A - books by MP

B - books he illustrated

C - his contributions to books D - his contributions to periodicals

E - exhibitions & ephemera

F - monographs on MP

G - assessments in books

H - assessments in periodicals

I - theses & dissertations

Index to MP’s poems

Abbreviations used in PiP

Peake Studies homepage

This page last updated
November 2016

Hosted by Web Hosting by IPOWER

Dissertations and theses on Mervyn Peake


When complete, each item is formatted as follows: writer’s name; title of dissertation; degree awarded; institution [the country is the UK unless otherwise indicated]; date of acceptance; length (number of typed pages or, for essays, number of words); brief summary, or indication of where one can be found, e.g. in Dissertation Abstracts Index (DAI); and any further relevant information (e.g. ‘only chap.5 is on Peake’).

If your dissertation or thesis is not here, please send me details, formatted as above. Many thanks. GPW
Marleen Naudts
Nature in TG by MP. Licentiaat (i.e. BA), Louvain, Belgium, 1972. 69p.
Edmond Nys
Aspects of space in TG. Licentiaat (i.e. BA), Louvain, Belgium, 1972. 101p.
Joseph Lee Sanders
Fantasy in the 20th century British novel. Ph.D., Indiana University, USA, 1972. 253p.
On Tolkien, Golding, and MP. Chap.4, pp.182-233, is devoted to Peake. Abstracted in DAI.
Rosemarie Tindemans
TG: an evolution towards maturity. Licentiaat (i.e. MA), Louvain, Belgium, 1972. 66p.
J. G. D. Blakely
Fantasy in British fiction: 1930–1960. MA, Manchester, 1973.
On C. S. Lewis, Tolkien, and Peake.
Sally Jacquelin
The theme of eccentricity in the Gormenghast novels of MP. Maîtrise (MA), Paris, France, 1973. 92p.
Raymond William Thomas Miller
Journey through Gormenghast: a study of MP’s trilogy. MA, Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada, 1974. 162p.
Summarized in MPR 1:23–24.
Bruce U. Hunt
Vast alchemies: form and meaning in MP’s trilogy. MA, Calgary, Canada, 1975. 151p.
Summarized in MPR 3:33.
Laurence Bristow-Smith
Isolation as theme and device in the Gormenghast Trilogy of MP. BA, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 1975. 120p.
Summarized in MPR 4:37.
Stacey Schlau
Modern romance: a study of techniques and themes. Ph.D., City University of New York, USA, 1975. 245p.
On William Morris, Lord Dunsany, Tolkien, and Peake. Abstracted in DAI.
Colin Greenland
Titus unbound. BA, Pembroke College, Oxford, 1976.
Summarized in MPR 4:38.
Emil Karafiat
The ritual system and the principle of ritual in MP’s Titus books. Lizentiat (i.e. BA), Zurich, Switzerland, 1977. 85p.
Summarized in MPR 4:38.
Desmond Mason
For everything comes to Gormenghast. MA, Leicester, 1977.
Summarized in MPR 5:41.
Richard Sisson
MP’s artistic outlook as particularly exemplified by his poetry. MA (Part 1), Christ’s College, Cambridge. 1977.
Summarized in MPR 5:41.
Ingrid Waterhouse
The moral vision of MP. MA, University College of North Wales, 1977. 81p.
Summarized in MPR 5:42.
Fiona Bateman
Fantasy and reality in the imaginative worlds of Gormenghast and Arcturus. BA, Sterling, Scotland, 1979.
Rosa Gonzalez
Aspects of MP’s literary work. Ph.D., Barcelona, Spain, 1979. In Spanish.
D[avid] C. Sutton
Mythological writing in the modern novel. Ph.D., Polytechnic of Central London, 1979.
On Beckett, Peake and Durrell. Summarized in MPR 5:41–2.
Laurence Bristow-Smith
A critical study of the novels of MP. Ph.D., Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 1980. 334p.
Summarized in MPR 11:47.
Elizabeth Shaw
Gormenghast: a world of words. BA Hons (Part II), Trinity Hall, Cambridge, 1980. 23p.
Mentioned in MPR 11:47.
Pamela Simpkin
Isolation in TG and G. BA (Hons) in librarianship, City of Birmingham Polytechnic, 1980.
Mentioned in MPR 11:47.
Sabbar S. Sultan
MP: a critical study of his novels. M.Phil., Glasgow, Scotland, 1980.
Beverley M. M. Waring
The works of MP. B.Ed. (Hons), Bretton Hall College, Yorkshire, 1980. 6–7000 words.
Noticed in MPR 11:47.
Lesley Marx
The dark circus: an examination of the work of MP. MA thesis, Cape Town, S. Africa, 1983. 290p.
Margaret Ochocki
