Kalki: Studies in James Branch Cabell

Line drawing of a rearing stallion. Mundus Vult Decipi. The Fellowship of the Silver Stallion
Kalki, vol. 1, no. 4, February 1, 1967, p. 5
Special Collections and Archives, VCU Libraries

Kalki was first published in June 1965 as an illustrated fanzine created by The Fellowship of the Silver Stallion, a club “whose purpose would be to promote the reading and appreciation of the works of James Branch Cabell.” (Kalki vol. 1, no. 4, February 1, 1967, p. 5). James N. Hall was the founder and editor. Membership dues were established at $2.00 per year. Kalki was distributed to all members of the Fellowship, and made available to non-members for 75 cents per issue.

The magazine’s title was taken from Cabell’s writing. According to editors James Hall and Paul Spencer, in Hindu mythology Kalki is the name of the tenth incarnation of Vishnu, which is yet to come. Kalki will appear riding on an unnamed white stallion. Within The Biography of the Life of Manuel (Cabell’s grand narrative), the horse itself is named Kalki in The Silver Stallion, and becomes the steed of Gerald Musgrave in Something About Eve. Outside the frame of The Biography (in The Devil’s Own Dear Son) Kalki becomes the steed of Diego Dodd. The name Cabell is derived from caballus, meaning “horse.”

In 1967-1968 The Fellowship of the Silver Stallion was renamed The James Branch Cabell Society (as distinguished from “The Cabell Society” that published The Cabellian). James Blish, the well-known science fiction writer joined Hall, as did Paul H. Spencer, and by its fifth issue Kalki became a quarterly journal. In 1972, Paul Spencer became editor-in-chief, and Dorys Crow Grover came on board. Spencer and Grover had also been members of The Cabell Society, which had ceased publication of The Cabellian: A Journal of the Second American Renaissance and disbanded that year.

A total of 37 issues of Kalki were published between 1965 and 1993, with no issues published in 1972 or 1979. Volume 10, no. 1 (1993) was the James Branch Cabell Society’s final publication. These issues may be viewed on VCU Scholars Compass. A table of contents and additional information about Kalki have been published by Bill Lloyd and John Thorne on the Silver Stallion website.