Painting in Text: "The Gormenghast Trilogy" by Marvin Peake

The Gormenghast Novels - Quentin Crisp, Anthony Burgess, Mervyn Peake

I consider it pointless to compare Tolkien and Peake; you might as well argue whether Raymond Chandler is better than Ivy Compton-Burnett. I would only point out, since I believe no one has so far, that in Gormenghast, unlike Middle Earth, Sex exists. I also think Peake fits into the Gothic tradition in literature – it is surprising that a book containing no magic or mythological creatures or supernatural events is so reflexively categorized as “fantasy”, but perhaps, without that classification, one would have to consider it “sui generis”. I agree too with the comment about Peake’s writing being pictorial; at times when reading Titus Groan or Gormenghast, it is like allowing ones eye to wander into a large detailed canvas by Bosch or Breughel, filled with grotesque and amusing details scattered throughout a fantastic landscape.


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