The Robert E Howard Foundation, The Robert E Howard United Press Association, and Project Pride are pleased to announce that Charles Hoffman has accepted our invitation to be Guest of Honor at Robert E. Howard Days in June 2012.
Chuck is one of the most formidable essayists in Howard studies. His “Conan the Existentialist,” which appeared in Amra 61 (March 1974), was the opening salvo of what has come to be called “the new criticism” of Howard, criticism that took him seriously as a writer whose work had depth and substance along with the excitement and adventure. Prior to that essay, most Howard “criticism” consisted of book reviews (though some, like those of Schuyler Miller and Fritz Leiber, showed real insight) or introductions by fans who failed to take him seriously (John D. Clark famously proclaiming, “Don’t look for hidden philosophical meanings or intellectual puzzles in these yarns–they aren’t there.”). Chuck showed that Howard could not only provide rousing action, but rewarded closer reading as well. Patrice Louinet says, “‘Conan the Existentialist’ is the essay that made me want to study & write about Howard. It was a pure revelation.”
Chuck co-authored, with his long-time friend Marc Cerasini, Robert E. Howard: Starmont Reader’s Guide 35, a book that remains the most impressive critical overview of Howard’s entire corpus. A revised edition, originally planned for publication in 2006, is expected from the REH Foundation Press in 2012. (There’s a fine interview with Chuck and Marc, conducted by Steve Tompkins, over at the Cimmerian Blog archive.) Chuck and Marc also edited the first two issues of the journal Cromlech, the first periodical publication devoted to serious scholarship and criticism of REH. Determined that Howard studies should have a continuing vehicle for such work, I used Cromlech as my model when I started The Dark Man.
Chuck has written a number of acclaimed essays on Howard’s work, several of which you can read at his blog (which he hasn’t updated in a very long time, something I hope he will be prompted to remedy soon). You’ll have to dig back into his archive, but it’s worth the effort. It was due to my profound respect for his body of work that I asked Chuck to provide the essay, “Robert E. Howard: Twentieth-Century Mythmaker,” for the first volume of The Best of Robert E. Howard (Del Rey).
Make your plans now to attend Howard Days in Cross Plains, Texas, June 8-9, 2012, and take advantage of this all-too-rare opportunity to meet one of the towering figures of Howard studies!