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Amphigorey Again
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37 of 37 people found the following review helpful
on October 29, 2006
Amphigorey Again is the fourth, and possibly last, anthology of works by American author and artist Edward St. John Gorey (1925-2000). Picking up where the previous anthology Amphigorey Also (1983) left off, Amphigorey Again reaches as far back as 1968 with the inclusion of The Other Statue and Categor y in 1974, at the same time encompassing the last of Gorey's work with The Headless Bust (1999).

What lies within?

The Galoshes of Remorse, a periodical illustration

Signs of Spring, a newspaper feature

Seasonal Confusion, a newspaper feature

Random Walk, a newspaper feature

Categor y, trade publication

Bibliophile (unlisted pen and ink and watercolor illustration)

The Other Statue, trade publication

10 Impossible Objects (abridged), pen and ink illustrations

The Universal Solvent (abridged), privately published

Scènes de Ballet, privately published postcards

Verse Advice, a newspaper feature

The Deadly Blotter: Thoughtful Alphabet XVII, privately published

Creativity, a periodical pen and ink illustration

The Retrieved Locket, privately published

The Water Flowers, trade publication

The Haunted Tea-Cozy, trade publication

Christmas Wrap-Up, a pen and ink and watercolor illustration

The Headless Bust, trade publication

The Just Dessert: Thoughtful Alphabet XI, privately published

The Admonitory Hippopotamus, a previously unpublished work

Neglected Murderesses, privately published postcards

Tragédies Topiaries, privately published postcards

The Raging Tide, trade publication

The Unknown Vegetable, privately published

Random Walk, a newspaper feature

Serious Life: A Cruise, a newspaper feature

Figbash Acrobate, privately published

La Malle Saignante, a previously unpublished work

The Izzard Book, by Mrs. Regera Dowdy, a previously unpublished work

Two previously unpublished works, The Admonitory Hippopotamus and The Izzard Book, are supposedly unfinished. The other unpublished work, La Malle Saignante is wonderfully conceived and realized; I wonder why it never made it to the bookshelves. But it is The Admonitory Hippopotamus I am especially fond. A compact epic, a touching and vivid portrayal, it is all text. Originally announced in the first Amphigorey back in 1972, I always kept a third eye out for its debut. Though it lacks illustrations, I easily let my mind cast the parts of Angelica and Sneezby with Gorey demoiselles and hippo in the manner of The Nursery Frieze (1964) - and am pleased as punch it's included.

The newspaper and periodical features are satisfying treasures. Unless one was diligently clipping NY Times Magazine and NY Times Book Review and the like, one would've missed most of these. These seasonal limericks and short stories remind me how versatile Gorey was with the English, and occasionally French, languages. His Dogear Wryde postcard series, like Tragédies Topiaries, are strong examples of Gorey's ability to tell stories in a similarly abbreviated medium, nearly all resemble well-articulated storyboards.

Amphigorey Again can also be called The Colorful Compendium - it has twelve works in full spectrum Gorey palette. Works in color previously appeared only once in the first anthology, twice in the third. The twelve works in this volume vary wildly in range and palette, but I find Gorey's subdued tints very nicely done, especially in Galoshes and Random Walk.

But what I really like are the acres of black & white, pen & ink hatching & cross-hatching - and Gorey went to town in La Malle Saignante. Its story could have fallen from a Louis Feuillade notebook, but the artwork is thick with Gorey's graphic motifs used in earlier works like The West Wing (1963) and The Gilded Bat (1966). The density of hatch & x-hatch, if measured in strokes-per-inch, seems as painful as it is beautiful to regard. One can only hope Gorey enjoyed creating these as much as we enjoy soaking them in. Like so many other Edward Gorey classics, the closer one looks, the more one is drawn in.

" The hippopotamus peered out at her from

behind the altar. `Fly at once!' he said. `All is discovered.' "

-- from The Admonitory Hippopotamus: or, Angelica and Sneezby

G Emil,

[...]
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Edward Gorey, New England's master of subtle horror and understated eccentricities, doodled his last doodle, penned his last verse and sketched his last sketch in 2000. But some of his work still remained to be discovered -- that is, until unearthed and bound in "Amphigorey Again," his latest (and quite likely last) volume of uncollected and previously unpublished work.

Here, Gorey's imagination runs free. The opening piece -- a brief verse and drab portrait -- reads simply thus: Frivolity, at the edge of a Moral Swamp, hears Hymn-Singing in the Distance and dons the Galoshes of Remorse. How perfectly evocative and bewildering!

