Born to Be Posthumous: The Eccentric Life and Mysterious Genius of Edward Gorey by Mark Dery

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Born to Be Posthumous: The Eccentric Life and Mysterious Genius of Edward Gorey by Mark Dery

35.00

Kelly’s pick: I’m only halfway through this dense, meaty exploration of Edward Gorey’s life and legacy, but as it has consumed my entire life I feel confident in recommending it. Gorey was famously private, even with the people with whom he was closest, so examining his life is no easy prospect. Dery, in addition to reading what is likely every letter written to or from Gorey, not to mention any which so much as mention him, has also done an astounding amount of research about the people and institutions which were significant to Gorey, and as a result has managed to paint a complete picture of the man by working in from the edges. I am finding the reading of it a surprisingly introspective experience, and recommend it for fans of Gorey’s, people interested in the history of American book publishing, or people who simply enjoy reading about interesting lives. For Gorey, in spite of being a “person to whom things do not happen” still managed to live a very full life.

About the book: From The Gashlycrumb Tinies to The Doubtful Guest, Edward Gorey's wickedly funny and deliciously sinister little books have influenced our culture in innumerable ways, from the works of Tim Burton and Neil Gaiman to Lemony Snicket. Some even call him the Grandfather of Goth.

But who was this man, who lived with over twenty thousand books and six cats, who roomed with Frank O'Hara at Harvard, and was known--in the late 1940s, no less--to traipse around in full-length fur coats, clanking bracelets, and an Edwardian beard? An eccentric, a gregarious recluse, an enigmatic auteur of whimsically morbid masterpieces, yes--but who was the real Edward Gorey behind the Oscar Wildean pose?

He published over a hundred books and illustrated works by Samuel Beckett, T.S. Eliot, Edward Lear, John Updike, Charles Dickens, Hilaire Belloc, Muriel Spark, Bram Stoker, Gilbert & Sullivan, and others. At the same time, he was a deeply complicated and conflicted individual, a man whose art reflected his obsessions with the disquieting and the darkly hilarious.

Based on newly uncovered correspondence and interviews with personalities as diverse as John Ashbery, Donald Hall, Lemony Snicket, Neil Gaiman, and Anna Sui, BORN TO BE POSTHUMOUS draws back the curtain on the eccentric genius and mysterious life of Edward Gorey.

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