Academic journal article Afterimage

Darger's Resources

Academic journal article Afterimage

Darger's Resources

Article excerpt

BY MICHAEL MOON/DUKE UNIVERSITY PRESS BOOKS/2012/168 PP./$22.95 (SB)/$79.95 (HB)

This new critical study of the art and writing of "outsider artist Henry Darger is both illuminating and, at times, frustrating. Darger (1892-1973) spent more than half a century secretly writing a 15,000-page prose work, in the Realms of the Unreal, and making more than three hundred complementary artworks. The fantasy narrative concerns a child-slave rebellion and frequently features scenes of horrific violence against these children--mostly prepubescent Darger's paintings often depict the girls nude and always with male genitalia. In this pathologizing of Darger and his book. Moon aims to reframe the his work that has risen up over the past decade or so, much of which casts Darger as a possible child molester or potential serial killer based on the extreme aspects of his work.

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Moon expands on previously cited avenues of thinking and introduces new lines of inquiry to contextualize the disturbing content of Darger's work. He discusses Dargcr's appropriation of thematic, visual, and textual elements from Catholic martyr dramas and pop iconography, children's literature (particularly L. …

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