Friday, September 30, 2011

Floating Worlds

"Dear Peter,
I've spent most of the day drawing sordidly conceived and erratically hung wallpaper..."
-Edward Gorey

Floating Worlds, The Letters of Edward Gorey and Peter F. Neumeyer by Peter F. Neumeyer gives us an inside glimpse into the mind of Edward Gorey, in time capsule form. Published in September 2011 by Pomegranate Books, San Francisco, the book consists of letters between Mr. Neumeyer and Mr. Gorey between September 15, 1968 and October 28, 1969.

Peter F. Neumeyer is the author of (among many other publications) the three Edward Gorey-illustrated Donald books. The letters ostensibly concern themselves with the publication of the Donald books (as well as other unfinished/unpublished collaborations between the two), but this is just a springboard for numerous subjects from both writers. In one of the earliest letters, Mr. Gorey states that he usually does not collaborate at all with authors - he usually just does the art and moves on to the next project. This is not the case with author Neumeyer.

In the process of collaboration, the work and social habits of Mr. Gorey are illuminated far better than have ever been shown before. Mr. Gorey's letters are often written over days (with time and/or date notations), typed on a manual typewriter with hand notations. This was an incredibly busy time for Mr. Gorey who was working on multiple projects of his own and also illustrating books for several authors.

Floating Worlds is profusely illustrated with examples of the hand decorated envelopes and post cards sent to Mr. Neumeyer, which would be reason enough to make this a "must have" book, as would the introduction by Mr. Neumeyer. These are merely window dressing, however, to the main event - the correspondence between the two men.

In today's world of instant communication, it is hard to imagine the anticipation of waiting for a response to something you sent weeks (or more) previously. The only way to recreate this would be to read the letters as dated, but who can wait?!

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