44. Conan the Barbarian


The stories depict Conan in his late twenties and early thirties. That puts this volume chronologically second in the series, after The Coming of Conan and before The Sword of Conan. Unlike the grab-bag that was Coming, these are all true Howard stories with all that implies. Although the later comics series and the movie that followed made Conan the Barbarian an inescapable epithet for the character, nobody in the fifties appeared to consider it anything but an afterthought.

Gnome Notes

For the first time in the Conan series, Dave Kyle’s useful map of the Hyborian Age is not included in any form. Blame L. Sprague de Camp if you must; with this volume he took over from John D. Clark as the editor of the Conan series.


P. Schuyler Miller, Astounding Science Fiction, April 1954.
Conan stands, anthropologically, for the struggle for existence view of Man’s place and purpose as voiced by a long line of distinguished philosophers, from Haeckel to Sir Arthur Keith. In this view, history – and the future – is an elimination tournament in which the strongest or craftiest will one day stand alone.

August Derleth, [Madison WI] Capital Times, March 10, 1955.
Those readers who take pleasure in stories of lusty combat set in ancient times ought not to miss this one. The stories have more than usual vitality, even for the genre.

Contents and original publication

• Introductions to stories (from “An Informal Biography of Conan the Cimmerian” John D. Clark and P. Schuyler Miller, adapted from “Probable Outline of Conan’s Career,” in Robert E. Howard, The Hyborian Age, Los Angeles: LANY Cooperative Publications, 1938).
• “Black Colossus” (Weird Tales, June 1933).
• “Shadows in the Moonlight” (Weird Tales, April 1934).
• “A Witch Shall Be Born” (Weird Tales, December 1934).
• “Shadows in Zamboula” (Weird Tales, November 1935).
• “The Devil in Iron” (Weird Tales, August 1934).

cover art by Margaret Brundage

Bibliographic Information

Conan the Barbarian, by Robert E. Howard, 1954, copyright registration 1Nov54, Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 54-12146, 224 pages, title #44, back panel #28, $3.00. 5000 copies printed. Hardback, red cloth, spine lettered in black. Jacket design by Emsh. First Edition” on copyright page. Type set by: Slugs Composition Company. Printing & Binding by: H. Wolff. Manufactured in the U.S.A. Back panel: 31 titles. Gnome Press address given as 80 East 11th St., New York 3.


None known.


Conan the Barbarian, red boards, black lettering