• Born to Be Posthumous

  • The Eccentric Life and Mysterious Genius of Edward Gorey
  • By: Mark Dery
  • Narrated by: Adam Sims
  • Length: 14 hrs and 48 mins
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (71 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The definitive biography of Edward Gorey, the eccentric master of macabre nonsense.

From The Gashlycrumb Tinies to The Doubtful Guest, Edward Gorey's wickedly funny and deliciously sinister little books have influenced our culture in innumerable ways, from the works of Tim Burton and Neil Gaiman to Lemony Snicket. Some even call him the Grandfather of Goth.

But who was this man, who lived with more than 20,000 books and six cats, who roomed with Frank O'Hara at Harvard, and was known - in the late 1940s, no less - to traipse around in full-length fur coats, clanking bracelets, and an Edwardian beard? An eccentric, a gregarious recluse, an enigmatic auteur of whimsically morbid masterpieces, yes - but who was the real Edward Gorey behind the Oscar Wildean pose?

He published more than 100 books and illustrated works by Samuel Beckett, T.S. Eliot, Edward Lear, John Updike, Charles Dickens, Hilaire Belloc, Muriel Spark, Bram Stoker, Gilbert & Sullivan, and others.

At the same time, he was a deeply complicated and conflicted individual, a man whose art reflected his obsessions with the disquieting and the darkly hilarious.

Based on newly uncovered correspondence and interviews with personalities as diverse as John Ashbery, Donald Hall, Lemony Snicket, Neil Gaiman, and Anna Sui, Born to Be Posthumous draws back the curtain on the eccentric genius and mysterious life of Edward Gorey.

©2018 Mark Dery (P)2018 Hachette Audio

What listeners say about Born to Be Posthumous

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Gorey is amazing but...

But he really didn't need the longest wikipedia in history about him, obsessively repetitive about his sexuality to a creepy degree.
It was a very enjoyable read at first... well written, interesting facts and interviews. Then it drags forever and repeats constantly, as if the author wanted to dig some secret trauma from Gorey's sexuality privacy.

Tedious read to the very end.

7 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

lovely book about the reader mispronounced a lot

this was a lovely book but the reader mispronounced many words. for example the word m o r e s and the word t a o. I'm surprised that the producer did not catch this.

5 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars

If it was half as long, it would be twice as good.

A long list of names and unnecessary display of complicated words, otherwise fine.

It very mush seems like the author wants to show off his vocabulary and knowledge of people. I rather think that a cluster of sentences with pretty words that repeat the same thing in a more, or EVEN more complicated way, doesn't prove that you as a writer have understood something. It just shows that you are pretentious. Furthermore, it most likely does not help the average reader come to terms with it.

The text is absolutely packed with names. I assume it's an attempt to anchor Gorey's character and work; who influenced him and vice versa. However, if you as a reader are not familiar with the work of the name dropped people, it just serves to make the text longer, almost unbearably so.

Then there are the Freudian analysis of Gorey's sex-life... It seems more than a bit obnoxious to try and dig so deep into a subject that according to the person in question, did not matter to him.

I really wanted to like this book, but it was hard. I really love the work of Edward Gorey, and I did learn more about him, but the book could do with a rather harsh editing.

3 people found this helpful

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Goreyaphile

I guess I don’t really care what sexual orientation an author or artist is. I have always appreciated his creative output regardless of his sexuality. The reason I gave the story a four star rating instead of five stars is that some areas of the book seemed to obsessively reiterate Edward Gorey’s s.o.

6 people found this helpful

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More a disappointing editorial than a biography

Two things seem to sidetrack the author from what should have been a great read. 1) Mr. Dery is pretty obsessed with proving that Gorey was actually gay, in spite of what Gorey said himself on the matter. Sure it's fine to muse for a moment on whether Gorey was actually keeping some aspect of himself private but Dery brings it up over and over and over again. Where was the editor? 2) In an attempt to avenge the gay culture for being mistreated for many years, Mr. Dery wields his own bigotry, venom and stereotyping against various swaths of people including the working and middle class, traditionalists, anti-communists, families, Christians and others in the mainstream culture. All of this is a real bummer in that there's no doubt that Mr. Dery spent a great deal of time researching his subject but in the end has produced a product that just belittles the existence of many of those eager to enjoy it. Wish I could get my money back so spend it on a future better bio of Gorey.

15 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Tiring to listen to.

I loved Edward Gorey's art and his life was very interesting, but I found listening to Adam Sims rather exhausting. A little too intense and overworked.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

Spoiler: he liked cats.

If you’ve gotten this far in reading reviews, just go ahead and buy it already. Dery does a great job summing up an elusive and complex man and somehow manages to do it without reducing Gorey to a Gorey-esque caricature. I wish the book had been twice as long.

1 person found this helpful

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Fresh modern worthy

I completely enjoyed this book. Narrators performance had just the right crispness and irreverence. What a wonderful experience that we can enjoy Gorey and contextualize him in LGBTQ atheistics and culture and at the same time allow him his fabulous mysteries of identity. Highly recommend both the book and the actor ,

1 person found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Interesting but it gets repetitive

I like Edward Gorey's work and knew nothing about him. The book is interesting background but it starts to get repetitive about the fact that he was a bit strange and his whole weirdo persona may or may not have been an act. The author doesn't come to any conclusions.