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The Gormenghast Trilogy (1967)

by Mervyn Peake

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Gormenghast (1-3)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
4,105672,484 (4.11)3 / 84
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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» See also 84 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 66 (next | show all)
How do you review a book that can't be compared to anything else? One of my favorite books of all time. Titus Groan and especially Gormenghast are outstanding. Titus Alone is a strange sequel that probably was influenced somewhat by Peake's progressing disease. Still worth reading.

Bizarre, fantastical, Gothic, symbolic, surrealistic, beautiful. Peake's language is superb. Some of the most gorgeous prose to read. ( )
  Gumbywan | Jun 24, 2022 |
Master of the Gothic fantasy and beyond. ( )
  RupertOwen | Apr 27, 2021 |
I finally finished it by listening to it at work on my MP3 player. It is very dense. I like the characters; I like the creation of place; I like that it doesn't follow obvious story lines and that characters don't live or die based on how sympathetic they are.

The first 2 books are definitely better than the last third of the trilogy, but the last, Titus Alone, gives some place to the country of Gormenghast castle that is absent in Titus Groan and Gormenghast.

I have only recommended this to one friend I think will enjoy the language and meandering plat development as much as I did. This is NOT light reading. ( )
  KittyCunningham | Apr 26, 2021 |
A very laborious volume that takes some time to get into - but it is worth it. There were sections that were very interesting, sections where I laughed out loud, and sections where I felt the pathos strongly. I empathized with several of the characters. It is unfortunate that Titus Alone is basically a skeleton, unfinished - and that Peake was unable to complete the series with one or two more volumes. ( )
  quinton.baran | Mar 29, 2021 |
I like to read reviews of a book before I read it myself. I focus on the one and five star reviews, and check out the reviews that fall somewhere in between the two extremes. This method has helped me find good books, but more often it prevents me from wasting time on bad books.

Of all the reviews, those for [b:The Gormenghast Trilogy: Titus Groan/Gormenghast/Titus Alone|457382|The Gormenghast Trilogy Titus Groan/Gormenghast/Titus Alone|Mervyn Peake|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1174932286l/457382._SX50_.jpg|38776] were the most accurate. I just knew that I had to get my hands on this book because it completely filled the bill for all my literary tastes.

Basically, this is the story of an isolated society in decline; full of gloomy atmosphere. Gormenghast itself is a massive city/castle, full of forgotten rooms in abandoned wings, mysterious and often bizarre characters filling arcane positions in the noble household while the ancient stones slowly crumble to dust. Gloom, rot and decay are evident everywhere in the castle. Before our eyes the head of the family slowly sinks into madness and a chaotic interloper schemes to bring about the downfall of the Groan legacy.

I won't go into details about the plot or characters, other reviews have already done this masterfully and I don't want to be redundant. I'll be honest, this book isn't for everyone; especially those who want a lot of action or romance. Readers who enjoy heavy atmosphere and a slowly building plot with lots of Gothic gloom and doom will be happy to read this literary gem. The character names are a constant delight, as are the sly jokes at the narcissistic and foolish notions of human society.

There are newer, more popular fantasy novels I could be reading. I'm familiar with what they have to offer, the literary equivalent of a "dinner party" hosted by broke-ass twenty-somethings in which there is no actual dinner, just a lot of gluten-free, non-lactose, sugar-free snacks and endless shots of various candy-flavored vodkas. Your fellow guests will be prone to high-drama drunken behavior and repetitive, predictable stories. Gormenghast will host an eight course meal with a wide variety of flavors and subtle textures and a wine thoughtfully paired with each course. The other guests might be a bit odd, but the conversation will be lively and fascinating and none of them will invite you back to their mom's basement for some anonymous sex, and are unlikely to puke a rainbow-hued puddle into your lap. Everyone gets to choose which party they attend; it's a clear choice to me. ( )
3 vote Equestrienne | Jan 5, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 66 (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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Epigraph
Dost thou love picking meat? Or would'st thou see/A man in the clouds, and have him speak to thee?
-- Bunyan
Dedication
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.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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.

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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)
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