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Robert Crumb's Book of Genesis [Hardcover]

Robert Crumb
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
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Book Description

29 Oct 2009

Envisioning the first book of the Bible like no one before him, R. Crumb, the legendary illustrator, retells the story of Genesis in a profoundly honest and deeply moving way. Originally thinking that he would do a takeoff 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, assembled primarily from the translations of Robert Alter and the King James Version.

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 interpretations 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 of 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 ninety, 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 this people, the Hebrews, were then 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 five years of painstaking work, is a tapestry of masterly detail and storytelling that celebrates the astonishing diversity of the one of our greatest artistic geniuses.


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Robert Crumb's Book of Genesis + R. Crumb's Heroes of Blues, Jazz, and Country + The Weirdo Years 1981-'91
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Jonathan Cape (29 Oct 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0224078097
  • ISBN-13: 978-0224078092
  • Product Dimensions: 22.6 x 28.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 61,140 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Robert Crumb - known as R. Crumb - is an American artist and illustrator recognized for the distinctive style of his drawings and his critical, subversive view of the American mainstream. A founding member of the underground comix movement, Crumb's considerable success has been achieved outside the mainstream comic book industry. His most recognized works are the Keep on Truckin' and Fitz the Cat comics. He is also a keen follower of popular music and illustrates album covers.

Product Description

Review

"an extraordinary, even an inspired book". --Saturday Times

`faithful recreation of Christianity's original story' --Daily Telegraph

'this is a markedly mature work' --Metro

Book Description

From the Creation to the death of Joseph, here are all fifty chapters of the Book of Genesis, revealingly illustrated as never before.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars God works in mysterious ways 16 Sep 2010
By Daniel Jolley HALL OF FAME TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
I must admit I did a double take when I saw that this illustrated version of the Book of Genesis sprang from the pen of R. Crumb. For those who aren't familiar with Crumb's work, he's pretty much the father of underground comics, an artist whose provocative work has earned him great notoriety and more than a few charges of racism, sexism, and misogyny from his harshest critics. The women in his artwork tend to be rather buxom, overly sexual, and submissive to the men around them, while his depiction of blacks and other minorities oftentimes seem to be rooted in stereotypes. Of course, any great artist is going to have his detractors, and it must be said that Crumb's true genius lies in his satirical and sometimes subversive take on popular culture. Eschewing mainstream comic book culture and the publishing industry that drives it, he has more than earned his place as a cult hero and countercultural icon of the twentieth - and now the twenty-first - century.

Simply put, R. Crumb was one of the last artists I would ever have expected to take on the illustration of a significant portion of the Bible. Even more surprising is the fact that his approach to this illustrated version of the Book of Genesis is not of a satirical or hypercritical nature. This book was a serious effort that involved four years of effort, a great deal of research, and surprisingly serious reflection on Crumb's part. As an agnostic, he approached the Book of Genesis as a work of literature with deep roots in the public consciousness, and he strove to provide a literal presentation of the story (including all of the "begots"). I find a great deal of irony in that last point.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
I think this book should appeal across the board, Christians should welcome it as a new insight into an ancient foundational text, and others can welcome it as a beautiful work of art even if they completely reject the 'inspired' nature of the text.

In comic book terms of course, Crumb is already a justly famous artist, his mastery of pencil and pen is amazing, and the artwork in this version of the Genesis text is incredible.

Moreover to put some fears at rest, he doesnt take any liberties with the text. It's basically `as is' (albeit with the mandatory additions of chapters, and the occasional Crumb footnote).

It's a beautifully illustrated book, and the illustration is very well researched, adding a new dimension to the text in places.

My only grumble with the book is that in my opinion Crumb has over-sexualised some of the female characters. I think he does this to try and emphasise their power and importance, but I think the pneumatic breasts and rounded buttocks which appear clothed and unclothed as the the stories demand, are at times unneccesarily exagerated.

Textual literalists may also complain that while Crumb doesnt add or subtract from the words, he does add some new layers of meaning (although well researched of course) via facial expressions and background contexts in certain scenes.

In all, an excellent book, really beautifully drawn. There are issues surrounding sexualisation, and in my opinion this is a consistent issue with Crumb, but if you can ignore that, then there is the real possibility that this will open up the ancient and awesome book of Genesis in a new way for the reader, and that is always welcome.

