A unique illustrated memoir of one of the most multi-talented artists of the twentieth century.
Best known for his Gormenghast trilogy of novels, one of the most sustained flights of imaginative writing ever attempted, Mervyn Peake was also an author of children’s books and nonsense verse, a painter, war artist and poet. He illustrated such classic works as Treasure Island, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, The Ancient Mariner, Grimm’s Household Tales and Bleak House. His influence is felt to this day in the fields of literature and art.
In this highly illustrated new book, his son Sebastian Peake has collaborated with Alison Eldred and G. Peter Winnington, author of an highly acclaimed biography of Mervyn Peake, to compile a stunning collection of illustrations, paintings, photographs, letters, notebook pages and other material – much of which has never been published. Contributors who discuss various aspects of his literary and visual output include the writers Michael Moorcock and Joanne Harris, Langdon Jones, editor of Titus Alone, artists John Howe and Chris Riddell, David Glass and John Constable, creators of the stage version of the Gormenghast trilogy, and Estelle Daniels, producer of the BBC dramatization. The book includes sections on Peake’s upbringing as the son of a missionary in China, his development as an illustrator, artist and writer, marriage and fatherhood, his wartime experiences, creation of the Titus trilogy, Mr Pye and other literary works, and his tragic decline as illness resulted in his early death.
Shortlisted for the Locus Award Best Art Book.
'I was looking for something else on the library shelf and suddenly our eyes met, from across the empty aisle. Then I was clutching in my arms the most wonderful book in the world: Mervyn Peake: The Man and Hist Art … The text is fascinating. I didn't know Peake was born to missionary parents in China. Peake plus Treasure Island adds up to one of my favourite books.' – John Holbo, The Verve
'Ignored for decades, the twisted genius of Mervyn Peake is finally getting the attention it deserves.' – Time
'Handsome, respectful and well organized, this book presents its complex subject in a forthright, affectionate manner, detailing Peake's childhood; his development as an artist, illustrator and writer; his domestic life; his service during WW2; the writing of many works, including the Gormenghast trilogy, followed by his tragic illness – later diagnosed as Parkinson's disease – and, after much suffering, his early death. Peake's unrestrained imagination has influenced a generation of writers. Perhaps with this book, his influence on artists will become equally profound.' – Locus Magazine
MERVYN PEAKE (1911–1968) was born in China to missionary parents. He began to draw, paint and write stories at an early age. His first book of poems, Shapes and Sounds, was published in 1941. He is best known for his Titus novels: Titus Groan, Gormenghast and Titus Alone, but other well-known poetry collections include The Glassblowers and The Rhyme of the Flying Bomb. He was awarded the W.H. Heinemann Foundation Prize by the Royal Society of Literature in 1950. Mervyn Peake died after a long illness in 1968.
G. PETER WINNINGTON lectures in English literature at the University of Lausanne. He has an in-depth knowledge of the work of Mervyn Peake and edits Peake Studies, the journal dedicated to his life and work. In addition, he has written a Peake bibliography and a critical study of the working of Mervyn Peake’s imagination, The Voice of the Heart (2006).
SEBASTIAN PEAKE (1940–2012) was the first child of Mervyn Peake. His biographies of his father have received wide acclaim. He was also a contributor to a number of collections such as Mervyn Peak: The Man and His Art and Peake's Progress: Selected Short Stories and Poems.
|Date Published||12th November 2008|