Robert E. Howard
American short story writer, poet, novelist, epistolean
Robert E. Howard
Robert Ervin Howard was an American author who wrote pulp fiction in a diverse range of genres. He is well known for his character Conan the Barbarian and is regarded as the father of the sword and sorcery subgenre. Howard was born and raised in the state of Texas. He spent most of his life in the town of Cross Plains with some time spent in nearby Brownwood.
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Robert E. Howard's personal information overview.
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‘We want to bring Arlene home’ - PSNI - Donegal Democrat
Google News - over 5 years
The 15-year-old went missing on August 14, 1994 after attending a disco in Bundoran was last spotted getting into a car driven by convicted killer, child abuser and rapist, Robert Howard. Howard was charged with her murder but was acquitted in 2005
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TTC Newbern honored for volunteer work - State Gazette
Google News - over 5 years
From left: Robert Mullins (Friendship); Caleb Pollock (Obion); Dwayne Dodson (Dyer); Ollie the Otter played by Jay Litchford - HVAC/R instructor (Kenton); Cody Culver (Obion); Cori Sutton, dual enrollment recruiter/counselor (Dyersburg); Robert Howard
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Fresh searches begin for Arlene - BBC News
Google News - over 5 years
Convicted child-killer and rapist, Robert Howard, 77, was charged with her murder but was acquitted. On Wednesday, a team of police officers and specialist dogs started searches on land at Scraghy Road between Castlederg and Ederney, County Fermanagh, ... -
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Southport to move visitors' center Garrison House - StarNewsOnline.com
Google News - over 5 years
The next step, according to Southport Mayor Robert Howard, is for the city manager to determine the types of renovation necessary for the house and provide the information to the board before moving forward. Aldermen Mary Ellen Poole and Ed Boguskie
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3 wanted after 4-year-old disappears - WALA-TV FOX10
Google News - over 5 years
Police said a male relative of the child, Robert Howard, had taken matters into his own hands and kicked down the door to Shinn's apartment. "Subject came in, kicked in the door. Mr. Shinn heard them and ran into a bedroom. They kicked in the bathroom
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Bay Area arts picks, Aug. 25 - San Francisco Chronicle
Google News - over 5 years
Robert Howard and Elizabeth Dorman: Howard, a cellist who has performed with the San Francisco Symphony and Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, joins pianist Dorman, a recent graduate of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, for a chamber program of
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'Conan The Barbarian' Cheat Sheet: Everything You Need To Know - MTV.com
Google News - over 5 years
"If you read Robert Howard — of course the 'Conan' stories and novellas — magic, supernatural plays a huge, huge part in them: fakirs and magicians and wizards all over the place," Lang told MTV News last summer. "So magic is part of that world. ... -
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Paid Notice: Deaths LESSIN, ROBERT HOWARD
NYTimes - over 5 years
LESSIN--Robert Howard. Citizen of the World and reluctant but reliable Englewood, NJ taxpayer, died on August 9, 2011 at age 56. Thinker, teacher, and financier, Bob lived his life with a passion for the present and his eyes keenly fixed on the future. He was always original and true to himself. Bob was born in Brooklyn and attended school in
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Sister hopeful for Arlene search - BBC News
Google News - over 5 years
Convicted child killer Robert Howard was acquitted of her murder in 2005. On Wednesday, detectives updated Kathleen Arkinson and her family on their plans for new searches. Kathleen said she was scared to build up her hopes her sister's body would be ... - -
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Myrick remembered as someone who 'loved people' - Hattiesburg American
Google News - over 5 years
Robert Howard Myrick Sr., one of the pillars of family-run Economy Supply Company of Hattiesburg, died at his home early Saturday morning. He was 81 years old. Co-founded by their father, Grady C., in the 1940s, Howard Myrick and his brother, Lewis,
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Conan the Barbarian (Blu-ray) - DVD Talk
Google News - over 5 years
Originally created in the 1930s by short-lived author Robert Howard, the character of Conan the Barbarian has seen a number of incarnations over the years, including an upcoming filmed re-adaptation of Howard's original stories
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Memorial celebration set for Palo Alto family - San Jose Mercury News
