Tarzan the German-Eater
Author: Cohen, Matt
Source: Comparative American Studies, Volume 4, Number 2, June 2006 , pp. 151-174(24)
Publisher: Maney Publishing
Abstract:This article raises questions about methodology in the study of transnational popular writing by examining the international popularity of Edgar Rice Burroughs, author of the Tarzan novels. Critical anti-imperialist analyses have found in Burroughs's fiction a dangerous metaphorics supporting imperialistic US foreign policies. In Weimar Germany, resistance to the Tarzan novels emerged that all but eliminated the market for these otherwise internationally popular fictions. Yet the German reaction shows how the idea of 'empire', embodied in tropes of race and gender, could continue to function in debates about international popular literature. At the same time, Burroughs was forced to adapt to international markets by tempering his imperialistic fictions. Burroughs's work after the controversy shows a shift in the depiction of national 'others', yet it had little radical potential because Burroughs had turned his imperial gaze inward, towards the internally colonized: Native Americans.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: June 2006