Edgar Rice Burroughs Born: 09/01/1875, USA Died: 03/19/1950 There was something mystical in this man. He was a magician who always fell under the power of his own spell: as soon as he began to write text longer than a page, he got an adventure novel. One day he decided to write an autobiography. He sat down at the typewriter, tucked a blank sheet of paper into it and typed: "Edgar Rice Burroughs.
Writer I have always been saddened that my life did not shine with events that could add fascination to the biographical narrative.
Alas, I am one of the losers who have no luck with adventure.
, they always come to the fire when the fire has already been extinguished.
I was born in Beijing, where my father was a military adviser to the Empress of China; until the age of ten, I lived with my family in the Forbidden City.
Deep knowledge of the Chinese language, acquired over the years, more than once served me well - especially in the research that I conducted, and my interest was mainly dir...
Edgar Rice Burroughs Born: 09/01/1875, USA Died: 03/19/1950 There was something mystical in this man. He was a magician who always fell under the power of his own spell: as soon as he began to write text longer than a page, he got an adventure novel. One day he decided to write an autobiography. He sat down at the typewriter, tucked a blank sheet of paper into it and typed: "Edgar Rice Burroughs. Writer I have always been saddened that my life did not shine with events that could add fascination to the biographical narrative. Alas, I am one of the losers who have no luck with adventure. , they always come to the fire when the fire has already been extinguished. I was born in Beijing, where my father was a military adviser to the Empress of China; until the age of ten, I lived with my family in the Forbidden City. Deep knowledge of the Chinese language, acquired over the years, more than once served me well - especially in the research that I conducted, and my interest was mainly directed to Chinese philosophy and Chinese porcelain ... "The origin was good, the problem was different: Edgar Rice Burroughs was not born in Beijing, but in Chicago, and his father was a brewer, not a military man. And with the knowledge of the Chinese language, the author of "Tarzan" was far from as happy as it was written about it ... And this amazing ability to create was manifested in him only at the age of 36. Edgar Rice Burroughs was born on September 1, 1875, the son of a Civil War veteran (an officer in the Northern Alliance Army) who, after the war, became a prosperous businessman. Edgar was the fourth child in the family. His two older brothers graduated from Yale University, and he himself was sent to Brown School. When this school was quarantined during the diphtheria epidemic, he was transferred to the Maplehurst Girls` School (like that), and then to Andover Harvard School, after which Edgar entered the Michigan Military Academy. Burroughs later recalled that in all schools he was persistently taught Greek and Latin, but none of them had an English course in the curriculum. But at the military academy, he learned to ride a horse perfectly. After graduating from the academy in 1895, he enlisted (with the help of his father, of course) the support of the Congressman from Chicago Edgar Wilson and received a recommendation at West Point, but overestimated the weight of the recommendation and ignominiously failed in the entrance exams. Then he rushed in pursuit of adventure and in May 1896 decided to join the cavalry. However, instead of a stormy camp life and clashes with the Apaches, he found only the classic charms of a military vegetation in a remote province - in Fort Grant, Arizona, where the 7th Cavalry Regiment of the US Army was located. Therefore, Edgar preferred to get rid of the uniform as quickly as possible - three months after the start of the service, he wrote a letter to his father, in which he asked to speak with his acquaintances from Washington. Pope went on about him, but the bureaucratic procedures dragged on for another seven months, so that Edgar parted with the cavalry only in March 1897. After demobilization, Burroughs spent a long time tending cows in Idaho. In 1941, he recalled: “I liked the life of a cowboy, although in those days there was not a single shower in Idaho. Sometimes I did not take off my boots and the Stetson for three weeks. huge asterisks and a call. When I stomped down the street, spurs clinked loudly, and I could be heard from a block away. Oh, how proud I was! " He then worked as a salesman in Pocatello, Idaho, in gold mines in Oregon, a policeman in Salt Lake City, a clerk in Chicago offices, an accountant, a traveling salesman, tried unsuccessfully to leave for China as a horse riding instructor, and even thought about enlisting in the army again. A letter has survived from Colonel Theodore Roosevelt, in those years - the commander of the First Cavalry Volunteer Battalion, in which Edgar tried to enroll. "Dear sir," the future US president wrote to Burroughs, "I would be happy to hire you, but the danger of oversizing the battalion makes it impossible for me to agree to the offer of a volunteer who lives so far from my location." Burroughs regularly took up the creation of his own enterprise, but all his ideas were quickly ground to dust by life. But he was already married, he had to feed two children ... And now - imagine a picture. 