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Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Authors

James Branch Cabell

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Last Updated: Engelbrecht

James Branch Cabell

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Full Name: James Branch Cabell
Born: April 14, 1879
Richmond, VA
Died: May 5, 1958
Richmond, VA
Occupation: Writer
Nationality: American


James Branch Cabell (April 14, 1879 – May 5, 1958) was an American author of fantasy fiction and belles lettres. Cabell was well regarded by his contemporaries, including H. L. Mencken, Edmund Wilson, and Sinclair Lewis. His works were considered escapist and fit well in the culture of the 1920s, when his works were most popular.

Cabell gained his greatest notoriety in 1919 with the publication of Jurgen, a novel that evolved out of a story originally published in the Smart Set. In a coy, suggestive narrative, the eponymous hero of Jurgen—a medieval pawnbroker who considers himself to be a “monstrous clever fellow”—sails through a series of sexual liaisons with a female vampire, a fertility goddess, and Arthurian maidens before ultimately reaffirming to himself the sanity of domestic, wedded harmony. Many people missed the moral of the story, however, and the director of the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice charged that the novel was obscene and quickly had the printing plates seized and the book banned. Overnight, Jurgen became a cause célèbre, lifting Cabell from obscurity to fame as one of America’s most-discussed novelists. After the obscenity trial resulted in acquittal in October 1922, Jurgen became a best-seller and its author became a cult idol for a generation desperate to transcend American provincialism and attain a new Continental knowingness in matters of literature and sex.

Cabell was born into an affluent and well-connected Virginian family. Although Cabell's surname is often mispronounced "Ka-BELL", he himself pronounced it "CAB-ble." To remind an editor of the correct pronunciation, Cabell composed this rhyme: "Tell the rabble my name is Cabell."

Works in the WWEnd Database

 The Biography of the Life of Manuel

 1. (1919)
 2. (1921)
 3. (1926)
 4. (1913)
 6. (1919)
 8. (1923)
 9. (1907)
 10. (1927)
 20. (1917)


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