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Titus Alone / Gormenghast / Titus Groan (1967)

by Mervyn Peake

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Gormenghast (1-3)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
3,756592,283 (4.12)1 / 79
A beautiful fairytale filled with unexpected plot twists. Gormenghast is the vast, crumbling castle to which the seventy-seventh Earl, Titus Groan, is lord and heir. Titus is expected to rule this gothic labyrinth of turrets and dungeons (and his eccentric and wayward subjects) according to strict age-old rituals, but things are changing in the castle. Titus must contend with treachery, manipulation and murder as well as his own longing for a life beyond the castle walls.… (more)

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Showing 1-5 of 59 (next | show all)
The finest work of literature ever created ( )
  OffSpade | May 8, 2020 |
Wonderful books. The first 2 books are the best. Gothic, with wonderfully descriptive passages. If you love words and language you will enjoy these. The third book I liked less. Possibly because I had come to dislike Titus. Highly recommended. ( )
  scot2 | Feb 7, 2020 |
Set in the enormous castle of Gormenghast and its surroundings, this novel is a fantasy of an odd assortment of characters who come together as Titus Groan, the heir to Gormenghast, is finally born. It's richly drawn with great language and great imagination, but even so, it just isn't my cup of tea. I liked the beginning, but got bored by the end and I don't think I'll bother to continue with the rest of the trilogy.

Definitely recommended for classic fantasy lovers (although you've probably already read this) and I'm glad I tried it, but the first novel was enough for me to get the gist. ( )
  japaul22 | Jul 7, 2019 |
fills my heart with love and glitter ( )
  slplst | Jun 23, 2019 |
Gormenghast is a massive tome, a book with twists and turns reminiscent of the Castle of Gormenghast itself. With enough characters to satisfy a fan of Tolstoy or Dickens, this book is unique in the fact that I had not heard of Mervyn Peake or the Gormenghast series before. Although this book is compared to the works of Tolkien, this series is not one that jumps into the collective consciousness. Back when I had an idea of reading a whole ton of books, I found the titles and the author in one of those 1001 lists.

Now let me say, this book is really, really good. In fact, in terms of imagination and the characters involved, I would put it on par with Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series in some cases. It is merely that the book is supremely lengthy. Since the copy I found is three books in one volume, I suppose that only makes sense, but I really don’t like books that are that thick while being paperback; I don’t like damaging the spines. Another problem is that I lost interest in the book and had to find it again and start over. The basic plot is that a child is born to the seventy-sixth Earl of Gormenghast and stands to inherit all of it. Since there are 77 Earls in an unending line, the massive castle is a place where tradition reigns.

I don’t really want to not read this book in which I see tons of potential, but at the same time, I do not like having a book on the back-burner for this long. Initially, I took it out from the library, but I just couldn’t finish it in three weeks. I guess sometimes it is bad that no one tells me what I should read since I have no real incentive besides my own satisfaction. Another strike against the book is the fact that the series is incomplete. I have heard that Mervyn Peake died before he could finish the fourth installment of this book.

Well, whatever. The book is fantastic, with tons of illustrations by the author and deeply intricate plot that draws you in, but the book is extremely long as I said. Thus I will be closing the chapter on this particular book for now. Maybe I will pick it up at a later date, though I doubt it. ( )
  Floyd3345 | Jun 15, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 59 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (23 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Peake, Mervynprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Burgess, AnthonyIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Crisp, Quentin S.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hellar, JulekCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Miéville, ChinaIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Michael MoorcockIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Moorcock, MichaelIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Dost thou love picking meat? Or would'st thou see/A man in the clouds, and have him speak to thee?
-- Bunyan
For Maeve
First words
Gormenghast, that is, the main massing of the original stone, taken by itself would have displayed a certain ponderous architectural quality were it possible to have ignored the circumfusion of those mean dwellings that swarmed like an epidemic around its outer walls.
Introduction by Quentin Crisp:  Style is a terrible thing to happen to anybody.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
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Book description
Introduction by Quentin Crisp (p. ix),
Introduction by Anthony Burgess (p. 1),
Titus Groan (p.7),
Gormenghast (p. 397),
Titus Alone (p. 809),
Critical Assessments (p.1025) includes:
"The critical reception of Mervyn Peake's Titus Books" by G. Peter Winnington;
"Memories of Mervyn Peake" by Louise Collis;
"The Gutters of Gormenghast" by Hugh Brogan;
"Situating Gormenghast" by Ronald Binns;
"'The Passions in their Clay': Mervyn Peake's Titus Stories" by Joseph L. Sanders;
"Titus and the Thing in Gormenghast" by Christiano Rafanelli;
"Fuschia and Steerpike: Mood and Form" by G. Peter Winnington;
"Gormenghast: Psychology of the Bildungsroman" by Bruce Hunt;
"Gormenghast: Fairytale gone wrong" by Margaret Ochocki;
"The Cry of a Fighting Cock: Notes on Steerpike and Ritual in Gormenghast" by Ann Yeoman;
"Beowulf to Kafka: Mervyn Peake's Titus Alone" by Colin Greenland;
"A Critical Conclusion: The End of Titus Alone" by Laurence Bristow-Smith;
"A Barrier of Foolery? The Depiction of Women in Titus Alone" by Tanya Gardiner-Scott
Titus Awakes (p. 1165)
Haiku summary

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