Virginia History Series
Historical Hall of Fame: James Branch Cabell, (1879-1958) was an Virginia author of fantasy fiction who later became
James Branch Cabell, /'kębal'/;was a Virginia author of fantasy fiction and belles lettres. Cabell was well regarded by his contemporaries,
including H. L. Mencken and Sinclair Lewis. His works were considered escapist and fit well in the culture of the 1920s, when his
literary works were most popular. His most exhaustive work was the 18-volume Biography of the Life of Manuel.
to historian Jim Glanville, "Cabell is arguably the most famous Virginian ever to have lived in Northumberland Co." Glanville
notes that Cabell's historical writings focused on the "... history of Florida and its relationship to the history of the Northern
Neck of Virginia." In particular, Cabell (the historian) focused on the Jesuit missionaries and the activities of
the Virginia native Paquiquineo (called Don Luis de Velasco by the Spanish) in his historical novel The First Gentleman of America:
A Comedy of Conquest (1942).
In 1970, Virginia Commonwealth University, also located in Richmond, named its main campus library
the "James Branch Cabell Library" in his honor. In the 1970s, Cabell's library and personal papers were moved from his home on Monument
Avenue in Richmond to the James Branch Cabell Library.
Selected Works by James Branch Cabell:
Biography of the Life of Manuel is a series of novels, essays and poetry by James Branch Cabell. It purports to trace the life, illusions
and disillusions of Dom Manuel, Count of Poictesme (a fictional province of France - see above map), and of his physical and spiritual
descendants through many generations.