things of little relevance


Harold Bloom meets R. Crumb
November 15, 2009, 9:05 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Harold Bloom reviews R. Crumb’s The Book of Genesis in the NYRB.

Illustrating the Hebrew Bible has been a grand quest for painters, with Michelangelo and Tintoretto perhaps dividing the palm. A cartoon or comic book reduction of Genesis ideally should be the work of an unlikely fusion of Rembrandt and William Blake. That is not a fair criterion to invoke when considering R. Crumb’s venture into the Book of Genesis. Staring at the women and men of Crumb’s Genesis, I dimly recall someone showing me an issue of Mad magazine. To my untutored view the work of Crumb recalls that publication yet somehow also is touched with what I remember as the doughty proletarian style of Ben Shahn. At the least, Crumb’s cartoons have the initial merit of strangeness in their portrayal of the patriarchs and matriarchs of the first book of the Hebrew Bible.

The review is unintentionally hilarious. Bloom clearly has little idea of who R. Crumb is, and instead spends most of the review praising Thomas Mann’s Joseph and His Brothers.

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