James Branch Cabell : An Illustrated Bibliography

JURGEN: A Comedy of Justice

Hall Code
Jur-J1 (w)
First Avon Paperback Edition [1965]















Full Title:

Title page recto: [all enclosed in a single ruled box with rounded corners] Jurgen | A Comedy of Justice | James Branch Cabell | With an afterword by Louis D. Rubin, Jr. | [in italic] "Of Jurgen eke they maken mencioun, | That of an old wyf gat his youthe agoon, | And gat himselfe a shirte as bright as fyre | Wherein to jape, yet gat not his desire | In any countrie ne condicioun." | An Avon Library Book | [Avon device] (see image above).

Title page verso: AVON BOOKS | A division of | The Hearst Corporation | 950 Eighth Avenue, | New York, N. Y. 10019 | Copyright, 1919, 1921, 1928 by James Branch Cabell. | Published by arrangement with Mrs. James Branch Cabell | All rights reserved. | Printed in the U. S. A. (see image above).


New York: Avon Books, n.d. [February, 1965]


Trade paperback [17.9 cm. (7 1/16 in.) x 10.8 cm. (4¼ in.)]. Pp. 288; (1) biography of Mr. Cabell (verso blank); (3) title page; (4) publication data; (5) dedication; (5) three quotations attributed to Philip Borsdale, E. Noel Codman, and John Frederick Lewistam; (7)-(8) Contents; (9)-(10) A Foreword (from the 1919 first edition); (11) half-title (verso blank); 13-276 text; 277-287 Afterword by Louis D. Rubin, Jr.; (288) publisher's advertisement.


White paper, lettering in red, black, and white; illustration by Rowland Wilson in color across bottom of all three panels, corners rounded (see image above).

Spine: [in red] [Avon device] [lettered down the spine] JURGEN [in black] JAMES BRANCH CABELL | [in white] AVON | VS7 | 75¢

Front panel: [in black] AVON LIBRARY / VS7 / 75¢ [flush right, in red] [Avon device] | [in black] JAMES BRANCH CABELL | [in red] One of the merriest, most erotic and | notorious novels of the century | JURGEN

Rear panel: [in red] From THE AVON LIBRARY [flush right] [Avon device] | [in black, 19-line blurb in two paragraphs] [in red two line quote from H. L Mencken] | [in white at bottom, flush left] Printed in U.S.A.


[in italic] To | BURTON RASCOE | [followed by dedication in acrostic verse of three quatrains] (see image above).


The distinctive rounded corners of this printing were a feature of several Avon titles published in the 1964-65 period. An article titled "Avon Books is Rounding Corners of Paperbacks," which appeared in the March 19, 1964, issue of The New York Times, reads in part:

Avon Books, a division of the Hearst Corporation, has attacked the problem of the dog­eared paperback by cutting off the ears. The result is a book with rounded corners at the edges and square corners at the binding.

The company has also improved design, type and paper of its paperbacks. The first titles in the new format are “The Time Has Come” by John Rock, Brendan Behan's “Borstal Boy,” Herbert Tarr's “The Conversion of Chaplain Carr,” Nathaniel West's “Miss Lonely hearts,” Aldous Huxley's “After Many a Summer Dies the Swan” and “Those Barren Leaves,” and Van Wyck Brooks's “The Writer in America.”

At this point, it's not clear whether this feature was restricted to first printings only, although it seems that this was the case for Jurgen, nor is it known how many titles were issued with rounded corners.

This printing is undated. The publication date of February, 1965, was taken from the printing information on the title page verso of the third Avon printing, Jur-J3 (w).