Swelter is one of the less attractive characters in Mervyn Peake’s sprawling, crawling, mossy pile of forgotten granite, Gormenghast.  He consumes prodigious quantities of food and wine and is consumed by hatred (fully reciprocated).

Peake depicts his ungainliness in the sound of his feet splatting across the stone floors, such as when porridge is about to burn on the stove.

‘… his flat feet sucking at the stones like porridge.’

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. 341

Photo credit: Klara Avsenik at unsplash.com


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