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Tarzan of the Apes.

Tarzan of the Apes. Edgar Rice Burroughs. Jason Haslam, editor. Oxford University Press. [pounds sterling]10.99. xxxiv + 271 pages. ISBN 987-0-19-958703-2. Few books can have been seen so much on the screen and read so little in print as Burroughs' famous 1912 story of the wild man in Africa and the 25 other Tarzan books he wrote thereafter. Seldom has the story been presented as much more than a sort of 'boy's own' tale of adventure in which civilisation meets the savage. In this new edition the editor sets out to place the story in its proper context, against the background of a literary tradition reaching back to the eighteenth century and against the background of African history and European colonialism. As Prof Haslam writes in his learned introduction, 'the details that flesh out' the novel's basic plot "are more rich and multifaceted than the collective cultural memory of Tarzan may suggest'. Like Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, Burroughs' Tarzan is more complicated and interesting than many would think and this splendid new edition will allow readers to see the story and its author in a new light. (T.A.L.)

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Publication:Contemporary Review
Article Type:Book review
Date:Dec 22, 2010
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