Monday, March 16, 2009

The "Donald" Books, with Peter Neumeyer

In 1969/70, Edward Gorey and Peter F. Neumeyer collaborated on three books: Donald and the...; Donald Has a Difficulty; and Why We Have Day & Night. All three books are illustrated by Edward Gorey. For Donald Has a Difficulty and Why We Have Day & Night both Mr. Neumeyer and Mr. Gorey are given credit for the text. The Donald stories were begun by Mr. Neumeyer as a story for his son who was recuperating from a broken leg. One would assume that the science incorporated into the stories originated with Mr. Neumeyer and was enhanced by Mr. Gorey's particular view of the world. This series ended rather soon, but it was the intention of the two men to create more Donald stories.

The original 1969 printing of Donald and the... was published by Reading: Addison-Wesley in hardcover with matching illustrated dust wrapper. There have been several reprints, the most recent in 2004 by Abrams (shown). This reprint edition is made extra special by the inclusion of a new short essay at the back in which Mr. Neumeyer recounts his meeting with Edward Gorey. My 2004 copy is signed by Mr. Neumeyer.

Donald Has A Difficulty was originally published in 1970 by The Fantod Press in an unnumbered/unsigned limited edition of 500 copies. It was sold as part of Three Books from the Fantod Press II (more on this printing in an upcoming post). This title was also reprinted by Abrams in 2004 (shown), and contains the second half of Mr. Neumeyer's essay remembering his working relationship with EG. My 1970 copy is signed by Mr. Gorey and my 2004 copy is signed by Mr. Neumeyer.

Why We Have Night and Day was first published as a hardcover book with a dust jacket in 1970 by Young Scott Books, who also published the Gorey-illustrated Edward Lear titles. This title was reprinted by the Capra Press as a soft cover book in 1982 (shown), but was not included in the reprints created by Abrams in 2004.

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