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Henry Darger, Throw-Away Boy

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | Henry Darger, Throw-Away Boy.pdf | Language: ENGLISH
    Jim Elledge(Author)

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Henry Darger was utterly unknown during his lifetime, keeping a quiet, secluded existence as a janitor on Chicagos North Side. When he died his landlord discovered a treasure trove of more than three hundred canvases and more than 30,000 manuscripts depicting a rich, shocking fantasy world. While some historians tend to dismiss Darger as a psychopath, in Henry Darger, Throw-Away Boy, Jim Elledge cuts through the cloud of controversy and rediscovers Darger as a damaged, fearful, gay man, raised in a world unaware of the consequences of child abuse or gay shame.

Ostracized in life and vilified after his death, Henry Darger is the ultimate American anti-hero. Elledge reveals Darger as a damaged, fearful, gay man, raised in a world unaware of the consequences of child abuse or gay shame--and his strange art as a triumph over trauma. -- Dick Donahue

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Book details

  • PDF | 384 pages
  • Jim Elledge(Author)
  • Gerald Duckworth & Co Ltd (24 Oct. 2013)
  • English
  • 5
  • Art, Architecture & Photography

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Review Text

  • By Beanson on 18 November 2014

    I’m a huge admirer of Darger’s work in all its elements, hence when I saw this book in the library I hastened to take it out, unfortunately I was disappointed in it.The author seeks to rehabilitate Dager’s reputation as he is sometimes seen as a probable paedophile. This attitude is perhaps understandable from a cursory glance at his work, but anyone with a deeper appreciation and knowledge of the scant details of his life will know better.The main problem with this book is that the author (a gay man, whose expertise is in gay culture) just wants to dwell on Darger’s innocent gayness. There are no real insights into the man- he was a loner, ignored in his lifetime- no one knew him, we can only guess from the clues that he left behind. To brand him a serial killer is obviously ridiculous; there is no trail of bodies- but to put any kind of interpretation beyond the mere facts that are known is mere speculation- and Elledge speculates ‘till the cows come home.In the end I didn’t really want to hear about all Elledge’s cod-psychological theories (all speculation, no fact)- I wanted to know more about the work and the techniques- which are only given very brief treatment. I fear the author has no Art training or real appreciation- he insists for example on calling Darger’s paintings ‘canvasses’- they are painted not on canvas but on paper; he gives no indication that he knows anything about the techniques used in their construction.Those who are Darger appreciators would do better to find a good book of his paintings than trudge through this vanity piece. The reproductions in the centre of this book aren’t even very good and there is no logic to them- he has just picked a random bunch of them it seems and stuck them in the middle (in tiny reproduction)There are also certain oddities- for example he can’t bring himself to name Kiyoko Lerner who is referred to throughout as Learner’s wife, or widow- this is just weird- perhaps he has some issue with her (I do too- she massively profited from Darger’s work) but why doesn’t he say so?Anyway, I found the whole tone of the book annoying in various small ways which built up to irritating effect. I hope to find a better book on this man- one of my favourite creators- soon.


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