Edward Gorey (born in Chicago, 1925-2000) was an American illustrator and writer noted for his pen-and-ink drawings influenced by the Victorian and Edwardian settings, gaining him a cult following.
From 1953 to 1960, Gorey worked for the Art Department of Doubleday Anchor, New York, where he illustrated book covers. Later, he made cover illustrations and interior artwork for John Bellairs.
His works are characterized by black humor and dark atmospheres, telling a series of dreamlike and surreal Gothic stories.
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Gorey classified his style as “literary nonsense”, a genre made famous by artists such as Lewis Carroll and Edward Lear. Gorey in an interview claimed to have adopted the Gothic style because telling nonsense stories for children through a colorful and sunny style is “boring, boring, boring”.
Gorey wrote more than 100 books including The Doubtful Guest, The Gashly Tinies, The Object Lesson, and many others. He also illustrated books by other authors like Samuel Beckett, H.G.Wells, Bram Stoker, T.S. Eliot, etc.
how much I admired his work, and how much I hoped that he would forgive what I’d stolen from him.” (Daniel Handler)
Gorey’s legacy on the goth subculture is substantial, spawning events and performances based on his works.
Gorey’s illustrations influenced other works such as Daniel Handler’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, Nine Inch Nails’ music video “A Perfect Drug”, which was designed specifically to resemble a Gorey book, and “The Gorey End” by The Tiger Lillies and the Kronos Quartet.
He also published under various pen names, some of which were anagrams of his name, such as Dogear Wryde, Ogdred Weary, Ms. Regera Dowdy, and many more.
His old house is now the Edward Gorey House Museum (Cape Cod, Massachusetts), which celebrates and preserves the life of Edward St. John Gorey.
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