Why A Tarzan Chronology?

To answer the title question bluntly, because it would be a consistency guideline for all future authors who should ever be lucky enough to pen the further adventures of Tarzan.  With ERB Inc.'s past record this seems very unlikely at the present, but who knows what the future holds in store.

The only detailed, publicly circulated, chronology that I know of is by Philip Jose Farmer.  It can be found in Addendum five in Tarzan Alive.  I do not recommend it to anyone who wants to remain consistent with Burroughs' Tarzan series.  Phil Farmer, who is an originalist, is not writing about Burroughs' Tarzan, but instead about the true life man that Burroughs based the series on.

The only other published chronologies are by Burroughs' researchers and fans, which have been printed throughout the various fanzines.  Unfortunately space is limited in fanzines, so therefore, the articles are limited as to how much can be covered in one setting.  Many of the short articles deal with the chronological sequence of the novels themselves.  Others deal with the actual barriers that confront a Tarzan chronology.  All are quite good and stimulating, but often the researchers have slightly different opinions.  Most of the fanzines have also grown quite scarce and are near impossible to obtain by the general reader.

It has been the belief of many Burrough's fans that a broadly excepted detailed chronology of the Tarzan series is impossible.  Because of numerous conflicting statements I can understand why it would be very difficult, but I can not agree with impossible.  I do agree that any serious Tarzan chronology should be presented to a group of Burroughs' researchers in step by step articles for testing before any attempts are made to mass publish.

If an individual, or a secluded group, writes a Tarzan chronology there is bound to be personal errors and debatable subject matter in some areas.  Once mass published and the mistakes are pointed out by other researchers the chronology then loses its main objective.  That is being a truthful chronology based upon the information provided by Burroughs.

If a chronology is presented to a group of researchers for testing before mass publication, there is time for the author to debate main issues and to make corrections.  In this manner when the chronology is published, it is bound to be excepted by the majority of Burroughs fans.

I myself have been seriously studying the Tarzan chronology since 1975.  In the last couple of years several of my articles have been appearing in Tarzine (#22, 25, 28, 31, 34, 39) concerning the subject on a broad scale.  I have purposely done this so they could be challenged should anyone feel they are wrong.  These articles have directly attacked many of the specific problems that confront a Tarzan chronology, and will continue to do so.  If any of you catch a mistake, or have a different opinion, bring it up here in the ERB-APA for a discussion.  Like you, I am merely searching for the true facts.

I read in one fanzine, ERB-dom I believe, that John Flint Roy almost wrote a Tarzan chronology, but Tarzan Alive more or less shelved the project.  What a shame, for every Burroughs researcher knows that Mr. Roy's researching is practically flawless.  Also, in the comment sections of ERB-APA #5 and #8 Alan Hanson lets us know he has done some intense researching on this subject too.  And there is Mike Resneck, who used to be a well renowned Burroughs researcher.  It is possible that he has a  few notes gathering dust.

I would like to make a friendly challenge to these three gentleman, as well as all ERB-APA members. In issue #10 I would like for each of you to provide the date you believe Tarzan was born. Then in issue #11, any who care to, can explain why they believe it is that date.  I would almost bet anything that John F. Roy and Alan Hanson does not offer the same date provided by Phillip Jose Farmer.



James Michael Moody

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