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'The Iron Harp'
James LaFond's impression of Dark Valley Destiny: The Life of Robert E. Howard by De Camp, De Camp & Griffin
© 2019 James LaFond
Bluejay Books, 1961-83, 402 pages.
Imagine if you were a boy who was very different in outlook, born out of time if you will, brutally beat up in early elementary school, sickly in middle school years, and then, when you had grown strong and smart and the bullying stopped, you found out that school and its brain-washing teachers did not interest you—but you were told by society that your way out of the local world you didn’t fit into was through more school, and seated jobs, even though you had come to be a physical man. Imagine having well-read parents who told stories and encouraged you to do the same, and thence wanting to be a writer. This would, and had, with early writers, ignited a wanderlust, a feature that would become the centerpiece of Howard’s fantasy characters, but which he couldn’t engage in without abandoning his mother as she slowly died. Now return to imagining that you are Howard, or his spirit and that three school-teacher, money-maker types, two of them Yankee academics, decided to write your story according to the incestuous theories of the perverted coke head Sigmund Freud.
Dark Valley Destiny is a biography of a counter-culture traditionalist written by the very sissy church-ladies of modernity who extinguished his stripe of writer. The book went through many editions, is very strong on local East Texas history and biographical detail, and was focused as a commercial venture on the Conan character, as the lead author was the editor of that resurrected body of work—with CONAN the largest word on the cover. This book is by fits and turns excellent and disgusting, with the authors obviously jealous of Howard’s natural ability yet wishing he had taken their academic course instead, in awe of the money he posthumously put in their pockets yet declaring that he would have served the world better as a book keeper or accountant, dismissive of much of his work as trash and seemingly wishful that he would have been like them and made no lasting imprint on the human consciousness.
Most disturbing were the authors’ constant insistence that the Howard family...
Read more at:
A Well of Heroes
A Well of Heroes: Two:
Literary Impressions of the Prose and Verse of Robert E. Howard
‘Only the Wall’
a well of heroes
‘Far from the Cradle of Your Race’
uncle satan
when you're food
plantation america
the fighting edge
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