The Unstrung Harp, Or, Mr. Earbrass Writes a Novel

Front Cover
Harcourt Brace & Company, 1953 - Fiction - 64 pages
86 Reviews
On November 18th of alternate years Mr Earbrass begins writing 'his new novel.' Weeks ago he chose its title at random from a list of them he keeps in a little green note-book. It being tea-time of the 17th, he is alarmed not to have thought of a plot to which The Unstrung Harp might apply, but his mind will keep reverting to the last biscuit on the plate." So begins what the Times Literary Supplement called "a small masterpiece." TUH is a look at the literary life and its "attendant woes: isolation, writer's block, professional jealousy, and plain boredom." But, as with all of Edward Gorey's books, TUH is also about life in general, with its anguish, turnips, conjunctions, illness, defeat, string, parties, no parties, urns, desuetude, disaffection, claws, loss, trebizond, napkins, shame, stones, distance, fever, antipodes, mush, glaciers, incoherence, labels, miasma, amputation, tides, deceit, mourning, elsewards. You get the point. Finally, TUH is about Edward Gorey the writer, about Edward Gorey writing The Unstrung Harp. It's a cracked mirror of a book, and it's dedicated to RDP or Real Dear Person.

From inside the book

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
4 stars
3 stars
2 stars
1 star

The finest book on novel writing ever put to pen. - Goodreads
The pictures are just as amusing as the verbage. - Goodreads
A hilarious parody of the literary life gone awry. - Goodreads
The illustrations are simply marvellous. - Goodreads
Truly hilarious book about writing and publishing. - Goodreads
The truest book about writing I've ever read. - Goodreads

Review: The Unstrung Harp

User Review  - Jessica - Goodreads

All about regret and overthinking things. The first bit I have ever read by Gorey. I think that its a great book. Read full review

Review: The Unstrung Harp

User Review  - Kthxbai! - Goodreads

For the names alone this book gets three stars. Scuffle and Dustcough. The West Mortshire Impassioned Amateurs of Melpomene. Col. Knout, MFH of the Blathering Hunt. The fourth star is for Gorey's ... Read full review


Section 1
Section 2
Section 3

1 other sections not shown

Common terms and phrases

About the author (1953)

Edward Gorey (1925-2000) wrote and illustrated such popular books as The Doubtful Guest, The Gashlycrumb Tinies, and The Headless Bust. He was also a very successful set and costume designer, earning a Tony Award for his Broadway production of Edward Gorey's Dracula. Animated sequences of his work have introduced the PBS series Mystery! since 1980.

Bibliographic information