Firestorms and Conflagrations: The Inflamed Cosmology of Henry Darger


Luce/ACLS Dissertation Fellowships in American Art


Art Department

Named Award

Terra Fellow named award


This dissertation presents a thematic analysis of Henry Darger's art (1892-1973) and re-interprets the dialectic relationship between public and private in his work. By analyzing fire as a persistent leitmotif and metaphor within Darger's artistic production, my study places his imagery into a dialogue with social concerns, religious beliefs, and historical events to examine how Darger's art registers meaning within a larger cultural context. Furthermore, this dissertation challenges the notion of the "outsider" artist and considers new approaches to the study of artists like Darger who defy conventional art historical categorization.