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Tarzan of the Apes

Tarzan of the Apes

Written by Edgar Rice Burroughs

Narrated by Shelly Frasier


Tarzan of the Apes

Written by Edgar Rice Burroughs

Narrated by Shelly Frasier

ratings:
3/5 (976 ratings)
Length:
8 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Jul 28, 2008
ISBN:
9781400178506
Format:
Audiobook

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Description

Born of noble stock to parents who become marooned on the savage West African coast, the young Lord Greystoke is orphaned in his first year of life. Named Tarzan by the great apes that raise him, he must learn the law of the jungle to survive. As he matures, his strength and agility develop to match those of the beasts that he is surrounded by, yet he realizes that he is different. He combines higher intelligence, superhuman strength, and his jungle training to become the unconquerable Lord of the Jungle.

When a group of civilized people invade Tarzan's jungle paradise, his life is changed forever, for with them is Jane. Jane is the first woman Tarzan has ever seen, and he must have her as his own. But how can this uncivilized ape-man hope to win her?

Publisher:
Released:
Jul 28, 2008
ISBN:
9781400178506
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as ebookEbook

About the author

Edgar Rice Burroughs (1875-1950) had various jobs before getting his first fiction published at the age of 37. He established himself with wildly imaginative, swashbuckling romances about Tarzan of the Apes, John Carter of Mars and other heroes, all at large in exotic environments of perpetual adventure. Tarzan was particularly successful, appearing in silent film as early as 1918 and making the author famous. Burroughs wrote science fiction, westerns and historical adventure, all charged with his propulsive prose and often startling inventiveness. Although he claimed he sought only to provide entertainment, his work has been credited as inspirational by many authors and scientists.


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Reviews

What people think about Tarzan of the Apes

3.1
976 ratings / 65 Reviews
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Reader reviews

  • (4/5)
    Tarzan is the most famous of Edgar Rice Burroughs' creations. In general, however, I find the character to be less interesting, and less believable than many of his others. This seems odd, since Tarzan ostensibly lives in early twentieth century Earth, while for example, John Carter wanders about the red sands of Barsoom, and Julien is a reincarnating individual fighting invaders from our own moon. The problem is that Tarzan is essentially a cartoon of a character. He is apparently the strongest, most agile, handsomest, and most intelligent individual alive - so much so that he almost resembles a Mary Sue character. Tarzan has superhuman strength - apparently all that is needed for that is living in the wild. Wild living also enhances one's agility to superhuman levels, and enhances one's senses to a level that one can track prey by smell and hear whispers spoken miles away. With nothing more than a small collection of books and no assistance at all, Tarzan is able to teach himself how to read despite the fact that he cannot speak English (or any other language other than "Ape").No real explanation is given for Tarzan's incredible gifts. Most people know the basics of Tarzan's story: a foundling raised by apes in the jungles of Africa who rises to the top of his band of primates and has adventures across the whole of the dark continent. In addition to the couple dozen books featuring him, Tarzan has been the subject of numerous movie adaptations, cementing him onto the cultural landscape like few other characters. As most people have come to know Tarzan through these somewhat watered down movies, the brutality and violence of the Tarzan featured in this book will come as something of a shock to some: Tarzan fights and kills a couple apes in bloody, graphic combat, explicit descriptions of hunting and killing prey are in the book, and for a portion of the book Tarzan essentially terrorizes an African village by abducting and killing residents because he thinks it is "funny". (It is apparently okay though, after all, they are only black cannibals, did I mention that the book has some pronounced racist overtones?)The racism and classism prevalent in the era when the book was written is apparent through the book. All common sailors are presented as little more than criminal rabble kept in line by the firearms carried by their officers. The book gets kind of muddled with respect to Tarzan himself - at turns his brutality is excused as a result of his life in the wild, at others his heritage as the son of an English lord (a lord who is killed when Tarzan is an infant, after which the lord of the apes has no contact with humans until he is an adult) is used to explain his instinctive chivalry and magnanimity. Apparently one's bloodline is what makes you treat women well and rescue wayward French officers from evil cannibalistic natives.The first part of the book is devoted to telling the story of how Tarzan's parents came to be marooned in the wilds of Africa, and how Tarzan came to be adopted by an Ape. The second portion details Tarzan's life among the Apes as he grows from an infant to a superhuman adult. In the third section of the book, Tarzan's world is turned upside down by the arrival of another band of white castaways (including Jane Porter, the Jane from "me Tarzan, you Jane" fame of the movies). The final section concerns the civilizing of Tarzan, as he is taught French by an officer he rescues, and then travels to Paris and the United States.Tarzan is, in the end, an entirely unbelievable character. More so even that characters who tramp about on other planets or inside the bowels of the Earth. He is also a contradictory character, at times excusably savage, at other improbably civilized. On the whole, it seems odd that Tarzan is the one Burroughs' character who has become the one everyone knows about as he is one of the most absurd of all of them, and since Burroughs' books are pure pulp, that's saying a lot. On the other hand, it may be because Tarzan is so over the top that he has become so popular. In any event, while I found this books to be reasonably good, it was not one of my favorite Burroughs' works.
  • (4/5)
    I enjoyed reading this early 1900's book. As expected, some of the material was not politically correct. The writer is skilled as it was not laugh at loud, even though a lot of it was ridiculous / absurd. The only complaint I had was with Jane Potter's father, Archimedes. His dialog and moments I think were supposed to be funny, but failed.1/13/2018; 3,526 members; 3.76 average rating
  • (5/5)
    John Clayton, Lord Greystoke, boards a ship for British West Africa with Alice, his bride. During their travels, the crew mutinies, but a kind sailor makes sure that the Englishman and his wife will not be killed, instead he abandons them in a wilderness harbor with all of their luggage and a few supplies. The site has a river mouth for water, and John and Alice gather and hunt to live after their supplies run out. Although not a tradesman, John builds and furnishes a log cabin with a clever door latch for protection against wild beasts. Their son is born there. A year later, Alice dies, and Clayton is killed by an ape, Kerchak.

