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

The Curious Sofa

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  1,939 ratings  ·  112 reviews
The Curious Sofa is a classic 1961 book by Edward Gorey, published under the pen name Ogdred Weary (an anagram). The book is a “pornographic illustrated story about furniture” (according to the cover). According to reviews, there is nothing overtly sexual in the illustrations, although innuendos (and strategically deployed urns and tree branches) abound. The New York Times ...more
Hardcover, 64 pages
Published October 20th 1999 by Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (first published 1961)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Curious Sofa, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Curious Sofa

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
4.18  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,939 ratings  ·  112 reviews

Sort order
I read that Edward was poking fun of the Story of O with this. There are some great innuendo's in here. Nothing is explicit and it is all leading your mind to some kinky ideas. It is very funny. Who knows what that curious sofa was actually doing. This is for mature audiences.

The art was interesting and led you to wonder what was going on off frame which further upped the innuendo going on. The book is brilliant. This was so much fun to read and it was short. Edward is even better in my mind now
Jun 18, 2016 rated it liked it
Ohhhhhh it just hit me how euphemistically sexual it was. -.-

Like, really. I don't deserve to wear my "Perverted and Proud" badge anymore.

Sep 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: bite-sized
Σε μια στιγμή μπαίνει ο κύριος Απόστολος στο γραφείο, και κράταγε την αυτή του, και την ακούμπησε πάνω στο γραφείο. Εγώ μπαίνω αμέσως, και χωρίς να την δω, του την πάτησα. Μετά, ανοίγει την πόρτα η Κυρία Ντόρα, μπαίνει μέσα, την βλέπει πατημένη και την τρώει. Μετάαα, μετά ήρθε ο Κύριος Πέτρος, και έφερε την δική του αυτή αλλά εμείς δεν την χρειαζόμασταν, είχαμε τελειώσει.

-Χρόνης Μπαμπάτσικος.

3 αστεράκια (=με άρεσε) + άλλο 1 για το τέλος.
Apr 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
A wonderful creation! Everything is left to the reader's imagination and, accordingly, all of the 'action' takes place just off the page. Very funny.
Eddie Watkins
Aug 15, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: visual-art
With drawings more like sketches this is far from my favorite Gorey, but it is a deliciously risque forest of euphemisms.

I had to revise my rating upon further review. Yes, the drawings are simple, esp. compared to the density of lines in some of his other books, but there remains the same amount of grace and humor in their minimalism. 4 stars!
Jul 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: people who need a dose of subtlety
Shelves: lol
Laughing out loud. That's what I was doing the entire time my brother-in-law read it aloud to me. It was so hilariously, deliciously demented. A very, very naughty book, without ever showing anything, without ever naming a body part or anything explicitly vulgar. In fact, you could read this as a small child and think it was perfectly innocent. Oh. My.
The Curious Sofa - Edward Gorey  The literary equivalent of Gypsy Rose Lee's strip tease. No doubt the most sex-per-page of any book yet remains appropriate for readers of all ages. "But is it sex positive?" I ask myself. I think not in the end, but others may differ. 
I amused myself by trying to imagine making a film of it. I was wondering how one could maintain the feel of the book, but also make it last longer than about 6 seconds. It would be a fun side project to take advantage of casts, s
Veronica Cepellos
Jul 09, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who thinks that silliness, horror, and sex are not anathema to each other...
Shelves: dark-humor, naughty
There is something deliciously demented about Edward Gorey (who published this work under an acronym of his name; Ogdred Weary). This book is a silly, naughty romp that tangentially explores some very dark and frightening places. It's a dirty little quickie for book lovers.

"Looking out the window she saw Herbert, Albert, and Harold, the gardener, an exceptionally well-made youth, disporting themselves on the lawn. They were soon joined by Donald, Herbert's singularly well-favoured sheepdog, and
David Schaafsma
Dec 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I saw this at the bookstore this week and picked it up. I had read it as part of a larger collection of his work, and for some reason it is being re-released. But yay that it is. The cover features a sofa with a couple legs visible through a doorway. The title is The Curious Sofa: A Pornographic Work by Ogdred Weary, but it's not really pornographic (sorry, I know you were hoping to read something titillating here!), and really by Gorey, of course.

