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A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy…
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A Confederacy of Dunces (original 1980; edition 1987)

by John Kennedy Toole, Walker Percy (Foreword)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
14,335289141 (4)1 / 440
Member:Deern
Title:A Confederacy of Dunces
Authors:John Kennedy Toole
Other authors:Walker Percy (Foreword)
Info:Grove Weidenfeld (1987), Edition: 0020-Anniversary, Paperback, 405 pages
Collections:Audio Book, Your library
Rating:****
Tags:American literature, Contemporary fiction, 1001, English language

Work details

A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole (1980)

  1. 173
    Catch-22 by Joseph Heller (InvisiblerMan)
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  4. 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.
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    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.
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(see all 33 recommendations)

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English (271)  French (8)  Spanish (4)  Italian (1)  Swedish (1)  Danish (1)  German (1)  Hebrew (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (289)
Showing 1-5 of 271 (next | show all)
This is a fun book. Seriously. I figure, any book that gets me to laugh out loud...while I'm in an airport, well, that's funny.

All of the characters in the book were ridiculous. ALL of them. So much so that when I think about it, I think to the title of the book, and it is MOST appropriate.

A good read. :) ( )
  csweder | Jul 8, 2014 |
This is a fun book. Seriously. I figure, any book that gets me to laugh out loud...while I'm in an airport, well, that's funny.

All of the characters in the book were ridiculous. ALL of them. So much so that when I think about it, I think to the title of the book, and it is MOST appropriate.

A good read. :) ( )
  csweder | Jul 8, 2014 |
This is a great book that takes place in a world very much its own, and very much New Orleans. ( )
  ehines | Jul 7, 2014 |
It was maybe the third day after Hurricane Katrina, when it appeared our nation was simply going to abandon the city and the people of New Orleans, the third day of seeing that tarp covered body in the streets with a sign above that read, “Here lies Vera: God help us” that I went to the bookstore and bought this book. I wanted to remember the New Orleans so vividly rendered within it, a city that at that time it seemed was simply being written off.

It wasn’t the first time I’d bought the book. Or the second, or the third. No, I’d say it was the fifth copy I’d bought, because it’s one of those books you want to share with people (the right kind of people, if you know what I mean) giving it away to folks you just know will enjoy the skewed genius found inside. In fact, that’s how I got my first copy, receiving it in the mail one day from my sister, with a note inside saying she thought I’d enjoy it.

Though I’d heard of the book, I knew nothing about it going in. As is my wont, I did not read the Introduction until after I’d finished the book, wanting to read the author’s words before reading what someone else said about them. Therefore, I knew nothing about the author’s tragic quest to get the book published, knew nothing about his mother’s later successful efforts to do the same.

But after finishing the book, I did read that Introduction, and one passage from it stays with me still. After his years-long effort to get the book published ended in failure, with his editor saying that in the end, the book really wasn’t about anything, the Introduction says the editor couldn’t have been more wrong. The book absolutely WAS about something, and that something was its author, John Kennedy Toole.

Simply put, A Confederacy Of Dunces is a work of genius, and a work of madness. In Ignatius J. Reilly, it provides world literature with perhaps its greatest character since Don Quixote. ( )
  BrendanPMyers | Jun 23, 2014 |
didn't finish, did not care for mother/son relationship/ characters to odd for my taste ( )
  eileenmary | May 16, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 271 (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."
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (3)

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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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Four editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141182865, 0141023465, 0141045647, 0241951593

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