With varying theories on the Literary Fantastic in mind it becomes more and more obvious that Peake’s trilogy fits none of them comfortably. So how do we define it? My argument is that in the face of such uncertainty, there is no obligation to confine Peake in this way. This is made more necessary by the fact Peake throughout the three books seems to play quite consciously with these different modes of the imaginative description. If Titus Groan reads somewhat like a Gothic fantasy, while Gormenghast plays with Tolkien-like imagery, then how can he explain the hybrid animal/cars, helicopters and planes described in the final episode? There are many anachronisms both in linguistic register and in historical accuracy in the trilogy and it is meant to be so. Even Manlove in his insistence on the inner cohesion of Gormenghast is perplexed by the incongruosly modern elements visited in Titus Groan. Rosemary Jackson takes the trilogy as exemplifying latent ideological problems which, outside of Fantasy writing would remain untouched. Other critics such as Edwin Morgan have stressed the essentially nature of his writing while Yorke admires his wilful stylistic independence. I agree with Yorke, and in the words of the great man himself I will finish. No one but Peake himself could describe his trilogy better:
“I enjoy the fantastic and the sheer excitement of having a sheet of white paper and a pen in one’s hand and no dictator on earth can say what word I put down – I put down what I want to put down”.
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