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THE HEADLESS BUST by Edward Gorey

THE HEADLESS BUST

A Melancholy Meditation for the False Millennium

By Edward Gorey

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1999
ISBN: 0-15-100514-1
Publisher: Harcourt

A hilariously suave (previously unpublished) morality tale from the master of understated mayhem and apocalypse (The Unstrung Harp, p. 572, etc.). Its wonderfully dark pictures and text detail a dream journey undertaken, at century’s end, by dull-looking Edmund Gravel and an accompanying arachnoid figure, the Bahhumbug, to a “remote provincial town” where polite society’s veneer is blithely whisked away and assorted beautiful people are revealed in all their mendacity, folly, and awful bad luck. As always, Gorey’s trademark rhyming couplets are filled with inexplicably funny, sad, and somehow beautiful occurrences (e.g., “Sir U___ fell from a speeding train,/Which did some damage to his brain,/And after that he did not know /How to pronounce the letter O”). Calling this delightful tale its author’s “Vision of Judgment” or Inferno would be like breaking a butterfly on a wheel—with which image, come to think of it, Gorey might do something ineffably sinister and entertaining.