Monday, October 13, 2008

The Listing Attic

Gorey’s second published volume, The Listing Attic was published by Duell, Sloane and Co. in 1954. This book can be more difficult than The Unstrung Harp to find in good condition because the dust jacket and boards are printed with dark ink on white paper which readily shows every scuff , scrape and tear.

The Listing Attic is a book of limericks that were obviously written and illustrated over a period of time. This is evident by the lack of a cohesive illustration style throughout the book. Some drawings are no more than scratchy sketches, others appear half finished, while many are highly polished and densely crosshatched. The layout of individual illustrations will also range from minimalistic line work floating in a field of white to dense, black blocks above the hand lettered type. In later books, Gorey usually picks one style and illustrates the book accordingly.

It almost comes across as if Gorey is searching for an overall look for his work and wants to see what all the various styles he works in will look like when printed. I think this slightly muddled approach adds to the charm of The Listing Attic, giving each limerick an individual personality which prevents them from all running together visually.

The copy I own is signed by Edward Gorey and inscribed to me by him. Many of the books in my collection have been inscribed to me by Mr. Gorey. My copy of this title was exhibited at the Minneapolis Institute of Art in "Gorey Stories, Books and Drawings by Edward Gorey" from October 26, 1984 through March 17, 1985.

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