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The Book of Genesis Illustrated by R. Crumb (2009)
by R. Crumb
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A whole new way to look at the book of Genesis. This illustrated version shows Crumb's interpretation of these classic stories, of creation, of Joseph, Adam and Eve, and Noah's Ark. I found understanding and insight on many a page, the whole work of 224 pages is clearly a labor of love.
Not for traditionalists, but for anyone with an open mind and curious about alternative explanations.
For some reason, I found it so much easier to read this version of Genesis (or any book of the Old Testament) than when it's just text alone. Crumb's illustrations really bring the text to life in a way that makes the stories clear (even, or especially, the contradictory elements within the stories).
Crumb doesn't monkey with the text, using one of the best modern translations, but stays true to the source material and did a good job of including everything. There's a reverence for the stories here, not to be confused with pushing them as factual. Nor does he try to interpret or bend them to any particular ideology. But Crumb obviously understands, as he writes in his preface, that these powerful stories have stood the test of time for a reason.
For the sheer dismay it provokes, I love the story of Lot, who offers up his virgin daughters to the angry mob to be raped in place of his guests, the avenging angels. Of course, his daughters end up raping him later. By comparison, Lot's wife's fate as a pillar of salt seems almost logical. Is it any wonder that people have struggled for centuries trying to make sense of the lessons imparted by these stories?
I also really appreciated Crumb's end notes. Very informative and fascinating. I hope he's planning to do further books of the Old Testament. More, please!
I gave it only 3 stars mostly because it is the Book of Genesis from the Bible, which is not something I find engaging in terms of reading. With that aside, I have to say that this is a pretty interesting way to read a part of the Bible. If you know Crumb's art, then you know what you are getting into. However, this is not like Crumb's more subversive works, so I would say it is safe for most readers. When the cover says it includes all details, it means it. The visual art really brings these stories to life, and that is the strength of the book. I have to admit that I have read the Bible cover to cover, and revisited parts of it at times, but this version of Genesis reminded me of many details I had forgotten. We think we know the basic stories (Creation, the Flood, Sodom and Gomorrah, so on), but in between those major stories, it turns out a lot of other things happened, and Crumb does a very good job of bringing those to life.
Overall, I think the work of art is excellent (4 or 5 stars). The Book of Genesis, well, it is Genesis. I think believers and nonbelievers will like this books, maybe for different reasons. Personally, I liked it for the art, and it is a nice book to browse. Fans of Crumb may not like it as much since this is not as graphic as his other work, but it does have the essence of his style and work. I do recommend it. It is also a pretty quick read.
To say that R. Crumb treats Genesis "like no one before him" is fatuous to say the least. But his particular style of illustration is very compatible with the conventional treatment he gives the text.
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.
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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Melvil Decimal System (DDC)222.1105209Religions Bible Historical Books Pentateuch Genesis
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2 editions of this book were published by W.W. Norton.
Editions: 0393061027, 0393075931
With this adaptation you should expect R. Crumbs art style but don't expect anything anti-religious, humorous, or ironic. In the introduction he states himself he wanted to do the best and most accurately possible adaption (it should also be noted that Crumb see Genesis as holy but doesn't believe that every story is 100% true, more metaphors for something else - like how some Bible studies are taught). I highly recommend it to any reader with an open mind who can tolerate Crumb's style and Bible stories.
What I'm always surprised about is how little of Adam and Eve are in Genesis, two or three chapters (I believe); same thing can be said with Noah's Ark. What the Book of Genesis mainly focuses on is Abraham and Joseph (Jacob's/Israel's son). ( )