MONSIEUR OGDRED WEARY
In Memoria Edward Gorey - Master of the Macabre
(February 25, 1925 - April 15, 2000)
"A lot of my books I've intended for children primarily, but nobody would ever publish them as children's books. I don't know many children. And I don't really remember what it was like being a child. I use children a lot because they're so vulnerable. Children are pathetic and quite frequently not terribly likeable. I don't really know any babies. I've never known any babies."
~ Edward Gorey
Edward Gorey gave this world not only over one hundred works, including "The Doubtful Guest", "The Gashlycrumb Tinies" and "The Haunted Teacosy", he also designed prize-winning sets and costumes for innumerable theater productions.
Moreover, he's the artist of a remarkable number of illustrations in publications such as "The New Yorker" and in books by a wide array of authors from Charles Dickens to Edward Lear, Samuel Beckett, John Updike, Virginia Woolf, H.G. Wells, Florence Heide and many others.
In Gorey's fantastic world, noblemen are clothed in the Edwardian styles of peg-top trousers, striped blazers, ankle-length furred collared coats and knee-length scarves.
While "les dames" appear in floor-length skirts, shirt-waists with puffed sleeves, corsets, feather boas, vast hats and parasols.
Gorey's ink-hatched drawings show a landscape full of balustrades, giant urns, statues and bleak prospects.
The interiors appear to be rather built than drawn - with great detail of moulding and a vast amount of cornices.
The suggestive names Gorey's characters bear show his love for anagrams and other poetic word-plays:
Mrs. Umlaut, Miss Skrimpshaw, Maudie Splaytoe, Miss Underfold, Luke Touchpaper.
They live in places like West Elbow, Penetralia or Hiccupboro.
Gorey's puckish sense of humour extends to the pseudonyms he used in some of his works:
Ogdred Weary (c.f. title of this page) and (Mrs.) Regera Dowdy are two of his noms de plume, both being anagrams of his own name.
For further reading, I can warmly suggest you to get Gorey's "The Doubtful Guest" and the "Hapless Child".
In "The Doubtful Guest" a Victorian household is invaded by a peculiar melancholic creature in canvas shoes (c.f. 2nd picture below).
The family, unable to cope with this inexplicable visitor, suffers its presence and it remains a burden to all and an enigma until the end.
This feeling of irresolution and somewhat fascinated discomfiture is the theme of many Gorey tales.
"The Hapless Child" might well be the daydream of an unhappy child who uses her own death to act out revenge on her parents.
A bland and innocent child is punished wrongly by her teachers, her doll is torn apart by other kids, she weeps alone in bed, gets kidnapped and when finally cast adrift, with fading eyesight, she is run over and killed by her own father who does not recognize her.
G is for Gorey - who lives on...
The Tuning Fork
The Gashlycrumb Tinies
Chicago Art Institute
majoring Harvard College in French
Doubleday & Company, New York. Anchor Books art department. 1953-1960
Random House, New York Looking Glass Library. Editor and art director. 1959-1962
Bobbs-Merrill, New York. 1963.
Doomed Enterprises. Owner.
California College of Arts and Crafts, Oakland, California
Minnesota Institute of Arts, Minneapolis
Gotham Book Mart Gallery, New York (and frequently since)
University of Texas, Academic Center, Austin
San Francisco Public Library, San Francisco, California
Pennsylvania State University, Pattee Library, University Park, Pennsylvania
Phantasmagorey at Sterling Memorial Library, Yale University, New Haven, Conneticut
Graham Gallery, New York (and frequently since)
Cartoon Art Museum, San Francisco
Publigorey (a very scarce selection):
The Unstrung Harp (1953)
The Doubtful Guest (1957)
The Bug Book (1959)
The Hapless Child (1961)
The Curious Sofa (1961)
The Beastly Baby (1962)
The Gashlycrumb Tinies (1963)
The Insect God (1963)
The Wuggly Ump (1963)
The Evil Garden (1966)
The Gilded Bat (1966)
The Utter Zoo (1967)
The Other Statue (1968)
The Blue Aspic (1968)
The Iron Tonic (1969)
The Epiplectic Bicycle (1969)
The Deranged Cousins (1971)
The Abandoned Sock (1973)
The Disrespectful Summons (1973)
The Glorious Nosebleed (1975)
Amphigorey Too (1975)
Dracula: A Toy Theatre (1979)
Neglected Murderesses (1980)
The Dwindling Party (1982)
Amphigorey Also (1983)
The Helpless Doorknob (1989)
The Pointless Book (1993)
The Unknown Vegetable (1995)
The Haunted Teacosy (1998)
The Headless Bust (1999)