Google News - over 5 years
Robert Howard, 49, Ana-Maria Dias, 50, and their daughters Samantha, 12, and Veronica, 9, were driving on a wet road in the park Friday afternoon when an oncoming tractor-trailer jackknifed into their camper van. Gas from the truck's fuel tanks ignited
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Gabriele M. Smallwood - Hannibal.net
Google News - over 5 years
Gabriele married Robert Howard Smallwood 30 August 1948 in Munich, Germany and he preceded her in death on 14 January 1990. Gabriele is survived by her 2 children Robert Howard Smallwood Jr. of Duvall, WA and his wife Jolene Dial Smallwood,
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Fiery BC crash claims family of four - Toronto Sun
Google News - over 5 years
Police couldn't confirm the names but a relative identified the family as Robert Howard, 49, his wife Ana Maria Dias, 50, and their daughters, Sam, 11, and Nica, 9. Robert had travelled to the Kootenays while growing up and Cindy said he wanted to
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Opening arguments set today in Bruce trial - Pueblo Chieftain
Google News - over 5 years
Opening arguments are set for this morning in the attempted-murder trial of Robert Howard Bruce. Lawyers spent the last two days finding a jury and when one was finally picked at 5:30 pm Wednesday, the roughly 70 people left in the pool erupted in
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Robert Howard Parker - Times Record News
Google News - over 5 years
IOWA PARK – Robert Howard Parker, age 78, of Wichita Falls, died Friday, July 15, 2011 in Wichita Falls, Texas. Funeral Services will be at 11 am Tuesday, July 19, 2011 at Life Tabernacle Church 4350 Seymour Highway, Wichita Falls, Texas with Pastor
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Chaz Equipment exec convicted of trying to bribe public employees argues for ... - Palm Beach Post
Google News - over 5 years
Chaz Equipment Vice President Robert Howard Wight, charged with racketeering, conspiracy to commit racketeering and conspiracy to commit unlawful compensation for official behavior, exits the Palm Beach County Courthouse on June 9, 2011
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Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Robert E. Howard
    OTHER
  • 1936
    In June 1936, as Hester Howard slipped into her final coma, her son maintained a death vigil with his father and friends of the family, getting little sleep, drinking huge amounts of coffee, and growing more despondent.
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    Robert E. Howard's legacy extended after his death in 1936.
    More Details Hide Details Howard's most famous character, Conan the Cimmerian, has a pop-culture imprint that has been compared to such icons as Tarzan of the Apes, Count Dracula, Sherlock Holmes, and James Bond. Howard's critical reputation suffered at first but over the decades works of Howard scholarship have been published. The first professionally published example of this was L. Sprague de Camp's Dark Valley Destiny (1983) which was followed by other works, including Don Herron's The Dark Barbarian (1984) and Mark Finn's Blood & Thunder (2006). Also in 2006, a charity, Robert E. Howard Foundation, was created to promote further scholarship. Following Robert E. Howard's death, the courts granted his estate to his father, who continued to work with Howard's literary agent Otis Adelbert Kline. Dr. Isaac Howard passed the rights on to his friend Dr. Pere Kuykendall, who passed them to his wife, Alla Ray Kuykendall, and daughter, Alla Ray Morris. Morris left the rights to the widow of her cousin, Zora Mae Bryant, who gave control to her children, Jack Baum and Terry Baum Rogers. The Baums eventually sold their rights to the Swedish company Paradox Entertainment, Inc.
    On June 14, 1936 a double funeral service was held at Cross Plains First Baptist Church, and both were buried in Greenleaf Cemetery in Brownwood, Texas.
    More Details Hide Details Robert E. Howard's health, especially his mental health, has been the focus of the biographical and critical analysis of his life. In terms of physical health, Howard had a weak heart which he treated by taking digitalis. The precise nature of Howard's mental health has been much debated, both during his life and following his suicide. Three main points of view exist: some have declared that Howard suffered from an Oedipal complex or similar mental disorder; another viewpoint is that Howard suffered from major depressive disorder; the third view is that Howard had no disorders and his suicide was a common reaction to stress. Robert E. Howard's character, personality, and points of view are important in gaining an understanding of Howard as a person and of his body of work. Information about his attitudes come from memories of those who knew him, his surviving correspondence, and analyses of his works.
