Mervyn Peake

Malcolm Yorke
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ISBN 9780571253722 Format Paperback
Published 20/08/2009 Length 384 pages

About Book

Mervyn Peake (1911-1968) was a painter, poet, illustrator, dramatist, and most famously the creator of the Gormenghast trilogy. Very much his own man, and charmingly so, neither as an artist nor as a painter did he belong to any school or movement; his work was distinctive and peculiar to him. He was not a loner though, his friends included Graham Greene, Augustus John, Dylan Thomas and Walter de la Mare. His marriage to one of his students, Maeve Gilmore was a happy one, too. Parkinson's disease tragically curtailed his life.

Malcolm Yorke's biography was written with the full co-operation of the Peake family who granted him access to letters, photographs and drawings never previously published.

'Yorke, aware of the many interpretations that have been imposed on Peake's trilogy, does not burden the reader with more. He catches, instead, through apt summary, the wide range of opinion on Peake's achievement, as poet, novelist, painter and illustrator.' Frances Spalding, Times Literary Supplement

'But his book goads the reader to search out Peake, and what more could that unique man or his family ask?' John McEwen, Spectator

'Most valuably, the book is generously illustrated with examples of the works discussed. There will never be a clearer explication of Peake's progress as a visual artist.' Michael Swanwick, Washington Post

  • About Malcolm Yorke

    Malcolm Yorke has written biographies of Eric Gill, Keith Vaughan, Matthew Smith and Edward Bawden. His The Spirit of the Place: Nine Neo-Romantic Artists won the Yorkshire Post Art Book of the Year Award. He also paints, sculpts and writes children's books.

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