Monday, March 21, 2022

A Handy Formula I Wish Had Been Written Down


The writing hustle is filled with lost opportunities. From a book of James Branch Cabell's letters, an excerpt from one to fellow Richmond-in-Virginian writer Ellen Glasgow:

 "When next I see you I shall submit a simple formula by which you can do a 2,000 word preface without the least mental stress." 





Tim Walters said...

I recently had recourse to the collected letters, after reading in a biography of Aleister Crowley (which, unfortunately, I don't have to hand) that Crowley was convinced that Cabell was on the verge of converting to Thelemism, due to his incorporation of the Lance ceremony into Jurgen. The biographer seemed to take this at face value, but of course I was skeptical. Crowley is not mentioned by name, but I did find this (to Guy Holt, February 16, 1920):

... I have solved the problem of the Lance ceremony, which is taken from The Equinox.... You have this volume, I know: and will note that this part of Jurgen derides a philosophy which is being taught _to-day_. It is also, perhaps, of importance that these ceremonies were originally printed in a fifteen cent magazine, the _International_, which was never arraigned for lewdness; since fifteen cents is considerably less than a dollar and seventy-nine.

So: lol no.

Michael Swanwick said...

I read a couple of Crowley's letters at Virginia Commonwealth University. Crowley assumed a flattering tone and addressed Cabell as Master or Magister or somesuch. Alas, VCU had no copies of Cabell's replies.

I'd love to see the correspondence between Crowley and Cabell collected somewhere.