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HPPR Arts, Culture & History

A Remembrance of West Texas’s “King of Pulp”

Margaret Brundage
Wikimedia Commons

The small town of Cross Plains, Texas, recently held a literary festival to honor the most famous West Texas writer you’ve never heard of.

Robert E. Howard lived in Cross Plains during the 1920s, and that’s where he created his most famous character, Conan the Barbarian.

As The Texas Observer recounts, Howard lived in a clapboard house with his physician father and chronically ill mother. He converted a porch to a tiny bedroom, and there he wrote pulp stories for up to 12 hours a day.

Besides his Conan stories, Howard also wrote fantasy stories, Westerns, boxing stories, pirate stories, and horror stories. But it’s Conan he is remembered for, and he is widely credited with inventing the “sword and sorcery” genre.

In fact, if you read the Conan stories closely, you’ll find aspects of the Texas frontier and settlers’ wars with the Comanches hiding among the ancient monsters and warriors.