Edward Gorey

Would Edward Gorey even be able to find someone in the US willing to publish his work if he were working today? I grew up with Gorey’s books and loved the humor, his fantastic drawings and his weird characters… but somehow suspect that humorous references to pedophilia (like in the below limerick poem) or alphabet books about children getting killed in various tragicomic ways (The Gashlycrumb Tinies) just wouldn’t fly in 2015… but the actual children’s books I was given as a very young child were probably pretty sick by today’s standards*, so what the hell do I know?

The Proctor

*I grew up with books like Hoffmann’s Der Struwwelpeter or Busch’s Max und Moritz that claimed the high road by insisting that they portayed children being burned, maimed, attacked by animals, etc., in order to scare the little fuckers out of misbehaving. I don’t believe that they actually worked that way — looking at the picture of the kid who got his thumbs cut off or seeing Max & Moritz ground up in a mill probably got me MORE interested in what was dark and twisted rather than less.


4 Comments on “Edward Gorey”

  1. Stefan says:

    Edited the post to take out the word ‘macabre.’ Gorey’s work does fit my definition of the word, but he apparently grew to hate that word after everyone used it to describe his pictures and stories. Since I don’t want to be haunted by the ghost of Edward Gorey, I dropped that word from my bit.

  2. ClawCarver says:

    Dunno about the US. They’re certainly in print here in the UK. The Gashlycrumb Tinies is probably my favourite Gorey book, and N is for Neville… is probably my favourite single Gorey illustration.

    • Stefan says:

      Yeah, they are still in print here, too.
      But I was wondering if someone proposed a book that inluded at least one humorous little poem about a pedophile TODAY, would it make it through vetting process of any of the current major publishers?

      • ClawCarver says:

        Fair point. I dunno. Friends of mine work in book publishing. I’ll have to ask them. I would like to think there are publishers who recognise true artistry, however idiosyncratic or even distasteful, when they see it. I am perhaps over-optimistic.

        Talking of idiosyncratic artistry, your mention of Struwwelpeter reminded me of seeing the brilliant musical theatre production of Shockheaded Peter fifteen years ago. Don’t know if you’ve ever seen this but I think you might enjoy it.


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