I first heard of Gorey when Nine Inch Nails’s “The Perfect Drug” video came out. I didn’t really hear much of him again until yesterday when I came across the link below on Reverse Cowgirl. I mentioned the site to a friend last night, and he told me that Gorey was neither English, nor dead. Which surprised me.
It turns out he is indeed dead, but wasn’t English. He was born in Chicago in 1925, and died in 2000.
As he grew to adulthood and his works rose to their odd and just prominence, Gorey’s own life was often the focus of persistent myths. Two such myths: that he was A) British and B) dead were put to rest with Stephen Schiff’s 1992 profile of Gorey in the New Yorker. Still, it’s not hard to see why it took more than a copyright date to dispel this particular lore, since his work so frequently evokes other lands in other times. In truth he has traveled abroad only once, to the outer Scottish Isles, whose Gorey-like names — the Orkneys, the Shetlands and the Outer Hebrides — must have provided some enticement.