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Amphigorey (Amphigorey #1)

4.08  ·  Rating Details ·  28,329 Ratings  ·  298 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 TarcherPerigee (first published 1972)
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Anthony Vacca
Jun 04, 2014 Anthony Vacca rated it it was amazing
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 it was amazing
Shelves: humour
This volume contains The Gashlycrumb Tinies. Perhaps the best way for children to learn the alphabet and of the horrors of life.
Nov 02, 2013 Florencia rated it it was amazing
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
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
Mar 06, 2016 PorshaJo rated it really liked it
Amphigorey, or amphigouri, meaning a nonse verse or composition. That is totally this book and the 15 stories included in it. Strange, dark, creepy....I love it. I'm certainly a fan of Gorey and can't wait to read the other 'Amphigorey' books.

Each story is told with various black and white drawings. I have to say, this book is *not* for children. Some of the stories are just ghastly, such as The Gashlycrumb Tinies. Learn your ABC's along with rhyming verse telling how small children die. I'm su
Jul 28, 2011 Tammie rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed "Amphigorey", which is a collection of 15 books first published between 1953-1965. "Gashlycrumb Tinies", "The Listing Attic" and "Wuggly Ump" are a few of my favorites titles in this unique and sometimes bizarre book.
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
Nov 23, 2012 Ronyell rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Edward Gorey Fans!!!
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
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.
Amy Sturgis
Apr 27, 2014 Amy Sturgis rated it it was amazing
Shelves: gothic, 20th-century
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
Jan 16, 2017 Zedsdead rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: People who are slightly twisted but can pass in polite society.
If Shel Silverstein witnessed one too many crimes going unpunished and took a dark turn, this is what he would sound like. Or perhaps Dr Seuss injected himself with Science Juice, things went wrong as they are wont to do, and Edward Gorey emerged as his Mr. Hyde. In any case, these rhymes are insanely charming and bleak.

An incautious young woman named Venn
Was seen with the wrong sort of men;
She vanished one day,
But the following May
Her legs were retrieved from a fen.

There was a young woman whose
Robin Hobb
Jan 29, 2014 Robin Hobb rated it it was amazing
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. :
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
Feb 06, 2014 Matthew rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 18, 2013 Ani Vardanyan rated it it was amazing
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
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.
Frances Sawaya
Feb 22, 2013 Frances Sawaya rated it it was amazing
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.
Oct 05, 2009 Dan rated it really liked it
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
aPriL does feral sometimes
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
Jan 12, 2011 Rock rated it it was amazing
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 22, 2014 Sally rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 26, 2014 Tamsen rated it really liked it
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
Apr 25, 2008 Icats rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 14, 2013 Leila rated it it was amazing
Shelves: humor, graphics
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-
Andy Culbertson
Jan 10, 2015 Andy Culbertson rated it it was amazing
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
James Adams
Apr 27, 2016 James Adams rated it really liked it
How does one describe this book?
This is a collection of fifteen short, illustrated works that range from blackly humorous to coyly pornographic (I know, but it's true). Most of the works dwell on the morbid or absurd, and one, The Gashlycrumb Tinies, is a classic in it's own right.
I read this for the first time, inappropriately, at eight years old, about. I recognized the art from the titles of PBS's Mystery!,which I watched every week with my mom.Reading it now, it amazed me how much had become
Jul 20, 2013 Wendle rated it really liked it
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
Dan Richter
Jan 30, 2015 Dan Richter rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comic, english
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
Dec 29, 2015 Anita rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
Fifteen graphic novels from the master of graphic novels. The Gashlycrumb Tinies, the great alphabet book of untimely childhood demises, and The Doubtful Stranger are worth the price of admission. Gorey's drawings, vocabulary, bizarre names, and unimaginable plots make this a very fun read.
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  • The World of Edward Gorey
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  • Childhood Is Hell
  • 12 Terrors of Christmas
  • Little Nemo: 1905-1914
  • Andy Goldsworthy: A Collaboration with Nature
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  • Lady Cottington's Pressed Fairy Book
  • Never Eat Anything Bigger Than Your Head & Other Drawings
  • The Chronicles of Harris Burdick: 14 Amazing Authors Tell the Tales
  • Elephant House; or, the Home of Edward Gorey
  • Lost & Found
  • Une Semaine de Bonté
  • On Photography
  • My Crowd
  • Elegant Enigmas: The Art of Edward Gorey
  • Gnomes
  • The Treehorn Trilogy: The Shrinking of Treehorn, Treehorn's Treasure, and Treehorn's Wish
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, #2)
  • Amphigorey Also (Amphigorey, #3)
  • Amphigorey Again (Amphigorey, #4)

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“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…