Monday, August 1, 2011


To date, there have been three published memoirs about Edward Gorey written by his friends and associates. The first, The Strange Case of Edward Gorey by Alexander Theroux (2000 Fantagraphic Books), appeared in print very shortly after Mr. Gorey's death. The next to appear was Elephant House or, the Home of Edward Gorey by Kevin McDermott (2003 Pomegranate Books). A third memoir has recently become available, Edward Gorey Plays Cape Cod; Puppets, People, Places & Plots by Carol Verburg (2011, BOOM Books).

Of the three volumes, my personal favorite is Elephant House by Kevin McDermott. I have written about this book in a previous post (May 29, 2011), and find the combination of photographs and text to be interesting, informative, and inviting.

The earliest memoir, The Strange Case of Edward Gorey by Alexander Theroux, is liberally illustrated and includes the most personal information about Edward Gorey. Presented as a combination of biography and personal memoir, this is my least favorite of the three books, mainly due to the tone of the writing... more than one person has referred to this book as inaccurate and bitchy!

The most recent published memoir is Carol Verburg's Edward Gorey Plays Cape Cod. While on the whole I like this publication, my main disappointment is its extreme brevity. At what amounts less than 20 written pages (when you remove the illustrations), this piece reads like a fleshed-out outline for a larger work. Ms. Verburg states that she will be publishing the scripts for Mr. Gorey's theatrical works - hopefully, in the upcoming book she will be telling us more about the shows themselves alongside the scripts, and possibly including interviews with others involved in the productions.

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