Edward Gorey Before "The Gashlycrumb Tinies"

Slate's guide to consuming culture.
Nov. 15 2010 4:42 PM

Edward Gorey Before "The Gashlycrumb Tinies"

From time to time, a Slate staffer or critic offers up a favorite cultural pick for Procrastinate Better readers. Today's endorsement is from Slate assistant Julia Felsenthal.

I’ve been slightly obsessed with vintage paperbacks lately. My favorite editions are from the amazing PenguinPoets series designed by Stephen Russ , but I was delighted to happen upon this flickr collection of covers designed by American writer and illustrator, Edward Gorey , maintained by a couple of book collectors from Oakland, Calif. Though he is most famous for his own playfully macabre illustrated storybooks, from 1953 until 1960, Gorey worked as a designer at Anchor , the newly launched paperback division of Doubleday books. During that time he made his mark either as illustrator or art editor on roughly the first 200 titles that the imprint released.

/blogs/procrastinatebetter/2010/11/15/edward_gorey_before_the_gashlycrumb_tinies/jcr:content/body/slate_image
Advertisement

These 69 selections reveal unconventional dimensions of the artist’s early work. It’s wonderful to see Gorey’s sparsely drawn characters with very un-Gorey-like smiles on their faces ( Tristan and Iseult , Troilusand Cressida ). I love the text-only covers, like Selections From the Writings of Kierkegaard and An Elementary Textbook of Psychoanalysis ,which manage to be quintessentially Gorey, even in the absence of his usual solitary figures. My favorite though, is probably Gorey’s cover for What Maisie Knew ; Henry James’s tale of a lonely child threatened by emotionally destructive parents almost seems like it was written with the Gorey treatment in mind.

TODAY IN SLATE

Technocracy

Forget Oculus Rift

This $25 cardboard box turns your phone into an incredibly fun virtual reality experience.

The Congressional Republican Digging Through Scientists’ Grant Proposals

Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

Whole Foods Is Desperate for Customers to Feel Warm and Fuzzy Again

The XX Factor

I’m 25. I Have $250.03.

My doctors want me to freeze my eggs.

The XX Factor
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM I’m 25. I Have $250.03. My doctors want me to freeze my eggs.
Politics

Smash and Grab

Will competitive Senate contests in Kansas and South Dakota lead to more late-breaking races in future elections?

George Tiller’s Murderer Threatens Another Abortion Provider, Claims Free Speech

Walmart Is Crushing the Rest of Corporate America in Adopting Solar Power

  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 21 2014 3:13 PM Why Countries Make Human Rights Pledges They Have No Intention of Honoring
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 21 2014 5:57 PM Soda and Fries Have Lost Their Charm for Both Consumers and Investors
  Life
The Vault
Oct. 21 2014 2:23 PM A Data-Packed Map of American Immigration in 1903
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 21 2014 3:03 PM Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 21 2014 1:02 PM Where Are Slate Plus Members From? This Weird Cartogram Explains. A weird-looking cartogram of Slate Plus memberships by state.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 21 2014 1:47 PM The Best Way to Fry an Egg
  Technology
Technology
Oct. 21 2014 5:38 PM Justified Paranoia Citizenfour offers a look into the mind of Edward Snowden.
  Health & Science
Climate Desk
Oct. 21 2014 11:53 AM Taking Research for Granted Texas Republican Lamar Smith continues his crusade against independence in science.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.