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(Amphigorey #1)

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  44,164 ratings  ·  407 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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 ·  44,164 ratings  ·  407 reviews

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JV (semi-hiatus)
May 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019, graphic-novels
Hark, dear readers, for this book is dark and full of terrors! Amphigorey is composed of 15 tales that are nonsensical, rattling, and ghastly. Should you decide to read this, be wary of the dark side for it might satisfy the macabre in you.

The Unstrung Harp - 4 stars

A fascinating story (and perhaps a valuable commentary) written by the writer (the author) in dedication to other writers and would-be writers about a writer (Mr. C.F. Earbrass) and the writing profession itself! Did I just write a
Jun 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
It's hard to convey the joy I get from looking at almost all of Edward Gorey's work; I love it so. Whether you adore "The Unstrung Harp" or detest "The Gashleycrumb Tinies," If you're famliar with his work and love, like, dislike or hate it, you can skip this review. It won't hurt my feelings, and anyway I wouldn't know. But there are laughs to be had here and if you're new to him or adore him or want a refresher, there is thoughtful amusement, silliness and so much more in the four anthologies ...more
A Collection of Edward Gorey’s 1st 15 tales that are mostly out of print. This is the best way to be able to read Edward Gorey now. His first story was 1953 and the last in the collection was 1965. The artwork holds this collection together, but for the most part there is nothing that pulls them together accept Edward’s dark sense of humor. I can only imagine that during the 50s this would have been a fresh air of variety and something a bit different. I have no idea how this man got published i ...more
Anthony Vacca
Jun 04, 2014 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 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 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
Jul 28, 2011 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.
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
Jan 16, 2017 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
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
Robin Hobb
Jan 29, 2014 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. :
Amy Sturgis
Apr 27, 2014 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
Nov 23, 2012 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) Th
Mar 06, 2016 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
Jeanette (Again)
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.
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
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
Feb 06, 2014 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
AMPHIGOREY is a graphic collection containing fifteen books written by Edward Gorey. This was simply a fun read for "blah" day! Contained here are:
--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 (my personal favorite!)
--The Insect God
--The West Wing
--The Wuggly Ump
--The Sinking Spell
--The Remembered Visit

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.
Ed Erwin
Aug 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
A mixed bag, not all stories 5 start, but some parts certainly are. Like Edward Lear, the genius is more in the art than the words, but the stories of each are good, and Gorey can write better limericks (including some in French). A few pieces have art in color. The B/W ones are more to my taste. "The Fatal Lozenge" was another illustrated ABC book, almost as good as the "Gashlycrumb Tinies" (also included here). "The Curious Sofa" was another surprise; I had no idea Gorey had done any "pornogra ...more
Frances Sawaya
Feb 22, 2013 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.
Elizabeth (Miss Eliza)
Jun 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics, library
Gorey's first fifteen books offer an interesting cross-section of his work, from his precise style being formed, to him playing with other looser methods and color. But it's a mixed bag, some hit their tone perfectly, others are just a little too grim...

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
Oct 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Edward Gorey’s style of writing and illustration is my kind of dark. I love how bizarre and haunting his works are. This collection is perfect to be read on Halloween. It’s short but surely will make you creeped out.

His stories sometimes starts very slowly and suddenly BAM! It hit you surprisingly at the end. Like you won’t guess that the way that it ended could be that bizarre. All you know something bad is going to happen. In this collection though the stories are not all BAM! But what amaze
Oct 05, 2009 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
Jan 12, 2011 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
Mar 31, 2020 rated it liked it
Gorey was a man of dazzling intellect and he had a talent not only in his stunning artwork but in his writing itself. His creative anagrams of his own name, his brilliantly British sounding character names and places, and bizarre storylines that could only come from someone with a prodigious intellect and a voracious imagination. In addition, I loved pouring over his finely tuned artwork, what originally attracted me to his books. His drawings show painstakingly effort and attention to detail, e ...more
John of Canada
An amphigory is a nonsense verse or composition.The stories and poems were very troubling and I did a fair bit of laughing out loud.Children meeting horrible ends,frightening monsters,human and otherwise.What is wrong with me.When I read The Unstrung Harp I had two thoughts.The writing is remarkably original and this sure seems a lot like Monty Python.Right on both counts.The artwork is beautiful in a grim,nightmare inducing way.I looked on the internet and...THERE IS A GOREYSTORE!
Time to decora
Jul 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
A fascinating collection of some of Edward Gorey's earliest work, the best-known of which is The Ghashlycrumb Tinies. If you're familiar with that story you'll have a sense of what to expect in the rest of the book: twisted and macabre stories and poems accompanied by black and white drawings. This is the stuff of nightmares ranging from the absurd to the too-real (gender-based violence and gay bashing). Several times I found myself turning to the internet to learn more about Gorey and the exper ...more
Oct 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
I loved this! I was introduced to Gorey through his illustrations for John Bellairs’ books back when I was in fourth grade, but I had never actually read any of his own stories. “Amphigorey” is a great Gorey starter — and of course my favourite book ended up being “The Gashlycrumb Tinies.” Deliciously unsettling artwork and nonsensical stories make for a great combination.
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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

Other books in the series

Amphigorey (4 books)
  • Amphigorey Too (Amphigorey, #2)
  • Amphigorey Also (Amphigorey, #3)
  • Amphigorey Again (Amphigorey, #4)

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