22 November 2013


I stumbled to your web site after reading about it in the recent issue of "Machenalia". It's a wonderful resource and I'm enjoying it immensely. I've been a fan of Cabell's work since first reading "Cream of the Jest" some 30 years ago.

I saw your note on the pre-first-edition of SS, and can answer the question posed at the bottom of the page. The other copy (I know now that it was Holt's) is in my Cabell bookcase. I bought it by accident many years ago at a store known as the Book Barn - how it got there, I'll never know. The Barn itself closed some time ago. I picked it up because it had a McBride dustwrap, and when I saw how prettily it had been decorated I decided to buy it. It was $20, a little dear for a cheap Kalki edition, but I thought why not?

Attached are scans of the cover and endpapers. I think that's sun damage to the spine, which suggests it was not issued in dustwrap.

Also attached is a scan of the cover and title page of Jurgen, in an Esperanto translation by William Aud. It was published by Sezonoj, in Yekaterinburg Russia, in 2001. 

If I have any other items that are not present on your site, I can send you further images if you like.

Again, many thanks for your effort in reviving interest in a fine author and his works.

best wishes,
Jeff [Katz]

Great to hear from you, and fabulous news! You can be sure that this will get up on SS immediately, and we'll add you to the list of contributors.

You are lucky to have found this copy, and the Cabell collecting community is lucky that you recognized something special in it and preserved it.

We also appreciate the Jurgen in Esperanto. We didn't know about that edition. By all means please send us scans and information on any issues that we've not located, or on any of which you have better copies. Until today, with the single exception of Of Ellen Glasgow, all of the copies shown have been either from the collections of our editor Bill Lloyd or our webmaster John Thorne. We are delighted to add you to the team.

Ed. Note: We have now posted Jeff's scans of Guy Holt's specially bound copy of The Silver Stallion, as we promised. See the updated page at *SA1b.

10 Mar 2013

G'day from Australia!

My research interests are focussed mainly around verse. Given that I know next to nothing about Cabell's verse, I was wondering which items are best for coming up to speed with it, with an eye towards an eventual article for publication.

Phillip A. Ellis

And g'day to you, sir! 

Poetry held a peculiar position within the Cabellian canon. One entire volume of "The Biography of the Life of Manuel" was verse. This was From the Hidden Way, first published in 1916, expanded and revised in 1924 and 1929,  But almost all of these poems were written by Cabell when he was an undergraduate at The College of William and Mary in the 1890s -- perhaps that is why he claimed that it was his favorite among his books (not the best, just his personal favorite). Hidden Way was presented in the Storisende Edition as the work of Robert Etheridge Townsend, the protagonist of The Cords of Vanity, probably the most autobiographical of Cabell's various semi-autobiographical characters. Most of these poems owe much of their texture to Swinburne and the Romantics and much of their form to the Provencal troubadours Cabell studied in college. Some of them appear in his early short stories as songs and poems sung or written by his characters.

In his maturity Cabell claimed that writing verse was a young man's pursuit and that he had given it up, even that "...anyone who reads lyric poetry after the age of twenty-five is suffering from arrested mental development...."   Nonetheless there are a few other places to look for Cabellian verse.

One of these is the volume Sonnets from Antan (1929). These were out-takes from Something About Eve (1927), purportedly "sonnets which Gerald Musgrave composed (or, more strictly speaking, paraphrased) during the course of his journeying toward Antan," These were written to be part of Eve but were omitted from the final text. They are, however, ultimately spoof-poems, almost Ern Malleyesque -- one of them is an acrostic, the initial letters of which spell out "This is nonsense."  

Cabell was fond of acrostics and composed prefatory verses in that form for a dozen or so of his books. They are pretty skillfully done; you can find them by looking at the books in question, or you'll find them collected as Cabell's eccentric offering in Whit Burnett's This is My Best (1942).

Finally there is the matter of Cabell's "contrapuntal prose" as described and analyzed in Warren A. McNeill's Cabellian Harmonics (1928).  In several of his books, especially in Figures of Earth, Cabell embedded in the text what amount to fossil poems, complete with internal rhyme, hexameters, iterative phrasing, etc.  Cabellian Harmonics is a fascinating book.

Hope this helps!

11 Mar 2013

Dear Editor:

Thank you for taking the time to respond to my query in such a rich and -- dare I say it -- "wanton" manner. ;) I appreciate the wealth of detail, and I look forward to writing at least one piece about Cabell's verse.

Phillip A. Ellis

I should also have mentioned that earlier manuscript versions of the much-revised poetry from Hidden Way are to be found in the Cabell Collection at University of Virginia, and printed versions of some can be found in the student magazines archived in the library at William and Mary. Some of these early versions are extracted in Edgar MacDonald's excellent biography James Branch Cabell and Richmond-in-Virginia. And one of his poems, "Post Annos," was published in 1915 in Harriet Monroe's famous magazine Poetry (Chicago).


24 January 2013

Dear Editor:

Thank you very much for the notice concerning The Silver Stallion, and I applaud that project!

A page "tying it all together" is a really good idea, and needed. I wrote a Ph.D. thesis starring the eclectic combination of H.P.Lovecraft, James Branch Cabell, Mervyn Peake and William Gibson. It can be downloaded on my homepage:

There is also an English abstract available on both pages, however, the thesis itself is written in German. I also translated Cabell's short story "Concerning Corinna" into German for this forthcoming collection:

-- the first time this story appears in German. I also provided a short biographical info for Cabell for this book. Scrolling through your link list, the following pages I found useful when writing my thesis seem to be missing (or maybe I didn't notice them):

- David Rolfe's online version of the hard-to-get Notes on Jurgen and Notes on Figures of Earth by James P. Cover (resp. Cover and Cranwell), with additional notes: and

David Rolfe also provided this edition of Jurgen:

It's the original text incorporating Cover's Notes. As I wrote in this review , it's probably the definitive edition for anyone trying to work academically with the text; I used it in a seminar once, at Heidelberg university (they have the complete Storisende Edition in their library ... I so envy them.)

So much for the moment. I will definitely keep an eye on the page and the forum again, too, and if I feel I can contribute anything, I will do so. Also, if you need anything specific, always feel free to write me.

All best,
Oliver Plaschka

22 January 2013

This new site is going to be a real touchstone. Its the exact site I was looking for when I first got on the internet 17 years ago. It's this kind of work that's going to plug that gaping hole in the Library Of America which I find so ridiculous. Thank you, gentlemen, for the work you have taken on.

- D. Dennison (leoden)


letter 1The Silver Stallion

The View from Mispec Moor: Letters to the Editor

The journal Kalki: Studies in James Branch Cabell was known for using 'Cabellian' titles for its regular columns. One such instance was its Letters to the Editor column, "The View from Mispec Moor" which was named after Gerald Musgrave's anagrammatical lingering-place in Something About Eve. Since we are in part attempting to walk a mile in Kalki's shoes, we have borrowed the title for our Letters column as well.

We encourage letters from our readers. Cabellian criticism, compliments, comments, complaints, congratulations, corrections - let us have them all. You can reach editor Bill Lloyd at

We want to hear from you!