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A Humument: A Treated Victorian Novel (Fifth Edition) Paperback

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A Humument: A Treated Victorian Novel (Fifth Edition) + Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Thames & Hudson; Fifth Edition edition (May 29, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780500289990
  • ISBN-13: 978-0500289990
  • ASIN: 0500289999
  • Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 5.2 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #159,712 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


“An object both jaggedly modern . . .and densely wondrous as a medieval illumination.” (Newsday)

“A more thorough lifting of layers reveals linguistic, artistic, metaphysical issues that are as many and various and essential as those in a text by Aristotle. . . . The field of collage, of color and line . . . releases outbursts of words that find themselves in an altogether new syntactical space; and there, like notes, they sing a painted music.” (William Glass - Artforum)

“One of the most winning and witty artistic experiments of recent times.” (Washington Post)

“A wonderful entertainment . . . full of humor, visual invention, and the peculiar poignancy of unnoticed meanings in the very lay and spelling of printed words.” (San Francisco Chronicle)

About the Author

The English painter, writer, and composer Tom Phillips curated the groundbreaking exhibition “Africa: The Art of the Continent” at the Royal Academy in 1992. He is himself a collector of African art, specializing in the arts of Ghana and the Ivory Coast. His other books include The Postcard Century.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By William Timothy Lukeman TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 18, 2013
Format: Paperback
Tom Phillips' reworking of an obscure Victorian novel ("A Human Document") is a thing of rare & twisty beauty indeed. By eliminating much of the original text with his own imagery, ranging from drawing & painting to collage, he has unearthed/created a new novel, lean & fragmented & seemingly drawn from the depths of the Unconscious, hinting at untold stories & mysteries in the way that half-remembered dreams almost cohere & make sense ... but never quite fully. A quick online search will easily yield dozens of examples from its treated pages, which take every form & style imaginable in their seemingly inexhaustible flow. As stated in my title, the effect is that of a modernist illuminated manuscript, one that draws on the history of art & the discoveries of depth psychology. What makes it all the more fascinating is that it can be read as a novel (of sorts), or simply as a collection of art, rather like the ultimate personal journal of a skilled artist. Somehow it manages to be both experimental & very traditional at the same time, fusing eras as if it's the most natural thing in the world. Not for every taste, but a treasure for anyone with an adventurous & insatiably curious spirit -- most highly recommended!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By TheReviewer. on December 31, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The book is a Palimpsest. So Phillips takes a produced work (A Human Document) and remixes it. The result is this novel. The plot is a bit convoluted because Phillips is limited to the realm of the words on the page to create a story. The pictures range from water colored to picture collages to pattern pages. At times its hard to read the story as a whole. It's like a picture book told with poetry. You can either focus your energy reading the words or looking at the pictures. But doing both tasks is a bit tricky. Not your typical book.
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By Zona lady on December 20, 2013
Format: Paperback
I saw the original pages of this book displayed at the Mass Museum of Modern Art. They were displayed with the pages of the original book along a wall. What was going to be a relatively quick visit to the museum turned out to be much longer because of this exhibit. My friend was just as captivated. It is poetry with art, or art with poetry. Either way, it's amazing because both are so good. I bought the book, not really to read, but just to have time to treasure it slowly.
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