Special Interest Books
Amphigorey: Fifteen Books
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By: Edward Gorey (Author and Illustrator)
Amphigorey is made up of rare books first published between 1953 and 1965. Its title is taken from amphigory, or amphigouiri, meaning a nonsense verse or composition.
As always, Gorey’s painstakingly cross-hatched pen and ink drawings are perfectly suited to his oddball verse and prose. The first book of 15, The Unstrung Harp, describes the writing process of novelist Mr. Clavius Frederick Earbrass: “He must be mad to go on enduring the unexquisite agony of writing when it all turns out drivel.”
In The Listing Attic, you’ll find a set of quirky limericks such as “A certain young man, it was noted, / Went about in the heat thickly coated; / He said, ‘You may scoff, / But I shan’t take it off; / Underneath I am horribly bloated.'"
Many of Gorey’s tales involve untimely deaths and dreadful mishaps, but much like tragic Irish ballads with their perky rhythms and melodies, they come off as strangely lighthearted. The Gashlycrumb Tinies, for example, begins like this: “A is for AMY who fell down the stairs, B is for BASIL assaulted by bears,” and so on. An eccentric, funny book for either the uninitiated or diehard Gorey fans.