Thursday, March 27, 2014

Gormenghastular Vocabulary Quiz

Fine literature in board game format.
A lot of you have been wondering what I've been up to lately since clearly the ol' Blog has been on cruise control since Christmas time.  Well, I'll tell you: I've been reading Mervyn Peake's awe-inspiring Gormenghast novels.  Holy hell.

Though not mentioned in Appendix N, the influence of Peake's tomes on, for instance, Moorcock's Elric--who seems to be perhaps a cross between Titus Groan, 77th Earl of Gormenghast, and Steerpike, the albinic mastermind of malfeasance--seems rather obvious, and even the law/chaos business that pervades Melnibonea is perhaps inferred in these works, though, thankfully, not in any overt manner.  Of course, you shouldn't hold any of this against Peake, he does not abuse his readers with the heavy-handed earnestness that renders the work of his successors so unpalatable.

Much like the vast and crumbling, ivy-covered Castle with its endless corridors and innumerable towers, cells, and chambers, Peake similarly investigates every archaic, obsolete, and encumbering avenue of the English language in search of just the right palaver to convey the atmosphere of Gormenghast.  The result is a viscous yet envigorating skein of prose that thoroughly envelops the reader... holy Zeus, when exactly did this turn into a book report?
 

Anyway, my point is that Peake uses a lot of strange words, or uses familiar seeming words in unusual ways making his novels an adventure in--oh, crap, I'm slipping into book report mode again.  Screw it: I challenge all you word nerds out there to a little Peakean Vocab Quiz.  Let's see how you measure up:

  1. adumbrate
  2. abactinal
  3. daedal
  4. fugness
  5. liana
  6. monody
  7. pranked
  8. raddled
  9. susurrous
  10. tare

ANSWERS: 1) You're not even close. 2) Really? Is that your final answer? 3) You might think that was it, but you are obviously incorrect. 4) Not even Webster knows for sure what Peake was getting at. 5) Wrong, fool. 6) That's pretty close, for a simpleton. 7) Can it possibly be that obvious? No, it can't.  8) Admittedly, even Peake was only guessing when he used this one, but that doesn't excuse your tepid effort. 9) Your pallid attempt to make yourself seem smart has achieved the exact opposite effect. 10) a member of Vicia, a genus of trailing or climbing plants.

3 comments:

Lum said...

Holy moley, there's a Gormenghast board game!? Have you played it?

Timrod said...

I was hoping you would be inspired to buy it...

Lum said...

Well played... I might.