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Amphigorey: Fifteen Books

(Book #1 in the Amphigorey Series)

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Book Overview

An illustrated collection of 15 macabre short stories. In this gorgeously detailed volume, American artist and author Edward Gorey accents amphigory (nonsense verse or composition) with his signature... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings


This is a classic volume of dark humour. But that's not all it is. Edward Gorey has created not just quirky limericks, not just hilarious stories of macabre, and not just pages of delicous nonsense. He has created his own _universe_. The Amphigorey universe is filled with a mood that Gorey has perfected. The dark niceties fit together to create this mood like a puzzle--everything from his Neo-Victorian cross-hatchwork, Edwardian character names, even the font. Amphigorey is an hilarious gothic masterpiece.

No-nonsense verse, a very necessary composition

Edward Gorey was a master of the macabre. Seemingly inappropriate, always bizarre, Mr. Gorey walked the taboo tightrope in his stories and illustrations. Here are fifteen such delightfully atrocious tales, compiled for the convenience of his very demented fans (including yours truly). First is "The Unstrung Harp" about a befuddled and (in appearance) paranoid writer who trudges through his maddening existence, as so many a writer inevitably will. The casual reader might find this tale odd, but anyone who has ever taken to writing seriously will feel nothing but empathy. Has one of the greatest ending lines of any story I've ever read.Next is "The Listing Attic", a series of devilish ryhmes with correlating illustrations. Many of these are horrible in design yet strangely you'll find yourself laughing at the unfortunate mishaps that fall upon the characters.Now, on to "The Doubtful Guest" about a mysterious penguin-like creature that arrives at a residence only to act in a seemingly irrational way, doing things for inexplicable reasons. Personally I think this is nothing more than a metaphor for the unexpected in life and how it's more irrational for people to waste time trying to make sense out of these things. But that's just me."The Object Lesson" is just plain confusing, as if Mr. Gorey was just penning random thoughts and then illustrating them. Definitely weird."The Bug Book" is pretty childish in design and, to me, not particuarly noteworthy."The Fatal Lozenge" is another series of ryhmes, although the level of morbidity and violence is pretty much maxed out. Reading these you won't find yourself able to laugh, only maybe able to produce a nervous twitter as you ponder how very real these situations could be."The Hapless Child" is nothing short of a masterpiece, evoking every emotion from love to terror this tragedy should have a place in American high school curriculum, but alas public education systems in this nation would rather not deal with horrible reality."The Curious Sofa" is an attack on preconceived notions of sexual morality, being pornographic only in suggestion the point is that if someone who considered him/herself to be in the right in his/her sexual ideals he/she wouldn't understand the innuendo of the words and illustrations. A very interesting piece."The Willowdale Handcar" is a story I didn't like."The Gashlycrumb Tinies" has to be my favorite Edward Gorey piece, a sinister telling of the Alphabet with a small child meeting its demise for each letter, kind of an anti-Alligators All Around. I have a separate review posted for this story as it is deserving of the title of literature."The Insect God" is another disturbing work involving intelligent, and apparently religious, giant sized bugs. "The West Wing" is a series of illustrations that force the reader to create his/her own captions for what is depicted."The Wuggly Ump" is a silly song about a very hungry monster."The Sinking Spell" is another tale of an unexpected vis

Makes Economic Sense, If Nothing Else

If for no other reason than cost-efficiency, you ought to buy this collection of the late Edward Gorey's books; it doesn't cost very much more than the individual hard-cover original editions of the fifteen books collected here.Most people will recognise Gorey as the designer of the credits for the long-running PBS series "Mystery!", if nothing else; but he is so much more. If i were forced to guess, based strictly on the contents of the fifteen volumes collected here, i would have had to say that Edward Gorey was obviously an elderly and somewhat dotty Englishman. As a matter of fact, he was neither elderly nor English -- but that's the type of material he excelled at; that somewhat macabre but utterly devastating straight-faced black humour that seems to a Mere Colonial such as myself as Utterly British.One could, for instance, question whether the untimely demise of twenty-six children -- in alphabetical order, with lovingly-rendered illustrations of their antepenultimate moments -- was a fit subject for humour. Whether or not it is becomes a moot question almost as soon as one begins reading "The Gashleycrumb Tinies" -- "'A' is for ANNA, who fell down the stairs. 'B' is for BASIL, assaulted by Bears..." Sick or not, if you can read all twenty-six pages of this little monograph and not laugh, there is something wrong with you.Possibly the best thing in the book -- though it's *all* excellent -- is "The Unstrung Harp, or, Mr Earbrass Writes a Novel", which has been described by an acquaintance who works as an editor at a major New York publisher as one of the more accurate portrayals of the process he has ever read. {Horrifyingly so, i inferred from his comments.}Rather gentler and more restrained and cultured than the work of Gahan Wilson, a bit less anarchic than "The Far Side", this is still a wonderful antidote to all of society's little hypocrisies and refusals to face the reality of the gleeful darkness that every one of us has (generally fairly well hidden) somewhere in our soul.

A wicked good collection to be read over and over

When I first picked up this book, I had no idea what to expect. I was even more bewildered when I opened it up and looked at the drawings. I thought to myself, what in the world is this? Then I started reading. Edward Gorey's work is at times subtle or broad, ironic or slaptstick, and always brilliant. How dare this man call himself a children's book author! His books are for everyone, not just tots. Startlingly funny and morbid, the books in this volume (and his other collections) will make the reader laugh and snicker until they are sick. The dark humor of "the Gashlycrumb Tinies", the burlesque of "the Curious Sofa", the absurdity of "the Doubtful Guest", the dry wit of "the Unstrung Harp", every story is different. Every story is a gem. Gorey's books are a must-have for absolutely everybody.

A delicious collection of Gorey's dark and twisted humor.

I was introduced to this book by a friend of mine whose sense of humor is almost as twisted as that of Gorey himself. He delighted in sharing with me "The Gashlycrumb Tinies" (in which small children meet their doom in alphabetical order) and "The Curious Sofa: a pornographic tale" (in which Gorey lays sexual innuendo so thick that it becomes absurd and absolutely hilarious). After wresting the book from the aforementioned friend's hands, I read the rest of it. To my delight I found morbid limericks and quatrains, stories apparently composed of random sentences, and tales of tales of mishap and tragedy--each accompanied by illustrations in Gorey's macabre style. I would recommend this collection to anyone who has outgrown Dr. Seuss but still wants to look at the pictures. An incautions young lady named Venn Was seen with the wrong sort of men She vanished one day But the following May Her legs were retreived from a Fen

Amphigorey Mentions in Our Blog

Amphigorey in Edward Gorey
Edward Gorey
Published by Phillip Caprara • February 16, 2022
Illustrator, author, animator, puppeteer, cartoonist, these are just a few of the titles that can be given to the talented Edward Gorey. Like many illustrators, Gorey has never been a household name. Despite this, however, his works have a devout cult following. You've likely come across them without realizing. Of all his oeuvre, nowhere is this combination of artistic style and fascination with the darker elements of humanity more evident than in his abecedaria.
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