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The Gormenghast Novels (Titus Groan / Gormenghast / Titus Alone)

Mervyn Peake; Introduction-Anthony Burgess; Introduction-Quentin Crisp

7,480 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0879516283 / ISBN 13: 9780879516284
Published by Overlook Press, 1995
Used Condition: Used: Good Soft cover
From Ergodebooks (RICHMOND, TX, U.S.A.)

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Bibliographic Details

Title: The Gormenghast Novels (Titus Groan / ...

Publisher: Overlook Press

Publication Date: 1995

Binding: Paperback

Book Condition:Used: Good

About this title

Synopsis:

The first complete paperback edition of the restored Gormenghast Novels, including twelve critical essays and the original fragment of Mervyn Peake's unfinished fourth novel, Titus Awakes.

A doomed lord, an emergent hero, an array of bizarre creatures, and an ancient royal family plagued by madness and intrigue―these are the denizens of ancient, sprawling, tumbledown Gormenghast Castle. Within its vast halls and serpentine corridors, the members of the Groan dynasty and their master Lord Sepulchrave grow increasingly out of touch with a changing world as they pass their days in unending devotion to meaningless rituals and arcane traditions. Meanwhile, an ambitious kitchen boy named Steerpike rises by devious means to the post of Master of the Ritual while he maneuvers to bring down the Groans.

In these extraordinary novels, Peake has created a world where all is like a dream: lush, fantastical, vivid; a symbol of dark struggle. Accompanying the text are Peake's own drawings, illustrating the whole assembly of strange creatures that inhibit Gormenghast.

Breathtaking in its power and drenched in dark atmosphere, humor and intrigue, The Gormenghast Trilogy is a classic, one of the great works of 20th century British literature.

Review:

Mervyn Peake's gothic masterpiece, the Gormenghast trilogy, begins with the superlative Titus Groan, a darkly humorous, stunningly complex tale of the first two years in the life of the heir to an ancient, rambling castle. The trilogy continues with the novels Gormenghast and Titus Alone, and all three books are bound together in this single-volume edition.

The Gormenghast royal family, the castle's decidedly eccentric staff, and the peasant artisans living around the dreary, crumbling structure make up the cast of characters in these engrossing stories. Peake's command of language and unique style set the tone and shape of an intricate, slow-moving world of ritual and stasis:

"The walls of the vast room which were streaming with calid moisture, were built with gray slabs of stone and were the personal concern of a company of eighteen men known as the 'Grey Scrubbers'.... On every day of the year from three hours before daybreak until about eleven o'clock, when the scaffolding and ladders became a hindrance to the cooks, the Grey Scrubbers fulfilled their hereditary calling."

Peake has been compared to Dickens, Tolkien, and Peacock, but the Gormenghast trilogy is truly unique. Unforgettable characters with names like Steerpike and Prunesquallor make their way through an architecturally stifling world, with lots of dark corners around to dampen any whimsy that might arise. This true classic is a feast of words unlike anything else in the world of fantasy. Those who explore Gormenghast castle will be richly rewarded. --Therese Littleton

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