    On the morning of June 11, 1936, Howard asked one of his mother's nurses, a Mrs. Green, if she would ever regain consciousness.
    More Details Hide Details When she told him no, he walked out to his car in the driveway, took the pistol from the glove box, and shot himself in the head. His father and another doctor rushed out, but the wound was too grievous for anything to be done. Howard lived for another eight hours, dying at 4 pm; his mother died the following day. The story occupied the entirety of that week's edition of the Cross Plains Review, along with the publication of Howard's "A Man-Eating Jeopard".
    By 1936, almost all of Howard's fiction writing was being devoted to westerns.
    More Details Hide Details The novel A Gent from Bear Creek was due to be published by Herbert Jenkins in England, and by all accounts it looked as if he was finally breaking out of the pulps and into the more prestigious book market. However, life was becoming especially difficult for Howard. All of his close friends had married and were immersed in their careers, Novalyne Price had left Cross Plains for graduate school, and his most reliable market, Weird Tales, had grown far behind on its payments. Most importantly, his home life was falling apart. Having suffered from tuberculosis for decades, his mother was finally nearing death. The constant interruptions of care workers at home, combined with frequent trips to various sanatoriums for her care, made it nearly impossible for Howard to write.
    The relationship between the couple was irrevocably scarred, but they continued visiting with each other as friends until May 1936, when Price left Cross Plains for Louisiana State University to get a graduate degree.
    More Details Hide Details The two never spoke or wrote to each other again. In an effort to improve her memory and writing, Price began recording all her daily conversations into a journal, in the process preserving an intimate record of her time with Howard. This was useful years later when she wrote of their relationship in a book called "One Who Walked Alone", which was the basis for the 1996 film The Whole Wide World starring Vincent D'Onofrio as Howard and Renée Zellweger as Price.
    In the spring of 1936, Howard sold a series of "spicy" stories to Spicy-Adventure Stories.
    More Details Hide Details The "spicy" series of pulp magazines dealt in stories that were considered borderline softcore pornography at the time but are now similar to romance novels. These stories, which Howard referred to as "bubby-twisters", featured the character Wild Bill Clanton and were published under the pseudonym Sam Walser. Howard is only known to have had one girlfriend in his life, Novalyne Price. Price was an ex-girlfriend of Tevis Clyde Smith, one of Howard's best friends, whom she had known since high school and they had remained friends after their relationship ended. She first met Howard in spring 1933 when Howard was visiting Smith after driving his mother to a Brownwood clinic. Howard and Smith drove to the Price farm and Smith introduced his friends to each other. Price was an aspiring writer, had heard of Howard from Smith in the past and was enthusiastic to meet him in person. However, he was not what she expected. She wrote in her diary about this first meeting: "This man was a writer! Him? It was unbelievable. He was not dressed as I thought a writer should dress." They parted after a drive and would not see each other again for over a year.
  • 1935
    In hindsight, there were hints about Howard's plans. Several times in 1935–36, whenever his mother's health had precipitously threatened to give out, he made veiled allusions to his father about planning suicide, which his father did not understand at the time.
    More Details Hide Details He had made references when speaking to Novalyne Price about her being in his "sere and yellow leaf." The words sounded familiar to her, but it was only in early June 1936 that she found the source in Macbeth: In the weeks before his suicide, Howard wrote to Kline giving his agent instructions of what to do in case of his death, he wrote his last will and testament, and he borrowed a .380 Colt Automatic from his friend Lindsey Tyson. On June 10, he drove to Brownwood and bought a burial plot for the whole family. On the night before his suicide, when his father confirmed that his mother was finally dying, he asked where his father would go afterwards. Isaac Howard replied that he would go wherever his son went, thinking he meant to leave Cross Plains. It is possible that Howard thought his father would join him in ending their lives together as a family.
