Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Write or Wrong Wednesday, Part 4

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


Anonymous said...

This is well and good, but I have to be honest: I don't read...I have people who read to me.

You lost me at Conan's muscular form.

I'll refer my hired readers to this. ;)

Bone said...

Very interesting post and series, Zeus. Thanks.

I'll be back.
(Wrong movie, I know. But I couldn't resist.)

Ayatollah Mugsy said...

And all this time, I just assumed Schwarzenegger was born a barbarian. Very interesting.

Zeus said...

Kukka: I can't compete with Conan's rippling muscles. I'm just a big ball of fluff.

Bone: Thanks a lot! It was definitely a detour from what I usually do, so I am glad to see that people enjoyed the series. Maybe I'll do something a little less serious in the future for a mini-series. ;)

Mugsy: I know. It's hard to believe it, isn't it? It makes me wonder if the land known as California was the implied kingdom of Conan.

Anonymous said...

Cro-Magnon? Apparently Ahnold was miscast because didn't Cro-Magnon have like, large protruding foreheads, guttural language (if any), limited-- erm.

Okay then, off to read the previous installments!

Anonymous said...

I watched the first Conan film recently and there it is cool in a kitsch kind of way. Also I love fantasy and sci-fi so it was excellent to read your post on the person behind Conan.

Glad you liked the advert on my blog adn youa re exactly right - it does have a feeling of playfulness and innocence about it :-)

Anonymous said...

Hmmmm. Mom says she saw a man who looked just like Conan tonight. She can't get beyond that. And me, well, my little skinny legs don't quite do me justice against a bod like that. I don't know Zeus, what do ya think? Maybe we needs to start lifting cans of stinky goodness?

~Beau Beau