BETWEEN FRIENDS: Letters of James Branch Cabell by

BETWEEN FRIENDS: Letters of James Branch Cabell

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KIRKUS REVIEW

James Branch Cabell was the Southern spokesman of ironic idealism; he wrote pseudo-mythical, quasi-medieval novels and his forte was wit, his style enormous. Like his cronies and fellow-correspondents, included here in both letters to and from Cabell, he delighted in shocking the ""booboisie"" and for a time his Jurgen was certainly the shockingest thing around. This then covers a particular set and era (1915-1922) and parades a new America kicking over the traces, youth just beginning to flame; it is in fact period piece curiosa, a nostalgic entertainment for old guard literati, a revealing documentary for graduate students, and slim pickings for anyone else. Names abound (Starrett, Machen, Rascoe, Mencken, Dreiser, Walpole, Hergesheimer, Lewis, even Scott Fitzgerald- emerging like an undergraduate on the make. Above all there's the courtly prose and pose of Cabell,- promising to read this discovery, that import, giving advice, accepting criticism; deliciously in touch with the far and near, forwarding a cause, downing an adversary. The richest sections center on the censorship entanglements of Jurgen and their historical significance has grown due to the bluenose actions against Lawrence and Miller... This then resurrects optimism and ornate charm, stylistic integrity and lordly tomfoolery; for some (but not many) such an ""innocent"" past will fascinate no end.

Pub Date: March 28th, 1962
Publisher: Harcourt, Brace & World