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Henry Darger-Throw-Away Boy

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Henry Darger-Throw-Away Boy

Jim Elledge

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ISBN 13: 978159020557
Trim Size: 6 x 8 1/2
Hardcover
Overlook
09/12/2013

Product Description

Henry Darger was utterly unknown during his lifetime, keeping a quiet, secluded existence as a janitor on Chicago’s North Side. When he died his landlord discovered a treasure trove of more than three hundred canvases and more than 30,000 manuscript pages depicting a rich, shocking fantasy world-many showing hermaphroditic children being eviscerated, crucified and strangled.

While some art historians tend to dismiss Darger as an unhinged 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. This thoughtful, sympathetic biography tells the true story of a tragically misunderstood artist. Drawn from fascinating histories of the vice-ridden districts of 1900s Chicago, tens of thousands of pages of primary source material, and Elledge’s own work in queer history, the book also features a full-color reproduction of a never-before-seen canvas from a private gallery in New York, as well as a previously undiscovered photograph of Darger with his life-partner Whillie.

Engaging and arresting, Henry Darger, Throw-Away Boy brings alive a complex, brave, and compelling man whose outsider art is both challenging and a triumph over trauma.

Jim Elledge is the award-winning author and editor of twenty-two books, including a textbook on publishing, four anthologies on queer culture, and numerous poetry collections and chapbooks. He is currently director of the M.A. in Professional Writing Program at Kennesaw State University. He lives outside of Atlanta, Georgia.

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