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'Death to the Masters!': the role of slave revolt in the fiction of Robert E. Howard

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Robert E. Howard, slavery, Jim Crow, slave revolt, Texas Revolution, Thomas Jefferson, Tocqueville, John Brown, critic of slavery, Conan story

Abstract (summary)

The fantasy fiction of Robert E. Howard reveals a number of largely unspoken assumptions about the historical role of slavery and its consequences in Jim Crow Texas. Howard traced a trajectory that led from slavery through miscegenation and servile uprising to the destruction of civilisation. The descriptions of slave revolts in his fiction depends upon a paranoid rhetoric which developed in the South before and after Emancipation to respond to the fact of servile insurrection, outlining the consistent features of such revolts and explaining their causes and historical implications. As documents offering insight into the segregationist mind, Howard's stories are invaluable.

Publication Information

Garstad, Benjamin. “‘Death to the Masters!’: the role of slave revolt in the fiction of Robert E. Howard.” Slavery & Abolition 31 (2010) 233-256.


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