Edward Gorey was an author and illustrator of many books that often have the appearance of children's stories, but are usually much more ominous, even sinister, and yet oddly humorous. Born in Chicago, he had hardly any formal art training as he spent only one semester at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1943. He then studied French at Harvard, and founded the Poets' Theatre in Cambridge with a couple of study friends.
He did his first art assignments while working at the Art Department of Doubleday Anchor in New York City from 1953 to 1960. His art appeared on the covers of books like Bram Stoker's 'Dracula', H.G. Wells' 'The War of the Worlds' and T.S. Eliot's 'Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats', and he has illustrated many works of children's book author John Bellairs and his successor Brad Strickland.
His personal works, starting with 'The Unstrung Harp' in 1953, have gained a cult following. His art, often set in Victorian and Edwardian times, has also found its way to Broadway plays ('Dracula' in 1977) and TV series (the PBS series 'Mystery!'). He eventually settled in Yarmouth Port, Massachusetts, on Cape Cod, where he produced entertainments starring papier-mâché puppets, called Le Theatricule Stoique.
Gorey had a fascination for ballet, fur coats, tennis shoes and cats, and these themes have appeared regularly in his work, that he described himself as "literary nonsense". He has published over 100 books, often in experimental formats and styles. Most of his work has been collected in the books 'Amphigorey' (1972), 'Amphigorey too' (1975), 'Amphigorey also' (1983) and 'Amphigorey also' (2006). Gorey was on the dark side of the comics form for close to five decades. His name has become synonymous with an approach to cartooning that is both cerebral and disquieting. At the end of 'The Simpsons' episode 'The D'oh-cial Network' (2012) by Matt Groening a short atmospheric film can be seen, 'Story's Too Short', paying homage to Gorey's trademark style.