Edward Gorey’s Life as Art

Jillian Steinhauer at The Nation:

Published 18 years after his death, Born to Be Posthumous is the first full-length biography of Gorey. (His friend Alexander Theroux released a shorter, more intimate portrait, which he later expanded, in 2000.) Coming in at just over 500 pages, the book meticulously tells the story of the unconventional author and artist, who amassed an ardent following yet remains unknown to many readers. The fact that Gorey’s work is either fiercely beloved or completely unfamiliar has to do with the type of work it is: His primary output was small volumes that are reminiscent of children’s books in form but tell mostly adult tales of melancholy, mystery, and often sudden death—especially the deaths of children. “Tales” may be too strong a word in some cases, even when the contents cohere; sometimes they’re just collections of limericks or rhyming couplets of assorted words. As an adherent of literary nonsense and surrealism, Gorey was less interested in plot than tone, which he created in part through black-and-white drawings that look like prints.

more here.