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Tarzan of the Apes

(Tarzan #1)

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  40,318 ratings  ·  2,652 reviews
A ship's mutiny forces a young noble English couple out onto the African coast, and their child is born in the wild. When they die a short time later, the boy is adopted by an ape, and raised as her own. The boy, Tarzan, rises to dominance in the jungle . . . TARZAN OF THE APES is Edgar Rice Burroughs's exploration of mankind a it's seen from the perspective of a man reare ...more
Kindle Edition, 270 pages
Published May 16th 2012 (first published October 1912)
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Rory In terms of adventure stories similar I would say Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World. (which also came out …moreIn terms of adventure stories similar I would say Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World. (which also came out the same year as this).(less)
Michael A Farkas Yes, Jane is in the first two books, although her parts in the other 23 books are very small (other than mentioning Tarzan going home to her). I read …moreYes, Jane is in the first two books, although her parts in the other 23 books are very small (other than mentioning Tarzan going home to her). I read all the books over 25 years ago and this is the best I remember it. Hope it helps.(less)

Community Reviews

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Average rating 3.90  · 
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 ·  40,318 ratings  ·  2,652 reviews

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Will Byrnes
Apr 10, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, fantasy
Viscount Greystoke will see you now.
One of the advantages of riding the subway to work is getting extra reading time. Coming home, though, I often have to stand for a good while before I can get a seat. As it is not comfortable wrangling the actual book I am reading at a given time while standing, I lift my trusty iTouch and am able to read a bit until the crowd thins. I save my hardcore reading for when I am sitting and can take notes. iTouch reading is of a different sort, at least it has
I don't know about you, but when I think of Tarzan, I see that classic image of him swinging through the trees and hear that crazy yodel-scream thing he did.
I've seen multiple movies but I've never read the real stories, so I thought it was high time to remedy that.


Truthfully, Burroughs' classic didn't age particularly well, but it was still an interesting read.
The idea of Tarzan is just so cool!


You just have to be prepared to cringe because there's a lot of just insultingly weird portrayals of
Apr 09, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tarzan of the Apes was a pulp classic that spawned a slew of sequels, movies, radio and television shows and a community in California.

I was surprised, pleasantly by the style of writing, Edgar Rice Burroughs was a talented craftsman, and I am amazed at his ability to again and again draw the reader into a cliffhanger situation.

A good read.

Pulp fiction at its best.

I went in with low expectations and enjoyed it more than I thought I would. It's pulp fiction, but it's good pulp: a fun romp and so very very silly. Burroughs buys into all the prejudices of his time, but it's tough to blame him for being merely mortal. Ignore it. He's no worse than JM Barrie or Kipling.

I've shelved it under Fantasy, and that's what it is. There may be no Middle Earth or magic, but a novel where a child brought up among apes learns to read without hum
Jan 20, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Here: the fountainhead & the story buried below a myriad adaptations.

E. R. Burroughs's dream did come true after all: his Tarzan spun off into countless later tales & films-- heck, even Broadway musicals. Read this scant but brutal adventure tale with its due respect, for it includes: examples of poetic and natural justice; often tableaux with two male warrior bodies battling it out--always a spectacle to behold; cannibalism; animal eroticism; killer! savage! hot!ness; plot twists and many exam
Vanessa J.

Remember this?

I liked that movie when I was younger. Being the bookworm I am, as soon as I found out it was based in a book, I wanted to read it, thinking what I'm sure most of us think when a book has movies: "Surely it is better". And since the movie I knew is Disney's, then my second thought was: "It's gonna be hella different to the movie, and maybe even a childhood ruiner".

Only the second of my thoughts was right. Because Tarzan of the Apes is almost like an ode to insta-love and, above
J.G. Keely
I must say, I was expecting more from this book. It takes inspiration from a wide array of very good adventure novels, but manages to be more bigoted than the colonial literature that inspired it and less factual and forward-looking than books written thirty years before.

