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Saint Melissa the Mottled Hardcover – October 30, 2012

15 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Edward St. John Gorey (1925-2000), a truly prodigious and original artist, gave to the world more than one hundred works, including The Gashlycrumb Tinies, The Doubtful Guest, and The Wuggly Ump; prize-winning set and costume designs for theater productions from Cape Cod to Broadway; and a remarkable number of illustrations in publications such as the New Yorker and the New York Times. Gorey's masterful pen-and-ink illustrations and his ironic, offbeat humor have brought him critical acclaim and an avid following throughout the world.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 48 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA; First Edition / First Printing edition (October 30, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1608198855
  • ISBN-13: 978-1608198856
  • Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 0.3 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #881,112 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Wallypug on November 8, 2012
Format: Hardcover
The Edward Gorey Charitable Trust is continuing to create "new" Edward Gorey books with this issue. Only by reading the wonderful Goreyana blog would a reader know that the text of Saint Melissa the Mottled was first published by Gorey in 1949 in the Radcliffe College magazine Signature. Nowhere is this indicated in the book itself or on the publisher's website. By Gorey's standards, the text is quite prolix, lacking the lean texture of his mature work. Instead of simply publishing the text unadorned, the story has been retro-fitted with drawings from the entirety of Gorey's career as an illustrator. Gorey's visual style evolved over the years, so ranging so widely across the decades makes for a very disjointed look to the visual narrative of the book, especially as the illustrations range in size as well. Unfortunately, some of the drawings are very poorly printed. Just read Floating Worlds and it's clear how Gorey labored over every detail of every book he ever wrote or illustrated. It's a disservice to an artist like him to publish this cobbled together book.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Gary Kuris on November 1, 2012
Format: Hardcover
A disservice to Gorey's reputation. This is a mishmash of drawings taken from earlier books (and done in a variety of styles). The text reads as if it was fished out of a bottom drawer. Other recent posthumous works are not much better. I hope this isn't the beginning of a long line of embarrassments. Gorey never would have approved this for publication.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Ryan Robert Petrillo on January 26, 2014
Format: Hardcover
What a sham.
Edward Gorey would never have allowed his work to be published like this. As a collector of early Gorey editions, it is getting frustrating seeing publishing companies, specifically Pomegranate, but now Bloomsbury as well, adding color to illustrations that originally had no color and releasing something like Saint Melissa the Mottled. By taking illustrations from his previous works and adding them to unreleased written works, a disservice is being performed to the brilliance of Edward Gorey, especially to new readers who may not know any different. Really disappointed about this.

Stick to the antique stores people! Find the editions Gorey would have wanted you to read and hold and enjoy.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By G.A. Emil on November 13, 2012
Format: Hardcover
There are as many ways an author can amuse him or herself using their craft, as there are maxims for François de La Rochefoucauld (1613-1680) to pen. On occasion, those amusements turn into gems, delighting audiences with a touch. Yet for others, some digging is needed to find these gems. 'Saint Melissa the Mottled' (Bloomsbury, 2012) could be one of those found Edward Gorey gems ... but it depends on what you're looking for. If one hopes to find a classic Edward Gorey abecedarium (The Gashlycrumb Tinies, (1963)) or a book of limericks ('The Listing Attic' in Amphigorey, (1954)), 'Saint Melissa' hands you something completely different.

'Saint Melissa the Mottled' seems to hark back to a literary form occupied by Elizabethan novelist Amanda McKittrick Ros (1860-1939), and savoured by mostly academic literary groups such as The Inklings. By the late 1940's, this Oxford discussion group, frequented by C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien, was reputed to have held competitions to see who could read Ms. Ros' work for the longest length of time without laughing.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Berkshire/bob on November 9, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As indicated by others, this book is a collection of disjointed comments; none of which are related to the illustrations gathered from other Gorey works. My guess is that this is designed as a money maker for the estate. Sadly, it's an embarassment to the memory of the author. I won't be buying and "new" Gorey works. Borders on fraud.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Malcolm Whyte on November 2, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Deliciously disjointed, that is not to say unamusing, Melissa the Mottled is Edward Gorey's gentle parody of effusive novels by writers like Ronald Firbank and other fin de siecle aesthetes. Gorey's posthumously published text, accompanied by a clever array of new and previously seen illustrations marry well and carry the tale to its dark conclusion. My favorite passage occurs shortly after the birthmarked bastard-baby-to-saint heroine is born:
"afterward, both mother and infant disappeared, the latter unweaned, the former forever."

Vintage Gorey.

Melissa the Mottled is the ideal gift book for any occasion; sacred or profane.

M. K. Whyte
Word-Play.com
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By nosferatu on February 11, 2013
Format: Hardcover
This early Gorey text (ca.1948) is an obvious parody of the ornate school of post Victorian writers such as Ivy Compton Burnett and Ronald Firbank, but most particularly Amanda McKittrick Ros who was crowned the worst published fiction writer of her time. A group of writers were so intrigued by her obvious unawareness of her complete lack of skillful writing that they formed a loose 'fan club' of Ros' work, offering her vacuous blurbs ("astonishing," "left me speechless," "unbelievable," etc.).The group included Huxley, C.S. Lewis, Twain and others. This clever parody of her style can easily lead the casual reader to think it is a poorly written text. Because the plot setting compounds the parody by placing it in the context of the Catholic Church's ritual ornateness and general reluctance to respond to the modernists, Darwin,etc., the text might antagonize Catholic readers who fail to consider the elements of parody in the text.

This is one of Gorey's wittiest works and is in fact skillful parody. Commenting as one of the 21st century's most respected American literary critics, Pulitzer Prize winner Michael Dirda of the Washington Post observes, "Not enough praise has been awarded to Gorey's superb prose. He possesses the ear of a great parodist...a distinctive vision that is nobody's but his own. Through his genius and industry, he created a whole climate of the imagination."
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