Parental advisory: contains sexual and violent content.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars very interesting book, easy to follow... 2 April 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I am very interested in wholy books, mitology, pre-historic times and history. It always fascinates me how human mind collectively created such an interesting collection of stories. I also believe there is a realistic base to most stories but for the sake of being didactic, most have a surreal dimension. I have always wanted to read the bible, but found it kind of boring and a bit incoherent. This book is great. Artist read it, did some lots of extra research and distilled the ideas very well. Illustrations are fantastic, helps your imagination to visualize how and what might have happened. I was not planning to read it so soon but whenever I decided to flip the pages, I couldn't resist but read it for a while. Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Crumb plays Genesis with a straight bat... 7 Jun 2011
By blofeld
Format:Hardcover
Crumb takes on the first book of the old testament and treats it in a fairly conservative way. By that I mean his drawings accompany the text without him sprinkling it with any of his "outsider" views. Nonetheless the story(or rather stories) that make up the book of Genesis are for the most part fascinating....and utterly bonkers. Another review here seems to regard the book as reprehensible in that it is promoting an outmoded superstitious view of the origins of the world. I don't think the book is proganda for the Old testament...its simply the story in pictures. Take it or leave it...I loved the book but I'm not religious and I didnt feel the book was trying to convert me. All in all , a titanic effort from Crumb for which he should be congratulated.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not for the faint-hearted - like the original! 4 April 2011
Format:Hardcover
Robert Crumb's illustrated edition of the first book of the bible is a huge work, the product of several years' work, and may just be his masterpiece. I have frequently been dumbstruck in the past by his technical skill, but I have also occasionally wondered that he has never really tackled an extended narrative; even the best of his books, like 'Robert Crumb draws the Blues' are effectively compilations.

His 'Genesis' is pretty visceral, as you might expect; but the rawness,the sex and the violence are all there in the original. In fact, as Crumb himself points out in his introduction, though there have been 'comic book bibles' before, they have all edited, compressed or elided the text: his is the first version to follow exactly and only the words. So what is he going to do now? Complete the Pentateuch? The Old Testament? The whole Bible? Unfortunately, I don't imagine he could live long enough for even the least of these. But we can hope!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Crumbs illustrated Genesis
I saw the original drawings for Robert Crumbs illustrated book of Genesis and thought it was wonderful. So to get it in my stocking this Christmas was great. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Mr. M. Todman
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Star Robert Crumb !
The book of Genesis as a murderous bonk-buster illustrated by Robert Crumb.... what more could you ask for ? Excellent !
Published 6 months ago by D. J. Brock
5.0 out of 5 stars beautiful!
am not religious at all but Crumbs take on it is fascinating...never thought i'd find myself reading a book of the bible! So worth the money! thoroughly recommend it,
Published 8 months ago by mvp
5.0 out of 5 stars A Work of Art.
I bought this book thinking it was a send up of the Genesis story,but it was R Crumb's drawings telling the actual Biblical account. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Brizdaz
3.0 out of 5 stars For Collectors
If you are a Crumb fan then you are probably going to want this on your bookshelf. That said, it is pretty much a straightforward illustration of Genesis without any added humour... Read more
Published 14 months ago by Snappy Chris
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible work
Nothing left out with all the words & Robert's wonderful drawings. Robert Crumb the underground artist & atheist spent 4 years penning this incredible work with all the full script... Read more
Published 23 months ago by Rod Spiller
5.0 out of 5 stars Robert Crumb's Genesis
This is remarkable, and it opened my eyes to parts of Genesis I had never fully read. The great thing about it is Robert Crumb's cartoons - a whole book of them - with a text that... Read more
Published on 15 May 2012 by Mr. A. Pearce
5.0 out of 5 stars Astonishing/astonished
Half of my family was religious, I was baptised and took my first comunion. I also read the bible, say a 70%, both old and new testament. Read more
Published on 22 April 2012 by andreo
5.0 out of 5 stars A remarkable accomplishment
This illustrated version of the book of Genesis in the style of an underground comic manages to make this powerful text come alive in a most unexpected way. Read more
Published on 15 May 2011 by Joanpau Rubies
3.0 out of 5 stars It's all black and white line drawings!
Happened upon this in Shakespeare's Book Shop on the Seine in Paris. I'd been interested in buying it, however it's only the cover that has the nice colourful lavish drawing you... Read more
Published on 30 Mar 2011 by Mr. C. Morris
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Product Description not QUITE what Crumb had in mind...... 1 11 Dec 2009
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