“Tell the Rabble My Name Is Cabell”

Steve McKenzie, at this time I would like to thank you for unwittingly introducing me to the work of James Branch Cabell via a post you made re: Jurgen on the pp.com forums so many years ago.

Recently finished Figures of Earth.  Great stuff. Eventually I will get around to reading the entire Manuelian cycle.

Any other reading recommendations?

About jollyseitan

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4 Responses to “Tell the Rabble My Name Is Cabell”

  1. k- says:

    I just finished Dorothy Allison’s CAVEDWELLER which was pretty great. Almost as good as her debut, BASTARD OUT OF CAROLINA. Alice Bag’s memoir VIOLENCE GIRL is pretty fantastic. I’m currently reading Erik Larson’s historical narrative DEAD WAKE about the Lusitania because I usually like his stuff (If you haven’t read DEVIL IN THE WHITE CITY, check it out).

  2. sjmckenzie says:

    Hi Todd. I remember that post. “The sea was behaving stupidly.” I think. I love Cabell.

    There is no one quite like him that I know of for fantasy with his kind of irony.

    But as for early humorists and ironic writers, I think you might REALLY enjoy this writer – Stephen Leacock.


    If you like that, search his other work. Also, check out Fearsome Creatures of the Lumberwoods:


    Ever read Edward Lear’s nonsense work?

    I’ve been getting into a series of books by Ben Aaronovitch lately about being a magician in London. Pretty good. Nothing like Cabell, but fast paced, funny, and weird, not predictable. ‘Rivers of London’ is the first one. The rivers are people.

    Are you on FB? I hardly ever come here now, seeing as no one posts. I only saw this because I share this account with other blog sites.

    And, are you still running marathons and drinking bee urine and all that health stuff now?


  3. jollyseitan says:

    Hey Steve,

    You’re exactly right. Indeed it was “The sea was behaving stupidly.”

    You’re also right about there being no one else like Cabell. Most often I see him compared to Lord Dunsany, and while I can somewhat see the comparison in terms of the elaborate mythology, I didn’t find much humor in what little I’ve read of Dunsany, whereas Cabell is consistently witty. And melancholic! His books wouldn’t work nearly as well if they were completely farcical. It’s the bittersweet element that makes his work so great. Plus, I tend to like ornate prose, and Cabell’s a master of that.

    I’ll have to read Ben Aaronovitch and Stephen Leacock.

    I love Edward Lear’s nonsense and have since I was a kid. If you’ve never read it before, Donald Barthelme (another of my favorite writers) wrote a great short story called “The Death of Edward Lear,” reprinted HERE. There are some annoying typos in that transcription, but it’s the only version available on the web.

    I am the only person in the known universe still not on the Facebook.

    I haven’t run any marathons recently but will be back to it in the spring. But I did have a nice tall draught of bee urine just today. Lightly chilled. Refreshing! And SO healthful.

  4. sjmckenzie says:

    Bee urine is my new years resolution.

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