A visual and verbal examination of the creative role of childhood within the works of selected artists and writers. M.Phil., Sunderland Polytechnic. Submitted February 1983; accepted December 1984.
Gary Collins
Manifestations of evil in man and society, as portrayed in MP’s Titus novels. BA, Rolle College, Exmouth, 1984.
Summarized in MPR 18:48.
Frances Fowle
Subversive elements in MP’s Titus books and Mikhail Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita. M.Sc. in comparative and general literature, Edinburgh, 1984. 50p.
Mentioned in MPR 18:48.
Iain G. Beaton
The vision of Gormenghast: an examination of six illustrators and their illustrations for the Titus books by MP. MA, St. David’s University College, Wales, 1984. 60p.
The basis for his article in MPR 20.
James van den Heever
A critical study of MP’s novels in a literary context. M.Litt., Merton College, Oxford, 1984. 179p.
Summarized in MPR 18:47.
Elzbieta Pustulka
MP’s stories as an example of fantastic fiction. MA, Jagiellonian University of Cracow, Poland, 1984. 117p.
Elizabeth Huyck
‘While the Gods laugh’: the Titus books of MP. Honors paper. Mount Holyoke College, USA, 1986. 155p (appendices, 156–220).
Sally Jacquelin
La trilogie de MP dans la tradition du ‘romance’ anglais. Thèse d’Etat (i.e. Ph.D. thesis), Paris 8, Nanterre, France, 1986. 725p. In French.
Tanya Gardiner-Scott
MP: the evolution of a dark romantic. Ph.D., Toronto, Canada, 1986. 421p.
Revised as a book, title unchanged, published in 1989 by Peter Lang, New York, in their series of American University Studies.
Richard Harman
Characteristics of MP’s illustrations to classic literature. MA, St David’s University College, Wales, 1987.
Explores sequence, point-of-view, subject-matter, and narrative in MP’s illustrations, noting his creation of fantasy-characters and the relation of his technique to British music-hall and cinema conventions.
Georgina Warden
The razor’s edge between passion and intellect: a critical study of the relationship between the literary technique of MP and his art in the Titus novels. Durham, 1988. 40p.
Christopher Walmsley
[title not known] Manchester, 1989? 60p.
Robert Copp
Secret gods: epic revelations of the aesthetic imagination. An investigation into the epic and the novel as exemplified by MP’s postmodern ‘pantechnicon’, TG, G, and TA. MA Canada, 1989 or 1990.
Guy Garnett
Aspects of MP’s Titus stories, TG, G, & TA, related to the romantic tradition. BA (Hons), Manchester, 1991. 15,000 words.
Violetta Risi
La Gormenghast Trilogy di MP. Equivalent to BA, ‘La Sapienza’, Rome, Italy, 1991. 195p. In Italian.
Ann Yeoman
The Titus books: archetype and image in MP’s narrative of the fantastic. Ph.D. University of York, Toronto, Canada, 1991. 322p.
Rod Chamberlain
The illustrated writings of MP. BA Hons in Fine Art (sculpture), Staffordshire Polytechnic, 1992.
Luisella Ciambezi
Viaggio a Gormenghast: la fantasy nella trilogia di MP. equivalent to BA, Bologna, Italy, 1992. 91p plus bibliography. In Italian.
Dominic Pettman
‘Climates of the Mind’: the post-modern poetics of MP. MA, Melbourne University, Australia, 1992. 15p, plus bibliography and notes.
Situates MP’s Titus books as post-modern meta-Gothic, a sub-genre of fantasy, using reason and unreason as the main analytical thread.
Miles Fielder
From a problematics towards a poetics of Peake. MA, University of Central Lancashire, 1993. 44p, plus bibliography.
The essence is contained in the article of the same title in PS, Vol.4, No.2, Spring 1995.
Mark McGuinness
The vision of MP. BA, Brasenose College, Oxford, 1992. 6000 words.
Printed, almost complete, in Peake Papers I, pp.83–95 (F8).
Sophie Aymès
Architecture et écriture dans Gormenghast. DEA, Paris, France, 1994. 117p plus bibliography. In French.
Summarized in PS 4:ii, Spring 1995.
Rosemarie Diplock
The treatment of alienation in selected works by MP. BA Hons, Brunel University College, London, 1994. 72p plus bibliography.
Summarized in PS 4:ii, Spring 1995.
M J Clulee
The opposing fantasy worlds of Tolkien and MP: a critical study of The Lord of the Rings and the Gormenghast books. MA, Newcastle, 1995. c.12,000 words.
Rob Hindle
