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Beyond Life (The Biography of Manuel #1)

4.05  ·  Rating Details  ·  40 Ratings  ·  9 Reviews
An entry in Cabell's fantastic "Poictesme" series.
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published August 25th 2003 by Wildside Press (first published 1919)
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Glen Engel-Cox
Nov 23, 2014 Glen Engel-Cox rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read most of James Branch Cabell's Beyond Life last night. I bought this book years ago because I really admire Cabell's fantasy, his incredible vocabulary, and this was the limited edition of the Storisende collection of his work...I just couldn't pass it up.

Cabell's vocabulary is immense, not to mention that he was writing this in 1919 and some of his style is from a time before that. Even so, I eventually had to resort to pulling the dictionary off the shelf to refer to time and again, and
Alex Sarll
I hesitate to call this book 'great', not because it's largely composed of idiosyncratic commentary on authors now forgotten, but because part of that commentary is a deep scepticism of the very idea of greatness - the observation being made that many acknowledged classics are best enjoyed from a respectful distance. But then, in amongst the insistence on the importance of a romantic outlook, on painting life not as it is but as it ought to be, on the idea that it is solely by believing himself ...more
Geoffrey Deacon
Jul 29, 2011 Geoffrey Deacon rated it it was amazing
James Branch Cabell (rhymes with rabble) is in my opinion the single most underrated great American writer. This is a book length rumination of aesthetics and theology. He argues among other things that Christianity must be true because it posses the perfect story and he is being only slightly ironic. One should read the novels (start with Jurgen) first.
Feb 09, 2012 Sketchbook rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sublime. Izzit a tease or a testament?
Cher Maitre opines that a "pop" novel respects the
limitations of its readers.
The root of all evil izznt money, he adds, it's the lack
of imagination.
Crescendo: The story of Christ is the story of Cinderella
in more impressive terms.

Literature, love, life viewed with heavenly jeux d'esprit.

Erik Graff
May 09, 2014 Erik Graff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: literati
Recommended to Erik by: Richard A. Strong
Shelves: literature
In the tradition of H.P. Lovecraft and J.L. Borges, James Branch Cabell has his interlocutors discuss literature, both real and imagined. Clever--a reward for erudition.

I believe I picked this up at a used bookstore in Cambridge, MA while on a visit from New York to my old college chum and dormroom neighbor, Rick Strong, in Allston, MA.
Jul 19, 2012 Richard rated it liked it
If Cabell restrained his urge to discuss authors and playwrights I don't care about, and stuck to snarky philosophizing, this would be a 5.
May 26, 2015 Ejl rated it it was amazing
A brilliant meta-fictional discussion about the value of romance and imagination in literature and in life. Filled with innumerable bon mots - I particularly liked the bit about evolution being sparked by a fish's literally insane desire to live out of the water. My first visit to Poictesme (or, at least, related realms), but certainly not my last.
Christopher Tookey
Mar 17, 2015 Christopher Tookey rated it it was amazing
Unlike Jurgen, The Silver Stallion and Figures of Earth, Cabell's great fantasy novels, this is a series of wise essays with a philosophy that underpins all Cabell's books. Cabell's prose style may a bit florid for today's tastes, but I still think he's a terrific read. There's never been anyone like him, and I've found him a huge inspiration in my own work. My first fantasy novel, Not Very Arthurian, will be dedicated to him.
My local library has a first edition of this book.
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James Branch Cabell was a novelist, critic and poet.
More about James Branch Cabell...

Other Books in the Series

The Biography of Manuel (1 - 10 of 23 books)
  • Figures of Earth
  • The Silver Stallion
  • The Witch-Woman
  • Domnei
  • Chivalry
  • Jurgen
  • The Line of Love: Dizain des Mariages
  • The High Place
  • Gallantry: Dizain des Fetes Galantes
  • Something About Eve

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“But with man the case is otherwise, in that when logic leads to any humiliating
conclusion, the sole effect is to discredit logic.”
“The only way of rendering life endurable is to drink as much wine as one can come by.” 4 likes
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