Mervyn Peake’s Vast Alchemies: The Illustrated Biography
Artist(s): Mervyn Peake
Author(s): G. Peter Winnington
Year published: 2009
Publisher: Peter Owen Ltd
Publisher Location: London
Total Pages: 300
Illustrations: Includes black & white illustrations
Mervyn Peake’s Vast Alchemies is the result of many years of research into Peake¹s life and work. It follows Peake, the son of missionary parents, from China to art school in London and his time in an artists’ colony in the Channel Islands. It covers in detail his experiences in the army during the Second World War an unhappy period during which he wrote Titus Groan and the huge influence that his visit to the newly liberated concentration camp at Belsen had on his work. The next ten years of his life were without doubt his most productive but by the mid-1950s he was beginning to show signs of the degenerative illness that eventually killed him in 1968.
In a revised version of his acclaimed Mervyn Peake’s Vast Alchemies Book in paperback, G. Peter Winnington examines the novels, poems, illustrations and plays and discusses how Peake¹s life and experiences were channelled through his unique imagination into his work. This new edition also features photographs, paintings and drawings specially released for this 2009 edition by the Mervyn Peake Estate.