The copyright is 1961, and the artist/author Gor
Mar 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: american, owned-books
Hilarious . . . :-) I admit I had to look up a 'Lithuanian typewriter', as I'd never heard of it before ;-)

But seriously, a lot is left to one's imagination, as neither the graphics nor the text are pornographic in itself. It is what's implied that makes this little book hilarious :-) It really is such a delicious, funny, witty read that it had me grinning several times, and I fully agree with Michelle Morrell's earlier review :-)
Dec 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites-reread
if you don't love Edward Gorey, I probably wouldn't like you very much.
Michelle Morrell
Jul 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: x-read-2013
A clever little book that shows that innuendo and hinting can be just as naughty as spelling it out.
THE CURIOUS SOFA: A Pornographic Work by Ogdred Weary is one of Edward Gorey's works in which the story is told through delightful pen-and-ink drawings with witty captions. A 1961 send-up of Victorian pornography, the book's thirty pages tell the adventures of Alice, a young woman swept into a long series of sexual adventures. THE CURIOUS SOFA's cleverness lies in that on one hand it reveals nothing obscene--one would hardly have to fear if a young child came upon the book. A good example captio ...more
Amanda - Go Book Yourself
If Florence and Emily from Little Britain were to write a pornography, this would be it.

"But we are laaaaaaaadies and we must read laaaaadies pornography you see"

Finally, an Edward Gorey tale that is not wrist slittingly depressing!
The men are all extraordinarily something or other and the women free from all inhibitions. This is a deliciously demented read. However nothing is revealed or shown in the drawings. It is up the reader to see between the lines and outside the frames of the illustrat
Amy (Other Amy)
Maybe if I had actually read Story of O this would be funnier. Should I happen to read said book maybe I'll get back here and do a review.

(Reread in Amphigorey; reviewing separately.)
Aug 22, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sex-fiction
This is a strange little book by Edward Gorey. The book is full of ambigous references to exotic sex acts, but nothing is ever explicitly shown or described. It will probably take you less than 10 minutes to read this book, but you will wonder about it for weeks to come.
Oct 16, 2012 rated it liked it
Porno! Tapi bisa tidak disebut pornografi ya? Lah tidak ada gambar yang porno :D. Lalu: Elsie had expired during the night, and gloom descended on everybody. Kenapa si Elsie? Diapain pake saucepan? Lalu: sofanya ngapain? Misteri >_<.
Jan 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing
A Dadaist pornography, where all of the action happens off-page, and all the descriptions are vague and unsuggestive.

It appeals to me. Lots.
Jun 03, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm thankful for Edward Gorey and his sick and twisted mind.
Vivian Zhang
Mar 16, 2017 rated it liked it
Lithuanian typewriter eh...
Erin Britton
May 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Despite being a self-proclaimed 'pornographic work', 'The Curious Sofa' is a surprisingly subtle and, considering it comes from the brain of Edward Gorey, unsurprisingly amusing yarn. Darkly whimsical in tone and, although certainly not explicit, concerning a slightly more adult subject matter than the rest of Gorey's work, 'The Curious Sofa' follows the adventures of a particularly open-minded young lady called Alice and alludes to all manner of compromising situations, ranging from a romp with ...more
Sabrina Chapadjiev
Mar 16, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Oh Edward! I knew you were nasty underneath all your PBS special drawings. This is delightfully dirty, and only in a way that is most telling about the own reader's mind. Fortunately, mine is filthy. I had to read this for a burlesque show where everyone reads the same book- in this case- 'The Curious Sofa', and then writes a song inspired by it. If you'd like to take a look- I wrote a song from the view point of the main character in the book for this show- and you can see it here. Dirty, dirty ...more
Oct 22, 2014 rated it liked it
"a pornographic work", October 22, 2014

