A review of The Book Of Genesis Illustrated By R. Crumb.

If you pick up a hotel room bible and try to start reading it from the beginning, it’s easy to be worn down by the archaic language and generally unentertaining writing. What R. Crumb has done is to transform this work into the important and interesting collection of stories that it really is. As Crumb points out in the notes, this book, Genesis, is the oldest text still in continuous use. That’s quite an impressive fact and that alone makes the material worth exploring. If you are a bit curious about various incidents of the bible then this version will help illuminate just what is being said.

Crumb meticulously illustrates pretty much everything that can be envisioned from the text. As it says on the cover, this does imply that adult supervision might be reasonable. The illustrations are simply amazing. There is so much more information in them than in the text alone yet nothing is incongruous. The fine detailing is incredible. The characters are rendered with a humanity that really helps one to connect with the story and cut through the ponderous language.

One piece of advice I’d have for the prospective reader is to read the end notes for each chapter immediately upon finishing that chapter. I only discovered the excellent end notes after I’d finished the whole thing and would have rather read them while each chapter was fresh in my mind. Overall, this is a superb treatment of source material which clearly has had an important impact on our entire culture. Our civilization has waited a very long time for this.