One of the major inspirations is H. Rider Haggard's early pulp adventure stories, including the tales of Allan Quatermain. Like Tarzan, these stories take place in the depths of colonial Africa, but the attitudes and portrayal o
John Conrad
Feb 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: young and old
Recommended to John by: my big brothers
Ah, how to begin... Tarzan raised me from a little boy and helped me become a man. After the Bobsey Twins, Hardy Boys, and, yes, Nancy Drew, I admit, came Tarzan, Return of Tarzan, Beasts of Tarzan, Son of Tarzan, Tarzan and the Jewels of Opar,... yes 24 in all, and then the Mars series, and Moon, and Venus, and Pellucidar, I own over 65 Edgar Rice Burroughs books, but Tarzan was an inspriation to me, so I have to give the credit to this book, despite its flaws, for many happy hours of reading. ...more
Okay. That old world British attitude is on display in this story. I learned he's a Mary Sue character.

I grew up watching re-runs of the old Tarzan TV show at my grandparents house. I have watched the many various movies that have come along, and I must say, I think my favorite is the Disney version. So, I like the story of Tarzan and the archetype. I have never read the origin and original and I did enjoy it, but there are many problems with it.

Tarzan is a Mary Sue character. I mean, everythin
Mar 08, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, young-adult
For myself, I always assume that a lion is ferocious, and so I am never caught off my guard.
Tarzan of the Apes ~~ Edgar Rice Burroughs


My introduction to Tarzan was as a young boy. My brothers and I would watch Tarzan religiously on Saturday afternoons. It didn't matter if it was the old movies, or the updated TV show, we loved cheering Tarzan on. It also didn't matter to us that the actor portraying Tarzan changed several times in one afternoon, we loved our Tarzan. I do remember that we cheered
I feel like I've been waiting for a book like this my entire life, and here it was all this time, published long before I was even born.

Is the light cast upon race and gender in this novel wrong and inappropriate? Most definitely. However, I read this book ignoring these things, not out of ignorance as the word would imply, but with an acceptance of the flaws, and deciding instead to fall in love with the adventure and the horrible violence of Tarzan's growing up in the jungle. I didn't read thi
RJ - Slayer of Trolls
Tarzan has become a larger-than-life myth that supersedes his own literary footprint; signature traits like his yodeling yell and broken English "me Tarzan, you Jane" greeting are actually a Hollywood variation from the original story. Burroughs' tale of an Englishman raised by apes in the unexplored jungles of Africa was written and published in pulp magazine installments over 100 years ago, and many parts haven't aged particularly well. Burroughs' characterizations of both the natives and the ...more
Mar 14, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
An extremely racist book with a premise based on eugenics. Not how you remember the Disney version? Tarzan is all strong and intelligent and special and amazing. Why? Because he has the genetics of a well-bred, white, European, aristocrat. Oh, and the whole thing about encountering other humans for the first time? He's seen humans around before, but, you know, they were Africans; they're primitive and stupid and clearly don't count. But other white people... revelation of revelations! You're sma ...more
Nandakishore Mridula
Silly to the point of being nonsensical: unabashedly and un-self-consciously racist - still, I enjoyed it when I first read it as a teen. Tarzan is a member of the British aristocracy who is raised by the great apes. Being an English aristocrat, he's much superior to all the animals of the jungle (of course!) and soon becomes the Lord of All He Surveys. This superman learns to read English without the help of anybody from childhood picture-books and soon learns to speak it also in record time. ( ...more
Feb 14, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, classics
Things I love:

1. Tarzan puts both a lion and a gorilla in a full-nelson.
2. Tarzan taught himself to read. From a dictionary.
3. He dug up pirates' treasure even though he didn't see any purpose for it, just because he didn't like them.
4. Tarzan learned French in about two weeks from a wounded French soldier.

