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Amphigorey: Fifteen Stories Paperback – 1 Nov 2004

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Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Perigee Books,U.S. (1 Nov. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399504338
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399504334
  • Product Dimensions: 20.5 x 1.3 x 27.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 171,825 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

A truly prodigious and original artist, Edward St. John Gorey (1925-2000), gave to the world over one hundred works, including The Gashlycrumb Tinies, The Doubtful Guest and The The Wuggly Ump; prize-winning set and costume designs for innumerable theatre productions from Cape Cod to Broadway; a remarkable number of illustrations in publications such as the New Yorker and the New York Times. Gorey's masterful pen and ink illustrations and his ironic, offbeat humour have brought him critical acclaim and an avid following throughout the world.

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Mr C(lavius) F(rederick) Earbrass is, of course, the well-known novelist. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Arbie on 1 Aug. 2004
Format: Paperback
This is possibly the most re-readable book I own. It was the first "Amphigorey" (they've irritatingly spelt it incorrectly, without the "E", on this Amazon page) I bought, and by far my favourite. It is a collection of 15 books, that contain either verse or lyrical prose, accompanied by excellent monochrome pen-and-ink drawings (with the exception of 2 full-colour children's works), that are full of intricate cross-hatching and meticulous detail. Gorey has a great conservatism to his writing, as usually only a single sentence accompanies each image. They are all equally funny and haunting in their own individual ways, and seem to run the spectrum of "negative" emotions from the creepily ethereal to the sickeningly macabre.
It includes probably the most enjoyable Gorey books available - my three favourites, "The Doubtful Guest", which is very funny, and the verse very well-written (sample couplet: "At times it would tear out whole chapters from books/Or put roomfuls of pictures askew on their hooks"), "The Willowdale Handcar", about three companions that go on an impromptu journey that lasts months, the content of which is loaded with sometimes indecipherable symbolism, and "The Remembered Visit", which I find, for some odd reason, the most haunting and emotive of his books despite having a very distant feel.
But that is not all - included in this anthology is the classic "The Gashlycrumb Tinies", an A to Z of the gruesome deaths of 26 children, which many may recognise (you can find it published in full on the internet for free if you want a taster of Gorey's work).
Gorey's work, being extremely short in actual reading length, rewards those readers that take time to closely examine and scrutinise the detailed illustrations.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Miss May Nel on 22 Jun. 2003
Format: Paperback
Alarmingly eccentric compilation of several short cautionary tales and limericks that can leave one feeling a little bewildered but exraordinarily fascinated by the dark thought processes that go on within the author's mind. The illustrations accentuate the dark prose both in their oddness and wonderful use of lines.
Effortlessly sinister-a gem by a genius.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By sally tarbox TOP 500 REVIEWER on 22 Oct. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'd never heard of Edward Gorey till his work came up as a recommendation on Amazon when I purchased 'Struwwelpeter'.
This is a wonderful collection of fifteen short stories/ funny alphabets/ collections of limericks. One 'story' is wordless. A couple have colour pictures and are particularly suitable for a younger audience. One is subtitled 'A Pornographic Work' (you're quite safe reading it!)
I have reviewed each individually (qv), but in brief:
1) The Unstrung Harp is to my mind the funniest in this collection - the tale of a struggling writer, written in wonderful rather Victorian English, and with accompanying illustrations.
2) The Listing Attic - a collection of excellent limericks
3) The Doubtful Guest - another wonderful short story (in rhyming couplets) of a peculiar creature who turns up one day to live with a Victorian family
4)The Object-Lesson - very strange; 3 b/w illustrations per page, each with a line of text. No obvious thread to the narrative - seemed to me to be a take-off of Japanese haiku
5)The Bug Book - in colour, and aimed at kids too, tale of some friendly bugs and how they deal with a nasty big bully bug who shows up one day
6) The Fatal Lozenge - A brilliant alphabet, each letter featuring a person (from Apparition to Zouave) with a 4 line verse
7) The Hapless Child - A parody of terribly sad Victorian children's tales (only THEY usually have a happy ending!)
8) The Curious Sofa - For me the weak point of the collection. Meant to be a funny pornographic tale, but I just found it silly
9) The Willowdale Handcar - Weird, but funny, tale of three young people who decide to take off in a handcar one day. At times quite scary things occur, but as in many Gorey tales, don't expect a conclusion...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Catherine Jacob on 27 Jan. 2011
Format: Paperback
This beautifully put together collection of Edward Gorey's intricate illustrations and eccentric poems show an insight into the imagination of a spectacularly dark humoured and unique artist. Gorey's painstaking cross-hatchings are beautiful and quirky with delicate detail and humorous scenarios, all showcased in this book as a collection of his finest stories and works of art.

My favourite story included in the book; 'Gashlycrumb Tinies', is a poem illustrating the alphabet; juxtaposing the beginning of a child's educative journey with their horrifying deathly end. This gruesome poetic tale is twisted and surreal yet clever and enchanting at the same time, as with many of Gorey's other works, they all offer an experience which will haunt you yet amaze you whilst you find yourself squinting at the immense detail on laid before you.

I find it hard to find anyone that could compare with the work of Gorey, the combination of clever poetry with gruesome tales and delicate drawing is unique and admirable. I would recommend that anyone familiar with Gorey or anyone yet to experience the surreal world of his should own a copy of this book and delve in to the eccentric world of Amphigorey.
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