Edward Gorey, writer and illustrator of over one hundred humorous, quirky and deeply macabre stories, has inspired I feel, many of todays alternative talents such as Tim Burton and Lemony Snicket. There is a dark Victorian sensibility to his illustrations, often set against atmospheric interiors and wintry landscapes.
‘The Gashlycrumb Tinies’ is a tale telling of the untimely demise of 26 children each representing letters of the alphabet, “A is for Amy who fell down the stairs. B is for Basil assaulted by bears.” Each tale is accompanied with a whimsical and sometimes disturbing illustration.
My favourite is ‘The Doubtful Guest’, which is a story about a penguin i think, (it is only ominously referred to as ‘it’) who appears at a family’s home ‘one wintry night’ and amusingly and sometimes frighteningly never goes away. It wanders the house with a solemnity that renders it hilarious.