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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
16,864368163 (3.97)1 / 548
Member:appumjoseph
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:Your library, To read
Rating:
Tags:None

Work details

A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole (1980)

  1. 224
    Catch-22 by Joseph Heller (InvisiblerMan)
  2. 61
    The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger (mcenroeucsb)
    mcenroeucsb: Books with Delusional/Enlightened Outcast protagonists
  3. 72
    The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz (citygirl, 2810michael)
  4. 40
    Handling Sin by Michael Malone (caseydurfee)
  5. 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.
  6. 51
    One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey (mcenroeucsb)
    mcenroeucsb: Books with Delusional/Enlightened Outcast protagonists
  7. 52
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    mcenroeucsb: Books with Delusional/Enlightened Outcast protagonists
  8. 41
    The Dog of the South by Charles Portis (framberg)
    framberg: less well known but similar type of humor
  9. 42
    The Complete Stories by Flannery O'Connor (ainsleytewce)
  10. 31
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  11. 31
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  12. 21
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    mcenroeucsb: Satirical in the American South
  13. 10
    Kinflicks by Lisa Alther (ainsleytewce)
  14. 21
    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.
  15. 32
    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.
  16. 21
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  20. 21
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    rabornj: same type of character humor

(see all 37 recommendations)

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English (347)  French (8)  Spanish (7)  Italian (1)  Swedish (1)  Danish (1)  German (1)  Hebrew (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (368)
Showing 1-5 of 347 (next | show all)
I just reread this. One of the most seriously funny books ever. It has many flaws, such as a plot that frequently unravels, but who cares? The characters are all hilarious and heart-breaking. My favorite is the senile Miss Trixie, who just wants to retire and, I suspect, go feral. The only author to whom I can compare Toole is P. G. Wodehouse. There is the same feeling that society is just something we all agree to pretend exists, when underneath lies absurdity. Toole is just as funny, but sadder.
Don't let that Pulitzer Prize and the large number of pages scare you away -- this is a fun fast read. ( )
  JanetNoRules | Sep 17, 2018 |
GAH! I wanted to like this book but I couldn't get into the humor. Which is weird, because I love Vonnegut and this is a very similar satirical book filled with dark and bawdy humor. Ignatius, the protagonist of the novel, is a world class asshole and is soo unbelievably unlikable, which is the point, I know, but I couldn't handle it. What a buffoon, what a jerk! He's a thirty year old loser who lives with his mom and is totally useless, he expects everything and gives nothing. He can't hold down a job, he is convinced of his own grandeur, and he expects the world to bow before his greatness. He bumbles about in life and pisses EVERYONE off in the process (including me, the reader). Man, I haven't hated a book this bad in a while! ( )
1 vote ecataldi | Aug 31, 2018 |
Here's what I wrote at first:

It's not as great as everyone says it is. I bailed about a third of the way through. If I were on a long plane ride and this was all I had, I'd stick with it, but--I'm here on the ground and there are too many other things to read. For a real comic masterpiece, read anything by Charles Portis or most of the novels of Thomas Berger.

After I wrote this, however, I stayed with it and reached the scene where Ignatius becomes a hot-dog vendor, which is hilarious. I ended up finishing the book and glad I did. There are too many set pieces that go on too long, like the book itself, but Ignatius is unique. He is most definitely not a "misunderstood genius" and I take the epigraph to be ironic: Ignatius thinks he is a genius with a Confederacy of dunces against him, but he is a fool. The whole joke is that he keeps speaking about his "worldview," etc., but there's no substance to it: we never find out what his worldview is other than that he is smarter than all of the other characters. His turns of phrase are all he has, and while these are funny (like Mr. Burns's in The Simpsons), they don't reveal anything about his worldview, since he never refers to anything he's read other than Boethius.

Still, I don't begrudge anyone his or her enjoyment of this one. ( )
  Stubb | Aug 28, 2018 |
Barrett Whitener did a great job narrating this novel.

