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Gormenghast (Gormenghast Trilogy, #2)
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Gormenghast (Gormenghast #2)

3.96 of 5 stars 3.96  ·  rating details  ·  6,872 ratings  ·  208 reviews
Opisana w sposób nadzwyczaj plastyczny ponura zamkowa sceneria mogłaby stanowić tło powieści gotyckiej, ale Gormneghast nią nie jest; brak tutaj charakterystycznych rekwizytów tego gatunku, przede wszystkim elementów nadprzyrodzonych, duchów, zjaw, tajemniczych zdarzeń. Cała niesamowitość jest pochodzenia naturalnego. To ludzkie namiętności i charaktery, często przerysowan...more
Paperback, 572 pages
Published January 2004 by Zysk i S-ka (first published 1950)
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The Gormenghast books are considered to be the beginning of the 'mannerpunk' genre, and along with Tolkien, Moorecock, and Howard, Peake is one of the fathers of the modern Fantasy genre. Mannerpunk is a genre typified by complex psychology, plots driven by character interaction, and a strong sense of mood.

It is also notable for the characters rather than the world being fantastical. In this sense, mannerpunk, and certainly the Gormenghast books, work in the vein of surrealism (meaning not 'unr...more
The sequel to the wonderful Titus Groan. At his christening, Titus, heir to the earldom of Gormenghast (accidentally) ripped the ancient book of ritual and at his earling (aged 2) he blasphemed again by removing sacred objects and casting them into the lake. That congenital rebellion comes to fruition in this book.

It starts by summarising the ghostly demise of key characters from the first book and the mark they have left on Titus. Then it does a similar update of key characters who are still al...more
(Vaguely spoilerish remarks follow).

Stripped to the bone, Titus Groan and Gormenghast tell a simple story of pre-socialist revolution and why it will inevitably fail. Steerpike, the ostensible villain, the agent of historical transition, is the working class boy from the kitchens who fails to achieve full political consciousness, seeks no solidarity from his co-workers, and decides to infiltrate the system from within, working alone. The toadying middle-classes (Prunesquallor and his sister, al...more
An excellent second book in a horrifically creepy trilogy. As the second book in the trilogy, Gormenghast doesn't disappoint with even more eccentric characters and mounting tension with our evil villain, Steerpike. Gormenghast feels as if it's still a part of the first book, it flows so well. In fact, by the way it ended, I almost could have seen the story ending there, and so I'm somewhat perplexed as to how the third book is going to go. For me, the main character out of the myriad of charact...more
With Titus Groan, Peake awakened me to what is possible when writing pen and brilliant mind are in perfect harmony. He created a tapestry of humanity and community uniquely compendious, woven together with threads of absolutely breathtaking writing. Yet for all its magnificence, it's purpose was still largely to set the foundation for the second book, Gormenghast.

And such a second book it is. Gormenghast is Peake unleashed. In its pages he manages to pry humanity open, examine and play with all...more
Bill  Kerwin

I like "Titus Groan" very much, but I like "Gormenghast" even more. The visual set pieces are equally vivid, but the style seems less labored, more fluid--less like cubist painting and more like a movie photographed by a cinematographer with a unique and eccentric palette. At first I thought this was principally due to Peake's maturing writing style--and still believe that this has somewhat to do with it--but I have also come to understand that the growing ease in style, the flow of the narrativ...more
I think I'd only read Gormenghast (the book) once before, maybe twice, whereas I've read the first book, Titus Groan, multiple times. Unsurprisingly, I didn't remember this second book nearly as well as I did the first.

The second book is also simply not as strong a book as the first. Titus Groan is chock full of dark images and heavy symbolism seen through an obscuring cloud of gloom. In Gormenghast, in contrast, Peake literally comes straight out and tells the reader what the symbols are. This...more
An extremely curious experience.

I had no idea what to expect, except that I was expecting a lot. This book is often mentioned in the same breath as that father of modern epic fantasy, The Lord of the Rings, and spoken of in hushed, reverent tones as a fantasy classic. I've put it on my fantasy shelf for want of a better place, but there is little of what you generally associate with that genre here. In fact, but for the immense size and vast proportions of Gormenghast, this story could be histor...more

(Update: After reading this book last year, I chose to give it 4 stars, my argument being that I was detracting one star for the slow pacing. Then at the beginning of 2010, I determined that Gormenghast was #2 on my "10 Goodest Reads From 2009" list. (China Mieville's The Scar came in #1.) So, umm, I'm retroactively giving this'n five stars, because I was clearly on crack when I didn't give it 5 before. Below is the review of the book, which hasn't been changed.)

