Archive for October, 2015


It’s the silver o’ starlight, the mist o’ the morning
All gossamer webs, and the deep coral caves,
The winds and the wonder o’ reef-riven thunder,
The emerald sheen o’ the snow-crested waves.

The gold that I gathered that mankind had minted,
It slipped through my fingers like sands on the beach;
But the silver o’ starlight was ever unstinted,
And the gold o’ the sunset was ever in reach.

“A Dying Pirate Speaks of Treasure,” by Robert E. Howard

Roger O’Farrel returned to Cuba in 1668, after chasing the dreaded buccaneer l’Ollonais for over a year and finally bringing him to his end at the hands of Indians in Darien. He had earned the promised reward of 25,000 Spanish dollars or “pieces of eight.” However, the Captain General of Cuba, Francisco de Avila Orejón y Gastón, double-crossed him over the reward. Claiming that he had not actually been “in at the death” of l’Ollonais, and had not brought back his head either, he tried to fob O’Farrel off with 5,000 dollars. Like Browning’s Pied Piper, O’Farrel answered, “No trifling!  I can’t wait, besides … and folks who put me in a passion, may find me pipe after another fashion.”

De Avila considered that insolence. He reminded O’Farrel that at the beginning of the chase, he had held aloof while l’Ollonais worked his will along the southern coasts of Cuba, and later allowed a galleon to fall into the Frenchman’s hands. De Avila could make indictable offences of these if he desired, and he advised O’Farrel to take care. “Accept five thousand pieces of eight while the offer is good, Captain.”

“Keep them, magnifico,” O’Farrel said shortly. “Buy yourself a cloth-of-gold shroud and a fine coffin.”

69b8d4459bec972aa1dc9e6b2498ea1dHis defiance might have suited a younger man better. O’Farrel was then forty-six, though he looked younger and his hair remained dark. He was enraged, however, having just finished a year-long hunt fraught with danger, a voyage in which some of his men had died, and his foster daughter, God help him, had stowed away and might have died herself. To be cheated now … and he had thought better of Francisco de Avila.

Perhaps his opinion had been correct, once. De Avila had held his office for five years, in a physical and social climate where men went rotten quickly, and turpitude grew rank as the jungle. He probably told his conscience that, after all, many men would not have offered O’Farrel the five thousand, and if he refused it, well, his fault, and what could he do against the Captain General of Havana?

Clearly, even after associating with him for years, de Avila did not know his man.

O’Farrel sold his fine Havana house and moved to the southern part of Cuba, which should have warned de Avila in itself. Santiago was the second greatest city in the island. It had its own Captain General, or Governor; in practice the two were often the same, the military authorities functioning as civil and political officials as well.  They were even given to assuming the Viceroy’s functions in their own regions. Spanish colonial officers, too, were notorious for touchy jealousy. The Governors of the two cities were each other’s detested rivals.

Santiago’s position was precarious. From a distance the shoreline seemed an unbroken line of verdant jungle. Closer in, it consisted of strings of islands whose beauty covered fatal rocks, reefs and confusing twisted channels. Many buccaneers knew them intimately and first hand. They made perfect hideouts, to lurk in ambush, to take refuge, to repair and careen. Just about every notorious raider of the time had used the South Cays with impunity. Christopher Myngs sacked Santiago late in 1662, with a fleet of eighteen ships. Henry Morgan was almost certainly one of the captains with him on that occasion. Roche Brasiliano spent months among the South Cays in 1663. Edward Mansfield led his pirate fleet there two years later. Henry Morgan, now with the status of a buccaneer admiral, returned there in 1668 – the very year Roger O’Farrel arrived in Santiago, fuming against Captain General de Avila.

He began by enlisting a force of hardy fighters who would stop at nothing – not difficult in that area. Many ostensibly lawful men were expert smugglers who had long dodged the Spanish crown’s taxes and trade restrictions. The cattle ranchers inland, los senores de hatos, as a matter of course engaged in illicit traffic with foreign traders. Their mestizo cowboys were outstandingly tough. The escaped African slaves who lived at large in the mountains of Cuba were, if anything, even tougher. Many had labored in the copper mines of El Cobre, where a few years before there had been a slave revolt. O’Farrel had fought beside such men in the mountains of Jamaica for a year (1657-58) with Cristóbal Ysassi. He knew them.

