James Branch Cabell : An Illustrated Bibliography

The "Red Storisende" Bindings

Hall Codes
Description
various
The "Red Storisendes" 1932

IMAGES:

dom_c2jurgen bindinglol binding

 

 

 

 

 

hp bindinggallantry bindingch binding

 

 

 

 

 

Hidden Way bindingEagle bindingCoJ binding

 

 

 

 

 

 

What are the "Red Storisendes"?

There is, as far as we know, no primary documentation concerning the Red Storisende issues, nor have we seen any contemporary discussions of them. The first of Mr. Cabell's bibliographers to mention these volumes is Frances Brewer, in her JAMES BRANCH CABELL - A Bibliography of his Writings, Biography, and Criticism, 1957, Hall F4. In her entry for "No. 53, Works" (p. 69), she writes:

Some of the volumes were also issued individually by the publishers, after having been rebound in red cloth, decorated with gold tooled border on covers, Kalki device in center.

On numerous occasions, Nelson Bond told the the story of of how, in the late '40s, he mentioned the Red Storisendes to Mr. Cabell, only to have the author reply that there were no "Red Storisendes." It was only after Nelson showed him a copy that Mr. Cabell became aware of their existence (Nelson Bond told this story to the present writer in the 1980s, and it has appeared elsewhere in print). From all appearances, and based on no other documentation whatsoever, it looks to us that these issues were bound up from left-over Storisende copies, without Mr. Cabell's knowledge. In her mention above, Mrs. Brewer stated that they were "rebound" (or more technically correct, "recased"). It is, of course, quite difficult to tell if a book has been professionally recased, but the one "broken" copy we have been able to examine without its cover showed no evidence of prior casing. One example is hardly definitive, but we have to suspect that that at least some of them were made up from extra copies that had never been bound.

As usual, James Hall was the first bibliographer to specify the individual titles in detail. He listed nine titles in this binding, although he freely stated that he was not sure that his list was complete. As far as we know, no additional RS titles have surfaced since, and forty years on we are reasonably comfortable in believing that he found them all. The titles he listed are:

[Storisende Vol. 4] Domnei / The Music From Behind the Moon
[Storisende Vol. 6] Jurgen
[Storisende Vol. 7] The Line of Love
[Storisende Vol. 8] The High Place
[Storisende Vol. 9] Gallantry
[Storisende Vol. 11] The Certain Hour
[Storisende Vol. 13] From the Hidden Way / The Jewel Merchants
[Storisende Vol. 15] The Eagle's Shadow
[Storisende Vol. 16] The Cream of the Jest / The Lineage of Lichfield

Bindings:

The bindings are both lovely and problematic. Bound in scarlet cloth, with gilt lettering and decorations on the cover and spine, the books are striking. There is, though, a systemic issue that seems to affect just about every copy we've seen. The endpapers are always browned, often with ugly brown stains in the gutters. The choice of binding glue, endpapers, or both, was a poor one, and the effects of time and humidity have been dramatic.

The front cover is surrounded by a decorative border originally drawn by Frank Papé for the American illustrated edition of Domnei, Dom-D1 (P), with the Kalki emblem slightly above center in the panel. The cover images of all nine titles are shown above.

Dust jackets:

The dust jackets are all printed on gold paper, with black lettering and decorations. Both the front and rear panels are enclosed in the same Papé border used for the front cover, with Papé illustrations within the borders on both front and rear. The sources of the various illustrations are shown below, except for the drawing of "Comstock's Paradise" used for the Jurgen jacket. We have not been able to identify a previous publication of that page.

Domnei: frontispiece
Jurgen: "Comstock's Paradise" - no previous publication has been noted
The Line of Love: from Something About Eve, frontispiece
The High Place: facing p. 162
Gallantry: from The Cream of the Jest, facing p. 88
The Certain Hour: from Figures of Earth, illustration facing p. 110
From the Hidden Way: from Figures of Earth, facing p. 14
The Eagle's Shadow: from The Cream of the Jest, p. 163
The Cream of the Jest: frontispiece

Notes:

See the individual bibliographic entries for each title for its detailed data. These can be accessed by clicking on the links above.