I'm a cultural critic, essayist, and the author of four books: Escape Velocity, a critique of the libertarian-bro ideology that dominated the Digital Revolution of the '90s; two studies of American mythologies (and pathologies) The Pyrotechnic Insanitarium: American Culture on the Brink and the essay collection I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts, and, most recently, the biography Born To Be Posthumous: The Eccentric Life and Mysterious Genius of Edward Gorey.
I've taught journalism at NYU and "dark aesthetics" at the Yale School of Art; been a Chancellor's Distinguished Fellow at UC Irvine, a Visiting Scholar at the American Academy in Rome, and a Poynter Journalism Fellow at Yale. My byline has appeared in a broad range of publications, including New York, The New York Times Magazine, Rolling Stone, Elle, Bookforum, Boing Boing, Cabinet, The Daily Beast, Hyperallergic, Salon, Wired, The Washington Post, and The LA Review of Books.
I popularized the concept of "culture jamming" and, in my 1993 essay, "Black to the Future” (in the academic anthology of cybercriticism, Flame Wars, which I edited), coined the term "Afrofuturism.”
Born to Be Posthumous: The Eccentric Life and Mysterious Genius of Edward Gorey
The definitive biography of Edward Gorey, the eccentric master of macabre nonsense.
"A genius book about a bookish genius" - Daniel Handler, author of A Series of Unfortunate Events
From The Gashlycrumb Tinies to The Doubtful Guest, Edward Gorey's wickedly funny and deliciously sinister little books have influenced our culture in innumerable ways, from the works of Tim Burton and Neil Gaiman to Lemony Snicket. Some even call him the Grandfather of Goth.
But who was this man, who lived with over twenty thousand books and six cats, who roomed with Frank O'Hara at Harvard, and was known – in the late 1940s, no less – to traipse around in full-length fur coats, clanking bracelets, and an Edwardian beard? An eccentric, a gregarious recluse, an enigmatic auteur of whimsically morbid masterpieces, yes – but who was the real Edward Gorey behind the Oscar Wildean pose?
He published over a hundred books and illustrated works by Samuel Beckett, T.S. Eliot, Edward Lear, John Updike, Charles Dickens, Hilaire Belloc, Muriel Spark, Bram Stoker, Gilbert & Sullivan, and others. At the same time, he was a deeply complicated and conflicted individual, a man whose art reflected his obsessions with the disquieting and the darkly hilarious.
Based on newly uncovered correspondence and interviews with personalities as diverse as John Ashbery, Donald Hall, Lemony Snicket, Neil Gaiman, and Anna Sui, Born to be Posthumous draws back the curtain on the eccentric genius and mysterious life of Edward Gorey.