Peake Letters

Scope and Content

Manuscript letters from Mervyn Peake to Graham Greene, 1943-1959 and undated.

Administrative / Biographical History

Mervyn Peake was born in China on 9 July 1911. He attended Tientsin Grammar School and Eltham College, Kent. He became a poet, novelist, painter, playwright and illustrator. He married Maeve Gilmore, an artist, in 1937 and had two sons and one daughter. Peake died on 17 November 1968. Publications include: 'Rhymes Without Reason' (1944); 'Captain Slaughterboard Drops Anchor' (1945, reprinted 1966); 'The Craft of the Lead Pencil' (1946); 'Titus Groan' (novel, 1946); 'Letters from a Lost Uncle' (1948); 'The Glassblowers' (poem) and 'Gormenghast' (novel), awarded the W H Heinemann Foundation Prize, Royal Society of Literature (1950); 'Mr Pye' (1953); 'The Wit to Woo' (play, 1957); 'Titus Alone' (novel, 1959); 'The Rime of the Flying Bomb' (1962); 'Titus Groan' (novel, reprinted as trilogy in UK and USA, 1967); 'A Reverie of Bone' (poems, 1967).

Graham Greene was born on 2 October 1904. Following graduation from Oxford he joined the staff of 'The Times' newspaper in 1926, became literary editor of 'The Spectator' in 1940, and during the war worked in the Foreign Office. He was Director of the publishers Eyre & Spottiswoode from 1944 to 1948 and of Bodley Head publishers from 1958 to 1968.

Access Information


The papers are available subject to the usual conditions of access to Archives and Manuscripts material, after the completion of a Reader's Undertaking.

Acquisition Information

Purchased from Sotheby's sale in July 1975.

Other Finding Aids

Collection level description.

Related Material

The British Library now holds the Peake Papers previously held in UCL Library (former ref MS ADD 234) as well as those previously held at the Bodleian Library. The Tate Gallery Archive holds correspondence of Peake with Kenneth Clark, 1937-1942 (Ref: 8812).