Apparently, no one knows what happened to the original manuscript to A Confederacy of Dunces, written by John Kennedy Toole in 1963, six years before his suicide. If you can get past the clunky writing, this post by John Kennedy Toole biographer Cory Maclauchlin offers some interesting insights into Toole's biography and personality, as Maclauchlin follows a lead on the manuscript:
I had nearly given up on the question of the original manuscript until a year ago when I interviewed Lynda Martin, the sister of Toole’s best friend in high school. “The manuscript?” she said in a soft southern accent. “Yes, well I have it in my closet here at home.” I nearly dropped the phone as she explained Toole’s mother had given it as a gift to her brother after the novel was published. When her brother passed away in 2008, she acquired it. It had a few penned-in edits, she explained, but not drastic revisions. “I don’t know what to do with it, really” she said. “I considered selling it at auction.” Christie’s estimated its value up to $20,000, if deemed authentic. She hadn’t called Sotheby’s yet. “Please” I begged, “just hold on to it. I’m on my way down.”
Get the best of the Mercury each week in your inbox!