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Mervyn Laurence Peake (July 9, 1911 – November 17, 1968) was an English modernist writer, artist, poet and illustrator. He is best known for what are usually referred to as the Gormenghast books. (The three works were part of what Peake conceived as a lengthy cycle, the completion of which was halted by his death.) They are sometimes compared to the work of his older contemporary J.R.R. Tolkien, but his surreal fiction was influenced by his early love for Charles Dickens and Robert Louis Stevenson rather than Tolkien's studies of mythology and philology.