Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Sopping Thursday


The Sopping Thursday is a milestone in Edward Gorey's publishing career. To this point, he has published books in several different formats; standard publications, privately printed books, self published volumes, and signed/numbered limited edition books. With this publication, he takes his signed/numbered limited edition books to the next level.

Published in 1970 by The Gotham Book Mart as a limited edition of 300 signed/numbered copies and 26 signed/lettered copies, The Sopping Thursday celebrates the 50th anniversary of GBM. This is the first title of EG's published by GBM. The 300 numbered copies were published in stiff wrappers and signed/numbered by Mr. Gorey (#134/300 shown). The 26 lettered copies set this edition apart from books that EG has previously published.

What makes the 26 lettered copies of this book extra special is that each was specially bound in hardcover, slipcased and contains an original drawing with a corresponding letter. The letter/limitation are in the lower right hand corners of each drawing, together with Edward Gorey's signature in initial form. Unfortunately, I still have not been able to add one of these special lettered book/drawings to my collection. My favorites amongst the drawings are letters A, I, S, W & X.

To advertise the publication of this very special limited edition, 15 photocopied sets of the drawings were available to perspective clients. I had the good fortune to be sent scans of these xeroxed pages by another collector a couple years ago. I am showing the scans here so others may also reference them (click on the images to view them larger). Before receiving these images, I had never seen any of the drawings that accompanied this rare volume.

The first trade printing of The Sopping Thursday was published in 1971 by Capricorn Press, Santa Barbara. The book is slightly thinner and smaller than the limited edition books, and the copyright page states "second printing" even though it is the first trade edition. My Capricorn edition is signed and inscribed to me by Mr. Gorey. This title was recently issued by Pomegranate as a hard cover book with matching illustrated dust wrapper. This is the first hard cover printing of this title. The Sopping Thursday also appears in Amphigorey Also.

8 comments:

Bloglion said...

Now THAT is awesome. Thanks for posting so often.

http://www.librarything.com/profile/Goreyphile said...

Wow, what an edition, there was a copy of the lettered edition that went up for sale on ebay last year, for over 5000.00-- If I remember correctly. Its a very rare book and I would suspect never comes up for sale very often. D

ampootozote said...

Yes, There was a copy on eBay last year which I bid on, but was outbid. You are correct, this piece rarely is offered for sale, and always commands a premium when it does become available.

Goreyphile said...

I am so sorry you didnt get that edition. A fellow collector said there are editions to collect "toward" and that certainly is one....and no I didnt bid on it. lol. I knew it would go high but not that high....

ampootozote said...

This book has been eluding me for years. I seem to hear about copies after they sell to others. I agree that the copy on ebay (which was letter H, by the way) went higher than I anticipated.

Ghiblits said...

Excellent post. This was the first Gorey book I fell for waybackwhen. Thanks for posting the scans, very exciting. I wonder why GBM didn't publish these in the manner of Categor y. Maybe we can convince the EGH to do it for a 10th anniv of Gorey's passing? ^_^

ampootozote said...

My guess (and it is a guess) as to why there has not been a book of these drawings is that Gotham put all the artwork together for the xerox pages, but did not shoot individual photos of the art. Knowing how things can go with publishing, they may have been pressed for time...or perhaps nobody thought of it until it was too late. Also, with CateGorey, there are 50 drawings instead of the 26 included here.

Henry said...

Artisan Books and Bindery has a very high resolution pic of The Letter "M" drawing on their main web page (Not Abe). You can clearly see the individual brush strokes on the Kanji on the umbrella which I believe means Road, or Path.