Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Amphigorey” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Amphigorey (Amphigorey #1)

4.14 of 5 stars 4.14  ·  rating details  ·  20,765 ratings  ·  233 reviews
The title of this deliciously creepy collection of Gorey's work stems from the word amphigory, meaning a nonsense verse or composition. As always, Gorey's painstakingly cross-hatched pen and ink drawings are perfectly suited to his oddball verse and prose. The first book of 15, "The Unstrung Harp," describes the writing process of novelist Mr. Clavius Frederick Earbrass: " ...more
Paperback, 220 pages
Published January 28th 1980 by Perigee Books (first published 1972)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
Hush, Hush by Becca FitzpatrickTwilight by Stephenie MeyerThe Thirteenth Tale by Diane SetterfieldFallen by Lauren KateNew Moon by Stephenie Meyer
Best Book Cover Art
84th out of 5,161 books — 5,034 voters
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas AdamsGood Omens by Terry PratchettLamb by Christopher MooreThe Princess Bride by William GoldmanA Dirty Job by Christopher Moore
Books that Make you Laugh
156th out of 2,274 books — 3,263 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Anthony Vacca
Filled with even more violent child deaths than its successor, Amphigorey Too, this collection of fifteen of Gorey’s earliest works is a catafalque of morbid delights. Beginning with Gorey’s debut, the metafictional masterpiece, The Unstrung Harp, the reader is lead down a surreal path of the playfully grotesque. Insects make sacrifices to their vicious gods, an anthropomorphic houseguest makes a nuance of itself, guests at an orgy bear witness to the horrors of a sofa modified into an infernal ...more
Jul 12, 2008 John rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: humour
This volume contains The Gashlycrumb Tinies. Perhaps the best way for children to learn the alphabet and of the horrors of life.
Ashley the Magnificent™
A is for Amy who fell down the stairs
B is for Basil devoured by bears
C is for Catherine smothered under a rug
D is for David done in by a thug
E is for Emily who slipped down the drain
F is for Fanny squashed under a train
G is for George stabbed with a safety pin
H is for Harold who drank too much gin
I is for Ida who drowned in a lake
J is for John who burnt at the stake
K is for Kelly who was smashed with a safe
L is for Lina blinded by mace
M is for Mary abandoned on the road
N is for Neville who licke
4.5 stars!


After reading Edward Gorey’s morbid classic The Gashlycrumb Tinies (which is also surprisingly in this volume), I just had to read more of Edward Gorey’s works and I managed to pick up a volume of his works called “Amphigorey” and boy, was I amazed at the stories in this collection!

In this volume, there is a collection of fifteen stories written by Edward Gorey and they include:

1) The Unstrung Harp
2) The Listing Attic
3) The Doub
Claire S
And this, again, gifted from Dad in the 70's at which point I didn't appreciate it at all.

In the 80's, in college, were often around people who thought it was Incredibly funny and good and artistic and creative and whole shows put on with/of/about it all and so on. I was unmoved.

Unlike 'wild-and-crazy-guys' (different story), in this case, even when I was the right age it just wasn't my cup of tea. I get why it's great and all, but like Coen Bros' films, my reaction is not something I can cont
Having got the personal significance out of the way when I wrote about Amphigorey Also, it's now much easier to concentrate on Gorey qua Gorey.
This first collection contains many of his best known strips, including The Doubtful Guest, The Curious Sofa and The Gashlycrumb Tinies, although I'm not quite sure I like it as much as vol. 3.

The Unstrung Harp - on Goodreads this is loved as a great book about writing. (Although Mr. Earbrass, of the Maugham-esque moustache, is a full-time author who does
Amy Sturgis
I'm naturally wired to love Edward Gorey, his elegant and twisted pen-and-ink drawings, and his morbid tales and verses of death, tragedy, and general mishap. His adeptness at poking fun at Victorian tropes and the matter-of-fact, even lighthearted way with which he describes inexplicable mystery, terrible peril, and fatal accidents make him a delight for anyone who loves the Gothic tradition.

This collection gathers together fifteen of his illustrated books, including stories, verses, and pictu
I am proud to share a birthday with Edward Gorey, so every February I am reminded to dip back into the amusing and macabre realms of this great artist.

