Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Edward St John Gorey  

Pen Name: 

Genre: Fiction

Audience: Adult; Young Adult; Children;

Born: February 22, 1925 in Chicago, Illinois

Died: 2000 in Massachusetts

-- Edward St John Gorey on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Gorey was born in Chicago and grew up in Wilmette. He attended a variety of local grade schools and then the Francis W. Parker School. In 1943, he spent one semester at the Art Institute of Chicago.

Biographical and Professional Information

Edward Gorey was a writer and artist noted for his "playfully macabre" illustrated books.From 1953 to 1960, Gorey lived in New York City and worked in the art department of Doubleday Anchor, illustrating book covers and in some cases adding illustrations to the text. He worked for Doubleday in New York for eight years and, while there, illustrated Bram Stoker's ''Dracula'' and T.S. Elliot's ''Old Possum's Book of Practiacal Cats''. In 1953, he illustrated his first independent work, ''The Unstrung Harp''. Gorey never married and was never particularly fond of children yet his books were popular with them. In all, Gorey wrote over 100 books and used many different pseudonyms. His illustrated (and sometimes wordless) books, have long had a cult following for his macabre, Victorian and Gothic-like illustrations. Gorey became particularly well-known through his animated introduction to the PBS series ''Mystery!'' in 1980, as well as his designs for the 1977 Broadway production of ''Dracula'', for which he won a Tony Award for Best Costume Design. He was also nominated for Best Scenic Design.

Published Works

    Gorey wrote more than 100 books, including the following:
  • Unstrung Harp, 1953
  • The Gashlycrumb Tinies, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1963
  • Amphigorey: Fifteen Books, Putnam, 1980
  • A Mercurial Bear (Under pseudonym E.D.Ward) , Gotham, 1983
  • The Eclectic Abecedarium, Bromer, 1983
  • Amphigorey Also, Congdon and Weed, 1983
  • The Tunnel Calamity, Putnam Juvinenile, 1984
  • Les Echanges Malandreux, Metacom Press, 1985
  • The Insect God, Peter Woods Books, 1993
  • The Raging Tide: Or, the Black Doll's Imbroglio , Beaufort Books, 1987
  • The Fraught Settee, Fantod Press, 1990
  • Figbash Acrobate, Fantod Press, 1994
  • The Courious Sofa (Under pseudonym Ogdred Weary), Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1997
  • The Doubtful Guest, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1998
  • The Epiplectic Bicycle, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1998
  • The Haunted Tea-Cosy: A Dispirited and Distasteful Diversion for Christmas, Harcourt Brace & Company, 1998
  • The Willowdale Handcar: or the Return of the Black Doll, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2003
  • The Hapless Child, Pomegranate Communications, 2008
  • The Blue Aspic, Pomegranate Communications, 2009
  • The West Wing, Bloomsbury USA, 2009
  • The Evil Garden, Pomegranate Communications, 2011
  • Saint Melissa the Mottled, Bloomsbury USA, 2012
  • Thoughtful Alphabets: The Just Dessert and The Deadly Blotter, Pomegranate USA, 2012
  • The Osbick Bird, Pomegranate USA, 2012
  • A Halloween Treat, Bloomsbury USA, 2012

Selected Titles At Your Library

The unstrung harp :
ISBN: 0747550344. OCLC Number:

Bloomsbury,. London :. 2000, ©1981.

The Gashlycrumb tinies, or, After the outing /
ISBN: 0151003084. OCLC Number:

. .

Drawings show an alphabet of young victims and how they died.

Amphigorey :
ISBN: 0399504338. OCLC Number:

Putnam,. New York :. 1981, ©1972.

A collection of fifteen works by Edward Gorey, featuring his gothic pen and ink illustrations, and often gruesome story lines.

Amphigorey also /
ISBN: 0156056720. OCLC Number:

. .

The tunnel calamity /
ISBN: 0399210555. OCLC Number:

. .

Unexpected appearance of the Uluus (thought to have been extinct for over a century) in the tunnel connecting East Shoetree and West Radish, St. Frumble's Day, 1892.

Les échanges malandreux /
ISBN: 0911381090. OCLC Number:

Metacom Press,. Worcester, MA (1 Tahanto Road, Worcester, MA 01602) :. 1985.

The raging tide, or, The black doll's imbroglio /
ISBN: 0825304377. OCLC Number:

. .

