by Mervyn Peake, John Constable

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781849435819
Publisher: Oberon Books
Publication date: 05/28/2012
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 72
File size: 542 KB

About the Author

Mervyn Peake was born in 1911 in Kuling, Central Southern China, where his father was a medical missionary. His education began in China and then continued at Eltham College in South East London, followed by the Croydon School of Art and the Royal Academy Schools. Subsequently he became an artist, married the painter Maeve Gilmore in 1937 and had three children.During the Second World War he established a reputation as a gifted book illustrator for Ride a Cock Horse (1940), The Hunting of the Snark (1941), and The Rime of The Ancient Mariner (1943). Other books include Alice's Adventure's in Wonderland and Grimm's Household Tales (both 1946) and Treasure Island (1949).

Titus Groan was published in 1946, followed in 1950 by Gormenghast. Among his other works are Shapes and Sounds (1941), Rhymes Without Reason (1944), Letters from a Lost Uncle (1948) and Mr Pye (1953). Titus Alone was published in 1959. Mervyn Peake died in 1968.

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Gormenghast 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
LisaMaria_C on LibraryThing 4 months ago
Gormenghast is the middle part of a trilogy, and you should read Titus Groan first if you haven't already. It took me a long time to warm up to Titus Groan and I only got hooked about half-way through. At first I didn't like any of the characters, and Peake's style is forbidding at times. The pace is beyond leisurely--Peake takes his time. He was a visual artist and at times you can practically feel the detailed brush work in his word pictures that use a rich, sometimes abstruse vocabulary. It's the kind of narrative for which you have to have patience, but is rewarding because the imagery is so vivid. So, having been won over to the style and gained favorites among the characters, I expected to fall right into the sequel. I didn't find that to be the case, I think because the very characters I was most attached to weren't featured much in the first 100 pages--one of them didn't appear until well after that mark. Instead a whole new cast of characters appeared. Titus was barely over a year old at the end of the first book--at the start of this book he's now he's seven-years-old--a schoolboy--and we get to meet his professors. It was amusingly Hogwartesque, especially as we get in one chapter a game with boys flying in the air (sans magic) with the star player sporting black hair and a birthmark on his forehead. And the outcome of that game... well, it produced a rather macabre giggle. Then there was this moment with Titus and his sister Lady Fuchsia bonding... And well, by the time we get to the scene with Titus playing marbles with the elderly headmaster and Dr Prune, I was once again enthralled. In fact, I'd say I liked this book a tad more than the first volume.And I have to say, while I wouldn't precisely say I was fond of him, I increasingly found Steerpike one of the most fascinating villains in fantasy literature. He'd be admirable were he not so evil--brilliant, cunning, brave, athletic and ambitious--he makes Rowling's Lord Voldemort look like a crude amateur. And he and Titus were interesting foils for each other.So, now on to Titus Alone, the last part of the trilogy. It's about half of the size of the first two books, and I have it on good authority it's even weirder!
patience_crabstick on LibraryThing 4 months ago
I'm so glad I discovered the Gormenghast series. Mervyn Peake is the most beautifully descriptive writer I've ever read. Gormenghast castle is as much of a character as the people in this novel. Gormenghast is the second novel in the Gormenghast trilogy, and it tells of the last days of the ancient Gormenghast line, as Titus, the 77th Earl of Gormenghast rebels against the life he is expected to lead, and Steerpike, the former kitchen boy, plots to take over all. This is a series I will definitely reread.
jayne_charles on LibraryThing 5 months ago
There seemed to be a lot more scope for entertainment in this, the second book in the trilogy. For a start, we are introduced to the staff of the local school for the first time. This leads to surely the funniest single scene in the entire series - where the teacher wakes up having fallen asleep in the middle of a lesson to see.......well, I can't spoil it, but it was well worth reading.On the other hand, some parts of the story seemed to go on much too long (in particularly the will-he-or-won't-he-drown section, which lasted so long I almost lost the will to live). I haven't yet read the last in the series but may well do so one day.
sashmigosh on LibraryThing 5 months ago
One of the best books ever written!
dmsteyn on LibraryThing 5 months ago
