Monday, June 27, 2022

Edward Gorey and Charles Williams

So, over the past few days I've been reading a collection of interviews with Edward Gorey— ASCENDING PECULIARITY: EDWARD GOREY ON EDWARD GOREY (2001)—in the course of which I came across a reference to Charles Williams in this somewhat unlikely place. The interview in question is a short one, one of the last in the book: a poll conducted by Amazon asking authors what recently published (1998) "book or books they most admired".


Speaking of Sylvia Waugh's Mennyms books, which I'd never heard of before, Gorey compares them to CW:


"In their strangeness they bring to mind 

the fiction of such authors as say, Charles 

Williams and E W. H. Meyerstein;*

 otherwise they are unlike anything

 but themselves"  (p. 229).


Gorey and Williams seem an odd pairing, but then Gorey was a great fan of mystery novels, esp. English, with Agatha Christie his particular favorite. It seems likely Gorey read him for his mysteries, not his poetry or nonfiction prose.


I shd also note that "unlike anything but themselves" is a pretty good summary of Gorey himself.


--John R.



*Meyerstein was what we wd today call an independent scholar, living in Oxford but not affiliated with the university, much admired by young Inkling John Wain.


1 comment:

David Bratman said...

E.H.W. Meyerstein is a major figure in sometime-Inkling John Wain's memoir Sprightly Running. There's probably more about him than about C.S. Lewis (or Williams, also mentioned there), but it doesn't say anything about Meyerstein's fiction, more his person as someone Wain knew.