    Among the attacking apes is Kala, a female whose own baby has died. Finding the now-orphaned, hairless white baby, she takes it up as her own. After ten years, the puny and slow Tarzan—“white ape” in their tongue—begins to mature in both body and brain. Although he knows nothing of his connection with the cabin, he is fascinated by it. He discovers how to open the cabin latch,where he finds many books, including a brightly illustrated alphabet book. The “bugs” on the pages fascinate him, and in time he teaches himself to read them. I marveled at how the author described the wayTarzan taught himself to read. He also finds a sharp hunting knife and, when a huge gorilla attacks him, he accidentally discovers the knife’s usefulness. With it, he gains status as the tribe’s greatest hunter and fighter.
    Later, a tribe of black Africans settles in the area, and Kala is killed by one of the tribe's hunters. Avenging himself on the killer, Tarzan begins an antagonistic relationship with the tribe, raiding its village for weapons and playing cruel pranks on them. They, in turn, regard him as an evil spirit.
    Later, a new party of white travelers become marooned on the coast, including Jane Porter, the first white woman Tarzan has ever seen. Tarzan's cousin, Tarzan spies on the newcomers, aids them, and saves Jane from the dangers of the jungle. Eventually Tarzan learns how to behave among white men, as well as serving as his guide to the nearest colonial outposts. In the end, Tarzan travels to Jane's native Baltimore, Maryland only to find that she is now in the woods of Wisconsin. Tarzan finally meets Jane in Wisconsin where they renew their acquaintance and he learns the bitter news that she has become engaged to William Clayton. Meanwhile, clues from his parents' cabin have enabled D'Arnot to prove Tarzan's true identity. Instead of claiming his inheritance, Tarzan chooses rather to conceal and renounce his heritage for the sake of Jane's happiness.
  • (5/5)
    Following Clayton as he grows up in the wild is a treat. You cannot go wrong with Burroughs, His characters are awesome.
  • (4/5)
    A very enjoyable adventure story though the colonial and class attitudes overwhelm the story at times.
  • (4/5)
    A surprisingly entertaining book -- far different from my preconceptions of what to expect. It makes me want to read the next book in the series.
  • (5/5)
    Why did it take me so long to pick up this classic? This is your typical little adventure from a time when adventure series were very popular. Nothing complicated here, just good fun in the classic way. People who have seen various movie versions might be disappointed in the book because it won't be what they expect, but movies never follow a book exactly and I think most of us are aware of that by now. I have to say in most cases I enjoyed this book much better than the theatrical equivalents.
  • (5/5)
    Well-written classic literature. Much better than his sci-fi.
  • (5/5)
    A great, classic escapist adventure melodrama.
  • (4/5)
    Lord Greystoke and his Lady Greystoke was going to Africa. On the ship they was an old angry captain that hated the crew except for the high ranked me. He would shoot or beat the men if they dare to say no to his order. Lady Greystoke died and then her husband was killed by the king ape leaving their son behind. He was raised by the apes in the jungle. He became known as Tarzan instead of using his name John. He does not know that he is human, yet he felt out of place in the tribe of apes because he was the only one that was hairless. He soon found his parents cabin and in this way he found out that he was a human being. He also wanted to be the leader of the apes and he challenge White Eyes to a fight. Tarzan won the fight and became the leader. He was bought back to England by D'Amot where he met his grandfather and fell in love with a girl name Jane. Jane taught him English, French and how to dance.This book is very adventurous. Tarzan is a great hunter with skills like no other. He is able to fight and teaches himself to read. Tarzan also killed a gorilla who attacked him. He mourned and screamed when his mother ape was killed. It is amazing that he also learn to speak english
  • (1/5)
    Imperialist and ignorant of biology and
    anthropology
    Best categorize it in youth fiction or Romance. So it's probably not good for you either because and there's no educational value. So I guess you could play sit in Romance for people who don't read learn new things about the world
  • (5/5)
    it’s good i haven’t finished it yet bot there is a lot of racism
  • (5/5)
    Classic, 2nd time I’ve read it, never gets old! 1st in the series
  • (3/5)
    So I read this book, knowing it was a classic, but expecting that I'd like it and wouldn't absolutely love it, but I got really absorbed into the story.

