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'Conan the Barbarian' goes to the prestigious Ransom Center

August 12, 2013|By Carolyn Kellogg

At the prestigious Ransom Center, between the works of Don Delillo and Ezra Pound, you'll soon be able to find "Conan the Barbarian" by pulp author Robert E. Howard.

Best known for the noble barbarian brought to life on screen by Arnold Schwarzenegger, Howard was a prolific fantasy writer in the early part of the 20th century. He published more than 100 stories in magazines before his death at age 30 in 1936.

Howard was 18 when he published his first story, "Spear and Fang," in the magazine Weird Tales. In addition to Conan, the Ransom Center notes, Howard's enduring characters include Puritan duelist Solomon Kane, boxing sailor Steve Costigan, enigmatic Atlantean fugitive King Kull and great warrior king Bran Mak Morn.

Located at the University of Texas at Austin, the Harry Ransom Center is one of the country's leading repositories of literary archives. Its collections include archives of D.H. Lawrence, John Steinbeck, Anne Sexton and David Foster Wallace.

The Robert E. Howard collection includes 15,000 manuscripts and ephemera. It was donated to the center by the estate of Glenn Lord, a Texas literary agent who passed away in 2011.

In addition to Howard's creative work, the collection includes some of his correspondence with H.P. Lovecraft, a conversation-in-letters that lasted six years. In their letters, Lovecraft and Howard debated the relationship of the mental and the physical, cities and society, and civilization versus barbarism.


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