Poetry Friday – Mervyn Peake

Book cover - Mervyn Peake: The Man and His Art

Well, it’s turned into Mervyn Peake week around here, so why not finish it off with a Peake poem?

And let’s keep it fun, by skipping past the rough stuff in Peake’s Progress to “Aunts and Uncles.” Here is a great verse from that poem:

When Uncle Jake

Became a Snake

He never found it out;

And so as no one metions it

One sees him still about.

You can see an animated picture of Uncle Jake and read other poems at  http://www.mervynpeake.org/nonsense.html


This picture, by the way, is of a book edited by Peter Winnington, who has spent the week trying to clue me in about Peake & Bleak House.


 I cannot stress enough how amazing Mervyn Peake and how you really owe it to yourself to get “Titus Alone” and start reading. It is not exactly Kidlit, nor is it exactly fantasy, nor is it remotley like anything you’ve ever read before.

You will meet characters you will remember for the rest of your life. And it will all begin with Rottcodd, the duster of Bright Carvings and frequent napper…

 “One humid afternoon a visitor did arrive to disturb Rottcodd as he lay deeply hammocked, for his siesta was broken sharply by a rattling of the door handle which was apparently performed in lieu of the more popular practice of knocking at the panels.”


3 Responses

  1. I just went back and found the previous posts on Mervyn Peake. You’re right…those are perfect illustrations for Bleak House. And the website devoted to Peake’s work is fascinating. Thanks.

  2. When I saw the BBC adaptation of Bleak House some 18 months ago —
    there were moments when I thought that Peake must have done the casting. Some of the characters were uncannily close to his drawings of them: Guppy, with his protruding underlip; Lady Deadlock all over, played by Gillian Anderson of X-Files fame (speaking beautiful British English), for instance.

  3. That BBC production really is a marvel! Burn Gorman as Guppy, in particular, was the star of the show.
    I also think of him as a star of the book, and have a great affection for him, which Dickens didn’t seem to share.

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