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Between Queer Performances: John Kennedy Toole's The Neon Bible and A Confederacy of Dunces

Between Queer Performances: John Kennedy Toole's The Neon Bible and A Confederacy of Dunces Between Queer Performances: John Kennedy Toole’s The Neon Bible and A Confederacy of Dunces by Michael Hardin John Kennedy Toole’s personal life, tragically foreshortened by his suicide at age thirty-one, remained a mystery after his death in 1969. The extra-textual clues to issues such as his sexuality have been destroyed. In his introduction to Toole’s The Neon Bible, W. Kenneth Holditch mentions, “John revealed little of his personal life to anyone” and “He had left a note addressed ‘To my parents,’ which his mother read and then destroyed” (vii). Although Toole wrote The Neon Bible when he was 15 or 16, Thelma Toole, his mother, blocked its publication until 1989, after her death. On the other hand, she actively sought pub- lication for A Confederacy of Dunces, which was written during Toole’s mid-20s; Thelma Toole’s dedication, illustrated by the now mythic pre- sentation of A Confederacy of Dunces to Walker Percy, resulted in its publication in 1980, eleven years after Toole’s death (Holditch x–xi). Through these novels, we can investigate the ways in which his protago- nists perform their confl icted sexualities. Both of Toole’s protagonists, David (The Neon Bible) and Ignatius (A Confederacy of Dunces), fi nd themselves http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Southern Literary Journal University of North Carolina Press

Between Queer Performances: John Kennedy Toole's The Neon Bible and A Confederacy of Dunces

The Southern Literary Journal , Volume 39 (2) – Jul 23, 2007

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Publisher
University of North Carolina Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2007 the Southern Literary Journal and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Department of English.
ISSN
1534-1461

Abstract

Between Queer Performances: John Kennedy Toole’s The Neon Bible and A Confederacy of Dunces by Michael Hardin John Kennedy Toole’s personal life, tragically foreshortened by his suicide at age thirty-one, remained a mystery after his death in 1969. The extra-textual clues to issues such as his sexuality have been destroyed. In his introduction to Toole’s The Neon Bible, W. Kenneth Holditch mentions, “John revealed little of his personal life to anyone” and “He had left a note addressed ‘To my parents,’ which his mother read and then destroyed” (vii). Although Toole wrote The Neon Bible when he was 15 or 16, Thelma Toole, his mother, blocked its publication until 1989, after her death. On the other hand, she actively sought pub- lication for A Confederacy of Dunces, which was written during Toole’s mid-20s; Thelma Toole’s dedication, illustrated by the now mythic pre- sentation of A Confederacy of Dunces to Walker Percy, resulted in its publication in 1980, eleven years after Toole’s death (Holditch x–xi). Through these novels, we can investigate the ways in which his protago- nists perform their confl icted sexualities. Both of Toole’s protagonists, David (The Neon Bible) and Ignatius (A Confederacy of Dunces), fi nd themselves

Journal

The Southern Literary JournalUniversity of North Carolina Press

Published: Jul 23, 2007

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