Monday, January 26, 2009

Two 1965 Edward Gorey Illustration Projects

The King Who Saved Himself from Being Saved by John Ciardi (published 1965 by Lippincott, NY - issued with illustrated dust jacket) is a children's book about a kingdom that encounters a knight whose sense of purpose is stronger than his common sense. The knight insists on saving King and kingdom to win the hand of the King's daughter. The only problem is that in this kingdom, everyone and everything live together peacefully - even the resident giant and dragon. The knight will not listen to reason and insists on fighting, to his own peril. The kingdom then continues its peaceful existence unaided.

Edward Gorey illustrated six children's books by John Ciardi over a period of several years. Illustrations for all of these titles are charming and happy.

The Recently Deflowered Girl by Hyacinthe Phepps, the pen name of author Mel Juffe (published 1965 by Chelsea House, NY - issued with no dust jacket) is a tongue in cheek advice book subtitled, "the right thing to say on every dubious occassion". This humor book gives twenty situations where a girl has been "deflowered" by a heartless, thoughtless, or forgetful man. In each instance, Ms. Phypps delivers advise to help the unfortunate woman cope with and conquer the situation.

Edward Gorey has provided an illustration for each of the twenty situations and his style varies from drawing to drawing. Some are densely crosshatched ovals full of atmosphere and detail (Deflowered by Chinese Detective, Deflowered and Discovered In Act). Some are "standard" Gorey illustrations. Quite a few of the illustrations remind me of the work of Charles Addams. These pieces are watercolor wash paintings in tones of grey and black (Deflowerment by Old Friend of Family, Deflowerment While Baby Sitting).

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