A Humument: A Treated Victorian Novel
In the mid-1960s, Tom Phillips took a forgotten nineteenth-century novel, W. H. Mallock's A Human Document, and began cutting and pasting the extant text to create something new. The artist writes, 'I plundered, mined and undermined its text to make it yield the ghosts of other possible stories, scenes, poems, erotic incidents and surrealist catastrophes which seemed to lurk within its wall of words. As I worked on it, I replaced the text I'd stripped away with visual images of all kinds. I began to tell and depict, among other memories, dreams and reflections, the sad story of Bill Toge, one of love's casualties.' After its first publication in book form in 1980, A Humument rapidly became a cult classic. This new fourth edition follows its predecessors by incorporating revisions and re-workings -- over half the pages in the 1980 edition are replaced by new versions -- and celebrates an artistic enterprise that is nearly forty years old and still actively a work in progress.
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