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Titus Groan (1946)

by Mervyn Peake

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Gormenghast (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
3,748922,785 (4.08)1 / 281
Lord Sepulchrave is the 76th Earl of Groan and head of the Groan family, who reside in the magnificent castle of Gormenghast. The birth of Titus Groan, the heir to Lord Sepulchrave, interrupts the complex daily rituals of the residence just as intelligent, manipulative Steerpike enters into Gormenghast society. Chronicling the first two years of Titus' life, the novel follows the antics of the castle's bizarre inhabitants and Steerpike's scheming plots as he attempts to rise to power.… (more)
  1. 91
    Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke (saltmanz)
    saltmanz: Both extrememly atmospheric books, with vivid visuals and memorable characters.
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English (88)  French (2)  Italian (1)  German (1)  All languages (92)
Showing 1-5 of 88 (next | show all)
I found this a bit of a trudge, but am determined to get through Gormenghast and Titus Alone as well this time. It has its moments, but is a bit too long and ornate. It's all a bit too grotesque, but quite a work of imagination.

Anyway I must like it more than I thought as I spotted this edition which matches my other 2 volumes so bought it with the intention to get rid of my non-matching edition! ( )
  AlisonSakai | Aug 19, 2022 |
Fushia... ( )
  apende | Jul 12, 2022 |
A Gothic/Dickensian novel, who knew that was a thing :) .As i say its characters have a distinctive dickensian flavour there isn't a single normal person in the bunch. Our main protagonist is Steerpike who i think is a genuine sociopath.
The descriptions are odd and beautiful in a dreary and grotesque way. As we follow the inhabitants of a massive and ancient castle going about their strange and mad lives.
Apart from dickens one other thing this reminded me of strongly due to the ancient traditions (bureaucracy) and unchanging nature of the place, was The Castle by kafka. If you ever read The Castle and wanted an ending for it you could read Gormenghast and assume the protagonist made it inside finally and is now calling himself Steerpike ;).
The shear dreariness of the novel although cheered up here and there by the absurdity of its characters can nevertheless make it a chore to read at times but not too often.
By the end despite there being not a single likable character, i kind of liked them all or at least was able to sympathize with their views which is quite a remarkable feat for a writer to accomplish.
By the 3/4 mark i was thinking it will be years before i bother with the sequels but by the end i was thinking it will be a lot sooner.
( )
  wreade1872 | Nov 28, 2021 |
My review of 'Titus Groan' by Mervyn Peake is up on the John C Adams Reviews blog now!

"Nothing is comprehensible when judged by the rational standards of our everyday lives, and the quirks simply become part of the entertainment until Gormenghast is the most vivid character of all."

Click on the link to read my review in full:

https://www.johncadamsreviews.com/single-post/titus-groan-by-mervyn-peake ( )
  johncadamssf | Mar 17, 2021 |
It's always amused me that the book called Titus Groan is mostly about Gormanghast, with very little about Titus, and the book called Gormanghast is about the coming to adulthood of Titus Groan.

To be honest, both books seem like halves of a single whole, so the main review is under Gormanghast. ( )
  atreic | Mar 15, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 88 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (55 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Peake, Mervynprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Burgess, AnthonyIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Charpentier, AnnetteTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Harding, PeterCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lee, AlanCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pepper, RobertCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ravano, AnnaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Reichlin, SaulNarratorsecondary 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
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.
It was not often that Flay approved of happiness in others. He saw in happiness the seeds of independence, and in independence the seeds of revolt.
Steerpike had an unusual gift. It was to understand a subject without appreciating it. He was almost entirely cerebral in his approach. But this could not easily be perceived; so shrewdly, so surely he seemed to enter into the heart of whatever he wished, in his words or his deeds, to mimic.
The library appeared to spread outwards from him as from a core. His dejection infected the air about him and diffused its illness upon every side. All thing in the long room absorbed his melancholia. The shadowing galleries brooded with slow anguish; the books receding into the deep corners, tier upon tier, seemed each a separate tragic note in a monumental fugue of volumes.
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Lord Sepulchrave is the 76th Earl of Groan and head of the Groan family, who reside in the magnificent castle of Gormenghast. The birth of Titus Groan, the heir to Lord Sepulchrave, interrupts the complex daily rituals of the residence just as intelligent, manipulative Steerpike enters into Gormenghast society. Chronicling the first two years of Titus' life, the novel follows the antics of the castle's bizarre inhabitants and Steerpike's scheming plots as he attempts to rise to power.

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Average: (4.08)
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