As for the book itself, I found it amusing rather than hilarious but there were certainly several places where I laughed aloud. ( )
  leslie.98 | Aug 16, 2018 |
This is the funniest novel I've ever read. It had me laughing and giggling quite a bit, which is unusual. I don't think I've ever read a novel before that I really thought was funny. There are plenty of other, more detailed reviews of this book available, so I will refrain from boring you. I just enjoyed it a lot. ( )
  bibliosk8er | Aug 16, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 347 (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)
 
This is the kind of book one wants to keep quoting from. I could, with keen pleasure, copy all of Jones's dialogue out and then get down to the other characters. Apart from being a fine funny novel (but also comic in the wider sense, like Gargantua or Ulysses), this is a classic compendium of Louisiana speech. What evidently fascinated Toole (a genuine scholar, MA Columbia and so on) about his own town was something that A.J. Liebling noted in his The Earl of Louisiana: the existence of a New Orleans city accent close to the old Al Smith tonality, 'extinct in Manhattan', living alongside a plantation dialect which cried out for accurate recording.
added by SnootyBaronet | editObserver, Anthony Burgess
 
El protagonista de esta novela es uno de los personajes más memorables de la literatura norteamericana: Ignatus Reilly -una mezcla de Oliver Hardy delirante, Don Quijote adiposo y santo Tomás de Aquino, perverso, reunidos en una persona-, que a los treinta años aún vive con su estrafalaria madre, ocupado en escribir una extensa y demoledora denuncia contra nuestro siglo, tan carente de teología y geometría como de decencia y buen gusto, un alegado desquiciado contra una sociedad desquiciada. Por una inesperada necesidad de dinero, se ve 'catapultado en la fiebre de la existencia contemporánea', embarcándose en empleos y empresas de lo más disparatado.
added by Pakoniet | editLecturalia
 



Ruggero Bianchi
Tuttolibri
settembre 1998
Il caso di Una banda di idioti di John Kennedy Toole ricorda sorprendentemente, per molti versi, quello di Il giovane Holden di J.D. Salinger. Opere, entrambe, di autori (quasi) esordienti e comunque alla loro prima esperienza nel campo della narrativa lunga. E scritte, entrambe, da artisti irrequieti e verosimilmente nevrotici, non disposti a campare sulla sinecura del loro primo successo. Conosciamo tutti, di Salinger, la scelta di centellinare i propri scritti e di difendere la sua scelta esistenziale, una sorte di coleridgiana morte-in-vita. Ma pochi sanno della fine di Toole, nato nel 1937 e suicidatosi nel 1969, a soli trentadue anni, lasciando alla madre il compito di trasformare in bestseller e in classico moderno un libro che forse non pensava di poter mai pubblicare e che, negli Stati Uniti, uscì grazie soltanto al parere autorevole (sebbene segretamente perplesso) del celebre critico Walter Percy, che firma anche l’introduzione all’edizione italiana.Ma le analogie non si fermano qui. Sia Il govane Holden che Una banda di idioti pongono, fin dal titolo, grossi problemi alla bravura dei traduttori.
Il primo alludendo, con la dizione originale di The Catcher in the Rye, alle figure del baseball e alle coltivazioni del mais; il secondo chiamando in causa, sotto la formula di A Confederacy of Duncies, la realtà di un Sud "confederato" nella guerra civile e l’indimenticato poema di Alexander Pope, The Dunciad (1728), un capolavoro satirico inglese del primo Settecento che nessuno oggi legge come nessuno oggi legge il Parini e, probabilmente, per le stesse ragioni. Come se non bastasse, ai due romanzi è toccata di fatto la medesima sorte in Italia. The Catcher in the Rye di Salinger, uscito nel 1952 nel nostro Paese con il titolo Vita da uomo (Casini editore, traduzione di Jacopo Darca), divenne un bestseller grazie alla nuova edizione di Einaudi del 1961 (trad. di A. Motti). A Confederacy of Duncies passò inosservato dal pubblico una quindicina d’anni fa, sebbene Luciana Bianciardi vincesse, per la sua traduzione oggi ripubblicata in altra cornice, il Premio Monselice 1983.
added by cf66 | editTuttolibri, Ruggero Bianchi
 

» Add other authors (22 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Toole, John Kennedyprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Capus, AlexTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Percy, WalkerForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
SanjulianCover artistsecondary 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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:08 -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 18 descriptions

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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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