• Stephanie Orma

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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#bookdesign #EdwardGorey #macabre #PeterNeumeyer


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About Stephanie Orma

Stephanie Orma is a San Francisco-based arts and design writer for publications like Dwell, Fast Company and HOW, among others. When not writing, Steph can be found designing books for top-tier publishers through her boutique creative firm, Orma Design & Communications. She also has a cartooning habit she can’t seem to kick.

View all posts by Stephanie Orma →

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