UPDATE 2017: Nkima's wish list of ERB research has been whittled down in nearly every category listed over the last 17 years. Clicking the MENU (top left) will provide links for nearly everything suggested in this article. David Adams and any others all contributed to the wealth of Burroughs scholarship now available not only on the web, but in book and video reporting as well. What has beeen done over the seventeen years since this was first posted to the web is immense.
This article is retained for the simple fact that there remain a few items to be addressed!
Edgar Rice Burroughs Research Projects
David A. Adams
Copyright © 2000
A corpus of scholarly works arises around every author to help explain the depth of meaning in the original opus. Once an author’s work is read it is only natural for casual fans and scholars alike to try to understand the full implications of stories that one has enjoyed.
This is not just work for the universities or folks who want to sell books. You can start a small project and make it your hobby to go along with your reading of the novels. Each fan might write an article on the name they have chosen at ERBlist. (See my “Search for Nkima” at Nkima Speaks.)
Some of the Basic Work on ERB is already finished:
A. There are 3 biographies of the author: Porges, Fenton, & Taliaferro.
B. There are good bibliographies of his works: Heins, Zeuschner, & Huckenpohler.
C. The Tarzan movies have been discussed by Essoe & Fury.
D. A basic discussion of all of ERB’s works has been written by Lupoff
E. In-depth studies have been written by Holtsmark, Lupoff, and others.
G. Comic book lists are on line at Hillman’s site.
H. There are 2 dictionaries of people, places, and things found in the novels by McWhorter and Brady.
However, there is still much basic work to be done with ERB.
A. Bill Ross is cataloging all of the ERB fan magazines.
B. Duane Adams is doing a definitive study of the Dell Comics.
Basic Research Projects to be completed
1. Chapter Summaries need to be written for each novel. (This on-going project is at Tangor’s site, and interested people may contribute at will.)
2. We need an Outline of the Plot Structure of each novel - linking chains of episodes, and discussing ERB’s formulas for writing.
4. We need an Aarne-Thompson-like Motif Indices for each novel.
5. We need to make Topical Bibliographies of magazine articles available on each book.
6. We need to do Studies of Illustrators for both pulps and the books. St. John has been started by Richardson & the 3 vol. St. John set does exist; there are many good articles by Bob Barrett in the Burroughs Bulletin; and Hillman’s site is expanding this research. The 2 new books by Frazetta, as well as his previous paperbound books, provide access to many of his ERB illustrations. A book on all of ERB’s illustrators would be welcome.
7. Write a Brief Synopsis of each novel. Tangor & Nkima have this work on disk.
8. Write critical literary reviews on each novel.
9. Guides to Tarzan, Caspak, the Moon, and other imaginary worlds might be written like John Flint Roy’s Guide to Barsoom. (See Tangor’s site for beginnings of these projects).
10. Collect good ERBapa articles at Tangor’s site along with a complete ERBapa Index
A book on Tarzan similar to Lupoff’s “Barsoom and the Martian Vision” might be written. Holtsmark’s work would be an obvious place to start., but a new collection of essays would be welcome.
1. There is a need for an ERB Encyclopedia containing in-depth articles on of all the characters, places, fauna, flora,technologies, languages, ideas and terminologies found in each novel. This would compliment the McWhorter and Brady works by providing longer, in-depth works on each novel.
A. Specialized Articles that might be written include:
1. A study of ERB’s Trilogies.
2. A comparative study of ERB’s religious and social ideas found in his fiction, newspaper articles, and personal letters.
3. A comparative study of ERB’s fantasy and mainstream novels.
4. A study of ERB’s linking of his series works.
5. A study of the American Indian in relation to all of his work
6. A comparative study of ERB’s main characters. Even psychological studies would be interesting. I have long thought of doing a study of Tarzan and John Carter Compared in the manner of Plutarch.
7. A study of “time” in ERB’s novels.
8. A comparative study of anatomy in ERB’s creatures.
9. A comparative study of ERB’s imaginary places.
2. Annotated Versions of each novel should be written.
3. A Collection of ERB’s Letters should be printed.
4. A Collection of ERB’s Unpublished Works should be printed. This is being done.
1. More good Pastiches could be written.
2. Write film scripts for each novel.
These are just some ideas from the top of my head. Keep this list for reference and add to it at will. An expansion of these project ideas by fans and work on each of these projects is the thing that is most desirable.
March 24, 2000