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The Book of Genesis by R. Crumb

The Book of Genesis (2009)

by R. Crumb

Other authors: Robert Alter (Translator)

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Showing 1-5 of 34 (next | show all)
Many have written Crumb off as a leering mysoginist cartoonist. But the depth of his intelligence and human insight come to full bear in this book.

Starting with his choice of the Alter translation, a work of art in itself, the investment he made in scholarly research (read the endnotes as well) and finishing up with his own artistic insights, this is the best edition of the book I have ever read.

I found Crumb's interpetations among the most insightful I have ever encountered, whether traditional or scholarly. Crumb shows why this work a human endeavor of the highest magnitude and helps make clear why, as he notes, this book is the oldest text in continuous use in Western civilization. I just hope he does Exodus next!

C ( )
  aront | Jul 25, 2017 |
(1) Copy at TBC Office
(1) Copy at TBC Hills
  blumandpoe | Nov 3, 2016 |
This book might offend and horrify you. It might amuse and delight you. If you hate graphic novels or the Sixties' Underground Comix, you'll probably think it's obscene. If you're already familiar with Crumb's work, you'll probably appreciate its attention to detail, its tenderness, its genius. It's simultaneously irreverent and reverent. It reconciles opposites. I'm glad I bought it, and although I want to show it to everybody, I probably won't lend it anyone, for fear that it might disappear. ( )
  adeeba_zamaan | Jun 21, 2016 |
Illustration is commentary, so a graphic novel version of Genesis of necessity adds to and interprets the story. We see how Tamar's husbands die. We see a variety of clothing styles and day to day life. We also see nakedness and intercourse, but that's because they're in the original text. The English translation is from a variety of sources, including the King James version of the Bible and Robert Alter's The Five Books of Moses (2004) and Crumb's own interpretation. (I've read some of Alter's other writings and I trust him.) Crumb's style is not pretty, but it works.

Crumb includes footnotes explaining the meaning of names and endnotes with his commentary, comments, and explanations, including mention of Savina Teubal's Sarah, the Priestess, which talks about matriarchal power and "hieros gamos," or "sacred marriage:" Perhaps Sarah and Rebekah being taken into Pharoah's and Abimelech's court are later tellings of this ritual. He has no comments about the Akedah. ( )
  raizel | Jan 25, 2016 |
Whatever your persuasion might be, the Bible is without argument an incredibly influential historical document which has helped shape the World, for better or worse, into the place we all live in today.
The stories within its pages define grandeur, and have been integrated into our very psyches. Their epic scale has influenced every aspect of our modern life, even including science fiction and fantasy stories which often borrow from the old testament, transposing characters and situations onto other worlds.
For similar reasons I became interested in Shakespeare, especially Hamlet; basically I was tired of missing half the references in films like Star Trek etc.
As a big history fan, it had long been my desire to read the Bible as a grounding in better appreciating world events, but, the Bible is a heavy tome for the uninitiated. This, comic form serves as a easy to digest introduction to the great book itself.

I honestly never expected this body of work to spill forth from someone who is perceived to be as decadent and perverted as Robert Crumb. Don't get me wrong I like those things about him! But, to have dedicated such a significant portion of his remaining years to a project such as this; to have brought the book of Genesis within such easy reach of everyman is an astonishing thing for one person to have undertaken.

Part of me, struggling to get a grip on what was going on, recalled comparisons between Judith Krantz's character of Julien Mistral who produced a considerable body of religiously themed paintings as penance for his life's misdeeds. Could this be what was going on here I wondered?
Somehow I couldn't quite get my head around the fact that R. Crumb had not attempted to treat the subject matter with his usual cynicism, or at the very least to have added a subversive twist to the whole endeavour. After all, the man has been walking on the wild side all of his life and at the time, approaching his seventies, one could well expect him to rather 'be hung for a sheep as a lamb' and attack the establishment of the church with all his worst bile while raising a glass and casting a wry grin in the direction of the alter. But nothing could be further from the truth. This is an honest and respectful piece of work which, although I can not see it being used as a teaching tool in an evangelical situation - because of the shear power of the pictures and also, lets face it, because the artist is R. Crumb; it would otherwise lend itself to scholars wishing to visualise better the book of Genesis for themselves and reflect on some of the messages held within.

