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Tarzan of the Apes

(Tarzan #1)

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  36,039 ratings  ·  2,226 reviews
When a ship's mutiny forces a young noble English couple out onto the remote African coast, their child is born into the wild. Their deaths a short time later leave the boy alone in the jungle wilderness--until a she-ape adopts him and raises him as her own. Reluctantly accepted into the tribe by its fierce leader, Kerchak, the baby Tarzan must prove himself by learning th ...more
Paperback, 324 pages
Published September 1st 2003 by Wildside Press (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)

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Will Byrnes
Apr 10, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, fiction
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 b
...more
Lyn
Apr 09, 2012 rated it liked it
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.

description
Whitaker
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
...more
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 al
...more
Fabian
Jan 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
...more
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
...more
John Conrad
Feb 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Celise
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
...more
RJ
Jan 09, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nandakishore Varma
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
Tara
Mar 14, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
David
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
...more
Jason Pettus
Feb 12, 2009 rated it liked it
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography [cclapcenter.com:]. 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
...more
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
BAM The Bibliomaniac
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
...more
Keri
Apr 18, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Alex
Aug 22, 2016 rated it it was ok
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.

But
...more
Stephen Robert Collins
May 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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
...more
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
...more
Quentin Wallace
Dec 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A true classic. Most people are at least a little familiar with this story so I won't get too deep into details. It's basically a jungle adventure telling the improbable tale of a human male being raised by apes in the jungles of Africa. Something that sounds silly actually turns out to be a great story. It's just so well written and the characters come to life. It feels like you are right in the jungle with the roars and growls in your ears.

Everyone knows this as the jungle adventure tale, but
...more
[Name Redacted]
This was one of my all-time favorite books when I was a boy. The ending was heartbreaking (so unlike every film version) but felt absolutely true to the characters.
bup
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
...more
Monk
Nov 28, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I probably picked this up initially because I enjoyed the Ron Ely TV series on Saturday mornings as a kid. Had no idea what I was getting into.
"Tarzan" evokes many well-deserved images of cheesiness. The Burroughs series itself after the first couple of books becomes pretty bad pulp fiction, with weird tie-ins to his Center of the Earth series, Tarzan's son going through exactly the same experience as his dad, etc.
But this first book is something very different. Not just one of the best pulp fic
...more
Katherine
”’What are you, Tarzan?’ he asked aloud. ‘An ape or a man?’

First of all, I’m just going to narcissistically give myself a pat on the back for actually reading a classic all by my little self. This RARELY happens, but I’m trying to get into classics more and just read them at my own pace. Usually, this means a very slow, snail-like pace of two chapters a day, but I read this one in a period of two days, so I’m quite proud of myself actually.

Anyways, onto the book. Tarzan was always one of thos
...more
Jim
Definitely a dated classic, but wonderful for all that. I re-read it for The Pulp magazine group I'm in & am glad I did. You really want to read the next book, "The Return of Tarzan" immediately after since we're left with a cliff hanger.

Burroughs hasn't aged as well as some authors, mostly because of his handling of PC subjects such as racism & sexism. It is too easy to see the outward signs of both in his books, but careful reading shows that while he may have catered to the views of t
...more
Seth
Sep 24, 2012 rated it did not like it
This quote from Rudyard Kipling sums it up nicely: Burroughs wrote Tarzan of the Apes so he could "find out how bad a book he could write and get away with it." And wow, was it bad (spoilers to follow). Like Tarzan the gorilla kid learning to read and write fluently with only the aid of a picture book. Like Tarzan the adult shooting around the jungle saving every stupid civilized person right at the exact moment when they are about to die. Like him killing a rival gorilla right when he had stole ...more
Dfordoom
Jul 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: adventure
Tarzan remains Edgar Rice Burroughs' most famous creation. Apart from the huge sales of the many Tarzan novels the character appeared in numerous movies and television series. Like Sherlock Holmes Tarzan is an indelible part of our popular culture. People who’ve never read a Tarzan book know who Tarzan is.

Tarzan of the Apes, first published in book form in 1914, was the first of the series and is therefore crucial in not only introducing the character but in giving us the story of his birth and
...more
Darwin8u
Sep 20, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
“The time has arrived when patience becomes a crime and mayhem appears garbed in a manner of virtue”
― Edgar Rice Burroughs, Tarzan of the Apes

tarzan

Tarzan is one of those characters who came out of the post-Victorian, pre-WWI age that seem almost to exhibit a place larger than the actual book(s) he was born in. Like Sherlock Holmes, Tarzan is both a type and a rejection of type. It is amazing to see the arc this character has taken over the last century. From the actual books written by Burroughs to
...more
Matt
Jan 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
Rumble in the Jungle

This first book (out of 25!) in the Tarzan series features

● a hero of superhuman strength and agility (who is also incredibly resourceful and intelligent)

● anthropomorphization galore (apes even have their own language and rituals)

● racist stereotypes (savage blacks; noble whites; savage whites (but no noble blacks))

● gender stereotypes (weak women (including the classic damsel in distress); strong and brave men; weak men (but no strong woman))

● lots of killing (people killin
...more
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1,957 followers
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 27 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)
“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.”
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“The time has arrived when patience becomes a crime and mayhem appears garbed in a manner of virtue” 43 likes
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