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Jurgen: A Comedy Of Justice
by James Branch Cabell
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Rarely in this age of action figures and product tie-ins does one come across a work as boldly and unapologetically erudite, urbane, and steeped in folklore, mythology, and literature as this early fantasy classic. Written in 1919 by James Branch Cabell, JURGEN employs chivalry, philosophy, mild eroticism, humor, and high poetic prose to celebrate man's desire for the perfect mate. Think Shakespeare crossed with Philip Roth. This production is just as unapologetically smart and urbane as the book. JURGEN's vocabulary is enormous, and John Rubinstein gives a fine, clear reading as the hero, while Melissa Greenspan, Ann Marie Lee, and Lorna Raver give depth and voices to the many heroines (from Guinevere to Helen of Troy). The entire production is like listening to a banquet of words. B.P. © AudioFile 2002, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine
It is a tale which they narrate in Poictesme, saying: 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. Her name, they say, was Adelais, but people by ordinary called her Dame Lisa.
Jurgen: A Comedy of Justice, an entry in the Poictesme series, is an epic fantasy voyage as well as an erotic fable. Cabell himself wrote: "This fable is, as the world itself, a book wherein each man will find what his nature enables him to see; which gives us back each his own image; and which teaches us each the lesson that each of us desires to learn." Jurgen was banned for decades because of its explicit content. It was, and remains, a groundbreaking early fantasy novel and a worthy addition to the Wildside Fantasy Classics line.
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