At Gormenghast castle--a castle...more
Marilyn Moreau
The Gormenghast Trilogy is amazing. I don't know whether it's because it was written by an artist, but it is without a doubt the most painterly novel I've ever read. Peake's use of language incredibly beautiful and visual. Steerpike becomes so malignantly evil in the book, at some points I could only read short bits at a time. And the operative word is "becomes". Peake draws Steerpike not merely as a one dimensional character, but allows you to see his mental and physical disintegration over tim...more
William Herschel
Jun 03, 2010 William Herschel rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to William Herschel by: 1001 books
If I could afford to judge people by their opinion of a book this one just might be it.

This was 10x better than Titus Groan. Or perhaps I was simply more adapted to the setting and writing style this time around. But this definitely had a better balance of description, characters, action, grimness, humour...

The first two books of the Gormenghast trilogy center around a vast castle governed by monarchy and strange, symbolic rituals (rituals in which even the inhabitants are unaware of the symboli...more
Danie Ware
I know it's a classic, I know it's groundbreaking and a phenomenal creative achievement. I know his vision was superb, his plotting exact, his characters supremely well-observed - sympathetic and horrifying and humorous in equal measures, making the storyline more complex than a simple tale of betrayal and vengeance (inhale). I know his prose is spectacular...

...but bloody hellfire does there have to be so MUCH of it?

Dear Gods. I did get to the end this time (it's previously defeated me on a cou...more
Moody, murky Gormenghast, with your echoing corridors and vivid inhabitants: you have haunted and taunted me for three (four?) years now. Forgive me if I strut and crow for a time over your at-long-last vanquished pages! I don't doubt but I shall succumb to your melancholy siren song again in years to come. Know that you have a fervent admirer in me, however erratic my attendance.
Gormenghast is the second of Mervyn Peake’s Titus Groan trilogy and by far the best. Where Titus Groan (#I) is quirkily clever but rather erratic, Gormenghast (#2) is beautifully written, has a real narrative, and finishes with several chapters of cliff-hanging suspense and a satisfying ending.

The pity is that Gormenghast is not a standalone book. All the characters are introduced in Titus Groan. If you begin the Titus Groan books with Gormenghast, it is just like starting a book in the middle....more
Gormenghast by Mervyn Peake is a unique book. It is an incomparable masterpiece by one of the most amazing and interesting authors I have ever had the chance to read. And I say “amazing” with the true meaning of the word as this is a book that will amaze you constantly while reading it. See, Peake’s writing is not like anything one might have read. I’m can safely say that Peake must have been a very bold and perceptive man. He sees things that are obvious but always stay out of sight, he explore...more
Lauren O'Farrell
Gormenghast and Titus Groan are two of my favourite books in the world. To read them is to lose yourself in the dusty, crumbling and moss-grown shadows of a magnificently decaying grand world.
Mr Peake creates an aging castle so real you almost feel like blowing the dust from the pages before you read them.
The characters, with names that wrinkle the nose, furrow the brow or make you raise your chin when you say them out loud, are freakish, bizarre and eccentric but oddly lovable. Every voice i...more
The Gormenghast trilogy is in my all time favourites list. The writing is incredible. I read the three books straight through as one. The second, Gormenghast is the best. After this Gothic Fantasy, anything I read seemed flat and boring for a while.
Passions escalate, the clutch of ritual loosens and two opposing rebels clash in "Gormenghast," the second of Mervyn Peake's Gormenghast novels.

Titus, the 77th Earl of Groan, was just a toddler by the close of the first book, "Titus Groan." "Gormenghast," takes us through another 15-plus years of the earl's life, with Titus chafing and rebelling against the yoke of ceremony and rite that is the very foundation of the gigantic castle Gormenghast.

This second book opens things up a bit, provides a...more
Forensically described shadows.

Khalid Al Khalili
Completing this book was no easy feat, it had been a few months since I first started and in the beginning, Mervyn Peake's so-called Gothic novel was dreary and difficult to follow. I had had similar trouble with Titus Groan, I was barely able to get through the first installment of this series.

