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Henry Darger: In the Realms of the Unreal

4.44  ·  Rating Details  ·  116 Ratings  ·  12 Reviews
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. ...more
Hardcover, 720 pages
Published January 1st 2002 by Delano Greenidge Editions
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Community Reviews

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Sep 01, 2011 Astraea rated it liked it
Recommends it for: people interested in Henry Darger or in amateur art
Recommended to Astraea by: review in Village Voice (I think)
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
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 ...more
Aug 07, 2007 Regina added it
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.
Leonard Pierce
Jun 13, 2008 Leonard Pierce rated it it was amazing
Shelves: art
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.
Nov 20, 2011 Bill rated it it was amazing
The definitive study of Chicago's archetypal outsider artist. Read my full review at
I wrote up a very long review of this book here.
Sylvia Tedesco
Sep 18, 2008 Sylvia Tedesco rated it it was amazing
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 wa
Jan 09, 2009 Meg rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2009
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
Feb 03, 2009 Lara marked it as to-read
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 ...more
Jan 09, 2009 Janice added it
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...
Cassandra Harris
Jan 06, 2011 Cassandra Harris rated it really liked it
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.
Dec 16, 2009 Sara rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfic
Nice enough, and fairly thorough, but honestly it just made me wish I could read Darger's writings. So much for that.
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