Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Rats of Rutland Grange

Published as an individual book in 1974 by The Gotham Book Mart, The Rats of Rutland Grange originally appeared in Esquire Magazine in 1961. Written by Edmund Wilson in verse, this Christmas story is illustrated by Edward Gorey. This book was published in an edition of 1000 unsigned/unnumbered copies in illustrated wrappers and 100 signed/numbered hardcover copies, each of which are housed in a slipcase. The copy I am showing is from the edition in wrappers, and it has been signed and inscribed to me by Mr. Gorey.

Published as a holiday story, The Rats of Rutland Grange is one of my least favorite Gorey-illustrated titles. Perhaps it is the rats, but as a holiday book I do not find the premise at all appealing. The less said the better.

Also published in 1974, this time by the Saturday Review Press/Dutton, Instant Lives by Howard Moss is an enjoyable Gorey-illustrated book. The book was published in a limited edition of 350 copies and as a trade edition (shown). Drawing inspiration from the lives of composers, artists and literary icons, Mr. Moss has written short, often amusing stories of the creators and their creations. Mr. Gorey made illustrations for many of the stories which capture the humor and mood of the subjects. Particular favorites amongst the drawings are Gertrude Stein (with a heavily mustached Alice B. Toklas hovering) wrestling a painting from Pablo Picasso, and Mary Shelly being confronted by her Creature. This is the only drawing of Frankenstein's creature by Edward Gorey that I am aware of.

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