The Unstrung Harp, Or, Mr. Earbrass Writes a Novel
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.
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admired afternoon allowed amount Angus appear arrival assumes become belonged better Bloaters brass begins brown Century Chapter characters cold Colonel concerned copies of TUH cousin dawn deal desk dinner DREADFUL Earbrass early engaged everything fall feel felt finished five floor Getting Glassglue Hall hand happen horror House inadequate induce keep least leaving literary London looks lower Meaning ment mind Minor minutes months Mortshire Nether Millstone night notes novel origin paper PARTIES past perhaps plot pointless possible published received remark rereading right-hand Scuffle and Dustcough seems sent sentence short sick side sleep sort stairs stands staring stopped stuffed things thinks third thought TION tracted Unstrung Harp walk weeks later West window wondering worse writing wrong