Titus Alone

Titus Alone

by Mervyn Peake


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781585679928
Publisher: The Overlook Press
Publication date: 03/25/2008
Series: Gormenghast Trilogy
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 578,382
Product dimensions: 5.35(w) x 7.95(h) x 1.20(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Mervyn Peake (1911-1968) was a playwright, painter, poet, illustrator, short story writer, and designer of theatrical costumes, as well as a novelist. Among his many books are the celebrated Gormenghast novels, Titus Groan, Gormenghast, and Titus Alone, and the posthumously published Titus Awakes, the lost book of Gormenghast finished by Peake's wife Maeve Gilmore after his death. The Gormenghast novels, as well as Peake's other writingsMr. Pye and Peake's Progress, are all available from The Overlook Press.

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Titus Alone 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
jonathon.hodge on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The much-maligned conclusion of Peake's trilogy - I liked it the best.
Terpsichoreus on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Mervyn Peake was, by all accounts, a powerful presence, an electric character, and a singular creative force. While Tolkien's poetry is the part everyone skips, Peake's envigorates his books. His voice and tone are unique in the English language, and his characterization is grotesquely vivid. As an illustrator, he was perhaps somewhat less precise than Dore, but more evocative than Beardsley.All in all, his life and his vision were singular, from his birth in China to his years on Sark, and finally, his slow deterioration, until he was unable to speak, and drew only clowns in profile, capped as dunces. Though many suggest this deterioration marks the perceived failing of Titus Alone, Peake would complete his final illustrations more than a year later, and not succumb to death for another decade.There were some editorial problems with Titus Alone, and though they have been mostly repaired, there are still dissatisfied grumblings about the final form. The final Titus book is not easy to come to terms with, and indeed it took long thought and consideration. However, I will not coax or argue mitigating circumstances. This book is Peake's vision, and while not as expansive or clear as the others, it stands as its own work, and completes Peake's philosophical and literary journey as well as we could wish.Peake was never one to pander. He did not write in order to please, and he certainly did not write to facilitate escapism. He may have fashioned his work by aesthetic, so to mesmerize or mystify the ear, for to tug at the mind, and certainly to tickle the eye, but he did not give comfortable or simple answers.The first two books are rather congruous, despite the subtle shifts, the advances and retreats, the many skirmishes Peake engages the reader in, only to draw back the veil before any victory or defeat could be claimed. It was not Peake's intention to stroke and comfort his readers, but to take them from highs to lows, to present them with wonder and with a vast, unconquerable world of wretched beauty.Over the long stretch of the first two books, the reader becomes accustomed to the castle of Gormengast. The reader comes to identify with Titus' everyday struggles, with the plodding tradition. Even as characters die, others take their place, filling out the ranks, bolstering the ancient walls with their very breath.There is a safety in the tradition, in the comfort of Gormenghast, and in a world that remains unknown and always outside. Like Titus, the reader imagines that the outside world must be like the inside one. It cannot be so different, after all, from this crumbling castle, this place which has become another home to legions of happy readers.But any reader content to watch it all play out so familiarly has not been paying attention, has not been listening to Peake. Though there is always a call to that comfort, that tradition, we must not forget that tradition is death, is rot, is stagnant waters.Many readers find themselves utterly thrown when they first begin to encounter the world outside Gormenghast, and realize that it is not what they expected. However, it is difficult for me to imagine how such readers could at once praise Peake for the the singular, spectacular vision of the first two books, and then become upset when he continues to expand his vision. One would imagine they would prefer that he keep writing the same old revolutionary thing he wrote last time, and not give them such an unwelcome start.Peake continues a thread of literary exploration which draws through the great epics, from Homer to Virgil, Tasso, Ariosto, and Milton, to Byron, to Eliot. Like these great works, Peake explores the role and nature of the hero, of his connection to tradition, and of the purpose chosen for him.Originally, the hero was governed by his own mind, and in Odysseus, a mind devious beyond measure it proved. However, Virgil created a hero of tradition, of Piety, and of submission. His hero grasped tradition, trusting in it t
sgerbic on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Reviewed Feb 2005 Horrible, horrible story. It is as if Peake had asked someone else to write it using his characters. It took forever to figure out what was going on. And even then I barely figured it out. Titus in a modern world with elevators, helicopters and chemical factories? People floated throughout the story - with no introduction - dropped out of the story (ie...Black Rose) just as suddenly. And as I predicted Titus made his way back to Gormenghast, but by being dropped by a helicopter? It was a bit like "Alice in Wonderland" meets "The Prisoner" and maybe something by the author of "Enders Game". Rambling paragraphs, meaningless characters how could anyone get through this story taking it seriously as a work of a serious author. If he didn't have the first two successful books already published I can't see anyone touching this book for print. Titus's character is seen as someone on the verge of madness, inability to plan or see obvious consequences, unable to judge other peoples characters. I wish he would have died - that way Gormenghast would have to start a new linage with a new bloodline - one without bad leadership and madness. In a nutshell this book was like Glenda the Good being put in Kansas without her powers - trying to discover who she was, running from her responsibilities. I doubt I will ever read anything as bad as this again. God help me if this isn't true. 6-2005
ragwaine on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Absolutely brilliant writing, but it gets to be a little too much. Many long slow parts that could have been cut. Great colorful charaters, with really great names.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago