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The Curious Sofa: A Pornographic Work by Ogdred Weary Hardcover – September 15, 1997

49 customer reviews

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The Curious Sofa: A Pornographic Work by Ogdred Weary + The Gashlycrumb Tinies + The Doubtful Guest
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

As the New York Times writes of Edward Gorey, "His satires (often of tawdry Victorian mysteries) are not mere commentaries on the manners and mores of a distant age; they are inventive narratives about evil adults, mischievous children, illicit lovers and improbable beasts." Or, in the case of The Curious Sofa, improbable furniture. As Gorey tells us on the cover, this is "a pornographic work" (pornographic horror, in fact) with a picture on every page. And yet there's nary a nipple (nor a drop of blood) in sight. (For those who want some extras to pass around there's a 10-copy assortment with The Gashlycrumb Tinies.)

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.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 64 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; 1 edition (September 15, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0151003076
  • ISBN-13: 978-0151003075
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.4 x 6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #578,419 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

191 of 194 people found the following review helpful By "lexo-2" on May 29, 2000
Format: Hardcover
A particularly miniature gem from a master miniaturist, The Curious Sofa tells of the delightfully open-minded Alice who, approached one day in the park while she's eating grapes, takes a taxi ride with a young gentleman during which she does something that she's never done before. The story then proceeds to a country house, during which various upper-class folk introduce Alice to a dizzying variety of fun, variously involving a French maid, a Countess, a married couple who each have a wooden leg, numerous "exceptionally well-formed" gentlemen and an enthusiastic Old English sheepdog. You don't actually see anything, thanks to Mr. Gorey's discreet placing of trees, bushes, clothed persons and screens between us and the action, so fans of genuine porn can expect to be disappointed. But this is still a highly titillating book. It climaxes, as it were, when the whole party encounters the eponymous and somewhat sinister sofa, at which point events get rather beyond Alice's control in a way that I'll leave to your imagination.
I don't know what kind of tea Mr. Gorey drinks but I'd quite like to try some. If you wanted to explain to somebody what the word "suggestive" means, and were for some reason allergic to dictionaries, you were best off lending them this book. It's all good fun until the last page - which I find extremely worrying. And yet I'm afraid that says more about me than it says about the book.
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43 of 47 people found the following review helpful By The Inscrutable on December 2, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Every slightly Disturbed Person should have at least one example of Goreyhood on their shelves.. in case your loving relatives find this too distressing to buy for you, here are some sensible reasons to throw at them..
*Victorian orgies are cool
*It's a party accessory: read it aloud.
*It's a storybook for young, impressionable children.
*You can hit people with it and it will sting.
*Or, Whatever..
It's just so droll and vague and cheery. Besides, Victorian orgies are cool.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Robert I. Hedges HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on November 20, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In a typically odd work by Edward Gorey, the protagonist, Alice, gets her eyes opened to many new experiences by companions of various sorts (including Colonel Gilbert and his wife Louise, both of whom have wooden legs, and Donald, a sheepdog). All these new activities are strangely suggestive, but not what most people would actually call pornographic; after all, the book is only illustrated with Gorey's discreet little drawings.

The sofa itself is contained in a room lined in polar bear fur, is upholstered in scarlet velvet, and has nine legs and seven arms; when the machinery starts within it Alice shudders and the book concludes in a delightfully ambiguous manner, in what may well be one of the strangest endings of any of Gorey's books.

I like Gorey, and this is a good little book, but is not actually one of my favorites, as I think there are others more whimsical, and a few are even stranger. For Gorey lovers this is a great little book, but understand that it is quite small, which makes it a questionable value, particularly in light of the excellent compilations available.
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33 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Yronimos on July 15, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Though definitely not for everyone, this is probably the creepiest little thing I've read in a LONG time, this being accomplished entirely by subtle insinuation and suggestion than anything concrete.
Pornographic work? Not exactly, if you are expecting the sort of thing all those spam e-mails promise. This is surrealism, enigmatic and dreamlike... the graphic imagery is limited to bizarrely posed and leering maybe-unclothed/maybe-not cartoon figures tastefully obscured behind monstrously large ornamental urns, twisted naked tree limbs, and imposing bamboo screens, with such captions as "That evening in the library Scylla, one of the guests who had certain anatomical peculiarities, demonstrated the 'Lithuanian Typewriter', assisted by Ronald and Rupert, two remarkably well-set-up young men from the village." Over and again through the "story" my reaction was "What the heck is THAT supposed to mean???" while taken together they imply something hideously and repugnantly barbaric and freakishly obscene, with the only possible conclusions (when they can be made at all) not matching the reactions of the characters, until the shocking conclusion where at last the characters react appropriately to an eerie situation that makes absolutely no sense whatsoever... making the entire experience that much more disconcerting.
This is the beauty of Edward Gory's surrealism. Though, as I said earlier, it is not for everyone- the horror is too enigmatic and the humor a bit too strange for the taste of most people I know... as one negative review said: "Make sure you want to buy this sort of book... it is not what I was expecting." (What was she expecting? She never said...
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Heather Lowe on September 25, 2000
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Sex and death without ever really speaking about either--plant your tongue firmly in your cheek, because Gorey is the master.
If you're particularly wicked, give this book to prudish relatives at Christmastime.
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24 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Molly M. Wolf on December 15, 2000
Format: Hardcover
The first Gorey book I've ever bought, and it's left me panting for more.
Subtitled "a pornographic work," The Curious Sofa it is indeed, but for what it leaves out. Readers won't find sex or violence on these pages, merely the titillation of the unseen.
Umm... mouth watering!
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