First published: Summer 2002
Relatively late in the study of Darger's room and its chaotically disorganized contents, it was discovered that he had become involved with the writing of a sequel to In the Realms of the Unreal. The discovery was hindered for a very long time because the pile of loose pages and school notebooks containing the later work lacked a title page. Only after careful study of the fifteen volumes of the handwritten manuscript did it become evident that we were dealing with a distinct creation, a story which describes the further adventures of the Vivian girls, not in the Realms of the Unreal, but in Chicago. This separate work, consisting of over 8,000 pages, was therefore provided with a temporary title of its own, Further Adventures in Chicago: Crazy House. Darger, having brought The Realms to a close, felt unable to bring his long and intense involvement with the Vivian girls and their friends to an end. It is not known when he finished work on The Realms.What is certain is that the composition of the sequel began in 1939.
The story is set in the Chicago of Henry's boyhood, in the area around Adams Street and Halsted where he lived as a child with his father. Strangely, it opens in September 1911, precisely the same year in which events get underway in The Realms of the Unreal. The Vivian girls, still Abbieannian princesses, are studying in Chicago at Henry's former elementary school. They are attending services at St. Patrick's church, and live in a flat at 201 Halsted, just around the corner from Henry's former home. Oddly, they are living in poverty, and are being extremely badly treated. Their status as saintly exemplars of Catholic morality is, if anything, enhanced in this story, while the problems facing them involve new extremes of human and demonic immorality. So radical is this book, in its emphasis on violence and perverse sexuality, that it presents us with a serious problem.
This is an article extract; read the full article in Raw Vision #39