1911 year. A thirty-five-year-old businessman, a loser who cannot make ends meet and has just said goodbye to another client for good, sits in an empty office in the evening and writes with a simple pencil on the back of an accounting form ... a fantastic novel. The novel is about a man who, no one knows how, was thrown to Mars, into a world of endless adventures, into a world completely unlike either "potato" Idaho or business Chicago. Into a world like a magical dream. Two decades of struggle for existence taught Burroughs not to neglect any kind of income. He, of course, did not believe that someone would publish his writings, but nevertheless he sent the manuscript to the editorial office of "All Story" magazine, signing the novel with the "talking" pseudonym Normal Bean - "normal guy". He hoped in this way to make it clear to both the editor and hypothetical readers: the author, in general, is aware of all the madness of his act, but, in essence, is completely in his mind. Burroughs read a lot and readily; his reading circle probably included popular magazines, so he had a good idea of what level of works could be accepted for publication. Like most more or less educated people, he probably often thought, closing and forgetting another "masterpiece" of magazine prose: "I would write much better than this if I wanted to." Now he has a chance to test how his ambitions correspond to the views of the editors. According to another version, one of his duties at work was to look at advertisements in pulp magazines, so that the stories came to his attention as if by themselves. Perhaps that was the case, especially since he offered the manuscript to the very publication to which it should have been offered in the first place - that is, Burroughs in general terms represented the then magazine "table of ranks". At that time, All Story was considered one of the most popular monthly magazines owned by the publishing empire of Frank Muncie and, among other things, paid authors the highest royalties, so it was considered a great fortune for any writer to make it to its pages. It was logical to start with him - any product should first be offered on the most expensive market ... Thomas Newell Metcalf was the editor of gravity in "All Story" at that time, and it was he who had the honor of discovering the name of perhaps the most popular writer XX century. He immediately accepted the manuscript, wrote a check to Burroughs for $ 400 (fantastic money for a fantastic piece!) And put the novel, entitled "Under the Moons of Mars", on the plan. The novel was published in six issues - from the February to the July issue of 1912. True, the game with a pseudonym conceived by Burroughs was, apparently, too difficult for the magazine: either Metcalf himself, or one of the proofreaders corrected "Normal" to the usual "Norman" and 0ified the whole idea. But such a triumph could not prevent a triumph. From the very first fragment, the reader was captivated by the image of John Carter, and although the text of the novel bore all the signs of literary apprenticeship, there was something fascinating and new in this hero and in his adventures. First of all, the new hero was John Carter. Outwardly, an ordinary person, a former cavalry officer of the Confederate army, he kind of casually mentions already at the beginning of his notes (the novel is constructed precisely as his memoirs) about some of his own unusual qualities. For example, he does not remember his youth at all; he looks thirty, although he knows for sure that he has lived much longer, he even mentions that he died twice - and came back to life twice. He instructed to publish his notes after his next death, and he bequeathed to bury himself in an open coffin, in a cave, the door to which can only be opened from the inside ... The secret of John Carter`s life and death remains a secret - Burroughs does not give a single hint the reader has a clue. In the same way, no explanation is given for how John Carter ended up on another planet: judging by the description of the "transfer" to Mars, Carter ended up there in the form of an astral body after one of his deaths. However, this explanation is also flawed: on Mars, the hero acts as a completely corporeal being. Most likely, Burroughs was not going to give any explanation. All his inventions were subordinated to only one goal: he had to involve the reader in the game on his own terms, the reader had to accept this game, no matter how incredible these conditions may be. And, I must say, Burroughs was a brilliant success in this move. A brief plot that unfolds in the Western scenery familiar to readers - prairie, gold deposits, Indians - creates an atmosphere of authenticity and recognition, and the secret of John Carter`s personality gives this atmosphere an exciting mystery. When the midwest surroundings are suddenly replaced by Martian deserts, and the Indians - by green multi-armed barbarians, the reader is already "captured", and the fantastic surroundings of Mars-Barsum quickly enough become overgrown with many details to pass for a well-drawn background of an adventure novel. But the focus of the reader and the author, of course, is not Barsum, but John Carter himself. A naked person in an unfamiliar world, a person deprived of the usual weapons and familiar protection, a person who can only rely on his physical and moral strength. A person who overcomes all difficulties, as he is able to adapt to a world alien to him ... Notice how beautifully John Carter`s story illustrates the idea of adaptability. Burroughs` novels are extremely materialistic - he was in fact a consistent materialist, and they say that he did not part with Darwin`s book The Origin of Species, bought in the 1890s, until his death. Fritz Leiber once tried in an early article "John Carter: The Sword of Theosophy" to link Burroughs` work with the theory of Helena Blavatsky, but Burroughs himself so often demonstrated in his books a disregard for all sorts of speculative theories that no one considered it necessary to refute Leiber`s constructions - they simply did not got no continuation. But the idea of the infinite adaptability of man was developed and a certain completeness in the second novel by Burroughs. "Tarzan" became the most famous work of ERB, the success of which the writer could not surpass. And yet, first - a few more words about the adventures of John Carter. About the first novel of the "Martian trilogy" (in 1917 the novel was published as a separate book under the title "A Princess of Mars" - "Princess of Mars"), at least two very common nonsense are often repeated. The first is the novel "about the flight to Mars". The second is one of the first "space operas". Neither is true in