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The World of Edward Gorey by Clifford Ross
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's review
Jun 11, 12

really liked it
bookshelves: non-fiction, picture-book
Read on June 11, 2012

Non-Fiction. Edward Gorey, the man in the full length fur coat and sneakers. Before I read this, the only thing I knew about Gorey was that he wasn't, despite all appearances, British. Now I know several more things about him. For example, he loved cats and hated Manet. And never even set foot in England.

The interview was conducted by Clifford Ross in Gorey's Cape Cod home, and he and Gorey mostly talk about art and books, Gorey's influences, and the things he collects. Gorey comes off as a man who has strong feelings about art and artists ("You know, I'd like to think that it was Manet who really wrecked painting forever."). It's brief and pretty casual.

The essay by Karen Wilkin, an art critic and curator, is much longer and thoughtfully compares Gorey's work to that of his favorite authors and artists, always with a piece or two to illustrate the similarities she describes. Though Gorey drew inspiration from other artists, it was in such a way that the result was always uniquely him. Wilkin examines what it is that makes Gorey's style so arresting, noting changes to his style over his career. I love the mystery, humor, and casual menace in his art, but learning about all the sources he drew from really makes me appreciate him on an entirely different level. There's so much craft in his work, and Wilkin picks it apart without leaving it in pieces.

The book has 200 plates of Gorey's artwork, including several in full color, and an excellent index with the medium, size, and date of each piece, as well as a bibliography, and a chronology of his life.

Four stars. A wonderful resource.
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Reading Progress

06/11/2012 page 40
21.0% "Edward Gorey: "I remember somebody once telling me that there is a phrase in the Beatitudes, in the French version, that literally translated means 'Blessed are the nonchalant.' Well, the kinds of things I'm attracted to are nonchalant.""

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