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This Day (Curiously Scandalous Edition)


On this day in 1879, the novelist James Branch Cabell was born on the third floor of 101 East Franklin Street in Richmond, a location now home to the Richmond City Library. One wonders if Cabell was always as creepy looking as in the photograph above.
His most famous novel, Jurgen (1919), was denounced by the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice, and according to our entry, a certain unpleasantness was never far away:

For a conservative southern gentleman, Cabell led a life curiously marked by scandal. He matriculated in 1894 at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, and during a distinguished undergraduate career he was engaged by the college while an upperclassman to teach undergraduates French and Greek. His reputation, however, was nearly destroyed by a false rumor that he had participated in a homosexual orgy involving the college librarian and a few other members of Cabell’s fraternity. This weirdly hysterical piece of campus gossip led to his temporary withdrawal from the college and his abandonment of his courtship of Gabriella Moncure, a young woman whose beguiling unattainability later haunted his novels as Dorothy in Jurgen (1919) and Melior in The High Place (1923).

If you’re curious about the Cabell-Tarantino connection, you can find it here. And read the whole scandalous text of Jurgen here.
IMAGE: Photograph of Cabell by Carl Van Vechten (April 30, 1935)

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