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2520Peake and Steerpike

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  • Melinda Jane Harrison
    Oct 4, 2000
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      Hello All!

      I just finished the books. And well, I shall probably think about these
      novels for a long time. I am going to say something and I feel certain
      that no one will probably agree with me, but Steerpike is the true hero of
      these stories, in my most humble opinion. Flaws, murder, his own death and
      all. Titus is really impotent, as is all of Gormenghast and its inhabitants.

      I often wonder now, after reading it, if Peake, after his experiences with
      War and his thoughts on his times, if subconsciously he was writing about a
      hero who was going to throw over the old order of the world---Gormenghast
      being our world of capitalism, war, etc. and that Steerpike used those very
      tools, in a modest <g> sort of personal way to throw out the order of
      Gormenghast. Even the new earl leaves at the end, but to what end I don't
      know or can imagine, since "there is nothing new out there." <G>

      But then again.......

      I may be totally wrong. But that's how I see it now. Steerpike reminded
      me of Hamlet in some ways. Not Titus. I actually got where I liked
      Steerpike and understood him. Of course that's a dangerous thought in some
      respects. No matter how I tried, I could not see Titus as the heroic figure.
      He was a baby, then a child, then not much more than that. He was always a
      child and acted upon.
      And when he did act, say when it was about his love for The Thing, etc. it
      reminded me of an impotent boy. And quite honestly, I don't know if he
      would have ever ACTED and left if it had not been for Steerpike's actions.

      So who is the real hero? And who won?

      Of course, Peake was planning more novels, but I think readers would have
      been disappointed in many ways. Gormenghast was the center. The third,
      well, I discount it. Peake was ill and hardly able to write. What he
      began centered around Gormenghast and around Steerpike. I don't
      know...it's disturbing in some ways. And I am disturbed by it. <G>

      Jane
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