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CENTRAL CHARACTERS
IN THE WORKS OF
EDGAR RICE BURROUGHS

Tangor's question has gotten me to thinking about the issue of central characters and so I sat down and went through the entire set. Here are some conclusions:

  1. Twelve of the 80 books (15%) have two central characters; of these, in 2 cases both are male, in one both are female, and in nine the central characters are one of each.

  2. Three books have THREE central characters: LTF (Bowen J. Tyler, Tom Billings, and John Bradley) and MMa (Julian 5th, Julian 9th, and Julian 20th). In both cases all three are male.

  3. Of the 65 books with a single central character, that character is male in 59, female in 5, and in one book, the central character is not human — it's a Republic Truck.

Here's the breakdown:

Two central characters —

One central character —

A couple of additional thoughts that occurred to me as I was going through these:

Of ERB's main characters, only Shoz-Dijiji and Carson Napier maintained their central position throughout their entire series. All of the others got "Barney Googled" — just as Barney Google was supplanted by Snuffy Smith in the comic strip.

David Innes was the central character in only 3 of the 7 Pellucidar stories.

John Carter was the central character in 6 of the 11 Mars books.

Tarzan was the central character in 17 of the 27 Tarzan books, and one of two central characters in two more. And all of those in which he was not central, except for SON, were in the middle third of the series(TWINS through MADMAN).

Probably far more than anyone wanted to know. But that's what 32 years as a statistician does to you.