The Silver Stallion

Notes and Essays:
Some Jurgens and Cabell

This was our featured story for the month of July, 2018. Because of the importance of this story and the valuable research that went into creating it. we felt that it deserved to be permanently preserved...

In July of 2018 we celebrate a very important date in Cabellian history.  This month is the 100th anniversary of the first publication of the short story “Some Ladies and Jurgen”, Brewer 245, in the July 1918 issue of The Smart Set, the magazine edited by Cabell’s friend H. L. Mencken. This publication led to a profound change in Cabell’s reputation, fortunes, and life.  It is sometimes suggested that the novel Jurgen, published a little more than a year later, is merely an expanded fix-up of the Smart Set story (it did after all incorporate Cabell’s early story “An Amateur Ghost”) but an examination of early materials relating to the story and novel show that the situation is more nuanced. So here, for your delectation, are presented four texts that recount different aspects of the high history of Jurgen. Oh, and of course a reproduction of the story itself as originally published…

First is an excellent article by Kalki editor Paul Spencer that recaps the evolution of Jurgen based on Cabell’s accounts, as well as providing an illuminating comparison of key features of the story and the novel. (This first appeared in Kalki Vol. VII, No. 2 (1976), pp. 51-57).

Next is a letter from Cabell to his friend the critic Burton Rascoe (to whom Jurgen was dedicated) describing the intertwined steps in the composition of the story and the novel. (Letter of 10 August 1919 from Between Friends (1962, Hall A34), pp. 126-128. This letter was previously published, slightly abridged, in Burton Rascoe's Prometheans (1933, Hall A22), pp. 283-286).

Then there is Cabell’s preface to the Storisende text of Jurgen in which he records his rough notes for the novel as they first occurred to him partway through the composition of the story. (From James Branch Cabell, Works, Vol. VI (1928, Jur-E1 (S)), Jurgen, Author’s Note, pp. xi-xxi, although the scan we show here is actually from the textually identical "Red Storisende" issue of this edition (1932, Jur-E2 (RS), simply because we like its Papé dust jacket).

And finally we have Cabell’s “Addenda as to Jurgen” in which the master, recollecting in tranquility, deconstructs his 1919 letter to Rascoe with amusing results and further details. (From Preface to the Past (1936, Pref-A1 (K)), pp. 254-262).

Thus it was in the old days. And now… “Some Ladies and Jurgen”!

kalki 26between friendsstorisendeprefaceessess

Clicking on the images above will take you to each of the five documents listed above, ordered from left to right. The documents themselves are presented as PDF files. You'll need to use your browser's BACK button to return to The Silver Stallion after accessing them.

Bill Lloyd 2018