Friday, June 26, 2015

The Recently Deflowered Girl

It had long been assumed that The Recently Deflowered Girl by Hyacinthe Phypps was written by Edward Gorey using one of his pen names. These rumors resurfaced in force in 2009 when the book was republished by Bloomsbury. Despite these persistent rumors, the book was in fact written by Mel Juffe (1929 - 2005), a New York writer, editor, and teacher.

First published in 1965 by Chelsea House, NY, The Recently Deflowered Girl is a tongue in cheek advice book subtitled, "The Right Thing To Say On Every Dubious Occasion". This humor book gives twenty situations where a girl has been "deflowered" by a heartless, thoughtless, or forgetful man. In each instance, Ms. Phypps delivers advice to help the unfortunate woman cope with and conquer the situation.

Edward Gorey has provided an amusing "vignette" style illustration for each of the twenty situations, and his style varies quite a bit from one drawing to to the next. Some illustrations are densely crosshatched, full of atmosphere and detail (Deflowered by Chinese Detective, Deflowered and Discovered In Act). Some have a cartoon-like feel (Deflowered by Perfect Strange, Deflowered by Famous Crooner) . Quite a few of the illustrations are done in watercolor wash using tones of grey and black which reminds me forcibly of the work of Charles Addams. (Deflowerment by Old Friend of Family, Deflowerment While Baby Sitting).

This delightful book makes an amusing gift for "Every Dubious Occasion".

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