Posted by: annegab | December 3, 2012

The Naughty Nineties: A Saucy Victorian Pop-Up Book for Adults Only | Brain Pickings.

The Naughty Nineties: A Saucy Victorian Pop-Up Book for Adults Only | Brain Pickings.

ref=as_li_ss_tilAs I’m doing perusing the internet for possible resources and ideas for my final I came upon this most scandalous post about Victorian Pop-Up Book for Adults Only, by Edward Gorey and published in 1982 (Gorey was an American writer /artist and known for his macabre illustrated books) .  The images are quite entertaining, but they also bring to light the issue of repressed sexuality and the representation of women as objects. From a couple of the images seen in the post, the gaze appears to always be that of a man. The woman  is depicted either as a seductress (can-can dancer, maid etc) or sultry wife (actually, who knows if these images are representations of married Victorian couples!). The sauciness lies in the fact that a scene first appears quite innocent until you move the tab and the real intentions of the figures in the image are revealed. However, I’m disappointed in the fact that many of these women appear as fetishes for these Victorian men. I wonder if Gorey actually offers images of women acting as instigators of titillating acts? The fact that the book supposedly amuses a modern audience and yet continues to adhere to the dominant discourse of men as the possessor of the gaze leaves it found wanting for a more inclusive discourse.


  1. Gorey was actually a very interesting man, a brilliant illustrator. You can visit his home on Cape Cod, The Elephant House, made into a museum after his death. He is best known for his macabre images and dark humor, this is a book I am not overtly aware of. Check out some more of his illustrations and you will see.

  2. J’Adore Edward Gorey! Dealing with female sexuality and great for giggles check out:

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