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Floating Worlds: The Letters of Edward Gorey…
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Floating Worlds: The Letters of Edward Gorey and Peter F. Neumeyer (edition 2011)

by Peter F. Neumeyer, Peter F. Neumeyer (Editor)

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10914161,177 (4.31)7
Member:llusby23
Title:Floating Worlds: The Letters of Edward Gorey and Peter F. Neumeyer
Authors:Peter F. Neumeyer
Other authors:Peter F. Neumeyer (Editor)
Info:Pomegranate (2011), Hardcover, 256 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
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Floating Worlds: The Letters of Edward Gorey and Peter F. Neumeyer by Peter F. Neumeyer

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» See also 7 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 14 (next | show all)
Such a wonderful, intimate look into the artist who was Edward Gorey.... I was entranced, enchanted. Thank you,[a:Peter Neumeyer|4748212|peter Neumeyer|http://www.goodreads.com/assets/nophoto/nophoto-U-50x66.jpg], for allowing this glimpse into a special friendship. ( )
  KimJD | Apr 8, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This is a beautiful volume, full of charm, playfulness and wit (as you would expect from these two). It added a lot to my understanding of Edward Gorey, who cultivated so much mystery about his life. This is a great book to dip in and out of, and does not require (or, for me, reward) sustained reading at one time. ( )
1 vote the_darling_copilots | Sep 30, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I hadn’t progressed too far into ‘Floating Worlds’ before the thought struck me that it will represent something of a disappointment for some Gorey fans. Not least because it presents the artist and author behind some of the most sinister tales of the 20th century as, by turns, whimsical, warm hearted and generous.

In recent years his desolate Gothic vision has seeped into the fringes of popular culture just as, to use a suitably Gorey-esque metaphor, a long undiscovered body might seep into a mattress. I seem to find myself spotting his influence at every turn these days. It runs rich in the artwork of children’s illustrator David Roberts (particularly in his ‘Tales of Terror’ series), through the more adult oriented comics of Tom Gauld and across the entire cannon of Tim Burton’s work, nowhere more so than in his collection of brief, dark tales, ‘The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy’. What’s more, if you wish to see Gorey’s singular vision made flesh you could do worse than seek out the video for Nine Inch Nails’ ‘The Perfect Drug’, for which director Mark Romanek admittedly pillaged the Gorey archive. But whilst they may see echoes of his work everywhere, fans of Gorey’s dark, singular creations found themselves struck by a lack of source material about the man himself. Gorey was far from a gregarious self-publicist and interviews, though they were granted, were few and far between.

Up until now the most complete source available to the Gorey faithful was, neighbour of Gorey, Alexander Theroux’s slim “The Strange Case of Edward Gorey” volume, offering a biographical account of his varied career as an artist and writer as well as his time in the theatre (where he won a Tony award for his costume design in Frank Langella’s 1977 Broadway production of ‘Dracula’) but little in the way of what makes the man tick. Neumeyer’s book, a collection of correspondence between himself and Gorey over their 13 month period of collaboration (leading to the production of 3 books) between 1968 & 1969 not only provides many insights but also images of the illustrated letters and envelopes he received, many of which Gorey fans would (surely in an appropriately ghastly way) kill for.

Gorey and Neumeyer’s friendship is a delight to observe and serves as an excellent way to get under Gorey’s skin. His letters are gleefully eccentric creations and read like head scratching daydreams splashed directly from brain to page, revealing his varying appetites for literature, art, Zen gardening and pancakes. Most of these letters display a humble, apologetic and almost deferential tone, never wishing to offend and nearly always doubling back on themselves as if to see off any potential cause of upset. Neumeyer ends up being very much the straight man for Gorey’s meandering, conversational efforts, which flit from subject to subject with a spritely energy. For a Gorey obsessive like myself they are like so much cake thrust toward a greedy, capacious boy.

Sadly the correspondence eventually ebbs away to a few succinct efforts with Gorey struggling under a sea of other work and a lurking disappointment at unpublished Gorey/Neumeyer volumes before dropping off entirely. Whilst this must have been a tough thing to cope with at the time it appears that Neumeyer regards their brief period of contact and collaboration to have been a great joy and a privilege. Having reached the end of this collection I can only add that reading about it was too. ( )
1 vote Fox_Lane | Feb 8, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
It’s a blessing that Pomegranate has begun to publish Edward Gorey books and related curios, as they’ve produced such handsome editions of works by one of my favorite illustrators. Now they’ve published Floating Words, the correspondences between Gorey and author Peter F. Neumeyer (who also edited this collection) as they collaborated on three books, Donald and the…, Donald has a Difficulty, and Why We Have Day and Night.

This work is not only a great find for Gorey fans, but also for those interested in how the creative process works. The letters capture Neumeyer and Gorey’s personalities and friendship as they collaborated and commiserated. Sadly their correspondence ended after about 13 months, as the two men became engrossed in other projects, but during this short time they wrote often and they wrote lengthily. This collection is also an elegy for the lost art and necessity of letter-writing.