  • 1934
    By 1934 some of the markets killed off by the Depression had come back, and Weird Tales was over $1500 behind on payments to Howard.
    More Details Hide Details The author therefore stopped writing weird fiction and turned his attentions to this steadily growing passion. The first of Howard's most commercially successful series (within his own lifetime) was started in July 1933. "Mountain Man" was the first of the Breckinridge Elkins stories, humorous westerns in a similar style to his earlier Sailor Steve Costigan stories and again featuring an exaggerated, cartoonish version of Howard himself as the main character. Written as tall tales in the vein of Texas "Tall Lying" stories, the story first appeared in the March–April 1934 issue of Action Stories and was so successful that other magazines asked Howard for similar characters. Howard created Pike Bearfield for Argosy and Buckner J. Grimes for Cowboy Stories. Action Stories published a new Elkins story every issue without fail until well after Howard's death. At Kline's suggestion, he also created A Gent from Bear Creek, a Breckinridge Elkins novel comprised from existing short stories and new material.
    Howard may have begun losing interest in Conan in late 1934, with a growing desire to write westerns.
    More Details Hide Details He began to write, although never finished, a Conan story called "Wolves Beyond the Border". This was the first Conan tale to have an explicit (Robert W. Chambers-influenced) American setting, although American themes had appeared earlier, and the only one in which Conan himself does not appear. His next story was based on his unfinished material and became "Beyond the Black River" which not only used the different American-frontier setting but was also, in Howard's own words, a "Conan yarn without sex interest." In another novel twist, Conan and the other protagonists have, at best, a pyrrhic victory; this was rare for pulp magazines. This was followed by another experimental Conan story, "The Black Stranger", with a similar setting. The story was, however, rejected by Weird Tales, which was rare for later Conan stories. Howard's next piece, "The Man-Eaters of Zamboula", was more formulaic and was accepted by the magazine with no problems. Howard only wrote one more Conan story, "Red Nails," which was influenced both by his personal experiences at the time and an extrapolation of his views on civilization.
    Howard sent his final draft to Denis Archer on May 20, 1934.
    More Details Hide Details He had worked exclusively on the novel for two months, writing approximately 5,000 words per day, seven days a week. Although he told acquaintances that he had little hope for this novel, he had put a lot of effort into it. However, the publisher went into receivership in late 1934, before it could print the novel. The story was briefly held as part of the company's assets before being returned to Howard. It was later printed in Weird Tales as a serial over five months, beginning with the December 1935 issue.
    The third attempt at writing the novel was more successful, resulting in Howard's only Conan novel The Hour of the Dragon, which was probably started on or around March 17, 1934.
    More Details Hide Details This novel combines elements of two previous Conan stories, "Black Colossus" and "The Scarlet Citadel," with Arthurian myth and provides an overview of Conan and the Hyborian age for the new British audience.
    Howard probably began to work on the novel in February 1934, starting to write Almuric (a non-Conan, sword and planet science fiction novel) but abandoned it half way.
    More Details Hide Details This was followed by another abortive attempt at a novel, this time a Conan novel which later became Drums of Tombalku.
  • 1933
    In late 1933 Howard returned to Conan, starting again slightly awkwardly with "The Devil in Iron".
    More Details Hide Details However, this was followed with the beginning of the latter group of Conan stories which "carry the most intellectual punch," starting with "The People of the Black Circle".
    In May 1933, a British publisher, Denis Archer, contacted Howard about publishing a potential book in the United Kingdom.
    More Details Hide Details Howard submitted a batch of his best available stories, including "The Tower of the Elephant" and "The Scarlet Citadel", on June 15. In January 1934 the publisher rejected the collection but suggested a novel instead. Though the publisher was "exceedingly interested" in the stories, the rejection letter explained that there was a "prejudice that is very strong over here just now against collections of short stories." The suggested novel, however, could be published by Pawling and Ness Ltd in a first edition of 5,000 copies for lending libraries.
    In a letter to Clark Ashton Smith in October 1933, he wrote that its sequel "The Garden of Fear" was "dealing with one of my various conceptions of the Hyborian and post-Hyborian world."
