James Branch Cabell : An Illustrated Bibliography

THE CORDS OF VANITY: A Comedy of Shirking

Publication Notes:

Six chapters in this book originally appeared as short stories in the Smart Set:

Afternoon in Arden (July, 1902)
As the Coming of Dawn (September, 1902)
An Incarnation of Helen (October, 1902)
The Story of Stella (August, 1903)
Old Capulet's Daughter (September, 1903)
Mammon's Match (March, 1904)

Bibliographic Notes for the 1909 Doubleday issues:

Hall lists only two states of this printing. His first state, CoV-A1, is distinguished by the omission of "The" in the title on the spine and front cover, and by the lack of a fly-title reading PROLOGUE preceding the prologue. In his second state, CoV-A1a, "The" is present in the title on the spine and front cover, and the fly-title is present preceding the prologue (Hall states that the additional leaf has been "inserted". Brewer calls this issue a later printing).

The Silver Stallion has seen four states of the 1909 printing. We have designated these as CoV-A1, *CoV-A1a, *CoV-A1b. and *CoV-A1c.

CoV-A1 - Our first state is the same as the traditional first state described by previous bibliographers: red ribbed cloth; "The" omitted on front cover and spine; no fly-title preceding the prologue.

*CoV-A1a - This is an intermediate state not listed in Hall. The binding is the same as CoV-A1: red ribbed cloth sans "The". In this state, though, the fly-title reading "PROLOGUE" is present. It should also be noted that this leaf is not "inserted," but is integral to the first gather and is in fact contiguous with the dedication leaf. This means that at least the first gather had to have been reprinted. In assigning this state as the second state of the first printing, rather than as a second printing, we are following traditional bibliographic practice where there is no evidence that the entire text block has been reprinted.

*CoV-A1b - This is again an intermediate state not listed in Hall. The binding is in the same red ribbed cloth as the first two states, but now "The" has been added to the cover and spine. In this state, too, the fly-title reading "PROLOGUE" is present.

*CoV-A1c - This is Hall's second state, which we have reassigned as *CoV-A1c. Red flat grained cloth with "The" present on cover and spine, and with the fly-title reading "PROLOGUE" present.

Obviously, we don't have any real information about the precedence of the different states, and our designations should be read in that light. Our thinking runs along these lines: The first state has the first versions of both the cover and internals. The second state still has the early binding, but in it and all following states the internals have been corrected by the inclusion of the missing fly-title. The third state corrects the omission of "The" on the cover and spine, and in the final state the red ribbed cloth is replaced with a cheaper flat woven cloth. Conjecture? Of course, but it seems reasonable to us, and we'd love to hear your comments and thoughts.

Bibliographic Notes for the 1909 Hutchinson issues:

As with the 1909 American printing, Hall lists two states of the first English printing. His first state, CoV-B1 (E), is distinguished by the presence of a 32-page Hutchinson catalogue following the text. Brussel notes that the catalog is dated August, 1909. Hall's second state, CoV-B1a (E), omits the catalog.

Alhough we have not yet seen a copy of the first state, we have no comments on his descriptions. We can, though, add a third state, which we have called *CoV-B1b. Like the first state, this issue has a 32-page Hutchinson catalog, but it is clearly a later version because the catalogue is dated Spring, 1914.