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James Branch Cabell

Geburtstag: 14. April 1879
Todesdatum: 5. Mai 1958

James Branch Cabell war ein amerikanischer Autor phantastischer Romane. Eine zentrale Stellung nimmt dabei der in dem fiktiven, im Süden Frankreichs lokalisierten Land von Poictesme angesiedelte Romanzyklus Biography of the Life of Manuel ein .

Zitate James Branch Cabell

„The optimist proclaims that we live in the best of all possible worlds; and the pessimist fears this is true. So I elect for neither label.“

—  James Branch Cabell

Coth, in Book Four : Coth at Porutsa, Ch. XXVI : The Realist in Defeat
Quelle: The Silver Stallion (1926)
Kontext: Yet creeds mean very little... The optimist proclaims that we live in the best of all possible worlds; and the pessimist fears this is true. So I elect for neither label.

„He had a quiet way with the girls, and with the men a way of solemn, blinking simplicity which caused the more hasty in judgment to consider him a fool.“

—  James Branch Cabell, buch Figures of Earth

Quelle: Figures of Earth (1921), Ch. I : How Manuel Left the Mire
Kontext: He had a quiet way with the girls, and with the men a way of solemn, blinking simplicity which caused the more hasty in judgment to consider him a fool. Then, too, young Manuel was very often detected smiling sleepily over nothing, and his gravest care in life appeared to be that figure which Manuel had made out of marsh clay from the pool of Haranton.
This figure he was continually reshaping and realtering. The figure stood upon the margin of the pool; and near by were two stones overgrown with moss, and supporting a cross of old worm-eaten wood, which commemorated what had been done there.

„So Florimel extinguished the candle, with a good-will that delighted Jurgen.“

—  James Branch Cabell

Quelle: Jurgen (1919), Ch. 37 : Invention of the Lovely Vampire
Kontext: Let us extinguish this candle says Jurgen, "for I have seen so many flames to-day that my eyes are tired."
So Florimel extinguished the candle, with a good-will that delighted Jurgen. And now they were in utter darkness, and in the dark nobody can see what is happening. But that Florimel now trusted Jurgen and his Noumarian claims was evinced by her very first remark.
"I was in the beginning suspicious of your majesty," said Florimel, "because I had always heard that every emperor carried a magnificent sceptre, and you then displayed nothing of the sort. But now, somehow, I do not doubt you any longer. And of what is your majesty thinking?"
"Why, I was reflecting, my dear," says Jurgen, "that my father imagines things very satisfactorily."

„If you have been yourself you cannot reasonably be punished, but if you have been somebody else you will find that this is not permitted.“

—  James Branch Cabell, buch Figures of Earth

Quelle: Figures of Earth (1921), Ch. XL : Colophon: Da Capo
Kontext: "Now we must ford these shadowy waters," said Grandfather Death, "in part because your destiny is on the other side, and in part because by the contact of these waters all your memories will be washed away from you. And that is requisite to your destiny."
"But what is my destiny?"
"It is that of all loving creatures, Count Manuel. If you have been yourself you cannot reasonably be punished, but if you have been somebody else you will find that this is not permitted."
"That is a dark saying, only too well suited to this doubtful place, and I do not understand you."
"No," replied Grandfather Death, "but that does not matter."

„To-day alone was real. Never was man brought into contact with reality save through the evanescent emotions and sensations of that single moment, that infinitesimal fraction of a second, which was passing now — and it was in the insignificance of this moment, precisely, that religious persons must believe.“

—  James Branch Cabell, buch The Cream of the Jest

Quelle: The Cream of the Jest (1917), Ch. 26 : "Epper Si Muove"
Kontext: To-day alone was real. Never was man brought into contact with reality save through the evanescent emotions and sensations of that single moment, that infinitesimal fraction of a second, which was passing now — and it was in the insignificance of this moment, precisely, that religious persons must believe. So ran the teachings of all dead and lingering faiths alike. Here was, perhaps, only another instance of mankind's abhorrence of actualities; and man's quaint dislike of facing reality was here disguised as a high moral principle. That was why all art, which strove to make the sensations of a moment soul-satisfying, was dimly felt to be irreligious. For art performed what religion only promised.

„I am Manuel. I have lived in the loneliness which is common to all men, but the difference is that I have known it.“

—  James Branch Cabell, buch Figures of Earth

Manuel, in Ch. XXXIX : The Passing of Manuel
Figures of Earth (1921)
Kontext: I am Manuel. I have lived in the loneliness which is common to all men, but the difference is that I have known it. Now it is necessary for me, as it is necessary for all men, to die in this same loneliness, and I know that there is no help for it.

