“The Recently Deflowered Girl” (1965) – Illustrated by Edward Gorey

by Joey deVilla on January 10, 2009

This article was updated on May 11, 2009 in response to a request from attorneys for Edward Gorey’s estate. They were actually pretty cool; instead of a full takedown notice, they said I could keep up to 10% of the content of the book in the article and state that permission to reproduce said excerpts has been provided by the Edward Gorey Charitable Trust.

I knew that Shel Silverstein published different works aimed for “kid” and “adult” audiences, but I had no idea that Edward Gorey did the same – at least not until I saw The Recently Deflowered Girl. It’s a 1965 parody of etiquette books that seems quaint now, but must’ve seemed racy back in those days when Playboy was where you got not just the pictures of nude women, but good advice on stereos and cocktails.

Someone on LiveJournal published scans from the book this week. Since its posting, it got popular and the account – and hence the scans of the book – were deleted. I copied the images before that happened, and — with the permission of Edward Gorey’s estate’s lawyers, I’ve been allowed to publish a selection of the pages from the book for your enjoyment.

Present-day pop culture likes to portray Asian men, a category of which I am a member, as effete and unmasculine. Oddly enough, The Recently Deflowered Girl bucked this trend in that ten percent of the book’s deflowerings were carried out by Chinese men, the most-cited ethnicity in the book. I thought it only fitting that I post those two deflowerings. To my horny Asian brothers, this one’s for you, and as we like to say: Everybody Wang Chung tonight!

Click on any of the scans below to see them at full size:




{ 35 comments… read them below or add one }

Lynk January 10, 2009 at 12:06 pm

Haha, creepy but tasteful all at the same time!

Kara January 10, 2009 at 5:11 pm

You have saved the day. I was dying to see these! Thanks so, so much~!

Ah-ha! January 10, 2009 at 5:28 pm


Sterlingspider January 10, 2009 at 9:26 pm

I was just about to copy these when I saw it had been taken down. Your re-post has totally made my day!

none January 10, 2009 at 10:40 pm

“Where’s the baby?” “I’m the baby.”

Ads January 11, 2009 at 5:20 am

Entertaining and educational but plainly disturbing

Robbo January 11, 2009 at 3:36 pm

So glad to find this preserved after it was taken down. Many thanks!

Aishwarya January 11, 2009 at 4:19 pm

Thank you!

Jack January 11, 2009 at 6:25 pm

Thank God for you.

Seth Christenfeld January 11, 2009 at 11:29 pm

i was unaware that Edward Gorey published anything for children.

Sean January 12, 2009 at 12:25 pm

I’m so glad you snatched these before the post went down. Are they afraid of popularity over there on Found Objects? 😉

Ricardo Velmor January 12, 2009 at 3:57 pm

Thanks a lot! I love Gorey and this book is extremely funny.

Matt Tauber January 12, 2009 at 9:23 pm

This is one of the most bizarre things I’ve ever seen.

Elizabeth January 13, 2009 at 1:21 am

Seth is correct. Edward Gorey, according to Edward Gorey, did not publish anything for children. If you enjoyed this book of his, you might also find The Curious Sofa entertaining. It’s very subtly sexual.

Joey deVilla January 13, 2009 at 2:06 am

Seth and Elizabeth: Perhaps I was mistaken in assuming that Gorey’s work was for kids, but I always thought of The Gashlycrumb Tinies as darkly funny children’s lit. Perhaps it’s because I stumbled across them at age 7 in the library, and later stumbled into their possible inspiration, Harry Graham’s Ruthless Rhymes for Heartless Homes, which had goodies like:

In the drinking well
Which the plumber built her
Aunt Maria fell;
We must buy a filter.

adrena January 13, 2009 at 8:58 am

I have no doubt whatsoever that this satire was created for adults who actually knew what de-flowered meant. In a time of sexual liberation and hedonism like the 60’s,, this was the New Yorker crowd’s idea of amusing. Etiquette books in general were a thing of the past by then, notwithstanding Emily Post and Letitia Baldridge who appealed to brides, debutantes and their mothers. The books made a slight comeback due to ms manners and that ubiquitous ex-con,, Martha Stewart but it is difficult to find anyone today who practices good manners.

Liz January 13, 2009 at 11:55 am

Not that it matters terribly, but it kind of looks like Gorey only did the illustrations on this. It looks like someone named Mel Juffe (not a pseudonym?) may have written the text. Still, never seen this, it rather creepily made my day. I miss Edward Gorey.

David January 13, 2009 at 12:33 pm

I’ve been following the sudden interest in this title across the Web with some interest the past few days. Thought everyone might be interested in the text from the jacket of the UK edition… Front flap: For more than half a century Miss HYACINTHS PHYPPS has been offering guidance on proper behaviour.
Her simple rules of propriety and commonsense have helped a generation of girls over the threshold to womanhood.
Recognising the need that prevails more today than ever before, Miss Phypps has, at last, been persuaded to put between the two covers of this priceless volume her words of advice that have been so valuable on so many typical
It is the publishers’ fondest hope that this book will serve the current generation of young ladies as it served their mothers.