However, during the last few months, I have made a discovery. I had not understood the style of the book. The characters seemed, to me at least, to be of a grotesque nature, with their strange names and m...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
T.J. Radcliffe

My initial thought is that Tim Burton should've made a movie out of this. A quick check of IMDB turns up this production instead, which looks brilliant:

Gormenghast isn't so much horror--although if you mediate for a few minutes on the lives these people are trapped in you'll find plenty of that--as it is a grotesque, the literary equivalent of an old-style circus freak-show, which it's characters all pushed to the far extremes of caricature. Peake manages for...more
Phil Smith
Feb 25, 2008 Phil Smith rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who read Titus Groan and liked even a tenth of it.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Simon Mcleish
Originally published on my blog here in November 2000.

Gormenghast is where Peake's writing all comes together. In contrast to most mid-trilogy novels, it is the best by a long way. It combines an exciting story, one of the most famous and evocative backgrounds of any novel, deeper levels of symbolism, humour, tragedy and a hero who is easy to identify with.

The story tells of the adolescence of Titus, 77th Earl of Groan. He and some others - foppish, apparently foolish Dr Prunesquallor and the do...more
I wasn’t nearly as mesmerized by Book 2 as I was by Book 1, but there’s still no question in my mind about Peake’s talent with words, such as this beautifully perfect sentence from the opening of Chapter 12:

“A roof of cloud stretching to every horizon held the air motionless beneath it, as though the earth and sky, pressing towards one another, had squeezed away its breath.”

However, I wasn’t as drawn in by the characters as before. Some of my favourites from Book 1 were noticeably absent from t...more
Nicholas Whyte
The second book of the famous trilogy, in which the evil Steerpike's plans to dominate Gormenghast Castle are resolved in vicious single combat with Titus Groan, the 77th earl. When I first read this, at least a quarter of a century ago, the two scenes that really stuck in mymind were the grotesque deaths of Deadyawn the headmaster, killed in a bizarre incident where his wheelchair intersects with a dealy schoolboy game, and of the twin aunts of Titus and Fuchsia, locked away by Steerpike to die...more
Mind-bogglingly good. I haven't been this deeply touched by a book in quite a long time. While Titus Groan was a wonderfully enjoyable piece of fantasy with undoubtedly beyond top-tier prose, by about midway through Gormenghast it's clear that Peake was simply flexing his literary muscles to create a truly immersive setting to serve as place, mood, identity. "There is only Gormenghast," as the Countess says. This book at first slowly chisels away at, and finally rips down, the established flow o...more
I am mostly in awe of Peake's prose and forgiving of his indulgences, and this is probably an improvement on the first. The world feels more populated, the castle alive with people and activity. What prevents it from being truly top-tier fiction, in my eyes, is its protagonist, the unspeakably bland Titus Groan, whose arc dominates the development of all the other, infinitely more interesting characters. Titus performs for us the tired old persona of the privileged youth, straining against the d...more
Wanted to like this. Tried hard to read it. Realized I couldn't force myself to slog through this self-indulgent wallowing in shabby-romantic blather. And yet! I thought it was a great idea - why did no one ever tell Mervyn to Keep It Simple? Somebody should have introduced him to Hemingway. That would have been funny. Anyway, we all know how THAT would have ended - Hemingway would shoot any man named Mervyn, just for the principle of it. Man! Now I'm getting all sorts of great ideas for rewriti...more
I read enough of this to know to set it aside. It revolves around fantasy and the poetry of a castle and its inhabitants. I'm sure because of its uniqueness that it has a large following; just don't count me as one of them.
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Mervyn Laurence Peake was an English modernist writer, artist, poet and illustrator. He is best known for what are usually referred to as the Gormenghast books, though the Titus books would be more accurate: the three works that exist were the beginning of what Peake conceived as a lengthy cycle, following his protagonist Titus Groan from cradle to grave, but Peake's untimely death prevented compl...more
More about Mervyn Peake...
Titus Groan (Gormenghast, #1) The Gormenghast Novels (Gormenghast, #1-3) Titus Alone (Gormenghast, #3) Mr Pye Boy in Darkness and Other Stories

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“He is climbing the spiral staircase of the soul of Gormenghast, bound for some pinnacle of the itching fancy - some wild, invulnerable eyrie best known to himself; where he can watch the world spread out below him, and shake exultantly his clotted wings.” 7 likes
“He knew that he was caught up in one of those stretches of time when for anything to happen normally would be abnormal. The dawn was too tense and highly charged for any common happening to survive.” 5 likes
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