Tarzan (aka John Clayton) is the inspiration for a series of novels written by Edgar Rice Burroughs and then by a series of other authors in different media. The son of a ship-wrecked English nobleman and his wife, the future Tarzan was orphaned and raised in Africa by a tribe of greater-than-average-intelligence apes. Upon his eventual rediscovery, Tarzan became the new Lord Greystoke.

Philip José Farmer wrote a biography of this man, titled Tarzan Alive, which also traces the ancestry of the Dukes of Greystoke and other relatives associated with the witnesses to the Wold Newton Meteorite strike. Since the publication of this book, researchers such as Dennis Power have posited that other individuals have also been identified by the name of 'Tarzan'.

In the course of Burroughs's novels, Tarzan married Jane Porter. They had a son, who bore the English name of John Clayton but who later won the Mangani name of Korak; however, Farmer (like some other Burroughsian scholars) argued that John Clayton the younger was a separate person to Korak, who was an adopted son named John Drummond-Clayton. Wold Newton scholar Win Scott Eckert has also found textual evidence in Burroughs's The Man-Eater that Tarzan and Jane also had a daughter named Charlotte Clayton - mentioned in his Addendum to Chuck Loridans's article The Daughters of Tarzan, which theorises that Nellie Gray is the daughter of Tarzan and Jane, and that Modesty Blaise is the daughter of Tarzan and La of Opar.

In various adventures by various hands, Tarzan is record to have met Sherlock Holmes and Doc Savage, visited Barsoom and Pellucidar, and to have travelled in time.

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