Henry Darger (1892-1973) is in many respects the prototypical “outsider” artist: a recluse who created a startling imaginary world in his rented room, unbeknownst to anyone but himself. Between approximately 1910 and 1921, Darger wrote what is believed to be the longest novel in existence, which he called The Story of the Vivian Girls in What is Known as the Realms of the Unreal or the Glandelinian War Storm or the Glandico-Abbiennian Wars, as Caused by the Child Slave Rebellion (for short, In the Realms of the Unreal.
Darger’s creation was never intended to be revealed, and was discovered only shortly before his death by his landlord. Darger’s world is a place of civil unrest. In Darger’s children’s book, warring nations fight for domination and in the midst of it all; the Vivian girls. Seven Abenian sisters fleeing the forces of their evil Glendelinian oppressors. The poor sisters are frequently compelled to defrock themselves and hide among the child slaves around them. Faerie-like creatures and Christian armies are there to help them.