Gorey exhibit opens eyes
Lately, I’ve taken to reading Grimm’s Fairy Tales to the kids. Not the
So too with Edward Gorey, whose curious and deliciously macabre drawings and writings are now on display at the
“It’s an alphabet book,’’ I explained, “and each letter tells the story of a kid who died. Isn’t that nutty?’’ I pointed to a panel and read aloud: “V is for Victor squashed under a train.’’
Nate squinted. “Why’d they all die?’’
I paused. “I don’t really know.’’
He was less troubled by the envelopes. While a student at Harvard in the late 1940s, Gorey sent missives to his mother in gorgeously decorated envelopes. In addition to his signature ink line figures, the young Gorey illuminated the scenes with delicate colors. “I want to get a letter like that,’’ Nate said.
We soon wandered out of the show and began to explore the rest of the Athenaeum. (Much of the first floor is open to Gorey visitors.) It is a magnificent space, filled with books and art and a soothing hush. In the back is the children’s library, rooms so welcoming the kids didn’t want to leave. We sat down in a nook next to a window overlooking the Granary Burying Ground, its rows of gravestones bright in the cold afternoon sun. For a minute, everyone was quiet.