Katherine Anne Porter's Ship of Fools
Containing pieces by distinguished scholars including Darlene Harbour
Unrue and Robert Brinkmeyer, this book is the first full investigation
of the links between Porter’s only novel and European intellectual
history. Beginning with Sebastian Brant, author of the late medieval
Narrenschiff, whom she acknowledges in her Preface to Ship of Fools,
Porter’s image of Europe emerges as more complex, more knowledgeable,
and more politically nuanced than previous critics have acknowledged.
Ship of Fools is in conversation with Europe’s humanistic tradition as
well as with the political moments of 1931 and 1962, the years that
elapsed from the novel’s conception to its completion.
“Unlike Porter’s short stories, her only novel has not received the
sustained critical attention it deserves. Being the only of its kind and
representing much original thinking, research, and new approaches,
Austenfeld’s edition fulfills this lack of scholarship.” –—Christine
Grogan, president Katherine Anne Porter Society
“In the field of Porter studies, this work will rank of great
significance.” –—Linda Kornasky, Angelo State University
“Thomas Austenfeld’s studies of American women fiction writers was good
preparation for editing a volume of essays on Porter’s Ship of Fools.
Long overdue, this book’s astute and finely written essays examine the
European philosophical and artistic antecedents of Porter’s novel and
connect it to her experience as an American woman modernist.
Insufficiently appreciated when it appeared, Ship of Fools is likely
now to be accorded the sort of admiration that routinely goes to Céline,
Thomas Bernhard, and Michel Houellebecq. This collection performs an
important service for literature.” —Alfred Corn, author of Miranda’s