    It's a classic adventure story -- and the pace never really slowed down once it picked up. Of course, you should know that Edgar Rice Burroughs is racist to his core, and the 'African savages' presented in this novel are cringe-worthy and the way he writes them makes my skin crawl. Skip them, if you like, as I did, because they add very little most of the time.

    I'm sick of people saying 'he was a man of his time' as if to excuse it? He was a man of his time, yes, and a racist one. (His writing of women is also problematic but I will get into that some other time - I will have to read another of his books and pick out examples because they can be quite subtle and subversive.)

    One thing I will say is that Edgar Rice Burroughs had never actually been to Africa and imagined it very differently to how it truly was, and so you can rest-assured that the Africa he speaks of is one that does not exist.

    ... all of that aside, though. This was a really exciting story! It moved well, it read well, I remember quite a few of the lines, and I read it quite easily. The language was easy enough to follow, but it's not a children's story (unlike the Disney film).

    I adored this story, but I'll have to give it three stars.
  • (5/5)
    Was surprised how little I remembered this bookI agree with Gore Vidal in the introduction Burroughs writes great action.
  • (4/5)
    Tarzan of the Apes - Edgar Rice Burrows ****I always knew Tarzan was based on a book, but I didn’t realize just how many were written, I always assumed it was just a one off publication and the films sort of took over. There were 24 original novels which spawned numerous other books after the death of the author.I think nearly everyone knows the story of the boy who is raised by jungle apes following the death of his family, how he rises to become their leader, falls in love with Jane and returns to civilization. But I wonder how many people have actually read the source material? Firstly I think most people may be shocked at the level of violence in the books, things aren’t all nice and the fight scenes are fairly graphic, especially when you consider this was written in 1912. Burroughs certainly wasn’t afraid to hold back and you really get a sense of adventure that can be missing from other books of this type. Of course, with the book being this old you have to view it from the times in which it was written and the outdated view of the world may cause an amount of offense in these times of often misplaced political correctness. If you are able to overlook these themes, swallow the numerous coincidences and unbelievable parts (in particular Tarzan teaching himself to write….) and what you will be left with is a book that is very readable and contains enough content to make probably 3 or 4 full length films. Expect everything that makes a jungle adventure special and different: wild animals, rough terrain, cannibals and desolation. It is easy to see how Tarzan captured the imagination of the times and has remained an iconic figure ever since and is still in print over a century later.I really did enjoy reading the book, but not enough that I think I will actively seek out the next in the series. If it falls into my lap then I may well have a look, but that’s about it. Well worth a read, just to see when the Legend of Greystoke originated.
  • (4/5)
    A very enjoyable adventure story though the colonial and class attitudes overwhelm the story at times.
  • (4/5)
    A surprisingly quick read! I found myself enjoying it more than I thought I would, and I feel that this would have been even more sensationally astounding at the beginning of the twentieth century. Tarzan is born on the coast of Africa to two loving English parents who have been dropped off ship by a mutinous crew. His parents die during his infancy and he is raised by Kala, a loving ape who just lost her own child. He is reared in ape fashion and lives as they do become "king of the jungle," when he stumbles upon his parents cabin he begins to teach himself to write in English from the books they left behind. When a ship arrives with a beautiful young girl he is enamoured and tries to woo her with actions and words since he cannot speak. Compelling, and exciting, this adventure story has something for everyone, even though the ending is a little lacking (this is the first in the series).
  • (3/5)
