by Edward Gorey


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An illustrated collection of 15 macabre short stories.
In this gorgeously detailed volume, American artist and author Edward Gorey accents amphigory (nonsense verse or composition) with his signature cross-hatched pen-and-ink drawings. A mix of poetry and prose, light-hearted and decidedly more morbid storytelling, the book is sure to satisfy both fans of art and lovers of short stories alike.
Stories included:
"The Unstrung Harp"
"The Listing Attic"
"The Doubtful Guest"
"The Object Lesson"
"The Bug Book"
"The Fatal Lozenge"
"The Hapless Child"
"The Curious Sofa"
"The Willowdale Handcar"
"The Gashlycrumb Tinies"
"The Insect God"
"The West Wing"
"The Wuggly Ump"
"The Sinking Spell"
"The Remembered Visit"

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780399504334
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 01/28/1980
Pages: 192
Sales rank: 124,180
Product dimensions: 7.82(w) x 10.84(h) x 0.54(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Edward Gorey, known for his unsettling pen-and-ink drawings with a Victorian flair, wrote and illustrated such books as The Doubtful Guest, The Gashlycrumb Tinies, and The Headless Bust. He was also the illustrator for the bestselling Lewis Barnavelt series by John Bellairs. Gorey was a very successful set and costume designer, earning a Tony Award for his Broadway production of Dracula. His works dating back to the 1950s have been collected in the Amphigorey series of books. He died in 2000.


An Interview with Edward Gorey

Edward Gorey's stories and illustrations are quite unlike anything else ever written or drawn, and he's got the personality to match. An intensely private person, Gorey almost never makes forays into the public domain, and when he does, as you'll see if you keep reading, he does little to lessen the shroud of mystery that surrounds him.

barnesandnoble.comYour artistic style brings to mind 19th-century book illustrations (which might contribute to the false rumors that you are dead!). What do you think draws you to this era and sensibility? Why Edwardian England as the setting?

Edward GoreyI suppose so, to all of the above, more or less, he murmured reluctantly, but these are the sort of questions I think are worse than a waste of time to try to answer for reasons I have no intention of wasting more time in even adumbrating. Your new book, The Haunted Tea-Cosy, is a hilarious, rather dark retelling of Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol. What inspired this book?

Edward GoreyI was inveigled in several sneaky steps by The New York Times into doing it. Apart from a character named Bahhumbug and the appearance of three spectres, it has nothing much to do with Dickens's Christmas Carol, which I am not sure I have ever read. Any other Dickens books you would like to illustrate?

Edward GoreySome years ago I came across an anecdote about Dickens I refuse to pass on to anyone, and I haven't read anything by him since. What other classics would you like to work on that you haven't?

Edward GoreyThere are all sorts of classics I could possibly illustrate if asked, but as I have over the years accumulated too many of my own texts to have any chance of doing drawings for but a few of them, I would only do something by someone else if I was offered an outrageous sum of money, and maybe not then. Any classics you would refuse to do?

Edward GoreyFor example, Jane Austen and the Marquis de Sade, although for different reasons. The themes of your books often explore the darker side of life or impending fate. Most of your characters contemplate things dreadful, or often dead. Are you preoccupied yourself with the notion of fate? What inspires these notions in your work?

Edward GoreyI think my books are about nothing, and I don't see why Flaubert felt it would be so difficult. Otherwise, refer to my answer to the first questions above. Your drawings are instantly recognizable as "a Gorey." How would you describe your own style?

Edward GoreyTrue, even by me; however, I hope I don't have one. Quentin Crisp said style was a terrible thing to happen to anyone, and I couldn't agree with him more (Nancy Spain). I love your use of obscure literary references and multilingual word games as adjuncts to your drawings. Do the drawings precede the prose or vice versa?

Edward GoreyThank you. One's first duty is to entertain oneself. The complete text, prose or verse, comes first, or there would never be anything but a couple of stray uncaptioned drawings. The Haunted Tea-Cosy is your first commercially published book in a decade, but you have been very prolific in the meantime, especially in theater. Tell us a little bit about some of your most recent theatrical projects.

Edward GoreyI won't even begin to try. Besides, they are confined to somewhere or other on Cape Cod on a couple of weekends every now and again during the year. Who do you think your books appeal to? And do you have an audience in mind when you write your books?

Edward GoreyI am aware of individuals who like my books ranging from quite small children to persons older than myself, but I have no picture of an audience as a whole, or for that matter parts, and I certainly have no one in mind, not even me, when I write. Are there any particular artists or authors who most influenced your inimitable style?