The Titus novels of MP. A critical and contextual study. Ph.D., Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 1996, 305p + bibliography.
David Dalgleish
The dynamics of terror: the grotesque character of gothic fiction. MA, Concordia, Montreal, Canada, 1997. 100p plus bibliography.
Uses TG and G to establish the central role of the grotesque in fully successful Gothic works.
Nick McGregor
Dickens, Peake and the carnivalesque: an interpretation of selected books by Charles Dickens and MP’s Gormenghast trilogy. MA Hons, Stirling, Scotland, 1999.
Douglas Ayling
Inclusion and Autonomy: a study in belonging. BA, Lancaster, 2001. 41p. plus appendices & bibliography.
Chapter 1 is titled ‘Autonomy of Identity in Titus Alone’.
Asks the question: how far is it possible to belong to a group and yet retain autonomy of identity, autonomy of moral self-legislation, and ideological autonomy?
Sophie Aymès
L’esthétique de l’oeuvre littéraire et picturale de MP. Doctorat (i.e. PhD), Paris-Sorbonne (Paris IV), France, 2001. 420p plus 15p reproducing MP’s MSS. In French.
Summarized in PS 7:iv 33.
Carla Evans
Steerpike’s ambiguous invasion: the gothic and the fantastic in MP’s trilogy. Undergraduate essay, [University?] 2001. 31p.
Lynsey McCulloch
Fantasy in context: war neurosis and national identity in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-Earth and MP’s Gormenghast. BA (Hons), Anglia Polytechnic University, 2001. 8000 words.
Fiorella Pezzotta
Miles of rambling stones. L’immaginario spaziale nella trilogia di Gormenghast (Space Imagery in the Gormenghast Trilogy). Milan, Italy, 2001. 156p. In Italian.
Elena Piccinotti
MP e la letteratura del bizzarro (MP and the literature of the bizarre). Milan, Italy, 2002. In Italian.
Marc Alexander Bond
The craft of drawing and the medium of the lead pencil. BA, University of Wales at Lampeter, July 2002. 10,000 words.
Brief summary in PS 6:i 47.
Alice Mills
Aspects of stuckness in MP’s fiction. PhD, University of Ballarat, Australia. Accepted 2002; degree awarded in 2003. 188p.
Revised and published as Stuckness in the Fiction of Mervyn Peake (Part F).
Damon Kyle Ellis
Gormenghast and the Gothic edifice. MA (Hons), Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand, 2003. 103p.
June Hopper
Mervyn Peake’s Illustrations for Lewis Carroll’s Alice. MA, Roehampton University, 2004.
An article derived from this dissertation was published in 2007 (Part H).
Steven Jenkinson
‘And love itself will cry for insurrection’: ritual and rebellion in MP’s Titus novels. BA, University of Sheffield, 2005. 10,000 words.
Examines the tensions created by stasis and dynamic change and how they are reconciled in MP’s narrative style, the depiction of Gormenghast and the castle’s inhabitants.
Gaenor Burchett-Vass
Stylistics and the Form/Content Dichotomy. MA, University of Auckland, New Zealand, 2007. 134p.
The passage on TG was published in the writer’s blog in 2017 (Part G).
Katie Evans
The crumbling panorama of Gormenghast: MP’s Titus novels as a modern Gothic masterpiece. BA, Durham University, 2007. 8,000 words.
Edward Martin
Tradition, ritual and social convention in MP’s Gormenghast trilogy. MA, King’s College London, 2007. 54p. 15,843 words.
Applies theories of ritualistic and traditional behaviour to the ambiguous and self-contradictory attitude of Gormenghast towards its own history and cultural identity. Pays close attention to Titus and Steerpike.
Anna Sproul
Weird journeys: MP, war, and the Freudian masterplot. MSt, Corpus Christi College, Oxford, 2008. 10,700 words.
Examines how MP’s wartime experience provided him with a set of metaphors for describing the psychic struggle between Eros and Thanatos. Concentrates on his poems and the short story ‘The Weird Journey’.
Phillip Dyte
Death, identity and freedom in Titus Groan and Gormenghast: a critical exploration. BA, University of Leicester, 2009. 5830 words.
How death, identity and freedom inter-relate, and cause conflicts, and how those conflicts are addressed. Also looks at the natural versus the unnatural, and the opposition of the castle and nature with the Bright Carvers as the middle ground.
