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Henry Darger: In the Realms of the Unreal Hardcover – Jan 1 2002

4.8 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 720 pages
  • Publisher: Delano Greenidge Editions (Jan. 1 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0929445155
  • ISBN-13: 978-0929445151
  • Product Dimensions: 23.7 x 30.5 x 5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 2.3 Kg
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,669,867 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From the Publisher

Henry Darger is not yet a household name, however it may become one soon. Darger is considered to be the most important figure in the emerging field of Outsider Art—the name given to work by self-taught and often mentally disturbed or otherwise marginal artists. Henry Darger: In the Realms of the Unreal is an affordable, accessible, and comprehensive selection of illustrations, images, and texts drawn from the elusive artist’s darkly imaginative private world. John MacGregor’s accompanying text breathes crucial insight into Darger’s life and work and sheds new light on the artist’s disturbing visions. This book is destined to become a milestone of both art historical and psychoanalytic literature.

About the Author

John MacGregor is a Princeton-trained art historian who has devoted his career to interdisciplinary studies in psychiatric art and the related fields of art brut and outsider art. In addition to Henry Darger: In the Realms of the Unreal, MacGregor’s books include The Discovery of the Art of the Insane (Princeton University Press, 1989), Dwight Mackintosh: The Boy Who Time Forgot (Creative Growth Press, 1992), and The Vivian Girls (Sakuhinsya, 2000. Available in Japanese only).

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
The the Henry Darger fan this is a welcome addition to the growing number of books on Darger. It is easily the biggest book in number of pages. The essay is very informative and there are great reproductions not found in other books. This and the Henry Darger: Art and Selected Writings are my 2 favorite Darger books. But beware book collectors, because the book has so many pages (500 plus), the pages start to come loose from the binding. For some reason, the binding just can't hold the pages securely. Maybe that's why the book is a bargain for the number of pages. So you may want to get an extra copy if you're a book collector.
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Format: Hardcover
Darger's voluminous work, of which the drawings are only the tip of the iceberg, are inaccessable, literally, except for fragments published in a previous collection. Even if the full opus was available it would still be a alien monument due to it's sheer size, attracting only the peculiarly curious and those who have aquired the taste for Darger's vision. This said, MacGregor's work is a valuable description by a voyager to a dark continent who is capable of expressing the awe, fear and wonder that he experienced when immersed in this strange land. The book is lush, in design and writing, and each chapter tackles a different aspect of the Darger mystery. I imagine attempting to read all of Darger would cause the odd combination of shock and boredom that de Sade's work elicits, trangressive scenes compulsively written ad nausiam. MacGregor distills the major themes of Henry's work, avoids the mind-numbing repetition, yet preserves the vertigo of scale that Darger achieved, intentionally or otherwise. An odd masterpeice written about an even odder masterpeice.
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Format: Hardcover
I just finished a first trek through this remarkable book. What especially strikes me is the way John MacGregor's writing captures the process of thinking through the enigma of Henry Darger's life and work. Reading the book is like watching a great detective at work--MacGregor writes not as though he's already come to conclusions but as though he's coming to them in the act of writing. And he manages to do so while organizing everything in a number of ways--around Darger's life history, his artistic and technical development, and the increasingly violence depcited in his work. Throughout the book MacGregor makes Henry Darger real--as a deeply damaged child and adult, as a tormented believer in God, as a person of enormous inner resources, and as a creative genius. His ways of accounting for Darger's peculiar obsessions (suffocstion, evisceration, male genitals on girls) are pwerfully persuasive, and draw upon considerable research into the circumstances of Darger's childhood and the nightmarish conditions at the "asylum" in Illinois where Darger spent much of his youuth.
I've read MacGregor's earlier book in French, Michael Bonesteel's book, and the American Folk Art Museum book, but this book taught me more about Darger than I could've imagined. If you're new to Darger, it's the book to begin with. If you're already familiar with Darger's work, this is the book you've been waiting for.
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Format: Hardcover
For anyone looking to enter the unreal realms of Henry Darger, his writings and his artwork, MacGregor's book is essential. He has both exhaustively researched and reconstructed Darger's life as an isolated, perhaps mentally disturbed individual working as a dishwasher and janitor in Chicago and delved deeply into the often gruesome content of Darger's fantasy realm. The book itself is a wonder - it is like a great independent film, unflinching, provocative, well-constructed.
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Format: Hardcover
As an art therapist, I read Dr.John M.MacGregor's book, 'Henry
Darger,In the Realms of the Unreal'and marvelled at the potency of art as a therapeutic agent.
Henry Darger initiated his own therapy. He painted a torrent of images representing his rage. Without his art and his writing, I wonder who would have been the target of this volcanic fury.
John MacGregor's book is a must for all art therapy faculties and departments.
Beth Robinson
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