Mervyn Peake: Gormenghast

(615 words)

Written on Sark, where Peake went to live in the immediate postwar years, Gormenghast takes up the story of Titus Groan at the age of seven. Brought up in a community that ignores the rest of the world, he plays truant one day and rides his pony out beyond the walls. When he looks back from a crest and sees his castle home from a distance, he gains a whole new perspective on his life. Shortly after, he enters a forest and glimpses a sculpturesque girl, seemingly floating from branch to branch above him. It is the bastard daughter of his wet nurse, Keda, known as “the Thing”. Cast off by her people, she has run wild. The sight of her “explodes at the very centre of his conventions” and he becomes “haunted by …

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Winnington, G Peter. "Gormenghast". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 31 May 2006
[, accessed 27 September 2016.]