Peake began his career as a painter and applied to be a war artist at the outbreak of World War II. He proposed an exhibition titled, An Exhibition by the Artist, Adolf Hitler that imagined horrific images of war as “art works” by Hitler. The proposal was turned down and Peake was conscripted into the Army.
Peake died on November 17, 1968, after a long battle with Parkinson's Disease. His work, however, has lived on in various incarnations:
His characters have been portrayed in numerous film, stage, and radio adaptations of his work by actors such as Sting, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, Christoper Lee, Stephen Fry, and Terry Jones.
In 1998, the Gormenghast novels were turned into an opera, which premiered in
The song “The Drowning Man,” by The Cure, was inspired by the events of Gormenghast.
Titus Groan, Gormenghast, and Titus Alone, which make up the Gormenghast novels, Peake’s greatest achievement, are now available from Overlook in individual volumes or in one single volume.