Again, the charming Swelter, whose every move is offensive to one sense or another. See, for example, the sound of his feet when he walks. Here his gaping yawn makes nudity seem prim.

‘He does not listen for an answer, but yawns, his face opening lewdly upon regions compared with which nudity becomes a milliner’s invention.’

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. 340

Photo credit: christels at


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