To a man whose name I never knew. Published in The Junto volume 1 number 8 by Booth Mooney, November 1928.

THE JUNTO was a literary travelogue circulated from member to member on its mailing list with each member adding some content.

The essay is a poignant commentary on bravery, resilience, and the sometimes harsh judgment of observers who themselves may not possess the courage they demand of others.


In Robert E. Howard’s short essay, “To a Man Whose Name I Never Knew,” the narrator describes an experience at Fort Sam Houston Stadium (located in San Antonio) during a boxing match. The essay captures a visceral scene where two fighters engage fiercely, one ultimately being knocked down, battered, and defeated. Close by, an obnoxious spectator, who exudes the air of a prosperous salesman, vocally degrades the losing fighter, calling him a “tramp” and taunting his bravery and resilience.

The spectator’s demeaning shouts and contemptuous behavior incite a strong emotional response in the narrator. Filled with indignation, the narrator fantasizes about confronting the man, insulting his cowardice and lack of integrity compared to the downed fighter’s courage. The narrator imagines physically retaliating against the spectator’s cruelty with a punch that would be both a physical and moral rebuke, but refrains, acknowledging the constraints of societal norms and the setting of being in a “civilized nation.”


  • Narrator: Observes the fight and experiences a strong emotional reaction to the spectator’s insults directed at the losing boxer.
  • Unnamed Boxer: Fights valiantly in the ring, described as enduring significant physical punishment before ultimately being defeated.
  • Obnoxious Spectator: Described as having the appearance of a successful salesman, this character loudly and rudely taunts the boxer, calling him a tramp and belittling his efforts.

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