Robert E. Howard:
Among the great pulp writers whose work continues to enthrall new generations of readers—Edgar Rice Burroughs, H.P. Lovecraft, Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler—few were as versatile as Robert E. Howard. Best known as the creator of Conan, Howard also wrote not only of other memorable fantasy characters, such as Puritan swordsman Solomon Kane and Pictish king Bran Mak Morn, but hundreds of stories of boxing, detection, westerns, horror, “weird menace,” desert adventure, lost race, historicals, “spicies”, even “true confessions.”
Robert E. Howard is best known as the father of “sword and sorcery” fiction, an exciting blend of swashbuckling action and supernatural horror epitomized by his characters King Kull, barbarian usurper of the throne of fabled Valusia, and Conan, who wanders the Hyborian Age “to tread the jeweled thrones of the Earth under his sandalled feet.”
But the young Texas author was far more gifted and versatile than many readers know: in a career that lasted only twelve years before his untimely death (see note at page end), he wrote some 300 stories and 800 poems, covering an astonishing variety of subject matter—fantasy, boxing, westerns, horror, adventure, historical, detective, spicy, even confessions—running the gamut from dark fantasy to broad humor, from brooding horror to gentle love story.
Wandering Star was a UK small press that published six books under the Robert E. Howard Library of Classics title. These included three new illustrated editions of Robert E. Howard's original Conan stories. It made an effort both to restore Howard's original manuscripts and to provide a more scholarly and historical view of the Conan stories.
The three volumes were published in limited, "ultra limited", and leatherbound editions:
Conan of Cimmeria: Volume One (1932-1933) (collection) • Robert E. Howard • 2003
Conan of Cimmeria: Volume Two (1934) (collection) • Robert E. Howard • 2004
Conan of Cimmeria: Volume Three (1935-1936) (collection) • Robert E. Howard • 2009
The volumes include Howard's notes on the fictional setting and letters and poems concerning the genesis of his ideas as well as fragments and synopses.
Between them, they make all of the original unedited Robert E. Howard stories available to readers for the first time…
Full color paintings · Profusely illustrated with exquisite black and white line work throughout · Slipcased with embossed color plate · Dust jacket · Gilt edged
Embossed cover · Signed and numbered by award-winning artists - these are stunning.
The Tragic End:
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.
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. On the morning of June 11, 1936, Howard asked one of his mother's nurses, a Mrs. Green, if she would ever regain consciousness. 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. 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.
"All fled, all done, so lift me on the pyre; The feast is over and the lamps expire.”
—Howard's suicide note, found in his typewriter after the event. The lines were taken from the poem "The House of Cæsar" by Viola Garvin.
Howard was 30.