„At the gate of the garden, beside the lingham post which stood there in eternal erection, sat a boy who was diverting himself by whittling, with a small green-handled knife, a bit of cedar-wood into the quaint shaping which the post had.“

—  James Branch Cabell

Quelle: The Way of Ecben (1929), Ch. 13 : What a Boy Thought
Kontext: At the gate of the garden, beside the lingham post which stood there in eternal erection, sat a boy who was diverting himself by whittling, with a small green-handled knife, a bit of cedar-wood into the quaint shaping which the post had. His hair was darkly red: and now, as he regarded Alfgar with brown and wide-set eyes, the face of this boy was humorously grave, and he nodded now, as the complacent artist nods who looks upon his advancing work and finds all to be near his wishes.

„I have modeled and remodeled, and cannot get exactly to my liking. So it is necessary that I keep laboring at it, until the figure is to my thinking and my desire.“

—  James Branch Cabell, buch Figures of Earth

Quelle: Figures of Earth (1921), Ch. XL : Colophon: Da Capo
Kontext: The stranger pointed at the unfinished, unsatisfying image which stood beside the pool of Haranton, wherein, they say, strange dreams engender....
"What is that thing?" the stranger was asking, yet again...
"It is the figure of a man," said Manuel, "which I have modeled and remodeled, and cannot get exactly to my liking. So it is necessary that I keep laboring at it, until the figure is to my thinking and my desire."

„No Harrowby, the common names we call things by do not matter — except to show how very dull we are…“

—  James Branch Cabell, buch The Cream of the Jest

The Epilogue : Which is the proper ending of all comedies; and heralds, it may be, an afterpiece.
The Cream of the Jest (1917)
Kontext: I have been telling you, from alpha to omega, what is the one great thing the sigil taught me — that everything in life is miraculous. For the sigil taught me that it rests within the power of each of us to awaken at will from a dragging nightmare of life made up of unimportant tasks and tedious useless little habits, to see life as it really is, and to rejoice in its exquisite wonderfulness. If the sigil were proved to be the top of a tomato-can, it would not alter that big fact, nor my fixed faith. No Harrowby, the common names we call things by do not matter — except to show how very dull we are...

„What really matters is that there is so much faith and love and kindliness which we can share with and provoke in others, and that by cleanly, simple, generous living we approach perfection in the highest and most lovely of all arts. . . . But you, I think, have always comprehended this.“

—  James Branch Cabell

"Auctorial Induction"
The Certain Hour (1916)
Kontext: The Dream, as I now know, is not best served by making parodies of it, and it does not greatly matter after all whether a book be an epic or a directory. What really matters is that there is so much faith and love and kindliness which we can share with and provoke in others, and that by cleanly, simple, generous living we approach perfection in the highest and most lovely of all arts.... But you, I think, have always comprehended this.

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„Jurgen returned again toward Barathum; and, whether or not it was a coincidence, Jurgen met precisely the vampire of whom he had inveigled his father into thinking.“

—  James Branch Cabell

Ch. 37 : Invention of the Lovely Vampire http://xroads.virginia.edu/~hyper/CABELL/ch37.htm
Jurgen (1919)
Kontext: Jurgen returned again toward Barathum; and, whether or not it was a coincidence, Jurgen met precisely the vampire of whom he had inveigled his father into thinking. She was the most seductively beautiful creature that it would be possible for Jurgen's father or any other man to imagine: and her clothes were orange-colored, for a reason sufficiently well known in Hell, and were embroidered everywhere with green fig–leaves.
"A good morning to you, madame," says Jurgen, "and whither are you going?"
"Why, to no place at all, good youth. For this is my vacation, granted yearly by the Law of Kalki—"
"And who is Kalki, madame?"
"Nobody as yet: but he will come as a stallion. Meanwhile his Law precedes him, so that I am spending my vacation peacefully in Hell, with none of my ordinary annoyances to bother me."
"And what, madame, can they be?"
"Why, you must understand that it is little rest a vampire gets on earth, with so many fine young fellows like yourself going about everywhere eager to be destroyed."

„My immortality has sharp restrictions.“

—  James Branch Cabell

Horvendile, in Ch. 13 : What a Boy Thought
The Way of Ecben (1929)
Kontext: My immortality has sharp restrictions. For it is at a price that I pass down the years, as yet, in eternal union with the witch-woman whose magic stays — as yet — more strong than the magic of time. The price is that I only of her lovers many not ever hope to win Ettare. This merely is permitted me: that I may touch the hand of Etarre in the moment I lay that hand in the hand of her last lover. I give, who may not ever take... So do I purchase an eternally unfed desire against which time — as yet — remains powerless.

