Brevity and Edward Gorey go hand-in-hand: the typical Gorey book weighs in at under a thousand words. Gorey's successful 'The West Wing' (1963), dedicated to Edmund Wilson, conveys not a syllable. So before opening 'Floating Worlds', I was prepared for a bit of the same - brief, neat and clever phraseologies and conceptual metaphors on literature and art. What I found instead - long, detailed, personal, wandering, purposeful, and very revealing letters between two men of craft - Gorey the artist, and Peter Neumeyer the author.
Both men are brilliant when discussing their respective craft, are unintentionally quite funny, self-effacing, and dedicated to literature in a way that makes one wonder how they made time for anything else. Their shared sensibilities on reading and writing, of culture, movies and theatre is so remarkable and insightful - and all of it hammered out on typewriters within a handful of months. Starting September of 1968 and more or less ending in October 1969, where on 27.x.69 Gorey writes: "I am in one of my more extreme Japanese phases, and have given up thinking, acting, and having opinions." But the most endearing - and enduring theme, is the birth and raising of 'Donald', of 'Donald and the...' (1969), 'Donald Has a Difficulty' (1970), 'Donald and the Umbrella' (unpublished), 'Donald Makes a List' (unpublished), 'Donald Helps' (unpublished), et al. Sadly, the 'Donald' books end with their second.
I now know no better place to become acquainted with Edward Gorey, the man and the artist. Through his own hand, Gorey gives us not just letters to a friend, he slowly reveals himself, to a long-lost sibling, exchanging ideas as only a soul mate can. Until 'Floating Worlds', one could only guess what Edward Gorey was made of. Thanks to Peter Neumeyer, we now have solid clues. And the artwork Gorey used to illuminate Neumeyer's envelopes? Worth the price of the book alone!