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Program in British Studies

'The Myth of Tarzan'

Christopher Benfey (Mount Holyoke College)

Fri, September 6, 2013 | Tom Lea Rooms, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center 3.206

2:45 PM - 4:30 PM

The legendary Tarzan is more complicated and engaging than is commonly assumed.  Yet in some ways he is simplistic. Tarzan eventually discovers that he is not only a human being but also an aristocrat, Lord Greystoke. He rescues Africans in encounters with exploitative whites, though he does not have a high opinion of the Africans themselves.  He has a condescending attitude towards women despite his obvious love for the American woman whom he eventually marries, Jane. What are we to make of Tarzan’s enduring popularity?  
Christopher Benfey is Andrew W. Mellon Professor of English at Mount Holyoke College. His books include A Summer of Hummingbirds (2008); The Double Life ofStephen Crane (1992); and Degas in New Orleans (1997). His most recent work is a family memoir, Red Brick, Black Mountain, White Clay (2012).  His poems have appeared in the New Yorker and the Paris Review.     

Sponsored by: Faculty Seminar for British Studies

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