BUTTERFLY IN THE TYPEWRITER
The Tragic Life of John Kennedy Toole
and the Remarkable Story A Confederacy of Dunces
“As the noxious fumes billowed into the car John Kennedy Toole faded from this world unaware that his manuscript tucked away in box would win the Pulitzer Prize twelve years after his suicide.” —Cory MacLauchlin
From a brilliant childhood to an ignominious death by suicide on a back road in Biloxi, Mississippi, the life of John Kennedy Toole has never been told with thoroughness and accuracy—until Butterfly in the Typewriter. Biographer Cory MacLauchlin derives his insight on the late author of the modern classic A Confederacy of Dunces from scores of new interviews with friends, family, colleagues, and students in order to draw out a portrait of the man who was a study in contrasts: popular yet abrasive, brilliant yet ignored, laughing yet full of darkness.
Never before has the Southern author’s life been explored to such depth. The dark humor of A Confederacy of Dunces falls into perfect context when examined through the lens of Toole’s extraordinary life. The novel that made him famous was only published twelve years after his suicide, despite Toole’s repeated attempts to gain publishers’ attention. The novel went on to receive the Pulitzer Prize in 1981 and has been named by the New York Times among “Modern Novels: the 99 Best.”
Chronicling the saga of Toole’s life from his upbringing in New Orleans, his years in New York City, his frenzy of writing as he taught English in Puerto Rico, his return to his beloved hometown, and finally to his descent into paranoia and depression, Butterfly in the Typewriter is an authority on the author’s dramatic, passionate life.
Cory MacLauchlin is producer of the documentary John Kennedy Toole: The Omega Point and a member of the English faculty at GermannaCommunity College. He lives in northern Virginia with his wife and son.
Urban Wildcat by Esther Barth is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License