The Gormenghast Trilogy by Mervyn Peake

Lisa Quintana
Student, MFA

What Tolkien is in America, Mervyn Peake is in Great Britain. The Gormenghast Trilogy follows Titus Groan, 77th Earl of Groan, from his birth in Titus Groan, through his winning of his Earldom in Gormenghast and his discovery of his Earldom’s place in the wider world in Titus Alone. Peake wrote at the same time as Orwell, but is more often compared to Tolkien because of his books’ surreal settings and fancifully-named characters.

Peake’s use of language and ability to create characters that are exaggerated to the point of caricature but still touching and believable make his books a wonderful read. I originally read them for the story, but I find myself going back to them to see how he achieves certain effects in his writing.
Gormenghast: The Official Website
Who was Mervyn Peake? PBS
“Ways With Words: Interview with Mervyn Peake’s Children,” Philip Womack, The Guardian

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