Butterfly in the Typewriter by Cory MacLauchlin
The Tragic Life of John Kennedy Toole and the Remarkable Story of A Confederacy of Dunces

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Thus the book—which seems incredibly padded up front, including almost agonizing detail about Toole’s scholarly pursuits before and during his time at Tulane—becomes almost skimpy in detail when dealing with Toole’s final days.
-NY Journal of Books

Synopsis

The saga of John Kennedy Toole is one of the greatest stories of American literary history. After writing A Confederacy of Dunces, Toole corresponded with Robert Gottlieb of Simon & Schuster for two years. Exhausted from Gottlieb’s suggested revisions, Toole declared the publication of the manuscript hopeless and stored it in a box. Years later he suffered a mental breakdown, took a two-month journey across the United States, and finally committed suicide on an inconspicuous road outside of Biloxi. Following the funeral, Toole’s mother discovered the manuscript. After many rejections, she cornered Walker Percy, who found it a brilliant novel and spearheaded its publication. In 1981, twelve years after the author’s death, A Confederacy of Dunces won the Pulitzer Prize.

In Butterfly in the Typewriter, Cory MacLauchlin draws on scores of new interviews with friends, family, and colleagues as well as full access to the extensive Toole archive at Tulane University, capturing his upbringing in New Orleans, his years in New York City, his frenzy of writing in Puerto Rico, his return to his beloved city, and his descent into paranoia and depression.

 

 

About Cory MacLauchlin

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Cory MacLauchlin is a producer, biographer, and member of the English Faculty at Germanna Community College. He lives in northern Virginia with his wife and son.
 
Published March 27, 2012 by Da Capo Press. 354 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction
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NY Journal of Books

Above average
Reviewed by Vinton Rafe McCabe Vinton Rafe McCabe on Apr 03 2017

Thus the book—which seems incredibly padded up front, including almost agonizing detail about Toole’s scholarly pursuits before and during his time at Tulane—becomes almost skimpy in detail when dealing with Toole’s final days.

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