Simon Eckstein
There’s no place like home: MP’s Titus Groan and Gormenghast in a modernist context. MA, Cardiff University (Wales), 2009. 19,975 words.
How MP’s depiction of the alienated individual, his exploration of the modernist crisis of language, the indeterminacy of both time and space in Gormenghast, and images of spatial and economic dislocation establish a sense of existential homelessness and the prospect of a nostalgic return to an idealized premodern society.
Lauren Moss
Postmodern Existentialism in MP’s Titus Books. MA. University of Sheffield, 2009. 55p. (Now available as a monograph through amazon. 978-1-59942-341-8)
In the light of the philosophies of Nietzsche and Kierkegaard, and using Nathan Scott’s Mirrors of Man in Existentialism, maintains that the Titus books belong to Postmodern Existentialist literature.
Oliver Plaschka
Arcadies Lost: the pastoral theme in English and American fantastic literature – H.P. Lovecraft, James Branch Cabell, Mervyn Peake, William Gibson. Dr. phil. (Ph.D.), Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg, Germany. Accepted 2008, awarded 2009. 272p. In German. Available for download here.
The chapter on MP attempts to show how concepts such as castle and forest, culture and nature, past and present are conceived and how they affect Titus’ longing for a meaningful, more vital world.
Vanessa Bonnet
The motif of Fuchsia in the first two books of MP’s ‘Gormenghast Trilogy’, Titus Groan and Gormenghast. Master 1, Université de Nice Sophia-Antipolis, France, 2010. 60p.
Analyses her character, her relationship with other characters, and her symbolic meaning. Her existence in between the worlds of reality and fiction directly links her to Peake.
Jonathan D. Rodgers
Fantasies of Faith: religion and morality in MP’s Titus books and C. S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia. MA. University of Manchester, 2010. 16,500 words.
Relates the works to the respective authors’ religious sensibilities. Reads the Titus books as a critique of formalized religion that illuminates some of the Chronicles’ ethical and imaginative deficiencies.
Joseph Young
Secondary Worlds in Pre-Tolkienian Fantasy Fiction. Ph.D., University of Otago, New Zealand, 2010. 273p. Abstract
Only pp.194–245 relate to MP.
Boris De Decker
Gothic elements in the fantasy worlds of MP and Sylvia Townsend Warner: an analysis and comparison. MA. University of Ghent, Belgium, 2010–11. 83p. + bibliography.
No summary available, but the full text is here.
Isabelle Guillaume
MP and Lewis Carroll’s Uncharted Lands: worlds of the mind, transgressions, creative individualities. Master 1, ENS de Lyon, France, 2011. 91p.
On the nature of imaginary worlds and their relation to the self in MP’s Titus Groan & Gormenghast and Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking Glass.
Lauren Nixon
For he carried his Gormenghast within him: ritual, repression and identity in the work of MP. BA. Bath Spa University, 2011. 7600 words.
Vanessa Bonnet
Traduction commentée de dix poèmes tirés de A Book of Nonsense de MP. Master 2, Université de Nice Sophia-Antipolis, France, 2011. 206p. In French.
Translation of 10 poems from BN, with linguistic and literary analysis.
An article deriving from part of this dissertation, ‘A World of Nonsense,’ appeared in PS 12:iv (April 2012).
Daniel Lüthi
Flinging the Heart out of the La(w)byrinth: Modernism, Postmodernism and the Gothic in MP’s Titus books. MA, University of Basel, Switzerland, October 2011. 33,246 words (including notes and bibliography).
Studies how Titus Groan breaks out of the labyrinth – architectural, psychological, and legal (cf. the bureaucracy in Kafka’s Castle) – that encloses him, and leaves to live his own free life.
Carina Moore
Into Cosmic Shade: the problem of the human in the Gormenghast novels. Part requirement for a double BA in Law (Honours) and Arts (Honours), Monash University, Melbourne, Australia, November 2011. 17,000 words approx (excluding footnotes, quotes and apparatus).
