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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780399504334
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 1/28/1980
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 109,280
  • Product dimensions: 7.82 (w) x 10.84 (h) x 0.54 (d)

Interviews & Essays

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.

barnesandnoble.comYour 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.

barnesandnoble.comAny 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.

barnesandnoble.comWhat 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.

barnesandnoble.comAny classics you would refuse to do?

Edward GoreyFor example, Jane Austen and the Marquis de Sade, although for different reasons.

barnesandnoble.comThe 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.

barnesandnoble.comYour 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).

barnesandnoble.comI 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.

barnesandnoble.comThe 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.

barnesandnoble.comWho 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.

barnesandnoble.comAre 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.

barnesandnoble.comDo 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.

barnesandnoble.comAre 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.

barnesandnoble.comYou 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."

barnesandnoble.comWhat 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.

barnesandnoble.comHave 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.

barnesandnoble.comYou 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.

barnesandnoble.comDo 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.

barnesandnoble.comDo 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.

barnesandnoble.comWhat 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 GoreyWhy 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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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 13 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 13 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 30, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    It Was All Good Fun Until I Read 'The Hapless Child'....

    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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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 16, 2005

    C is for Cec, who laughed to death

    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'

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 8, 2005

    The Late, Great Master of Victorian Macabre

    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.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 19, 2003

    Brilliantly Twisted and Perfectly Insane!

    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.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 24, 2000

    Enjoyably dark and wonderfully twisted

    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.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 27, 2000

    a once in a life time oppurotinity!!!

    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!

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    Posted February 26, 2009

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