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Growing Up With Mervyn Peake
Sebastian Peake

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Much of the following material is from Sebastian Peake's memoir, Child of Bliss, which describes growing up with his parents, Mervyn Peake and Maeve Gilmore on Sark Island and in England. Some of the images (and writing) have been provided especially for Today in Literature, but many can be found at Sebastian Peake's web-site, www.mervynpeake.org.


Life in Sussex


Fuschia, Steerpike, Swelter and Professor From the Gormenghast Novels


"When we lived in Sussex, one of [my parents' favourite walks] was The Lepers' Path. They would often keep to the route taken by my grandfather who had shown them it originally. It snaked along the lee of the South Downs and from afar looked like a white knife wound which had gouged out a path from the grass that covered the chalk.... On these walks Flay, Swelter, Prunesquallor, and other exotic, idiosyncratic onomatopoeic names were invented for my father's characters. They would try out sounds to see if they suited the characters' nature, and jettison hundreds in the process. They would arrive back at the Burpham cottage exhausted from imaginings, but with a dossier of new ideas for my father to work on."


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October 21, 2014
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