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The Certain Hour   By: (1879-1958)

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James Branch Cabell, in his collection of short stories titled The Certain Hour, invites readers into a world where imagination intertwines with reality, where the mystical and the mundane converge in deliciously provocative ways.

With each story, Cabell expertly explores the human condition through his diverse cast of characters, each grappling with their own hopes, dreams, and desires. From artists and kings to musicians and enchantresses, his protagonists represent the breadth and depth of human experience. In this collection, Cabell effortlessly switches between different time periods and settings, employing a lyrical writing style that mesmerizes readers from the very first page.

What truly sets Cabell apart is his ability to examine the fragility of human relationships. Through his stories, he delves deep into the murky complexities of love, envy, betrayal, and regret. In pieces such as "The Isle of Pines" and "Animula Vagula," Cabell skillfully dissects the dynamics of both romantic and platonic relationships, exposing the delicate threads that bind individuals together or drive them apart. He explores the vulnerabilities that lie beneath the surface, capturing the essence of human connection with remarkable insight.

Furthermore, Cabell's stories are imbued with a powerful sense of wonder. Within the pages of The Certain Hour, readers are transported to realms where magic exists alongside the mundane. May it be through fairy tales, dream sequences, or encounters with mythical creatures, Cabell reminds us of the enchantment that surrounds us in our everyday lives. He encourages us to maintain a childlike sense of awe, even when faced with the hardships of adulthood.

Despite the fantastical elements present in the stories, Cabell manages to infuse them with undeniable realism. His characters are flawed and relatable, grappling with universal dilemmas such as a loss of purpose or an unfulfilled longing. By portraying his protagonists in such a manner, Cabell masterfully resonates with readers' deepest fears and desires, highlighting the fine line that separates the extraordinary from the ordinary.

While some readers may find Cabell's prose to be dense and highly stylized, those who appreciate literary artistry will revel in the richness of his language. From his deliberate use of symbolism to his deliberate crafting of each sentence, Cabell's writing is a testament to the power of words to evoke emotions and ignite the imagination.

In conclusion, The Certain Hour is a captivating collection of stories that showcases James Branch Cabell's profound understanding of the human psyche and exquisite ability to blur the lines between reality and fantasy. It is a book that will leave readers pondering the intricacies of human nature long after they have turned the final page.

First Page:


( Dizain des Po√ętes )



"Criticism, whatever may be its pretensions, never does more than to define the impression which is made upon it at a certain moment by a work wherein the writer himself noted the impression of the world which he received at a certain hour."




Copyright, 1916, by Robert M. McBride & Co. Copyright, 1915, by McBride, Nast & Co. Copyright, 1914, by the Sewanee Review Quarterly Copyright, 1913, by John Adams Thayer Corporation Copyright, 1912, by Argonaut Publishing Company Copyright, 1911, by Red Book Corporation Copyright, 1909, by Harper and Brothers



In Dedication of The Certain Hour

Sad hours and glad hours, and all hours, pass over; One thing unshaken stays: Life, that hath Death for spouse, hath Chance for lover; Whereby decays

Each thing save one thing: mid this strife diurnal Of hourly change begot, Love that is God born, bides as God eternal, And changes not;

Nor means a tinseled dream pursuing lovers Find altered by and bye, When, with possession, time anon discovers Trapped dreams must die,

For he that visions God, of mankind gathers One manlike trait alone, And reverently imputes to Him a father's Love for his son... Continue reading book >>

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