A few words from Neil on Jurgen: Jurgen may be the most famous of James Branch Cabell’s books: It was certainly the one that put him on the map, when, in January 1920, the New York Society for the Prevention of Vice took his publisher to court for violating New York’s anti-obscenity law. Suddenly, Cabell went from an admired but semi-obscure author of literary satiric fantasy, to the guy everyone was reading because he was censored.
James Branch Cabell's career was short-lived - his works fit neatly within the 1920s literary escapist culture and then quickly declined in popularity as the author veered away from the fantasy niche. In his heyday, Cabell garnered praise from several of his contemporaries such as H. L. Mencken and Sinclair Lewis. Lewis even acknowledged Cabell's successful Jurgen in his 1930 Nobel Prize address. Jurgen is certainly Cabell's most famous novel, published in 1919, and it tells the story of a middle-aged man on a journey through fantastic realms, where he meets and seduces beautiful women of fiction and myth - including the Devil's wife. The book garnered attention as it was charged with obscenity in a case that reached the New York Supreme Court. Cabell and his publisher won the case, and the author was deemed a literary avant garde, who tested conventional social boundaries and opposed the forces of puritanical repression.
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Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By troconn the destroyer on 18-10-12
I think a must read...
Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?
This is an interesting story both in and of itself and because of the history of the publication of the novel and the controversy that it caused. It is funny and irreverent and full of sexual double entendre and pretty racy stuff for 1920. I would recommend this audio book even thought the narrator was not really the best.
What aspect of Robert Blumenfeld’s performance would you have changed?
This is a tough dialogue to read... no argument, and Mr. Blumenfeld breezed through the French and Latin and German place names and references without missing a beat... however I kept waiting for him to get the rhythm of the characters and he never really did. I often had a hard time telling the transition from one character to another and he really wasn't a smooth reader. He injected pauses in the middle of sentences and didn't seem as I said to get the rhythm of the characters.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful
By j on 11-03-13
whimsical prose and a perfect performer
Would you listen to Jurgen again? Why?
this is a book which repays rereading. The language, the plotting and the mischievous double entendre may have been compromising in 1910, but today it is refreshing and amusing with a delicate and wicked sense of humour - his name was Jurgen but what his wife called him "was often much worse than that"
What other book might you compare Jurgen to and why?
None, unless by Cabell. His Storisende series continually offers the sense of humour and mischief found here. Jurgen is the most accessible of the stories and perhaps the wittiest. after all, noone knows what happens in the dark.
Which scene was your favorite?
the very first - his meeting with the devil and the commentary on the place of devil and religion as necessary counterparts is superbly done and as funny a scene as is to be found in literature
If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?
Any additional comments?
too good to miss, it is to be hoped that the rest of these wonderful books will be available on Audible, and with the same narrator.l especially look forward to the Cream of the Jest.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful