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Floating Worlds: The Letters of Edward Gorey and Peter F. Neumeyer Hardcover – September 15, 2011


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Floating Worlds: The Letters of Edward Gorey and Peter F. Neumeyer + Elephant House: Or, the Home of Edward Gorey (Pomegranate Catalog) + The Strange Case of Edward Gorey
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Pomegranate; First Edition edition (September 15, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0764959476
  • ISBN-13: 978-0764959479
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 7.1 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #456,546 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

A wondrous trove of letters and sketches between Edward Gorey and Peter F. Neumeyer connect the Floating Worlds (Pomegranate) of these inspired collaborators; enchanting and witty and sparkling with intellectual banter, the book illustrates their artistic process and stands as a moving memoir of friendship. --Elissa Schappell, Vanity Fair

About the Author

PETER F. NEUMEYER (b. 1929) is the author, editor, or translator of more than a dozen books of prose and poetry for children and adults. His collaborations with Edward Gorey include Donald and the . . . , Donald Has a Difficulty, and Why We Have Day and Night. He resides in the San Francisco Bay Area.

EDWARD ST. JOHN GOREY (1925–2000) is famous for the honored bounty of books he wrote and illustrated, featuring his distinctive humor and astonishingly detailed crosshatch ink drawings. Creator of more than one hundred works, Gorey also was a successful contributor to theater from Cape Cod to Broadway; his production of Dracula on Broadway garnered two Tony Awards (Best Revival and Best Costumes). He is also well known as the creator of the animation images in the PBS series Mystery!


More About the Author

Edward Gorey (1925-2000) wrote and illustrated such popular books as The Doubtful Guest, The Gashlycrumb Tinies, and The Headless Bust. He was also a very successful set and costume designer, earning a Tony Award for his Broadway production of Edward Gorey's Dracula. Animated sequences of his work have introduced the PBS series Mystery! since 1980.

Customer Reviews

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I highly enjoyed reading quite a bit of it before giving it to my friend, and I think you will too!
kip
Through his own hand, Gorey gives us not just letters to a friend, he slowly reveals himself, to a long-lost sibling, exchanging ideas as only a soul mate can.
Glen Emil
Gorey and Neumeyer also referenced, recommended, and sent so many books to one another that it is a wonder that either had time to write letters!
Irwin J Terry

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Jerry Griswold on September 17, 2011
Format: Hardcover
A great portrait of a friendship, between Gorey and Neumeyer. But also a backwards glimpse at an era before email, when you could do interesting things with a typewriter (à la e.e. cummings), wear a turtleneck sweater, and read William Golding, Paul Goodman, Partisan Review, Hermann Hesse and Konrad Lorenz. The surprising thing to learn about Gorey was the breadth of his omnivorous interests: including "Barbarella," Zen gardening, William Morris, wallpaper, dance, pancakes, and French cinema. After bathing in these letters and beautiful pictures, I felt like the female admirer who phoned Gorey and asked whether she and some friends could come up for the weekend (p. 206).
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Glen Emil on October 2, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Brevity and Edward Gorey go hand-in-hand: the typical Gorey book weighs in at under a thousand words. Gorey's successful 'The West Wing' (1963), dedicated to Edmund Wilson, conveys not a syllable. So before opening 'Floating Worlds', I was prepared for a bit of the same - brief, neat and clever phraseologies and conceptual metaphors on literature and art. What I found instead - long, detailed, personal, wandering, purposeful, and very revealing letters between two men of craft - Gorey the artist, and Peter Neumeyer the author.

Both men are brilliant when discussing their respective craft, are unintentionally quite funny, self-effacing, and dedicated to literature in a way that makes one wonder how they made time for anything else. Their shared sensibilities on reading and writing, of culture, movies and theatre is so remarkable and insightful - and all of it hammered out on typewriters within a handful of months. Starting September of 1968 and more or less ending in October 1969, where on 27.x.69 Gorey writes: "I am in one of my more extreme Japanese phases, and have given up thinking, acting, and having opinions." But the most endearing - and enduring theme, is the birth and raising of 'Donald', of 'Donald and the...' (1969), 'Donald Has a Difficulty' (1970), 'Donald and the Umbrella' (unpublished), 'Donald Makes a List' (unpublished), 'Donald Helps' (unpublished), et al. Sadly, the 'Donald' books end with their second.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Malcolm Whyte on October 20, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Floating Worlds, the Letters of Edward Gorey and Peter F. Neumeyer is an astounding valuable literary and artistic contribution.

It is a must-have for Gorey and Neumeyer fans. Not only does the book give rich insight into the making of the three books on which the author and artist collaborated (Donald and the ..., Donald Has a Difficulty, and Why We have Day and Night), it joyfully drove me to my bookshelf for the other Gorey books to review as they are discussed in nearly every chapter.

For lovers of children's literature it is a first-hand lesson on the writing process, backed up with rare glimpses into the worlds of agents, editors, and book publishing.References and recommendation for world literature of all kinds will keep the eager reader fascinated for years.

As a read into a highly intimate relationship between two like-minded, creative intellectuals it is fresh, compelling, and moving.

Finally,the book is a handsome, impressive production - beautifully designed and illlustrated. The raft of never-before-seen, full-color envelope drawings by Gorey make Floating Worlds a collector's dream.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Kellswitch on January 13, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I was a little leery at first about just reading letters between two people, I wasn't sure how interesting it would be as I've never read a book like this before but I really found myself engaged and enchanted by the collection here.

The topics varied from work and day to day life, books, movies and philosophy but I found that even simplest letter could give a fascinating insights into these author's lives and their shared world. For me these letters and little drawings and doodles give much more insight into who the authors are than any deliberately written biography and I found myself going back and skimming and rereading some of them randomly when I have a few extra moments and want something to read but not get fully engaged in.

The physical quality of this book is amazing, the paper is thick and glossy, the cover and binding are top notch as well and I loved the layout between the letters, envelopes and drawings, it has an organic and whimsical feel to it. This is my first Pomegranate book and I doubt it will be my last if this is the level of overall quality I can expect from them.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By MrsLee on November 7, 2011
Format: Hardcover
A touching and poignant collection of letters from a season of friendship between two men. Anyone who loves literature, art, film or linguistics will have "Aha" moments while reading it. This correspondence has been thoughtfully and beautifully laid out, with good footnotes and lovely photographs of the envelopes which Edward Gorey illustrated before sending to Peter F. Neumeyer. The book is a piece of art in itself. Thick pages, which are sewn together, clear photographs and nicely spaced type make it a joy to hold and read.

As for the contents of the letters, much of the philosophical pondering, film, art and literature discussion is beyond me. I am not wired that way. My eyes have been opened to a whole world of authors, directors and artists whom I knew nothing about, but will enjoy exploring. I love Gorey now if for nothing more than his opinion of Salinger's works. What I truly enjoyed, were the free ramblings each of the men felt comfortable sharing with one another, the joy they had in discussing books and authors. It left me a little sad at the end that such a friendship could drop by the wayside, but then that is the way of friendships. Some are intense for a lifetime, and some are a lifeline to get one through a season.
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