If he no longer had a ship of his own, that was a common predicament of pirates, and one they knew how to solve. O’Farrel had done so before. He acquired two cedar piraguas able to carry fifty men each, and manned them with smugglers, fishermen, loggers, and Cimmarones from the mountains. He hijacked a fast sloop armed with eight small cannon and sent for his former crew, who were only awaiting his word. Then he ventured among the South Cays, found a Dutch pirate careening his ship, and relieved him of it once the work was finished. The Jezebel, a brigantine, it carried twelve cannon and three swivel guns.

Working out of Santiago, O’Farrel smuggled hides, tobacco, and indigo. He waylaid merchant ships, lifting their cargoes but sparing the crews if they yielded. Although he had plundered French vessels in the past, he left them alone now, for he had Tortuga in mind as a refuge if ever Cuba should be barred to him. Remembering de Avila’s conduct, he did not trust the Governor of Santiago a finger’s length. Within two years he achieved some prosperity again.

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This entry filed under Howard's Fiction.



1. archaic. plural of shoe

[origin: chiefly dialect; unknown origin]


Riding down the road at evening
With the stars for steed and shoon
I have heard an old man singing
Underneath a copper moon:
“God, who gemmed the topaz twilights,
Opal portals of the day,
“On your amaranthine mountains,
Why make human souls of clay?”

“For I rode the moon-mare’s horses
in the glory of my youth,
“Wrestled with the hills at sunset—
till I met brass-tinctured Truth.
“Till I saw the temples topple,
till I saw the idols reel,
“Till my brain had turned to iron,
and my heart had turned to steel.

[from “Always Comes Evening”; to read the complete poem, see The Collected Poetry of Robert E. Howard, p. 146; Robert E. Howard Selected Poems, p. 104; Always Comes Evening, p. 73 and Night Images, p. 67]

Art: Pair of Shoes 2 by Vincent Van Gogh
This entry filed under Howard's Poetry, Word of the Week.


Maybe, in the heat of evening, comes a wind from Mexico,
Laden with the heat of seven Hells,
And the rattler in the yucca and the buzzard dark and slow
Hear and understand the grisly tales it tells.

– Robert E. Howard, “The Grim Land” (AMTF1.178; CL2.218-219)

From 1930 until his death, H. P. Lovecraft fiction bears no mention of Spain or Hispanic peoples, aside from a very brief note on the pre-Columbian cultures of Central and South America in “Out of the Aeons,” which Lovecraft had ghostwritten for Hazel Heald:

Von Junzt implied its presence in the fabled subterrene kingdom of K’n-yan, and gave clear evidence that it had penetrated Egypt, Chaldaea, Persia, China, the forgotten Semite empires of Africa, and Mexico and Peru in the New World.

The mention to K’n-yan is reference to the Spanish narrative in Lovecraft’s “The Mound,” ghostwritten for Zealia Brown Reed Bishop in 1930, but which failed to find a publisher in the pulps. It is unclear if Lovecraft ever sent Robert E. Howard a copy of the manuscript for that story; though Lovecraft hinted at it. (AMTF1.41) Certainly it would not have been unusual for Lovecraft to have passed around the manuscript to his friends, or even the typescript that R. H. Barlow prepared in 1934—but if that is the case, there is no record of it.

The interest in Lovecraft’s “The Mound,” and whether or not Howard read it, is in part due to parallels with two of Robert E. Howard’s own stories written after they began corresponding, “The Horror from the Mound” (1932) and the unfinished “The Valley of the Lost” (“Secret of Lost Valley”). The Texan’s output after his correspondence with the Gent from Providence is notable for taking a Lovecraftian turn, whence came the prototypical Cthulhu Mythos stories including “The Black Stone” (1931) and “The Thing on the Roof” (1932); a story or two generally inspired by one of Lovecraft’s yarns would not have been out of the question.

P1050070“The Valley of the Lost” (“Secret of Lost Valley”) lacks the form of “The Mound”—lacks even a mound, as the entrance to a subterranean world is a cave in the eponymous valley. Yet it does have an intrepid explorer, descending into a netherworld where a strange, sorcerous race yet dwells, reanimating the bodies of the dead to serve them, just as the people of K’n-yan did. The Old Ones of Howard’s tale bare a close similarity to those in “Worms of the Earth” (1932) and Howard’s other “Little People” tales, which suggests that the story was written around the same time.