This review is from: The Curious Sofa: A Pornographic Work by Ogdred Weary (Hardcover)
Much of Edward Gorey's work is utterly witty and delicious, but I'm afraid this one (largely) missed the mark for me. Featuring a bunch of 1920s looking people -including a number of 'well-proportioned' gentlemen - frolicking at a house-party, I just didn't find it hugely funny.
From our heroine perusing an album of 'instructive chromolithographs' to a married couple, both
May 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
Oh gosh. This book. I innocently picked it up at the tender age of 5 or 6 (it was lying around at someone's place for some reason), not knowing what the P word meant yet and I skimmed through the book as though it was a REAL children's book. I then reread it in high school and gave myself a good slap in the forehead as I realised that it was laced with sexual innuendos (and subtle puns).

Edward Gorey sure did a great job with the subtlety in the illustrations. Jeez.
Feb 11, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: disappointments
Although I love Gorey's art and dark wit, I wasn't a fan of The Curious Sofa. There weren't rememberable characters, the jokes didn't always land, the variety of stories didn't flow great together, and I found nothing remotely erotic about the book. Not to say I went into this thinking it would turn me on... but at the very least, I expected Gorey to take sex serious at some point. He didn't and neither did I in liking this book.
Two stars for quality illustrations and an interesting attempt.
Feb 14, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A small childrens size book for adults, beautifully illustrated by the "eccentric" (quite a mild word for this man!) Edward Gorey with suave, non-titillating Edwardian to early 1920s style fashions but with quietly shocking blunt statements, such as "Still later Gerald did a terrible thing to Elsie with a saucepan", of all forms of sexual and sensual adult play with a menacing, almost Gothic undertone. Chilly, truly for being such a sweet little book judging by its cover!
Sep 25, 2007 rated it it was amazing
This book is the most wonderful, icky-sweet icing on the Edward Gorey favorite of his has always been 'The Iron Tonic'...that perfect mixture of Victorian creepiness with kooky humor and literate cleverness...The Curious Sofa is like the Iron Tonic on Ecstacy (lame thing to say, but true)...less creepy (but still a bit!) and more saucy. Gorey has always worked in a touch of the bawdy, but in this tale he works it on out!
Nov 11, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: him, us
I always liked those Tipper Gore labels that turn up now and again on CD cases: "explicit content," they say. They seem to imply that the content of music is consistent (that all music is about sex, basically) and that the artist's limited freedom is in choosing to address it implicitly or explicitly. The Curious Sofa (or, say, Sam Cooke) is a good example of implicit content: work that, for the most part, remains unfairly undistinguished by a warning label.
Sep 15, 2013 rated it liked it
Almost as touching as an enthusiastic sore, bizarre horror and adult context are the topics that melts with the author's perturbed mind. And what I enjoyed the most about this short tale, maybe too short, was the meaning of every plot twist was left to the reader's imagination; in wich mine was nothing but a dreadful acknowledgement about (and this might be just my filthy and warped mind) the approaching end of Sir Egbert's party. Droll.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Donald Has a Difficulty
  • Cautionary Tales for Children
  • Elephant House; or, the Home of Edward Gorey
  • The Shrinking of Treehorn
  • Hauntings: Tales of the Supernatural
  • The World of Edward Gorey
  • Never Eat Anything Bigger Than Your Head & Other Drawings
  • Macedonia: What Does It Take to Stop a War?
  • Elegant Enigmas: The Art of Edward Gorey
  • The Jumblies
  • Ghosts And Ruins
  • The Rejection Collection: Cartoons You Never Saw, and Never Will See, in The New Yorker
  • The Strange Case of Edward Gorey
  • The Homecoming
  • Nine Ways to Disappear
  • Is That All There Is?
  • Little Nemo in Slumberland: So Many Splendid Sundays! (Volume 1)
  • The Twelve Terrors of Christmas
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