Sunday, May 15, 2016

REAL GOREY




My observant blog visitors have undoubtedly noticed the Gashlycrumb Tinies illustration on my sidebar. Gorey fans will recognize it instantly. The uninitiated will wonder "What the hell is that?"

I have been an Edward Gorey fanatic for nearly as long as I can remember. The essence of his nature is strongly akin to mine: a love of cats, a dislike of children, a balletomane, a penchant for solitude, a decidedly enigmatic and eccentric existence. His delightful books and illustrations are a delicious combination of grim humor, mystery, and the macabre - - always drenched in a Victorian and/or Edwardian atmosphere.

And yes, Gorey - very appropriately - is his real name.

Edward St. John Gorey (1925-2000) was born in Chicago and lived much of his later life in Massachusetts, where his Cape Cod home is now a museum. He studied at Harvard and - although largely a self-taught artist - completed one semester at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He was a book cover illustrator for Doubleday in New York between 1953-1960.

This is not intended to be a biography, but rather an introduction to possibly whet your appetite. Gorey - much like his artistic creations - was unique, intriguing, and well worth discovering.

An interesting side note: Edward Gorey's stepmother was cabaret singer Corinna Mura. She was the woman with the guitar in Rick's cafe who sang La Marseillaise in the movie Casablanca.

I posted The Gashlycrumb Tinies in it's entirety on my other blog at this link:

http://cabinetofcurioustreasures.blogspot.com/2016/05/the-gashlycrumb-tinies.html



Meanwhile, here are a few random Gorey illustrations for your viewing pleasure. 

 Edward Gorey with cat









29 comments:

  1. ok, you have my curiosity up. I wanna know more!

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    1. You'll love the post on my other blog - which should be ready in a few hours (I'm lazy).
      By the way, Gorey was gay.

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    2. cats and gays - what a splendid combination! :)

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  2. I've never heard of him. The drawing of the lady on the stone fence reminds me of the lady in the intro to Masterpiece Mysteries on PBS. Maybe they stole the idea from Gorey. I shall have to go check out your link. :)

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    1. Edward Gorey's illustrations are indeed used at the beginning of the Masterpiece Mysteries.

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  3. I had to come see this too. I can't help but wonder if Gorey's illustrations are the same or were the inspiration for the characters used in the Masterpiece Mystery opening on PBS? The same thing Rita is talking of. All of the characters look like his, or are being used. His work was very his own and unique. Have you seen Masterpiece Mysteries, I think you'd enjoy it. Grantchester was pretty good, the second season just ended.

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    1. Yes, those are Gorey's illustrations at the beginning of Masterpiece. I love that show - and I also like Grantchester.

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  4. Informative post! I didn't know Gorey's mother was Corinna Mura. Her impassioned interpretation of "La Marseillaise" made the scene memorable in Casablanca. Gorey's illustrations were among our kids childhood favorites.

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    1. I'd heard about Gorey's stepmother Corinna Mura long ago, but had forgotten until I read about it again recently. His great-grandmother was an artist and she did illustrations for greeting cards. Her name was Helen St. John Garvey.

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  5. Decidedly macabre! (I'm among the uninitiated, yes.)
    Still, I lingered over a few images -- and was OCD enough to actually count the cats on 82 Maple. :)

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    1. I counted the cats on the 82 Maple picture, too - - and I had to do it three times, because I kept coming up with the wrong number!

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  6. I have several of his books - even wrote a haiku about him. A friend of mine met him back in the day and said that Gorey wore rings on all of his fingers. Plus that very long fur coat! He really didn't give a hoot about trying to fit in...

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    1. I've seen several photos with Gorey wearing lots of rings, but I never knew he wore them all the time. His fur coats were amazing (and undoubtedly very warm).

      I'll bet you're the only poet who ever wrote a haiku about Gorey.

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    2. THE STRANGE CASE OF EDWARD GOREY

      He was always there
      with his cats and bearded men
      Gory books of life

      - Dylan Mitchell

      P.S. I hope I'm not the only poet to be inspired by him: The man was an eccentric genius - my favorite kind of person...

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    3. I like the line "Gory books of life."
      His genius doesn't appeal to everybody, but I can strongly identify with it. It's totally "me".

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  7. Jon,
    I thought I recognized those drawings! From the PBS series "Mystery". I like! Corey (was a wonderful name) is my type of guy. And I didn't know he was also gay. Very interesting. Your blog postings never cease to fail to invoke interest and previously unknown information. Awkward sentence there.
    Ron

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    1. Ron, my whole life is filled with awkward sentences.
      Gorey was indeed gay, but he never publicly admitted it. He always "playfully" claimed that he didn't know what his sexuality was, or that he was sexless.

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    2. I should have said "sexual orientation" instead of "sexuality".

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  8. Jon,

    Oh, there was a name I'm sorry to say I had forgotten about. I did have a number of his illustration about the place at one time. He, of course, appealed to me.

    Larry

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    1. Gorey's illustrations never fail to put me in a good mood (and that's not always easy to do).

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  9. All new to me but damn that umbrella is way too small.

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    1. I never noticed it before, but you're right - the umbrella does look too small. Oh well, I guess it doesn't hurt to have a few wet kids (*smile*)

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  10. All I ever need to be content is a quest, and having no prior knowledge of Gorey, I will soon be a font of information regarding his life Thank you Jon.

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    1. I'm always glad to be able to inspire a quest. Actually, I initially didn't know very much about Gorey. He certainly was unique.

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  11. I counted 17. I assume there will be a cash reward.

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    1. I first counted 14, then 16. I think my vision should be checked.

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  12. I'm counting cats too. Love the illustrations that include any and all felines.

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    1. Those 17 cats on the doorstep actually scare me, because they remind me of what my yard looked like in Texas when my neighbor moved and abandoned her 12 cats.

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  13. Great illustrations! I wasn't familiar with Gorey... perfect name!... but I've seen a couple of those pictures before.

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