Toole, John Kennedy, 1937-1969. | Tulane University Special Collections
Name: Toole, John Kennedy, 1937-1969.
Historical Note: John Kennedy Toole, posthumous winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1981, was born in New Orleans on December 17, 1937. After skipping several grades, he finished high school at the age of sixteen. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa with Honors in English at Tulane University in 1958. He received his master's degree in 1959 from Columbia University, and taught at Hunter College. He was drafted in 1962 and stationed with the Army in San Juan, Puerto Rico, where he continued to teach English and wrote A Confederacy of Dunces. Upon returning to New Orleans, he unsuccessfully attempted to have his manuscript published; he taught at Dominican College and in 1968 enrolled in graduate school at Tulane University to work on his doctorate. In 1969, he asphyxiated himself in his car in Biloxi, Mississippi. The novel was ultimately published by Louisiana State University Press in 1980 after his mother, Thelma Ducoing Toole, approached novelist Walker Percy with the manuscript. A Confederacy of Dunces won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, as well as the Louisiana Literary Award. A musical production based on the novel premiered at LSU in 1984. Toole was also the author of The Neon Bible, which he wrote at age sixteen.
Sources: Manuscripts Collection 740
Note Author: sp/revised LAC Group