Robert E. Howard: A Closer Look by Charles Hoffman and Marc Cerasini
Trade Paperback – Hippocampus Press – 2020 – 292 pages
In 1987, Charles Hoffman and Marc A. Cerasini published a volume on Robert E. Howard for the acclaimed Starmont Reader’s Guides series. Even then, the book was a pioneering study of Howard’s life and work. In the decades that have followed, a great deal of additional research has been done on the life and times of the inventor of Conan, and the authors have now prepared a radically expanded and updated version of their monograph, taking account of these new discoveries.
The book is structured along the lines of the superheroes that Howard created as a means of expressing his admiration for the values of barbarian and pioneer life: Bran Mak Morn, the Pictish chieftain who battles the Romans in Britain; Solomon Kane, the 17th-century Puritan who spans the globe in quest of adventure and the righting of wrongs; King Kull of Valusia, a valiant warrior at the dawn of history; and, of course, Conan of Cimmeria, who embodied Howard’s thirst for untrammeled freedom and the virtues of combat.
Hoffman and Cerasini also study Howard’s tales of pure horror, including “Pigeons from Hell,” his other fantasy tales, his poetry, and other elements of his work. All in all, Robert E. Howard: A Closer Look is an invaluable guide to the life and literary output of this powerfully original writer whose work has inspired imitations, film and comic book adaptations, and devoted readers around the world.