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Figures of Earth

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Figures of Earth

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Author: James Branch Cabell
Publisher: Ballantine Books, 1969
Robert McBride & Company, 1921
Series: The Biography of the Life of Manuel: Book 2
Book Type: Novel
Genre: Fantasy
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Figures of Earth, subtitled "A Comedy of Appearances", follows the vicissitudes of Dom Manuel the Redeemer from his lowly swineherd origins through his unlikely elevation to the Count of Poictesme, and beyond. Published in 1921, it was the second volume of "The Biography of Manuel", Cabell's great work about an imaginary land that also managed to skewer the world of his upbringing as a Southern Gentleman of Virginia, and nearly everything else, besides!

Poor Manuel starts out life as a lowly swineherd, but rises to become the famous Dom Manuel, the legendary, even mythic, hero of many of Cabell's novels. He begins, like the simpleton in "Jack in the Beanstalk" and other folktales, by taking literally his mother's advice to "go out and make a figure in the world" - and makes Figures of clay.... But Manuel turns out to be a master of guile, a trickster hero, if you will. His guiding motto is: "The world wishes to be deceived.


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