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Tarzan of the Apes (Penguin Classics) Paperback – 29 May 2008

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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics (29 May 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141036532
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141036533
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 2.5 x 18.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 29,640 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Edgar Rice Burroughs (1875- 1950) is best remembered as the creator of the world famous character of Tarzan, one of the indispensable icons of popular culture. Burroughs also published science fiction and crime novels.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Philida on 11 Sept. 2007
Format: Paperback
I bought "Tarzan of the Apes" while I was on an adventure novel kick and, like the other reviewers, I was amazed by how good it was. The storyline is quite clever and very interesting - even though I knew many of the things that were going to happen (Tarzan and Jane meeting, for example), I was still intrigued by every plot twist Burroughs threw at me.

What I found most surprising was how much I liked the character of Tarzan himself. Obviously he has been represented and parodied so many times in so many different ways over the years that he has become almost a stock character - certainly, like Sherlock Holmes and Superman he is one of those fictional characters that everyone recognises, even if people haven't read the source material. Tarzan also has the fact that he is handsome, intelligent, strong, and innately "good" working against him. Who likes perfect characters? Surprisingly, however, I found myself rooting for him throughout the novel.

The first half of the book, where Tarzan has no human company, is more enjoyable, although I may feel that way because one tends to picture Tarzan in the jungle rather than in civilisation. Still, Burroughs writes superb fights and there are simply more of them in the first half - the second half is more concerned with Tarzan mooning over Jane and driving across America. It's far less compelling. However, the ending picks up considerably; while Burroughs clearly wrote it with a sequel in mind, he contrives the events in such a way that the reader's heart breaks for Tarzan.

"Tarzan of the Apes" can be quite easily criticised for its racist and sexist elements, and obviously I'm not about to defend them. However, if you are considering reading it, I'd recommend that you bear in mind that it *was* written in 1913 when such views were (regrettably) endorsed. There's a wonderful adventure story here, and it's well worth giving a go.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 25 July 2005
Format: Paperback
I won't repeat what the other reviewers have said but merely offer my opinion. It's been a great many years since I read this book and I thought I'd like to read it again so picked up this copy. As a result I'll be ordering the follow-up book. The first book ends with the story unresolved and though we all 'know' what happens it's a far different experience reading it - one I thoroughly recommend.
The only reason I'm not bestowing this book with five stars is that it is largely told as narration - not such a popular style now but quite acceptable for its day. Set this aside together with any racial regards or grievances, both towards humans and animals. This book is a product of a by-gone day. And if anyone is thinking that's all very well to say, as a woman I can honestly say that although Jane was probably one of our first true heroines there are times I wanted to slap her. I've never known women of any nationality to faint so much no matter what their race. She's undoubtedly brave but also in many ways a woman of those times. I also love animals but hey, this is set in a jungle. People hunted back then and Tarzan has to do his share of killing to survive. Take the book for what it is and enjoy!
The other comment I wanted to make is that I had forgotten what a mixture this book was. It's a 'boys-own' adventure that girls will also love. It's a love story. And it's got a great sense of humour! Some parts of this book are simply very funny. If you've seen Disney's version you might be surprised to know that Jane's father is pretty much presented as written. The characters are flawed, courageous and endearing, even though they can also be occasionally irritating. But if you want to truly ever 'know' Tarzan then read the originals.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Howard Green on 16 Dec. 2008
Format: Paperback
Most would claim to know the story of Tarzan, at least in outline. And many would quote the famous line `Me Tarzan, you Jane'. But don't be disappointed that the line does not appear in the original work for the book will not disappoint. It is one of the great stories of the early 20th Century and a novel of far more depth and excitement than one might expect.

It is the story of the young Lord Greystoke, named Tarzan when he is taken into the care of a pack of Apes after the death of both of his parents. The story follows Tarzan as he learns that he is different to the Apes and discovers his parents's possessions, still in their jungle cabin.. The connection is not made, however, and Tarzan wrestles throughout the novel with the internal conflict between the wild creature he has been raised to be and the human instincts which still run strong in him. Through an extraordinary sequence of coincidences Tarzan eventually comes into contact with other `white apes' like him and this is where his love affair with Miss Jane Porter begins.

Tarzan of the Apes is adventure at its best and its extraordinary popularity is testament to this. Everyone expects the story to include Tarzan swinging from vine to vine but how many would expect mutinies, eccentric professors, French detectives and buried treasure? Tarzan of the Apes will appeal to the wild spirit in everyone, whether it is the longing for the dangers of the jungle or the simplicity of his existence, his story is totally compelling. Burroughs ensures that each chapter continues with the pace and adventure of the previous and he tells the story with wit and style throughout.

The book is also an interesting study on racial attitudes of the time.
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