A great bonus of this book is that they are constantly talking about and recommending books to each other, so any bibliophile will be sure to find some crackling rarities from these two eclectic men. Keep a notepad and pen handy as you read! The book also features some of Gorey’s fantastic and unique drawings, including layouts and sketches for the Donald books. There is also the delightful “STOEJGNPF,” a delightful amphibian-tapir-dog amalgam that Gorey drew on his envelopes.

This is a charming find, especially for those who wanted to know more about the inner workings of the enigmatic Edward Gory, or simply for people interested in an account of inspiration and collaboration. ( )
2 vote guyalice | Feb 7, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I was a little leery at first about just reading letters between two people, I wasn't sure how interesting it would be as I've never read a book like this before but I really found myself engaged and enchanted by the collection here.

The topics varied from work and day to day life, books, movies and philosophy but I found that even simplest letter could give a fascinating insights into these author’s lives and their shared world. For me these letters and little drawings and doodles give much more insight into who the authors are than any deliberately written biography and I found myself going back and skimming and rereading some of them randomly when I have a few extra moments and want something to read but not get fully engaged in.

The physical quality of this book is amazing, the paper is thick and glossy, the cover and binding are top notch as well and I loved the layout between the letters, envelopes and drawings, it has an organic and whimsical feel to it. This is my first Pomegranate book and I doubt it will be my last if this is the level of overall quality I can expect from them. ( )
  Kellswitch | Jan 13, 2012 |
Showing 1-5 of 14 (next | show all)
“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."
added by PomegranateBooks | editVanity Fair, Elissa Schappell
 
One of Publishers Weekly's Top 10 Books for Fall 2011 (Literary Essays & Criticism category)
added by PomegranateBooks | editPublishers Weekly
 

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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Peter F. Neumeyerprimary authorall editionscalculated
Gorey, EdwardIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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Book description
Edward Gorey and Peter Neumeyer collaborated on three children’s books, but their personal correspondence—never before published—discusses subjects as wide-ranging as Jorge Luis Borges’s writings to art theory to a pancake recipe. Includes 75 letters, 38 illustrated envelopes, over 60 postcards and illustrations.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0764959476, Hardcover)

Edward Gorey and Peter Neumeyer met in the summer of 1968. Gorey had been contracted by Addison-Wesley to illustrate Donald and the . . . , a children’s story written by Neumeyer. On their first encounter, Neumeyer managed to dislocate Gorey’s shoulder when he grabbed his arm to keep him from falling into the ocean. In a hospital waiting room, they pored over Gorey’s drawings for the first time together, and Gorey infused the situation with much hilarity. This was the beginning of an invigorating friendship, fueled by a wealth of letters and postcards that sped between the two men through the fall of 1969.

Those letters, published here for the first time, are remarkable for their quantity and their content. While the creative collaborations of Gorey and Neumeyer centered on children’s books, they held wide-ranging interests; both were erudite, voracious readers, and they sent each other many volumes. Through their discussions of these books, one marvels at the beauty of thoughtful (and merry) discourse driven by intellectual curiosity.

The letters also paint an intimate portrait of Edward Gorey, a man often mischaracterized as macabre or even ghoulish. His gentleness, humility, and brilliance—interwoven with his distinctive humor—shine in each letter; his deft artistic hand is evident on the decorated envelopes addressed to Neumeyer, thirty-eight of which are reproduced here.

During the time of their correspondence, Peter Neumeyer was an assistant professor at Harvard University and then a professor at Stony Brook University in New York. His acumen and compassion, expressed in his discerning, often provocative missives, reveal him to be an ideal creative and intellectual ally for Gorey.

More than anything else, Floating Worlds is the moving memoir of an extraordinary friendship. Gorey wrote that he felt that they were “part of the same family, and I don’t mean just metaphorically. I guess that even more than I think of you as a friend, I think of you as my brother.” Neumeyer stated, “Your letters . . . your existence has made something of this world that [it] hadn’t the possibility of before.”

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:04:56 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

"Edward Gorey and Peter Neumeyer met in the summer of 1968. Gorey had been contracted by Addison-Wesley to illustrate Donald and the . . . , a children?s story written by Neumeyer. On their first encounter, Neumeyer managed to dislocate Gorey?s shoulder when he grabbed his arm to keep him from falling into the ocean. In a hospital waiting room, they pored over Gorey?s drawings for the first time together, and Gorey infused the situation with much hilarity. This was the beginning of an invigorating friendship, fueled by a wealth of letters and postcards that sped between the two men through the fall of 1969. Those letters, published here for the first time, are remarkable for their quantity and their content. While the creative collaborations of Gorey and Neumeyer centered on children?s books, they held wide-ranging interests; both were erudite, voracious readers, and they sent each other many volumes. Through their discussions of these books, one marvels at the beauty of thoughtful (and merry) discourse driven by intellectual curiosity" --from the publisher.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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