Friday, February 1, 2013

Transcript of 2010 Lecture on John Kennedy Toole Papers

Today I posted the script from a lecture I gave in the Spring of 2010 at the Winona State University Library's Athenaeum series on the topic of the John Kennedy Toole Papers, which are housed at the Louisiana Research Collection at Tulane University. This lecture explained the circumstances around the creation of my online paper Evidence of Influences on John Kennedy Toole's A Confederacy of Dunces, including Geoffrey Chaucer.

The March 17, 2010 lecture was given before I abandoned the effort to get that paper published in a peer-review journal and before I sought endorsements from other Toole scholars. It was the first announcement of the finding that Toole knew Boethian philosophy and that Robert Byrne was wrong about that knowledge (published finally in Notes on Contemporary Literature). It also presented for the first time evidence that he had read and appreciated Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye. It showed that Ruppersberg was incorrect about the nature of Lyly's influence on Toole.

Finally, in the question and answer, I answered a question about whether Walker Percy could not have been the author of A Confederacy of Dunces, calling that idea the "grassy knoll" theory of John Kennedy Toole studies. After the lecture, I thought of a much better reason why Percy could not be the author of Confederacy, and that post-lecture answer is in the newly posted script.