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Figures of Earth   By: (1879-1958)

Book cover

First Page:

FIGURES OF EARTH

A Comedy of Appearances

JAMES BRANCH CABELL

Illustrated by Frank C. Papé

1921

"Cascun se mir el jove Manuel, Qu'era del mom lo plus valens dels pros."

Contents

AUTHOR'S NOTE

A FOREWORD

PART ONE: THE BOOK OF CREDIT

CHAPTER

I HOW MANUEL LEFT THE MIRE II NIAFER III ASCENT OF VRAIDEX IV IN THE DOUBTFUL PALACE V THE ETERNAL AMBUSCADE VI ECONOMICS OF MATH VII THE CROWN OF WISDOM VIII THE HALO OF HOLINESS IX THE FEATHER OF LOVE

PART TWO: THE BOOK OF SPENDING

X ALIANORA XI MAGIC OF THE APSARASAS XII ICE AND IRON XIII WHAT HELMAS DIRECTED XIV THEY DUEL ON MORVEN XV BANDAGES FOR THE VICTOR

PART THREE: THE BOOK OF CAST ACCOUNTS

XVI FREYDIS XVII MAGIC OF THE IMAGE MAKERS XVIII MANUEL CHOOSES XIX THE HEAD OF MISERY XX THE MONTH OF YEARS XXI TOUCHING REPAYMENT XXII RETURN OF NIAFER XXIII MANUEL GETS HIS DESIRE XXIV THREE WOMEN

PART FOUR: THE BOOK OF SURCHARGE

XXV AFFAIRS IN POICTESME XXVI DEALS WITH THE STORK XXVII THEY COME TO SARGYLL XXVIII HOW MELICENT WAS WELCOMED XXIX SESPHRA OF THE DREAMS XXX FAREWELL TO FREYDIS XXXI STATECRAFT XXXII THE REDEMPTION OF POICTESME

PART FIVE: THE BOOK OF SETTLEMENT

XXXIII NOW MANUEL PROSPERS XXXIV FAREWELL TO ALIANORA XXXV THE TROUBLING WINDOW XXXVI EXCURSIONS FROM CONTENT XXXVII OPINIONS OF HINZELMANN XXXVIII FAREWELL TO SUSKIND XXXIX THE PASSING OF MANUEL XL COLOPHON: DA CAPO

To

SIX MOST GALLANT CHAMPIONS

Is dedicated this history of a champion: less to repay than to acknowledge large debts to each of them, collectively at outset, as hereafter seriatim.

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

Author's Note

Figures of Earth is, with some superficial air of paradox, the one volume in the long Biography of Dom Manuel's life which deals with Dom Manuel himself. Most of the matter strictly appropriate to a Preface you may find, if you so elect, in the Foreword addressed to Sinclair Lewis. And, in fact, after writing two prefaces to this "Figures of Earth" first, in this epistle to Lewis, and, secondly, in the remarks[1] affixed to the illustrated edition, I had thought this volume could very well continue to survive as long as its deficiencies permit, without the confection of a third preface, until I began a little more carefully to consider this romance, in the seventh year of its existence.

[Footnote 1: Omitted in this edition since it was not possible to include all of Frank C. Papé's magnificent illustrations. THE PUBLISHER]

But now, now, the deficiency which I note in chief (like the superior officer of a disastrously wrecked crew) lies in the fact that what I had meant to be the main "point" of "Figures of Earth," while explicitly enough stated in the book, remains for every practical end indiscernible.... For I have written many books during the last quarter of a century. Yet this is the only one of them which began at one plainly recognizable instant with one plainly recognizable imagining. It is the only book by me which ever, virtually, came into being, with its goal set, and with its theme and its contents more or less pre determined throughout, between two ticks of the clock.

Egotism here becomes rather unavoidable. At Dumbarton Grange the library in which I wrote for some twelve years was lighted by three windows set side by side and opening outward. It was in the instant of unclosing one of these windows, on a fine afternoon in the spring of 1919, to speak with a woman and a child who were then returning to the house (with the day's batch of mail from the post office), that, for no reason at all, I reflected it would be, upon every personal ground, regrettable if, as the moving window unclosed, that especial woman and that particular child proved to be figures in the glass, and the window opened upon nothingness. For that, I believed, was about to happen... Continue reading book >>




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