Steerpike is icily calculating and glacially manipulative.  He doesn’t have a warm emotion to his name beyond the impulse to self-advancement by any means and the satisfaction of seeing human puppets dance to his tunes. 

An extreme version of a common enough type and the sooner they can be singled out and contained, the better.  Many of them manage to flourish for years in unsuspecting organizations, wreaking endless low-level havoc. 

See another insight into the wormings of his brain.

‘… but he was soon his cold, calculating self, with his ordered mind like a bureau with tabulated shelves and pigeon-holes of reference.’  

See also our bestellar review of this book, with its lavishly illustrated quote-mosaic, packed with fine phrasing and fresh metaphors.  


Source: Mervyn Peake, Titus Groan, introduction by Anthony Burgess (London: Vintage Books, 1998), p. 162

Photo credit: OpenClipart-Vectors and vonriesling both at


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