Monday, March 9, 2009

A Humument

"A Humument: A treated Victorian novel" by Tom Phillips

This is an unusual book, in that technically the author didn't actually
"write" it (at least not in the ordinary sense).  It's an altered book:
Phillips took an obscure 19th Century novel called "A Human Document"
and overlaid the pages with drawings and other markings.  Some of the
original words and letters remain, and these provide the "narrative" for
the altered novel.  The title, "A Humument", is derived by the partial
deletion of letters in the original title, "A Human Document".

The first page quite cleverly introduces the reader to what lies ahead:
"The following sing I a book. a book of art, of mind art and that which
he hid reveal I."  Here's a scan of the first page:

As a novel, the story line can be hard to follow.  There are recurring
characters and themes, and the drawings help set the mood.  But don't
expect a coherent and engrossing tale.  Pretty soon I took less notice
of the plot and considered each page as a separate entity.  In some
cases the words and drawings combine quite well.

You can view pages from the latest edition online at:
Scans from the complete first edition (1970) are large enough to read
and available via the gallery link:

For more info about the book, refer to Wikipedia:
and essays on the official web site: