Edward Gorey was born on 22 February 1925 in Chicago, at 7:25 PM, according to Astrodienst. He suspected that he had inherited his, mainly self-taught, artistic talents from a great grandmother who had been a popular nineteenth-century greeting card writer and artist. Sources describe Gorey as having been something of a child prodigy, exceptionally bright for his age. He grew up in Chicago and in teenage years started his artistic career early, publishing illustrations in the local newspaper. His time in Art School was cut short by world War II when was drafted into the U.S. Army. After the war he attended Harvard, studied French, was involved in the theater, graduated in 1950. He spent some time in Boston before moving to New York City to work for Doubleday Publishers, illustrating books and book covers.
Gorey published his own first book in 1953, an illustrated novella, The Unstrung Harp...or Mr Earbrass writes a novel. While continuing to illustrate for magazines and other authors, he began producing his own work, selling it in New York's Gotham Book Mart. In 1961 he founded his own publishing firm, Fantod Press.
“Mr Earbrass stands on the terrace at twilight. It is bleak; it is cold; and the virtue has gone out of everything. Words drift through his mind: anguish turnips conjunctions illness defeat string parties no parties urns desuetude disaffection claws loss Trebizond napkins shame stones distance fever Antipodes mush glaciers incoherence labels miasma amputation tides deceit mourning elsewards...”
Edward Gorey used many pseudonyms over the years, often based on anagrams of his own name. His pseudonyms included Ogdred Weary, Raddory Gewe, Wardore Edgy and Eduard Blutig… He never married and said he considered himself "asexual". He was a fan of ballet and theater, worked on stage design for a company in the town where he had a summer home, in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. In 1977, his design for a Broadway revival of Dracula won him a Tony award for costumes.
Gorey's cartoons and illustrations depict a weird Edwardian world inhabited by formally dressed men and women, often alongside strange but relatively harmless fantastical creatures. He occasionally offered thinly veiled cynical comment on the social scene. Alphabets, a parody on tarot cards, stories of children, not necessarily for children, limericks - all were treated to Gorey's signature whimsical weirdness, always with a faint hint of benign or comical menace.
Gorey, personally, is described like this at a PBS website devoted to their Mystery series for which illustrations of his are used as introduction:
Tall and lean, Gorey was bearded, but otherwise gloriously bald. He wore earrings and used to go about in long fur coats before his conscience got the better of him and he earned the blessing of animal rights activists by shedding his furs permanently. Gorey never married and admitted to no romantic relationships. He lived by himself in a rambling home in Yarmouth on Cape Cod, that dated back nearly 200 years. When he was not working on the 100 or so projects he had outlined for himself at any given time, he cared for his brood of six cats or indulged himself in one of his many special interests, mostly sedentary pursuits like watching old movies he taped off his satellite dish or zoning out on his favorite television shows, such as The X-Files.
Though Gorey has was called a recluse, he really did not behave like one. For nearly 30 years, he attended every performance of the New York City Ballet until the death of his artistic idol, choreographer George Balanchine. He ate both breakfast and lunch each day at Jack's Out Back restaurant in Yarmouthport, where he happily signed autographs for the occasional fan.
Often mistakenly labeled as "morbid," Gorey is was in fact a rather cheerful individual, whose sharply pungent observations were laced with a ready wit. He was a superbly entertaining conversationalist who frequently enlivened a chat by humorously slipping into a falsetto voice or punctuating his remarks with a "turkey gobble" sound that one isn't likely to hear ever again.
Gorey's friend, author Alexander Theroux, wrote about him:
" Gorey was a man of very peculiar habits: "I still see myself just sitting in his kitchen. There was always a melancholy tone to his voice, and he would give you white toast with a cinnamon shaker...........He was very campy, in the Susan Sontag sense," Theroux continues. "He could also be very serious. He read every book possible. He had wide interests. There wasn't a subject that didn't interest him. I always said I wondered which Edward Gorey would show up on a given day. He was a film critic, he was interested in cooking. He was a man that would seem to be a bird of paradise, very ornate — but he could be a quiet and subdued and fairly shy person." And you wouldn't know it from looking at his drawings, but Gorey also loved soap operas, especially All My Children.
"He would sew beanbags while he watched television," Theroux says of Gorey's eclectic habits. "He went to the movies almost every night. He could segue from reading a book on Wittgenstein to watching The Golden Girls. He was curious about everything, which is a great virtue in a person. He needed to have a lot of movement in his mind, a lot of water going over the stones in his mind."
Theroux says his old friend was a true free spirit; a curious, kind and adventurous soul.
"Edward was one of the few people I ever knew who did exactly what he wanted," he says. "He went his own way."
Edward Gorey died in April, 2000.
Other sources: Wikipedia; Info please; The Comics Journal.
Please click on any image for a sharper, clearer view of it.
These are my two favourites...
Data from Astrodienst:
born on 22 February 1925 in Chicago, at 7:25 PM. (AA rating - very reliable)
What do you get when a heavily concentrated dose of Aquarius and Pisces is mixed with multiple aspect patterns linking up any stray, spread, planets harmoniously or otherwise? A weird and rather wonderful personality such as Edward Gorey!
It'd be hard to find another chart with such a strong mix of Pisces/Aquarius - his Sun and Moon conjoined, and Uranus are in Pisces. Mercury and Venus are next door in Aquarius, Venus (the arts) making semi-sextile aspect to Uranus (eccentricity). Gorey simply had to develop into some manner of creative eccentric didn't he?!
His rising sign, Virgo, has reflection in his artwork - in the meticulous hatching and detail present in a lot of his drawings.
Pluto in Cancer and Saturn in Scorpio link by harmonious trine to one or other of the Pisces planets, forming a Water Grand Trine, adding hints of a certain darkness to an established creative eccentricity.
There's a chart configuration astrologers call a "mystic rectangle" (the green oblong with red diagonal cross), and a Grand Square (the red square with red cross), both quite easy to see in the illustration. Rather than going into detail about planets and signs involved, which could take many paragraphs(and become confusing for both writer and reader), I think it's sufficient to say that his chart is so well-integrated, his personality, eccentric though it may have been, would not have been a difficult one for him to deal with - he was able to embrace it, warts and all.
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