CALL FOR PROPOSALS FOR A PROPOSED SESSION ON ROBERT E. HOWARD
AT THE COMBINED SW/TX AND NATIONAL
PCA/ACA CONFERENCE, SAN ANTONIO, TX
APRIL 20-23, 2011
Pulp Studies Area
Robert E. Howard is arguably one of the most influential writers to contribute to the evolution of American fantasy, adventure, western and horror, but he continues to be one of the least-studied contributors to early pulp magazines. His contemporaries H.P. Lovecraft, Clark Ashton Smith, Fritz Leiber and others have received more critical attention though Howard almost single-handedly created the sword-and-sorcery genre that was imitated by C. L. Moore and Fritz Leiber, and continues to influence contemporary writers. Though a number of biographies have chronicled the pulpster's brief and tragic life, very little analysis of his work has appeared. The recent publication of The Collected Letters of Robert E. Howard by the Robert E. Howard Foundation in three volumes, and the upcoming A Means to Freedom: The Letters of H. P. Lovecraft and Robert E . Howard, have set the stage for invigorating Howard scholarship.
The proposed session will consist of 20-minute presentations that discuss Howard's contributions to the development of the genre of sword-and-sorcery, and may address, but are not limited to, the following themes:
* The evolution of the genre through specific "series," including Solomon Kane, Bran Mak Morn, Kull, the Gaelic heroes, El Borak, Conan. * Howard's boxing stories and the concept of manhood. * The development of themes in particular series: moral justice in Solomon Kane; racial degradation in Bran Mak Morn; the immorality of civilization in Kull's Valusia; the barbarism/civilization debate as manifest in the Conan tales; El Borak as a modern barbarian; Howard's women. * The evolution of Howard's idealized barbarian hero across different series or within a particular character (Kull's evolution from Am-ra to Kull; Brule and the Picts; Bran Mak Morn and the degenerate Picts; Conan's manifestations as youth, pirate, and eventually king; El Borak as evolutionary hero). * Howard's horror stories: "Pigeons from Hell" and other tales. Cthulhu mythos in Howard's tales. * Elements of sword-and-sorcery in Howard's historical tales and horror tales. * Howard's theory of race and its contribution to the development of the barbarian hero. * Howardian influences in other writers such as Leiber's Lankhmar series and Moore's Jiril of Jiory. * Evolutionary themes in Howard's work. * Howard's epistolary relationships with other writers. * Howard's influence on later writers such as Robert Jordan.