Wednesday, April 21, 2010

New York Review Quiz Book

Published in 1986 as a paperback by Crown Publishers, The New York Review Quiz Book had only one printing but kept Edward Gorey busy creating a large number of wonderful drawings for the cover, and chapter titles. Each drawing features an elegantly dressed man or woman performing extraordinary feats of daring amid an atmosphere that is best described as a "High Tea Circus".

I was able to purchase three drawings from this title from Gotham Book Mart when Mr. Gorey sold some of his original art holdings. I acquired a forth piece from this book some years later from another collector. Each piece of art is signed in pencil by Mr. Gorey. These four pieces are individually framed and form an amusing grouping in my home.

In the book, each drawing is printed inside a box. This box does not exist on the original artwork.

Chapter 8 - This is a great image of a woman dressed for a night on the town, but instead ends up hanging by her teeth. Lets hope she has had lots of practice gripping a cigarette holder tightly between her jaws so she won't let go now.

Chapter 18 - This is the piece that I acquired from another collector. Pictured is a woman playing a vigorous game of toss with an infant. This piece was shown in several museum shows before it entered my collection.

Chapter 20 - An elegant free fall, or has she perhaps been shot out of a cannon? Whatever the cause of her trajectory, she does not seem bothered by it in the least.

Chapter 22 - Just because she is in heels and a long skirt doesn't hinder this limber woman from contorting on the parallel bars.


Anonymous said...

Regarding Chapter 20 (XX), could this lady perhaps have suddenly fallen from an air ship, or fallen overboard from a ship? In 1858 Victoria and Albert try to take a pleasue cruise on the Thames but had to turn back because of the river's stench. The Parliment also had to disband that day for the same reason. Perhaps this is Victoria, overcome? I confess to looking up disasters of Victorian times. It didn't seem like the best of times. Betty.

ampootozote said...

This is surely a scenario that would have appealed to Edward Gorey. The Quiz Book chapter in question is decidedly literary in its questions, but I like this interpretation of the art.