JAMES BRANCH CABELL JURGEN PDF

Jurgen has a lot of the elements that I loved about The Holy Grail and The Life of Brian : wild imagination, lampooning of shallow chivalry, religious intolerance or puritanical morals, frequent sexual puns, surprising depth and seriousness behind the comedy. Jurgen is a mythical figure, an archetype of humanity, on a quest of self discovery disguised as a hunt for the eternal feminine principle, embodied succesively in a childhood sweetheart, Guinevere, The Lady in the Lake, Helen of Troy, a wood nymph, a seductive vampire and finally - his termagant of a consort: In the old days lived a pawnbroker named Jurgen; but what his wife called him was very often much worse than that. She was a high-spirited woman, with no especial gift for silence At the start of his Odyssey, Jurgen is a forty-something member of the middle class, who once considered himself a poet, and who still can use sophistic arguments to demonstrate that black is white in order to get out of sticky situations. In his own words, he is a "monstrously clever fellow", boastfull and full of pride.

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Jurgen has a lot of the elements that I loved about The Holy Grail and The Life of Brian : wild imagination, lampooning of shallow chivalry, religious intolerance or puritanical morals, frequent sexual puns, surprising depth and seriousness behind the comedy.

Jurgen is a mythical figure, an archetype of humanity, on a quest of self discovery disguised as a hunt for the eternal feminine principle, embodied succesively in a childhood sweetheart, Guinevere, The Lady in the Lake, Helen of Troy, a wood nymph, a seductive vampire and finally - his termagant of a consort: In the old days lived a pawnbroker named Jurgen; but what his wife called him was very often much worse than that.

She was a high-spirited woman, with no especial gift for silence At the start of his Odyssey, Jurgen is a forty-something member of the middle class, who once considered himself a poet, and who still can use sophistic arguments to demonstrate that black is white in order to get out of sticky situations. In his own words, he is a "monstrously clever fellow", boastfull and full of pride.

He is also dissatisfied with his lot in life, and often wonders what is it all about: The people whom he loved when at his best as a fine young fellow were so very soon, and through petty causes, to become nothing to him, and he himself was to be converted into a commonplace tradesman. And living seemed to Jurgen a wasteful and inequitable process. His cleverness lands him in the magical land of Poictesme, where gods and myths and literary figures mix freely, everything seems possible, including for Jurgen to regain his youth and vigor.

While on a nominal quest to recapture his missing wife, Dame Lisa, Jurgen is easily distracted and led astray by the above mentioned impersonations of the feminine mystique. He takes to the magical land like a fish to water, and will succesively impersonate a duke, a prince, a king, an emperor, a pope, engaged in one outrageous adventure after another, because "I am willing to taste any drink once.

He is looking for answers: about the meaning of life, of love, of reality, of morality, and of everything in between.

For Jurgen was content to dismiss no riddle with a mere "I do not know. His frequent affairs never satisfy him for long, and he will follow his unnamed longings and unanswered riddles to the depths of Hell and the ramparts of Heaven. His travels may appear random and gratuitous in the beginning, but there is a clear progression and purpose in the telling, with each pit stop adding another layer of understanding or posing new questions to be chased.

I have greatly enjoyed his puns and bedroom games, but this is hardly the stuff that would get a book banned. Everything is implied rather than explicite - Cabbell claiming in his defense that it is the reader who has a dirty mind. Certainly the Praxagorean system of mathematics is a fascinating study when applied to anatomy. To think of it, now, that you should honor me, as people do saints, with seven candles! Well, I am only mortal, but none the less I am Jurgen, and I shall endeavor to repay this sevenfold courtesy without discount.

His pronouncements make me laugh, but also make me squirm a little with my modern sensibilities about the equality of sexes: "She does not understand me, and she does not always treat my superior wisdom quite respectfully. That is unfair, but it seems to be an unavoidable feature of married life. Besides, if any woman had ever understood me she would, in self-protection, have refused to marry me.

In any case, Chloris is a dear brown plump delicious partridge of a darling: and cleverness in women is, after all, a virtue misplaced. And there is no faith stronger than that of a bad-tempered woman in her own infallibility. Plainly, this wife of yours is the sort of person who cannot be tolerated by anybody short of the angels. We deduce that your Empress must be in Heaven. Infatuation is largely a matter of curiosity, and both of these emotions die when they are fed.

While I admit I may have missed on some of the myths and heroes mentioned in the text, it did not detract in any way from the message or the meaning of the narrative. All the alegories and the metaphors will be explained in the book, so the lack of a solid background in Greek or Celtic mythology should not be a problem in enjoying the story of Jurgen.

The edition put up on Project Gutenberg was adequate for me. I could easily imagine university students developing full blown disertations from any one of the chapters in the book. I think of the dear people whose living was confident and glad because of their faith in You: I think of them, and in my heart contends a blind contrition, and a yearning, and an enviousness, and yet a tender sort of amusement colors all. Oh, God, there was never any other deity who had such dear worshippers as You have had, and You should be very proud of them.

In conclusion, Jurgen was a memorable journey for me, one that I would recommend without reservations, and a book that merits a place in a literary Hall of Fame, be it one for fantasy or for general fiction.

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Title page verso: Copyright, , by Robert M. Publication: New York: Robert M. Cabell ; iii title-page; iv publication data; v dedication; vi three quotations attributed to Philip Borsdale, E. Noel Codman, and John Frederick Lewistam ; vii-viii Contents; 1 Fly-title verso blank ; text of A Foreword; 6 blank; 7 fly-title verso blank ; followed by text pp.

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Jurgen; A Comedy of Justice

The eponymous hero, who considers himself a "monstrous clever fellow", embarks on a journey through ever more fantastic realms, even to hell and heaven. The novel was denounced by the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice ; they attempted to bring a prosecution for obscenity. The case went on for two years before Cabell and his publisher, Robert M. McBride , won: the "indecencies" were double entendres that also had a perfectly decent interpretation, though it appeared that what had actually offended the prosecution most was a joke about papal infallibility.

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