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14,111None145 (4.01)1 / 436
Tags:Humor, Fiction, New Orleans, Picaresque, Pulitzer

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A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole (1980)

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(see all 33 recommendations)


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English (264)  French (8)  Spanish (3)  Swedish (1)  Italian (1)  German (1)  Dutch (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (280)
Showing 1-5 of 264 (next | show all)
The humor, enjoyable absurdity, and intertwined characters of A Confederacy of Dunces reminded me of The Broom of the System, by David Foster Wallace. I liked the latter a lot better though. I thought Dunces was a good book: well-written and clever. But I'm not sure I understand why it warranted a Pulitzer. This probably demonstrates my lack of understanding regarding the Pulitzer Prize and literary prowess than anything else.

Favorite quote: "Jail was preferable. There they only limited you physically. In a mental ward they tampered with your soul and worldview and mind." ( )
  dysmonia | Apr 15, 2014 |
J.Wellington Wimpy meets Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. I grew tired of Ignatius' act about half-way through but glad I stuck it out til the end. Won't spoil it except to say it wraps up pretty darned well. ( )
  5hrdrive | Apr 12, 2014 |
One of my utmost favorites. It never fails to make me long for New Orleans and all its insanity. ( )
  LisaFoxRomance | Apr 6, 2014 |
I was not aware that the neurotic Elling had a fat American relative. (Or rather an ancestor, or at least a predecessor, as Ingvar Ambjørnsen's Elling first appeared in 1993, as opposed to A Conferderacy..., which was published in 1980). Very funny, but I started to become quite tired of Ignatius J. Reilly a bit more than halfway through the book.
  ohernaes | Mar 23, 2014 |
This is a great book. I found it to be reminiscent of Catch-22, with the large cast of characters. It's not as difficult of a read as Catch-22 because it runs completely chronologically.

Every character is eccentric and hilarious in his or her own way. While this book wasn't as 'laugh out loud' funny as I wanted it to be, it's definitely very amusing and completely worth the read. I'm completely convinced that I have missed most of the symbolism. Jones' glasses and over the top Southern black diction, Ignatius' continual referral of Lana Lee as a nazi, to Minkoff's name in general... this book is PACKED with what seems to be symbolism I don't get - but would definitely like to.

I would highly recommend this to anyone who has grown up in or around Louisiana. ( )
1 vote steadfastreader | Mar 18, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 264 (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)

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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)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 10 descriptions

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Penguin Australia

Four editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141182865, 0141023465, 0141045647, 0241951593

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