Edward GoreyThere must be hundreds; I would not know where to begin. Besides, I suspect the greatest are from people I have never thought of in that way. Do you have some favorites among your hundreds of drawings and books?

Edward GoreyI loathe them all equally, or would if I ever looked at them -- which I never do unless I have to for some extraneous reasons. Are you a fan of any televised cartoons or animated films today?

Edward GoreyI adore Ned's Newt, one of the truly great loopy series, really not for the tinies at all but for people of more than a certain age who spent almost all of it watching B movies. At the moment Fox runs it Tuesday through Thursday at 7:30am. Yes, A.M. --not perhaps the best time of day for taking in no-stop split-second morphing accompanied by brilliantly silly and recherché one-liners. You work brings to mind the dark genius of Alfred Hitchcock. What are some of your favorite Hitchcock movies -- or other movies?

Edward GoreyNow here is a question I could go on and on and on about for hours on end, but I suppose I had better not. As it happens, re Hitchcock, possibly my favorite movie is "The Lady Vanishes.". Otherwise, let me mention some names: Feuillade (rush out and get "Les Vampire"), Naruse, Clouzot, Franju, Lang (the German films), Keaton, Chaplin, Laurel & Hardy, Louise Brooks, Lillian Gish, George O'Brien, and so forth and so on. To show I still go to the movies, if only infrequently, "Babe: Pig in the City." What inspired you to illustrate T. S. Eliot's beloved Old Possum's Book Of Practical Cats?

Edward GoreyThere is that word again. The publishers asked me. It was amusing but not easy to do because Mr. Eliot did not have to bother with any consistent view of his protagonists. Have you seen the musical "Cats"? If so, what did you think?

Edward GoreyNo. If I had, I don't know that I would have been able to do the drawings. You are said to have perfect attendance at the New York City Ballet from 1957 to 1982. Would you say that attending performances is one of the greatest things you miss about New York now that you have moved to Cape Cod?

Edward GoreyYou joke, yes? The only thing. I disliked New York the first time I set foot in it, and for the 30-odd years I was there, at least part of the time, I told myself I was only passing through. Do you listen to any particular music when you draw and write?

Edward GoreyI usually listen to music while I work, but I have wildly eclectic tastes (with gaps), and it is probably chosen from whatever CDs I have not got around to yet, which I fear now number in the hundreds. Do you see your work taking any new directions in the future?

Edward GoreyI only see what I happen to be working on at the time, and other things I have jotted down bits and pieces of to pick up at a later date, if there is one. What are you most interested in pursuing now?

Edward GoreyTheater in general, and puppets in particular. But who knows if and when something entirely unthought of will get my attention. I don't.

(And a question of my own.)

Edward Gorey Why did you answer these questions?

Edward GoreyIt is, as a dear friend once wrote years ago in a context I no longer remember, "a question perhaps only Philadelphia can answer."

