Sunday, October 31, 2010

Artist: Edward Gorey

001Good morning, everybody!  Glad to see that some of you decided not to skip out on class today even though it’s Halloween – not to mention a Sunday.  Don’t worry, I won’t keep you for very long.

Today, we will be talking about Edward Gorey.

Edward Gorey was best-known for writing and illustrating short books.  At a glance some of them might appear to be geared towards children, but it doesn’t take much time to notice the dark humour inherent to his work.



002 the listing attic
From The Listing Attic, a collection of limericks.

003 the west wingGorey himself was quite the eccentric, known for harbouring obsessions for things such as tennis shoes, fur coats, soap operas and ballet – for many years, he religiously attended all performances of the New York City Ballet (Wikipedia). 

His writing is riddled with wordplay; and his art was often executed exclusively in black and white, with tedious use of cross-hatching and other mark-making techniques.


004 the gashlycrumb tinies

The following description of Edward Gorey’s first publication, The Unstrung Harp, is telling of his style:

The ratio of text to drawing in The Unstrung Harp is higher than in most of Gorey’s subsequent books, but otherwise it already embodies everything that has become synonymous with his name: painstaking drawings with an eloquent orchestration of hatchings and tickings, marvelous period details of costume and setting, a narrative that leapfrogs from the precise to the unexplained, a tone of vague melancholy, and an author who manifestly delights in both visual and linguistic oddities.

As Gorey tends to flirt with macabre subject matter and Victorian aesthetics, it is unsurprising that he has developed a cult following within the goth subculture.  Gorey himself insisted that he was never that interested in the Gothic and macabre, but “that was just the way it came out” and has said in an interview that “the whole theory of [surrealism] comes closer to my philosophy than almost anything” (The World of Edward Gorey).

005 the willowdale handcar OR the return of the black doll
From The Willowdale Handcar or The Return of the Black Doll

006 the listing attic
From The Listing Attic

007 the doubtful guest

   008 the object-lesson
Left from The Doubtful Guest, right from The Object-Lesson
The above images (with the exception of the first one, the photograph of Gorey) are taken from a collection of Gorey’s books, Amphigorey.  I apologize for the poor quality, it really detracts from the work.

pbf tribute
The Throbblefoot Aquarium - Edward Gorey tribute by Perry Bible Fellowship writer, Nicholas Gurewitch

1 comment:

  1. Nice stuff, I've never heard of Edward Gorey til now and you're post has made me very intrigued.
    I like his drawings, they have a very distinct style to them that I'm sure hold a lot of surrealist meaning. A+ post.