"HITHER CAME CONAN, THE CIMMERIAN… TO TREAD THE JEWELED THRONES OF THE EARTH UNDER HIS SANDALED FEET": FIRST EDITIONS OF GNOME PRESS' COMPLETE CONAN BOOKS
HOWARD, Robert E. Conan the Conqueror. WITH: The Sword of Conan. WITH: King Conan. WITH: The Coming of Conan. WITH: Conan the Barbarian. WITH: HOWARD, Robert E. and L. Sprague de Camp. Tales of Conan. WITH: NYBERG, Björn and L. Sprague de Camp. The Return of Conan. New York: Gnome Press, (1950-57). Together, seven volumes. Octavo, original cloth, original dust jackets. $6000.
First editions of all seven books about Conan—Robert E. Howard's iconic, foe-crushing sword-and-sorcery hero—published by Gnome Press, all in original dust jackets. A lovely and desirable set.
Robert E. Howard "set the most important precedents of all for the future evolution of imaginative fiction in America" (Anatomy of Wonder, 35). In the 17 stories about Conan, the primeval warrior king, that he sold to Weird Tales between 1932 and his suicide in 1936, Howard created a character "whose exuberance is almost irresistible… He is a fomenter, a shaker of the world… That Conan represented a wish-fulfillment for Howard has been generally assumed… and there is no denying the pathos inherent in the gap between the world-bestriding Conan and his creator, who hardly left Cross Plains, Texas… But there is always the saving raw action, the exorbitant young world awaiting the blow, the feel of the wind of the story. In that, he remains nonpareil" (Clute & Grant, 482-83). "Conan… has become one of the myth figures of our time… This is the original, unadulterated Sword-and-Sorcery, and as such it has been extremely influential. Robert E. Howard managed to create a genre" (Pringle, Modern Fantasy, 42-43). In the 1950s Gnome Press published all of Howard's tales of Conan known to exist at that time, including some material that not previously seen print. L. Sprague de Camp revised (rather too heavily, according to many Howard fans) and completed some stories in Gnome's latter volumes, and collaborated with Swedish author Björn Nyberg on the last title, The Return of Conan. Mighty Conan has waged his violent way to the silver screen several times, played by Arnold Schwarzenegger in Conan the Barbarian (1982) and Conan the Destroyer (1984), and in Conan the Barbarian (2011) by Jason Momoa. See Fantasy and Horror 5-144.
Books with mild embrowning to later volumes' text blocks, cloth generally fresh. Dust jackets bright (light sunning to spine of Conan the Conqueror) with only minor wear to some spine feet. An excellent set, desirable in such wonderful condition.