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The Voice of the HeartThe Working of Mervyn Peake's Imagination$
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G. Peter Winnington

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9781846310225

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.5949/UPO9781846314391

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date: 14 December 2018



(p.171) 8 Evil
The Voice of the Heart
Liverpool University Press

This chapter examines the treatment of evil in Mervyn Peake's work. In early works such as ‘The Touch of the Ash’ and his Slaughterboard tales, Peake amused himself with the cardboard characters of boys' stories. In Titus Groan, he depicted a character who consciously and deliberately chooses to do evil in pursuit of power, which led to his most developed – and literary – examination of human evil in Gormenghast, as Steerpike's choices reduce his options until he is cornered, literally and figuratively, and killed. Having done this, Peake began to reflect on the relationship between evil and art.

Keywords:   Touch of Ash, Slaughterboard tales, human evil, Gormenghast, art

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