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    Howard then took a short break from Conan after his initial burst of stories, returning to the character in mid-1933.
    More Details Hide Details These stories, his "middle period," are routine and considered the weakest of the series. These stories, such as "Iron Shadows in the Moon", were often simply Conan rescuing a damsel in distress from a monster in some ruins. While earlier Conan stories had three or four drafts, some in this period had only two including the final version. "Rogues in the House" is the only Conan story to be completed in a single draft. These stories sold easily and they include the first and second Conan stories to feature on the cover of Weird Tales, "Black Colossus" and "Xuthal of the Dusk". Howard's motivation for quick and easy sales at this time was partly motivated by the collapse of some other markets, such as Fight Stories, in the Depression. Also in this period, Howard wrote the first of the James Allison stories, "Marchers of Valhalla." Allison is a disabled Texan who begins to recall his past lives, the first of which is in the later part of Howard's new Hyborian age.
  • 1932
    Conan first appeared to the public in Weird Tales in December 1932 and was such a hit that Howard was eventually able to place seventeen Conan stories in the magazine between 1933 and 1936.
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    In a letter dated March 10, 1932, Farnsworth Wright rejected "The Frost-Giant's Daughter" but noted that "The Phoenix on the Sword" had "points of real excellence" and suggested changes. "The God in the Bowl" would also be rejected and so a potential fourth Conan story concerning Conan as a thief was abandoned at the synopsis stage.
    More Details Hide Details Instead of abandoning the entire Conan concept, as had happened with previous failed characters, Howard rewrote "The Phoenix on the Sword" based on Wright's feedback and including material from his essay. Both this revision and the next Conan story, "The Tower of the Elephant", sold with no problems. Howard had written nine Conan stories before the first saw print.
  • 1931
    Howard had originally used the name "Conan" for a Gael reaver in a past-life-themed story he completed in October 1931, which was published in the magazine Strange Tales in June 1932.
    More Details Hide Details Although the character swears by the god "Crom", that is his only link to the more famous successor character. Going back home he developed the idea, fleshing out a new invented world—his Hyborian Age—and populating it with all manner of countries, peoples, monsters, and magic. Howard loved history and enjoyed writing historical stories. However, the research necessary for a purely historical setting was too time consuming for him to engage in on a regular basis and still earn a living. The Hyborian Age, with its varied settings similar to real places and eras of history, allowed him to write pseudo-historical fiction without such problems. He may have been inspired in the creation of his setting by Thomas Bulfinch's 1913 edition of his Bulfinch's Mythology called The Outline of Mythology, which contained stories from history and legend, including many which were direct influences on Howard's work. Another potential inspiration is G. K. Chesterton's The Ballad of the White Horse and Chesterton's concept that "it is the chief value of legend to mix up the centuries while preserving the sentiment."
    Howard was further hit when his savings were wiped out in 1931 when the Farmer's National Bank failed, and again, after transferring to another bank, when that one failed as well.
    More Details Hide Details Early 1932 saw Howard taking one of his frequent trips around Texas. He traveled through the southern part of the state with his main occupation being, in his own words, "the wholesale consumption of tortillas, enchiladas and cheap Spanish wine." In Fredericksburg, while overlooking sullen hills through a misty rain, he conceived of the fantasy land of Cimmeria, a bitter hard northern region home to fearsome barbarians. In February, while in Mission, he wrote the poem Cimmeria. It was also during this trip that Howard first conceived of the character of Conan. Later, in 1935, Howard claimed in a letter to Clark Ashton Smith that Conan "simply grew up in my mind a few years ago when I was stopping in a little border town on the lower Rio Grande." However, the character actually took nine months to develop.
  • 1930
    In 1930, with his interest in Solomon Kane dwindling and his Kull stories not catching on, Howard applied his new Sword-and-Sorcery and Horror experience to one of his first loves: the Picts.
