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The Object-Lesson
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The Object-Lesson

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  593 Ratings  ·  33 Reviews
Vintage Gorey - absurd, nonsensical and disconcerting
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published November 18th 2002 by Bloomsbury (first published 1958)
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(showing 1-30)
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Callum McAllister
Jun 05, 2017 rated it liked it
Made me feel uneasy.
Mar 05, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
Liking Edward Gorey is not hip. But having one particular favorite Gorey book is hip as fuck and sexy as hell. This one is mine. To prove it, I will now relate to you the entire text of this book, which I have memorized:

It was already Thursday,
but his lordship's artificial limb could not be found;
therefore, having directed the servants to fill the baths,
he seized the tongs
and set out at once for the edge of the lake,
where the Throbblefoot Spectre still loitered in a distraught manner.

He presente
Eddie Watkins
Aug 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: visual-art
a drifty crepuscular conundrum in the partly cloudy fen
John Bevan
Feb 09, 2012 rated it liked it
I liked this book, but didn't get it. The illustrations have a beautiful Burtonesque look to them, and each page in itself is amusing, but I came away feeling stupid / as if I'd missed some cleverly disguised joke running in the background. I don't really know how to rate this book since I did really enjoy reading it, but it's left me wondering what I've missed, and on investigating online it seems that was the intention, which seems a little cruel. Whilst reading up on it I did, however, come a ...more
Oct 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
Weird, pointless...and strangely enjoyable, October 22, 2014

This review is from: The Object-Lesson (Hardcover)
Not laugh-out-loud hilarious (although I loved His Lordship presenting the Throbblefoot Spectre with a piece of string - cue a picture of the ghost making a cat's cradle!)
This is a short work, with three illustrations per page, surely a take-off of Japanese haiku. With such obscure and meaningless lines as:
"At twilight, however, no message had come from the asylum,
so the others retired
May 13, 2011 rated it really liked it
A typically surreal tale by Edward Gorey, superbly illustrated as always.

A missing limb, the Throbblefoot Spectre, a statue of Corrupted Endeavour, Madame O______ flinging herself from the parapet, a bat (or possibly an umbrella) flies out of the trees and there was no message from the asylum. The last statment being perhaps the most salient of the lot!

What do you make of all that? Well, the object lesson in the book is to understand fully what is going on with the seemingly unrelated incidents.
Nov 11, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Object-Lesson is a classic, and one of the best works that Edward Gorey ever produced. It contains all of his trademark elements (arising from the murky and somewhat morbid world of idle aristocrats) combined with an excellent pacing and a mysterious plot that is impenetrable without being precious. If Gorey's oblique sense of humor and narrative is your cup of tea, then this volume is sure to satisfy that taste like no other.
Nov 30, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Cristen, Lucy, Josh, Marissa Levy, Megan Wilkins
Recommended to Eric by: My sister
Shelves: my-inner-child
Not your traditional story by any means! Many of Gorey's books are ostensibly children's books, and The Object-Lesson is no exception. The book takes several seemingly unrelated characters and places them in disconnected situations...make sense of it if you can!

Any other author might not have been able to get this one past the publishers, but in Gorey's skillful hands, the story takes on a life and character all its own. I'd recommend this to anyone who loves a dose of the weird.
Jun 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I have this one memorized.
Rebekah Boisvert
Jan 31, 2013 rated it liked it
I did not get this at all. I liked it because there is just *something* I like about Gorey. Would something this nonsensical be published today? Maybe I need to read it twelve more times...
Aug 24, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: art, fiction, american

This was my first Gorey, and apparently a bad book to begin with, though I enjoyed it. The 'plot' was completely nonsensical, but left me with a pleasantly eerie feeling, and the art was absolutely beautiful. I thought Gorey wrote children's books, but after reading this rather bleak book (it includes a woman jumping off a tower to her death!) I think he just wrote art books for all ages--probably with supervision if under a certain age! I'll be picking up more by Gorey soon. This satisfied the

Andrey Bagdasaryan
Mar 12, 2017 rated it liked it
As much as I like E.Gorey books,this one was beyond me...
Amanda - Go Book Yourself
*Warning: This book will make you feel stupid.*

A seemingly random series of unrelated events: A man missing his artificial limb, ghosts, suicide and black umbrella's.

I read it, I didn't get it. I read it again, I still didn't get it. I read it 5 more times and guess what? I still didn't get it. I feel like I'm missing some inside joke that everyone but me understands!

It reminds me of that episode of "Malcolm in the Middle" where Francis stares at the totem pole for days trying to figure out wha
Aug 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites
Whenever I'm down, I pick up this book and it instantly makes me feel better. The art is amazing, the text beautifully absurd and full of wonderful lines you'll remember always. However, I know that this isn't a book for everyone because when I showed it to my Mama she agreed that the art was great but her overall expression was one of bewilderment. If you're not familiar with Gorey, I recommend looking at this one before buying it. If you love Gorey, though, you should love this book! Even the ...more
Callie Rose Tyler
Oct 28, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: picture-books
Started out promising, I was totally into it and then suddenly....I wasn't. Overall not something I would ever read again, or think about again, or recommend to anyone, ever. It wasn't the worst thing I've ever read but I think it is highly overrated. You can't just throw a bunch of stuff together and call it surreal.
Halah Ahmad
Feb 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, reviewed, ebooks
Even though the book is completely random and full of unrelated events , it will leave you feeling like you are missing something , that it's your one fault that you didn't get it . i am sure the author is playing mind games with us :D
Amy (Other Amy)
Another Gorey experimentation with the nature of narrative. Another Gorey I hated on the first read and loved on the second. Review to come.

(Reread in Amphigorey; reviewing separately.)
Jan 09, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the best surrealist works other than those by Andre Breton and Le Compte de L'autremont IN my opinion. Paul Clay sent it to me in the mail, and I loved it. I read about why Edward Gorey wrote it, and he actually did so in order NOT to make any sense at all.
Lesley Looper
Sep 18, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
I really liked the drawings! The story? Quirky, but I liked it too.
Huda AbuKhoti
Jan 21, 2013 rated it liked it
Dec 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
Odd....good thing I like odd.
Aug 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Cryptically captivating. Captivatingly cryptic.
Sam Gilbert
Mar 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
It's what happens on a Thursday. An artifical limb and a letter and a shoestring and several beards link this astonishing work to "The Awdrey-Gore legacy."
Sep 29, 2014 rated it liked it
Feb 17, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gothic, edward-gorey
Interesting drawings; not worth reading again
Jan 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: erstwhile cousins
Among the great opening phrases in western literature, comes this:

"It was already Thursday... but his lordship's artificial limb could not be found."

Brilliant, just brilliant.
Mar 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is the reason Edward Gorey is better than you.
Aug 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Another gem from Gorey!
Dec 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
A disarmingly strange tale full of nonsequitirs and oddness. I did love Lady O___ and the Thromblefoot spectre.
Aug 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: gorey
First Edition.
This is one of my favorites
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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
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