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The Irish-American Identities of Robert E. Howard and Conan the Barbarian

The Irish-American Identities of Robert E. Howard and Conan the Barbarian Abstract: This article considers the biography of the pulp fiction author Robert E. Howard (1906-1936), with special attention to the unorthodox manner in which he constructed an Irish-American identity for himself. Howard was raised far from the urban settings that were familiar to most Irish Americans, and had little or no familial or cultural exposure to Ireland and Irishness Instead, Howard drew almost wholly on literary sources to perform an act of ethnic autogenesis. As such, his example stands as an alternative to the usual accounts of American ethnic identity, and complicates many received understandings about the Irish in America. The article looks at how Howard’s understanding of Irishness played out in the creation of his most famous fictional character, Conan the Barbarian. The article concludes that Howard might rightly be considered a significant author in the canon of Irish-American literature. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png New Hibernia Review Center for Irish Studies at the University of St. Thomas

The Irish-American Identities of Robert E. Howard and Conan the Barbarian

New Hibernia Review , Volume 20 (2) – Jul 29, 2016

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Publisher
Center for Irish Studies at the University of St. Thomas
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 The University of St. Thomas.
ISSN
1534-5815
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Abstract: This article considers the biography of the pulp fiction author Robert E. Howard (1906-1936), with special attention to the unorthodox manner in which he constructed an Irish-American identity for himself. Howard was raised far from the urban settings that were familiar to most Irish Americans, and had little or no familial or cultural exposure to Ireland and Irishness Instead, Howard drew almost wholly on literary sources to perform an act of ethnic autogenesis. As such, his example stands as an alternative to the usual accounts of American ethnic identity, and complicates many received understandings about the Irish in America. The article looks at how Howard’s understanding of Irishness played out in the creation of his most famous fictional character, Conan the Barbarian. The article concludes that Howard might rightly be considered a significant author in the canon of Irish-American literature.

Journal

New Hibernia ReviewCenter for Irish Studies at the University of St. Thomas

Published: Jul 29, 2016

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