Collection: Robert E. (Ervin) Howard

Robert E. (Ervin) Howard was born on January 22, 1906. He was interested in writing from an early age, and witnesses report seeing his first stories written as early as 9 years old. He mailed off his first submission to a publisher at 15 years of age. His first professional sale came three years later when “Spear and Fang,” a cave man story, was accepted by Weird Tales, the pulp magazine with which all his greatest successes would be associated.
Howard is best known as the “father of sword & sorcery,” with his most famous creations—Conan, Solomon Kane, Bran Mak Morn, and Kull the Conqueror—sliding (some more easily than others) into that genre. However, in addition to the sterling success of these fantasy adventure tales, Howard’s versatility allowed him to support himself as a professional writer. He would write more than 100 stories between 1924 and his death in 1936 at age 30. He published regularly and wrote in genres as varied as westerns, weird westerns, horror, modern adventure stories, boxing stories, sailing adventures, and even “spicy” romance stories.

Of special interest to this volume is Howard’s relationship to H.P. Lovecraft. Lovecraft, an elder statesman of the “weird fiction” genre, was an early contributor to Weird Tales, where Howard first encountered his fiction. Howard wrote an admiring letter to Lovecraft after reading “The Rats in the Walls,” and eventually through their extended correspondence became part of the “Lovecraft Circle,” a group of pulp writers joined primarily through H.P. Lovecraft’s efforts, with Lovecraft as the hub. Howard and Lovecraft corresponded for years, debating the merits of the human conditions of barbarism and civilization. Lovecraft is best known for his stories of “the Great Old Ones,” especially Cthulhu. This shared corpus of story ideas and ancient, pre-human history of Earth, became a shared mythic backdrop for many writers published in Weird Tales.

Robert E. (Ervin) Howard

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