Of course, I don't personally trust R. Crumbs motives entirely. Part of me would like to believe that the 'Old Dog' does have a wicked grin on that sweet innocent face of his, and exposing the fact that the Bible contains at least as much sex, violence, debauchery and horror as anything he himself has penned over the years must be a reply to some of his harsher critics.

Never the less, whatever his motives, pure or not so, the fact remains that this is a wonderful addition to the true connoisseur's library. ( )
  Sylak | Nov 5, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 34 (next | show all)
Like Genesis itself, this book is a mix of the sacred and the profane. Not everyone will find that to their liking. However, I sincerely believe it’s worth the effort to read the book, at least once.
For all its narrative potency and raw beauty, Crumb’s “Book of Genesis” is missing something that just does not interest its illustrator: a sense of the sacred.
It's a cartoonist's equivalent of the Sistine Chapel, and it's awesome. Crumb has done a real artist's turn here — he's challenged himself and defied all expectation.
Genesis doesn't need an R. Crumb to provide perversity and failure. It's got enough all by itself. This is one reason that Crumb could play it straight with his art, no cloacal Snoid comedy, no gratuitous sex. Yes, there is sex -- men and women are shown discreetly coupling. But no irony, no joking around here. Just one pen-and-ink panel after another until Joseph -- he of the coat of many colors -- dies and the book ends.

How strange it all is, how ordinary. How biblical, how Crumb.
The power of "The Book of Genesis Illustrated" resides in Crumb's decision to play it straight, to frame this ancient creation myth on its own enduring terms.

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R. Crumbprimary authorall editionscalculated
Alter, RobertTranslatorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0393061027, Hardcover)

Nominated for three 2010 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards: From Creation to the death of Joseph, here are all 50 chapters of the Book of Genesis, revealingly illustrated as never before.

Envisioning the first book of the bible like no one before him, R. Crumb, the legendary illustrator, reveals here the story of Genesis in a profoundly honest and deeply moving way. Originally thinking that we would do a take off of Adam and Eve, Crumb became so fascinated by the Bible’s language, “a text so great and so strange that it lends itself readily to graphic depictions,” that he decided instead to do a literal interpretation using the text word for word in a version primarily assembled from the translations of Robert Alter and the King James bible.

Now, readers of every persuasion—Crumb fans, comic book lovers, and believers—can gain astonishing new insights from these harrowing, tragic, and even juicy stories. Crumb’s Book of Genesis reintroduces us to the bountiful tree lined garden of Adam and Eve, the massive ark of Noah with beasts of every kind, the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah destroyed by brimstone and fire that rained from the heavens, and the Egypt of the Pharaoh, where Joseph’s embalmed body is carried in a coffin, in a scene as elegiac as any in Genesis. Using clues from the text and peeling away the theological and scholarly interpretation that have often obscured the Bible’s most dramatic stories, Crumb fleshes out a parade of Biblical originals: from the serpent in Eden, the humanoid reptile appearing like an alien out of a science fiction movie, to Jacob, a “kind’ve depressed guy who doesn’t strike you as physically courageous,” and his bother, Esau, “a rough and kick ass guy,” to Abraham’s wife Sarah, more fetching than most woman at 90, to God himself, “a standard Charlton Heston-like figure with long white hair and a flowing beard.”

As Crumb writes in his introduction, “the stories of these people, the Hebrews, were something more than just stories. They were the foundation, the source, in writing of religious and political power, handed down by God himself.” Crumb’s Book of Genesis, the culmination of 5 years of painstaking work, is a tapestry of masterly detail and storytelling which celebrates the astonishing diversity of the one of our greatest artistic geniuses.

Nominated for three 2010 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards: Best Adaptation from Another Work, Best Graphic Album, Best Writer/Artist.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:07 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

An illustrated adaptation of the entire book of Genesis, providing the biblical accounts of the Creation, Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, Noah and the ark, the Tower of Babel, and other people and events.

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W.W. Norton

2 editions of this book were published by W.W. Norton.

Editions: 0393061027, 0393075931

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