Gorey the illustrator

Just posted on Pinterest by Terry Castle, a set of nine book covers by Edward Gorey, illustrating the range of his work for Doubleday Anchor Books. Two examples here of books Gorey might have been expected to feel some association with, but there are also a number of books the company apparently just passed on to him:



More on these two books below, but first the list of the other seven books from Terry Castle’s posting:

The Comic Looking Glass, ed. by Hart Day Leavitt

Men & Gods: Myths and Legends of the Ancient Greeks, by Mark Warner

The Masters, by C.P. Snow

The Captain’s Daughter and Other Stories, by Alexader Pushkin

An Anthology of German Poetry from Hölderlin to Rilke, ed. by Angel Flores

Victory, by Joseph Conrad

François Villon, by D.B. Wyndham Lewis

Belle (1977) is Michael Stewart’s only novel; all his other writing was related to the musical stage. From an Amazon review by Larry Fineberg 10/24/14:

About a woman in love with death, who placates it by offering up others to appease its taking her, BELLE roves around European hot spots, Manhattan chic watering holes, and a perspective of life long gone and fascinating.

So, both dark and frivolous, just Gorey’s thing.

On the author, from Wikipedia:

Michael Stewart (August 1, 1924 – September 20, 1987) was an American playwright and librettist for the stage.

Born Myron Stuart Rubin in Manhattan, Stewart attended Queens College, and graduated from the Yale School of Drama with a Master of Fine Arts in 1953.

He met Charles Strouse and Lee Adams in 1954, and several years after collaborated with them and Gower Champion on the 1960 Broadway musical Bye Bye Birdie. He worked again with Champion and Jerry Herman, with their musical Hello, Dolly! opening on Broadway in 1964.

Some other notable works, from a long list: Carnival! (1961), George M! (1968), Mack & Mabel (1974), Barnum (1980), 42nd Street (1980).

At the piano:


The man had a life lived almost entirely in musical comedy, for which he’s been much praised. But except for the fact that the writer Francine Pascal is his sister, there’s absolutely nothing personal about him I could find on the net. It looks like he was a musical comedy queen who got to live out his dream, while keeping all details of his personal relationships utterly private.

Lafcadio’s Adventures. In contrast to Stewart, André Gide was publicly visible, up to and including his homosexuality. And in the world of letters, Nobelist Gide is pretty much a household name (while only musicals enthusiasts are likely to know who Matthew Stewart was). As for the book in #2, Gide’s Wikipedia page says:

Les caves du Vatican – (translated as Lafcadio’s Adventures and The Vatican Cellars) – 1914 – Divided into five sections, each named after a character, this farcical story “wanders through numerous capitals of Europe, and involves saints, adventurers, pickpockets…” and centers on the character Lafcadio Wluiki.

Wonderful sly Gorey illustration.

One Response to “Gorey the illustrator”

  1. Bob Richmond Says:

    I had that book, but don’t remember the cover. I remember the Lafcadio cover, though I never had the book.

    Somewhere I have a Doubleday Anchor book from 1957, about the Dead Sea Scrolls, with a postage stamp size picture of three earthen pots on the cover. I looked at it one day and thought, “that must be by Edward Gorey”. I checked the credits, and indeed it was.

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