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Edgar Rice Burroughs

Edgar Rice Burroughs Edgar Rice Burroughs[1†]

Edgar Rice Burroughs (September 1, 1875 – March 19, 1950) was an American writer, best known for his prolific output in the adventure, science fiction, and fantasy genres[1†][2†]. He is most renowned for creating the iconic characters Tarzan and John Carter[1†]. Burroughs’ stories have captivated audiences around the world, and his works have been translated into more than 56 languages[1†]. His novels have also been adapted into comic-strip, motion-picture, television, and radio versions[1†][2†].

Born in Chicago, Illinois, Burroughs was the son of a prosperous businessman[1†][3†]. He was educated in private schools and later attended the Michigan Military Academy[1†][3†]. After his education, Burroughs held numerous jobs and business ventures before settling in Chicago with his wife and three children[1†][2†]. It was during this time that he began writing advertising copy, which eventually led him to fiction writing[1†][2†].

His first story, “Under the Moons of Mars”, was serialized in The All-Story magazine in 1912 and was met with great success[1†][2†]. This encouraged Burroughs to pursue writing full-time, leading to the creation of his most famous works, including the Tarzan series and the Barsoom series[1†][2†].

Burroughs’ impact on literature, particularly within the adventure and science fiction genres, is undeniable. His imaginative storytelling and memorable characters have left a lasting legacy, influencing countless authors and creators in the years since his passing[1†][2†].

Early Years and Education

Edgar Rice Burroughs was born on September 1, 1875, in Chicago, Illinois[2†][1†][3†]. He was the son of a wealthy businessman[2†][3†]. Burroughs received his education at private schools in Chicago[2†][3†]. He also attended the prestigious Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, from which he was expelled[2†].

After his time at Phillips Academy, Burroughs attended the Michigan Military Academy[2†][3†]. He subsequently taught briefly at the academy[2†]. His father had been a major in the Union army during the Civil War[2†][4†]. Burroughs’ education and family background played a significant role in shaping his worldview and literary career.

During his early years, Burroughs held numerous jobs and business ventures in Chicago and Idaho[2†]. These experiences provided him with a diverse range of experiences and perspectives, which later influenced his writing.

Career Development and Achievements

Edgar Rice Burroughs began his career in various jobs and business ventures across the United States[4†]. He worked as a cowboy in Idaho, a gold miner in Oregon, a railroad policeman in Utah, and a department manager for Sears Roebuck in Chicago[4†]. These diverse experiences provided him with a broad perspective, which later influenced his writing.

Burroughs’ literary career took off when his first story, “Under the Moons of Mars”, was serialized in The All-Story magazine in 1912[4†][2†][1†]. The success of this story encouraged him to pursue writing full-time[4†][2†][1†]. This work was later novelized as “A Princess of Mars” in 1917 and adapted as the film “John Carter” in 2012[4†][2†].

In 1912, Burroughs also introduced the world to Tarzan with the first story in the series[4†][2†][1†]. This was followed by “Tarzan of the Apes” in 1914, the first of 25 books about the son of an English nobleman abandoned in the African jungle during infancy and brought up by apes[4†][2†][1†]. The Tarzan stories were translated into more than 56 languages and were popular in comic-strip, motion-picture, television, and radio versions[4†][2†][1†].

In 1923, Burroughs took control of his books and started his own publishing company, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc[4†][5†]. This move presaged the current era of alternative media and self-publishing[4†][5†]. He continued to write novels, ultimately publishing some 68 titles in all[4†][2†].

During World War II, Burroughs became a correspondent for the Los Angeles Times and at age 66 was the oldest war correspondent covering the South Pacific theatre[4†][2†].

First Publication of His Main Works

Edgar Rice Burroughs was a prolific writer, with his works spanning multiple genres including adventure, science fiction, and fantasy[1†][2†]. Here are some of his main works along with their first year of publication:

Burroughs’ works have been translated into more than 56 languages and have been adapted into comic-strip, motion-picture, television, and radio versions[1†][2†]. His stories have created a folk hero known around the world[1†][2†].

