Tuesday, Aug 23, 2022 8:00 PM
Book Only: First edition is not stated on the copyright page. The copyright page should have no references to a second, third, or other printings.
Dust Jacket: The first issue, first state dust jacket has Walker Percy's blurb on the rear with no other blurbs and stars in the night sky around the title on the front panel, at the top of the back panel, and along the spine. These stars were intended and are part of the original artwork by Ed Lindlof as can be seen by the original mechanical used (courtesy of the LSU Press):
The stars only appear on the first printing run of 2,500 and were deleted at the start of the second printing of 5,000 copies. The deletion of the stars on second state dust jacket was intentional. Production Manager Joanna V. Hill assumed that the dots were debris and deleted them on the second printing and all subsequent printings, as well as intensified the color of the title. Below is a letter from Hill to Lindlof:
Below is a first edition, first printing in a first state dust jacket next to a second printing second state dust jacket. As you can see the first printing (on the left) has the star effect, whereas the second printing (on the right) has had them deleted. Both dust jackets only have the Walker Percy blurb on the rear panel. Because the second printing was supplemented six weeks before publication, it was issued at the same time as the first printing and are both considered first issue jackets with one being a first state and the other a second state.
Websites such as fedpo.com and pprize.com are incorrect in their bibliographical research on A Confederacy of Dunces. Unfortunately, we cannot reach anyone at these websites to have their information corrected and the websites say that they are no longer being maintained but will remain up as an "archive."
Because of the inaccurate information on fedpo.com and pprize.com it is incorrectly believed that there were no changes, intentional or not, to the dust jacket until the third printing when additional blurbs from the Chicago Sun Times, Publisher's Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, and Booklist made their way to the back panel. This means that dealers and collectors, relying on this incorrect information, could buy a second printing book and then swap jackets with a first printing to improve the overall condition, or remove the jacket from a second printing book and put it on a first printing that lacked one entirely (a common practice called "marrying"). Therefore, it is common to see second state jackets on first printing books and first state jackets on second printing books. It is also possible that some of the 2,500 first printing books were jacketed with some of the 5,000 second issue jackets by accident from the publisher since both the first and second printings were released at the same time.
We would like to thank the LSU Press for helping with our research.