Only two weeks ago, while lurching down to Brandywine Valley in a rented Dodge Avenger to get away from the city and work, this Adagio from Bach’s f-minor violin sonata came on the XM classical music station and I remembered, quite without wanting to, that you were somehow fond of this Adagio although you hated most music, especially the kind with a dependable melody, which meant that more or less 95% of music was unpalatable to you for the simple, unreasonable fact that you abhorred having to keen along with any singing line that seemed designed to incite a Pavlovian progression of emotions and thoughts (but you liked this Adagio for its violin that refused to soar into a singing line above the sinfonia of the keyboard whose arabesques demurred in shadow) and so we listened to jazz mostly because such music was always an open invitation allowing you to jump in midstream and become swept for a while in whatever wanton currents before you exit again in midstream and such must have been the way you preferred to think of love, it occurs to me now, as a heartkilling longing which should not, can’t, ever be consummated nor reach arrival, remember me you this mad rush of ἵμερος, the cross current in which I was caught again as I watched the strawberry fields blur into a green ruin of himeros as I drove into the Logan Township in Pennsylvania, of course I should have known better than be startled at the sound of this Adagio resurrecting your memory, and so they are ever returning to us, the dead, is how Sebald summarized such resurrections, Sebald, whom I forced you to read, oh, you hated me for making you read tract after gray tract about the devastation of memory, which we willfully ignored when we kissed at the corner of 55th Street and 5th Avenue and shared an umbrella, headed to APT (does this place still exist?), you were wearing a pink sweater, which, by the otiose hour, was growing more crimson, the green bracelet trellised around your skinny wrist, tears strangely pooling in your eyes, the quivering, etiolated candlelight, perhaps this premonition of knowledge, again, that the stream cannot stay still nor hold our place in this crushed city in which we feverishly loved each other once and all too briefly like a dream.
(Image by Andre Wee)
Edward Gorey’s covers for Doubleday Anchor Paperbacks
In April 1953, Anchor opened up a new market for paperbacks: the “serious” or academic book. They were the brainchild of twenty-five year old Jason Epstein who convinced Doubleday of the market need for such books in paper editions particularly suited for college use. Epstein’s research so impressed the Doubleday executives that they created such a line and made him editor. The format was the same as the taller mass market size (Signet, Ballantine, etc.), but higher in price: 65¢ to $1.45. Anchor was well received from the start, reaching a mass audience through trade book outlets, campus bookstores and some drugstores. And they had Edward Gorey in charge of the covers.
As art editor, Gorey was responsible for the total cover package, supplying the lettering, typography and design layouts. Often other artist contributed the actual illustration: Leonard Baskin, Milton Glaser, Philippe Julian and even Andy Warhol; but Gorey then designed the finished product lending a uniform appearance to the whole line.
Gorey worked in this capacity from 1953 until 1960, a period which roughly corresponds with Anchor’s first two hundred titles. About a fourth of these have line drawn covers by Gorey. He also designed various covers for Vintage, Capricorn, Compass and other publications that followed Anchor’s lead.
Filed under: Edward Gorey