Tuesday, November 3, 2009


Published in 1980 by Andrew Alpern, New York, F.M.R.A. is something of a Gorey oddity. Consisting of 33 printed images of various sizes, shapes and presentations housed in a custom clamshell box, this title has the feel of a miniature exhibition of Gorey drawings. Present are Christmas and Valentine's Day card designs, spot illustrations from magazines and a few previously unpublished pieces of art. Some images are printed on small pieces of paper, others are larger and folded to fit into the box, and one small envelope contains seven tiny drawings.

Because of the piecemeal quality of the inclusions, F.M.R.A. will probably never be reissued. Originally issued in an edition of 426 copies (400 numbered and 26 lettered), the contents of each box include an illustrated title sheet, a limitation page, the various illustrations, and a table of contents sheet that identifies each inclusion. The 400 numbered copies were housed in a beige colored clamsell box while the lettered copies are in a greenish-brown box. All boxes had the title stamped in gold on the "spine". I am showing copy #323/400.

Curiously, F.M.R.A. was not a quick seller, and Gotham Book Mart had copies of this title available for many years. This was unusual for a limited edition Gorey title.


Bloglion said...

I love F.M.R.A. I like pretending I have a stash of secret Gorey drawings.

Maybe I need more of a social life. lol.

ampootozote said...

This box has always made me think that a drawer in EG's studio had been emptied into a box and sent to me. It reminds me of the stories about how, after Mr. Gorey would complete a book and send the drawings to Gotham to be put into the archives, they would have to leaf through every single piece of paper because other unrelated drawings would be slipped in to be found. They never did figure out if this was done on purpose.

Saatz said...

Does F.M.R.A. stand for ephemera? Sounds like it?

ampootozote said...

Yes, F.M.R.A. means "ephemera" - and ephemera means "this and that"...very appropriate...

Anonymous said...

I recently bought a signed copy of F.M.R.A. at an Estate sale. It is signed twice by Mr. Gorey, once on the title page and once on the colophon. My problem is that when I count every piece of paper I only have 31 printed pages, tho 3 of them are large and folded over (like two pages would be in a real book) The colophone is signed,
Edward Gorey, which is also a mystery to me since it says 1-400
numbered copies plus 26 lettered copies are available and this seems to be
in its own category. There is not a table of contents which must be one of the missing pages. Any information you can give me would help. Thank you, Susie

ampootozote said...

Without knowing which pieces you have, I cannot tell you which pieces you are missing from this boxed set. Does the color of the box match the box shown on the post, or is the box greenish brown in color?

The HC stands for Hors Commerce - this distinction was sometimes written into copies that were outside the official limitation. Gorey or the publisher would often give these copies to friends as gifts.