    Tarzan of the Apes, first published in serial form in 1912, brought its author instant fame. Edgar Rice Burroughs went on to write twenty-four sequels featuring the adventures of his iconic Ape-Man, and today the character is part of our cultural background as the subject of many adaptations in film and comic strips. Interestingly, the famous line "I Tarzan. You Jane" doesn't even appear in the book. And yet it's become one of the most recognizable features of the character. The plot is well known; after his parents die in the jungle of Africa, young Tarzan is raised by a clan of apes, far from the rest of humanity. Though he eventually realizes he is not an ape, Tarzan lives by the jungle code and slowly vanquishes all the dangers of the jungle through his superior human reasoning and intelligence. When a treasure-hunting expedition lands on his secluded shore, Tarzan is drawn to the people of his own race, especially the young woman Jane Porter. But how can a king of the apes ever hope to win the love of a cultured English girl?I admit, I was very drawn into the story and I can see why it has been perennially popular. Burroughs' attempts to make animal life realistic yet intelligible to his readers are generally successful, and we want to see how Tarzan will meet the challenges of his life. At the same time, we are intensely interested in how Tarzan will cope with other humans. A couple criticisms, though: Burroughs is extremely ethnocentric, constantly pointing out Tarzan's mental, moral, intellectual, and physical superiority derived from his having descended from a line of English nobility. The natives don't fare well in this tale, as one might expect given that Burroughs writes from an evolutionary perspective. It's a product of its time, sure, but racism is still wrong. I was able to enjoy the story despite these elements, but they certainly caused me to roll my eyes more than once. I was also disappointed with the story itself. Everything was going well until Tarzan comes to Europe, learns polished manners, comes into money, etc. (all of which is very artificially constructed). Jane Porter's threatened marriage with the moneylender Robert Canler seems tacked on, and it's a little too convenient that she would be caught in a forest fire from which only Tarzan the Muscular can save her. And then her decision at the end! And Tarzan's pathetic acquiescence to it! I shut the book and felt profoundly cheated, even while trying to understand why Burroughs would do this. And yet at the same time I wanted to find the next sequel, Return of Tarzan, and find out what happens next. No wonder Burroughs was able to sell twenty-four more of Tarzan's adventures. There really is something addicting about this character. I enjoyed this story—it certainly kept me reading at a fast pace—and if I ever see any of Burroughs' Tarzan sequels, you can be sure I'll snap them up. But I'm not sure I'll ever revisit this book. It has a great character and initial setting that are sadly compromised by later plot contortions and Tarzan's annoyingly, unnecessarily "heroic" choice at the end.Edit: Never mind. I just read the plot summary of Return of Tarzan on Wikipedia and I think I have had enough of his pulp fiction adventures to last a lifetime. Oy vey.
  • (3/5)
    While I’m willing to suspend belief and read about Tarzan being brought up by apes, fitting into their culture, etc., I can’t suspend belief regarding his ability to teach himself to read English, or to learn to speak it – and French – in record-breaking time. Other aspects like this spoil what could’ve been a gripping adventure novel. It does have some engaging moments, notably Tarzan’s time spent with the apes, but it goes downhill once he grows ‘civilised’.This is one of several ‘classics’ that I’ve read after watching countless film and TV adaptations, thus beforehand I expected something wonderful, only to be disappointed.In short, it’s not a bad read, but the unbelievability brings it down.
  • (4/5)
    The best part of the Tarzan books is Tarzan. Who wouldn't love a man who could do anything? He's like a super hero. Disappointingly, Tarzan doesn't get the girl in this first novel. But I have hopes for the next!
  • (4/5)
    A self-made noble beast, Tarzan's plight is every man's. Burroughs created a living myth and one that hints at how we might all be better off swinging from those vines.
  • (5/5)
    Really enjoyed this. Full of action and romance. Particularly enjoyable was Tarzan's childhood.
  • (4/5)
    Most people hate cliffhangers. I absolutely love them. I love the anticipation(and even slight frustration) they can make you feel.

    But that was a devious, DEVIOUS ending. I guess I'm off to download book two...

    Full review to come.
  • (3/5)
    "Do fingerprints show racial characteristics?" he asked. "Could you determine, for example, solely from fingerprints whether the subject was Negro or Caucasian?""I think not," replied the officer, although some claim that those of the Negro are less complex.""Could the finger prints of an ape be detected from those of a man?""Probably, because the ape's would be far simpler than those of the higher organism."Tarzan of the Apes (1912) is a popular work of fiction, available in many cheap and freely downloadable editions. Unfortunately, the source of the text in such editions is not always clear. Although many editions claim to be "complete and unabridged" they may actually be edited or altered. While such editing for political correctness may be an understandable choice for publishers, it is quite unsettling to know and see that the freely downloadable version available from the Project Gutenberg is in fact a censored edition, a fact stated nowhere. Indeed, an overview of the editorial choices strongly suggests that the freely downloadable version of Tarzan of the Apes at the Gutenberg project is in fact not based on an edition in the public domain, but most likely taken from an edition which should still be protected by copyright.The edition of the Shanghai-based publisher World Publishing does not give any information about the origin of the text. However, this edition must be based on a very early text version, which is either very close to the original text, or possibly based on the original text, with some minor editorial changes by the Chinese publisher. A quick survey, using Jerry L. Schneider’s essay “Tarzan the Censored” as a reference, shows the limited extent of censorship in the Chinese edition. Schneider made a concordance or an early, hardback edition by A.L. Burt, circa 1915 and compared it with a censored edition published by Ballantine (1969) and Grosset & Dunlap (1973). Schneider’s research indicates that editions published between 1915 and 1963, appeared unedited, and apart from typological errors, identical to the original version, which editions published after 1969 were edited for political correctness.The Chinese English-language edition follows the censored editions by capitalizing the words “Negro” and “Negress”. Likewise, it follows the censor describing the following scene as ... frightened child the huge woman ran to bury her face on her mistress’ shoulder. (Chapter 13, p. 133) rather than the original ... frightened child the huge black ran to bury her face on her mistress’ shoulder.. (Chapter 13, p. 178).However, the Chinese edition does not follow the censored editions in polishing away the “vernacular” of Esmeralda. Censored editions reproduce Esmeralda’s speech in standard English, as for instance in the following polished and shortened version: ” "Oh, Gaberelle, I want to die! " ... "Let me die, dear Lord, don't let me see that awful face again." (Chapter 18, page 149) versus the longer original ” "O Gaberelle, Ah wants to die! " ... "Lemme die, deah Lawd, but doan lemme see dat awrful face again. Whafer yo' sen de devil 'roun' after po ole Esmeralda? She ain't done nuffin' to nobody, Lawd; hones' she ain't. She's puffickly indecent, Lawd; yas'm, deed she is." (Chapter 18, page 245) and retained in the Chinese edition (Chapter 18, page 186).Schneider’s essay does not refer to the fingerprint passage (in the Chinese edition in Chapter 26, page 277). In the Chinese edition, the answer of the officer is longer, most likely as in the original edition, namely: "Do fingerprints show racial characteristics?" he asked. "Could you determine, for example, solely from fingerprints whether the subject was Negro or Caucasian?""I think not," replied the officer, although some claim that those of the Negro are less complex.", while more recent, censored editions (including the edition on the Gutenberg project), simply reproduce it as follows: "Do fingerprints show racial characteristics?" he asked. "Could you determine, for example, solely from fingerprints whether the subject was Negro or Caucasian?""I think not," replied the officer."Reverberating with colonial sentiment of superiority of the white race, much like in Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, Tarzan of the Apes is much less focused and constitutes a jumble of ideas, including references to Darwinism, Social Darwinism, and