‘there are surely lessons
to be learned here
by all of us’
‘an invaluable guide’
‘this book recalls many happy memories
THE REVEREND RANDY POTT Rector of St. Jarvis-in-the-Sludge

David January 13, 2009 at 12:38 pm

On the point of Gorey and children’s books. Whatever he might have said, I believe The Wuggly Ump is a children’s story – the illustrations and text appeal much less to me as an adult than his other books do and they have a distinct air and style of children’s book.

Of course Gorey did illustrate (beautifully) many other authors’ books for children (John Ciardi being a regular).

Kirsten Rae Simonsen January 13, 2009 at 3:06 pm


Katrina January 13, 2009 at 5:08 pm

Thanks, Joey, you made my day! And thanks, too, to David, for the text on the UK edition. Gorey is so gloriously un-PC.

Devil's Advocate January 13, 2009 at 5:20 pm

I’m so glad you snatched these before the post went down. Are they afraid of popularity over there on Found Objects? 😉

More likely the original poster and the community were afraid of litigation. Hate to be a hater, but posting a book, still under copyright, online in it’s entirety is not exactly a legal thing to do.

Melody January 13, 2009 at 6:58 pm

Thanks for posting this. I’ve only seen in behind glass and never the actual contents.

Brian January 13, 2009 at 8:42 pm

This is so odd – I luv it!

Mel January 14, 2009 at 11:46 am

Legendary children’s book editor Ursula Nordstrom contracted Gorey to do a children’s book but he never delivered a final product and the contract remained unfulfilled.

Gus Andrews January 14, 2009 at 3:14 pm

What do you mean, The Gashlycrumb Tinies isn’t for kids? I had it memorized before I turned ten! 🙂

Gorey wrote a few books which were particularly appealing and not too scary when I was small; my parents started me on The Bug Book; The Wuggly Ump was fun because it rhymed; and The Sopping Thursday, while sort of confusing, also included no sex or violence. And of course, he did all those illustrations for John Bellairs books, Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats by T.S. Eliot, and a handful of fairytales.

David January 14, 2009 at 3:46 pm

Gorey’s Rumpelstiltskin is pretty cool. The Scholastic edition retold by Edith Tarcov.

As for other risque Gorey pieces, he did a great colour illustration for a magazine (alas I don’t know which, as all I have now is a single page removed) for a travel piece by Dick Martin (of laugh-in fame who died last year). It shows a man and woman, presumably naked, hoding a large suitcase up covering their bodies. The various destination stickers all over the suitcase could be sen as rather naughty in their shapes and placement.

The Fraught Settee is another great Gorey piece, done as a set of cards and one of his limited edition books. It first appeared in Town and Country. We have the two pages from the mag framed above our bed. It carries on his obsession with the miracle substance ‘QRV’! To quote just a couple of the texts to the illustrations: If thou were mine, we should recline/Upon a silk settee;/And bits we’d take of angel cake/We’d dipped in Q.R.V. —– You must be mine!We’ll look divine/Upon a black settee;/Morceaux we’ll take of marble cake/And tasse de Q.R.V.

David January 14, 2009 at 3:47 pm

What about the Gorey illustrated Son of the Martini Cookbook? That’s terrific and of a similar time.

Curious Sofa January 15, 2009 at 2:45 am

Look for The Curious Sofa for another great Edward Gorey erotic story.

lomagirl January 18, 2009 at 9:46 pm

Very fun! Thank you for sharing this.

Kyle Drake January 26, 2009 at 5:04 pm

I love the New Yorker style of humor. I hope to randomly stumble onto this at a thrift store someday.

Catherine January 28, 2009 at 1:23 pm

OHMYGOD. Thank you. I am SUCH a whore for Gorey, yet I never knew this existed. Check out The Curious Sofa by him, I think it may be under Ogdred Weary. It’s a frolickin’ good time.

Elaina January 31, 2009 at 5:06 pm

LOL I love it, this made my day. I will have to find a way to use these in my real life because I live in a rural town where heels and skirts make one a bit of a strumpet.

Jonas July 8, 2009 at 7:58 am

The Brandywine Museum just showed a fantastic exhibition of EG´s works – Pomegranate published a wonderful catlogue. For non-US editions of Gorey´s book (even Chinese, Serbian, Czech, Portuguese…… editions) try http://www.goreyality.com

Scott Russo September 23, 2009 at 12:24 pm

I don’t know if Gorey’s estate reps told you but The Recently Deflowered Girl is being reissued by Bloomsbury. I had the pleasure of working on the project, basically recreating a new book from a worn copy of the old one without any original art or film to help us out. I love Gorey so I went the extra mile digitally recoloring it. I hope you post a link on your site letting all the Gorey fans out there know the book is back in print and available at amazon.com.
Scott Russo


Along with The Recently Deflowered Girl, Bloomsbury is also reissuing The Glorious Nosebleed and The West Wing.



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