Daily Question – 83

One sunny May afternoon, just over three years ago, when Vikram Rajan (CR), Krishnamurti (Goach) and I were trying to set questions for the inaugural QFI Open Quiz, CR came up with this question. If I remember correctly, Goach and I shared the same reaction: “Eh?”, followed by a lengthy explanation from CR, and then, “What?? But why???”.

Of course, we didn’t put it in the quiz that year, in spite of CR insisting very hard that we do. And he may have even forgotten about it now, but I haven’t. And I want to see if any of you guys can crack/appreciate what we couldn’t back then. So here goes:

What is this? Explain. (The guy in the third visual is possibly a clue)

‘A Humument: A treated Victorian novel’ is an altered book by British artist Tom Phillips (Visual 3), first published in 1970. It is a piece of art created over W H Mallock’s 1892 novel ‘A Human Document’ whose title results from the partial deletion of the original title: ‘A Human document’. Two of the pages are shown in Visuals 1 & 2.

Cracked by three people! In order – Raghuvansh, Anustup, and zizzyphus. Well done, ppl!

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7 responses to “Daily Question – 83

  1. The guy in the third visual is the artist Tom Philips. The first two are pages of his altered book “A Humument: A treated Victorian Novel”.

    Altered books are made by painting stuff or putting collages and other artsy things over the pages of an existing book, hopefully leaving gaps to see bits of letters and words of the original. I don’t see the point of it, but it’s “art”, so we’ll leave it at that.

    For his purpose, Philips sahib used Mallock’s 1890s novel “A Human Document”, whose title he alteredbook-ed to get the word Humument.

  2. Are these excerpts from The Lords and The New Creatures by Jim Morrison? Sounds like some random thoughts in a drugged state, typical of Mr. Mojo Risin’.

    Just wildly guessing. No idea about the bearded man.

  3. The person in the photograph is the well-known British artist Tom Phillips, who created his famous project – “The Humument” (subtitled ‘A Treated Victorian Novel’), based on creating art out of his “treatment” of the printed pages of a randomly-chosen cheap book – W H Mallock’s “A Human Document.”

  4. Vinod, one suggestion. Since you’ve got the blog on WordPress, you can occasionally put up audio questions too, I guess. Embedding audio is pretty easy in WordPress. Would make things a lot more interesting.

    Maybe even video at some point, using YouTube, though that would of course mean a lot more work for you. Worth a shot though, I guess.

    You don’t have to publish this comment. I just couldn’t think of an easier way of getting in touch.

  5. Tom Phillips’ Humument

  6. Tom Phillips’ A Humument: A treated Victorian novel is an altered book created over W H Mallock’s 1892 novel A Human Document.

  7. Awesome Question!!!