Henry Darger: In the Realms of the Unreal

John M. MacGregor

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Henry Darger: In the Realms of the Unreal

Henry Darger In the Realms of the Unreal On a snowy day in November a poor badly crippled old man left his room on the third floor of a rooming house in Chicago for the last time His name was Henry Darger He had lived in this room for

  • Title: Henry Darger: In the Realms of the Unreal
  • Author: John M. MacGregor
  • ISBN: 9780929445151
  • Page: 167
  • Format: Hardcover
  • On a snowy day in November 1972, a poor, badly crippled old man left his room on the third floor of a rooming house in Chicago for the last time His name was Henry Darger He had lived in this room for forty years It was filthy, crammed with his possessions, mostly things found in the garbage Henry never threw anything out The room was filled, almost solid, with junk.On a snowy day in November 1972, a poor, badly crippled old man left his room on the third floor of a rooming house in Chicago for the last time His name was Henry Darger He had lived in this room for forty years It was filthy, crammed with his possessions, mostly things found in the garbage Henry never threw anything out The room was filled, almost solid, with junk He was now eighty years old and far too feeble to carry anything down the stairs So he left everything behind He had no need of his possessions Anyway, he was going to an old folks home to die When he left the room his life was over His landlord asked him what he wanted done with his possessions Henry is said to have replied, You can have them, Mr Leonard At that moment the gift had no meaning There was nothing in the room but garbage Everything would have to be thrown out When Darger s landlord, Nathan Lerner, assisted by a young student, David Berglund, began to clean out Henry s room they found some surprises an eight volume autobiography, consisting of 5084 handwritten pages, entitled, The History of My Life which Henry had begun writing in 1963 after retiring The short auto biographical introduction to what is otherwise an enormous and utterly fantastic piece of imaginative fiction, provided some of the crucial pieces of evidence underlying the biographical reconstruction of Darger s life that form the first chapter of this book Then, when the old trunks were opened, they made a far spectacular discovery a history of another world called, In The Realms of the Unreal in fifteen volumes, 15 145 type written pages, unquestionably the longest work of fiction ever written In time the room alsoyielded the three huge bound volumes of illustrations for that work, several hundred pictures, many over twelve feet long and painted on both sides By accident, the landlord had stumbled upon a concealed and secret life work, which no one had ever seen Darger s alternate world.

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      Published :2018-011-02T19:19:39+00:00

    One thought on “Henry Darger: In the Realms of the Unreal

    1. Astraea on said:

      We're giving it a 5 for Henry's own content and the facts about his life, and a 2 for MacGregor's nitpicky, overly Freudian, sticky cobwebby analysis. He makes the book as much about himself and his own thoughts as he makes it about Henry.Although Mac denies it, he was responsible for starting the rumor that Henry Darger killed Elsie Paroubek, the little girl whose newspaper picture he saved and later lost, starting an emotional storm that rocked his imaginary worlds as well as his earthly exist [...]

    2. Boots on said:

      macgregor's analysis is almost as repetitive, compulsive, and eccentric as darger himself, but you have to give him props for the undertaking. considered the "definitive" text on darger, this wrist-breaker of a book is both gorgeous in its presentation and exhaustive in its research. the problem with darger, however, is that there's so little to go on (outside of his massive opus, that is). so we're reduced (if such a word can be employed here) to examining parts of the text of In the Realms of [...]

    3. Akemi G on said:

      I hear the longest novel was written by this man. It's unpublished, but his artwork is. Sounds interesting.

    4. Regina on said:

      The best book on Darger, without question, In the Realms of the Unreal contains much of Darger's original text from his project of the same name, and huge, exclusively-color reproductions of his artwork. For folks associated with universities in the NW, this book can be ordered through many university libraries, via SUMMIT. It's pretty impossible to find (or afford) otherwise.

    5. Leonard Pierce on said:

      Indescribably gorgeous, incredibly comprehensive book on the brilliant and disturbed outsider artist Henry Darger. Some of the psychological speculation is a bit excessive, but it's totally forgivable balanced against what a beautiful book this is.

    6. Bill on said:

      The definitive study of Chicago's archetypal outsider artist. Read my full review at interestingideas/out/d

    7. Sylvia Tedesco on said:

      I would like to read this book. Looked it up on and a used copy is $499 so it is out of my league. In the meanwhile, here's my review for Netflix of the documentary film.This is one fascinating documentary and beautifully done. I read a story about Henry Darger and his art in our local style section of the newspaper one day and when Joe Jones mentioned this movie I looked it up on this site. I started to watch it on Instant Watch and the art was so intriguing that I got the DVD and watched it t [...]

    8. Meg on said:

      I became interested in Darger's work after watching the documentary of the same name. I was only able to read to page 256 before having to return this to the library, but I do recommend it. Darger's art and writing is intriguing, and the oversized book helps you better appreciate the insane detail that went into some of his works, although it makes the text rather unwieldy to mire through. I also appreciated the way the book includes passages from Darger's writings throughout.However, I felt lik [...]

    9. Lara on said:

      Henry Darger was an autistic savant who lived largely alone. When his apartment was examined after his death many pieces of folk art and writings were discovered. This is one of them. Darger was fascinated by weather because it is so unpredictable. His book is about a dangerous world of misery and suffering whose only salvation lies in meteorological predictions. I can't wait to read it. By the way, it's 15,145 pages long, which makes it the longest work of fiction in human history. Not bad for [...]

    10. Never on said:

      Nice enough, and fairly thorough, but honestly it just made me wish I could read Darger's writings. So much for that.

    11. Cassandra Harris on said:

      My prized book. It talks a bit about the life of Henry Darger, how he was found, has excerpts from his epic, and of course prints of some of his paintings.

    12. Janice on said:

      I would kill to be able to have this book. Love love love Darger, and Macgregor's work is great (art and the insane was brilliant). Currently going for $600 on amazon. i'm so sad

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