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A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy…
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A Confederacy of Dunces (1980)

by John Kennedy Toole

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
14,642301137 (4)1 / 457
  1. 173
    Catch-22 by Joseph Heller (InvisiblerMan)
  2. 62
    The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz (citygirl, 2810michael)
  3. 40
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    mcenroeucsb: Books with Delusional/Enlightened Outcast protagonists
  4. 40
    The Dog of the South by Charles Portis (framberg)
    framberg: less well known but similar type of humor
  5. 40
    The Complete Stories by Flannery O'Connor (ainsleytewce)
  6. 40
    Managing Ignatius: The Lunacy of Lucky Dogs and Life in New Orleans by Jerry Strahan (lilithcat)
    lilithcat: The true craziness behind Toole's fiction.
  7. 41
    Absurdistan by Gary Shteyngart (BeckyJG)
  8. 41
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  10. 30
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  11. 30
    Handling Sin by Michael Malone (caseydurfee)
  12. 30
    The Life and Extraordinary Adventures of Private Ivan Chonkin by Vladimir Vojnovitsj (rabornj)
    rabornj: same type of character humor
  13. 20
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    mcenroeucsb: Books with Delusional/Enlightened Outcast protagonists
  14. 20
    A Fraction of the Whole by Steve Toltz (helio_)
  15. 20
    Little Big Man by Thomas Berger (mcenroeucsb, mcenroeucsb)
    mcenroeucsb: Books with Amusing Rogue protagonists
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  16. 42
    Lord of the Barnyard: Killing the Fatted Calf and Arming the Aware in the Cornbelt by Tristan Egolf (askthedust)
  17. 20
    Stars and Bars by William Boyd (mcenroeucsb)
    mcenroeucsb: Satirical in the American South
  18. 20
    Beyond the Great Indoors by Ingvar Ambjørnsen (erlend2)
  19. 31
    Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth by Chris Ware (2810michael)
  20. 31
    Flashman by George MacDonald Fraser (mcenroeucsb)
    mcenroeucsb: Flashman is a selfish coward; Toole's Ignatius is lazy, judgmental, and has delusions of grandeur. Yet through their hilarious narration of their misadventures, we come to sympathize with them and cheer for them in their bizarre quests.

(see all 34 recommendations)

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English (282)  French (8)  Spanish (5)  Italian (1)  Swedish (1)  Danish (1)  German (1)  Hebrew (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (301)
Showing 1-5 of 282 (next | show all)
Ignatius J. Reilly - bumbling buffoon or revolutionary thinker? Almost certainly the former, though I suspect inside his head lurks a fantasy world revolving around the latter. At times I thought A Confederacy of Dunces resembled a treatise on mental illness - narcissism, delusions of grandeur, paranoia - possible schizophrenia - then I remembered the book is supposed to be a comedy. The tragedy of Ignatius J. Reilly is that, much like his valve, the tragic comedy that is his life is portrayed as (or by?) an increasingly ambiguous and wavering mirage that may or may not exist.

Toole's representation of New Orleans mirrors the turbulence in Reilly's mind as much as it does the events which unfold around the wily antagonist. Everywhere Reilly goes, calamity seems to follow. However, as the noose slowly tightens, our anti-hero refuses to acquiesce, instead opting to double-down again and again.

My only issue with the book is the ending. I felt frustrated that Reilly managed to escape what he sorely deserved, however I was left with the impression that he was not going to get far - satisfaction denied but not forever. ( )
  b00kw0rm69 | Dec 16, 2014 |
Questo è un libro da leggere, per svariati motivi. Anzitutto, il fatto che l'abbia scritto un tizio trentenne che poi si è suicidato ne fa un caso singolare. Scoprire poi che tutte le 450 pagine (unico punto debole, la lunghezza) sono redatte con leggerezza, con ironia, con grande capacità stridono con l'ultima drammatica scelta di Toole. Alcuni personaggi sono impagabili: non penso al protagonista - probabile alter ego dello scrittore, tratteggiato come assai irritante - ma Jones e l'agente Mancuso - nonchè la signorina Trixie - sono grandi! La rete di relazioni e coincidenze che l'autore disegna è precisa e funzionale - e si risolve con eleganza. Una bella scoperta. ( )
  bobparr | Dec 14, 2014 |
it seems like every time I have ever started a book conversation with someone is is an avid reader the first thing they ask is if I have read this, and are horrified that I haven't. So I bought it, and have tried again and again to get it going and every time down I bog. What's wrong with me, I think, why am I not laughing uproariously? Why am I not delighted? I was happy to discover that I am not the only person with this experience. I will give it one more try before it goes to the library donation box, but after reading so many one star reviews I feel a little better about not liking it. ( )
  SusanListon | Nov 30, 2014 |
Probably the most prolonged, most arrogant, most painfully precise fart joke ever told. It took me a while to finish this novel, and that's partly because I identified with the protagonist in some ways, and I saw a lot of people in him (which is easy, since he's...well, read it). There are no likable characters--none at all. Not even the policeman who can never get his break. Nobody is likable. And this is extremely realistic because in life, sometimes there is no one genuine enough to root for: you're really pitting them against someone equally as bad or worse--and that's this whole novel. Is there some growth? I'd argue yes. Is it satisfying? It's on the edge.

