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Edward Gorey – West Point & the Dictionnaire Infernal

A card from Edward Gorey to the great Baron Corvo expert Donald Weeks. Dated 1965. Donald had been an early fan of EG and used his art as illustration in the General Motors house magazine Friends of which he was art editor. The Dictionnaire Infernal was a typical present from Donald, a serious collector of curious and out of the way books. It is a work by de Plancy on demonology, organised in hellish hierarchies. There were several editions of the book, but the best known is the edition of 1863, in which 69 illustrations were added to the book -drawings which try to depict the descriptions of the appearance of several demons. This is most likely the edition he sent to 'Ted.' The illustration on the card is a gloomy 19th century steel engraved view of West Point. Its significance is obscure but it has a Gorey style about it. The influence of the illustrations in the  Dictionnaire Infernal  on Gorey's oeuvre is worthy of research! As for Bette Davis, it is interesting to see she was already a cult nearly 50 years ago.

'Dear Don. Many thanks for the Dictionnaire Infernal, I've only had a chance to dip into the text but just the illustrations are marvelous. I expect one of these days you'll see bits of them turning up in the work of you-know-who. We are in the throes, and I do mean throes, of a Bette Davis festival at the New Yorker theatre. Sheer delight. Best, Ted.'

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