For all that, besides the name “The Horror from the Mound” bears little obvious influence. The mound in question is obviously much smaller than the one in Lovecraft’s Oklahoma, and holds a very different and almost prosaic kind of horror: a Spanish vampire. There is a narrative similarity in that protagonists in both Howard and Lovecraft’s tale uncover a narrative, written in Howard’s case by the poor Mexican farmer Juan Lopez, providing a history for the secret of the mound that dates back to the days of the Conquistadors—indeed, both going back to Coronado’s fruitless march north looking for the golden city of Cíbola. There, the similarities end.

Coronado is mentioned in two more of Howard’s unfinished tales, “Nekht Semerkhet” and “The Thunder-Rider.” Both feature ancient wizards and strange people with terrible powers that lived north of the Aztec empire at the time of the European conquest, with reference to both Aztecs and Spanish. In outline, they bear a gross similarity to some of Howard’s Conan tales, notably “Red Nails” (1936). “Nekht Semerkhet” indeed features one of Coronado’s hidalgos, Hernando de Guzman, who is decidedly more worldly and sanguine than Lovecraft’s polyglot Pánfilo de Zamacona:

Spanish blood was no more sacred than the blood of other races; blood was only blood, and he had seen oceans of it spilled: Spanish blood, English blood, Huguenot blood, Inca blood, Aztec blood – the royal blood of Montezuma ripping from the parapets of Tenochtitlan – blood running ankle-deep in the plaza of Cajamarca, about the frantic feet of doomed Atahualpa.

The idea of an ancient precursors to contemporary peoples, even or particularly alien populations with strange powers and degenerate descendants surviving in out-of-the-way places was not uncommon in Howard’s weird fiction, and it formed an alliance of theme with some of Lovecraft’s stories. So in “The Black Stone” (1931) there is a reference to a monument in the Yucatan, and especially in “The Thing on the Roof” (1932):

It is a very curious temple, no more like the ruins of the prehistoric Indians than it is like the buildings of the modern Latin-Americans. The Indians in the vicinity disclaim any former connections with the place; they say that the people who built that temple were a different race from themselves, and were there when their own ancestors came into the country. I believe it to be a remnant of some long-vanished civilization which began to decay thousands of years before the Spaniards came.

Other half-forgotten temples and civilizations would be encountered in Howard’s fiction. In “The Gods of Bal-Sagoth” (1931), the Irish adventurer Turlogh Dubh O’Brien would be saved from one by a Spanish captain, Don Roderigo del Cortez of Castile, sailing against Moorish corsairs. Yet another occurred in “The Isle of Pirate’s Doom,” and a third in “Black Vulmea’s Vengeance,” the pirate Black Vulmea, scourge of Spaniards in the era of buccaneers, comes across a forgotten temple where it is claimed a great treasure is hidden—and in the sequel, “Swords of the Red Brotherhood” (originally a Conan tale, “The Black Stranger”), Vulmea searches for the lost jewels of Montezuma, which Cortez supposedly failed to loot.

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1. the part of an arrow having a notch for the bowstring; the notch itself

[origin: 14th century; Middle English nocke notched tip on the end of a bow; akin to Middle Dutch nocke summit]


A long bow and a strong bow,
and let the sky grow dark!
The cord to the nock, the shaft to the ear,
and the king of Koth for a mark!
Song of the Bossonian Archers

[from “The Scarlet Citadel”; to read the complete five verse headings, see The Collected Poetry of Robert E. Howard, p. 69; Robert E. Howard Selected Poems, p. 440; and Always Comes Evening, p. 64]

This entry filed under Howard's Poetry, Word of the Week.


An important announcement from the The Robert E. Howard Foundation:

Big changes are coming to the REH Foundation!

We will be completely revamping our website and adding some great new content for members. The REH Foundation site will soon become the central hub for online Howard scholarship and you can be a part of it.

We are now offering a FREE membership tier that will give you access to this new content, email news updates, as well voting privileges for the REH Foundation Awards.

Upgrade to one of our premium levels (starting at $9.99 per year) and receive access to the REHF newsletter and other publications, exclusive online content, and other exciting benefits!

