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TITUS GROAN: the GORMENGHAST TRILOGY

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TITUS GROAN: the GORMENGHAST TRILOGY

Postby blunt » Fri Mar 07, 2008 12:27 pm

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http://www.gormenghastcastle.co.uk/
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I simply can't say enough about this masterpiece.
This is he tome I've been looking for all my life.
The book is set in the huge castle of Gormenghast, a vast landscape of crumbling towers and ivy-filled quadrangles that has for centuries been the hereditary residence of the Groan family and with them a legion of servants.
Creepy, gothic, musty, mystic, epic, brilliant.
Mervyn Peake is a virtual lterary god, an anomoly, not unlike John Kennedy O'Toole (Confederacy of the Dunces). These two mysterious enimas have created modern works of timeless art--though very different in style and subject matter.
It is a smorgasbord, a banquet, a frothy overblown decadent gawdy horrific fantastic freakshow of wonder.
I am in swe.

Peake also has gushed forth other quirky gems like: Mr. Pye:
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Set on the Channel Island of Sark, it is a Christian allegory. When Mr Pye does something good, he grows angel's wings, and when he does something bad, he gains diabolical characteristics. It is a relatively tightly-structured novel in which God implicitly mocks the evangelical pretensions, hypocrisy and cosy world-view of the eponymous hero.
(from Wik)
And Captain Slaughterboard Drops Anchor, a bizarre "childrens'" story with crazy cool drawings by the author uncannily prescient of Basil Wolverton and Wallace Wood from early Mad, and R. Crumb--apparently a bit too edgy and detailed for kids of that time...Image

BUY BORROW or BURN?
BUY
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Re: TITUS GROAN: the GORMENGHAST TRILOGY

Postby Marvell » Fri Mar 07, 2008 12:41 pm

blunt wrote: These two mysterious enimas


Did you mean 'enigmas' or 'enemas?'

I'm guessing the former, but I didn't want to assume...
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Re: TITUS GROAN: the GORMENGHAST TRILOGY

Postby blunt » Sat Mar 08, 2008 1:54 pm

Marvell wrote:
blunt wrote: These two mysterious enimas


Did you mean 'enigmas' or 'enemas?'

I'm guessing the former, but I didn't want to assume...


Both?
They are reclusive writers with a unique flow.
Actually, I keep making spelling mistakes lately for two reasons:
1 I'm on a library pooter with very little time to post about every issue in the universe and can't spell check everything,
and 2 My contacts are on back order so I'm swimming through a sea of blurry color and sound.

Plus it invites engaging in converstaion.
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Postby blunt » Sun Mar 16, 2008 4:26 pm

It's stuff like this kicks my brain over the fence:

Gripping his feather duster in his right hand, Rottcodd began to advance down the bright avenue, his feet giving rise at each step to little clouds of dust. When he had at last reached the door, the handle had ceased to vibrate. Lowering himself suddenly to his knees he placed his right eye at the keyhole, and controlling the oscillation of his head and the vagaries of his left eye (which was for ever trying to dash up and down the vertical surface of the door), he was able by dint of concentration to observe, within three inches of his keyholed eye, an eye which was not his, being not only a different colour to his own iron marble but being, which is more convincing, on the other side of the door. This third eye which was going through the same performance as the one belonging to Rottcodd, belonged to Flay, the taciturn servant of Sepulchrave, Earl of Gormenghast.
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Postby Velvet Coffin » Sun Mar 16, 2008 6:37 pm

Did you really read all three Gormenghast books? Most people I know peter out at the third. I did. There's cars and shit in there, yo.
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Postby blunt » Mon Mar 17, 2008 9:31 am

Actually, I'm just starting the third....and I've seen all the reviews and commentary from Quentin Crisp to Anhtiny Burgess and they all say pretty much the same thing.
I'm gonna give it one for the gipper, though.

Same thing happened with one of my other all-time favorite trilogy (which is actually a quadrology) by Edward Whittemore:

from Jeff Van De Meer at Locus Online:
Whittemore launches his novel with a typically audacious image, one of the great prologues in literature. The novel opens atop the Great Pyramid, where the sun rises on a summer day in 1914. A man named Cairo Martyr, at the time a male prostitute, has just helped a jaded, obese pair of Egyptian aristocrats achieve orgasm, when a triplane flies overhead:

"...Down, [Cairo] yelled. Down... But the delirious baron and baroness heard neither him nor the airplane. The great red ball on the horizon had hypnotized them with the heat it sent rushing through their aging bodies. Gaily the plane dipped its wings in salute to the most impressive monument ever reared by man, then gracefully rolled away and sped on south... Cairo Martyr got to his feet, not believing what he saw. The nearly invisible man and woman still stood on the summit with their arms outstretched, but now they were headless, cleanly decapitated by the slashing lowest wing of the triplane. The hulking bodies lingered a few seconds longer, then slowly toppled over and disappeared down the far side of the pyramid...".

This image is followed by an even more audacious idea. On the last day of December 1921, the Moslem Cairo Martyr, the Christian O'Sullivan Beare, and the Jew Munk Szondi, who each control part of Jerusalem, begin a game of poker, with the holy city in the kitty. The poker game lasts 12 years and as it unfolds Whittemore tells the stories of all three players, almost incidentally telling the history of the Levant as well. The intertwined tapestry formed by the present interacting with the past is stunning in its complexity, but also in its ability to entertain us. To call Jerusalem Poker One Hundred Years of Solitude with spies would be entirely accurate. Nor can I overstate the way in which absurdity and the serious commingle in this novel.

The first couple books are adaciously and mystically and wonderfully told but the last book has a crease halfway through where I keep losing interest every feeble attempt at finishing it over the years.
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