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Edward Gorey

Gorey was a writer who illustrated his ideas in a variety of mediums and wasn't necessarily particular as to what form they took. Starting in the early 1950s, he published more than 70 books of drawings such as The Beastly Baby and The Curious Sofa which brought his often macabre literary ideas to life. His illustrated versions of other people's work, including T.S. Eliot's Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats, are perennial bestsellers. A major retrospective of his work, The World of Edward Gorey, by Clifford Ross and Karen Wilkin, was published in 1996. His 1978 set designs for the Broadway revival of Dracula set him off as a stage designer, and his costumes for that show earned him a Tony award. His rare excursions into animation, including the short series of "Fantods" he did for MYSTERY!, have added to his enormous cult reputation. When he was in his late sixties, Gorey produced, wrote, directed, and occasionally even acted in his own community theater productions in the Cape Cod area, where he lived and worked in his later years.

Gorey seems firmly interested in death, the biggest fear of the human being. Gorey's world of nonsense is dazed with explicit and implicit ambiguity, his stories give a feeling of panic.

Gorey tells us of our fears, the ones that we carry within us from childhood, and very often terrify us even more because they are vague, elusive, indescribable. Facts of the "stuff of dreams", the designs of Gorey, beyond the beauty of the tract or gothic atmosphere, bring us into contact with the monster that perhaps never really disappeared from under our bed.

“My mission in life is to make everybody as uneasy as possible. I think we should all be as uneasy as possible, because that's what the world is like.” Edward Gorey

“I am a person before I am anything else. I never say I am a writer. I never say I am an artist...I am a person who does those things.” Edward Gorey


A is for Amy who fell down the stairs.

C is for Clara who wasted away. D is for Desmond thrown out of a sleigh. E is for Ernest who choked on a peach. F is for Fanny sucked dry by a leech.

G is for George smothered under a rug. H is for Hector done in by a thug. I is for Ida who drowned in a lake. J is for James who took lye by mistake.

L is for Leo who choked on some tacks.

M is for Maud who was swept out to sea. N is for Neville who died of ennui. O is for Olive run through with an awl. P is for Prue trampled flat in a brawl. Q is for Quentin who sank on a mire. R is for Rhoda consumed by a fire.

S is for Susan who perished of fits. T is for Titus who flew into bits. U is for Una who slipped down a drain. V is for Victor squashed under a train. W is for Winnie embedded in ice. X is for Xerxes devoured by mice. Y is for Yorick whose head was bashed in. Z is for Zillah who drank too much gin.


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