Friday, October 02, 2009

Surprising literary similarities: Anthony Trollope and Mervyn Peake!?

Reading Barchester Towers last night, I was struck how similar Mr Slope the chaplain is to Steerpike in the Gormenghast novels, not only in terms of personality (both manipulate women, for example), but also physical description, relation to power structures etc. Then it occurred to me how the world of Gormenghast and Barchester are also analogous – Gothic architecture, closed, hierarchical worlds, internal politics etc. I don't know if it's worth taking the idea much further, but it's one which seems to redound well on both writers – making Trollope seem less of a fuddy-duddy and emphasising Peake's underlying realism.


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