Friday, January 16, 2009

Three Books from Fantod Press

In 1966, Edward Gorey offered the first of four collections titled, "Three Books from the Fantod Press". Issued as individual books but sold as a set in a colored envelope, the paperback volumes represent a great deal of work by Mr. Gorey. The titles in this first collection are The Pious Infant, The Evil Garden, and The Inanimate Tragedy. All three titles appear in Amphigorey Too.

Three Books from the Fantod Press was issued in a printed yellow envelope and each book was printed in an unnumbered, unsigned edition of 500 copies in illustrated wrappers. Because the three volumes were stuffed inside the envelope, the envelopes usually show much wear, creasing and tears. My three books are all signed by Mr. Gorey on the title pages. The Pious Infant is inscribed to me.

The Pious Infant tells of a (naturally) Holy Child who comes to an early demise. The wrappers for this title are a pale lavender which fades quite easily if exposed to light.

The Evil Garden has an appropriately sickly yellow/green cover. It is one of the more blatantly evil books by Mr. Gorey with depictions of the horrible happenings that are usually left to the reader's imagination.

The Inanimate Tragedy is a title that showcases Mr. Gorey's true genius for writing and illustration. "Death and Distraction!", said the Pins and Needles. "Destruction and Debauchery!" Thus begins this wonderful tale of intrigue, madness and murder. Inspired by objects found in most junk drawers - marbles, knotted string, thumbtacks, buttons, pins and needles - along with an artist's Number 37 Pen Point, Mr. Gorey pits the objects against each other in a tale worthy of most Soap Operas. Interacting on a bleak landscape (a single horizontal line), the objects ultimately are plunged into the "Yawning Chasm", all the while the Pins and Needles act as a Greek Chorus and warn of impending doom before throwing themselves after all the other objects.

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