Sign up up now and help support the REH Foundation’s mission of promoting the life and works of Robert E. Howard!

Here are the membership levels and perks:


Pick the the membership level that best fits your needs and sign up here.

Also, the first email blast chock full of information from The Foundation is being sent out this weekend to all Foundation members. So don’t miss out on all the new and exciting things happening with The Foundation and Howard Fandom in general. Sign up today — its free!


Something old is new again. In the tradition of AmraThe Hyborian Gazette features, in addition to REH related material, this fanzine covers other topics such as general fantasy, Sword and Sorcery, fantasy fiction, etc. Here are the details of the first issue, courtesy of Bill Thom’s Coming Attractions:

Carnelian Press is proud to announce a fanzine from The International Robert E. Howard Fan Association.

Edited by Steve Dilks, The Hyborian Gazette will feature art, stories and articles from the likes of Adrian Cole (The Voidal), Jeffrey Shanks (REHupa academic), Steve Lines (Rainfall Books), Glen Usher (Boscastle) and many more.

Featuring great cover art by legendary British illustrator, Jim Pitts, an exclusive article by REHupa founder, Tim Marion and a rarely seen story from Lin Carter, this is one fanzine you will not want to miss!


“A Word from the Editor” by Steve Dilks.
“A Rogue Rhyme; Yara’s Pride” by Jason Hardy (poetry); Illustrated by Jim Pitts.
“Perceptions” byJason Hardy (poetry); Illustrated by Jim Pitts.
“Darkness Comes to Erebus” by Julio Gianni Toro SanMartin and Hank Simmons (poetry); Illustrated by Jim Pitts.
“History, Horror, and Heroic Fantasy: Robert E. Howard and the Creation of Sword and Sorcery” by Jeffrey Shanks (article)
“The Priory of the Black Templars” by Glen Usher (story); Illustrated by Steve Lines.
“I Remember R.E.H.U.P.A.” by Tim Marion (article)
“The Shadow Navigator” by Adrian Cole (story); Illustrated by Yannis Rubus Rubulias.
“Red Swords in Tharnya” by Andrew G. Henderson (story); Illustrated by Kurt Brugel.
“Black Stars in the Skulls of Doom” by Lin Carter (story); Illustrated by Al Harron. Calligraphy by Tim Marion.
Afterword by Mario Geraci.

All profits from The Hyborian Gazette will go directly to Project Pride in Cross Plains, Texas, for the upkeep of the Robert E. Howard house and museum.

Pricing details for The Hyborian Gazette # 1 are as follows:

To the U.S and Canada: $18.00

To the U.K.: £10.00

For mainland Europe and the rest of the world please contact us via private message.

How to order through Carnelian Press:

At present we only accept payment via PayPal. If you have an account, please follow these four easy steps:

Step 1: Visit our Facebook page and private message us via the “Message Now” link in the left column of the Facebook page letting us know you would like to purchase a copy of The Hyborian Gazette # 1. We will get back to you with an e-mail address where you can send payment.

Step 2: Go to the PayPal website and log in to your personal account.

Step 3: Once you are logged in, select the option to “Send Money” at the top of the page and enter the correct amount to pay to the email address provided.

Step 4: Once Carnelian Press receives confirmation of the e-mail transaction we will private message you to tell you payment has been received and your book order is ready for shipment.


However, we saw the town, and it’s worth seeing alright, especially to anyone not familiar with Spanish style architecture. It’s much like towns I have visited in old Mexico, with the exception that it is much cleaner and neater. In cleanliness it compares with any town I ever saw. The native population is, of course, predominantly Mexican. Or as they call them out there, Spanish-Americans. You or I would be Anglo-Americans according to their way of putting it. Spanish-American, hell. A Mexican is a Mexican to me, wherever I find him, and I don’t consider it necessary for me to hang any prefix on the term “American” when referring to myself.

