Ignatius Rising: The Life of John Kennedy Toole

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9780807130599: Ignatius Rising: The Life of John Kennedy Toole

The phenomenal success of John Kennedy Toole's comic masterpiece, A Confederacy of Dunces, is now legendary, a story that has long beckoned a deeper exploration into the life, imagination, and demise of the writer responsible for one of American literature's most memorable characters -- Ignatius J. Reilly. In Ignatius Rising, René Pol Nevils and Deborah George Hardy present the first biography of Toole, drawing upon scores of interviews with contemporaries of the writer and acquaintances of his influencing mother, Thelma, as well as unpublished letters, documents, and photographs. Frank yet sympathetic, Ignatius Rising deftly describes a life that is dark, tragic, bizarre, and amazing -- but luminous with the gift of laughter, a life not unlike those of Toole's beloved characters, now loved the world over.

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About the Author:

René Pol Nevils lives in Baton Rouge with her husband, Rick.

Deborah George Hardy is a member of the Paris Poetry Workshops and founding director of Littlestarfriends.com. She lives in Pasadena, California.

From Library Journal:

By now, the tale of Toole's sprawling comic novel of New Orleans, A Confederacy of Dunces, lives on as a modern literary legend. A young novelist writes what he thinks is his masterpiece, is rejected by a famous New York publisher, and commits suicide only to be published posthumously and win the Pulitzer. But in this almost hagiographic account, first-time authors Nevils and Hardy reveal a story that is not quite so simple. Raised in New Orleans by a mostly distant and later mentally disturbed father and a clinging mother, Toole developed the love of reading early. When he finished Confederacy, he sent it to Simon and Schuster, where the famous Robert Gottlieb championed the manuscript and encouraged Toole to make some changes so that the book would be more publishable. Toole refused, asked for the manuscript back, and eventually descended into depression and paranoia, blaming Gottlieb for the novel's failure. After his death, his mother urged Walker Percy to publish Confederacy. The rest is history. Here, mother and son seem to have stepped right out of the Southern Gothic of a Tennessee Williams play, but this is a sad tale of one family's descent into despair and lonely ascent into posthumous fame. Recommended for most collections, especially where Confederacy is popular. Henry Carrigan, Lancaster, PA
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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