• Mervyn Peake’s Vast Alchemies: The Illustrated Biography
‘By far the best biography I’ve read of Peake, and closest to the reality that I perceived.’ – Michael Moorcock

Mervyn Peake’s Vast Alchemies is the result of many years of research into Peake's life and work.

It follows Peake, the son of missionary parents, from China to art school in London and his time in an artists’ colony in the Channel Islands. It covers in detail his experiences in the army during the Second World War an unhappy period during which he wrote Titus Groan and the huge influence that his visit to the newly liberated concentration camp at Belsen had on his work. The next ten years of his life were without doubt his most productive but by the mid-1950s he was beginning to show signs of the degenerative illness that eventually killed him in 1968.

In a revised version of his acclaimed biography in paperback, G. Peter Winnington examines the novels, poems, illustrations and plays and discusses how Peake’s life and experiences were channelled through his unique imagination into his work. This new edition also features photographs, paintings and drawings specially released by the Mervyn Peake Estate.

‘The most reliable biography so far.’ – Duncan Fallowell, The Independent
‘As a study in artistic development it succeeds very well in recreating the world in which Peake moved.’ – The Spectator


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).
Bibliographic Data
Date Published 15th September 2009
ISBN Number 9780720613414
Pages 314

Mervyn Peake’s Vast Alchemies: The Illustrated Biography

  • £14.99


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