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Floating Worlds: The Letters of Edward Gorey and Peter F. Neumeyer Hardcover – September 15, 2011
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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!
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What I thought I was getting was mostly quality scans of his actual letters. His handwriting, his doodles, his typewriter keys. Though there are a fair amount of images, such as the envelopes in which the correspondence was sent or a certain selection of included doodles... mostly you will only get the text here. For me, that's a major downfall. A person's handwriting, the manner in which they write a letter, anything else included in the envelope, says so much about a person. Simply reading a transcription leaves something to be desired.
A note on the text. I understand that some content is probably personal and was omitted. A large amount of the content is "business" related as the two were collaborating on a book (which is how the letters started), and yet another large part is witty, canny, whatever you want to say, typical Gorey banter. His illustrations and books are heavily mirrored in his letter writing. This man is insane. I find a lot of it interesting, I like to get into people's minds, even if it is a facade.
So bottom line, be aware this will be predominantly text transcriptions with not a lot of illustrative fodder. Very interesting nonetheless.
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.
I now know no better place to become acquainted with Edward Gorey, the man and the artist. 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. Until 'Floating Worlds', one could only guess what Edward Gorey was made of. Thanks to Peter Neumeyer, we now have solid clues. And the artwork Gorey used to illuminate Neumeyer's envelopes? Worth the price of the book alone!