Henry Darger: In the Realms of the Unreal
Delano Greenidge Editions, New York
Mint condition. Like new.
A FINE very nice clean tight solid hardcover copy. Very heavy large volume (over 3.5kg).
Scarce book, in fine collectable condition. RARE.
Printed in China. Bound in publisher's original colour pictorial boards, photographic endpapers. No dustjacket issued.
Voluminous study of the life & work of Chicago artist Henry Darger. Foreword by Nathan Lerner. Numerous full-colour and b&w illustrations and photographs throughout. Many double-page spreads. With two large foldout plates, as issued. Includes appendices, comprehensive chapter notes, selected bibliography, plus index. First Edition, with copyright page showing: "2002 This first hardbound edition" & no later printing dates. Large thick oblong tome. "Henry Joseph Darger, Jr. (1892-1973) was a reclusive American writer & artist who worked as a hospital custodian in Chicago, Illinois. He has become famous for his posthumously discovered 15,145-page, single-spaced fantasy manuscript called The Story of the Vivian Girls, in What is Known as the Realms of the Unreal, of the Glandeco-Angelinian War Storm, Caused by the Child Slave Rebellion, along with several hundred drawings & watercolor paintings illustrating the story. The visual subject matter of his work ranges from idyllic scenes in Edwardian interiors & tranquil flowered landscapes populated by children & fantastic creatures, to scenes of horrific terror & carnage depicting young children being tortured & massacred. Much of his artwork is mixed media with collage elements. Darger's artwork has become one of the most celebrated examples of outsider art." From the introduction: "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 the 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. Henry was now eighty years old & 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 Darger's landlord, Nathan Lerner (an American artist of very considerable reputation), assisted by a young student, David Berglund, began to clean out Henry's room they found some surprises: an eight-volume autobiography, consisting of 5,084 handwritten pages, & entitled The History of My Life, which Henry had begun writing in 1963 after retiring. Then, when the old trunks were opened, they made a far more spectacular discovery: a history of another world called In the Realms of the Unreal, in fifteen volumes, 15,145 typewritten pages, unquestionably the longest work of fiction ever written. In time the room also yielded the three huge bound volumes of illustrations for that work, several hundred pictures, many over 12 feet long and painted on both sides. By accident, the landlord had stumbled upon a concealed & secret life work which no one had ever seen: Darger's alternate world. As far as we know, and the question has been investigated in detail, Henry Darger never showed his pictures or his writings to anyone. He never sought to exhibit the paintings, never tried to publish the writings. Although he worked on In the Realms of the Unreal & its sequels, from 1911 when he was nineteen years old, until 1971 when he was seventy-nine, writing & painting constantly night after night for sixty years, he hid the product of his creative activity in his room & never told anyone about it".