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A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy…

A Confederacy of Dunces (original 1980; edition 1980)

by John Kennedy Toole (Author), Walter Percy (Foreword)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
20,421447182 (3.94)2 / 632
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)
Title:A Confederacy of Dunces
Authors:John Kennedy Toole (Author)
Other authors:Walter Percy (Foreword)
Info:Penguin Books (2000), Edition: New Ed, 338 pages
Collections:Your library, To read

Work Information

A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole (1980)

  1. 274
    Catch-22 by Joseph Heller (InvisiblerMan)
  2. 92
    The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz (citygirl, 2810michael)
  3. 62
    One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey (mcenroeucsb)
    mcenroeucsb: Books with Delusional/Enlightened Outcast protagonists
  4. 40
    Handling Sin by Michael Malone (caseydurfee)
  5. 73
    The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger (mcenroeucsb)
    mcenroeucsb: Books with Delusional/Enlightened Outcast protagonists
  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
    Little Big Man by Thomas Berger (mcenroeucsb, mcenroeucsb)
    mcenroeucsb: Books with Amusing Rogue protagonists
    mcenroeucsb: Books with Delusional/Enlightened Outcast protagonists
  8. 52
    Henderson the Rain King by Saul Bellow (ShelfMonkey)
  9. 41
    The Dog of the South by Charles Portis (framberg)
    framberg: less well known but similar type of humor
  10. 64
    Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson (mcenroeucsb)
    mcenroeucsb: Books with Delusional/Enlightened Outcast protagonists
  11. 53
    Complete Stories by Flannery O'Connor (ainsleytewce)
  12. 20
    The Good Soldier Svejk by Jaroslav Hašek (CGlanovsky)
    CGlanovsky: Misguided protagonist gets into a series of misadventures
  13. 21
    A Fraction of the Whole by Steve Toltz (helio_)
  14. 21
    The Life and Extraordinary Adventures of Private Ivan Chonkin by Vladimir Vojnovitsj (rabornj)
    rabornj: same type of character humor
  15. 21
    Stars and Bars by William Boyd (mcenroeucsb)
    mcenroeucsb: Satirical in the American South
  16. 43
    The Consolation of Philosophy by Boethius (erezv)
  17. 10
    Candide [Norton Critical Edition, 3rd ed.] by Voltaire (skavlanj)
  18. 43
    Lord of the Barnyard: Killing the Fatted Calf and Arming the Aware in the Cornbelt by Tristan Egolf (askthedust)
  19. 21
    Beyond the Great Indoors by Ingvar Ambjørnsen (erlend2)
  20. 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.

(see all 41 recommendations)

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» See also 632 mentions

English (416)  Spanish (12)  French (9)  Italian (2)  Dutch (2)  Swedish (1)  Danish (1)  Hebrew (1)  German (1)  All languages (445)
Showing 1-5 of 416 (next | show all)
hilarious ( )
  ThomasNorford | Mar 7, 2023 |
Enjoyed it for a while but couldn't get into it in spite of it being a Pulitzer prize winner.. Oh well.. On to other stories that are more enjoyable .. at least for me! ( )
  Jonathan5 | Feb 20, 2023 |
What can I say, it is a classic. Loved it the first time I read it and still do. ( )
  lynnbyrdcpa | Feb 18, 2023 |
Ignatius is the original manosphere blogger.

There is nothing interesting about this book besides from the humor. If it wasn't a pretty funny book, it probably never would've made a splash. The characters are basically all one-dimensional stereotypes, the social commentary is honestly confused at best, and there's less tension than you'd find on the back of a cereal box. I don't know. I didn't love it, but it was good enough that I at least finished it and enjoyed the ride. That's a very low bar, though, and one that this book barely manages to clear. ( )
  AuroraCH | Jan 17, 2023 |
Virtually impossible to put down, once you get into the rhythm of the dialogue and start to hear the language with the right ear for the time and place. Ignatius Reilly is one of the great comic creations, but all the characters are perfectly formed. Their are basically 5 interlocking plots weaved into the narrative. 1) The enormous, pompous, grotesque Ignatius, overflowing with ideas, gas, fat and invective is forced to try to find work at the advanced age of 30, whilst engaging in long distance badinage with his friend Myrna Minkoff, who’s libertarian behaviour purports to shock but actually attracts him. A job as a hot dog vendor merely adds to his enormous girth, for easily discernible reasons 2) His long suffering, somewhat alcoholic mother falls into a friendship with Santa Battaglia who schemes to get her married off, and Ignatius sent to a psychiatric ward 3) The vissitudes of the Levy family, owners of Levy Pants, a downwardly mobile concern unwise enough to employ Ignatius for a short period 4) The Night of Joy a down at heel bar / cathouse that includes the funniest Blonde + Cockatoo strip act in literature and the ascerbic Burma Jones, forced to work at the Night to avoid charges of vagrancy and 5) Patrolman Mancuso forced by his vengeful Sergeant to patrol the French Quarter in ever more ridiculous costumes to try to entrap homosexuals.

Any one of these 5 plot threads could have been a novel of its own. Each plot thread intersect with each other as Ignatius attempts to find salvation.

One of the criticisms of the book that hindered its original publication is that the book “isn’t really about anything” and is little more than a panorama of early sixties New Orleans. There is some truth to this perhaps, but so perfect are the characters that it doesn’t matter. If you haven’t read it - and it took me a long while to get to it - please do so ( )
  Opinionated | Jan 13, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 416 (next | show all)
John Kennedy Toole
La conjuration des imbéciles
traduit de l'américain par J.-P. Carasso, Laffont
«Drôle de livre, énorme dans la bouffonnerie et la satire, énorme comme son personnage principal, une sorte d'Ubu dévastateur qui lance des anathèmes sur un monde en décomposition.» (Lire, décembre 1981)
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

» Add other authors (66 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Toole, John Kennedyprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Capus, AlexTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Grossman, MyronCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hannah, JonnyIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Marginter, PeterTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Percy, WalkerForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Salmenoja, MargitTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
SanjulianCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tedesco, MichaelCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Woods, Charles RueCover designersecondary 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."
“I refuse to ‘look up.’ Optimism nauseates me. It is perverse. Since man’s fall, his proper position in the universe has been one of misery.”
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Date de première publication :
- 1980 (1e édition originale américaine, Louisiana State University Presse, Baton Rouge)
- 1981-11-01 (1e traduction et édition française, Pavillons, Robert Laffont)
- 1982-09-01 (Réédition française, Pavillons, Robert Laffont)
- 1989 (Réédition française, Domaine étranger, 10/18)
- 2002-04-18 (Réédition française, Domaine étranger, 10/18)
- 2022-10-24 (Réédition française, Littérature, Libellio)
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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.

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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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