Tarzan: abandoned in the jungle and raised by wild apes. He’s a guardian of the weak and a merciless seeker of justice – and now the hero is celebrating his 100th birthday and is more relevant today than when Edgar Rice Burroughs originally brought him to life.
When considering classic characters from literature, I am hard pressed to think of another creation that has swung off the page and changed the world. The thrill of Tarzan is what drove Dian Fossey in her pioneering mountain gorilla research that ultimately claimed her life but gave the world a better understanding of these magical creatures and slowly pulled them back from the brink of extinction.
Recently, I was delighted to hear Jane Goodall talk about how Tarzan had inspired her to go to Africa and research chimpanzees, again helping preserve them.
What other literary character has inspired opposing sides of the same war? In the Fifties and Sixties there was a huge growth of unofficial Tarzan stories in Israel, used for propaganda in the fight against the dreaded Arabs; across the border in Syria and Lebanon, they too loved Tarzan and created many unofficial stories in which he fought those pesky Jews.
Read the rest at The Telegraph