Wednesday, 12 October 2011

"It's your scholarship, Bobbie! Something's got to be done about your scholarship!"

With The Evolutionary Heroes of Robert E. Howard still on the horizon and more and more academically-minded folks recognizing Howard's scholarly virtues, it's with great enthusiasm that I announce the latest of the Shieldwall's assaults against the ivory towers of Academia who yet deny the Man from Cross Plains' merits as a Real Author of Real Literature - Conan Meets the Academy: Multidisciplinary Essays on the Enduring Barbarian. The press release is excellent, as a somewhat tongue-in-cheek, cheerful explanation of Howard's Conan being more than just a dimwitted brute:

Conan Meets the Academy
Multidisciplinary Essays on the Enduring Barbarian

Edited by Jonas Prida

Print ISBN: 978-0-7864-6152-3
EBook ISBN: 978-0-7864-8989-3
5 maps, 2 photos, tables, notes, bibliography, index
softcover (6 x 9) 2012

Buy Now!

Price: $35.00
Not Yet Published, Available Spring/Summer 2012 About the Book
In 1932, Robert E. Howard penned a series of fantasy stories featuring Conan, a hulking Cimmerian warrior who roamed the mythical Hyborian Age landscape engaging in heroic adventures. More than the quirky manifestation of Depression-era magazines, Conan the Barbarian has endured as a cultural mainstay for over 70 years. This multidisciplinary collection offers the first scholarly investigation of Conan, from Howard’s early stories, through mid-century novels and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s iconic films, to the 2011 cinematic remake of Conan the Barbarian. Drawing on disciplines such as stylometry, archeology, cultural studies, folklore studies, and literary history, the essays examine statistical analyses of Conan texts, the literary genesis of Conan, later-day parodies, Conan video games, and much more. By displaying the wide range of academic interest in Conan, this volume reveals the hidden scholarly depth of this seemingly unsophisticated fictional character.
About the Author
Jonas Prida is an assistant professor of English and head of the English Department at the College of St. Joseph, in Rutland, Vermont.

Looks great!  Can't wait for its release, and to find out more about its contents. But there's something bothering me that I can't quite put my finger on... Wait...

This multidisciplinary collection offers the first scholarly investigation of Conan

What the...

"Aly!  You've got to come back with me - back to the future!

Whoa there, Doc, you want 8-year-old Aly, I'll just get him:


"Doc, I got my older self's Robert E. Howard Foundation award here, I was just going to try out my new victory pose!"

"Well, bring it along, it concerns it too!"

"What do you mean?  What happens?  Does something happen to Robert E. Howard?  Does he get erased from existence?"

"No, you and Robert E. Howard turn out fine: it's the scholarship, Aly!  Something's gotta be done about the scholarship!"

"According to my theory, someone interfered with Glenn Lord's discovery of Howard's work. If Glenn doesn't read it, he won't read any more Howard, he won't start The Howard Collector and he won't open the gates to Robert E. Howard scholarship - no Dark Barbarian, no Blood & Thunder, no Echos de Cimmerie, no Evolutionary Heroes, not even The Robert E. Howard Reader! That's why your copy of The Barbaric Triumph's disappearing from that photograph. The fanzines will follow, and unless you repair the damage, your Foundation Award'll be next!"

"Sounds pretty heavy, Doc!"

"Weight has nothing to do with it."

"You're right, I don't know why I used a popular idiom to illustrate my feelings to an absent-minded professor. To the Delorean!"

*I should point out that just after I posted this, Agent Theagenes posted this on the REH Forums:

I brought up that problematic sentence with Jonas this morning after I saw it and there is some discussion underway right now about changing it. His intent was not to diss all of the previous REH scholarship, but to point out that this is the first study of Conan as an over-all pop culture figure---not just Howard's Conan. But the sentence is poorly worded---hopefully it won't be much of a problem to get it changed.

So that's cleared up, but dammit, I just watched Back to the Future with my cousin and infant second-cousin for the first time (theirs, not mine) and I'm still buzzing from the fun of it.

** I should also point out that this was also partially inspired by my recognition of Glenn Lord's impending 80th birthday.  I truly hope to meet him someday, though due to his health and age and my wet-behind-the-ears level of experience in Texas, time is running out.  Unfortunately, I don't have a Delorean.

*** Damon Sasser alerted me to another rupture in the space-time continuum, as Doc and 8-year-old Aly inadvertently created a universe where Glenn Lord's journal was called The Howard Reader rather than The Howard Collecter. Luckily the original timeline has been restored, or my name isn't Al Rudiger Cunningham.


  1. Hero of the Federation12 October 2011 at 22:24

    Jonas Prida put your hand on that wall..... well you couldn't put your finger on it Al, but I just watched Starship Troopers (again; all on my own) and NB: the enemy can not type such errors if you disable his hand! Don't worry I'll be watching Enchanted tomorrow.....then cleaning the house.....

  2. i truly hope you do get the chance to meet Mr Lord Al, keep up the good work!-mario

  3. Al, Glenn's Howard journal was The Howard Collector, not The Howard Reader.

  4. Oh, bother, I got it mixed up. Thanks, Damon!