Friday, June 11, 2021

To the memory of Robert E. Howard (Jan. 22, 1906-June 11, 1936)

Into the west, unknown of man,
Ships have sailed since the world began.
Read, if you dare, what Skelos wrote,
With dead hands fumbling his silken coat;
And follow the ships through the wind-blown wrack–
Follow the ships that come not back.

 -- Robert E. Howard, "The Pool of the Black One" 

Over the years my appreciation for Robert E. Howard has grown, not diminished. He was an extraordinary, unique, meteoric talent that blazed across the sky and was gone, far too soon. It's almost incomprehensible that he produced so much great work in about a dozen years of professional writing. I'm currently reading the letters of C.L. Moore and H.P. Lovecraft, and for months and months after his passing, until Lovecraft's own death the following year, REH's name and legacy was a fixture in their conversation.

No one wrote like Robert E. Howard, and no one has since. He put himself into every story, and there was only one Robert E. Howard. 

He's not coming back, but we follow in the wake of the passing ship that was his body of work, into the unknown west, and marvel at the trail he blazed.

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