It has a bunch of varying dialogue, a lot of satire, unconventional situations. The downfalls I see to this novel... Well, for one, if you're looking for a novel to hail the main character, this is not for you (unless you're Ignatius). And to me, a lot of the description, the settings, was sacrificed for plot and dialogue.

Overall, I enjoyed this book--especially for the climax and resolution, despite the despicable characters. I would say that it had more strengths than weaknesses, which is probably why it's lasted for so long.

This earns a four "Whoa!" rating out of five "Whoas!" ( )
1 vote Max-Tyrone | Nov 30, 2014 |
This book starts slowly but becomes more amusing. The characters are just that, characters. I am glad that I finished it but admit that I kept reading in the hope that it would improve. It did. ( )
  Amusedbythis | Nov 28, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 282 (next | show all)
A pungent work of slapstick, satire and intellectual incongruities - yet flawed in places by its very virtues.
 
Ultimately, Ignatius is simply too grotesque and loony to be taken for a genius; the world he howls at seems less awful than he does. Pratfalls can pass beyond slapstick only if they echo, and most of the ones in this novel do not. They are terribly funny, though, and if a book's price is measured against the laughs it provokes, A Confederacy of Dunces is the bargain of the year.
added by Shortride | editTime, Paul Gray (Jun 2, 1980)
 

» Add other authors (22 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Toole, John Kennedyprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Percy, WalkerForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
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 (1706)
There is a New Orleans city accent...associated with downtown New Orleans, particularly with the German and Irish Third Ward, that is hard to distinguish from the accent of Hoboken, Jersey City, and Astoria, Long Island, where the Al Smith inflection, extinct in Manhattan, has taken refuge. The reason, as you might expect, is that the same stocks that brought the accent to Manhattan imposed it on New Orleans.

"You're right on that. We're Mediterranean. I've never been to Greece or Italy, but I'm sure I'd be at home there as soon as I landed."
He would too, I thought. New Orleans resembles Genoa or Marseilles, or Beirut or the Egyptian Alexandria more than it does New York, although all seaports resemble one another more than they can resemble any place in the interior. Like Havana and Port-au-Prince, New Orleans is within the orbit of a Hellenistic world that never touched the North Atlantic. The Mediterranean, Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico form a homogeneous, though interuppted, sea.
A. J. Liebling,
THE EARL OF LOUISIANA
Dedication
First words
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. Full, pursed lips protruded beneath the bushy black moustache and, at their corners, sank into little folds filled with disapproval and potato chip crumbs.
Perhaps the best way to introduce this novel-which on my third reading of it astounds me even more than the first-is to tell of my first encounter with it. (Foreword)
Quotations
"The only problem those people have anyway is that they don't like new cars and hair sprays. That's why they are put away. They make the other members of society fearful. Every asylum in this nation is filled with poor souls who simply cannot stand lanolin, cellophane, plastic, television, and subdivisions."
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0802130208, Paperback)

"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. Full, pursed lips protruded beneath the bushy black moustache and, at their corners, sank into little folds filled with disapproval and potato chip crumbs."

Meet Ignatius J. Reilly, the hero of John Kennedy Toole's tragicomic tale, A Confederacy of Dunces. This 30-year-old medievalist lives at home with his mother in New Orleans, pens his magnum opus on Big Chief writing pads he keeps hidden under his bed, and relays to anyone who will listen the traumatic experience he once had on a Greyhound Scenicruiser bound for Baton Rouge. ("Speeding along in that bus was like hurtling into the abyss.") But Ignatius's quiet life of tyrannizing his mother and writing his endless comparative history screeches to a halt when he is almost arrested by the overeager Patrolman Mancuso--who mistakes him for a vagrant--and then involved in a car accident with his tipsy mother behind the wheel. One thing leads to another, and before he knows it, Ignatius is out pounding the pavement in search of a job.

Over the next several hundred pages, our hero stumbles from one adventure to the next. His stint as a hotdog vendor is less than successful, and he soon turns his employers at the Levy Pants Company on their heads. Ignatius's path through the working world is populated by marvelous secondary characters: the stripper Darlene and her talented cockatoo; the septuagenarian secretary Miss Trixie, whose desperate attempts to retire are constantly, comically thwarted; gay blade Dorian Greene; sinister Miss Lee, proprietor of the Night of Joy nightclub; and Myrna Minkoff, the girl Ignatius loves to hate. The many subplots that weave through A Confederacy of Dunces are as complicated as anything you'll find in a Dickens novel, and just as beautifully tied together in the end. But it is Ignatius--selfish, domineering, and deluded, tragic and comic and larger than life--who carries the story. He is a modern-day Quixote beset by giants of the modern age. His fragility cracks the shell of comic bluster, revealing a deep streak of melancholy beneath the antic humor. John Kennedy Toole committed suicide in 1969 and never saw the publication of his novel. Ignatius Reilly is what he left behind, a fitting memorial to a talented and tormented life. --Alix Wilber

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:40:16 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

Ignatius J. Reilly of New Orleans, --selfish, domineering, deluded, tragic and larger than life-- is a noble crusader against a world of dunces. He is a modern-day Quixote beset by giants of the modern age. In magnificent revolt against the twentieth century, Ignatius propels his monstrous bulk among the flesh posts of the fallen city, documenting life on his Big Chief tablets as he goes, until his maroon-haired mother decrees that Ignatius must work.… (more)

» see all 10 descriptions

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