Why Gormenghast Books Are Classics

Mervyn Peake’s Gormenghast novels are cult classics of 20th Century English literature. Writer and philosopher John Gray considers what they tell us about the nature of the modern world. (May contain spoilers.) Why hasn’t HBO turned the books into a series? Gray says: ‘For some of their readers, [the novels] re-state the essential message of romanticism – the assertion of the individual against conventional restraints. For others, the novels are a coming-of-age story – the story of how Titus ceases to be a child and becomes a man. Yet others interpret them as belonging to a tradition that includes Tolkien – the author of Lord of the Rings – and some later writers of science fiction.’

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