Edgar Rice Burroughs | First Editions

1875 - 1950

Edgar Rice Burroughs (September 1, 1875 – March 19, 1950) was an American writer best known for his creations of the jungle hero Tarzan and the heroic Mars adventurer John Carter. In 1913, Burroughs and his wife, Emma, had their third and last child, John Coleman Burroughs, later known for his illustrations of his father's books (1913–79).

After seven years of low wages, Burroughs found himself working as a pencil-sharpener wholesaler in 1911. During this period, he had copious spare time, and thus began reading many pulp fiction magazines. In 1929 he recalled thinking that "...if people were paid for writing rot such as I read in some of those magazines, that I could write stories just as rotten. As a matter of fact, although I had never written a story, I knew absolutely that I could write stories just as entertaining and probably a whole lot more so than any I chanced to read in those magazines." (The Washington Post, 1929) And so, Burroughs began writing his own fiction.

Aiming his work at the pulps, Burroughs had his first story Under the Moons of Mars serialised in 1912, under the name "Norman Bean" to protect his reputation. Burroughs soon took up writing full-time, and by the time the run of Under the Moons of Mars had finished, he had completed two novels - including Tarzan of the Apes, published from October 1912. Tarzan was a sensation, and Burroughs capitalised upon the character's success through a syndicated Tarzan comic stripmovies, and merchandise. Tarzan remains one of the most successful fictional characters to this day and is a cultural icon.

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