There are 50 small sketches of a smiling, oddly postured cat. Grim doings are afoot at the annual charity fete at Backwater Hall. A single page celebrates the merits of "The Universal Solvent." Advice is tendered, dance is encapsulated. There's an endless tide of white sauce. A Christmas haunting, and an international gang of wallpaper thieves. Neglected murderesses. And entire stories unfold in the space of an alphabet.

This big book of Gorey concludes with two unfinished works, "La Malle Saignante," a bilingual serial pastiche that is abruptly cut off, and "The Izzard Book," an illustrated homage to the letter Z that fades into sketches.

Everything of course is accompanied by Gorey's tidy, careful, expressive art. Mostly black and white, the work features countless textures and shades of grey. The color, when included, is mostly drab and moody. His characters are often tense and unhappy people, bearing the pained look of a bellyache.

Unless some miraculous collection of unknown work is discoveed, "Amphigorey Again" is Gorey's last volume of new work. It is a vast and fulfilling piece of work, a portable museum of his quirky genius.

by Tom Knapp, Rambles.NET editor
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Those with a taste for the droll stories and illustrations of Edward Gorey will appreciate this latest volume, previously uncollected works and two unpublished stories, "The Izzard Book", a whimsical take on the letter Z and "La Malle Saignante", a bilingual treatment of early French silent serial movies. Only Gorey's creative and quirky talent could produce the singular images, including rough sketches and unfinished panels, all indicative of a mind churning with intellectual and amazing images, a unique blending of humor and art that touches Gorey's work with true genius.

Delightful, charming and amusing, Gorey's approach to art as a view to the world-at-large is an experience to be savored. Soulful eyes, elongated bodies, strangely formed topiaries, elegant, stylish ladies, mustachioed gentlemen and bizarre beasties, from the cantankerous and irreverent to the sublimely confused... all are delightful. In "The Just Dessert (Thoughtful Alphabet XI)", we are treated to a series of curious images and text: "Bewail complications"; "Drivel endlessly"; "Frequent ghastly happenings imply jeopardy"; "Keep laughing mechanically"; Take umbrage"; and "Vilify." Indeed, such selective use of language fortifies the quirky illustrations with otherworldly delight, a grand adventure of the mind and spirit.

For anyone who is unfamiliar with the distinctive work of Edward Gorey, Amphigorey Again is an invitation to the imagery and whims of a man whose perceptions are skewed by a particular and hilarious genius, an appreciation of the ordinary as extraordinary, a perfect blend of language and art, a joyful romp through the vast chambers of genius constantly reinventing itself. For those who already love Gorey, this volume is a welcome addition to a marvelous collection of work. Luan Gaines/ 2006.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on December 25, 2006
The two most pressing questions I had about this book were 1) was it "new" (not previously published) work, and 2) how incomplete is the art.

The answers are 1) Yes it is all new work and 2) very few of the pieces are sketchy or incomplete.

I am very pleased with this volume. It completes my collection of all four of the Amphigory volumes.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Amaphigorey Again contains 28 late (or mature phase?) works by Edward Gorey. Personally, I prefer his early and middle period creations, when he had not allowed his indulgence in his own idiosyncrasies to reach epic proportions. Some late works I find hard to relate to, despite my taste for high weirdness. Case in point: "The Raging Tide: or, The Black Doll's Imbroglio," with utterly no explanation of who the various beings involved are or why the events mostly take place in and around giant statues of thumbs. (The Black Doll's only appearance is on the cover art).
Two of the works, "10 Impossible Objects" and "The Universal Solvent" are listed as abridged. I found the alphabetical works, "The Deadly Blotter" and "The Just Deserts" also missing pages, although I don't know if this was Gorey's doing, or if the folks at Harcourt discovered there weren't enough pages in the projected book to reproduce every last image and made cuts. Or requested Gorey to make cuts.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
If that description matches something enjoyable, it has to be Edward Gorey's work. This poshumous collection proves that even death can't stop a creative mind of his kind.

Like the other Aphigorey collections, this presents over two dozen short pieces. Some, like "Cat[e]gory", arrive wordless, leaving the reader to assign meaning. Others, including "The Deadly Blotter" and "The Izzard Book," involve wordplay of some kind. In others, "The Admonitory Hippopotamus" in particular, the words seem to clutch theirs meanings closely as they fly by, without dropping those meanings where the reader can find them.

But, even more than his stories (if the term 'story' in fact applies), Gorey's fame derives from his art. Fans of public television's "Mystery" know his style, whether or not they know that they know it: heavily textured pen drawings, people gazing off to the place where they might remember something terribly important, and amorphous little animals doing something mysterious and just a little desperate.

