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Down the Storied Stairs of Time
Crackpot Mailbox: Considering Conan the Jacksonian? By Joel T. Leggett on Jul 5, 2019
© 2019 James LaFond
Charles Steiner
Sat, Jul 6, 1:06 AM (8 days ago)
to me, Lynn
Hi, You Two, James and Lynn,
I just received a link from Abbeville Institute about Robert Howard's Conan and his Jacksonian values. (Abbeville Institute published a book review of mine some time ago, and I'm still on their email list for book reviews.).
James, you've written extensively about the Western values in Conan, and, Lynn, I know you know what James has written and that you have an interest, like me, in things Southron yourself, which is why I'm sending you this link to both of you.
Conan the Southerner? | Abbeville Institute
"When I was a college student it was fashionable for the left-leaning intellectual crowd to say things like “America has no culture.” They would haughtily offer as proof the lack of any sophisticated homegrown mythology. Stories such as Paul Bunyan and Johnny Appleseed didn’t count because they were just tall tales for rednecks and rubes.
"While the claim that “America has no culture” is patently ridiculous most people accept the observation that America lacks its own mythology. To the extent the observation has any weight the same could be said of England. In fact, the lack of an indigenous English mythology is what motivated J.R.R. Tolkien to write the Lord of the Rings. Whether or not he accomplished that goal, he created stories that are loved all over the world.
Read more of Leggett's excellent article at the link below:
A Border State Perspective
Thank you, Charles, for this and many thoughtful things.
Having recently picked up the Robert E. Howard project again with a reading of The Shadow of the Vulture, a keenly historic piece of fiction set in Europe, it has come to dawn more clearly on this mind that the author of the Conan stories was practicing a form of cultural channeling with all of his various heroes and stories—with the stories clearly fields of heroic identity expression, making his yarns unique in the modern story telling tradition and curiously more closely linked with ancient epics such as The Argonautica, The Aeneid and Beowulf—these being, more or less, tribal migration myths.
The following themes are present in all of Howard's work:
-Malevolent, prehuman sentience as a crucible of human souls
-A world of rising and falling civilizations and migrating tribes as a crucible of races
-An individual willingness, that is heroism, to be forged by malefic and cataclysmic processes, steeled with a determination to remain tempered by internal values
-Notions of racial competition, over traditional notions of superiority and modern notions of guilt [Do note that racial guilt is just as organic and real as Howard's notion of racial striving.]
-The hero's actionism as a note sung in an ongoing song of a definitive racial striving to follow the river of language down through cataract-like Stairs of Time, in Howard's case, an obsession with Gaelic folk surviving tribal migrations, natural and supernatural forces and the identity-erasing process of civilization
-Heroic alienation in the larger field of shared Аrуаn identity [a heroic language-echoed and blood-carried experience of the war band] with the focus on specific tribal identities that cannot survive intact in the long fall down the Stairs of Time, but nevertheless compel the doomed hero to strive for his doomed tribe and hence do his part propelling the flow of actionism down the cataracts that might be said to be the language river pouring down over the various steps which are the passing civilizations, eroding epochs and resurgent evils, with evils having their own lifespans and legacies within the process just as civilizations and tribes do
-A hero patterned on a real historic hero in the same actionated and blended blood line as the author, such as Solomon Kane being based on Captain John Smith and Howard's own father, Bran Mak Morn and Cormac Macart based on Dark Age warlords of the British Isles and most of all, Conan, clearly based on Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forest, right down to his extreme interracial empathy, fleshed out by conflating the general with a physically imposing uncle of Howard's who served under him and with characteristics of adventuring men Howard met in oil boom owns in East Texas.
My conclusion is that no single modern man has done more to craft authentic myth on shared tribal, racial and metaphysical planes than did the oddly alienated young man from East Texas who seemed obsessed with the better nature of his forefathers, wondering as fiercely at the story of the peoples whose sufferings flowed in his veins as he did chaff at what became of them in the form of his own reduced and ultimately discarded frame—doing so with the poet's vindication that their actions live on in words in the world which had become every hero's bane.
A Well of Heroes
A Well of Heroes: Two:
Literary Impressions of the Prose and Verse of Robert E. Howard
a well of heroes
Conan the Banker?
son of a lesser god
let the world fend for itself
the combat space
masculine axis
broken dance
by the wine dark sea
logic of steel
the fighting edge
your trojan whorse
the first boxers
the lesser angels of our nature
when you're food
winter of a fighting life
the gods of boxing
menthol rampage
taboo you
honor among men
the greatest lie ever sold
book of nightmares
logic of force
Charles Steiner     Jul 14, 2019

Beautifully written and beautifully said.
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