Arts & Culture » Books

Embellished tale



British artist Tom Phillips began working on his illustrated version of W. H. Mallock’s Victorian novel in the ’60s, and has spent the four decades since laboring on what is best described as an eternal work-in-progress. A Humument is 367 pages of Phillips’ contemporary visual art that blasts over the text by way of collage and illustration, sinking at least half of the original story in visual quicksand. This year marks the publication of the fourth reworked edition of A Humument (Thames & Hudson, $27.50), as well as the launch of, the project’s official Web site, with essays and at least a hundred scans of pages from the book.

Rebecca Mazzei is the arts editor for Metro Times. Send comments to

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