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Taboo A Legend Retold from the Dirghic of Sævius Nicanor, with Prolegomena, Notes, and a Preliminary Memoir   By: (1879-1958)

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A Legend Retold from the Dirghic of Sævius Nicanor, with Prolegomena, Notes, and a Preliminary Memoir


James Branch Cabell

At melius fuerat non scribere, namque tacere Tutum semper erit.




This edition is limited to nine hundred and twenty numbered copies, of which one hundred copies have been signed by the author.

Copy Number 893

Copyright, 1921, by


Revised and reprinted, by permission of the Editors, from THE LITERARY REVIEW





THE LEGEND: How Horvendile Met Fate and Custom How the Garbage Man Came with Forks How Thereupon Ensued a Legal Debate How There Was Babbling in Philistia How It Appeared to the Man in the Street




Laudataque virtus crescit

"Buttons, a farthing a pair! Come, who could buy them of me? They're round and sound and pretty, And fit for girls of the city."


( Agent of the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice )

For no short while my indebtedness to you has been such as to require some sort of public acknowledgment, which may now, I think, be tendered most appropriately by inscribing upon the dedication page of this small volume the name to which you are daily adding in significance.

It is a tribute, however trivial, which serves at least to express my appreciation of your zeal in re establishing what seemed to the less optimistic a lost cause. I may to day confess without much embarrassment that after fifteen years of foiled endeavors my (various) publishers and I had virtually decided that the printing of my books was not likely ever to come under the head of a business venture, but was more properly describable as a rather costly form of dissipation. People here and there would praise, but until you, unsolicited, had volunteered to make me known to the general public, nobody seemed appreciably moved to purchase.

One by one my books had "fallen dead" with disheartening monotony: then through what motive it would savor of ingratitude to inquire, you came to remedy all this in the manner of a philanthropic sorcerer, brandishing everywhither your vivifying wand, and the dead lived again. At once, they tell me, the patrons of bookstores began to ask, not only in whispers for the Jurgen which you had everywhere so glowingly advertised, but with frank curiosity for "some of the fellow's other books."

Whereon we of course began to "reprint," with, I rejoice to say, results which have been very generally acceptable. Barring a few complaints as to the exiguousness of my writing's salacity, a salacity which even I confess you amiably exaggerated in attributing to my literary manner all qualities which the average reader most desires in novelists, there has proved to be in point of fact, as my publishers and I had dubiously believed for years, a gratifying number of persons, living dispersedly about America, prepared to like my books when these books were brought to their attention. The difficulty had been that we did not know how to reach these widely scattered, congenial readers. But you like Sir James Barrie's hero "found a way... Continue reading book >>

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