Richmond author James Branch Cabell is best known for his controversial Jurgen (1919), one of several ironic fantasies he wrote that took place in Cabell's mythical medieval world of Poictesme (pwa-tem). Jurgen, laced with erotic overtones, was considered pornographic by some and a trial over its content brought the reclusive writer national fame. Throughout the 1920s, Cabell was highly regarded by his literary peers -- H.L. Mencken, Sinclair Lewis, and others praised his works. His medieval romanticism and fantasy were in fact thinly disguised commentary on the manners of those times....
His work has been admired by a diverse group of writers, including Carl Van Vechten, Margaret Mitchell, Edmund Wilson, Robert Heinlein, and Neil Gaiman.
Figures of Earth tells the story of Manuel the swineherd, a scoundrel who rises to conquer a realm by playing on others' expectations - his motto is Mundus Vult Decipi, meaning "the world wishes to be deceived".
Cabell's The Cream of the Jest
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