This fantastical Folio edition of Diana Wynne Jones’s enchanting tale features artwork by Folio’s 2019 Book Illustration Competition winner.
The Gormenghast Trilogy
Illustrated by Dave McKean
Introduced by Neil Gaiman
Limited to 750 hand-numbered sets
Lose yourself in the gothic majesty of Mervyn Peake’s Gormenghast trilogy presented in this truly visionary edition from Folio. Introduced by master of modern fantasy Neil Gaiman, illustrated by the extraordinary Dave McKean and signed by both contributors, this is a startlingly original take on a cornerstone of speculative fiction.
‘Every glorious sentence, every obscure word pulled from obscurity and out into the light, every fragment of poem is waiting here for you. Revel in it.’
- Neil Gaiman from his introduction
A crumbling castle the size of a city. A menagerie of sinister eccentrics. A labyrinth of ritual, mystery and conspiracy. This is the world of Mervyn Peake’s Gormenghast, three masterpieces of the fantastic – Titus Groan (1946), Gormenghast (1950) and Titus Alone (1959) – collected by Folio in an edition as unprecedented as the books themselves. A new and innovative vision of these classic works, this monumental box-set collection is truly worthy of one of the wildest imaginations in literature. An author, poet, playwright and artist, Peake wrote with a painter’s eye, his peculiar flair for life and colour perfectly captured in brand-new illustrations by World Fantasy Award-winning artist and designer Dave McKean. This landmark edition also comes with an exclusive original art print and is introduced by Neil Gaiman, another master of the modern fantastic. Limited to 750 hand-numbered sets, each collection has been personally signed by Gaiman and McKean on a beautifully illustrated limitation label.
Illustrated limitation label signed by Dave McKean and Neil Gaiman
The label is tipped in by hand – secured to the page along one edge
Open-spine bindings of which loose threads are a feature
Sides covered in Setalux cloth printed with designs by the artist
Set in Albertina and printed on Abbey Pure paper
1,376 pages in total over three volumes
Printed in colour throughout
142 colour illustrations integrated throughout the three volumes
Black Burano paper endpapers
Black page edges
Hand-made, cloth-covered presentation case blocked in metallic red foil,
lined and screen-printed in black ink
Case interior printed in silver with a design by the artist
Books: 9¾” × 6¾” Box: 11¾” × 6½” × 6¾”
Separate print presented in a black Burano paper folder printed in silver
Print: 6⅓” × 9⅓
Every set in The Folio Society limited edition of The Gormenghast Trilogy has been carefully crafted at Graphicom in Vicenza. One special quality is the open-spine bindings for which the books are printed, folded and gathered to create the title from small marks on the fold of each signature giving a uniquely hand-drawn effect – here in a shadow-black design by artist Dave McKean. With such craft processes, variances between sets are inevitable and add to the uniqueness of this stunning limited edition.
‘It stands above all other works of its type.’
- Michael Moorcock
The Gormenghast trilogy is a mesmerising dynastic saga, often surreal and darkly comic, in which the eccentric House of Groan rules over a world of crumbling stone and meaningless ritual. This royal household soon find themselves threatened not only by the ill-omened birth of Titus – the seventy-seventh Earl of Groan – but also the rapid ascent of a Machiavellian kitchen boy named Steerpike, a character long recognised as one of the most compelling and complex villains in English literature. The trilogy quickly outgrew its cult reputation, its popularity skyrocketing following the author’s death in 1968. Forty years later, The Times recognised Peake as one of the Fifty Greatest British Writers since 1945. The Gormenghast novels themselves remain truly without precedent. They echo the grotesquery of Dickens, the cruel fabulism of Lewis Carroll, and the wonder and scope of Tolkien, yet Gormenghast continues to defy categorisation. The trilogy has cast its singular spell over generations of readers, writers, illustrators and musicians including Chris Riddell, Michael Moorcock, Sebastian Faulks, Joanne Harris, Sting and The Cure frontman Robert Smith. Award-winning fantasist Neil Gaiman – yet another Peake devotee – examines the trilogy’s appeal in his expert introduction to this unique Folio edition.
Encased within a suitably majestic presentation box, this spellbinding set is as much a feat of imaginative design as the novels themselves. Award-winning illustrator Dave McKean provides the collection’s 142 original hand-drawn illustrations, as well as startling cover designs for each book and an exclusive art print of iconic villain Steerpike. Eschewing the traditionally gloomy and gothic, McKean’s concept has been inspired by the Gormenghast trilogy’s often overlooked sense of passion and colour. His renditions of Peake’s cast – from the enigmatic Countess Groan to the spidery manservant Flay – seethe with life and feeling, capturing the often stark surrealism of each book. With vibrant bird motifs flitting and swooping through each volume, the novels themselves are boldly presented with open spines, stitched with turquoise, pink and blue thread, and shadow-black hand-lettered titles. Each book could be an artefact exhumed from the sprawling library of Gormenghast itself. Dave McKean has also created the hypnotic maze design that envelops the hinged collection case, bound in stone-grey Dubletta cloth and blocked in crimson metallic foil with the title screen-printed in black ink. Opening the case itself releases a burst of corvids silhouetted against the sky in silver ink. Strictly limited to 750 numbered editions, with each set signed by McKean and Gaiman, this extraordinary collection has been developed with the full approval of the Mervyn Peake Estate at every stage. A grand and gothic dream come true, this lavish limited edition of The Gormenghast Trilogy offers a modern testament to Peake’s timeless creative genius.
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