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Gorey's perfect captions

Posted by Sebastian Smee  February 18, 2011 11:30 AM

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"The author introduces two small, distant, ageless, and wholly imaginary relatives to fifty seasons of the New York City Ballet."

It's hard to say if the caption above by Edward Gorey should be spooky, dismal, depressing, or sweet - all I know is that it's hilarious, and in its way, perfect.

The drawing it goes with is at the Boston Athenaeum, part of "Elegant Enigmas" the Art of Edward Gorey" (through June 4). It put me in mind of Chris Ware's "Jimmy Corrigan" - pathos made exquisite.

But it also just seemed like a sentence to savor on its own terms - like one of Felix Feneon's early 20th century newspaper squibs, published in "Novels in Three Lines" (New York Review Books): "Scheid, of Dunkirk, fired three times at his wife. Since he missed every shot, he decided to aim at his mother-in-law, and connected."

Or this one, from my old newspaper in Sydney: "An unemployed relaxation consultant was arrested with three kilograms of cocaine inside his golf bag." 

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