Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Gilded Bat

One of Edward Gorey's most well known works is The Gilded Bat. Published in 1966 by Simon & Schuster in New York, The Gilded Bat is a hardcover book with a matching pictorial dust wrapper. The first printing of the book says "first printing" on the copyright page (later printings dropped this phrase, but otherwise are identical). The spine of the book is white with black lettering - this is the easiest way to spot an early printing of this title on a bookshelf.

Ballet was always an important part of Edward Gorey's life and in The Gilded Bat, Mr. Gorey put his extensive knowledge and love of dance onto each page. The story is a rags to riches tale of a youth who dances her way from obscurity to stardom. The Gilded Bat is full of ballet puns and jokes - especially in the names of performers and ballets.

To promote the first printing of this title, Simon & Schuster issued a one page, folded announcement that featured illustrations from the book, a brief synopsis and quotes about Edward Gorey's works. The most notable quote is from Mr. Gorey's mother! This is the only place I have ever seen Mrs. Gorey quoted. The pamphlet is a fairly rare piece of Gorey ephemera. I am showing the front, inside and back of the announcement mailer in the three photos.

There have been many reprints of this story over the years because it is a popular title. In the photo below, I am showing my 1st/1st which is signed and inscribed to me by Mr. Gorey, the second printing, the 1979 Dodd Mead hardcover reprint (the images are the same size, but the book is slightly larger than the original printing and the spine has white lettering with a black background), and the pamphlet. This story is included in Amphigorey Too. The Gilded Bat is currently in print and available on line or at bookstores.

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