Things I don't love:

1. Tarzan grew up shaving with a knife. Even though he had never seen a human until grown, he knew it was unseemly to have hair on one's face like an ape.
2. When he co
Jan 25, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hand me a vine right now and I'll swing on it, find a shady spot under a tree, and crack this book open and read it all over again. I loved it! I don't think I can give it a 5 for two reasons: the very ignorant racial stereotypes throughout the novel and the rushed ending. Yet, I have already ordered the first sequel, The Return of Tarzan to remedy that! Forget the cheesy movies that have been made and pick up the book if you are at all interested in the ultimate jungle adventure, a passionate r ...more
BAM Endlessly Booked
I've actually started with no preconceived notions. I know nothing about this story.

Finished with a great respect for this underrated novel. I think it's been relegated to pulp status due to those cheesy movies from the 50s. This was actually a potent love story. Speaking of which, if you saw me on the car as I was listening to the ending, you would have seen me bellowing "NO" and shaking my fist in the air. I may have to read the next novel in the series to see how this turns out.

2017 Reading
Jen from Quebec :0)
WHAT!!?? This was an excellent novel- better than I expected, even, and it end with a cliffhanger and a note to read the sequel to see what will happen next!? How disappointing! Thus, no 5 stars for you, Tarzan! How dare you, Mr. Burroughs! This would have been a great, encapsulated book and instead it spun out into this ridiculously LONG franchise, I know, but I still expected the FIRST book in the series to be its own complete story! GAH! How frustrating! In 1908 or whenever this came out, I c ...more
Jason Koivu
May 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Tarzan of the Apes certainly has its issues, but I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this. Looking at it from a pure action/adventure point of view, you can see why it captured the minds of boys back in its time. I don't see myself rushing to read more Tarzan books, but I'm glad I read this one. ...more
Jason Pettus
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography []. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted here illegally.)

The CCLaP 100: In which I read for the first time a hundred "classic" books, then write essays on whether or not they still deserve the label

Book #25: Tarzan of the Apes, by Edgar Rice Burroughs (1914)

The story in a nutshell:
Set in the last great days of the British Empire (i.e. the first decades of
Aug 22, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
The problem with Tarzan is that it sucks. It's deeply silly, of course, adolescent wish fulfillment stuff, the plot makes no sense. But more than that, it's suuuuuper racist. Full of comments about values intrinsic to white people and black savages, and (somehow worse) the fat comic relief mammy Esmeralda, always rolling her big eyes and misusing words. It's way more racist than, for example, King Solomon's Mines, another book about white people in Africa, written 30 years previous in 1885.

Apr 18, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book because my sister recommended it. I thought, what's the big deal? It's Tarzan. I continued to feel this way throughout the first 50 or 60 pages, but then I couldn't put it down! I loved this adventure story, especially because it's so different from all the movies that have been made from it. I also adore the author's writing style. I guess I'm just a lover of classic literature - the formal and kind of stuffy voice is highly entertaining to me. I absolutely recommend this to ev ...more
Stephen Robert Collins
Everybody has hear of Tarzan but not lot have read ERB books I read all but 2 of his 98 books .Tazan of the Apes was second series I read after The Princess of Mars series.
I have NEVER seen a movie that does the book justice the nearest is Carry on Up the Jungle.
Gary Sundell
Nov 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

The great apes Tarzan is raised by are not gorillas. They are a literary creation of the author.
If you can't handle violence you might want to steer clear.
I would rather read about Jane Porter than most of the women in Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time.
This was my second reading of this book. Not counting The Tarzan Twins books, 23 to go.
How many fictional characters have a town in California named after them.