'¿ when, before a masterpiece, the acid throat contracts, and words are millstones¿' - p.535 of the Illustrated Trilogy`Words are millstones¿ ¿ too true, and Peake¿s Gormenghast, being a masterpiece, presents one with an equally weighty task when trying to review it. The second book in what is erroneously known as the `Gormenghast Trilogy¿ (it is not a trilogy, and Peake preferred to call them the Titus novels), Gormenghast continues the story of Titus Groan, 77th Earl of Groan, from his seventh year up to his coming of age. It portrays Titus¿ development from callow youth to rebellious adolescent, ending with what Peake describes as Titus `outgrowing his kingdom¿. There are also various subplots that illuminate the themes of loyalty and rebellion, from the continued rise of the main antagonist, Steerpike, to a delightful (if indulgent) subplot involving the faculty of Titus¿ educators, in which his headmaster, Bellgrove, finds love in the most unexpected of places.Like Titus Groan, the first book in the cycle, Gormenghast is mainly concerned with an exploration of character: it has even been called a `fantasy of manners¿. You will find neither magic in the novel, nor such pseudo-medieval accoutrements as knights or wizards. There is no map at the beginning of the book. You will search in vain for elves, dwarves or dragons. Peake writes more in the tradition of Dickens than Tolkien, although to say he writes in a tradition is misleading. Nothing quite resembles Gormenghast, not even the other two books in the series. Whereas Titus Groan was a much more contained novel, relating only about a year¿s action, Gormenghast stretches the bounds of the Bildungsroman, while Titus Alone will go off on a whole other tangent, with its theme of the stranger in a strange land. Gormenghast is hard to describe, except as the emanation of a truly original mind.Peake writes with the eye of an artist, which he was. But he is more than merely a good setter of scenes. He is equally adept at creating tension, eliciting emotion, and plotting his novel. The book can also be unexpectedly funny ¿ Peake likes to tease the reader with his wordplay, but also with straight-faced asides that can be hilarious. For instance, in this passage, the young students of Gormenghast are playing an illicit game with hand-held catapults:'There had been a time when clay ¿ and even glass marbles were used; but after the third death and a deal of confusion in the hiding of the bodies, it was decided to be content with paper bullets.'This is so unexpected, and delivered with such deadpan seriousness, that I could not help but roar with laughter. The image of seven-year olds nonchalantly disposing of the bodies of their classmates ¿ with a `deal of confusion¿, at that ¿ tickles the sadist in me, I guess. But Peake can also be heart-achingly sombre and serious. The fate of Fuchsia, Titus¿ dreamy, awkward sister, had me in tears near the end of the book. This is thanks to Peake¿s amazing skill at characterisation: he draws out the peculiarities of each of his cast, forming fully-rounded personalities. My favourite character has to be Dr. Prunesquallor. Not only is he a hilariously verbose dandy, but he is also a man of discerning tastes and extreme intelligence, with a compassionate heart to boot.The two main characters, according to my interpretation of the book, are Titus and Steerpike. They represent opposites who are, however, subtly intertwined. Titus, the privileged golden boy, seems a far cry from Steerpike, the former kitchen boy who, through deceit and skulduggery, scaled his way to a position of rank in the Gormenghast hierarchy. They are both, however, rebels at heart, willing to subvert the ancient laws of Gormenghast to reach their goals. Yet there are differences between them even on this front, differences of method and scale. Whereas Steerpike is willing to do anything to gain stature, with rebellion serving only as a means to an end, Titus only wishes to esca
TerrapinJetta on LibraryThing 5 months ago
Really enjoyed the first book, not so much the others because I didn't relate as much to the characters. Also, the mad owl earl was totally awesome.
sgerbic on LibraryThing 5 months ago
Reviewed Feb 2005 In this second novel by Peake the author becomes more detailed and numbers his chapters instead of titling as he did in his last novel. The story closely follows the movie it end with the Death of Steerpike and Titus leaving on horseback to seek his destiny. Oddly there is another novel "Titus Alone" I am curious to see what happens to him, but am almost afraid to read it as it probably deals with him just riding around - living off the land and finally coming back home ready to rule. I found the death of Fucia unnecessary and anticlimactic. As well as the character, "the Thing" what was that all about. Surly Titus could have learned about freedom some other way. As far as the story being believable it really reached to imagine that the valley and the castle could be flooded so quickly with little rain. The countess states to Titus that there is nowhere but Gormenghast, there must be other countries. Why is there no trade. where does the countess come from, what is her history? Were is Titus and Fucia supposed to find mates? He details the surroundings but never answers the basic questions. 6-2005
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