Myth of Tarzan (04:08)
The literary creation has been adapted for numerous books, comics, films, songs, avatars, and merchandise. Edgar Rice Burroughs begins the story of Tarzan in 1912.
"Tarzan of the Apes" (03:12)
Burroughs begins the adventure story with Lord and Lady Greystoke. Experts discuss story development and the mythological archetype of the lost child.
"Wild Child" (02:47)
The myth speaks to the boundary between nature, culture, savagery, and civility. Hear an excerpt from "Tarzan of the Apes" and see a movie clip.
Tarzan and Jane (04:39)
The literary version of Tarzan differs from film versions. Experts discuss Tarzan's appearance, desire for a mate, transformation, and arrival in Baltimore; his humanization accompanies love.
Sequel and Continuation (05:07)
Readers want a happy ending with Jane and Burroughs writes "The Return of Tarzan." He continues Tarzan's story by freeing him from Jane to express virility and passion; the "Evening World" publishes a serialization. Lost world stories are popular.
American Hero (02:48)
Publication of Tarzan stories increases during the "era of the self-made man." Burroughs moves to Los Angeles and writes a slew of stories and novels; he amasses a fortune.
Tarzan Characterization (04:33)
Elmore Lincoln is the first embodiment of Tarzan; eight films soon follow. Deviations frustrate Burroughs and he gradually regains control of Tarzan's character through comics. Over 150 newspapers run Hal Foster's and Burne Hogarth's Tarzan comic strips.
Social Darwinism (03:59)
Darwinism is in the public consciousness when Burroughs first begins writing Tarzan; he is sensitive to themes of wilderness and nudism. For Burroughs, Tarzan is a guardian of nature.
Sensuality and Censorship (07:59)
Tarzan exemplifies Western myths of nature vs. culture. Johnny Weissmuller and Maureen O'Sullivan represent the ultimate couple in their portrayals of Tarzan and Jane. Censors institute the Hays Code in 1933. Burroughs dies in March 1950.
Morality and Counterculture (04:50)
Tarzan becomes a target and is banned in France. The banning of Tarzan in California schools revitalize Burroughs' popularity in the 1960s. "Mad Magazine" publishes a parody of Tarzan; comics gain validity in France.
"Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes" (05:36)
Tarzan transforms during the second half of the 20th century; the Hugh Hudson film best explores the character's dual identity. Revisits to Tarzan are a way of negotiating with a legacy of colonialism and racism.
Credits: We are Legend - Tarzan, The Call of the Jungle (00:43)
Credits: We are Legend - Tarzan, The Call of the Jungle
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