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On Thu, 21 Sep 2000 LSolarion@... wrote:
> I found that the third volume, Titus Alone, much inferior to the first two.
> Peake was dying as he finished it, and his powers diminished toward the end.
> My personal opinion is that the "trilogy" works better without it.
Titus Alone is a much misunderstood book. Peake's mental powers were
indeed failing as he finished it (he wasn't physically dying for a long
time to come, which was part of his tragedy), but this only affects the
sketchiness of the latter part of the book, a sketchiness partially
repaired in the restored text published by Overlook.
What upsets most Gormenghast-lovers about Titus Alone cannot be wished
away on the author's illness. Peake knew what he was doing when he
conceived this book. It's not a Gormenghast book: it's about what
happens to Titus after he leaves Gormenghast. Titus is bewildered and
generally out of his element; and so, if the book works, is the reader.
It is not the last of a trilogy. Peake intended to write further books
aobut Titus, and I believe some fragments have been published. The term
"Gormenghast trilogy" is thus incorrect in both words. If you just want
Gormenghast, then just read the first two books: that's what the BBC did,
and they rightly entitled their series "Gormenghast". But if you want
Titus, or if you want to understand the context that Peake wanted you to
see Gormenghast in, then read Titus Alone.