This is the final installment in our four-part mini-series focusing on writers who received criticism early in their careers, and yet, became household names in time. If you missed any of the previous articles, click on the following links to catch up: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.
When someone mentions the name Conan, an image of Arnold Schwarzenegger immediately comes to mind: the bloodied sword, interesting fur brief, leather boots, and the Austrian accent that lends credence to his being a barbarian. Conan, however, existed long before Arnold agreed to any movie deal. He was actually the creation of Robert E. Howard.
Robert E. Howard was born on January 22 (or 24 as no one is certain), 1906. He hailed from a small town outside of Fort Worth, Texas called Peaster. He decided early in life that he would be a writer because it "allowed him to be his own boss". Though he did not gain many acceptance letters at first, Howard was surrounded by friends who encouraged him to continue with his unique subject matter of Cro-Magnon men, werewolves, and sword fights.
Due to his perserverance, Howard grew in popularity thanks to his stories being published in the pulp magazine, Weird Tales. Even when it appeared that the pulp magazines of the times were becoming more specialized, Howard's ability to write on a variety of subjects with captivating characters continued to keep him in the clear, safe from the mistake of becoming too one-dimensional. When Howard died in 1936, H.P. Lovecraft stated that the brilliance behind Howard's stories laid in the fact that "that he himself is in every one of them.”
To read more concerning the "father of the sword and sorcery genre", please visit:
Cross Plains, Texas: Home of The Father of Conan
The Robert E. Howard United Press Association