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Eaten by Owls

Michael Wood: Mervyn Peake

26 January 2012
Peake’s Progress: Selected Writings and Drawings of Mervyn​ Peake 
edited by Maeve Gilmore.
British Library, 576 pp., £25, June 2011, 978 0 7123 5834 7
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The Illustrated Gormenghast Trilogy 
by Mervyn Peake.
Vintage, 943 pp., £25, June 2011, 978 0 09 952854 8
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Titus Awakes 
by Maeve Gilmore and Mervyn Peake.
Vintage, 288 pp., £7.99, June 2011, 978 0 09 955276 5
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Complete Nonsense 
by Mervyn Peake.
Fyfield, 242 pp., £14.95, July 2011, 978 1 84777 087 5
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A Book of Nonsense 
by Mervyn Peake.
Peter Owen, 87 pp., £9.99, June 2011, 978 0 7206 1361 2
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... MervynPeake, the son of a medical missionary, was born just over a hundred years ago in Kiang-Hsi Province, China. The family moved back to England when he was 12. He attended the Royal Academy and served in the ...

At the National Portrait Gallery

Peter Campbell: Wyndham Lewis

11 September 2008
... It is impossible to consider Lewis as a painter without taking into account the fact that he was also a writer. English painters have written more than most. Some, like Blake, David Jones, MervynPeake and Michael Ayrton (who did a portrait of Lewis and dust jackets for his late novels), have created literary and visual worlds that overlap. Lewis, despite being a novelist, was more like Sickert or ...


Terry Eagleton

28 April 1994
What a Carve Up! 
by Jonathan Coe.
Viking, 512 pp., £15.50, April 1994, 0 670 85362 3
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... literary and temporal mode entirely – to the spoof Gothic fiction of Winshaw Towers, with its cartoon-like turrets and corridors, its drunken butler and freight of family horrors. It is as though MervynPeake has intersected with Margaret Drabble, as an age of instantly consumable time is incongruously overlaid with a lineage of furtive doings in the shrubbery and insane aunts raving in solitary ...

British Worthies

David Cannadine

3 December 1981
The Directory of National Biography, 1961-1970 
edited by E.T. Williams and C.S. Nicholls.
Oxford, 1178 pp., £40, October 1981, 0 19 865207 0
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... to a G; inexorable advance from FRS to a Nobel Prize to PRS to OM. The way to get to the top, this book makes clear, is to work harder and live longer than your rivals and contemporaries. The wayward MervynPeake, living on ‘this desperate edge of now’, or the mercurial evanescence of a Jim Clark or a Joe Orton, counts for little in the scales of achievement when weighed against such elephantine ...
4 October 1984
In Love and Trouble: Stories of Black Women 
by Alice Walker.
Women’s Press, 138 pp., £7.50, September 1984, 0 7043 2852 6
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Nights at the Circus 
by Angela Carter.
Chatto, 295 pp., £8.95, September 1984, 0 7011 3932 3
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by Joan Didion.
Chatto, 234 pp., £8.95, September 1984, 0 7011 2890 9
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... or by its capacious plot, always ready to welcome a new, stray story to its bosom, as by its very odd diction. It is a book full of echoes of other writers, Balzac, Blake, Sade, Baudelaire, Goethe, MervynPeake, Wallace Stevens and a host of forgotten describers of circuses, of Russia and of dear old smoky London, and for a while it seems lost in the throng. ‘Lor’ love you, sir,’ it opens in ...

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