching Tarzan. But I wouldn't do that if he meant nothing to me.
LETTERS to the BURROUGHS BULLETIN
I have a Finnish novel (I can't read Finnish but hope to some day): HUOVINEN VAPAITA SUHTEITA by Veikko Huovinen, Werner Soderstrom Oasakeyhito Porvoo, Helsinki, 1974. This has references to Tarzan on pages 115-123. Perhaps one of our Finnish members could get a copy and translate the text? Or, if need be, I'll copy the pages and send them to the interested Finnish member. By the way, has anyone published an article on the anatomical effects of egg-laying on the Martian human female? Dejah Thoris, I'm afraid, would have been as slim-hipped as John Carter. Strange that John didn't mention the lack of female broad hips on Barsoom. Also, if the eggs grew in size after being laid, they must have put out roots to provide nutrition for the growing egg. Would a short article on this from me be welcome? Kaor
Philip Josť Farmer