The Gormenghast Trilogy

Mervyn Peake

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.

£745.00
£745.00
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‘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.’
  1. 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.’
  1. 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.

Mervyn Peake (1911-1968) was born to Christian missionaries in the Kiang-Hsi Province of China. He returned to England at the age of twelve, and later trained at the Royal Academy of Arts. Joining the Royal Artillery in 1940, Peake received a special dispensation to continue writing his first novel, Titus Groan. Having served as a war artist for the Ministry of Information, he moved to the island of Sark and lived in an artist’s colony with his family. A prolific and well-regarded illustrator, Peake provided extraordinary images for all his own works, including the children’s book Captain Slaughterboard Drops Anchor (1939), and his novels Titus Groan (1946), Gormenghast (1950), Mr Pye (1953) and Titus Alone (1959). He also illustrated several classics including Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Treasure Island, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, as well as publishing several of his own plays and volumes of poetry. Regarded as one of Britain’s greatest literary fabulists, Peake continues to influence generations of authors and filmmakers including Michael Moorcock, Neil Gaiman and Terry Gilliam.

Dave McKean has released 60 books as an illustrator, author, photographer and designer, including Cages (1990–6, winner of two Harvey Awards, the Ignatz Award, La Pantera Award, and the Alph-Art Award), Pictures That Tick (2009, V&A Illustrated Book of the Year), and Black Dog: The Dreams of Paul Nash (2016, a 14–18 NOW Foundation/Imperial War Museum/LICAF commission). He has collaborated with Neil Gaiman (Sandman, 1989–97; Coraline, 2002), John Cale (What’s Welsh for Zen, 1998; Sedition and Alchemy, 2003), David Almond (The Savage, 2008), Richard Dawkins (The Magic of Reality, 2011), Heston Blumenthal (as Director of Story at The Fat Duck), and others. He has worked in theatre, galleries, and the music industry, and has written and directed three feature films: MirrorMask (2005), The Gospel of Us (2012, winner of two Cymru BAFTAs), and Luna (2014, winner of the Raindance Award for Best Picture, BIFA). He illustrated the Folio Society edition of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods in 2017 and Richard Matheson’s I am Legend in 2018.

Neil Gaiman is a critically acclaimed writer of short fiction, novels, comic books, graphic novels, audio theatre and films. His many notable works include the groundbreaking series Sandman (the first comic book to win a literary award, the 1991 World Fantasy Award for Best Short Story), and the novels Good Omens (1990, in collaboration with Terry Pratchett), Neverwhere (1996, The Folio Society 2022), Stardust (1999), American Gods (2001, The Folio Society 2017) and Anansi Boys (2005, The Folio Society 2019). Gaiman also wrote introductions to Folio editions of Gene Wolfe’s The Book of the New Sun (2020) and Mervyn Peake’s The Gormenghast Trilogy (Limited Edition 2022). Credited with being one of the creators of modern comics, Gaiman is an author whose work crosses many genres and reaches audiences of all ages 

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