Edward St. John Gorey – the name sounds Victorian, hinting of Gothic eccentricities. As well it should, since it belongs to a most unusual illustrator, author, and book designer. If you watch PBS’s MYSTERY!, you’ve seen his haunting cartoon art in the credits.
The creative works of Edward Gorey defy literary labeling. He claimed his spooky illustrated books were "intended for children primarily." Yet the truth is that they are bizarre, macabre, and darkly comic works more appreciated by adults. As such, they feature meticulously crosshatched graphics combined with inventive, quasi-sinister settings and stories. First editions of his books are rare and highly collectible.
Luckily, some of these stories have been republished and we can offer them again at ICPL. You’ll find The Gashlycrumb Tinies and Donald Has a Difficulty in the picture books while his AmphiGorey collections are in adult nonfiction.
Gorey is also being rediscovered and adapted for movies and music. Recently, Jim Henson Company started developing a film based on Gorey’s 1957 treasure, The Doubtful Guest. And the avant-garde cabaret band The Tiger Lillies (with Kronos Quartet) released a 2003 recording called The Gorey End, based on his unpublished ditties.
For more on the Gorey Story, check out his estate’s website at: http://www.edwardgoreyhouse.org/