Imaginary characters found nowhere but in Gorey's wild imagination struggle for supremacy, assaulting one another with implements like buttonhooks and library paste amid thumblike monoliths. Readers may turn the pages sequentially or select their own path in response to a series of choices put by the author.

The curious sofa /
ISBN: 0151003076. OCLC Number:

. .

"Gorey’s naughty, hilarious travesty of lust-now reissued in a special gift edition. “A master of the genre of graphic storytelling and a brilliant draftsman” (New York Times Book Review)."--Publisher's description.

The doubtful guest /
ISBN: 0151003130. OCLC Number:

. .

The epiplectic bicycle /
ISBN: 0151003149. OCLC Number:

. .

A brother and sister take "an intrepid voyage of epic proportion" on a bicycle.

The haunted tea-cosy :
ISBN: 0151004153. OCLC Number:

. .

In his Preface to "A Christmas Carol", Charles Dickens wrote that he tried "to raise the Ghost of an Idea" with readers and trusted that it would "haunt their house pleasantly". In December 1997, 154 Christmases later, the "New York Times Magazine" asked its own Edward Gorey to refurbish this enduring morality tale. The result is this "dispirited and distasteful diversion for Christmas".

The Willowdale handcar, or, The return of the black doll /
ISBN: 0151010358. OCLC Number:

Harcourt,. Orlando, Fla. :. [2003?]

In this enigmatic, surreal, wonderfully entertaining tale, three mysterious figures set out from Willowdale, traveling by handcar. On the way to nowhere in particular they pass a number of odd characters and observe a series of baffling phenomena, from a house burning down in a field to a palatial mansion perched precariously on a bluff.At once deeply vexing and utterly hilarious, darkly mysterious and amusingly absurd, The Willowdale Handcar is vintage Edward Gorey.

The hapless child /
ISBN: 0764944681. OCLC Number:

Pomegranate,. San Francisco :. [2008]

The short, tragic life of Charlotte Sophia is told in this satire of sentimental Victorian orphan tales.

The blue aspic /
ISBN: 0764950622. OCLC Number:

Pomegranate,. San Francisco :. 2009.

Ortenzia Caviglia is an undiscovered opera understudy whose lucky break results from the mysterious murder of the reigning diva. Upon hearing her sing, Jasper Ankle becomes her deepest admirer, undaunted by perilous weather and abject poverty in his quest to hear her sing. As Ortenzia's star rises, Jasper sinks further into despair, until performer and fan collide in true Edward Gorey fashion. Exquisitely illustrated with Gorey's signature pen-and-ink crosshatching, The Blue Aspic is a heart-wrenching and oddly hilarious tale of unrequited love and the dangers of celebrity.

The west wing /
ISBN: 1608190641. OCLC Number:

Bloomsbury,. New York :. 2009.

The West Wing is an invitation to the imagination. On each page, a room beckons, inviting the reader to wonder why three shoes lie here abandoned, what is retreating in that mirror's reflection, or why there is an imprint of a body on the wallpaper, faded and floating four feet above the floor. A wordless mystery, it is one of Gorey's finest works.

The evil garden /
ISBN: 0764958852. OCLC Number:

Pomegranate,. Petaluma, CA :. 2011.

The shrewd Edward Gorey leads us through this nefarious garden with a light step. -- Book flap.

Saint Melissa the Mottled /
ISBN: 1608198855. OCLC Number:

Bloomsbury,. New York :. 2012.

A rare and irreverent, previously unpublished story by the late author of The Wuggly Ump profiles offbeat Saint Melissa, whose canonization occurred despite her Miracles of Destruction, through which she would induce migraines, refine lust and set supernatural traps that have yet to be sprung.

Thoughtful alphabets :
ISBN: 0764963368. OCLC Number:

. .

The osbick bird /
ISBN: 076496335X. OCLC Number:

Pomegranate,. Petaluma, Calif. :. 2012, ©1970.

A Halloween treat ;
ISBN: 160819616X. OCLC Number:

Bloomsbury,. New York ;. 2012.

Kids and cats go trick or treating, and gather loot that might be tricks--or perhaps the best treat imaginable: their very own monsters. Turn the book over to its back cover to read from the other direction, and you'll delve into a collection of Gorey's ghosts, curated from his extensive oeuvre. Charmingly spooky, these ghastly phantasms come in all shapes and sizes--the perfect thing to curl up with on a chilling Halloween night.