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A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy…

A Confederacy of Dunces (1980)

by John Kennedy Toole

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
14,691307135 (4)1 / 468
  1. 183
    Catch-22 by Joseph Heller (InvisiblerMan)
  2. 40
    One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey (mcenroeucsb)
    mcenroeucsb: Books with Delusional/Enlightened Outcast protagonists
  3. 40
    The Complete Stories by Flannery O'Connor (ainsleytewce)
  4. 62
    The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz (citygirl, 2810michael)
  5. 40
    The Dog of the South by Charles Portis (framberg)
    framberg: less well known but similar type of humor
  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. 30
    Handling Sin by Michael Malone (caseydurfee)
  8. 41
    Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson (mcenroeucsb)
    mcenroeucsb: Books with Delusional/Enlightened Outcast protagonists
  9. 41
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    mcenroeucsb: Books with Delusional/Enlightened Outcast protagonists
  10. 30
    The Life and Extraordinary Adventures of Private Ivan Chonkin by Vladimir Vojnovitsj (rabornj)
    rabornj: same type of character humor
  11. 30
    Henderson the Rain King by Saul Bellow (ShelfMonkey)
  12. 20
    Firmin by Sam Savage (pgmcc)
    pgmcc: Both books take a quirky viewpoint on the world. They are also both about loneliness and isolation, yet really good reads.
  13. 20
    A Fraction of the Whole by Steve Toltz (helio_)
  14. 20
    Little Big Man by Thomas Berger (mcenroeucsb, mcenroeucsb)
    mcenroeucsb: Books with Amusing Rogue protagonists
    mcenroeucsb: Books with Delusional/Enlightened Outcast protagonists
  15. 42
    Lord of the Barnyard: Killing the Fatted Calf and Arming the Aware in the Cornbelt by Tristan Egolf (askthedust)
  16. 20
    Beyond the Great Indoors by Ingvar Ambjørnsen (erlend2)
  17. 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.
  18. 31
    Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth by Chris Ware (2810michael)
  19. 20
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  20. 42
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(see all 35 recommendations)


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English (287)  French (8)  Spanish (5)  Italian (1)  Swedish (1)  Danish (1)  German (1)  Hebrew (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (306)
Showing 1-5 of 287 (next | show all)
This is a re-read; actually the first was an audio book. I see that this is slated to be a movie. Ignatius J. Reilly is one of the great comic characters in literature. His size and dress, utter self-absorption and outlandishly wacky pseudo-scholarly "world view" are really a stitch to read. The book is filled with other remarkable characters and a down and dirty perspective on New Orleans.

The tragic ending of the author who died by his own hand before the book was published is a sad note. The introduction by Walker Percy is a fascinating look at how publishing decisions are made -- from repeated rejection to ultimately a Pulitzer prize. ( )
1 vote stevesmits | Mar 20, 2015 |
I heard A lot about this novel. maybe great comments and reviews were why I expected too much.
but there was one thing about this book that you can't ignore. in one little sentence: Well written. ( )
  payam-tommy | Mar 13, 2015 |
This is a brilliant character piece but a rambling and somewhat drudgy story punctuated by hilarious encounters and incidents. Mr. Toole crafted characters who were superbly unapologetic and satirically accurate if evolutionarily stunted. The only characters to truly evolve through the book are Mrs. Reilly and Mr. Levy but even they remain caricatures rather than fully fleshed people. The rest seem to move through scenes and scenarios rather than their own inner convictions and revelations. But then I don’t think this story is about an absorbing plotline. In fact, I could not find anything that might qualify as a plot.

the book unfolds essentially as a series of vignettes or scenes mostly engineered by Ignatius P. Reilly ranging from subtly silly to outright slapstick and utterly ridiculous. The story rambled all over the place, linking one vignette to another, train-like. by the time I got past the halfway point, I wanted it to be over. many of the passages and subadventures of Iggy P. seemed to drag on and on, running out of steam quickly but pulled along stubbornly by Mr. Toole.

However, it was worth spending time with this book but it is NOT a cogent story. It’s more of a character study on the individual as well as the cultural level. it subtly condemns prejudice in all forms by mocking and satirizing just about every subculture, personality type, ethnic group, and socioeconomic class to be found in New Orleans during the 1960s though in a benign and darkly humorous way. the tightly packed community of that city and the slightly busybody culture of the south manifested in sharp relief. most of all, it focuses on Iggy P.’s hubris and dubious sense of boundaries, social and intellectual, and how he functioned in society.

Mr. Toole did draw those seemingly unconnceted story threads together near the end around Ignatius P.’s bulk to make a certain amount of sense. but the book continued after what seemed the natural end of the book with Iggy P. laying in the gutter. The actual ending of the book felt incomplete, as though it was just a set up for the “Further Adventures of Ignatius P. Reilly and his Eminently Closeable Valve.”
( )
1 vote keebrook | Mar 10, 2015 |
I'm not sure how to even classify the book. Certainly, the main character, Ignatious Reilly, is as massive a loser as Holden Caufield (in the sense that he unwittingly brings about his own downfall by being unable to recognize reality). Seriously, he is a blowhard who thinks he is a genius philosopher, continually judging others negatively on their choices in all things, while promoting his own insanity as the only sane and justifiable options.

Most of the characters are losers in the sense that they all bring about their own misery and their own downfalls. It all worked out in the end, though. ( )
  VincentDarlage | Jan 30, 2015 |
I thought this was a very interesting book. It is interesting to see a story from an outsiders point of view. The main character in this book is what you would call socially awkward...yet he thinks that it is the majority that is a little off. The book is very comical and twisted. ( )
  Anietzerck | Dec 28, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 287 (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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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,
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)
"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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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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2 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

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Penguin Australia

4 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141182865, 0141023465, 0141045647, 0241951593

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