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Born to Be Posthumous


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About the Author

Mark Dery is a cultural critic. He coined the term ‘Afrofuturism,' popularised the concept of ‘culture jamming,' taught at Yale and NYU, and has published widely on pop culture, the media, and on the mythologies (and pathologies) of American life. His books include Flame Wars, a seminal anthology of writings on digital culture; Escape Velocity: Cyberculture at the end of the century, The Pyrotechnic Insanitarium: American Culture on the Brink, and the essay collection, I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts: Drive-by Essays on American Dread, American Dreams. Like Gorey, his mission in life is ‘to make everybody as uneasy as possible.'


‘Edward Gorey has been granted the most remarkable biography, one I believe he could have lived with. What was the likelihood that this singular genius could be restored, with such compassion and grace, within his whole context: Balanchine, surrealism, Frank O'Hara, Lady Murasaki, et al?’ Jonathan Lethem ‘Edward Gorey's ardent admirers have long known there is something about his work one can't quite pin down. Past all reason, Mark Dery has pinned it down. A genius book about a bookish genius’ Daniel Handler, author of A Series of Unfortunate Events ‘As a perfervid Goreyphile, I was a bit leery of a biography undertaking to spell out the details of his life. Did I really want to have the mystery solved? But Mark Dery drags the pond to revelatory result, contextualising and analysing Gorey, plunging into his obsessions, dissecting his sexuality, and even examining the philosophical import of nonsense while somehow managing to leave the central enigma radiantly intact. This is an absolutely riveting book about an utterly sui generis subject’ Alison Bechdel, author of Fun Home ‘Knowing Gorey’s full story, done sparkling justice by Mark Dery, will only make you adore him more’ Caitlin Doughty, author of Smoke Gets In Your Eyes ‘A devoted and highly readable biography of the illustrator who – from The Doubtful Guest to The Curious Sofa – defined and embodied a world of camp, gothic hilarity’ Ben Schott, Guardian Books of the Year ‘An entertaining account of an artist who liked to be coy with anybody who dared to write about him’ New York Times 'The best biographies are the result of a perfect match between author and subject, and it's relatively rare when the two align perfectly. But that's the case with Born to Be Posthumous Dery's book is smart, exhaustive and an absolute joy to read. He has given Gorey the biography he has long deserved' NPR

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