Thursday, October 13, 2016

No Place Like Gnome!









I've been reading up on the publishing history of Robert E. Howard's Conan and while doing so discovered all over again the lovely Gnome Press editions of the stories which appeared in the 1950's. The first appeared in 1950 and the final volume in 1957. These are the stories as reorganized and to some extent re-imagined by L. Sprague DeCamp. They quit doing them for a very simple reason, they ran out of Conan stories, so the last one is a bit of fan fiction by Bjorn Nyberg with ammendations by DeCamp. The famous Lancer paperbacks which ignited the Conan craze in the 1960's were mostly just reprints of the material first organize in these handsome tomes.


Many folks and fans of REH decry the involvement of DeCamp and his willingness to adapt and alter the original REH material. That's an argument for another day, but it's clear to me without his efforts, it's unlikely that Conan might be the recognizable character he is today. Would love to have a set of these on my shelves, but the price is prohibitive. Still they are exceedingly nice to look at.

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2 comments:

  1. So interesting. I’ve long heard of these Gnome Press editions but never actually saw them. Can’t imagine what a near-mint set with the original dust jackets would run. Thanks(!) for showing this Rip!

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    Replies
    1. You're very welcome. When I saw that picture of the volumes all stacked so neatly together it made my bibliophile heart ache. I love to read but perhaps even more I love a beautiful book.

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