Scott Tracy Griffin Comments ERB-APA #38: A Reply

Thank you very much for your kind comments in issue #38.  "Impressive research, but I think that you take the literalism a bit to far."  You got that right.  I am a firm believer of reporting exactly to the word the information provided by ERB.  And... that by the way is not necessarily literal-ism... because you got to watch, ol' ERB.  He is very tricky.

You also state, "Unless you're proposing an alternative universe, Angola could not be Tarzan's homeland.  Well, Scott you are not going to hear any alternative universe stuff in my Tarzan chronology.  It is the chronology of Tarzan as if he were a human being on the planet earth that we live on.

When we address this question in the reality approach it may be true Tarzan could not have been born in Angola as described.  Yet, there could have been no Oparin's, a Pal-ul-Don, or Pellucidar either.  If we are trying to create Tarzan the real man we would have to rectify all of ERB, the author's, exaggerations.  This is what Phil Farmer tried to do in Tarzan Alive, but by the time he was done the finished product was not the Tarzan described by ERB.

When I approached this question in my chronology I had to figure the angle I was using, which in turn would lead to my answer.  I am not writing about Tarzan as if he were a real human being.  What I am writing about is, "If Tarzan were a human being on the planet earth when would his life events occur on the calendar as described by ERB."  The big thing to keep in mind here is "as described by ERB."

I have studied the information provided by ERB, and I have read every fan publication ever wrote on the subject that I know of, except one.  From my studies, based on the author's information and elsewhere, I will stick to every word I  have wrote.  I have clearly shown my research in recent issues of the ERB-APA.  If you can prove my studies wrong with research I want to see it.  I merely seek the truth, and if I have made a mistake I want to correct it.  For more on this subject see my article The Greystoke Destination printed in Tarzine #55.

Scott, when I go to explaining some of the whackeries which have become famous over the years I use a realistic and very natural approach.  The way I see it is,

  1. You have the events themselves taking place.
  2. The events are then passed on from diary, or memory, to ERB, the narrator.
  3. The narrator's notes are then passed on to ERB, the author.
  4. ERB, the author, spins a tale of fiction based upon fact for a magazine publication.
  5. Next ERB, the author's, manuscript was edited by Thomas Metcalf of All-Story Magazine.
  6. We then have the published version in the magazine
  7. We then have the book version, which is slightly different than the magazine versions.
I feel that many of the inconsistencies in the Tarzan series can be contributed to ERB, the writer, from Chicago, Illinois.  These inconsistencies were deliberate attempts by the author to protect Greystoke's true identity.  Keep in mind ERB from Chicago is not the sole writer of the Tarzan series. He had a partner, ERB from Virginia.  You know, John Carter's great nephew.  Together as a team they produced the Tarzan series, plus.

Tarzan soon found out about these magazine publications and in 1913 demanded an audience with ERB from Virgina.  The two reached an agreement to fictionalize the later stories just a little more than the earlier ones, and to further protect Greystoke's identity.  ERB, from Chicago, did just that and at times even added some of his personal life to the stories just for spice.  Using this reasoning we can see that ERB, the author, is deliberately trying to protect Greystoke's identity so it is very possible Tarzan was not born in Angola as you suggest.  But whatever the answer, the argument has nothing to do with time dimensions.

James Michael Moody