James Branch Cabell

Literary Life and Legacy

Cabell’s Bibliographers

ornate bookcase in the Cabell Room at VCU Libraries [View Image]Rosewood bookcase from James Branch Cabell’s home.
The Cabell Room, VCU Libraries
Photograph by Jay Paul

Even during James Branch Cabell’s lifetime, bibliographers began organizing and describing his body of work. These scholarly bibliographies are an indication of both the high regard in which the author was held and the increasingly complicated list of editions and translations of Cabell’s writing. Cabell’s habit of reworking, reusing, and republishing his short stories and books makes these bibliographies particularly useful for scholars and collectors. Scholarly bibliographies may also contribute to the study of books as physical objects and to the understanding of works’ history of publication.

Several of Cabell’s bibliographers developed numerical systems for identifying works. Like Köchel numbers for Mozart’s compositions and BWV numbers for Bach, Cabell’s writings have been numbered by Frances Brewer, James N. Hall, and, most recently, by John Thorne and William Lloyd. Thorne and Lloyd’s An Illustrated Bibliography of Works By and About James Branch Cabell, corrects, and updates Hall’s monumental James Branch Cabell: A Complete Bibliography, while providing, for the first time, images of covers, dust jackets, and identifying pages.

Several Cabell bibliographies may be accessed online through HathiTrust.org

Frances Brewer, James Branch Cabell: A Bibliography of his Writings, Biography and Criticism. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press (1957). The standard bibliography created during Cabell’s lifetime with collaboration from the author. Brewer was the first to develop a numbering system. 

This work may be read online through HathiTrust.org

Matthew J. Bruccoli, James Branch Cabell: A Bibliography, Part II:  Notes on the Cabell Collections at the University of Virginia. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press (1957). This is a supplement to Brewer’s work using her numbering system. On HathiTrust.org

I. R. Brussel, A Bibliography of the Writings of James Branch Cabell: A Revised Bibliography. Philadelphia: The Centaur Bookshop (1932).  On HathiTrust.org

James N. Hall, James Branch Cabell: A Complete Bibliography (with a Supplement of Current Values of Cabell Books by Nelson Bond). New York: Revisionist Press (1974). This bibliography, compiled with collectors in mind, is the first to attempt to enumerate and classify the many editions, printings and states of Cabell’s publications. Hall assigned each issue or state an identifying “code.” 

John Thorne and William Lloyd, An Illustrated Bibliography of Books By and About James Branch Cabell. The Silver Stallion (website). Thorne and Lloyd continued the form of Hall’s codes, adapting the system to include items published after 1972, as well as some printings and states unknown to Hall. See Thorne and Lloyd for additional information about Cabell bibliographies and check-lists, as well as bibliographies of scholarship and criticism related to James Branch Cabell. 

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