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Renegades & Rogues: The Life and Legacy of Robert E. Howard (University of Texas Press), by Todd B. Vick

shepherdexpress.com
 2021-05-06

Almost everyone has heard of Conan the Barbarian but few can recall the name of his author. Robert E. Howard (1906-1936) was a prolific pulp fiction writer during the 1930s whose imagination ranged far beyond Texas, the only place he ever lived. With Renegades & Rogues, Todd B. Vick explores those Lone Star roots, including the influence of the Black storytellers he encountered in his youth. Despite this, Howard was not immune to his era’s common racism, echoed loudly in several of his stories. Books were scarce in Howard’s remote hometown but he read avidly, drawing from Rudyard Kipling, Edgar Rice Burroughs and Edgar Allan Poe. The modernists of New York and Europe had little if any sway over an author whose settings were mined from the same earth as J.R.R. Tolkien (but decades earlier). Sword and sorcery? Howard was among the progenitors.

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