I have read most of Burroughs works, most back in my high school and college days. In the
Ben Loory
Aug 28, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
holy shit! i am bashing my head against the wall for never having read this book before!

i always thought edgar rice burroughs was supposed to be a joke... like, pulpy nonsense... lots of over-emoting... i don't know what...

but this book is amazing! i mean, yeah, there's a certain awkwardness to the prose (which almost made me quit a couple pages in, it seemed so bad)... but that awkwardness turns out to be a screenwriter's awkwardness; the awkwardness of a writer who thinks in desires and moveme
Ken Hammond (kenzaz)
Tarzan of the Apes Edgar Rice Burroughs ladies don't touch this story with a ten foot barge pole your way to smart and clever and intelligent, leave it, leave it, just don't. Yikes this is so good I told a buddy and he's hooked I got up to book 5 before it wore me down into a pile of dribbling sweat and have now given it a rest probably.....but who cares. The movies were crap, thinking back, Tarzan is so unbelievable beyond fantasy but hang on it's told in a manner that you think wait stop this ...more
Aug 07, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I have some fond childhood memories of reading several books in this series,as Urdu translations.Those included The Return of Tarzan and The Son of Tarzan.I think I was six at the time.

So,I decided to take a look at the original.
The start wasn't bad,as Tarzan's parents are left among wild animals,following a mutiny on board their ship.But following their deaths,the story just became silly.And there was racism,too.

Adoption by a female ape,learning to read by himself,blah blah blah...And then it w
Tharindu Dissanayake
"But love is a strange master, and human nature is still stranger"

Decided to give a re-read to the Tarzan series. Still love every bit of it this first books of the famous series. Guess it'll be some time before I'm through with the remaining 23.

"This was life! Ah, how he loved it! Civilization held nothing like this in its narrow and circumscribed sphere, hemmed in by restrictions and conventionalities. Even clothes were a hindrance and a nuisance."

"At heart he was an arrant coward, which is t
Jun 25, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: classics
This was very different from the movie versions of my childhood and even adult years but interesting and actually written quite well. The ending was rather disappointing and a cliffhanger which I guess served it's purpose in that I may now need to read the second book, which I had not intended doing. It was rather enjoyable all in all. ...more
Oct 17, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Amid a charmingly terrible understanding of his chosen setting (example - Burroughs seems to believe that 'ape' is a species, as distinct from gorilla, chimpanzee, etc), Burroughs constructs an absurd, laughably unbelievable tale.

Then, the last two chapters blew me away. They kicked my ass and called me Nancy. I had no idea Burroughs had it in him - it was like it was ghost-written by Hemingway or something. Seriously - if you can make it through the first twenty-six, the last two make it all wo
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Edgar Rice Burroughs was an American author, best known for his creation of the jungle hero Tarzan and the heroic John Carter, although he produced works in many genres.

Other books in the series

Tarzan (1 - 10 of 24 books)
  • The Return of Tarzan (Tarzan, #2)
  • The Beasts of Tarzan (Tarzan, #3)
  • The Son of Tarzan (Tarzan, #4)
  • Tarzan and the Jewels of Opar (Tarzan #5)
  • Jungle Tales of Tarzan (Tarzan #6)
  • Tarzan the Untamed (Tarzan, #7)
  • Tarzan the Terrible (Tarzan, #8)
  • Tarzan and the Golden Lion (Tarzan, #9)
  • Tarzan and the Ant Men (Tarzan, #10)
  • Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle (Tarzan, #11)

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“I do not understand exactly what you mean by fear," said Tarzan. "Like lions, fear is a different thing in different men, but to me the only pleasure in the hunt is the knowledge that the hunted thing has power to harm me as much as I have to harm him. If I went out with a couple of rifles and a gun bearer, and twenty or thirty beaters, to hunt a lion, I should not feel that the lion had much chance, and so the pleasure of the hunt would be lessened in proportion to the increased safety which I felt."

"Then I am to take it that Monsieur Tarzan would prefer to go naked into the jungle, armed only with a jackknife, to kill the king of beasts," laughed the other good naturedly, but with the merest touch of sarcasm in his tone.

"And a piece of rope," added Tarzan.”
“The time has arrived when patience becomes a crime and mayhem appears garbed in a manner of virtue” 44 likes
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