„I consider the saga of no lord of the Silver Stallion to be worth squabbling over.“

—  James Branch Cabell

Horvendille, in Book Six : In the Sylan's House, Ch. XXXIX : One Warden Left Uncircumvented
The Silver Stallion (1926)
Kontext: I consider the saga of no lord of the Silver Stallion to be worth squabbling over. Your sagas in the end must all be perverted and engulfed by the great legend about Manuel. No matter how you strive against that legend, it will conquer: no matter what you may do or suffer, my doomed Guivric, your saga will be recast until it conforms in everything to the legend begotten by the terrified imaginings of a lost child. For men dare not face the universe with no better backing than their own resources; all men that live, and that go perforce about this world like blundering lost children whose rescuer is not yet in sight, have a vital need to believe in this sustaining legend about the Redeemer: and the wickedness and the foolishness of no man can avail against the fond optimism of mankind.

„Nothing … nothing in the universe, is of any importance, or is authentic to any serious sense, except the illusions of romance.“

—  James Branch Cabell

The Gander, in Book Seven : What Saraïde Wanted, Ch. XLV : The Gander Also Generalizes
The Silver Stallion (1926)
Kontext: Nothing … nothing in the universe, is of any importance, or is authentic to any serious sense, except the illusions of romance. For man alone of animals plays the ape to his dreams. These axioms — poor, deaf and blinded spendthrift! — are none the less valuable for being quoted.

„And one is fain to be climbing where only angels have trod,
But is fettered and tied to another's side who fears that it might look odd.“

—  James Branch Cabell

"Ballad of the Double-Soul"
The Certain Hour (1916)
Kontext: For this is the song of the double-soul, distortedly two in one, —
Of the wearied eyes that still behold the fruit ere the seed be sown,
And derive affright for the nearing night from the light of the noontide sun.
For one that with hope in the morning set forth, and knew never a fear,
They have linked with another whom omens bother; and he whispers in one's ear.
And one is fain to be climbing where only angels have trod,
But is fettered and tied to another's side who fears that it might look odd.

„This merely is permitted me: that I may touch the hand of Etarre in the moment I lay that hand in the hand of her last lover. I give, who may not ever take… So do I purchase an eternally unfed desire against which time — as yet — remains powerless.“

—  James Branch Cabell

Horvendile, in Ch. 13 : What a Boy Thought
The Way of Ecben (1929)
Kontext: My immortality has sharp restrictions. For it is at a price that I pass down the years, as yet, in eternal union with the witch-woman whose magic stays — as yet — more strong than the magic of time. The price is that I only of her lovers many not ever hope to win Ettare. This merely is permitted me: that I may touch the hand of Etarre in the moment I lay that hand in the hand of her last lover. I give, who may not ever take... So do I purchase an eternally unfed desire against which time — as yet — remains powerless.

„I fight against the gluttony of time with so many very amusing weapons — with gestures and with three attitudes and with charming phrases; with tears and with tinsel, and with sugar-coated pills, and with platitudes slightly regilded.“

—  James Branch Cabell

Horvendile, in Ch. 13 : What a Boy Thought
The Way of Ecben (1929)
Kontext: I fight against the gluttony of time with so many very amusing weapons — with gestures and with three attitudes and with charming phrases; with tears and with tinsel, and with sugar-coated pills, and with platitudes slightly regilded. Yes, and I fight him also with little mirrors wherein gleam confusedly the corruptions of lust, and ruddy loyalty, and a bit of moonshine, and the pure diamond of the heart's desire, and the opal cloudings of human compromise: but, above all, I fight that ravening dotard with the strength of my own folly.

„I am Manuel, and I follow after my own thinking and my own desire.“

—  James Branch Cabell, buch Figures of Earth

Miramon, in Ch. IV : In the Doubtful Palace
Figures of Earth (1921)
Kontext: I am Manuel, and I follow after my own thinking and my own desire. Of course it is very fine of me to be renouncing so much wealth and power for the sake of my wonderful dear Niafer: but she is worth the sacrifice, and, besides, she is witnessing all this magnanimity, and cannot well fail to be impressed.

„This is a strong magic.This is a sententious magic.“

—  James Branch Cabell

Guivric, in Book Six : In the Sylan's House, Ch. XL : Economics of Glaum-Without-Bones
The Silver Stallion (1926)
Kontext: This is a strong magic. This is a sententious magic. They had warned me that I would here face my own destruction, that I would here face the most pitiable and terrible of all things: and I face here that which I have made of life, and life of me. I shudder; I am conscious of every appropriate sentiment. Nevertheless, sir, I must venture the suggestion that mere, explicit allegory as a form of art is somewhat obsolete.

„A book, once it is printed and published, becomes individual.“

—  James Branch Cabell

"A Note on Cabellian Harmonics" in Cabellian Harmonics (April 1928)
Kontext: A book, once it is printed and published, becomes individual. It is by its publication as decisively severed from its author as in parturition a child is cut off from its parent. The book "means" thereafter, perforce, — both grammatically and actually, — whatever meaning this or that reader gets out of it.

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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