Wednesday, March 21, 2018

James Branch Cabell in the Ballantine Adult Fantasy Series

Updated twice (3.22.18): Six volumes of writings by James Branch Cabell (1879-1958) appeared in the Ballantine Adult Fantasy series, published in the U.S. from 1969 through 1974.  They are, in sequence:
The Silver Stallion [originally published in 1926]
First U.S. Printing: August 1969 [Cover by Bob Pepper; Intro by Lin Carter]
Figures of Earth [originally published in 1921]
First U.S. Printing: November 1969 [Cover by Robert Pepper; Intro by Lin Carter]
The High Place [originally published in 1923]
First U.S. Printing: February 1970 [Cover by Frank C. Pape, illuminated by Donna
    Violetti; Intro by Lin Carter]
Something About Eve [originally published in 1927]
First Printing: March 1971 [Cover by Bob Pepper; Intro by Lin Carter]
 The Cream of the Jest [originally published in 1917]
First Printing: September 1971 [Cover by Brian Froud; Intro by Lin Carter]
Domnei  [originally published in 1920, including The Music from Behind the Moon, 1926]
First Printing: March 1972 [Cover by Brian Froude [sic]; Intro by Lin Carter]

Five of the six Cabell titles had Canadian printings in the 1970-72 era. The Canadian printings are undated, but details for a few titles are known: the second, Figures of Earth (printed in Canada in April 1970, five months after the U.S. printing in November 1969) and the sixth, Domnei (printed in Canada in April 1972, one month after the U.S. printing in March 1972). Other Canadian printings observed include The High Place, Something About Eve, and The Cream of the Jest.  The only Cabell title without a confirmed early Canadian printing is the first, The Silver Stallion. All six Cabell titles were reprinted in the U.S. by Ballantine / Del Rey in 1979.  These 1979 reprints were also issued in Canadian printings. The Canadian printings for both the 1970-72 era and 1979 reprints are distinguishable from the U.S. ones only by a "Printed in Canada" slug replacing the "Printed in the United States" on the copyright page.
Only one of the six had a U.K. Pan/Ballantine edition, and that was The Cream of the Jest (published by Pan/Ballantine on 7th April 1972, seven months after the U.S. printing). (Notice the Commonwealth prices added to the lower rear cover, as depicted above.)  Why was only one BAF Cabell published in the U.K.?  Probably because Tandem got to them first, for they released three Cabell mass market paperbacks in the U.K. in April 1971, all having introductions by James Blish.The three titles were The Silver Stallion, Figures of Earth, and Jurgen. 
Why didn't Jurgen, Cabell's most famous and arguably his best book, appear in the Ballantine Adult Fantasy series?  Probably because it was already in print in the U.S., by Avon, first printed in 1965 and in its third printing in 1967.
Note: The scans in this blog post have been shamelessly lifted (thanks Bill, thanks John) from The Silver Stallion: The James Branch Cabell Website, which is a fine site I recommend visiting and bookmarking. 
      And a thanks to Trevor Livelton for the information on Canadian printings.


  1. Thanks for posting these. Brings back many memories of first being introduced to Cabell through these editions back in the day!

  2. The funniest and most beautiful of the early fantasists. Kind of the Sheckley of the 1900's.