Sunday, August 8, 2010

"It is the eighth day of the eighth month..."

"...I am uncertain about the year. But why?"

That line, spoken between Flay and Rottcodd the Curator announces the birth of Titus Groan, 77th Earl of Gormenghast, in Mervyn Peake's masterpiece Titus Groan. The Gormenghast novels are my second favorite books, and this entire project was almost going to be an attempt to illustrate Titus Groan, the first in the trilogy, instead of Moby-Dick. Ultimately, Ahab won the day.

It has been customary for as long as I have had a web site or a blog for me to wish young Titus Groan, imaginary though he is, a happy birthday on the eighth day of the eight month. In my haste to begin this project last year, I overlooked the importance of this day and it's time to make amends.

Happy birthday Titus. As Sourdust later intones, "A heavy day...always a heavy day."

(The illustration below, of the child Titus on the way to his christening, is by Mervyn Peake and presumably copyrighted by his estate.)


  1. I thought of Peake and Gormenghast immediately upon seeing your first "Titus the Dog" comment weeks ago.

  2. He really is our dog, you know.
    But named after the Emperor.


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