Not every good character or story is a book-length idea. Short works, like the short story and the essay, may stand on their own as complete creations, or exist as gem-like creations that begin the author’s process of world building. James Branch Cabell made numerous contributions to magazines and newspapers, many of which he later revisited and reworked into books. Sometimes, Cabell pulled multiple stories together into a fix-up, much as science fiction and fantasy writers do. Always, the author had an eye on publication and reputation as he operated within the creative economy of magazines, books and adaptations.
The following short works offer an introduction to Cabell’s unique writing style and some of the themes that are repeated throughout his writing.