RARA-AVIS: Robert E. Howard (was Sports Noir)

From: Brian Thornton ( tieresias@worldnet.att.net)
Date: 15 Feb 2007

Speaking of Robert E. Howard, I worked my way through his entire canon as a teen-ager. The Arnold Schwarzenegger film adaptations of some of his work notwithstanding, I'd say that *all* of Howard's protagonists (Conan, Kull, Cormac MacArt, Bran MakMorn, Solomon Kane, El Borak, et. al.) were proto-typical noir heroes in an heroic fantasy setting.

And talk about a noir ending: Howard died a suicide (shot himself in his car) at 30 when his beloved mother slipped into a coma on the doorstep of her own impending death.


  ----- Original Message -----
  From: Mark Finn
  To: rara-avis-l@yahoogroups.com
  Sent: Thursday, February 15, 2007 6:54 AM
  Subject: RARA-AVIS: Re: Sports Noir

  --- In rara-avis-l@yahoogroups.com, "Terrill Lankford"
  <lankford2000@...> wrote:
> Don't know if anyone has mentioned this one yet, but Joe Lansdale's
  short novel THE BIG BLOW mixes boxing with the great hurricane of 1900
  that leveled Galveston. Jack Johnson is one of the main characters.
> TL

  Boxing does seem naturally inclined to Noir writing, doesn't it? After
  all, it's been alleged for the past hundred years that boxing was
  crooked, fixed, or otherwise shady-the perfect breeding ground for
  gangsters and related types. And then there's the aspect of
  punishment-two guys beating the crap out of each other. Getting
  knocked to the canvas is a perfect metaphor, especially considering
  that up until the middle of the 20th century, the three biggest sports
  in America were, in no particular order, baseball, horseracing, and

  To this I'll add another boxing tale: "Iron-Jaw" by Robert E. Howard.
  If you have either The Iron Man or Boxing Stories, it appears in those
  books as "Fists of the Desert." I would call it proto-noir, and
  certainly, it would seem that REH was headed in this direction at the
  end of his career. This was written and sold just a few months before
  he died.

  Mark Finn


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 15 Feb 2007 EST