Visiting some old house as a child, wandering into a room where you're not allowed and peeking at dusty items, a set of old photographs scattering on the floor when you move some curious object on a high shelf, the black and white, pallid, mustachioed faces staring up at you with haunted expressions, you hear a cat hiss in the shadows, you leave t
Ani Vardanyan
Էդվարդ Գորին գրաֆիկական կարճ ստեղծագործություններ ա գրում. հիմնականում բանաստեղծություններ՝ ուղեկցված համապատասխան նկարներով: Սարսափ ժանրին են պատկանում. ամենից շատ սիրում ա վախեցնել փոքր երեխեքին: Օրինակ՝ մի հատ գործ ունի, որը այբուբենն ա սովորացնում (A is for alala... B is for blabla... էդ կարգի) ու որտեղ ամեն մի տառը ինչ-որ երեխու անվան համար ա ու պատմում ա, թե էդ անունով երեխեն ոնց ա մեռնում, նկարներով էլ ցույց ա տալիս: Ահագին օրիգինալ ու հետաքրքիր էր. կարդացողը հաստատ չի փոշմանի:

Հա, ու էս A
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
Not great literature, but there's more than one way to earn five stars. This guy's artwork is just delightful, and his twisted imagination and black humor are superb.
This is a collection of fifteen of his short books in one volume. If the people at my library knew what was in this book, they might rethink their placement of it in the young adult section. Some of it is quite grisly, and some of it is downright bawdy.
Yes, I discovered Edward Gorey on Tumblr.

Yes, I bought this from a garage sale for one stinkin' dollar.

Yes, this is totally up my alley.

No, I do not condone the carnage of children.

Yes, I enjoy the sinister, the gloom, and macabre.

Yes, the Pacquiao-Bradley match is a conspiracy.
Robin Hobb
Edward Gorey's books are problematic for me. We go into the book store. I find one we haven't seen before and call the Office Kat over. We start thumbing through it, and pretty soon we are snorting with laughter, the tears are running down our cheeks and we are creating a disturbance in the store without intending to.

For Chrismas, the Office Kat received a deck of cards by Gorey that are similar to Tarot Cards. They have completely and accurately predicted her day every time she has used them. :
If you, like me, prefer to curl up in your dark, mucus-lined lair on sunny afternoons; if listening to Joy Division is your idea of a rousing bout of good cheer; and if your great love of children, like mine, extends to cartoon depictions of them being felled by accidents and homicide, then this is your book.

Funny, dark, occasionally provoking a thrill of anxiety that comes from staring at a door opened just a crack, and terror at what finally leaps therefrom, these 15 books-in-one are like lit
Oct 09, 2009 Dan rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Edward Gorey Fans, Proto Goths, People who romanticize the early 20th century
Recommended to Dan by: Rachel Wilch
This is a collection of previous Edward Gorey works. It contains fifteen previous "books":

The Unstrung Harp, The Listing Attic, The Doubtful Guest, The Object Lesson, The Bug Book, The Fatal Lozenge, The Hapless Child, The Curious Sofa, The Willowdale Handcar, The Gashlycrumb Tinies, The Insect God, The West Wing, The Wuggly Ump, The Sinking Spell, The Remembered Visit.

Most people are familiar with Gorey because of "The Gashlycrumb Tinies" (this is that alphabet of children who are killed in biz
Nov 30, 2013 Florencia rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: awesome people with a dark sense of humor
Recommended to Florencia by: my normal brain
I loved this book! This is a collection of fifteen stories and drawings. Gorey's artwork is stunning. And his twisted, creepy sense of humor is just my cup of tea (not everyone's cup, I know). It can be dark but funny at the same time. It's not about some silly, creepy stories, there's a dark reality here that can be found outside this book. So, if this is too twisted and horrifying for you, can you survive watching the late night news?
My first Gorey was The Gashlycrumb Tinies (review here). And
Frances Sawaya
This is a return reading of one of my favorite authors/illustrators on the occasion of his 88th birthday (see today's Google Doodle). Once upon a time we had every book of his (all first editions) and all signed. Now in retirement we have had to sell the collection, a great loss. We have kept, however, this paperback collection of his early works. Simply love his bizarre humor. Always gives me a grin and a chuckle.
I've wanted to read an Edward Gorey since I got Christmas cards one year with his illustrations. There's something beautiful and sinister about them.

