“THE YOUNG LORD GREYSTOKE BEAT UPON HIS MIGHTY BREAST AND SCREAMED OUT ONCE MORE HIS SHRILL CRY OF DEFIANCE”: FIRST EDITION OF TARZAN OF THE APES
BURROUGHS, Edgar Rice. Tarzan of the Apes. Chicago: A.C. McClurg, 1914. Small octavo, original burgundy cloth gilt. $6200.
First edition, first state of the first Tarzan book, “a landmark in popular fiction” (Fantasy and Horror 5-47), with illustrated title page.
Long after his most famous character became an icon in the reading and movie-going publics' imaginations, Burroughs recalled, "I wrote Tarzan of the Apes evenings and holidays… in longhand on the backs of old letterheads and odd pieces of paper. I did not think it was a very good story and I doubted if it would sell." Of course, it not only sold—it first appeared, complete, in the October 1912 issue of All-Story—but also inaugurated a series of fantastic adventure tales that "exceeded the wildest dream of author and editors alike and triggered a phenomenon unprecedented in publishing history" (Taliaferro, 13). "Tarzan of the Apes is the third story Burroughs wrote, but is the first hardback book Burroughs published. This is the first appearance of the Lord of the Jungle in hardback" (Zeuschner 696). A contemporary review stated: "With adventures and perils the book is replete, nor is a strange love story wanting… Crowded with impossibilities as the tale is, Mr. Burroughs has told it so well, and has so succeeded in carrying his readers with him, that there are few who will not look forward eagerly to the promised sequel" (New York Times). In fact, 23 sequels eventually followed. "Considering that Burroughs' titles have been published in more than 30 languages and given the broad circulation of his stories in magazines and comics, there can be little question that he was the most widely read American author of the first half of the 20th century" (Taliaferro, 13-14). First edition, with "W.F. Hall" in Gothic type on copyright page. First state, without publisher's gold acorn device to spine. Currey binding A. Without rare original dust jacket. Heins T1. Currey, 75. Fantasy 100 Best 26. Peter Parley to Penrod, 134.
Text leaves fine, text block expertly relined, cloth with mild wear, faint crease to spine. An extremely good copy.