Correspondence Quotes

     I've done some thinking about what P.S. Miller said about ERB's prejudices. This shows that, like many who review ERB, he hasn't read him very carefully. In my recent rereading of ERB, I've been struck time and again with the fact that ERB was years ahead of his time. Many times, like a thread running through all of his books, ERB extolls the virtues and the essential equality--if not, indeed, superiority--of the so-called primitive peoples (many of them colored) to the civilized whites. Not that he is unfair to whites. He simply points out that other races and cultures have their good points, their virtues, that they by no means compare unfavorably with European-American white culture. I don't see how any reader of ERB can miss this. Unless the reader is, himself, prejudiced and determined to see no good in ERB. Also, ERB is quite a satarist; many times he makes devastating comments worthy of a Swift or a Voltaire. I'd like to write an article about this someday.
     I noticed that L. Sprague De Camp, in the January issue of MOF&SF, indirectly bumwrapped Tarzan. He said that when he grabbed a vine (in Africa), he had to beat a hasty retreat because a shower of stinging ants fell on him. What he overlooks is that not all vines would be populated so, and, Tarzan, reared in the jungle, would have built up a partial immunity to the ant-poison and a total indifference to the stings while tree-traveling. Burroughs would not have found it necessary to mention ants any more than he it necessary to mention every cloud of mosquitoes or flies Tarzan ran into.
          --Philip Jose Farmer

     When you find time to write that article, I'll reserve space for it in BB. De Camp has a habit of backhanding ERB's works, in one way or another, in most articles he writes. I think he's a bit frustrated, because of all the faults he finds in ERB's works, even the poorest of ERB continues to outsell the best of De Camp.