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Edited by Robert Warner Maslen
ISBN: 978 1 857549 71 3
Categories: 20th Century
Published: June 2008
216 x 135 mm
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Also available in: eBook (EPUB), eBook (Kindle)
His ear is tuned to ‘what is beyond the noise of things’, his eye to the unseen beyond the seen.
It is forty years since the death of Mervyn Peake (1911-68), the author of the much-loved Gormenghast novels. To mark the anniversary this first comprehensive edition of Peake’s poetry is published. It includes every black-and-white illustration he made for his verse, together with many previously unpublished drawings. Of the more than 230 poems in the collection, over 80 are printed for the first time. Robert Maslen's detailed work on the manuscripts reveals the poems as a dazzling link between the fantasy world of Gormenghast and the narrative of Peake’s own life and of the turbulent times he lived in.
Peake emerges as a compelling poet, with an acute sense of his responsibilities as an artist, passionately engaged with current events, from unemployment in the 1930s to the horrors of the London Blitz and the concentration camp at Bergen-Belsen. He is also a fine love-poet and a sensitive observer of the human form. Readers who love the world of Peake’s novels, and those who are new to his work, will discover here one of the great originals of the twentieth century.
Cover painting Mervyn Peake, The Glassblower. Presented to Manchester City Galleries by H.M. Government War Artist’s Advisory Committee, 1947. Cover design StephenRaw.com
'a landmark volume... a testament to a poet who never quite achieved the level of attention that he deserved.'
Jay Parini, the Guardian
Praise for Mervyn Peake '...full of a fastidious author's joy in the sheer music of language, shot through with the sensitivity, melancholy and savage realism that sings in all his work.'
A L Kennedy
Review of Mervyn Peake's Collected Poems in the Guardian . Far from Gormenghast Jay Parini finds much to admire in Mervyn Peake's collected poems Mervyn Peake died 40 years ago, at the age of 57, and not many readers knew much about his poetry, although he had published six volumes in his lifetime. read more
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