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The Book of Genesis Hardcover – Sep 29 2009

5.0 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: WW Norton; 1 edition (Nov. 13 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393061027
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393061024
  • Product Dimensions: 22.6 x 2.5 x 28.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 885 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #66,330 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


Starred Review. Crumb’s vivid visual characterizations of the myriad characters, pious and wicked, make the most striking impression. His distinctive, highly rendered drawing style imparts a physicality that few other illustrated versions of this often retold chronicle have possessed. The centenarian elders show every one of their years, and the women, from Eve to Rachel, are as solidly sensual as any others Crumb has so famously drawn. — Booklist

To say this book is a remarkable volume or even a landmark volume in comic art is somewhat of an understatement.... stands on its own as one of this century’s most ambitious artistic adaptations of the West’s oldest continuously told story. — Paul Buhle (The Jewish Daily Forward)

It’s a cartoonist’s equivalent of the Sistine Chapel. It’s awesome. Crumb has done a real artist’s turn here—he’s challenged himself and defied all expectation. ... I’ve read Genesis before. But never have I found it so compelling. By placing it squarely in the Middle East—and populating it with distinctively Semitic-looking people—Crumb makes it come alive brilliantly. — Susan Jane Gilman (Morning Edition, NPR)

[A] beautifully drawn and relentlessly faithful rendition of the first 50 chapters of the Bible by an apostle of the 1960s and sometimes profane progenitor of underground comics. Crumb has produced what could be the ultimate graphic novel. — David Colton (USA Today)

About the Author

Born in Philadelphia, R. Crumb is the author of numerous comic works and one of the pioneers of underground comics. His books include Kafka, The Complete Crumb Comics (17 volumes), The R. Crumb Sketchbook (10 volumes), R. Crumb Draws the Blues, The Book of Mr. Natural, The Book of Genesis Illustrated by R. Crumb, and many more. He lives in the south of France with his wife, the artist Aline Kominsky-Crumb.

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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It took Crumb over four years to complete the 201 pages of Genesis. It begs curiosity why the publisher Norton chose to give Crumb the assignment of adapting his talents to retelling and illustrating Genesis, the first book of the Jewish Talmud (and the Christian Old Testament). This is an artist who for half a century has become renowned for his visual satiric portrayal of the contemporary life of weirdos, potheads, misfits, wastrels and humanized animals—obsessive sexual proclivities included. Fans enjoyed his outrageous exaggerations poking fun at every human foible and self-indulgence. His fans could count on getting rewarded with the unexpected.

Bluntness and crassness has been de rigueur for Crumb. Sentimentality and nuance were not easily detectable in the storylines. Artistically his males were recognized for their lankiness, large kneecaps, sharp elbows, owlish eyes and slouching postures. His females were rendered with formidable calves, posteriors and jowls; their erect poking nipples became Crumb trademarks. Was the publisher counting on Crumb’s somewhat disreputable notoriety to kick-start demand for the book? It should be noted that Complete Crumb Works, published by Fantagraphics Books, now number seventeen volumes; there are also several other compilations in print, like The Crumb Compendium, Mr Natural and Sweeter Side of R Crumb. These have proven to be popular and many have been reprinted two or three times. Norton likely chose Crumb for a number of reasons which all added up to a profitable proposition.

Being a fan and collector of R Crumb (and his wife Aline Kominsky Crumb) I bought this book primarily to add it to my collection.
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Format: Hardcover
R.Crumb's work, well known to many people and re-introduced to many more through Tery Zwygoff's documentary is by turns hilariously subversive or bitingly satirical. But the comic action often obscures his masterful ability as an illustrator.

In the Illustrated Genesis - he joins the ranks of Durer and Dore; so finely wrought are the compositions, so psychologically forceful are the figures, so cunning the draftsmanship that the work does honour to both the artist and the bible.

Expectations of a darkly satirical read are not surprising, they were mine as well - but I was wrong and glad I was. The unique character of this work is that EVERY aspect of the 50 chapters is depicted from the most well-known stories - Adam and Eve, The Tower of Babel, Noah, Abraham and Isaac, Jacob and Sarah, Joseph and his brothers etc, to the lesser known ones, moments that have perhaps never been depicted before. Crumb is respectful of the text throughout and his exhaustive research shows in the rich historical detail. There is always an artist's perspective at work here however, and the idiosyncratic style of Crumb is never absent. Women are "Crumb" women however they differ from one another. The figures of God and his messengers are solemn and majestic.

A uniquely fine biblical offering, and a masterpiece of illustrative art from a great genius. I heartily recommend it to anyone.
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By Bernie Koenig TOP 1000 REVIEWER on Feb. 2 2010
Format: Hardcover
Art Matters: The Art of Knowledge/The Knowledge of Art
Natural Law, Science, and the Social Construction of Reality

I have always been a fan of Crumb's work. He has a fantastic imagination and the drawing talent to make it work. The idea of illustrating Genesis is, at first glance, somewhat weird, but then, that is Crumb's stock in trade.

The whole text is here, so what makes this version of Genesis different is, of course, the illustrations. Crumb illustrates the WHOLE story. This is not a version of the Genesis with a few illustrations. But like today's graphic novels, the whole story is illustrated, frame by frame, conversation by conversation.

What this does is to make the story come alive. God here is portrayed very much as a Greek deity, which is probably historically accurate. Crumb's people are somewhat larger than life, given his exaggerated style, but given the nature of the story being told, such an approach is perfectly appropriate.

While I am not religious, the book of Genesis still is important as it forms so much of the basis of our culture. And presenting it in a graphic manner, it is presenting an old story in new clothes for a new generation.

The over all presentation is also great. The cover looks very much like the comics of the 1950s with an exaggerated front cover, and the leading cast of characters depicted on the back.

This book is for fans of graphic novels, and for people who would like a new look at Genesis.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Quite a lot more detailed in the narrative than I had expected from a cartoon,
but with Crumb, I should have known he wouldn't stint on anything, least of all
a faithful depiction of all the details. It would be a mistake I think to offer this to a child
as an illustrated version of Genesis!
The book arrived in good shape, was well packaged and exactly as advertised.
I'm very pleased all round.
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