James Branch Cabell : An Illustrated Bibliography

THE CREAM OF THE JEST: A Comedy of Evasions

Hall Code
CoJ-B1 (E)
First English Printing 1923














dust jacket







Full Title:

Title page recto: [in italic] THE | CREAM | OF | THE JEST | [rule] | A Comedy of Evasions | [rule] | BY | JAMES BRANCH CABELL | WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY | HAROLD WARD | [in italic] " Le pays où je voulais aller, tu m'y as mené | en songe, celte nuit, et tu étais belle . . . | ah! que tu étais belle! . . . Mais, comme | je n'ai aimé que ton ombre, tu me dispen- | seras, chère tête, de remercier ta réalité." | LONDON: JOHN LANE THE BODLEY HEAD LTD. | VIGO STREET, W. MCMXXIII (see image above).

Title page verso: [rule] PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA (see image above).


London: John Lane The Bodley Head Ltd., 1923


Crown octavo [18.9 cm. (7 7/16 in.) x 13.3 cm. (5 ¼ in.)]; Pp. xvi + 250 + 3 leaves of advertisement not counted in pagination. (i) half-title (verso blank); (ii) blank; (iii) frontispiece; (iv) BY THE SAME AUTHOR; (v) title page; (vi) publication data; (vii) dedication (verso blank); ix-xii Introduction, by Harold Ward; (xiii)-(xv) Contents (verso blank); (1) fly-title (verso blank); 3-250 text, followed by 3 leaves of advertisements not counted in pagination. Pages (1), (33), (93), (127), (173), and (221) are fly-titles. Pages (iii), (viii), (xvi), (2), (34), (92), (94), (126), (128), (174), and (222) are blank.


Brown cloth; yellow decorations and lettering on front cover and spine; top edge trimmed, else untrimmed.

Spine: [triple decorated rule on yellow field] THE CREAM | OF | THE JEST | JAMES | BRANCH | CABELL | [triple decorated rule on yellow field]. Front cover: [all within triple decorated ruled boxes on yellow field] THE CREAM OF| THE JEST| JAMES | BRANCH CABELL (see image above).


The Sigil of Scotia, a drawing by James Branch Cabell (see image above).

Also see the discussion of the Sigil of Scotia on the index page for The Cream of the Jest.


TO | LOUISA NELSON | [in italic] "At me ab amore tuo diducet | nulla senectus." (see image above).

Mrs. Louisa Nelson was Cabell's "mammy" as a child, and he remembered her fondly all of his life. He wrote an article about her, "Of Southern Ladies," which was published in the May, 1946, issue of The Atlantic Monthly. This article was later incorporated into Let Me Lie, LML-A1.

Dust jacket:

White paper, black lettering, uillustration in color on front panel (see image above).

Spine: THE | CREAM | OF THE | JEST | JAMES | BRANCH | CABELL | Author of | "JURGEN," | etc. | 7/6 | NET | THE | BODLEY | HEAD

Front panel: [illustration by Frank C. Pápe] [in decorated script within illustration] The CREAM | of the JEST | James Branch Cabell [rule broken by bottom of initial letters J, B, C]

Rear panel: [all enclosed in a single ruled box] JURGEN | By | JAMES BRANCH CABELL | With an Introduction by Hugh Walpole | New Popular Edition | [in italic] Crown 8vo. 7s. 6d. net. | SECOND IMPRESSION | [excerpts from eight reviews] | [rule] JOHN LANE THE BODLEY HEAD LTD. VIGO ST., W. 1

Front flap: [all enclosed in a single ruled box] BY THE SAME AUTHOR | [rule] | FIGURES OF | EARTH | [in italic] A Comedy of | Appearances | Crown 8vo | 8s. 6d. net. | excerpts from three reviews | JOHN LANE | The Bodley Head Ltd.

Rear flap: [all enclosed in a single ruled box] FOUR NEW NOVELISTS | [rule] | [advertisements for four novels by different authors] | [rule] JOHN LANE | The Bodley Head Ltd.


In his description of CoJ-B1 (E), Hall quotes the printing notice as "First published, 1923" (presumably on the verso of the title page, although as usual this isn't explicitly stated). The copy we have shown here does not have a printing notice. Hall further states that this issue was printed from imported sheets, and our copy is noted as printed in the United States. At this time, The Silver Stallion is unsure if there are two separate states of this printing, or if Hall did not see a first printing, and interpolated the printing notice from a copy of the second English printing, CoJ-B2 (E). Any help from a reader would be appreciated.