    More Details Hide Details His story "Kings of the Night" depicted King Kull conjured into pre-Christian Britain to aid the Picts in their struggle against the invading Romans, and introduced readers to Howard's king of the Picts, Bran Mak Morn. Howard followed up this tale with the now-classic revenge nightmare "Worms of the Earth" and several other tales, creating horrific adventures tinged with a Cthulhu-esque gloss and notable for their memorable use of metaphor and symbolism. With the onset of the Great Depression, many pulp markets reduced their schedules or went out of business entirely. Howard saw market after market falter and vanish. Weird Tales became a bimonthly publication and pulps such as Fight Stories, Action Stories and Strange Tales all folded.
    In August 1930 Howard wrote a letter to Weird Tales praising a recent reprint of H. P. Lovecraft's "The Rats in the Walls" and discussing some of the obscure Gaelic references used within.
    More Details Hide Details Editor Farnsworth Wright forwarded the letter to Lovecraft, who responded warmly to Howard, and soon the two Weird Tales veterans were engaged in a vigorous correspondence that would last for the rest of Howard's life. By virtue of this, Howard quickly became a member of "The Lovecraft Circle", a group of writers and friends all linked via the immense correspondence of H.P. Lovecraft, who made it a point to introduce his many like-minded friends to one another and encourage them to share stories, utilize each other's invented fictional trappings, and help each other succeed in the pulp field. In time this circle of correspondents has developed a legendary patina about it rivaling similar literary conclaves such as The Inklings, the Bloomsbury Group, and the Beats. Howard was given the affectionate nickname "Two-Gun Bob" by virtue of his long explications to Lovecraft about the history of his beloved Southwest, and during the ensuing years he contributed several notable elements to Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos of horror stories (beginning with "The Black Stone", his Mythos stories also included "The Cairn on the Headland", "The Children of the Night" and "The Fire of Asshurbanipal"). He also corresponded with other "Weird Tale" writers such as Clark Ashton Smith, August Derleth, and E. Hoffmann Price.
    When Farnsworth Wright started a new pulp in 1930 called Oriental Stories, Howard was overjoyed—here was a venue where he could run riot through favorite themes of history and battle and exotic mysticism.
    More Details Hide Details During the four years of the magazine's existence, he crafted some of his very best tales, gloomy vignettes of war and rapine in the Middle and Far East during the Middle Ages and the early Renaissance, tales that rival even his best Conan stories for their historical sweep and splendor. In addition to series characters such as Turlogh Dubh O'Brien and Cormac Fitzgeoffrey, Howard sold a variety of tales depicting various times and periods from the fall of Rome to the fifteenth century. The magazine eventually ceased publication in 1934 due to the Depression, leaving several of Howard's stories aimed at this market unsold.
    Howard's "Celtic phase" began in 1930, during which he became fascinated by Celtic themes and his own Irish ancestry.
    More Details Hide Details He shared this enthusiasm with Harold Preece, a friend made in Austin in the summer of 1927; Howard's letters to both Preece and Clyde Smith contain much Irish-related material and discussion. Howard taught himself a little Gaelic, examined the Irish parts of his family history and began writing about Irish characters. Turlogh Dubh O'Brien and Cormac Mac Art were created at this time, although he was not able to sell the latter's stories.
  • 1929
    After several minor successes and false starts, he struck gold again with a new series based on one of his favorite passions: boxing. July 1929 saw the debut of Sailor Steve Costigan in the pages of Fight Stories.
    More Details Hide Details A tough-as-nails, two-fisted mariner with a head of rocks and occasionally a heart of gold, Costigan began boxing his way through a variety of exotic seaports and adventure locales, becoming so popular in Fight Stories that the same editors began using additional Costigan episodes in their sister magazine Action Stories. The series saw a return to Howard's use of humor and (unreliable) first-person narration, with the combination of a traditional tall tale and slapstick comedy. Stories sold to Fight Stories provided Howard with a market just as stable as Weird Tales. Due to his success in Fight Stories, Howard was contacted by the publisher Street & Smith in February 1931 with a request to move the Steve Costigan stories to their own pulp Sport Story Magazine. Howard refused but created a new, similar series just for them based on a boxer called Kid Allison. Howard wrote ten stories for this series but Sport Story only published three of them.
