Edgar Rice Burroughs was a man who failed at many vocations until he discovered he had a great talent for writing highly imaginative stories and novels. He wrote Tarzan of the Apes solely because he needed to make money to support himself and his family. Many authors, including Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler, got started with the pulp magazines like Argosy and Black Mask because they needed money and liked to write stories filled with action and adventure. According to the eNotes Biography of Edgar Rice Burroughs:
Burroughs did not come easily to his vocation as a writer. He fell into a literary career only after suffering a succession of failures in business that forced him to face the prospect of slipping from the middle class into a social netherworld.... Tarzan of the Apes debuted as the featured tale in the October, 1912, issue of All-Story magazine. The novel became a sensational success with readers and was published in book form in 1914.
Burroughs said that the inspiration for his Tarzan character, settings, and stories came from two sources: Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book (1894) and from the myths about Romulus and Remus, the twin boys who were reputed to have been suckled by a wolf and who founded Rome. Edgar Rice Burroughs wrote a total of twenty-four Tarzan novels between 1912 and the 1940s.