This graphic novel is a collection of 15 of his short stories. Some are for children (and thus are weird) -- "The Bug Book" (which is totally racist btw) and "The Wuggly Ump." These are terrible.

Some are for writers -- "The Unstrung Harp" should probably be read by every writer and starts off this collection in any interesting way. It's so cynical
Andy Culbertson
I'd never read any Edward Gorey before Amphigorey. The only real exposure I'd had to him was his art for the Mystery! opening credits, so I didn't really know what to expect. In fact, one of the reasons I read the book was to find out what kinds of stories would come from a mind that produced this art style. I was surprised by how much whimsy he mixed in with the darkness. I was also surprised by the fact that some of them were alphabet rhymes rather than stories and that at least one story didn ...more
The art is impressive. The majority of it is fine lines of black ink, and the detail and texture created is amazing. One of my favourite panels is in fact simply of a room with its door open, showing the hallway and another open door beyond. I also can’t fault the amount of moustaches scattered throughout the pages. There is a slow, careful, gothic unease in most of the artwork, which itself is a complexly drawn simplicity.

Best of all, though, is that Gorey’s work mixes perfectly two things i ad
Sally Tarbox
All (but one) are a *5 or *4 in my book!, October 22, 2014

This review is from: Amphigorey: Fifteen Books (Paperback)
I'd never heard of Edward Gorey till his work came up as a recommendation on Amazon when I purchased 'Struwwelpeter'.
This is a wonderful collection of fifteen short stories/ funny alphabets/ collections of limericks. One 'story' is wordless. A couple have colour pictures and are particularly suitable for a younger audience. One is subtitled 'A Pornographic Work' (you're quite safe
aPriL eVoLvEs
Edward Gorey certainly knows how to deliver depravity and sweet talk his audience at the same time!

'Amphigorey' is a collection of 15 little fun art books that are extremely cultured, shockingly twisted and delightfully creepy, all the while absolutely appalling beyond belief. Drawings of proper Edwardians and careful, polite commentary discuss such topics as child abuse, parental death, murder, hauntings, rotting bodies, perversions, ominous scary individuals, strange creatures, insanity, suici
My sister is responsible for finding this odd, perplexing, entertaining treasure in the stacks of the old university library in our home town. We were rooting around together one afternoon looking for folk songs (believe it or not, kids, those used to be hugely popular in the old days), and she wandered off in search of curiosities. Boy, did she find one.

Those who believe they are unfamiliar with the prose and verse works of Edward Gorey (aptly named: his style is like Poe with outlandish humor-
Jun 18, 2008 Icats rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: humor
In reading the 15 tales in Amphigory, I thought they were quite poetic, in a Monty Python sort of way.

I struggle to describe Edwards Gorey’s stories and basically can only sum it up with two phrases, ”hmmm, wonder where this is going,” and ”I did not see that coming.”

Some call his ironic and offbeat humorous stories literary nonsense, but I just call it pure genius. A is for apple and B is for Bear, oh, I don’t think so as you will find in The Gashlycrumb Tinies, "A is for Amy who fell down the
Dan Richter
Müsste ich wählen, welches Comicbuch ich auf die legendäre einsame Insel mitnehmen müsste, wäre es wohl dieses.
Edward Gorey ist mein Held, seit ich Anfang der 80er einmal im DDR-"Magazin" eine Handvoll Zeichnungen von ihm sah ("The doubtful guest"). Nach der Wende war ich auf der Jagd nach ihm und fand eines seiner Bücher erstmals in London.
Goreys heiteres Spiel mit der Düsternis fasziniert mich bis heute. Ein Großteil seiner Erzählungen scheinen in einer Parallelwelt des späten 19. Jahrhunderts
April Helms
This contains 15 of Edward Gorey's works, including The Gashlycrumb Tinies, which is probably the best known (A Is For Amy, who fell down the stairs, etc.) "Weird" is the first word to come to mind when I read this. "Weird," and written absurdism. Some of it was pretty clever; others seemed rather pointless (either it was commenting on things I knew nothing about and didn't get the joke, or perhaps the pointlessness was the point.) I loved the limricks, many of them were quite clever (although a ...more
Vibina Venugopal
Amphigorey is the first among the series of book of three.I happened to read this book in strange circumstances just like the bizarre collection of stories that set a classic example for social satire..There are fifteen short stories in this book and each one a unique in its own way..Gorey's illustration is something that one would find it quite different from any of the books one usually reads..I read the stories at random and though unique some of them where not my cup of tea .....

