by Kevin Allman
The original manuscript of the great 20th-century New Orleans novel A Confederacy of Dunces may never surface, but a rare manuscript copy with handwritten corrections was purchased earlier this month by UL Lafayette, where author John Kennedy Toole taught school in the late 1950s.
The UL Lafayette Foundation has acquired a rare copy of a manuscript of John Kennedy Toole’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, A Confederacy of Dunces.
The Foundation purchased Lot No. 228 at a Sotheby’s auction in New York earlier this month. The acquisition includes a 290-page copy of Toole’s typed manuscript, with handwritten corrections. It also includes photographs of Toole and his friend, Carey Laird. The writer’s mother, Thelma Toole, had given the manuscript to Laird.
No known original manuscript of A Confederacy of Dunces exists.
The hammer price for the items was $25,000, which Sotheby’s had estimated could go for as much as $50,000.
The university is planning a 2014 event to celebrate Toole and Confederacy.
Last year Gambit published a cover story on Confederacy, Toole, and the Toole biography Butterfly in the Typewriter; read it here.