the technique of fingerprinting, which was still relatively new at that time. Besides, the plot is fraught with melodramatic events and features, such as treasure hunt, reminiscent of the adventure novels of Stevenson. Besides the allusions to the supremacy of the white man over the natives in the African forest, the rivalry between Robert Canler and Tarzan over Jane Porter resembles the fight of the great apes over a mate more than anything else.Tarzan of the Apes is remarkably readable, and quite enjoyable for a light superficial read, the story familiar to most. A reading is still attractive, to purge all cultural constructs built overhead by media and film. Descriptions are very beautiful, and the familiarity with the story makes for a very quick read. Nonetheless, some story elements are still quite surprising, such as Tarzan’s long acquaintance with d’Arnot, and his mastering the French language, before and over English.
  • (5/5)
    I first read this book some 40 odd years ago, and it became one of my favorites. Reading it again changed little, except maybe a deeper love of the story.John and Alice Clayton, Lord and Lady Greystoke, are put ashore on the west coast of Africa after the crew of their vessel mutinees and kills the officers. Shortly thereafter, Alice gives birth to a bouncing baby boy. Over the course of a year, John builds a very sturdy cabin for their habitation and safety, but Alice could not cope and finally succumbed. So distraught was John that he neglected to latch the door to the cabin, allowing Kerchack, king of the great apes, easy access and spelled the end for John.Luckily for the baby, Kala had dropped her newborn, killing it. She rapidly traded her dead baby for the crying young Lord Greystoke and raised the human as her own and named him Tarzan. So begins the life and times of Tarzan of the apes, who used his superior intellect to become king of his tribe and the most feared Hunter in all of Africa.
  • (3/5)
    The story of Tarzan is a twist on the noble savage theme, except with a white man as the "other" (ironically among other whites). The book is full of embarrassing artifacts such as racial stereotypes, social Darwinism, superiority of white culture. A few scenes involving the affair with Jane and Tarzan are well done. Given its influence on popular culture it's still a worthwhile read, only just.I have a theory about Tarzan. When superheroes arose in the late 19th and early 20th century in pulp fiction and dime store novels, it was in response to a changing world for white males. Colonialism was being questioned, female suffrage was at its height, the western frontier was closed - the white male was suffering a crisis of identity. The superhero offered a new found outlet to express a sense of superiority. By identifying with superheroes, he could live out his traditional mandate of conquest and patriarchy, which the real world was increasingly making impossible. Thus we don't find many black superheroes, even to this day. This historical insight makes me a little wary of the whole superhero enterprise and perhaps helps explain what made Tarzan so popular on a certain level.
  • (3/5)
    A good read from an antiquated age.
  • (4/5)
    Really just a very entertaining book. He really wrote it as a cliffhanger so you'd have to read "The Return" quickly. A lot of humor, a good story, reasonably good characters (Jane is a bit insipid) ... just suspend disbelief and go with it!
  • (3/5)
    Well, this is a simple childhood story, I don't really need to review it as we all are probably familiar with it. My generation grew up watching TV movies about the ape man. I liked them a lot back then. My granddaughters have sat in front of the TV watching Disney DVDs. Tarzan is the orphan child of Lord and Lady Graystoke who were put ashore after a mutiny on a ship they were sailing. Lady Greystoke dies when Tarzan is a baby and Lord Greystoke is killed by an ape leaving the infant boy in the crib. The female ape who's baby is dead exchanges it for Tarzan and thus Tarzan is raised as an ape. He teaches himself to read English. The story is one of survival, adventure, combat with nature and romance. It is surprising that the book has lasted because it also can be described as racist and sexist. On another level, the book idealizes man's relationship with nature verses civilization. You have the contrast of Tarzan and Clayton. Tarzan who ate by the laws of nature and Clayton who ate with the manners of society.