This collection includes an unfinished piece, showing some of the progression from Gorey's pencil sketches to his nervous, distracted cartoons. It's a wonderful addition, and possibly the last, to any collection of this cult-favorite illustrator's work.

-- wiredweird
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on May 24, 2011
Edward Gorey may be an acquired taste. The people I know who actually know who he is/was seem to either love his work or hate it; I happen to love it. Gorey seems to have made a successful career out of being an eccentric. Reclusive, nearly obsessive fan of ballet, sneakered and fur-coat garbed, and with a house full of cats, his graphic art and illustrated poetry projected such an oddly distinctive ambience that many people thought that he was either British and/or had lived and died in the late Victorican age. In fact, he was American born and raised, hardly every traveled far from his New England home, a daytime television fan, and lived from 1925 - 2000.

In his early career back in the 1950s he self-published a number of small (literally) single-work volumes which he wrote an illustrated himself. These volumes sport such interesting titles as "The Unstrung Harp," "The Doubtful Guest," "The Listing Attic," and "The Curious Sofa." Much of his work has a slightly uneasy macabre cast to it, although any violence is nearly always suggestive rather than outright. Since his death many of these small books have been re-released in modern, UPC adorned editions, and the original limited editions have been known to fetch some significant collectors' prices.

The "Amphigory" books are collections of several of these short pieces into single larger volumes (Amphigory Again contains twenty-nine of them). The first three of these collections:

.. "Amphigory"
.. "Amphigory, Too"
.. "Amphigory Also"

... were published during Gorey's lifetime. "Amphigory Again" is a posthumous collection of his work, including some pieces not seen since their original publication 40 or more years ago, and some never published before, including some pieces which remained unfinished at his death.

This is a must-have work for Gorey enthusiasts, containing a number of pieces in color (Gorey mostly worked in black and white) and pieces which previously had appeared only once, or briefly in newspapers and trade journals. For a Gorey collector this stuff is rare and essential.

On the other hand, if you are unfamiliar with Gorey and his work, this is not the first collection of his that I would recommend. Acquire instead, a copy of "Amphigory" and see if it grabs you. If you find yourself curiously emeshed in the world of Mr. Earbrass, fantods, and the doubtful guest, you will want to run out and buy the other Amphigory volumes, including this one. In fact, you will hardly be able to avoid doing so.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on June 4, 2008
I bought this book full knowing It wouldnt match up with amphigorey and amphigorey again, though by no means 'bad' it is certainly not on par with the three it proceeded. I would recommend this to a Fan of Gorey, but if you're a neophyte read the earlier works
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Amphigorey Again is a wonderful addition to the now classic Amphigorey series (the others being Amphigorey, Amphigorey Too and Amphigorey Also).
Said that this fourth volume is by far the weakest, but that's not to
say it's bad (remember we're not talking about hacks):Gorey in his less inspired moments is still worth buying.
There are a number of very short pieces here as well as some wonderful ilustrations but the most interesting pieces are the lenghty ones, even
though some of them seems like an incomplete draft.
Amphigorey Again is not the best introduction for those who wants to
immerse for the first time in Gorey's demented genius but if you are a
a Gorey addict this volume is ABSOLUTELY INDISPENSABLE.

AMPHIGOREY AGAIN:
The Galoshes of Remorse (illustration) ==========
Signs of Spring ================================= ***1/2
Seasonal Confusion ============================== ***1/2
Random Walk ===================================== ***1/2
Category (illustration) =========================
The Other Statue ================================ ****
10 Impossible Objects =========================== -
The Universal Solvent =========================== -
Scénes de Ballet ================================ ***1/2
Verse Advice ==================================== ***
The Deadly Blotter ============================== ***
Creativity ====================================== ***
The Retrieved Locket ============================ ***
The Water Flowers =============================== ***1/2
The Haunted The-Cosy ============================ ***1/2
Christmas Wrap-up (illustration) ================
The Headless Bust =============================== ****
The Just Dessert ================================ **1/2
The Admonitory Hippopotamus ===================== ***1/2
Negected Murderesses ============================ ***1/2
Tragédies Topiaries ============================= ****
The Raging Tide ================================= ****
The Unknown Vegetable =========================== ****
Another Random Walk ============================= ***1/2
Serious Life: A Cruise ========================== ***1/2
Figbash Acrobate (Illustrations) ================
La Malle Saignante ============================== ****
The Izzard Book ================================= ***
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on September 14, 2013
Happy to add this pristine copy of this cool compilation to my Gorey collection.
Arrived on time and I dived (dove?) right in.
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