Brain Pickings

When Edward Gorey Illustrated Dracula: Two Masters of the Macabre, Together


“No man knows till he has suffered from the night how sweet and dear to his heart and eye the morning can be.”

As if knowing that the great Edward Gorey illustrated a small stable of little-known and wonderful paperback covers for literary classics weren’t enough of a treat, how thrilling it is to know that he also illustrated the occasional entire volume, from classic fairy tales to H. G. Wells’s War of the Worlds to T. S. Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats. But out of all his literary reimaginings, by far the greatest fit for Gorey’s singular brand of darkly delightful visual magic is Edward Gorey’s Dracula (public library), a special edition of the Bram Stoker classic originally published in 1977 and eventually adapted as a magnificent toy theater of die-cut foldups and foldouts. Gorey’s illustrations of the characters are terrifyingly charming and charmingly terrific:

Mina Murray

Jonathan Harker

Lucy Westenra

Dr. John Seward

R. M. Renfield

Dr. Abraham Van Helsing

Count Dracula

The gorgeously Gorey endpapers are particularly marvelous:

The book also includes some pages from Bram Stoker’s original Dracula manuscript:

Manuscript notes and outlines, p. 35 verso b. (Courtesy of the Rosenbach Museum & Library, Philadelphia)

Manuscript notes and outlines, p. 2 (Courtesy of the Rosenbach Museum & Library, Philadelphia)

But the greatest Gorey-goodie of all is the toy theater set:

Complement Edward Gorey’s Dracula with a look back at this gallery of the beloved illustrator’s other literary masterpieces.

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