Monday, June 18, 2018

‘The Pulse of Life’

James LaFond's Impressions of A Moment by Robert E. Howard
Reading from page 81 of A Word from the Outer Dark

Four verses of four lines each are the time it took for Robert E. Howard to reverse his negative exposure lens and bring to bear his sharpest tool in the exposition of heroism among horror and savagery, which was his stock-in-trade. There is something deeply horrific about Howard’s settings, something that does not square with his lack of graphic gore and his reticence towards the minutia of killing.

It is this, his deep appreciation for beauty which is imbedded in many dark corners of his prose but which forms the entirety of A Moment, the first verse of which is quoted below:

Let me forget all men a space,
All dole and death and dearth;
Let me clutch the world in my hungry arms—
The paramour of the earth.

This passion for natural beauty shines languidly through the brutal masculine mechanics of his barbarian characters, the sullied souls of his civilized villains, the inhumane gulfs that shadow his fictional worlds, and the bones of the dying civilizations bleaching under the eye of his dark sun, mostly in the persons of his female characters, who are never mere sidekicks, love interests or possessions, but rather as miniature—often innocent—little worlds like flowers under the cruel feet of men.

(c) 2018 James LaFond

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