Portal:Robert E. Howard

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Robert Ervin Howard (January 22, 1906 – June 11, 1936) was a prolific American author and poet. He wrote pulp fiction in a diverse range of genres and is today most famous for the creation of the character of Conan the Cimmerian.

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The Hyborian Age is a fictional time period created by Howard as a setting for his Conan the Cimmerian stories. After writing three Conan stories, and selling the first, he created the essay The Hyborian Age in order to properly define the world and its history. The age is in prehistory, before the Ice Age that would shape the modern world and after a great cataclysm that caused the sinking of Atlantis and other disasters. The name comes from the Hyborian people, the dominant race of the time who, according to the essay, would be almost wiped out by the coming of the Ice Age. Howard used the period, both as a setting and by reference, in his other stories and it has been referenced in works by other authors, such as H.P. Lovecraft.

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Weird Tales August 1934.JPG
Cover of Weird Tales (August 1934, vol. 24, no. 2) featuring the Conan story The Devil in Iron. The picture depicts Conan fighting a giant, and supposedly extinct, snake while the escaped slave Octavia kneels, recoiling in horror, in the foreground. Art by Margaret Brundage.

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The Harp of Alfred

I heard the harp of Alfred
As I went o'er the downs,
When thorn-trees stood at even
Like monks in dusky gowns;
I heard the music Guthrum heard
Beside the wasted towns:

When Alfred, like a peasant,
Came harping down the hill,
And the drunken danes made merry
With the man they sought to kill,
And the Saxon king laughed in their beards
And bent them to his will.

I heard the harp of Alfred
As the twilight waned to night;
I heard ghost armies tramping
As the dim stars flamed white;
And Guthrum walked at my left hand,
And Alfred at my right.


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