A couple of days ago, I regretted that James Branch Cabell didn't share in print a formula he claimed to have:
"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."
Well, a few pages later in The Letters of James Branch Cabell, he wrote:
There are just four points, I think, to be covered always: the place and the significance of the book in your complete work; [...] your own personal view of the book nowadays, as well as, if you like, of the dead person who wrote it; the book's origin and the circumstances in which it was written; and how, and when, and what happened after, the book was published--which of course gives you a free hand with the reviews and the acquaintances you may have made through it.
So I was wrong. Cabell did write down the formula and, while potentially useful, it is not nearly as interesting as I'd hoped it would be.
Ah, well. It's not the first time I was wrong nor, I suspect, will it be the last.