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Elsewhere on this site there is a raging argument going on between two otherwise sane and reasonable guys over whether a) Andrew Stanton has silly ideas, b) Edgar Rice Burroughs has silly ideas, c) both have silly ideas, or d) neither have silly ideas. In reading the comments I couldn’t help but think of ERB’s famous letter proposing Tarzan of the Apes in which he says: “I am especially adapted to the building of the damphool species of narrative.” After reading that — I don’t think anyone can say Burroughs would object too strenuously to the notion that some of his ideas are a bit silly. But ah….could he sell them? Oh yeah….
Meanwhile, that one glorious statement of his “damphool”ishness is enough to make me love good old ERB not only for his writing, but for his sense of humor–it makes me certain that aside from reading his books, I’d like to spend a long evening over a bloody steak and a bottle of scotch with him. What fun that would have been.
Anyway, as I was searching for the “damphool” quote I googled “Burroughs damphool” and up popped this very interesting scholarly piece entitled: “”A damphool species of narrative”: towards a reading of “excess” in Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Tarzan of the Apes”.
I was excited — there’s a wannabe English professor buried away somewhere in my consciousness, and I’ve sat through my fair share of graduate seminars on the modern American novel, structuralism, and you name it … so I figured that a scholarly piece quoting Burroughs “damphool” comment would make great after dinner reading for me.
Um … well — I give you one of the early paragraphs– in fact, since it would cause amy finger to contort to type this (it exists in a screen capture PDF only so I can’t copy paste the words), I will put in here as a graphic.
Can anyone out there decipher that?
I’m offering a bounty — heavy dose of recognition on the John Carter Files (well a minor bounty, that) — for anyone who can read this entire article, decode it, and offer a coherent explanation of what it’s about.
Baeder Garland, are you listening? This could be one for you!
[[UPDATE--BAEDER HAS SPOKEN -- SEE HER COMMENT.]]
Meanwhile, Michael Uebel writes in “Race and the Subject of Masculinities” something that I find a tad more coherent and compelling:
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