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The Book of Leviathan Hardcover – 5 Oct 2000

4.7 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Sort Of Books; 1st Edition edition (5 Oct. 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0953522725
  • ISBN-13: 978-0953522729
  • Product Dimensions: 26.3 x 2.1 x 17.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 255,124 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Peter Blegvad's comic strip is one of the greatest, weirdest things I've ever stared at. Give me Leviathan or give me death! (Matt Groening)

Whenever I'm asked for proof that literature, art and poetry can exist in comic form, I point to Peter Blegvad. (Ben Katchor, author The Jew of New York.)

The greatest, weirdest thing. (Times Literary Supplement)

Blegvad has opened up the crib-fenced world that precedes words and filled it to the brim with deadpan poetry and gnomic chatter (San Francisco Chronicle)

Funny, enigmatic and beautifully limned- what more could one ask? (Glen Baxter The Observer, Book of the Year)

Combines surreal imagination and existential musings with superb draughtsmanship. (The List, Glasgow & Edinburgh)

Deeply weird, unique and disturbingly wonderful. (Independent on Sunday)

About the Author

Peter Blegvad is a polymath - a writer, cartooonist, and, most often a musician. Born in New York, he lives, like Leviathan, in Shepherds Bush.


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Format: Hardcover
I've been aware of the depth and breadth of the mind of Peter Blegvad for many years now, through his musical endeavors (with Slapp Happy, as well as his solo work) - his creations have always been stimulating, bringing with them smiles and incentives for further thought and intellectual and contemplative explorations. I had heard about his comic strip `Leviathan' (which appeared regularly in THE INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY in the U.K.), but until I purchased a copy of this collection, I had never actually experienced it firsthand. I'm sorry I waited so long - this is a treasure.

Matt Groening (creator of `The Simpsons' and `Life in Hell') is widely recognized as a purveyor of twisted and useful reflections of real life, is quoted on the back of this volume: `Peter Blegvad's comic strip is one of the greatest, weirdest things I've ever stared at.' I heartily concur. Blegvad combines his senses of humor and irony with his intellectual strengths and his amazing artistic abilities into `Leviathan', giving his readers an opportunity to take one of the wildest rides they're liable to experience. The episodes in this book range from purely humorous takes on a baby's view of the world he inhabits to visual illustrations of puns to hallucinogenic explorations of the conscious and subconscious to sublime meditations on everything from the most seemingly insignificant daily occurrences to the meaning of life and death. Quite a range, right? Blegvad pulls it off beautifully. Perhaps I'm a little prejudiced by already being a huge fan of his music, but none of his outings collected here come across as shallow or pretentious in any way. The subtleties are many, the layers of wit are as innumerable as those in a chunk of mica - each reading reveals something missed the time before.
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Format: Hardcover
I've been waiting for this book for years. I've been absorbed by Peter Blegvad's verbal contortions since my first exposure to the Slapp Happy album 'Desperate Straits'. When I saw that Peter Blegvad was drawing these delightful fantasies and musings, and knowing that I would not be buying The Independent on Sunday just for that, I began immediately to long for Leviathan to be gathered into a book so that I might escape for extended periods into the skewed worlds of this intellectual baby.
I pre-ordered my copy and received it less than two weeks after the birth of my first child; In between my chaotic sessions with milk, nappies and puking, I settle down with Levi, Bunny and Cat, and have found them to be a better guide to the inner workings of my daughter's tiny mind than any child care manual.
'The Book of Leviathan' is a child's garden of semiotics, full of wonder and fascination with meaning and symbol, yet not without the nameless dread and melancholy that we all remember as part of our own infancy. The Book of Leviathan suggests that we have taken much as given, demonstrating a multitude of equally valid alternative realities as tangibly as if they were pressed flowers. When we learned, as babies, to grasp reality, did we really build our understanding on solid foundations, or did our fists close around it as a mere reflex action?
Calvin and Hobbes can go play in the traffic; Blegvad is absolutely successful in capturing the awe of the baby, without a trace of cuteness or prejudice; more, he brings the reader fully inside that awe, where we freshly experience the literal dimension of signs, klang associations, everyday existential dilemmas and the very structure of understanding.
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Format: Hardcover
This is cartoon comedy on a high-wire. Every frame reveals some new flash of lateral wit, until by the end of the page, or the sequence of pages, you realise you've moved into a different dimension altogether. At times, Peter Blegvad seems to lure us into realm of his prodigious imagination by stealth; at other times he will knock you down with what I can only describe as a 'coup de theatre', blasting rational thought far into the distance.
Blegvad is a master of the form; a virtuoso; the book is a joy to be savoured one line at a time, one page at a time, one sequence at a time ... depending on just how much you can cope with at one sitting! I come to it as a parent (and it should be compulsory reading for all parents, by the way), and find to my delight that the world really does make more sense when Peter Blegvad helps me see it through Levi's eyes ... that is, from the inside out.
You have a really dear friend and you want to get them something for Christmas that they'll enjoy all through next year? Get them The Book of Leviathan.
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Format: Hardcover
The Book of Leviathan is extraordinary and a library essential for ANYONE interested in comic strips, modern poetics, surrealism and/or children. Seeing Peter Blegvad's decade-long cartoon series collected in one place makes one aware of its universality and its connections to masterworks of the past (Winsor McCay's Little Nemo comes immediately to my mind) in a way that viewing the individual weekly pieces in the Independent On Sunday does not and cannot. While this excellent, beautifully produced collection stands fully on its own (and will be my main present to friends this year), it also enlarges and enhances one's appreciation of Peter Blegvad's solo and group recordings. Basically, as with any new Blegvad work, once you see or hear it, you want there to be a "next one" as soon as possible.
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