Gorey, Edward

Gorey, Edward, 1925–2000, American illustrator and writer, b. Chicago, grad. Harvard, 1950. He lived and worked in New York City and Cape Cod until 1986 when he moved permanently to the Cape. Gorey is celebrated for his more than 100 small volumes of gothic fables, meticulously hand-lettered and intricately illustrated, most of them in verse. His works are remarkable combinations of the eccentric, the witty, and the macabre and are illustrated lavishly and with superb technique, crosshatched in dark and abundant Victorian or Edwardian detail. Odd, mysterious, cool, oblique, and funny, the works are unique. Many of his early books, published in small editions, have become collector's items; they include The Unstrung Harp (1953) and The Object-Lesson (1958). His later single works include The Awdrey-Gore Legacy (1972), a spoof on English murder mysteries, and The Lavender Leotard (1973), concerning ballet, which he adored. Omnibus collections of his works are Amphigorey (1975), Amphigorey Too (1980), Amphigorey Also (1983), and The Eclectic Abecedarium (1985). Gorey also designed the sets and costumes for a Broadway production of Dracula (1977).

See Ascending Peculiarity: Edward Gorey on Edward Gorey (2001), ed. by K. Wilkin; biography by M. Dery (2018).

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