Investigates the ways in which the TG and G explore the problem of the human subject – what defines it and what threatens its integrity – with reference to the Victorian Gothic tradition, and to the cultural climate of the early 20th century.
Francesca Bell
The Salvaged Image: a study of fairy tale, MP, and the creative process. Ph.D., University of Newcastle, Australia, December 2011. 97p. plus bibliography.
Analyses, in a context of art’s struggle against psychological repression, how MP’s illustrations to Household Tales uncover the deep concerns of fairy tale.
Charlotte White
The Child in Gothic. PhD, University of Reading. April 2012. 312p.
The child as a challenging and agential figure in Gothic Literature – Wilkie Collins, Mervyn Peake, Bram Stoker and Horace Walpole. The chapter on Peake explores the tension between Titus as heir to the Groan dynasty and universal child.
Ben Smith
MP the Neo-Romantic: an exploration of identity, modernity, and rebellion in the Gormenghast trilogy. BA, Brunel University, May 2012. 10,576 words (including footnotes).
Garance Coggins
Quelle place pour les dessins de MP dans TG? Master I, Paris Ouest: Nanterre, France, June 2012. 100p. plus bibliography and appendix. [In French]
An article derived from one small part of this dissertation, ‘From Pictures to Prose: How Goya and Rembrandt Contributed to the Titus Books,’ appeared in PS 13:i (October 2012).
Aran Ward Sell
Mirrors of Worlds: is a Secondary World by necessity an allegorical or satiric comment on the Primary World? MA, University of Edinburgh. June 2012. 9927 words.
On Peake, Tolkien and MacDonald.
Rachael Shanks
Twentieth-Century Gothic and Dehumanization: the exploration of post-war concerns in TG and G. BA (Hons), University of Strathclyde. 2013. 6,000 words.
Studies how Peake’s engagement with Gothic literature informs the treatment of post-war social concerns.
Ewa Lipińska
Errors of Syntagmatic Translation in the Polish Version of TG by MP. BA, University of Warsaw, Poland, June 2013. 62 pages + bibliography.
Applies translation theory to errors and distortions in the Polish translation of TG.
Edmund Milly
Nonsense and Trauma in the Works of Mervyn Peake. MA research paper submitted 1 August 1913. University not specified but everything points to McGill. 39 pages + notes and bibliography.
Sets out ‘to prove that Peake’s nonsense and illustrated short works are his most effective attempts to confront lived reality and psychic trauma. In this endeavor, he both affirms and breaks with previous traditions of English literary nonsense, while obliquely representing the wounds of personal and cultural trauma.’
Catherine Grose
‘Aggressively Three Dimensional’ with a ‘Paranoic Denseness of Detail’: how place supersedes character and narrative in MP’s TG and G. BA, University of Reading, November 2013. 10,000 words (including notes but not bibliography).
Closely analyses the descriptions of the castle, and shows how these passages interrupt the plot and either aid or hinder the characters.
Rachel Chanter
‘Cold stone and dark soil: destabilising the nature/culture binary in MP’s TG and G.’ MLitt., University of St Andrews, 2014. 53p.
Akiko Takagi
The World in the Eyes: A Study on [sic] Mervyn Peake’s Titus Books. BA, University of Tokyo, Japan, January 2015. 47 pages + bibliography and abstract in Japanese.
Deals mainly with the theme of fragmentation and stagnation in the trilogy; also mentions the connection between Peake’s life and his novels.
Julie Sinclair
Representations of the Flood in MP and JRR Tolkien. MA, Open University, June 2015. 45 pages + bibliography.
Argues that the Biblical Flood principally informed both authors.

© G. Peter Winnington 2016

This is the end of ‘Peake in Print’.
I hope you find it useful.

Until now, the cost of this site was covered by subscriptions to Peake Studies. The journal is no longer published, but the expenses remain. Your support through a donation, however small, is greatly appreciated.

There is also, for your convenience,
a first-line and title index to Peake’s poetry.


Back to the Peake in Print contents page or

back to the Peake Studies home page