Floating Worlds: The Letters of Edward Gorey and Peter F. Neumeyer

©The Edward Gorey Charitable Trust, courtesy Pomegranate (pomegranate.com).

We all have that one person we’d love to work with — that dream creative collaborator.

Well, imagine you’ve just been assigned to work with the Edward Gorey. Holy cannoli — that would be insane! And not only is it the most creatively fulfilling collaboration, you become the best of pen pals. You share crazy-long handwritten letters (yes, handwritten) discussing everything from favorite books to pancake recipes, with Gorey personally illustrating all the envelopes just for you.

That’s exactly what happened to renowned writer Peter F. Neumeyer in the summer of 1968. Pomegranate’s new publication, Floating Worlds: The Letters of Edward Gorey and Peter F. Neumeyerreproduces the never-before-seen, typewriter-transcribed personal correspondence and illustrated envelopes between Gorey and Neumeyer as they collaborated on several childrens books, between 1968 and 1969.

©The Edward Gorey Charitable Trust, courtesy Pomegranate (pomegranate.com).

Over 75 letters and 60 postcards offer a first-hand peek into their creative process and budding friendship and shed light on the man behind those humorously creepy, amazingly detailed crosshatch drawings. Having personally spent hours as a little girl getting lost in Gorey’s morbidly funny illustrations from The Gashlycrumb Tinies poster to books like The Doubtful Guest, I found it fascinating to read Gorey’s thoughts on his own work.

©The Edward Gorey Charitable Trust, courtesy Pomegranate (pomegranate.com).

With charm, wit, and a healthy dose of self-deprecation, Gorey shares middle-of-the-night illustration and story ideas, constantly questions his own existence (hence his macabre drawings), and — all too relatable to creatives — expresses anxiety and frustation over his creative work.

Although the men’s intellectual banter is not for everyone (both were avid readers and reference obscure books and quotes, sometimes losing the reader in their philosophical musings), Gorey’s awesome illustrations are more than worth it. Here’s a sneak peek:

©The Edward Gorey Charitable Trust, courtesy Pomegranate (pomegranate.com).

©The Edward Gorey Charitable Trust, courtesy Pomegranate (pomegranate.com).

©The Edward Gorey Charitable Trust, courtesy Pomegranate (pomegranate.com).

©The Edward Gorey Charitable Trust, courtesy Pomegranate (pomegranate.com).

©The Edward Gorey Charitable Trust, courtesy Pomegranate (pomegranate.com).

Floating Worlds is available through Pomegranate.


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8 thoughts on “Floating Worlds: The Letters of Edward Gorey and Peter F. Neumeyer

  1. Reina

    The alphabet book, The Gashlycrumb Tinies ( A is for Amy who fell down the sirtas, etc.), is a true classic. My ever-lovin’ younger brother, many moons ago, got me a large signed print of the P page: P is for Prue trampled flat in a brawl. It hung over our fireplace, and now that we’re in a house with no fireplace it’s over the TV. Goes with absolutely nothing, decor-wise, but I love it.You should be able to find a cheap copy of one of his anthologies (Amphigorey et al.) someplace. They make for discombobulating bathroom reading, especially when left in a bathroom used by guests during a party. The unknowing those who never use the bathroom may believe that the expressions on everyone’s faces say something about the food you’re serving. But you, of course, will know better.Thanks for stopping by!

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  3. Ana

    This is different than his usual style and reminds me quite a bit of one of my favourite childhood illustrators: Dušan Petričić and <a href=”http://50watts.com/1497018/Serbian-Sesame-Street-Part-2″>Poletarac, a Serbian children’s magazine</a> (thanks, 50 Watts!).

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