    1929 was the year Howard broke out into other pulp markets, rather than just Weird Tales.
    More Details Hide Details The first story he sold to another magazine was "The Apparition in the Prize Ring," a boxing-related ghost story published in the magazine Ghost Stories. In July of the same year, Argosy finally published one of Howard's stories, "Crowd-Horror", which was also a boxing story. Neither developed into ongoing series, however.
  • 1928
    Appearing in the August 1928 issue of Weird Tales, the character was a big hit with readers and this was the first of Howard's characters to sustain a series in print beyond just two stories (seven Kane stories were printed in the 1928–32 period).
    More Details Hide Details As the magazine published the Solomon Kane tale before Kull, this can be considered the first published example of Sword and Sorcery.
    In March 1928, Howard salvaged and re-submitted to Weird Tales a story rejected by the more popular pulp Argosy, and the result was "Red Shadows", the first of many stories featuring the vengeful Puritan swashbuckler Solomon Kane.
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  • 1927
    In May 1927, after having to return home due to contracting measles and then being forced to retake the course, Howard passed his exams.
    More Details Hide Details While waiting for the official graduation in August, he returned to writing, including a re-write of "The Shadow Kingdom." He rewrote it again in August and submitted it to Weird Tales in September. This story was an experiment with the entire concept of the "weird tale" horror fiction as defined by practitioners such as Edgar Allan Poe, A. Merritt, and H. P. Lovecraft; mixing elements of fantasy, horror and mythology with historical romance, action and swordplay into thematic vehicles never before seen, a new style of tale which ultimately became known as "sword and sorcery". Featuring Kull, a barbarian precursor to later Howard heroes such as Conan, the tale hit Weird Tales in August 1929 and received fanfare from readers. Weird Tales editor Farnsworth Wright bought the story for $100, the most Howard had earned for a story at this time, and several more Kull stories followed. However, all but two were rejected, convincing Howard not to continue the series.
  • 1926
    In August 1926, Howard quit his exhausting job at the drug store and, in September, returned to Brownwood to complete his bookkeeping course.
    More Details Hide Details It was during this August that he began working on the story that would become "The Shadow Kingdom", one of the most important works of his career. While at college, Howard wrote for their newspaper, The Yellow Jacket. One of the short stories printed in this newspaper was a comedy called "Cupid vs. Pollux." This story is Howard's earliest surviving boxing story known to exist; it is told in the first person, uses elements of a traditional tall-tale and is a fictionalized account of Howard (as "Steve") and his friend Lindsey Tyson (as "Spike") training for a fight. This story and the elements it uses would also be important in Howard's literary future.
  • 1925
    It was not until July 1925 that Howard received payment for his first printed story.
    More Details Hide Details Howard lost his job at the newspaper in the same year and spent one month working in a post office before quitting over the low wages. His next job, at the Cross Plains Natural Gas Company, did not last long due to his refusal to be subservient to his boss. He did manual labor for a surveyor for a time before beginning a job as a stenographer for an oil company. In conjunction with his friend Tevis Clyde Smith he dabbled heavily in verse, writing hundreds of poems and getting dozens published in Weird Tales and assorted poetry journals. With poor sales, and many publishers recoiling from his subject matter, Howard ultimately judged poetry writing a luxury he could not afford, and after 1930 he wrote little verse, instead dedicating his time to short stories and higher-paying markets. Nevertheless, as a result of this apprenticeship, his stories increasingly took on the aura of "prose-poems" filled with hypnotic, dreamy imagery and a power lacking in most other pulp efforts of the time.
  • 1924
    Howard spent his late teens working odd jobs around Cross Plains; all of which he hated. In 1924, Howard returned to Brownwood to take a stenography course at Howard Payne College, this time boarding with his friend Lindsey Tyson instead of his mother.
