64 Parishes

Finding respite in 64 PARISHES during the COVID-19 crisis? Subscribe today to support our mission and contributors.

All This, and Dunces Too

LSU Press is the LEH’s 2020 Champion of Culture

All This, and Dunces Too

LSU Press

A Confederacy of Dunces, including editions in English, Turkish, Romanian, Brazilian Portuguese, and Korean.

We all know the story: John Kennedy Toole’s grieving mother schlepped around the manuscript of A Confederacy of Dunces, her son’s magnum opus, wheedling and beseeching until she found an ally in Walker Percy, who then helped get the book into print. The safe harbor he found for the most notorious fictional treatment of New Orleans eccentricity was Louisiana State University Press, whose chance on the novel led to a Pulitzer Prize (and financial rewards rare in the nonprofit publishing world). 

If LSU Press had only published A Confederacy of Dunces, it would have cemented the publisher’s place in Louisiana letters, but Toole’s ribald romp is just one of the many award-winning, culturally relevant, and academically valuable titles LSU Press has brought to shelves across Louisiana and the world. Since its founding in 1935, the press has consistently been one of the premier academic publishers in the South, making a particular name for itself in Louisiana and Southern history, literary studies, foodways, and poetry. The press’s rigorous peer review and fact-checking processes ensure that the information they publish is accurate and high-quality—a mark of excellence that has only increased in importance in recent years. 

The press’s director Alisa Plant noted that one mark of LSU Press’s importance to Louisiana’s cultural landscape is its global reach. (Dunces alone has been translated into twenty-three languages.) The press serves as an ambassador for Louisiana on the world stage, promoting the cultural richness and uniqueness of the state and region with a rigor and commitment to accuracy missing in some other depictions of the state. The publishers carefully chosen catalog ensures that scholars and readers around the world have access to the best, most up-to-date scholarship on and from Louisiana. 

As LSU Press continues seeking out the best in new writing to bring to Louisiana and the world, the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities is pleased to recognize their work—and eagerly anticipates the next edition of their catalog.