– Robert E. Howard to H. P. Lovecraft, July 1935 (AMTF2.872; CL3.352-353)

The summer of 1935 saw Robert E. Howard and his friend Truett Vinson driving through New Mexico, and in his lengthy letter to Lovecraft describing the journey, he took especial interest in the difference exhibited by the Hispanic populations in New Mexico, Old Mexico, and Texas:

The town itself is interesting enough in a conventional sort of way, and I may have said, much resembles the towns of Old Mexico, but is cleaner, and more law-abiding. It doesn’t have, for instance, or at least we didn’t see any of those dives so popular in Mexican border towns, where naked prostitutes of both sexes and various Latin races first dance before the customers, then copulate with each other, and then indulge in various revolting perversions for the entertainment of the crowd, which is generally made up of tourists.

The State seems predominantly Catholic and Mexican. We went into the capitol and I made a point of counting the Mexican names among the legislators. The legislature wasn’t in session at the moment, but each man’s name was fastened to his desk on a placard. The majority were Mexican. Chavez, Otero, Bacca, Roybal, especially Chavez, are the names which appear most frequently in the population. There seem to be as many Chavez’s in New Mexico as there are Gonzaleses in South Texas. I might also add that the State capitol looks about as big as a good-sized Texas county-courthouse. Speaking in general, the Mexican population of New Mexico seems much further advanced, more prosperous and better educated than the Mexican population of Texas and Oklahoma. There are plenty of school-houses, and the Mexicans we saw seemed quicker, more intelligent in general than those in my own State. I admit it seemed strange to me to see Mexicans being treated on the same footing as white people. You can certainly tell the difference in the bearing of Mexicans, Indians, negroes and other dark races the instant you cross the Texas line. Texas, whatever its virtues or faults, is a white man’s state, and that fact is reflected in the manner of the non-white races. They know their place. (AMTF2.875; CL3.356-357)

This examination of a new Hispanic population prompted Lovecraft to ask questions and offer his own experiences of different Hispanic groups he had encountered in Florida:

Your observations on New Mexico as a whole are extremely interesting—revealing an environment in some respects absolutely unique. I suppose that nowhere else in the United States is the Spanish-speaking element so numerous. In Florida a great many of the St. Augustine families linger on—Sanchez, Ponce, Segui, Usina, etc.—but they are without exception English-speaking…although still Catholic in religion. In the end, the New Mexican Spanish-speakers will probably be Anglicised—such being the general trend whenever a foreign region is incorporated into the continuous fabric of an Anglo-Saxon land. It was so in Florida—and has proved so with the French in Louisiana. […] Puerto Rico stays Spanish partly from such patriotic resistance and partly because its unsettled territorial status and West Indian insularity hinder the natural. By the way—is New Mexico legally bi-lingual as Quebec is—so that legal notices, official signs, etc. have to be in both English and Spanish[?] […] Regarding the Spanish-speaking population of New Mexico—isn’t it a fact that the better elements of it are really different from the low-grade ¾ Indian peon stock usually known as Mexican? I had an idea that the high-grade population of the Spanish Southwest—N. M.—Arizona—California—was pretty surely European in blood, and that in New Mexico it has survived without much change. That would surely create an element vastly different from the greasy peon stock—a group of solid middle-class Spaniards well-born and well-descended, and just as racially Aryan, though in a Latin way, as we are. Such a population could hardly mix much with the typical Mexicans. As you know—the newly appointed U.S. Senator from N.M. is a Chavez. Am I wrong in this impression? I’ll admit that I haven’t any specific documentary evidence to back it up—but I merely picked up the notion somehow. I may remark that the Spanish of St. Augustine come most emphatically under this head. They are all pure European white—no mixture of any sort having affected them. They are now, of course, freely intermarrying with the Anglo-Americans—have been, indeed, since the advent of U.S. rule in 1819. Florida is as much a white man’s state as Texas—with a rigid colour-line against niggers, and with the tribal, swamp-dwelling Seminoles utterly separate—but the ancient Genevors and Garcias and Menendez’s of St. Augustine are so proudly and obviously pure white that no one begrudges them a place on the right side of the line. This perfect equality does not, however, hold good for their fellow-Spaniards from Cuba, who are beginning to immigrate into southern Florida. Except in Key West, which was always half-Cuban, the Spaniard from the West Indies occupies about the same place that the omnipresent Italian occupies in the north. He uses the white man’s compartments in stations, coaches, etc., but is definitely regarded as a foreigner. The Cuban negro and mulatto, of course, is segregated with other blacks. Just now Miami is worried about its growing Cuban colony. It used to be extremely Anglo-Saxon; but as Cuba gets more turbulent and Key West gets more poverty-stricken, more and more Cubans flock to the South Florida metropolis. Tampa has an enormous Cuban quarter (very quaint—I’ve explored it) called Ybor City. (AMTF2.888-889)

