Though he later gained widespread acclaim as a pioneering writer of fantasy fiction, James Branch Cabell's early novels are largely realistic and dryly humorous in tone. The Rivet in Grandfather's Neck, which unfolds in early-twentieth-century Virginia, is a comedy of manners set among the upper echelons of Richmond high society.
James Branch Cabell's career was short-lived - his works fit neatly within the 1920s literary escapist culture and then quickly declined in popularity as the author veered away from the fantasy niche. In his heyday, Cabell garnered praise from several of his contemporaries such as H. L. Mencken and Sinclair Lewis. Lewis even acknowledged Cabell's successful "Jurgen" in his 1930 Nobel Prize address. "Jurgen" is certainly Cabell's most famous novel, published in 1919, and it tells the story of a middle-aged man on a journey through fantastic realms, where he meets and seduces beautiful women of fiction and myth - including the Devil's wife. The book garnered attention as it was charged with obscenity in a case that reached the New York Supreme Court. Cabell and his publisher won the case, and the author was deemed a literary avant garde, who tested conventional social boundaries and opposed the forces of puritanical repression.
A middle-aged pawnbroker-poet is allowed to regain his youth for a year of amorous adventures in this compelling fantasy. Filled with strange beasts, alien gods, fabulous lands, beautiful ladies, and an aura of the supernatural, Cabel's allegory leads its hero through affairs with Guenevere and the Lady of the Lake as well as confrontations with God and the Devil. The 1919 publication of Jurgen catapulted its author into a position as one of the most enigmatic and controversial literary figures of his era. Critical response ranged from lavish praise to violent denunciations, including attempts to have the novel banned for obscenity. Modern readers consider it a landmark in the history of American fantastic fiction and a successor to the traditions of Rabelais, Sterne, Swift, and Voltaire. Its gentle blend of comedy and irony in a fantastic setting has enchanted generations of readers. This edition features more than a dozen striking full-page illustrations by Frank C. Papé.
The darkly comic allegory Jurgen caused quite a stir when it was originally published, with several jurisdictions deeming it obscene and calling for it to be pulled from store shelves. After his wife mysteriously vanishes, middle-aged pawnbroker Jurgen sets off on a not-so-heroic quest to find her, traveling through a series of strange lands in the process.
You can read books purchased on Google Play using your computer's web browser.
eReaders and other devices
To read on e-ink devices like the Sony eReader or Barnes & Noble Nook, you'll need to download a file and transfer it to your device. Please follow the detailed Help center instructions to transfer the files to supported eReaders.