John Vernon Peter Doyle

ISBN 13: 9780449907146

Peter Doyle

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9780449907146: Peter Doyle
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Following the premise that someone removed appendages from Napoleon's corpse, this literary tour-de-force follows the errant body parts through Victorian London, to post-Civil War New York, to the Colorado territory, and back again

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From Publishers Weekly:

Vernon ( Lindbergh's Son ), a literature professor at SUNY Binghamton, uses his third novel as the occasion for an elaborate send-up of phallocentric culture. The corpse of Napoleon, awaiting autopsy, suffers the indignity of having its right thumb and penis removed by a relic-seeker. The penis makes its way to the New World, where it ends up the property of one Peter Doyle, who happens to be an intimate (yet not intimate enough) friend of Walt Whitman. Amid a leitmotif of cross-dressing and a cast of historical figures (Emily Dickinson, Horace Greeley among them), the penis is hotly pursued by fortune hunters and Napoleon's would-be heirs across New York City to Amherst, Mass., to the Wild West. Vernon's canvas takes in the great robber barons, the flailing idealists and the penny-ante con men that lend the 19th century such color. The author's research is impressive, his pastiches of Whitman and Dickinson are convincing, and his intensely florid prose recalls Patrick Suskind's Perfume --and yet his overdetermined plot makes one suspect that his undertaking has been an exercise in, well, mental masturbation.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal:

The author has concocted a rowdy, wide-ranging, biting, and often bizarre story of post-Civil War America and the myth of Manifest Destiny. The dreams that drew people to the West were varied and often filled with romantic illusions: the chance for a better life, to make a fast buck, to escape "civilization." The dreamers and schemers are all represented here, many based on real people. Protagonist Peter Doyle was a friend of Walt Whitman, who appears along with Horace Greeley, Nathan Meeker, and, even though she never left Amherst, Emily Dickinson. The particular quest that provides the novel its dramatic unity, allegorical power, and more bizarre moments involves what had become a "holy" relic for claimants to the Napoleonic legacy--the severed thumb and penis of the great man himself--supposedly stolen during his autopsy and currently, though unknowingly, possessed by Doyle. It may all seem a bit farfetched, but isn't the truth often so? Fans of the Gore Vidal school of history will particularly enjoy.
- David W. Henderson, Eckerd Coll. Lib., St. Petersburg, Fla.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780394582498: Peter Doyle: A Novel

Featured Edition

ISBN 10:  0394582497 ISBN 13:  9780394582498
Publisher: Random House, 1991
Hardcover

9780517106020: Peter Doyle

Random..., 1993
Hardcover

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John Vernon
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