November 2012 | Nate Pedersen

New Offerings for Gorey Collectors

Edward Gorey died in 2000, but twelve years later publishers are still working to release some of his unpublished work.  Gorey illustrated books for 50 years and his distinctive style - both whimsical and Gothic - has spawned an entire sub-genre of collecting: "Goreyana."  Three new (or re-printed) Gorey stories have arrived in bookshops this fall, just time to fill the Christmas stockings of Gorey collectors.

thoughtfulalphabets_gorey.jpeg From Pomegranate Press comes "Thoughtful Alphabets: The Just Dessert & the Deadly Blotter" (64 pp., $14.95).  "Thoughtful Alphabets" collects two previous Gorey publications which were only available if you managed to track down one of the out-of-print limited editions.  "The Just Dessert" was published by Fantod Press in a limited edition of 750 copies in 1997.  Today, copies of "The Just Dessert" command $200 and up.  The other story collected in "Thoughtful Alphabets" was also originally published by Fantod Press in 1997, again in an edition of 750 copies.  "The Deadly Blotter" retails for $200 and up from online booksellers.  Both stories are typical Gorey-esque plays on children's alphabet books.

osbick.jpgPomegranate Pres also released "The Osbick Bird" (32 pp., $12.95), originally published in 1970 by Fantod Press as part of a small collection of books housed in a pink envelope entitled "Three Books from the Fantod Press: The Chinese Obelisks, The Osbick Bird, Donald has a Difficulty."  "The Osbick Bird" was also included in the omnibus collection "Amphigorey Too."

melissamottled.jpgThe other new Gorey publication comes from Bloomsbury.  "Saint Melissa the Mottled" (48 pp., $12), is a previously unpublished story that Gorey penned but never illustrated.  The publishers are supplementing the text - in a welcome creative move or a cynical money-making ploy, depending on your point of view - with images from the Gorey archive.  Some of the illustrations have also never been published before.

And so the shelves of Goreyana around the world must expand to include a few more volumes. 

(Author's note: My personal Gorey collection focuses on his wonderful covers for the John Bellairs books, some of my favorite reads from childhood).