What would y
First, two favorite quotes.
The babe, with a cry brief and dismal
Fell into the water baptismal.
'Ere they'd gathered it's plight
It had sunk out of sight,
For the depth of the font was abysmal.

That's gonna be my favorite limerick for quite some time.

And from the otherwise not-so-memorable "Wuggly Ump," there's a terrific drawing of the great beast almost literally flying (over a swamp?) toward his inevitable destination and a caption
The moon is full: its silver beams
Shine down and give us lovely dre
Edward Gorey literally makes my jaw drop. I had seen his works on the shelves of Halloweentown and thought, "Fun little creepy things." But they were SO much creepier than I expected. When it came to reading this volume, I had to keep myself from delving into it at night; the drawings and lightly regaled morbid stories spazzed my imagination.

It was difficult trudging through The Unstrung Harp - it was dreadfully dull. All of the limerick and poetry collections (The Listing Attic, The Fatal Lozen
Rachel Jackson
I found this book at my office one afternoon and was intrigued by the few illustrations I saw as I flipped through it. Now that I have read through it, I can say this book is adorable! Well, in a dark, disturbing kind of way. Edward Gorey both writes and illustrates his stories with a very old-fashioned, quaint vision of what the stories and characters should do and be, and it's a delightful result.

Some of the poems weren't that funny; some of the illustrations were rather dull. But overall I lo
I found the stories included to be a lovely, dark sort of humorous, with his sentences and choice of words playful and captivating, and the illustrations beautiful. Unfortunately, I can only give this anthology edition four stars because the quality of printing is distracting at times. I've compared it to my small Gashlycrumb Tinies book and the difference in contrast and lack of detail is noticeable. As the size is also smaller, it may just be somewhat unavoidable that lines are condensed into ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The World of Edward Gorey
  • Cautionary Tales for Children
  • The Twelve Terrors of Christmas
  • Childhood Is Hell
  • Andy Goldsworthy: A Collaboration with Nature
  • Good Faeries Bad Faeries
  • Little Nemo: 1905-1914
  • Elephant House: Photographs of Edward Gorey's House
  • The Chronicles of Harris Burdick: 14 Amazing Authors Tell the Tales
  • Creepy Susie and 13 Other Tragic Tales for Troubled Children
  • The Golden Mean (Griffin & Sabine Trilogy #3)
  • An Illustrated Life: Drawing Inspiration from the Private Sketchbooks of Artists, Illustrators and Designers
  • My Crowd
  • The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt
  • It Chooses You
  • Lady Cottington's Pressed Fairy Book
  • Une Semaine de Bonté
  • The Secret Art of Dr. Seuss
Born in Chicago, Gorey came from a colorful family; his parents, Helen Dunham Garvey and Edward Lee Gorey, divorced in 1936 when he was 11, then remarried in 1952 when he was 27. One of his step-mothers was Corinna Mura, a cabaret singer who had a brief role in the classic film Casablanca. His father was briefly a journalist. Gorey's maternal great-grandmother, Helen St. John Garvey, was a popular ...more
More about Edward Gorey...

Other Books in the Series

Amphigorey (4 books)
  • Amphigorey Too
  • Amphigorey Also
  • Amphigorey Again
The Gashlycrumb Tinies (The Vinegar Works, #1) Amphigorey Too Amphigorey Also The Doubtful Guest The Epiplectic Bicycle

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »

“Such excess of passion
is quite out of fashion”
“Each night Father fills me with dread
When he sits on the foot of my bed;
I'd not mind that he speaks
In gibbers and squeaks,
But for seventeen years he's been dead.”
More quotes…