Monday, March 12, 2012



Mervyn Peake


"It's only a model."

From Wikipedia:
The "Gormenghast" series comprises three novels by Mervyn Peake, featuring Castle Gormenghast, and Titus Groan, the title character of the first book.

The series consists of three novels, "Titus Groan" (1946), "Gormenghast" (1950), and "Titus Alone" (1959). A novella, "Boy in Darkness" (1956), tells the story of a brief adventure by the young Titus away from Gormenghast, although it does not explicitly name the castle.

Peake had intended to write a series of books following "Titus Groan" through his life, as well as detailing his relationship with Gormenghast. At least two other books, tentatively titled "Titus Awakes" and "Gormenghast Revisited", were planned; but Parkinson's disease and Peake's ensuing death at age 57 prevented him from writing down more than a few hundred words and ideas for further volumes. Only three pages of "Titus Awakes" were coherently written, and these appear in the Overlook Press edition of "Titus Alone" (ISBN 0-87951-427-2) and in the omnibus volume (ISBN 0-87951-628-3).

In the 1970s, Peake's widow Maeve Gilmore wrote her version of "Titus Awakes", which she called "Search without End". The Peake family rediscovered this novel at the end of 2009 and it was published by Overlook Press as "Titus Awakes: The Lost Book of Gormenghast". to coincide with the 100th anniversary of Peake's birth.

In 2000, the BBC and the PBS station WGBH of Boston produced a miniseries, titled 'Gormenghast', based on the first two books of the series. The cast included Jonathan Rhys Meyers as Steerpike and Christopher Lee as Mr. Flay.

'Gormenghast' is a four-episode television serial based on the "Gormenghast" series by Mervyn Peake. It was produced and broadcast by the BBC.

First broadcast in early 2000, this BBC serial of the celebrated modernist fantasy by Mervyn Peake was designed for an early evening time-slot in much the same vein as the earlier adaptations of "The Chronicles of Narnia". Although Peake has left numerous drawings concerning his work, the creators preferred a new approach that injected a good deal more colour and humour into what is, on the page, a very dark and exhausted world; a place of shadows, dust, rust and nettles.

The BBC conception was based on the idea that Peake's early life in China had influenced the creation of Gormenghast; thus, the castle in the series resembles the Forbidden City in Beijing as well as the holy city of Lhasa in Tibet. This idea has basic validity, particularly as regards the 'bright carvings' of the wood-working outer dwellers, but purists might consider the entire production rather lighter than the books, which author Anthony Burgess regarded as a great classic of the twentieth century and an allegory of the two World Wars.

I am not yet convinced that this epic belongs in Earth Prime-Time.  And should it remain in the same dimension as the main Toobworld, I'm tempted to place it off-world - on the twin planet of Mondas, along with the series 'Game Of Thrones', 'Beastmaster', and 'The Twilight Zone' episode of "Number Twelve Looks Just Like You"......


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