Christopher P. Stephens, Bookman

Chris Stephens has been a book dealer since 1965 - earlier if you count childhood buying and selling.

Stephens has sold major collections to university libraries all over the world. He has operated appealing bookstores in Mt. Carroll, Illinois, Hastings on Hudson, NY and several in NYC, NY. He is a wholesale dealer to other bookstores all over the world.

Chris loves books.

Stephens now maintains a lively internet operation out of his new home in Scranton, PA.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Edward Gorey

photo by Christopher P. Stephens about 1978

Edward Gorey has a distinctive, idiosyncratic art style that intrigues many. His adults are unsmiling. His children are somber - their pale, drawn faces clearly expecting the very worst from life. Which is largely what they get.
The detailed pen and ink drawings look like etchings. He illustrates a joyless world. Unless you count the fiendish delight one almost can't help feeling at the deliciously dark pictures of catastrophic episodes happening, or about to happen, or ominously threatened.
Edward Gorey illustrated in Boston. When he came to New York City, he met Andy Brown of Gotham Book Mart. The two became great friends. Andy promoted Gorey's work through the store.

Chris took this candid picture of Gorey at the New York is Book Country book fair one year. Gorey's glasses were rose colored, but you wouldn't know it from his drawing subject matter.

I didn't know Gorey, but I knew someone who did. In 1982 I took a couple of classes at School of Visual Art. In a superb color class, I made some friends. I was 33. They were younger. One night a couple of them made the long trek from 23rd Street up past the GW Bridge to my house for dinner. Barbara Ellmann came and so did a good looking young man. I think his name was Tom. This picture was hanging in our living room. They hadn't been here long before Tom stopped short, gawking at it.
"Where did you get this picture of Ted?"
"It's Edward Gorey."
"Yes. I knew him as Ted."
They'd travelled together for a year, the young man said. We didn't talk of it, but the young man kept looking up at the photo. He was thinking of it even in another room while we ate.
So, though I never even met Edward Gorey, he was sort of a fifth person at my dinner.

Edward St. John Gorey: 1925 - 2000

goreyography - includes an interesting account by Alison Lurie

images with many links to Gorey connections

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