principle. The concept of "space opera" has undergone quite noticeable changes over the decades, but it arose only in the early 30s and in connection with a completely different type of fantastic works - the space version of "horse operas", that is, westerns. As for the "flight to Mars" theme, strictly speaking, Burroughs` hero did not make any flight ... Actually, there are much more reasons to be considered "Martian pioneers" among the heroes of Percy Greg`s novels "Across the Zodiac" (Percy Greg, "Across the Zodiac ", 1880), Robert Cromie," A Plunge into Space ", 1891 and Ellsworth Douglass," Pharaoh`s Broker ", 1899 - characters of these books reached Mars in spaceships much earlier than Burroughs` hero arrived there. Among the "Martian" forerunners of John Carter, there is one more, the most mysterious. In 1905, Edwin Lester Arnold`s book Lieut. Gullivar Johnes: His Vacations was published, which was published only in Great Britain and had no success. It would seem that Arnold`s book could hardly have fallen into the hands of Burroughs, but the coincidences of the plot of "Gullivar Jones`s Vacation" with the "Martian trilogy" about John Carter are in places simply amazing. Gullivar Jones, a lieutenant in the US Army, gets to Mars without any spacecraft - he is delivered there by a magic carpet accidentally found on the street. The lieutenant inadvertently wished to be "well, at least on Mars" - and the carpet immediately fulfilled his wish, having previously hermetically packed the hero. On Mars, Jones discovers a once powerful, but now dying ancient civilization, ravaged by raids by barbarians. Jones falls in love with a local princess, goes on a hike along the "River of the Dead" to the pole of Mars, and on his return learns that his beloved is in the hands of barbarians. Of course, the lieutenant frees her and goes with her to New York on the same spaceship carpet ... In another book by Edwin Arnold - "Phra the Phoenician" ("Phra the Phoenician", 1890) - an immortal hero is described who on over the millennia, over and over again comes back to life in the form of a thirty-year-old soldier, perfectly wielding a sword. "There is no evidence," writes Richard Luopoff, "that Burroughs read Arnold`s books and was a fan of his work, but the dates of the books and the coincidences in the books definitely give cause for thought." The similarity of the premise of Burroughs` second novel to Kipling`s "The Jungle Book" might cause similar criticism, but Tarzan is so unlike Mowgli that even ardent dislikes of E.R.B. language does not turn around to accuse him of any kind of borrowing. And then, time has already judged both the heroes and their authors - Kipling died as a Nobel laureate in literature, but Burroughs`s books were published in unthinkable circulations. Mowgli remained the hero of the fairy tale, and Tarzan Burroughs - and then his epigones - sent him on an endless search for adventure. Tarzan`s popularity does not even need to be ascertained. If you have not read the novels about Tarzan, you have seen films about him, if by chance you have not seen films - you must have come across a teenage television series or a Disney cartoon on TV ... Americans, of course, will add endless comic series to this list. One way or another, Tarzan has become one of the most popular images of mass culture in the 20th century. And all this madness began in the same year 1912. In the October issue of All Story, the novel was published in its entirety under the title Tarzan of the Apes. “I wrote it by hand on the backs of used forms and on other random pieces of paper that came across to my hand,” Burroughs recalled. “I didn’t think the novel was particularly good, and I doubted it could be fitted. However, Bob Davis [Robert Hobart Davis (Robert Hobarth Davis) - one of the most famous editors of the Frank A. Munsey concern, who largely determined the policy and appearance of pulp magazines in the 10s - S. B.] appreciated its commercial potential quite high and sent me a check, I think, for 700 dollars ... "If while working on" Princess of Mars "Burroughs was just acquiring the skills of literary craft, then in" Tarzan "his talent as an Adventurer was revealed in full force. The novel was read then and is being read now with unremitting interest - it is read not only as a cascade of exciting adventures, but also as a hymn to the human mind, to the power of the human spirit. Of course, this is a fairy tale - but at times it strikes with unexpected turns of quite modern thought, ideas that are paradoxically applicable in real circumstances. For example, everything related to Tarzan`s acquisition of the ability to communicate with other people - at first he learned to express himself in writing (fantasy, pure fantasy, not even scientific), then, by the will of circumstances, he learned to read an English text in French, then he switched to English ... All these tricks paradoxically reflect the real difficulties that arise in the development of children`s communication in a modern multilingual society. Nowadays, children often learn first to recognize English store signs and only then relate this knowledge to the Russian alphabet; they exist in several linguistic streams at once, and with the growth of the informational connectivity of the world, we will more and more often observe "tarzan effects" - the result of the impact on the child of a complex linguistic environment. Burroughs, consciously or not, conducted a mental sociocultural experiment on Tarzan - of course, at the level of knowledge of his time. He postulated that nobility is inherent in man (the usual sad delusion of a native of the romantic nineteenth century, a delusion that was ruthlessly trampled by the twentieth century) and that a person can adapt to circumstances of almost any complexity. It can hardly be considered as confirmation of his correctness, say, the existing methods of teaching people who are deaf and dumb from birth with sound speech - but it is also not worth denying that this miracle is somewhat akin to the "self-education" of a man-ape.