James Branch Cabell : An Illustrated Bibliography

THE CORDS OF VANITY: A Comedy of Shirking

Hall Code
*CoV-C5a (K)
Fifth Printing, Revised Edition, variant binding















Full Title:







(see image above).



Dust jacket:

(see image above).


In the latter half of the 1920s, for no clear reason*, some printings in McBride's Kalki series were issued in bindings that lacked the “Kalki logo” in the lower right corner of the front board. In other ways – size, trim, cloth and the characteristic brick-brown color – they were the same as the standard Kalki bindings which did bear the logo. The generally meticulous Hall makes no mention of logo-less Kalki bindings – perhaps he just never happened to encounter any, though that would be surprising since such bindings for five different titles have come our way without our seeking them.

Kalki bindings sans logo:
*Chiv-B3a (K) – Chivalry (1926), 3rd printing
*CoV-C5a (K) – The Cords of Vanity (1927), 5th printing
Riv-A8 (K) – The Rivet in Grandfather’s Neck (1928), 8th printing
CH-A4 (K) – The Certain Hour (1929), 4th printing
CoJ-A9(K) – The Cream of the Jest (1930), 9th printing

The 1926 third Kalki printing of Chivalry and 1927 fifth Kalki printing of The Cords of Vanity exist in both states, with and without logo. Therefore we have designated the logo-less issues as binding variants and assigned them new ‘Hall numbers’: *Chiv-B3a (K) and *CoV-B5a (K). The other titles lacking the logo will retain the regular Hall number for their printing until or unless we can verify the existence a copy from that printing bearing the logo.

It is clear that this was not a series-wide policy after 1925, as the new publications of The Silver Stallion (1926) and Something About Eve (1927), as well as reprints of (for instance) Gallantry (1927), Jurgen (1928), and Beyond Life (1930) do display the Kalki logo in the accustomed place.

*We can speculate. Perhaps McBride used several different binderies but possessed a limited number of Kalki ‘stamps’ for impressing the logo. Certain later reprints were assigned to the stamp-less bindery and no one thought it worth the trouble to bring a stamp over from another bindery. It is notable that each of the five logo-less printings represents the final Kalki issue for that title.