Mervyn Peake

(1911—1968) artist and writer

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novelist, poet, and artist. He was commissioned as a war artist and visited Belsen in 1945 on a journalistic expedition for The Leader, an experience which profoundly affected him. His novel Titus Groan (1946) was followed by Gormenghast (1950) and Titus Alone (1959), which as a trilogy form the work for which Peake is best remembered, a creation of grotesque yet precise Gothic fantasy, recounting the life of Titus, 77th earl of Groan, in his crumbling castle of Gormenghast, surrounded by a cast of characters which includes the colourful Fuchsia, Dr Prunesquallor, and the melancholy Muzzlehatch. Peake's poetry includes The Glassblowers (1950) and The Rhyme of the Flying Bomb (1962), a ballad of the blitz; he illustrated most of his own work, and also produced memorable drawings for The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (1943), Treasure Island (1949), and other works. A lighter side of his prolific imagination is seen in his posthumous A Book of Nonsense (1972).

Subjects: Literature.

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