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.
Gorey 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.
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).
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.