Lovecraft was more prone than Howard to use the somewhat outdated terms mestizo and mulatto (and even more archaic terms like quadroon in some letters), and neither word appears in any of his surviving letters, though mulatto appears in Howard’s unfinished tales “The Last War” and “The Hand of Obeah.” For that matter, Howard only uses the term “colored” once in his letters, in an early epistle to Lovecraft (AMTF1.44; CL2.76), though that would have been a popular and accepted term during the 1930s to refer to any and all persons not considered “white.” The distinction, in terms of the Hispanic populations of Florida and the Southwest, at least as far as Lovecraft saw it, was in terms of assimilation: he held the belief that white Europeans of different nationalities could, by denying their own culture and accepting American culture, be assimilated as Americans. The “Anglicisation” of the Spanish families in St. Augustine, in adopting English and American customs, was seen by Lovecraft of proof of this belief. Howard replied:

You are probably right in assuming that the Latin population of New Mexico will eventually be Anglicized. But it will be a slow process, for migration into the State is comparatively sparse, and probably more than balanced by the drift of Latins from Mexico. To the best of my knowledge New Mexico is legally bi-lingual, though all the highway signs I remember seeing were in English. As for that matter, you could say the same for San Antonio, as far [as] the store signs are concerned. You ask concerning the different classes of Latin New Mexicans. Of course, I wasn’t there long enough, and didn’t see enough of New Mexican society to make any positive statements about conditions. But the higher class New Mexicans are undoubtedly of a purer and superior stock than the ordinary peons—more Spanish blood and less Indians. But I doubt (though I can’t swear to it) if the upper classes in New Mexico are as purely Spanish as those of Florida. It must be remembered that New Mexico was colonized, not directly from Spain, but from Old Mexico, where an intermingling with Aztec strains had already been going on for some years; that for many years New Mexico was an isolated region with little chance of contact with other European colonies; and that the region’s native Indians were peaceful and semi-civilized, offering no great barrier to the mixing of their race with the conquerors. I have an idea that the Spaniards of early New Mexico mixed a great deal more with the Indians than did those of Florida. However, there is probably a strong Anglo-Saxon strain in many of the better families, for in the early days of American rule, a good many Americans settled there, first as traders and trappers, later as soldiers and cattlemen, and married Mexican women. By the way, the first European colony in Texas, Ysleta, was settled by people from Santa Fe, fleeing an Indian revolt in 1680. (AMTF2.900-901; CL3.381-382)

In a following letter, discussing the ethics and moralities of the Italian invasion of Abyssinia (with its parallels to the European conquest of the Americas), Lovecraft perhaps unknowingly tied in this notion of assimilation and cultural autonomy—the idea that different national cultures, which were in part dependent on race, should maintain themselves apart without mixing—with Howard’s old fantasy of the conquest of Mexico:

As a whole, Mexico has enough of an established Hispanic civilisation to win it a place in the instinctively favoured category, but that is not true of all its parts. When at various times the U.S. took sections of its southern neighbour, these sections were among the least settled and civilised—hence the gradual Americanisation. But if we were to conquer the entire country in some future war, it seems certain that the intensively developed central area containing the capital would be granted a cultural autonomy like that enjoyed by Puerto Rico. (AMTF2.930)

It is perhaps fitting that in this letter, which is essentially the last word on the subject in Howard and Lovecraft’s correspondence due to Robert E. Howard’s suicide soon after, Lovecraft for the first and only time in these letters uses the word “Hispanic” to describe the peoples they had been discussing, off and on, since 1930.

Read Part 1, Part 2, Part 4, Part 5


Co-editor Jeffrey Shanks holds up a copy of the just released volume on the heyday of Weird TalesThe Unique Legacy of Weird Tales. Jeff and his co-editor Justin Everett complied an amazing line-up of authors, covering a wide range of topics for this in-depth look at The Unique Magazine. For some insight and background on this must-have volume, be sure and check out the interview with Jeff about the book here on the TGR blog.

