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Book Title: Titus Groan|
The author of the book: Mervyn Peake
ISBN 13: 9780749394929
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 993 KB
Edition: Vintage Classics
Date of issue: February 5th 1998
Read full description of the books:What an odd fantasy! No swords, no sorcery, no elves, no thieves, no imaginary beasts, no multiple planes of existence . . . nothing but a cavernous castle peopled by eccentrics with Dickensian names (Sepulchrave, Prunesquallor, Swelter, Flay) whose lives are determined by centuries--perhaps millenia--of complex rituals. Although the people themselves seem to be British, the enormous burden of tradition under which they labor seems Asiatic in its detailed intensity, and it is instructive to learn that Peake spent his formative years in China, not far from the Imperial City.
This is superior fantasy, but like The Worm Ouroboros it is not immediately accessible. Peak was a painter, and as a writer he exercises his painterly imagination by creating scenes--particularly his major ones, like the death-duel of Flay and Swelter--as if each moment were a tableau, part of a series of individual canvases. The reader is then faced with the duty of internalizing each of these stationary images, combining them into a progression, and then animating them--sort of like ruffling the pages of a cartoonist's flip book--in order to release the cinematic power of the scene. For someone like myself who possesses a third-rate visual imagination, this requires re-reading certain passages more than a couple of times.
I must admit, though, that Peake's approach has a certain cumulative power. It serves to preserve these odd, angular characters of his like flies in amber, trapped forever in their traditions like individual frames in an epic film, circumscribed by the labyrinthine spaces of the monstrous castle that is Gormenghast.
Read information about the authorMervyn Laurence Peake was an English modernist writer, artist, poet and illustrator. He is best known for what are usually referred to as the Gormenghast books, though the Titus books would be more accurate: the three works that exist were the beginning of what Peake conceived as a lengthy cycle, following his protagonist Titus Groan from cradle to grave, but Peake's untimely death prevented completion of the cycle, which is now commonly but erroneously referred to as a trilogy. They are sometimes compared to the work of his older contemporary J.R.R. Tolkien, but his surreal fiction was influenced by his early love for Charles Dickens and Robert Louis Stevenson rather than Tolkien's studies of mythology and philology.
Peake also wrote poetry and literary nonsense in verse form, short stories for adults and children ("Letters from a Lost Uncle"), stage and radio plays, and Mr Pye, a relatively tightly-structured novel in which God implicitly mocks the evangelical pretensions and cosy world-view of the eponymous hero.
Peake first made his reputation as a painter and illustrator during the 1930s and 1940s, when he lived in London, and he was commissioned to produce portraits of well-known people. A collection of these drawings is still in the possession of his family. Although he gained little popular success in his lifetime, his work was highly respected by his peers, and his friends included Dylan Thomas and Graham Greene. His works are now included in the collections of the National Portrait Gallery and the Imperial War Museum.
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