New York / Boston: Duell, Sloan and Pearce / Little, Brown and Company, (1953). Gorey, Edward. First Edition. Hardcover. First printing of Gorey's first book, duodecimo size, 64 pp., signed by Edward Gorey. Near fine / near fine. Item #19092035
"The Unstrung Harp has the distinction of being virtually the only Gorey book where the written word is as lengthy as the illustrations are detailed. It is said that you should write about that which is familiar to you, and Mr. Gorey did just that in this book." Often referred to as "a small masterpiece", "The Unstrung Harp" is clearly an autobiographical work and offers insights into his creative process in a manner which draws the reader both into the work itself and into the mind of Edward Gorey.
Edward St. John Gorey (1925-2000) is well-known and well-loved for his poisonously funny picture books which are complex, humorous, serious, and provocative. However, this book, his first published work, may be a bit different than many Gorey fans might expect; he was still developing his signature style and therefore the illustrations "are wonderfully complex while still exhibiting a looseness of line that is not present in later works." The "tale is of an author struggling to find the right story to fit a title plucked at random from a list of hopeful book titles (a practice Gorey indulged in). It goes on to detail all the attendant difficulties involved in writing a novel" - indeed, one can clearly envision Gorey experiencing the same exact agonies as his title character (n.b., above quotes from the web site of the Goreyana blogspot).
___DESCRIPTION: Pictorial paper-covered boards, the illustration a wrap-around by Edward Gorey in three colours, black lettering on both boards and spine, brown endpapers, signed by Edward Gorey on the title page in his usual style (beneath his printed name which has been crossed through), "First Edition" stated on title page (matches the first issue points in Toledano), the story unfolds with text on the verso of each page and a full-page illustration on the recto of each facing page; duodecimo size (7.5" by 5"), unpaginated with 32 leaves (64 pages). In the original dust jacket with the same wrap-around Gorey illustration as on the boards, the front flap with a summary of the book and showing the original price of $2.00, the back flap with a "review" by C.F. Earbrass, followed by a short bio of the author.
___CONDITION: Near fine, the paper boards clean, the corners straight without rubbing, a strong, square text block with solid hinges, the interior is clean and bright, and it is entirely free of prior owner markings; some minor edgewear to the bottom edges of the boards, gentle bumping to the head and tail of the spine, and a very small area of light soiling to the lower corner of the front board (not obstructing text or the illustration). The dust jacket is also near fine, unclipped, with a minute amount of edgewear to the head and tail of the spine and where the flaps meet the panels, one light stray mark to the front panel near the joint. Overall a near fine copy of Gorey's first book, somewhat scarce in marketplace, particularly when signed.
___CITATION: Toledano A1a.
___POSTAGE: International customers, please note that additional postage may apply as the standard does not always cover costs; please inquire for details.
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