Not to say we told you so, but … Edward Gorey is high on our list. We give him a whole shelf for Pete’s sake!
Gorey’s work tends to combine whimsically grim storylines with dour yet dancerly protagonists. Whether they are Edwardian ladies, fur-coated gentlemen, ill-fated children, or unusual animals, his characters are almost always on some kind of journey. His stories often unfold in wallpapered rooms, on barren estates, or among statues, beast-shaped topiaries, and urns. “Few seem to return from the borders to which I’ve sent them,” he wrote to Peter Neumeyer, with whom he collaborated on three children’s books in the late 1960s. (Their correspondence has recently been collected in an absorbing, elegantly illustrated book, Floating Worlds.) Perhaps this is what gives Gorey’s work its talismanic power: his books and drawings, which are so often about imagined deaths and disasters, turn into lucky charms for his readers.
Eve Bowen on the enduring cult of Edward Gorey.
(Source: The New York Review of Books)