Mervyn Peake

TITUS GROAN

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As the novel opens, Titus, heir to Lord Sepulchrave, has just been born. He stands to inherit the miles of rambling stone and mortar that form Gormenghast Castle. Meanwhile, far away and in the kitchen, a servant named Steerpike escapes his drudgework and begins an auspicious ascent to power.Inside of Gormenghast, all events are predetermined by complex rituals, the origins of which are lost in time. The castle is peopled by dark characters in half-lit corridors. Dreamlike and macabre, Peake's extraordinary novel is one of the most astonishing and fantastic works in modern fiction.
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683 printed pages
Original publication
2007
Publication year
2007
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Quotes

  • tyahas quoted4 years ago
    Each stride was a gesture, a probing. It was a kind of downward, inward search, as though he knew that what was important for him, what he really understood and cared for, was below him, beneath his slowly moving feet. It was in the earth - it was the earth.
  • tyahas quoted4 years ago
    What Fuchsia wanted from a picture was something unexpected. It was as though she enjoyed the artist telling her something quite fresh and new. Something she had never thought of before.
  • tyahas quoted4 years ago
    This is a love that equals in its power the love of man for woman and reaches inwards as deeply. It is the love of a man or of a woman for their world. For the world of their centre where their lives burn genuinely and with a free flame.

    The love of the diver for his world of wavering light. His world of pearls and tendrils and his breath at his breast. Born as a plunger into the deeps he is at one with every swarm of lime-green fish, with every coloured sponge. As he holds himself to the ocean's faery floor, one hand clasped to a bedded whale's rib, he is complete and infinite. Pulse, power and universe sway in his body. He is in love.

    The love of the painter standing alone and staring, staring at the great coloured surface he is making. Standing with him in the room the rearing canvas stares back with tentative shapes halted in their growth, moving in a new rhythm from floor to ceiling. The twisted tubes, the fresh paint squeezed and smeared across the dry upon his palette. The dust beneath the easel. The paint has edged along the brushes' handles. The white light in a northern sky is silent. The window gapes as he inhales his world. His world: a rented room, and turpentine. He moves towards his half-born. He is in love.

    The rich soil crumbles through the yeoman's fingers. As the pearl diver murmurs, "I am home" as he moves dimly in strange water-lights, and as the painter mutters, "I am me" on his lone raft of floorboards, so the slow landsman on his acre'd marl - says with dark Fuchsia on her twisting staircase, "I am home."
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