Henry Darger

    The Story of The Vivian Girls, the most substantial segment in what is known as the Realms of the Unreal, a chronical of the Glandeco-Angelinian War Storm, caused by the Child Slave Rebellion that would eventually run to 15,145 pages, making it the longest known work of fiction in existence.

As the unwieldy tide suggests, The Realms of the Unreal charts the progress of a bloody civil war. It takes place on an imaginary planet, around which our earth circulates as a moon. Like its American counterpart, this war is being fought over slavery; specifically, the enslavement of Children. In fact, the role of children is among the most striking elements of the work. While gorgeously attired adult men fight on either side, the spiritual leaders of the struggle against the wicked Glandelmians are seven prepubescent sisters, while the victims of their multiple atrocities are small children, often stripped of their clothes, revealing the presence of male genitals.

The Vivian Girls are endlessly resilient. Like comic book heroines, they can withstand any amount of violence; escaping every peril. But the other children are not so lucky. As both the written and visual material makes graphically clear, the Realms are a place of infinite cruelty, in which naked little girls are routinely strangled, crucified and disembowelled by uniformed men in gardens filled with luscious outsized flowers. It is this element of the work that would later draw accusations of sexual sadism and pedophilia.