James Branch Cabell : An Illustrated Bibliography

JURGEN: A Comedy of Justice
McBride Printings in the Kalki Binding

Hall Code
Jur-A3 (K)
Third Printing 1919














endpapersendpapers 2







Full Title:

Title page recto: Jurgen | [rule broken by the lower portion of the "g"] | [in italic] A Comedy of Justice | [rule] | By | James Branch Cabell | [in italic]"Of JURGEN eke they maken mencioun | That of an old wyf gat his youthe agoon, | And gat himselfe a shirte as bright as fyre | Wherein to jape, yet gat not his desire | In any countrie ne condicioun." | NEW YORK | ROBERT M. McBRIDE & CO. | 1919 (see image above).

Title page verso: Copyright, 1919, by | Robert M. McBride & Co. | [rule] | [in italic] Printed in | The United States of America | Second Edition, November 1919 | Third Edition, December 1919 | [rule] | Published 1919 (see image above).


New York: Robert M. Mc Bride & Co., December, 1919


Crown octavo [20 cm. (7⅞ in.) x 14 cm. (5½ in.)]; pp. (viii) + 368; P. (i) half-title; (ii) [all enclosed in single rule box] Books by Mr. Cabell ; (iii) title-page; (iv) publication data; (v) dedication; (vi) three quotations attributed to Philip Borsdale, E. Noel Codman, and John Frederick Lewistam); (vii-viii) Contents; (1) Fly-title (verso blank); (3-5) text of A Foreword;(6) blank; (7) fly-title (verso blank); followed by text pp. 9-368.


Kalki binding: Red-brown cloth; top edge trimmed, otherwise uncut; gilt lettering and decorations on front cover and spine. Spine: JURGEN | [rule] | CABELL | McBRIDE. Front cover: [Kalki device of a stallion rampant in every member] (see image above).

This third printing of Jurgen was the first of Cabell's books to be issued in the Kalki binding.


TO | BURTON RASCOE; followed by dedication in acrostic verse of three quatrains (see image above).

Dust jacket:

White paper; lettering and decorations in brown (see image above).

Spine: [in italic] JURGEN | device | CABELL | $2.00 | NET | McBRIDE.

Front panel: Jurgen | [next two lines enclosed in lower portion of "g"| [in italic] by | James Branch Cabell | "Cabell is a writer with style as individual and alive as | Anatole France's. It is flexible, humorous, dramatic, | - above all, personal. That of itself, in these days of sloppy | and colourless writing is enough to make Cabell important: | but any man who can plan a book of 'Jurgen's' kind on so ex- | tensive a scale and then carry it through without making it | labored and tedious is no small artist. 'Jurgen' is surely a | book that should make Americans proud. I am delighted | with its delicacy and good-temper and tenderness, its fancy | and its wit. If Americans are looking for a book to show to | Europe here it is." | - Hugh Walpole | [rule] | ROBERT M. McBRIDE & CO., Publishers | Union Square New York | [rule].

Rear panel in brown: What the Reviewers Say of | Jurgen | by JAMES BRANCH CABELL | Author of "Beyond Life," "The Cream if the Jest," "The Rivet in Grandfather's | Neck," etc. | [double rule]| [seven reviews of Jurgen from Joseph Hergesheimer, Burton Rascoe in The Chicago Tribune, Chicago Daily News, Philadephia Press, New York Tribune Springfield (Mass.) Courier, and Belford Forrest in The Knickerbocker Press] | [in italic] 12 mo. 368 pages. $2.00 net. Postage extra | At All Booksellers | [double rule] |ROBERT M. McBRIDE & CO., Publishers | UNION SQUARE | [three devices] |NEW YORK

Front & rear flaps: blank


Shown here are the front endpapers of two copies of Jur-A3 from Mr. Cabell's collection, now in the Cabell Room in the James Branch Cabell Library, Virginia Commonwealth University. By the way, neither of these is the copy shown in the other scans on this page (see image above).

First copy (bottom row, left):

Front Pastedown: Bookplate of James Branch Cabell

Front Free Endpaper: [in Mr. Cabell's hand] Property of | James Branch Cabell | First appearance of | the Kalki Bindings | on this third edition | of Jurgen.

Second copy (bottom row, right):

Front pastedown: blank

Front Free Endpaper: [in Mr. Cabell's hand] Property of | James Branch Cabell | as purchased by him from a | department store upon news of | the book's seizure.


blanckThe cloth used on this copy (Blanck Type FL) is different from the type McBride normally used on works in the Kalki binding. Hall does not mention this, but Matthew Bruccoli does, in his James Branch Cabell - A Bibliography, Part II: Notes on the Cabell Collections at the University of Virginia, Hall F5 (& A31). On page 34:

The copy examined is bound in the same cloth as the Massey copy of the 1st impression.

The "Massey copy" he mentions is one of several copies of the 1st impression Bruccoli examined. He describes it on page 33:

(4) Massey copy. This is a binding variant, as it is bound in FL cloth, whereas the other copies are bound in B cloth.

We describe a copy of the 1st impression in that binding. We have designated that variant as *Jur-A1b. We have designated this binding variant of the third printing as Jur-A3 because it matches Bruccoli's description. This should not be take to indicate any precedence: the chronological priority, if any, is unknown, but copies in the more usual B cloth do exist, and we have designated that variant as *Jur-A3a (K).

The "FL" and "B" cloth types refer to the binding cloth designation system developed by Jacob Blanck for his monumental Bibliography of American Literature, Yale University Press, nine volumes, issued variously between 1955 and 1973 (commonly referred to as the BAL). This system is nothing if not non-intuitive, but it does have a logical basis, as it stems from commercial cloth pattern codes used by American producers of binding cloth in the 19th century (and still in limited use today). The Blanck system has never garnered wide recognition or usage, but it is not surprising that Bruccoli used it - he was a contributor and editor of the BAL.

The illustrations of Cloth Grains and Designations (4 pages total, see the B and FL types excerpted above left) are shown as the first illustration, preceding page 1, in each of the nine volumes of the BAL. The system is discussed in detail on pp. xxx - xxxiii of the preface to Volume I.