This book has been kicking around since 2006, the year it was slated to appear. Publication has been on again and off again to the point most folks have given up on it ever seeing in print. However, luckily for us this collection of Howardian essays is at last coming to fruition. Editor Darrell Schweitzer posted over at the de Camp Yahoo group that publication of The Robert E. Howard Reader is imminent. The ordering page at Amazon.com should be updated soon, and you can also order it from the Wildside Press website – just be patient and check in at one of those two places over the next several days.
It has been several years since a collection like this was published, the last one being Two-Gun Bob: A Centennial Study of Robert E. Howard in 2006. While the quality of some of the essays in Two-Gun Bob are below par, it is tough for these collections to live up to the likes of Don Herron’s The Dark Barbarian and The Barbaric Triumph anthologies of first-class Howard lit crit.
Here are the contents:
Introduction by Darrell Schweitzer
“Robert E. Howard: A Texan Master” by Michael Moorcock
“The Everlasting Barbarian” by Leo Grin
“Robert E. Howard’s Fiction” by L. Sprague de Camp
“The Art of Robert Ervin Howard” by Poul Anderson
“Howard’s Style” by Fritz Leiber
“What He Wrote and How They Said It” by Robert Weinberg
“Barbarism vs. Civilization” by S.T. Joshi
“Crash Go the Civilizations” by Mark Hall
“Return to Xuthal” by Charles Hoffman
“Howard’s Oriental Stories” by Don D’Ammassa
“King Kull as a Prototype of Conan” by Darrell Schweitzer
“How Pure a Puritan Was Solomon Kane?” by Robert M. Price
“Balthus of Cross Plains” by George H. Scithers
“Fictionalizing Howard” by Gary Romeo
“A Journey to Cross Plains” by Howard Waldrop
“Weird Tales and the Great Depression” by Scott Connors
“After Aquilonia and Having Left Lankhmar: Sword & Sorcery Since the 1980s” by Steve Tompkins
Looks like Darrell has something for everyone, running the gamut from de Camp to Grin. I am looking forward to re-reading Steve Tompkins’ essay (it was previously posted on The Cimmerian blog) – I really miss him and his thoughts and opinions.