Contents of The Unique Legacy of Weird Tales

Introduction: Weird Tales — Discourse Community and Genre Nexus


Chapter 1: “Something that swayed as if in unison”: The Artistic Authenticity of Weird Tales in the Interwar Periodical Culture of Modernism by Jason Ray Carney

Chapter 2: Weird Modernism: Literary Modernism in the First Decade of Weird Tales by Jonas Prida

Chapter 3: “Against the Complacency of an Orthodox Sun-Dweller”: The Lovecraft Circle and the “Weird Class” by Daniel Nyikos

Chapter 4: Strange Collaborations: Shared Authorship and Weird Tales by Nicole Emmelhainz

Chapter 5: Gothic to Cosmic: Sword and Sorcery Fiction in Weird Tales by Morgan Holmes


Chapter 6: A Nameless Horror: Madness and Metamorphosis in H.P. Lovecraft and Post-modernism by Clancy Smith

Chapter 7: Great Phallic Monoliths: Lovecraft and Sexuality by Bobby Derie

Chapter 8: Evolutionary Otherness: Anthropological Anxiety in Robert E. Howard’s “Worms of the Earth” by Jeffrey Shanks

Chapter 9: Eugenic Thought in the Works of Robert E. Howard by Justin Everett


Chapter 10: Pegasus Unbridled: Clark Ashton Smith and the Ghettoization of the Fantastic by Scott Connors

Chapter 11: “A Round Cipher”: Word-Building and World-Building in the Weird Works of Clark Ashton Smith by Geoffrey Reiter

Chapter 12: C. L. Moore and M. Brundage: Competing Femininities in the October, 1934 Issue of Weird Tales by Jonathan Helland

Chapter 13: Psycho-ology 101: Incipient Madness in the Weird Tales of Robert Bloch by Paul Shovlin

Chapter 14: “To Hell and Gone”: Harold Lawlor’s Self-Effacing Pulp Metafiction by Sidney Sondergard

This volume, published by, Rowman & Littlefield, is available now from



1. a narrative song with a recurrent refrain; ballad

[origin: 13th century; Middle English, from Anglo-French lai]


At birth a witch laid on me monstrous spells,
And I have trod strange highroads all my days,
Turning my feet to gray, unholy ways.
I grope for stems of broken asphodels;
High on the rims of bare, fiend-haunted fells,
I follow cloven tracks that lie ablaze;
And ghosts have led me through the moonlight’s haze
To talk with demons in their granite hells.

Seas crash upon long dragon-guarded shores,
Bursting in crimson moons of burning spray,
And iron castles ope to me their doors,
And serpent-women lure with harp and lay.
The misty waves shake now to phantom oars—
Seek not for me; I sail to meet the day.

[from “The Singer in the Mist”; this is the complete poem as it appears in The Collected Poetry of Robert E. Howard, p. 238 and Always Comes Evening, p. 16]

Art: Lamia the Serpent Woman by Anna Lea Merritt
This entry filed under Howard's Poetry, Word of the Week.

Watercolor painting of REH and Patch in front of the Howard House

This is the first in a series of posts featuring the artwork of the Illustrators of REH. Bill Cavalier has been chosen for the first entry.

Bill “Indy” Cavalier has long been a fixture in REH fandom and scholarship. He is the Official Editor for the Robert E. Howard United Press Association and serves on the Board of Directors of the Robert E. Howard Foundation. He is also one of the founders of Robert E. Howard Days, attending the first gathering in 1986.

Bill’s artwork and essays have been featured in numerous publications including Amra, The Dark Man, The Cimmerian, REH: Two-Gun Raconteur, and REHupa. His article “How Robert E. Howard Saved My Life” received the 2007 Hyrkanian Award. In 2011, Bill was inducted into the prestigious Black Circle for lifetime achievement in REH fandom and scholarship.

from the Howard Days blog.

Kane 1

Solomon Kane



Triumph of Barbarism


Photo Op

Photo Op on the front porch of the Howard House


Belit 1

Belit, Queen of the Black Coast


Four Brothers

The Four Brothers of the Night

To see more of Bill’s artwork visit his website. If you are interested in purchasing original artwork or want to request a commission, contact Bill here.

Artwork Copyright ©2015 by Bill Cavalier
This entry filed under Howard Illustrated.