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Robert Ervin Howard (1906 - 1936), was a Texas-born writer who created the character of Conan the Cimmerian, and the fantasy world that surrounded him.
While working a series of odd jobs in Central Texas during the late 1920's, Howard sold his first set of stories to the pulp fiction magazine Weird Tales. Drawn to historical fiction centered around warrior cultures, Howard created swashbuckling, bloodthirsty heroes which proved extremely popular with the magazine's readers. By the 1930's, he was writing for a large number of pulp magazines.
In 1932, a short story entitled The Phoenix on the Sword appeared in Weird Tales. It introduced the character of Conan the Cimmerian, Howard's most enduring character. Howard would eventually pen seventeen Conan short stories, with a number left unpublished for almost seventy years, as well as several unpublished pieces. In later decades, a number of other authors would write full-length Conan novels, including Poul Anderson and Robert Jordan.
Howard was a contemporary of the famous horror story writer H.P. Lovecraft. The two shared correspondence over a period of roughly six years. Lovecraft encouraged Howard to use some of his fictional concepts in Howard's stories. As a result, some Howard and Lovecraft tales are loosely connected by references to The Great Old Ones, Yag, Yith, Set, Dagon and Cthulhu.
In 1936, Howard, who suffered from life-long depression, took his own life.
The 1996 film The Whole Wide World was based on Howard's relationship with Novalyne Price. It starred Vincent D'Onofrio as Howard and Renee Zellweger as Price.
Famous Robert E. Howard Characters