Mervyn Peake

I came into contact with the works of Mervyn Peake (1911-1968) in the Guernsey Museum and Art Gallery, almost exactly on his centenary.

There was a small but very attractive show of his paintings, sketches and novels.

There's a connection to Sark, one of the smaller Channel Islands. Peake lived there for several years and one of his novels, Mr Pye is set on Sark.
I bought Mr Pye in the shop, started reading it in the tea-room and couldn't stop, something that happens very seldom.

Mr Pye goes to the island of Sark to awaken the love for God in the islanders. However, there are some unexpected developments ....

And now I'm discovering all the other parts of Mervyn Peake, the illustrator of books like Alice in Wonderland, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Bleak House, or Treasure Island, the artist, the poet, the playwright, and, of course, the writer and novelist of Gormenghast.

At the moment I'm reading the Gormenghast Trilogy.

It's the story of Titus Groan, the Seventy Seventh Earl of Gormenghast, a dark, spacious and mysterious castle full of the most incredible people, rooms and artefacts. It's a work of fantasy, very strange and very humorous. Nothing is clear-cut, as happens so often in fantasy novels. The characters are complex and eccentric like real people. It's one of those books you can dive into and just enjoy the language, the ideas behind, the atmosphere.

There's a Gormenghast film, already in my possession (;-)), but it will be watched only after having finished the book.

A lot of information can be found on the official Mervyn Peake Website. There's also a Blog by Sebastian Peake, his son.

And here's the link to a Mini-Video of the first part of the Gormenghast film.


Lydia said...

This is fabulous information. I am not familiar with him at all, Francessa. I would love to delve into your links but am so behind in many things. When you tell me your impressions of the trilogy it will be a reminder to return to this post. He illustrated Alice in Wonderland? That's amazing to know!

It was only recently that I became aware that Victor Hugo drew the famous drawing of Cosette, the one that is used in all the promotions of the musical. It blew my mind.

You said that you seldom start a book and cannot put it down. That is the same with me, so I trust that Mr. Pye is a great book.

francessa said...

Hi Lydia,

yes, Pye is a good read! I'll remind you of Mervyn Peake! At the moment I'm on page 441 of 953. So, there's a little time left because I cannot read all day long..:-)

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