By Michael Moon
Henry Darger (1892–1973) was once a clinic janitor and an immensely efficient artist and author. within the first many years of maturity, he wrote a 15,145-page fictional epic, within the nation-states of the factitious. He spent a lot of the remainder of his lengthy existence illustrating it in miraculous drawings and watercolors.
In Darger's unfolding saga, pastoral utopias are again and again savaged through severe violence directed at teenagers, really women. Given his worrying material and the intense solitude he maintained all through his lifestyles, critics have characterised Darger as eccentric, deranged, or even harmful, as an intruder artist forced to create a myth universe. Contesting such pathologizing interpretations, Michael Moon appears to be like to Darger's assets, to the narratives and fabrics that encouraged him and infrequently came upon their approach into his writing, drawings, and work.
Moon unearths an artist who reveled within the burgeoning pop culture of the early 20th century, in its newspaper comedian strips, pulp fiction, illustrated children's books, and heavily produced spiritual artwork. Moon contends that Darger's paintings merits and rewards comparability with that of contemporaries of his, comparable to the "pulp historians" H. P. Lovecraft and Robert Howard, the oz. chronicler L. Frank Baum, and the newspaper cartoonist Bud Fisher.
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Additional info for Darger’s Resources
Well-worn copies of both of these Victorian virgin- martyr romance novels still survived in the modest lending libraries of the d a r g e r ’ s b o o k o f m a rt y r s ..... 29 small Catholic churches that my extended family attended in northeastern Oklahoma into the 1960s. Darger the omnivorous reader might have easily come across copies of these and similar books in the libraries of the Catholic hospitals where he worked and the neighborhood church he attended. The magazines and pamphlets he picked up there participated actively and enthusiastically in maintaining and transmitting the veneration of the virgin martyrs, from those of the Roman persecutions of the early church to such highly publicized cults as that of the twentieth-century Saint Maria Goretti (a “martyr for chastity” at age twelve in 1902, canonized in 1950), who had been born only a year or two before Darger was.
No sir,” he replies, “and I’m sure that I’ll never find it. I’ve found all my stolen property but that. The picture amounts to nothing, and neither its loss. All that is necessary is the destruction of the remainder of her [Annie Aronburg’s] murderers” (519). Here, Darger through one of his alter egos expresses himself willing to “get over” his rage at God for not answering his prayers for the return of the lost photograph, and to (as it were) rejoin the more conventional revenge or return-to-justice plot that drives the other “good” characters in In the Realms.
The composition divides fairly precisely in half along a vertical axis in the very center. On the right-hand side, a group of nine children (eight girls and a boy) and one adult male stand before two sets of large double windows through which we can see bursts of lightning playing. We know the two adult male soldiers here are benign because their uniforms are purple and yellow, the colors of the good-guy forces (three of the girls in the picture wear purple as well). At each of the two double windows, a couple of children appear to be absorbed in watching the lightning.
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