Uncertainty principles

castle keep
The roofless keep of Dinefwr Castle, Carmarthenshire, Wales

This is the third and last interim post about Titus Groan before I publish my review. This discussion will circle around certain patterns that I’ve detected in the novel, though whether they’re patterns which Mervyn Peake intended or merely the phantasms of my fevered mind I’ll leave for you to judge.

Peake himself was born on the ninth day of the seventh month, in a year — 1911 — which featured double digits. Was this what encouraged him (around 1940, when his first son Sebastian was born to Maeve Gilmore) to put the titular hero’s birthday as “the eighth day of the eighth month, I am uncertain about the year”? The 8th of August is the day before and a month after Peake’s own birth.

Is there any significance to this? Possibly. I think that there is a kind of duality to much of Titus Groan which the eighth day of the eighth month in a way prefigures. Let me give you some examples. Continue reading “Uncertainty principles”