A Humument: A Treated Victorian Novel (Paperback)
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“A ‘treated Victorian novel’—treated with humor and poetry, and a feeling for the ‘ghosts of other possible stories’ lurking in the original text. It may be the closest a paperback book has come to being an art object.”—New York

In the mid-1960s, Tom Phillips took a forgotten nineteenth-century novel, W. H. Mallock’s A Human Document, and began working over the extant text to create something new. The artist writes, “I plundered, mined, and undermined its text to make it yield the ghosts of other possible stories, scenes, poems, erotic incidents, and surrealist catastrophes which seemed to lurk within its wall of words. As I worked on it, I replaced the text I’d stripped away with visual images of all kinds. It began to tell and depict, among other memories, dreams, and reflections, the sad story of Bill Toge, one of love’s casualties.”

After its first publication in book form in 1980, A Humument rapidly became a cult classic. This new fifth edition follows its predecessors by incorporating Phillip’s latest revisions and reworkings, and celebrates an artistic enterprise that is forty-five years old and still actively a work in progress.

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.

Praise For…

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

An object both jaggedly modern . . .and densely wondrous as a medieval illumination.

A wonderful entertainment . . . full of humor, visual invention, and the peculiar poignancy of unnoticed meanings in the very lay and spelling of printed words.

One of the most winning and witty artistic experiments of recent times.

Product Details
ISBN: 9780500289990
ISBN-10: 0500289999
Publisher: Thames & Hudson
Publication Date: May 29th, 2012
Pages: 384
Language: English