Ep 41 – Sword & Sorcery & Feminism, with Nicole Emmelhainz

Oliver and Nicole Emmelhainz discuss her essay on feminism and sword & sorcery, “A Sword-Edge Beauty as Keen as Blades: The Gender Dynamics of Sword-and-Sorcery“!

This covers things like Weird Tales Magazine, Robert E. Howard and Conan, Jirel as “Alice in Wonderland with a big sword”, Howard and Lovecraft’s correspondence with each other as well as fellow Weird Tales writers like Moore, S&S writing as “an opportunity to expose gender as fundamentally performative in nature”, growth and change in Conan, the flexibility of sword and sorcery, what Nicole sees as the necessary qualities for an S&S story to be feminist, defying gender roles, the body as a vessel for victory, S&S as a very body-centric genre, good old barbarism vs civilization, queer possibilities in S&S, an intriguing ambiguity in the ending of Black God’s Kiss, what might be a “trans utopic space” in sword and sorcery?, the potential for expanding the space of sword & sorcery along lines of gender & sexuality, cozy fantasy, and more!

Nicole’s Essay
Gollancz collection of all six Jirel of Joiry Stories
Read Black God’s Kiss for free here
Dehumanizing Violence and Compassion in Robert E. Howard’s “Red Nails”, an essay Nicole mentions, written by her husband Jason Ray Carney
The Whetstone Tavern Discord
The Dark Man Journal of Robert E. Howard and Pulp Studies
That cool trans-centric “zombie” apocalypse novel Oliver mentions, Manhunt
The episode of The Appendix N Book Club focused on Jirel of Joiry, featuring friend of the show Cora Buhlert. Good if you want to hear different angles on the story Black God’s Kiss, hear more about the other Jirel tales, and consider the TTRPG possibilities in those stories.

Oliver’s fav paperback cover for the Jirel stories. Click for a link to a bad cover, but an affordable, accessible edition…or have fun hunting at your local second hand book shop!

Please consider: Supporting us on Patreon and Buying Oliver’s Books!


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