    More Details Hide Details Howard would have preferred a literary course but was not allowed to take one for some reason. Biographer Mark Finn suggests that his father refused to pay for such a non-vocational education. In the week of Thanksgiving that year, and after years of rejection slips and near acceptances, he finally sold a short caveman tale titled "Spear and Fang", which netted him the sum of $16 and introduced him to the readers of a struggling pulp called Weird Tales. Now that his career in fiction had begun, Howard dropped out of Howard Payne College at the end of the semester and returned to Cross Plains. Shortly afterwards, he received notice that another story, "The Hyena," had been accepted by Weird Tales. During the same period, Howard made his first attempt to write a novel, a loosely autobiographical book modeled on Jack London's Martin Eden and titled Post Oaks & Sand Roughs. The book was otherwise of middling quality and was never published in the author's lifetime but it is of interest to Howard scholars for the personal information it contains. Howard's alter ego in this novel is Steve Costigan, a name he would use more than once in the future. The novel was finished in 1928 but not published until long after his death.
  • 1923
    Howard graduated from high school in May 1923 and moved back to Cross Plains.
    More Details Hide Details On his return to his home town, he engaged in a self-created regimen of exercise, including cutting down oak trees and chopping them into firewood every day, lifting weights, punching a bag and springing exercises; eventually building himself from a skinny teenager into a more muscled, burly form.
  • 1922
    In the fall of 1922, when Howard was sixteen, he temporarily moved to a boarding house in the nearby city of Brownwood to complete his senior year of high school, accompanied by his mother.
    More Details Hide Details It was in Brownwood that he first met friends his own age who shared his interest not only for sports and history but also writing and poetry. The two most important of these, Tevis Clyde Smith and Truett Vinson, shared his Bohemian and literary outlook on life, and together they wrote amateur papers and magazines, exchanged long letters filled with poetry and existential thoughts on life and philosophy, and encouraged each other's writing endeavors. Through Vinson, Howard was introduced to The Tattler, the newspaper of the Brownwood High School. It was in this publication that Howard's stories were first printed. The December 1922 issue featured two stories, "'Golden Hope Christmas" and "West is West," which won gold and silver prizes respectively.
  • 1919
    In 1919, when Howard was thirteen, Dr. Howard moved his family to the Central Texas hamlet of Cross Plains, and there the family would stay for the rest of Howard's life.
    More Details Hide Details Howard's father bought a house in the town with a cash down payment and made extensive renovations. That same year, sitting in a library in New Orleans while his father took medical courses at a nearby college, Howard discovered a book concerned with the scant fact and abundant legends surrounding an indigenous culture in ancient Scotland called the Picts. In 1920, on February 17, the Vestal Well within the limits of Cross Plains struck oil and Cross Plains became an oil boomtown. Thousands of people arrived in the town looking for oil wealth. New businesses sprang up from scratch and the crime rate increased to match. Cross Plains' population quickly grew from 1,500 to 10,000, it suffered overcrowding, the traffic ruined its unpaved roads and vice crime exploded but it also used its new wealth on civic improvements, including a new school, an ice manufacturing plant, and new hotels. Howard hated the boom and despised the people who came with it. He was already poorly disposed towards oil booms as they were the cause of the constant traveling in his early years but this was aggravated by what he perceived to be the effect oil booms had on towns.
  • 1906
    Howard was born January 22, 1906 in Peaster, Texas, the only son of a traveling country physician, Dr. Isaac Mordecai Howard, and his wife, Hester Jane Ervin Howard.
    More Details Hide Details His early life was spent wandering through a variety of Texas cowtowns and boomtowns: Dark Valley (1906), Seminole (1908), Bronte (1909), Poteet (1910), Oran (1912), Wichita Falls (1913), Bagwell (1913), Cross Cut (1915), and Burkett (1917). During Howard's youth his parents' relationship began to break down. The Howard family had problems with money which may have been exacerbated by Isaac Howard investing in get-rich-quick schemes. Hester Howard, meanwhile, came to believe that she had married below herself. Soon the pair were actively fighting. Hester did not want Isaac to have anything to do with their son. She had a particularly strong influence on her son's intellectual growth. She had spent her early years helping a variety of sick relatives, contracting tuberculosis in the process. She instilled in her son a deep love of poetry and literature, recited verse daily and supported him unceasingly in his efforts to write.
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