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Edward Gorey’s Fantod Pack

  • $14.95


We wholeheartedly endorse the revival of the parlor game, a game—especially a word game—played indoors. What occasions our enthusiasm is the discovery of Edward Gorey’s Fantod Pack, originally published in Esquire magazine in the sixties.

The Fantod Pack is a so-called "oracle deck"—a humorous, more free-wheeling version of a traditional Tarot set. An oracle deck can have any number of cards; the creator chooses the images and how the deck should be interpreted: a perfect project for Edward Gorey, whose trademark sense of impending doom is nowhere more darkly humorous than in his version. Each of the 20 cards forecasts a list of outcomes for the player ranging from the merely unpleasant (loss of hair, breakage, thwarted ambitions) to the downright horrible (catarrh, spasms, shriveling). A 32-page booklet provides interpretation of the cards courtesy of one Madame Groeda Weyrd, who Gorey tells us “is of mixed Finnish and Egyptian extraction, has devoted her life to divination, and is the author of, among a shelf of other works, Floating Tambourines, a collection of esoteric verse, and The Future Speaks Through Entrails.” Who but Gorey to make mirth from a kaleidoscope of catastrophe?

The cards are illustrated with his incomparable drawings, titled The Ladder, The Child, The Limb, The Yellow Bird, The Stones, The Effigy, The Insects, The Plant, The Waltzing Mouse, The Urn, The Feather, The Bundle, The Sea, The Ecorche, The Bottle, The Burning Head, The Blue Dog, The Ancestor, The Tunnel, Untitled. The interpretive booklet is a cover-to-cover masterpiece of Gorey’s weirdly imaginative world view. 

The illustrations were originally published in Esquire magazine in the sixties, and as a deck in 1995 by the legendary Gotham Book Mart.

Twenty (2½ x 4¾ in.) cards and a 32-page booklet in a decorative box. 

Edward Gorey (American, 1925–2000) was an artist, writer, and book designer. His drawings and stories, set in a vaguely Edwardian time frame, exhibit a special genius for what is left unseen and unsaid. Crosshatched characters and quirky narratives keep Gorey devotees in gleeful anticipation of decorous mayhem.

The creator of more than one hundred works—from a wealth of darkly hilarious books to the animated opening sequence of the PBS television series Mystery!—Gorey was a master of the amusing, the strange, and the unexpected. His artworks are collected and treasured throughout the world.

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