Analysis and Evaluation

Edgar Rice Burroughs was a formula writer who took the same attributes of the epic tradition—violence, quest, and romance—and popularized them in fantastic stories written to entertain a reading public[7†]. His success rests in his ability to create enduring characters and narratives that captivated audiences worldwide[7†][2†][1†].

His Tarzan stories, in particular, created a folk hero known around the world[7†][2†][1†]. The legend of Tarzan was born from desperation and boredom[7†][8†]. Burroughs desperately wanted to be a writer, but had run through a long list of miscellaneous jobs before he turned to fiction[7†][8†]. The first Tarzan story appeared in 1912 and was followed in 1914 by Tarzan of the Apes, the first of 25 such books about the son of an English nobleman abandoned in the African jungle during infancy and brought up by apes[7†][2†][1†].

Burroughs’ works were translated into more than 56 languages and were also popular in comic-strip, motion-picture, television, and radio versions[7†][2†][1†]. His ability to create compelling characters and narratives in the adventure, science fiction, and fantasy genres has left a lasting impact on literature[7†][2†][1†].

Personal Life

Edgar Rice Burroughs was married to Emma Hulbert in 1900[9†]. The couple had two sons and a daughter[9†]. Their daughter, Joan Burroughs, married James Pierce, the actor who portrayed Tarzan in the 1927 film Tarzan and the Golden Lion[9†].

Burroughs divorced Emma in 1934, and in 1935, he married Florence Gilbert Dearholt, a former actress and the ex-wife of his friend, Ashton Dearholt[9†][1†]. He and Florence tried to keep up with the exorbitant lifestyle of Hollywood’s elite[9†][10†].

In 1919, Burroughs moved his family to the San Fernando Valley, converting a large estate into Tarzana Ranch[9†][4†]. He was in Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, and remained in Hawaii as a war correspondent[9†][4†]. After the war, he returned home with a heart condition[9†][4†]. On March 19, 1950, alone in his home after reading the Sunday comics in bed, he passed away[9†][4†].

Conclusion and Legacy

Edgar Rice Burroughs left an indelible mark on the world of literature. His imaginative stories, particularly those featuring Tarzan and John Carter, have captivated audiences for over a century[1†][2†]. His work has been translated into more than 56 languages and has inspired countless adaptations in various media, including comic strips, films, television shows, and radio programs[1†][2†].

Burroughs’ influence extends beyond his own work. His depiction of the strange subterranean world in the Pellucidar series, for example, heavily influenced H.P. Lovecraft’s "At the Mountains of Madness"[1†][11†]. This demonstrates the far-reaching impact of Burroughs’ creativity and his ability to inspire other writers.

Despite his passing in 1950, Burroughs’ legacy continues to thrive. His characters, particularly Tarzan, remain cultural icons, and his novels continue to be read and enjoyed by new generations[1†][2†]. His work has had a lasting impact on the adventure, science fiction, and fantasy genres, and he is remembered as a pioneer in these fields[1†][2†].

Key Information

References and Citations:

  1. Wikipedia (English) - Edgar Rice Burroughs [website] - link
  2. Britannica - Edgar Rice Burroughs: American novelist [website] - link
  3. ThoughtCo - Biography of Edgar Rice Burroughs, American Writer, Creator of Tarzan [website] - link
  4. IMDb - Edgar Rice Burroughs - Biography [website] - link
  5. Later Bloomer- Edgar Rice Burroughs: How He Went From Snake Oil Peddler to Late-Blooming Media Mogul [website] - link
  6. Goodreads - Book: Complete Works of Edgar Rice Burroughs [website] - link
  7. Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute - 87.02.05: Would You Like to Swing on a Vine?: The Epic Tradition and Edgar Rice Burroughs [website] - link
  8. GradeSaver - Edgar Rice Burroughs Biography [website] - link
  9. SunSigns - Edgar Rice Burroughs Biography, Life, Interesting Facts [website] - link
  10. Books Tell You Why - Blog - Six Interesting Facts About Edgar Rice Burroughs, the Author of Tarzan [website] - link
  11. Wikipedia (English) - At the Earth's Core (novel) [website] - link
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