Grove Press is a hardcover and paperback imprint of Grove Atlantic, Inc. Grove Press was founded on Grove Street in New York’s Greenwich Village in 1947. But its true beginning came in 1951 when twenty-eight-year-old Barney Rossett, Jr. bought the company and turned it into one of the most influential publishers of the 1950s, 60s, and 70s. From the outset, Rossett took chances: Grove published many of the Beats including William S. Burroughs, Jack Kerouac, and Allen Ginsberg. In addition, Grove Press became the preeminent publisher of twentieth-century drama in America, publishing the work of Samuel Beckett (Nobel Prize for Literature 1969), Bertold Brecht, Eugene Ionesco, David Mamet (Pulitzer Prize for Drama 1984), Harold Pinter (Nobel Prize for Literature 2005), Tom Stoppard, and many more. The press also introduced to American audiences the work of international authors such as Jorge Luis Borges, Mikhail Bulgakov, Marguerite Duras, Jean Genet, Pablo Neruda, Octavio Paz (Nobel Prize for Literature 1990), Kenzaburo Oe (Nobel Prize for Literature 1994), Elfriede Jelinek (Nobel Prize for Literature 2004), Alain Robbe-Grillet, and Juan Rulfo. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, Barney Rossett challenged the obscenity laws by publishing D. H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover and then Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer. His landmark court victories changed the American cultural landscape. Grove Press went on to publish literary erotic classics like The Story of O and ground-breaking gay fiction like John Rechy’s City of Night, as well as the works of the Marquis de Sade. On the political front, Grove Press published classics that include Franz Fanon’s The Wretched of the Earth, The Autobiography of Malcolm X, and Che Guevara’s The Bolivian Diary, among many other titles. In 1986, Barney Rosset sold the company and the press became part of Grove Weidenfeld. In 1993 that company was merged with Atlantic Monthly Press to form Grove Atlantic, Inc.

Since 1993, Grove Press has been both a hardcover and paperback imprint of Grove Atlantic publishing fiction, drama, poetry, literature in translation, and general nonfiction. Authors and titles include Jon Lee Anderson’s Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life, Robert Olen Butler’s A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain (Pulitzer Prize for Literature 1993), Kiran Desai’s Inheritance of Loss (Man Booker Prize 2006), Richard Flanagan’s Gould’s Book of Fish (Commonwealth Prize 2002), Ismail Kadare’s The Siege, Jerzy Kosinski’s Steps (National Book Award 1969), Jacqueline Susann’s Valley of the Dolls, Nick McDonell’s Twelve, Catherine Millet’s The Sexual Life of Catherine M., Pascal Mercier’s Night Train to Lisbon, Kay Ryan (Poet Laureate of the United States 2008/9) as well as Antonio Lobo Antunes, Will Self, Barry Hannah, Terry Southern, and many others.

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Barry Hannah Long, Last, Happy
Long, Last, Happy

“Barry Hannah is the best fiction writer to appear in the South since Flannery O’Connor.”
Larry Mcmurtry

“Barry Hannah is an original, and one of the most consistently exciting writers of the post-Faulkner generation.”
William Styron, Salon

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The Neon Bible By John Kennedy Toole
“A masterwork . . . the novel astonishes with its inventiveness . . . it is nothing less than a grand comic fugue.” —The New York Times Book Review
A Confederacy of Dunces
By John Kennedy Toole
Grove Press
978-0-8021-3020-4 • $16.00 • Paperback • Apr. 1981
Fiction
“When a true genius appears in the world,
You may know him by this sign, that the dunces
Are all in confederacy against him.”
—Jonathan Swift, “Thoughts on Various Subjects, Moral and Diverting”


“A green hunting cap squeezed the top of the fleshy balloon of a head. The green earflaps, full of large ears and uncut hair and the fine bristles that grew in the ears themselves, stuck out on either side like turn signals indicating two directions at once.”

So enters one of the most memorable characters in American fiction, Ignatius J. Reilly. John Kennedy Toole’s hero is one, “huge, obese, fractious, fastidious, a latter-day Gargantua, a Don Quixote of the French Quarter. His story bursts with wholly original characters, denizens of New Orleans’ lower depths, incredibly true-to-life dialogue, and the zaniest series of high and low comic adventures” (Henry Kisor, Chicago Sun-Times).
Ignatius J. Reilly is a flatulent frustrated scholar deeply learned in Medieval philosophy and American junk food, a brainy mammoth misfit imprisoned in a trashy world of Greyhound Buses and Doris Day movies. He is in violent revolt against the entire modern age.  Ignatius’ peripatetic employment takes him from Levy Pants, where he leads a workers’ revolt, to the French Quarter, where he waddles behind a hot dog wagon that serves as his fortress.

A Confederacy of Dunces is an American comic masterpiece that outswifts Swift, whose poem gives the book its title. Set in New Orleans, the novel bursts into life on Canal Street under the clock at D. H. Holmes department store. The characters leave the city and literature forever marked by their presences—Ignatius and his mother; Mrs. Reilly’s matchmaking friend, Santa Battaglia; Miss Trixie, the octogenarian assistant accountant at Levy Pants; inept, bemused Patrolman Mancuso; Jones, the jivecat in spaceage dark glasses. Juvenal, Rabelais, Cervantes, Fielding, Swift, Dickens—their spirits are all here. Filled with unforgettable characters and unbelievable plot twists, shimmering with intelligence, and dazzling in its originality, Toole’s comic classic just keeps getting better year after year.

Released by Louisiana State University Press in April 1980 and published in paperback in 1981 by Grove Press, A Confederacy of Dunces is nothing short of a publishing phenomenon. Turned down by countless publishers and submitted by the author’s mother years after his suicide, the book won the 1981 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. Today, there are over 1,500,000 copies in print worldwide in eighteen languages.

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