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About the book
  • Published: 1 September 2011
  • ISBN: 9781409019794
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 960

The Illustrated Gormenghast Trilogy


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A tour de force that ranks as one of the twentieth century's most remarkable feats of imaginative writing.

Peake's books are actual additions to life; they give, like certain rare dreams, sensations we never had before, and enlarge our conception of the range of possible experience' C.S. Lewis

Enter the world of Gormenghast. The vast crumbling castle to which the seventy-seventh Earl, Titus Groan, is Lord and heir. Titus is expected to rule this Gothic labyrinth of turrets and dungeons, cloisters and corridors as well as the eccentric and wayward subject. Things are changing in the castle and Titus must contend with a kingdom about to implode beneath the weight of centuries of intrigue, treachery, manipulation and murder.

  • Pub date: 1 September 2011
  • ISBN: 9781409019794
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 960

About the Author

Mervyn Peake

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). 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). He also wrote a number of plays including The Wit to Woo (1957), which was met by critical failure. Titus Alone was published in 1959. Mervyn Peake died in 1968.

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Praise for The Illustrated Gormenghast Trilogy

“Dark, dense, baroque and hauntingly beautiful. Peake's lush prose and imagery are a pleasure to any lover of the beauty of the written word. A word of warning, however: this one takes its time. Most readers are used to more watery offerings - this is thick, creamy and extra-rich”

Carlos Ruiz-Zafron, Guardian

“A master of the macabre and a traveller through the deeper and darker chasms of the imagination”

The Times

“I discovered it at 15 and have been rediscovering it ever since. It's a profoundly enchanting world, but there are no elves or spells the magic is purely in the writing”

Joanne Harris

“I started reading it and did not stop.The images conjured up the most weird visions. Images that I had not encountered since absorbing my first introduction to the world of William Blake. It is a fantastic, almost surrealistic flow of vision”

Ronald Searle

“Not least among Mervyn Peake's virtues was his ability to be serious while involved in grotesque humour, and to be idiosyncratic while being completely professional. And that drawing was the essential of all he did”

Quentin Blake

“A wonderful story, a saga of somewhere strange that beats Tolkien into a cocked hat. Superb language and extraordinary imagination”

Ranulph Fiennes

“'The Drowning Girl' was inspired by Peake... Fushia was my dream. The idea of the infinite, of the unreal, of the innocence dying”

Robert Smith, The Cure

“His novels, said Burgess, are 'aggressively three-dimensional... showing the poet as well as the draughtsman.. It is difficult in post-war English fiction to get away with big rhetorical gestures. Peake manages it because, with him, grandiloquence never means diffuseness' there is no musical emptiness in the most romantic of his descriptions. He is always exact.. . [Titus Groan] remains essentially a work of the closed imagination, in which a world parallel to our own is presented in almost paranoiac denseness of detail. But the madness is illusory, and control never falters. It is, if you like, a rich wine of fancy chilled by the intellect to just the right temperature. There is no really close relative to it in all our prose literature. It is uniquely brilliant.'”

Anthony Burgess

“His novels, said Burgess, are 'aggressively three-dimensional... showing the poet as well as the draughtsman.. It is difficult in post-war English fiction to get away with big rhetorical gestures. Peake manages it because, with him, grandiloquence never means diffuseness' there is no musical emptiness in the most romantic of his descriptions. He is always exact.. . [Titus Groan] remains essentially a work of the closed imagination, in which a world parallel to our own is presented in almost paranoiac denseness of detail. But the madness is illusory, and control never falters. It is, if you like, a rich wine of fancy chilled by the intellect to just the right temperature. There is no really close relative to it in all our prose literature. It is uniquely brilliant.'”

Anthony Burgess


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