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Elegant Enigmas: The Art of Edward Gorey


Published with: the Brandywine River Museum

The delightful tales and quick-witted drawings of Edward Gorey reflect a special kind of genius that resides in the effect of what is left unwritten and unseen. In Gorey’s vaguely Victorian world of well-tended gardens and opulent estates, smoke-belching factories and fog-shrouded streets, nothing seems certain or quite as it should be. The probability of chaos lurks just beneath life’s tidy surface, occasionally erupting in surprising events with unexpected, perhaps horrific consequences. But when tragedy befalls Gorey’s quirky cast of characters—hapless waifs, dusty dowagers, scheming tycoons, and unhinged maidens—sometimes we are permitted to laugh. Along with a wealth of Gorey’s drawings from his books, >em>Elegant Enigmas presents his theatrical sets and costume designs, typewritten manuscripts, doodles, and musings. The text by Karen Wilkin, an expert on Gorey and a friend of the artist, offers an intimate review of his career, with insights that provide a fresh understanding of Gorey’s life and work. Published on the occasion of the first major traveling exhibition of Edward Gorey’s work, organized by the Brandywine River Museum, Elegant Enigmas is a long-overdue tribute to a master artist and writer, who with sharp intellect and devastatingly wry humor created a body of work singular in its brilliance and charm.
Hardcover Smyth-sewn book, with jacket
124 pages with more than 175 color and black-and-white illustrations and exhibition checklist

• High-quality, premium stock matte art paper
• Exceptional color reproduction
• Printed with soy-based inks
• Sewn binding ensures long-lasting enjoyment

Published with the Brandywine River Museum

Size: 8.5 x 10.5 in.

ISBN 9780764948046

Edward Gorey

Artist and author Edward Gorey (American, 1925–2000) is beloved for the boundless imagination and sharp humor exhibited in his more than 100 published works. Gorey was also a set and costume designer for innumerable theater productions, including a staging of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, for which he won a Tony. He had a profound affection for literature, film, ballet, and animals. Cats and other odd creatures appear in many of his crosshatched illustrations. His humorously unsettling drawings of vaguely Victorian innocents facing unfortunate ends became familiar to a wide audience after appearing in the opening credits of the PBS television series Mystery! Gorey’s Cape Cod home, a veritable cabinet of curiosities, is now a museum celebrating his life and work.