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Amphigorey 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 22 reviews.
turtlesleap on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Gorey's work is singular, and singularly wonderful, but not for everyone. This collection includes "The Gashlycrumb Tinies,"and "The Listing Attic," both very dark and very funny as well as 13 other sterling examples of Gorey's unique work.
sturlington on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
My father introduced me to Edward Gorey's macabre comics when I was young. They immediately appealed to my instinct that the world is actually a warped, unexplainable place, and it is more interesting for being so. I never tire of returning to these collections to get my bearings.Amphigorey (the first volume) contains some of Mr. Gorey's most excellent work. My favorites are "The Doubtful Guest" (do you know what a fantod is? They always wear tennis shoes); "The Curious Sofa"; and of course, "The Gashlycrumb Tinies" ("N is for Neville who died of ennui").If you are overwhelmed by sap, sentimentality and banality, a few minutes with Mr. Gorey will revive you.
draconismoi on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
If only for The Gasleygrow Tinies, this book is work the investment.
caerulius on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Edward Gorey is a genius of the semi-nonsequitur with gothic overtones and delightful illustration.This first volume of his collected works includes: The Unstrung Harp, in which Mr. Earbrass tries, in nonsensical fashion, to write his novel.The Listing Attic, a rhyming compendium of humorous tragedies,The Doubtful Guest, my favorite of the master's works. A bizarre little creature comes to stay, hides in tureens and engages in other weird behaviors, and will not leave.The Object Lesson, in which Gorey's penchant for non-sequitur reaches something of a pinnacle,The Bug Book, clearly desgned for very young children and one of the only Gorey works in color. It is singularly lacking in his usual macabre humor, which I find somewhat disheartening.The Fatal Lozenge, in which extreme randomness meets exceptional violence.The Hapless Child, my second favorite, often vying with The Doubtful Guest in my esteem- The bleak story of a sweet little girl who is utterly destroyed by a series of fateful circumstances. Lemony Snicket's Series of Unfortunate Events may be the gentler offspring of this little book, which is like the Little Princess with the rays of sunshine and hope utterly extracted.The Curious Sofa a slyly pornographic work about chance encouters with men, women, animals, and a very alarming bit of furniture.The Willowdale Handcar, in which children take a peculiar journey.The Gashlycrumb Tinies, Gorey's best known and perhaps a bit over-marketed work. Delightful, gory as Gorey can be, this is an alphabet rhyme of death to small children.The Insect God, is another strange invention, in which a small girl is kidnapped by oversized insects to be sacrificed to their god.The West Wing is a marvel, in that he simply created a series of obscure and peculiar tableaux and leaves them uncaptioned, allowing the reader to piece together his or her own series of events.The Wuggly Ump is about a very goofy sort of monster.The Sinking Spell is about a thing that is never quite defined, but which is coming nonetheless.The Remembered Visit is a lovely, subtle tribute to misplaced nostalgia for nothing in particular.
lilinah on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I've loved Edward Gorey's dark and humorous books since i was a child, wanting the Gashlycrumb Tinies boxed set for Christmas, which, needless to say, my parents did NOT buy for me.
Nikkles on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The best part of Edward Gorey's books is the art and the humor (which is dark). With this book you get a collection of short stories, which is very convenient. If you already know you love Edward Gorey you need this book. If you enjoy books by Edgar Allen Poe, Terry Pratchet, and Lemony Snicket your almost certain to love Edward Gorey. This is probably better for older children and adults.
jcovington on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I first read these when I was in the first grade. I checked them out from the library. I firmly believe Edward Gorey's twisted, macabre, and amusing little comics permanently warped my mind.
rampaginglibrarian on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A brilliant and twisted artist used to many a commercial purpose surprisingly enough--Gorey is one of my favorites and you'd be surprised how much influence he has had on pop culture (or maybe you wouldn't) Beautiful, creepy, macabre, commentworthy at the very least.
ohjanet on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Oh Edward Gorey you make me want to put on a top hat and tell macabre stories. I hope to haunt this old world with you in my afterlife.
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Aimi-OBrennan More than 1 year ago
I like Edward Gorey's illustrations and morbid sense of humor. I really do. But after I read The 'Hapless Child' I had to put the book down. It made me so sad. The little girl looks like my own daughter and her circumstances go from a loving well-to-do family, to her parents dying, to being sold to and abused by a crazy man in the 'low places'. Then she ends up dying in her father's arms (who was not dead after all). And although he is searching for her, does not recognise her because she was so changed. The moral of the story is 'although our circumtances might seem unpleasant they could be a whole lot worse'. And our trying to escape might result in something truly awful. It's a good thing to remember when we become discontent with our lives. I applaud Mr. Gorey for teaching me a lesson that will stick with me always. But I will cry every time I think about that heartbreaking story.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is a collection of the humourously macabre stories by Edward Gorey (or Ogdred Weary, depending on which book), and includes one of, if not the best known work the Gashlycrumb Tinies. It is recommended for anyone who enjoys the slightly morbid side of child-like storybooks or who enjoys music like 'Danse macabre'
Guest More than 1 year ago
By name the author might not be as familiar, but certainly any fan of the long running PBS series Mystery! knows the famous Gorey style- Victorian gothic, grim, and grotesque with a strong scent of whimsy. Amphigorey, a collection of works by the late author, is a great introduction particularly for anyone interested in the macabre, Gothic culture, or peculiar humour. The collection highlights some of Gorey¿s greatest early works including Gashlycrumb Tinies, a sort of ABCs of 26 children¿s demise. A great value for the whole collection showcasing Gorey¿s unique style, though, due to the condensed format, a collector may want to opt for the individual, hardbound books. A talented illustrator and humorists, and he is a truly one of a kind author in the 20th century.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was just amazing. I didn't much like 'The Doubtful Guest', but the rest of the stories were great! I wouldn't recommend this book to anyone without a dark sense of humor.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is volume contains many of Mr. Gorey's works, (This includes two of my favorites, the Gashly...and Unstrung Harp). I also have a favorite little ditty in here about dreary bank clerk. It is most wonderfully horrible. Oh, how this is great to read and reread. A great conversation piece. I would reccomend to all who love the macabre.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this book has sad, and wierd story's that are fun to read and listen to. the pictures make u think 'what in the world's happening', and the ideas will never leave u. i think this is one of those 'read once in a life time' books! TRY IT!