In his book The Art of the Good Life Rolf Dobelli tells the story of John Kennedy Toole, who considered himself born to write. When the 26-year-old American submitted a manuscript to publisher Simon & Schuster he was convinced he’d sent off the novel of the century. But Simon & Schuster turned him down, as did all the other publishers he tried.

His most deeply held conviction shaken to the core, Toole turned to booze. Six years later, he committed suicide. After his suicide his mother finally managed to find a publisher for the manuscript and A Confederacy of Dunces was published in 1980, hailed by critics as a masterpiece of literature from the American South. Toole was posthumously awarded the Pulitzer Prize for the best novel of the year. The book sold more than 1.5-million copies...

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