Amphigorey Too and Amiphigorey Again – Edward Gorey

The main thing I’m taking away from this trio of books (see here for the other) is that Edward Gorey thought a lot about the alphabet.    There are so many variations of alphabet lists in these books.    He’s also morbid.     Which I already knew, but got extra confirmation reading these.

I appreciate that these were collected together because they’re probably harder to get otherwise, but I can see where some of these would have worked better as stand alone vignettes.    To a degree, his work should be digested in small pieces.

Amphigorey – Edward Gorey

This book is a collection of shorter works that Gorey had done over the years – if you like his work (which is slightly macabre, and definitely all kinds of wrong), it’s worth a read.

There are a couple different alphabet stories that are completely not meant for children, but are so much fun to read as if they are.    That pretty much sets the tone for the other works in the book.  The nice thing is they’re all rather short, so you could use this as a good intro to Gorey’s work.

Elegant Enigmas: The Art of Edward Gorey – Karen Wilkin

elegant-enigmas-the-art-of-edward-gorey-98I received this book through the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program. I requested it based on my familiarity with some of Gorey’s work that has shown up on various greeting cards I’ve received, as well as his delightfully macabre alphabets. The book is a companion to a current exhibit of the artist’s work at the Brandywine River Museum, and features a variety of plates of Gorey’s drawings.

I learned a number of things from this book, first of which is that Gorey is actually a contemporary artist (he only passed away in 2000, and was younger than my grandparents). Given his typically Victorian style, I’d always assumed he was an early 20th century artist.

Another surprise was that he did set design. A number of sketches for his designs for The Mikado are included. His design combines Victorian England and high Japanese fashion, and it actually works.

This is definitely an interesting book, with a wide survey of his work, even including some illustrated envelopes from the letters he sent to his mother when he was in college. I’d highly recommend this to anyone like me that’s only familiar with the public face of Gorey, and would like to learn more.