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Titus Groan by Mervyn Peake
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Titus Groan (original 1946; edition 1989)

by Mervyn Peake

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
2,467512,485 (4.11)1 / 209
Member:Sosseres
Title:Titus Groan
Authors:Mervyn Peake
Info:Mandarin (1989), Edition: First edition & printing in this form, Mass Market Paperback, 505 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***1/2
Tags:None

Work details

Titus Groan by Mervyn Peake (Author) (1946)

  1. 40
    Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke (saltmanz)
    saltmanz: Both extrememly atmospheric books, with vivid visuals and memorable characters.
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English (50)  French (1)  German (1)  All languages (52)
Showing 1-5 of 50 (next | show all)
The story itself was not amazing or even all that compelling, I admit, but the language and images Peake created with it are what make this work so incredible. I'm happy I finally encountered it. ( )
  tlockney | Sep 7, 2014 |
I stayed up until midnight to finish the last 250 pages. I was just hooked and couldn't put the book down.

I've wanted to
read the Gormenghast trilogy since I saw the 6 hour (?)
miniseries a couple of years ago. The miniseries had the feel of
a movie made from a book (or books) in the same way that the
Harry Potter movies do. It seemed that a lot of details were being
left out to keep the pacing good on the assumption that people
interested in watching had read the book(s) and could fill in the
details from memory.

I'm pleasantly surprised at how good the book is. The focus is
on how strange and stilted culture can become when it is no
longer allowed to progress. So much of the plot is centered
around the description of the decaying castle.

There's a scene where the library is torched. The library had
been the one place where the 76th Earl of Gormenghast felt at
all at home and was at all human. I think any avid bookcrosser
would find meaning in this short passage.

Then there is the title character. Poor little Titus! I really feel sorry
for him in this first book. One comment though about Titus. By the end of the book he's just over a year old but he isn't depicted well. Perhaps the lack of love in his early life stunted him or perhaps the stilted dialogue style of the book is the reason for Titus remaining mum. ( )
  pussreboots | Sep 4, 2014 |
Twenty something years ago, a college lecturer told me to read this series and do my 'Special Study' on them with the words, "By the time you finish, you'll either love it or hate, but at least if you've never read them before you won't have anything to lose in the process." Twenty something years later and I still love them for their intricacy and world building, for the bizarre caricatures of people in them, their excesses and the way Peake brought them all alive. For me, no dramatisation of the books could ever rival the world Peake drew in my imagination. ( )
  Peace2 | Jan 19, 2014 |
I have been reading Titus Groan infrequently for more than six months now and I am only 160 pages in (so slow!). I have no idea what to make of the novel. I am frustrated with the writer much of the time yet I feel some vague obligation not to abandon it as Peak's influence seems to know no bounds these days. So I soldier on, it has been an exercise in patience and is occasionally rewarding . He has created a unique literary atmosphere.

Update: Definitely on better terms with Titus Groan these days. Still only read it occasionally but find that all the effort Peake spent on describing his world early on is paying off now. Whenever I pick it up its like stepping into a graphic novel or something grim from Laika Animation. Just a strange little castle with odd folks slowly revealing themselves a chapter at a time.
  toddj | Sep 26, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 50 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (20 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Peake, MervynAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Burgess, AnthonyIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Harding, PeterCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pepper, RobertCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Robertson, MarkCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Whitfield, RobertNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Dost thou love picking meat? Or would'st thou see
A man in the clouds, and have him speak to thee?
BUNYAN
Dedication
First words
Gormenghast, that is, the main massing of the original stone, taken by itself would have displayed a certain ponderous quality were it possible to have ignored the circumfusion of those mean dwellings that swarmed like an epidemic around its outer walls.
Quotations
Aast ge op aards gewin? Of zoudt gij eer het woord vernemen van een hoger heer? - Bunyan
Swelter's eyes meet those of his enemy, and never was there held between four globes of gristle so sinister a hell of hatred. Had the flesh, the fibres, and the bones of the chef and those of Mr. Flay been conjured away and away down that dark corridor, leaving only their four eyes suspended in mid-air outside the Earl's door, then, surely, they must have reddened to the hue of Mars, reddened and smouldered, and at last broken into flame, so intense was their hatred - broken into flame and and circled about one another in ever-narrowing gyres and in swifter and yet swifter flight until, merged into one sizzling globe of ire they must have surely fled, the four in one, leaving a trail of blood behind them in the cold grey air of the corridor, until, screaming as they fly beneath innumerable arches and down endless passageways of Gormenghast, they found their eyeless bodies once again, and re-entrenched themselves in startled sockets.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0140027629, Paperback)

one of the few remaining copies today

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:43:00 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Titus Groan, heir to Lord Sepulchrave, has just been born. His world will be predetermined by complex rituals, the origins of which are lost in time; it will be peopled by the dark characters who inhabit the half-lit corridors.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 3 descriptions

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