Friday, August 28, 2009

The Loathsome Couple

Published in 1977 by Dodd, Mead & Company, The Loathsome Couple is a literary excursion down a side road for Edward Gorey. Inspired by "true crime", this story tells of a child-murdering couple who are caught and punished. This is what people THINK Edward Gorey stories are about when they are mildly familiar with his works. This piece is actually quite atypical, being directly inspired by the Moors Murders which was an actual event. While Mr. Gorey's humor remains intact, there is a different feel to this story. It has been noted that this is one of the only books where the perpetrators are punished for their crime.

The Loathsome Couple was published in hardcover with a matching illustrated dust wrapper. The copy I am showing has been signed and inscribed to me by Mr. Gorey. This story was also issued in a signed limited edition of 276 copies (250 numbered, 26 lettered A to Z). All limited edition copies were issued in a black slipcase - the copy shown to the left is #189/250. The promotional card for this book appears at the bottom of the posting. The Loathsome Couple is reprinted in Amphigorey Also.

When the 1984 Gorey Stories exhibition was being assembled at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, I introduced the curator/head librarian to the Gotham Book Mart so he could borrow original artwork for the show. One of the requested titles for loan was The Loathsome Couple because of the beautiful quality of the line work - we were trying to show different aspects of Mr. Gorey's drawing styles with the original artwork shown. Just before the artwork was sent from New York to Minneapolis, there was a case involving child molestation in Minneapolis that garnered national press. Because of this, Mr. Gorey refused to send the art from this book and art from The Water Flowers was substituted - not an apples to apples substitution, but this was all done very quickly. Since the printed material was already completed, a discretely worded "due to recent events" slip was laid into the promotional material.

No comments: