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Boy in Darkness and Other Stories: The Centenary Edition [Anglais] [Broché]

Mervyn Peake

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A collection of stories and illustrations by the writer of classic literary fantasy, with the title novella an episode in the Gormenghast series--one of the most original and sustained flights of imaginative writing of the 20th century In cooperation with the Mervyn Peake Estate, this is a selection of long out-of-print short stories and more than 50 never before published illustrations by one of England's most unique and multi-talented artists. The title story will be of special interest to fans of the Gormenghast books, as it comprises a chapter in the life of Titus Groan that unfolds beyond the pages of Peake's monumental trilogy. A disturbingly atmospheric tale, told with the force and simplicity of allegory, "Boy in Darkness" distills the strange logic of the Gormenghast trilogy into a story of pith and mystery, which bears comparison with Kafka and Poe. Written across a range of genres, from a ghost story to wry character studies drawn from his life in London and on the Isle of Sark, the other tales in the volume reveal surprisingly different facets of Peake's uncanny imagination. Ultimately, the collection coheres through Peake's powers to enchant the mundane and to render the fantastic normal.

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Amazon.com: 4.1 étoiles sur 5  8 commentaires
15 internautes sur 17 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A Black, Oneiric Masterwork 3 avril 2007
Par Carnamagos - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
For a while, now, I have resisted reading the work of Mervyn Peake. My brief prior exposure to his famous *Gormenghast* trilogy gave me the sense that his work was more grotesque than weird, and that it would require more than an opium-tinged Dickensian nightmare with Gothic overtones to hold my interest.

I had mentioned my views (or prejudice, if you prefer) regarding Peake during an online discussion at a Clark Ashton Smith forum, and one of the forum members recommended that I start with *Boy in Darkness*. A few years passed before I was able to take his advice, but I recently read *Boy in Darkness*, and my prejudice regarding Peake has vanished.

*Boy in Darkness* describes the boy Titus's escape from one living nightmare, his absurdly ritualized existence at the family castle, into a nightmare of another order. Impelled by a pack of silent, ominous hounds, Titus crosses a river into an even stranger realm, a depopulated land of strange animal-human hybrids, only two of which remain. The two surviving creatures, a darkly sly and sycophantic Goat and a brutish, bone-crunching Hyena, compete for the favor of a Dr. Moreau-like figure, the Lamb, who rules the land with a demiurge's omnipotence. The Lamb has plans for Titus, as well....

Thomas Ligotti once wrote of H.P. Lovecraft that what he most admired about Lovecraft was his creation of fiction that portrays the world as an "enchanting nightmare". In that sense, and contrary to the assertion of another reviewer, Peake and Lovecraft have much in common.

Peake's evocative, complex, and rich descriptive language creates a horrific yet marvellous atmosphere, one that simultaneously repels and attracts. The creation of such atmospheres is obviously Peake's aim, and not the delineation of detailed characters and the weaving of intricate plotlines. It seems to me that one ought to critique an author by how well he succeeds in realizing his apparant intentions, and not by how completely he panders to the reviewer's preconceptions and narrow-minded expectations. By the criteria I propose, Peake thoroughly succeeds in his aim. That said, I do agree with those who feel that the ending is somewhat rushed, but that flaw, to me, is a minor one when compared to the tremendous power that the book as a whole conveys.

In conclusion, if you are any of the following, then you should avoid this book:

--A person who rushes to judgment because the author misuses a word (which could well have been the fault of the editors or the proofreaders, by the way; have such textual nitpickers actually examined Peake's original manuscript, one wonders?);

--A dullard who, failing to understand that the essence of the finest horror is its *power of suggestion*, requires that every detail be made expilcit, and that every loose end be neatly tied;

--A person who makes unfounded (to the point of idiocy) judgmental remarks, such as the author "was mentally disturbed";

--A person who expects a *Great Expectations*-level of intricacy of plotting and characterization in a 114-page book.

Those, on the other hand, who appreciate elegant, poetic, descriptive writing, and dark atmospheres, will relish the book, as I have. Highly recommended.
13 internautes sur 15 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Boy in Darkness 10 juillet 2001
Par Ann Ahnemann - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
This novelette could fit somewhere in the middle of Peake's _Gormenghast_. Titus Groan, on his 14th birthday, tired of ritual and "the eternal deadly round of symbolism", leaves home. He is captured by two semi-human creatures Hyena and Goat. These creatures will take Titus to their Emperor the Lamb, who sits alone in what can only be described as Hell. C. S. Lewis wrote to Peake admiring Gormenghast. Lewis said of Peake that he was a true maker of myths. Lewis spoke with authority, having written the great myth of the world of Narnia and having friends such as Charles Williams and Tolkien. The Peake myth, however, is hellish and dark. You'll be interested in how Peake the artist-illustrator draws images in words. You'll be faced with Peake's grave view of religion and symbolism gone wrong. If your only exposure to Mervyn Peake is the BBC production of Gormenghast, Boy in Darkness may give you a deeper perspective of the brilliant fantasy of horror that Peake was capable of writing. I gave Boy in Darkness four stars instead of five only because the end of the story seemed rushed and somewhat unfinished. But then, nightmares often end that way.
7 internautes sur 7 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 astounding, dark, visionary 8 avril 2005
Par odysyoracle - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
I read this story in a compilation entitled sometime, never. I had been daunted by the length of the Gormenghast trilogy, so when I found this I siezed it to indulge my curiosity in the much-lauded Mr. Peake. I was not dissapointed. This is my favorite shorter-form fantasy story of all time, and I've put in a decent ammount of investigation into the genre. Highly recommended.
8 internautes sur 11 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 KEEP AWAY FROM CHILDREN 23 août 2003
Par DAVID BRYSON - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
I never gave this book to my children until they were adults. I would not even have read it to them when they were small. Boy in Darkness can be legitimately slated from all sorts of literary viewpoints -- the story-line is rather meandering, we could have done with some more indication of how the empire of the mines went into decline and of where the Lamb came from in the first place, the writing would have benefited from revision here and there and so forth. But gripping -- yes, and some! This is a raw nightmare, and maybe all the more effective for lack of finish in the craftsmanship. What it suggested to me was a perverted version of The Island of Dr Moreau, but I have no idea whether there was any direct influence or whether the resemblance is coincidental. The author was, to put it mildly, talented but mentally disturbed. The central character is obviously Prince Titus, but otherwise I find Boy in Darkness quite unlike the Gormenghast trilogy. I looked dutifully for symbolism and whatnot, but I soon gave up on that. Any hidden meanings are best left vague and undefined. The other three personae, or at least two of them, are probably based on people Peake knew, but the Lamb -- a woolly toy gone so horribly wrong that I nearly locked away the children's teddybears when I first read the book. It's not like Stephen King, it's not like Lovecraft (who I just love but who surely never frightened anyone). It's not like anything I know, even my own nightmares.
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 strange and haunting and wonderful 5 décembre 2012
Par Mark Molnar - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
Boy in Darkness is a short story that takes place between the second and third books of the Gormenghast trilogy. ah, Gormenghast, one of my favorite things! but the horrific atmosphere and the ambiguously allegorical nature of this story make it quite a thing apart. something that is strange and 14-year old Titus Groan (although he is known only as "the Boy" in this tale), Earl of Gormenghast, has reached his birthday thoroughly tired and contemptuous of all the meaningless symbolic rituals of his labyrinthine world. staring up at the mildew patterns on his ceiling - his own private vision of an archipelago to be explored - and seeing a fly move freely about, he is inspired to run away. and so he does, away from the castle and into an alien landscape, by way of a turgid river (Styx?) and guided by a pack of evil dogs (the Hounds of Hell?). in this greyishly bleak and blasted place he encounters two man-beasts, the unctuous and dirty Goat and the vicious and violent Hyena. he is taken by them to a dark underworld of mines and looming, forgotten industrial structures, to their diabolic master: a cruel and sadistic beast with the hands of a chubby human babe and the angelic voice of a sweet cherub: the blind and blindingly white Lamb:

"White. White as foam when the moon is full on the sea; white as the white of a child's eye; or the brow of a dead man; white as a sheeted ghost: Oh, white as wool. Bright wool... white wool... in half a million curls... seraphic in its purity and softness... the raiment of the Lamb."

And all about it swam the darkness that shifted to the flicker of the candle flames."
the sightless Lamb can see into a human, see what beastly shape lies within, and so transform them. and then they die, in beast form. the Lamb has devastated his entire world, and so rules over a dead and blighted kingdom. he wants... new toys. fortunately for Titus, the lad has a brain in his head and a chip of granite in his heart, and so proves a capable match for these nightmarish creatures.

here are some things that i love: fairy tales, myths, legends, allegories, parables... stories that live in more than one world, more than one dimension. stories with such ambiguity that they can mean many things and yet still entertain as pure narrative. is Peake offering a savage critique of Christianity in his use of the Lamb? what does it mean that the humans of this world die so painfully when transformed into their beastly inner nature? why have Goat and Hyena survived? and why is the Lamb identified so closely with mines and with dead industrial landscapes? i do not know. but i have my theories!

here is something i love: an idiosyncratic author who knows how to write. who truly loves words, the sound of them, the stringing of them together into strange and evocative sentences that carry levels of meaning. an author with wit and tenderness and ruthlessness and a desire to move beyond the mundane. an author that challenges his reader to a game that he has created. the phrase "gothic comedy of manners" barely describes the Gormenghast novels, just as the word "dreamlike" does not even begin to describe this story. Peake creates worlds within worlds within worlds with his prose.

here is something i love: a thing that raises the hairs, causes tingles and chills, inspires a shapeless sort of dread, that has a sinister and menacing wonder to it. swoon.
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