The Iron Tonic

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The Iron Tonic: Or, A Winter Afternoon in Lonely Valley was a poetry collection written by Edward Gorey and originally published in 1969 by Albondoncani Press in a limited edition printing of 226 copies.[1] It is now reprinted and in circulation by Harcourt, Inc. in the form of a small, hardbound book that is illustrated on both front and back covers.

Dedicated to the memory of the author's maternal grandmother, Helen St. John Garvey, and written and illustrated in true Gorey fashion, the work comprises 14 panels of illustration and rhyming text in iambic pentameter. It tells the story of an eerie, melancholy hotel, where the people are either old or unwell.

Literary reception[edit]

Wim Tigges described the book as "a compilation of hardly related couplets", in which nonsense objects "are seen to be falling unaccountably out of the sky". Tigges notes it uses a device commonly used in Gorey's writing, being "the unexplained recurrence of an irrelevant object".[2]


  1. ^ Jones, Stephen (2012). The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror: Volume 12. Constable & Robinson Ltd. p. 300. ISBN 9781780337128. 
  2. ^ Tigges, Wim (1988). An Anatomy of Literary Nonsense. Rodopi. p. 190. ISBN 9789051830194.