Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Edward St John Gorey  

Pen Name: 

Genre: C:ADULT C:CHILD C:YA Fiction

Born: February 22, 1925 in Chicago, Illinois


Illinois Connection

Gorey was born in Chicago and grew up in Wilmette. He attended a variety of local grade schools and then the Francis W. Parker School. In 1943, he spent one semester at the Art Institute of Chicago.

Biographical and Professional Information

Edward Gorey was a writer and artist noted for his "playfully macabre" illustrated books.From 1953 to 1960, Gorey lived in New York City and worked in the art department of Doubleday Anchor, illustrating book covers and in some cases adding illustrations to the text. He worked for Doubleday in New York for eight years and, while there, illustrated Bram Stoker's ''Dracula'' and T.S. Elliot's ''Old Possum's Book of Practiacal Cats''. In 1953, he illustrated his first independent work, ''The Unstrung Harp''. Gorey never married and was never particularly fond of children yet his books were popular with them. In all, Gorey wrote over 100 books and used many different pseudonyms. His illustrated (and sometimes wordless) books, have long had a cult following for his macabre, Victorian and Gothic-like illustrations. Gorey became particularly well-known through his animated introduction to the PBS series ''Mystery!'' in 1980, as well as his designs for the 1977 Broadway production of ''Dracula'', for which he won a Tony Award for Best Costume Design. He was also nominated for Best Scenic Design.

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