Title: A Humument
Author: Tom Phillips
Page Count/Review Word Count: 376
Ever since I started SocialBookshelves.com, I’ve been looking forward to reviewing this book, because it’s one of the highlights of my entire collection. This is Tom Phillips’ ‘Human Document‘, a ‘treated Victorian novel‘ which is basically a book within a book.
See, Phillips picked up an old Victorian novel and painted over it, so that some of the words are still visible but the entire meaning of the book has changed. It’s an impressive undertaking and it must have taken him forever, because the detail that he uses is incredible. In fact, this technique allows Phillips to tell a story with his visuals as well as with the words that he leaves behind. Of course, that also means that the poetry on offer here is a sort of found poetry, which is fine by me.
It’s so unique that it was hard for me to classify this when working on the review. Sure, the final work is probably best described as a book of visual poetry, but it’s also almost a collection of images. Add that to the fact that it was originally a fiction novel, and what have you got?
Put simply, this book deserves a place on every self-confessed bibliophile’s shelf, especially because it can be pretty difficult to get hold of a copy of it. It’s like how music lovers enjoy nothing better than finding a hidden gem that none of their music-loving friends have heard about. This book is that, but for book lovers.
I wish I could tell you a bit more about the author and the concept, but I just don’t know anything more. That kind of adds to my enjoyment of the book, because I have to consider it as the artifact that it is, without putting it into a wider historical context or looking at what Phillips’ contemporaries are doing. Don’t waste your time trying to analyse it like that, because there’s enough food for thought within its pages to feed a starving man for years. Do yourself a favour – grab a copy and treat your mind to this intellectual feast. You won’t regret it, I promise you that.