Ebook review — Tarzan of the Apes


Title — Tarzan of the Apes
Author — Edgar Rice Burroughs
Year 1914
Digitized by Google Books from a 1914 copy Epub format

I have read this book before, but I decided to load it on my book reader and read it again.

This is not your Movie or TV Tarzan. The information about wild life (apes in particular) is a bit dated, but you should not let that keep you from reading any of Burroughs’ Tarzan stories. Tarzan of the Apes is the first in a long series of Tarzan novels written by Burroughs.

In this story, the apes that raised Tarzan are not Gorillas. Burroughs created a new smarter species to have a smarter animal to raise a human infant. This allowed Tarzan to ‘speak’ with the apes in the book. A good plot enhancement to allow the readers to have an early view of Tarzan’s young life in the wild. The apes themselves are seen as caring individuals (at least the female that took Tarzan to raise) and bloodthirsty savage beasts (almost all of the male apes). Tarzan was one of the bloodthirsty savages until he chanced upon meeting ‘white’ humans.

While reading this book, I had a feeling that it was written as a serialized novel. I seem to recall that a number of stories of this type were published in sections by numerous magazines of the time. I did a search on this and found out that this story was publish in full by the magazine it was submitted too. It may have been written as a serial novel, but it didn’t turn out that way. Just an interesting tidbit of information with this story.

I sat down to read this story knowing all of the above, I just pushed that aside and read this as I would any action/adventure tale. Except for Tarzan, the characters all seemed a bit flat. They were all secondary to story line. They were there to give Tarzan something to do. During the reading, I found that I didn’t really care what happened to them.

However, the background and setting of 1914 Africa came alive in the story. This was Tarzan’s supporting character. The descriptions of the ‘Jungle’ and its animal inhabitants kept the story flowing. This background gave the character of Tarzan some depth and meaning. While I didn’t care about the other characters, I did find myself interested in the way Tarzan felt about them. They were secondary, but his reactions were primary. I don’t recall too many stories that have me thinking in that fashion. I’m going to have to read more authors from the same time period to see if this is common in the era.

As far as the Ebook version, I did notice a few problems with the OCR conversion. It seemed to have problems with accented and capital letters. I’m not sure why that is, but there were a couple places it was an annoyance. I don’t remember this from the project Gutenburg book I read last year, but that was just a scan to PDF and not a digital reading/recognition of the words themselves.

I think that I would give this 3 out of 5 stars. Good book to read, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to hunt it down.

4 thoughts on “Ebook review — Tarzan of the Apes”

  1. The info on wildlife is a bit dated… that would be interesting for me to read. Something like seeing the pictures of the “Carnivora” building at the Toledo Zoo when it used to house animals – back then, they housed lions, gorillas, tigers, and other primates together and called them all Carnivora. Oh, how far we’ve come.

  2. I think it would be fascinating to read to find out just how far we have come not only on the wildlife info but in writing also. If memory serves, there were many such authors who had their works published serially. Perhaps to reach the broader audience who bought magazines which served as a large outlet for entertainment in the early years of the 20th Century?

  3. So the proofreaders missed some errors? Or maybe there are none and they just rely on the OCR software. Well, free is free right? 🙂

    As the other two said, it would be interesting to know how far we’ve coming in wildlife learning since then. Obviously nothing on the scale of 1950s space stories vs. what we know, or think we know, today.

  4. Not many proof readers on the books.

    Derek, I’m not sure about the scale of difference between what would be considered good wild life science of the early 1900’s to what we have today. And them I begin to thing that maybe, just maybe Burroughs didn’t really know that much about it. He could have just penned a decent story. I’ll need to check.

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