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A Confederacy of Dunces

by

A Confederacy of Dunces Cover

ISBN13: 9780802130204
ISBN10: 0802130208
Condition: Standard
All Product Details

 

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Wednesday, July 30, 2014 07:00 PM
This month we meet to discuss A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole. Join us!

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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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, Moral and Diverting"

"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."

So enters one of the most memorable characters in American fiction, Ignatius J. Reilly.

John Kennedy Toole's hero is one, "huge, obese, fractious, fastidious, a latter-day Gargantua, a Don Quixote of the French Quarter. His story bursts with wholly original characters, denizens of New Orleans' lower depths, incredibly true-to-life dialogue, and the zaniest series of high and low comic adventures." (Henry Kisor, Chicago Sun-Times).

Ignatius J. Reilly is a flatulent frustrated scholar deeply learned in Medieval philosophy and American junk food, a brainy mammoth misfit imprisoned in a trashy world of Greyhound Buses and Doris Day movies. He is in violent revolt against the entire modern age.

Ignatius' peripatetic employment takes him from Levy Pants, where he leads a workers' revolt, to the French Quarter, where he waddles behind a hot dog wagon that serves as his fortress.

A Confederacy of Dunces is an American comic masterpiece that outswifts Swift, whose poem gives the book its title. Set in New Orleans, the novel bursts into life on Canal Street under the clock at D. H. Holmes department store. The characters leave the city and literature forever marked by their presences — Ignatius and his mother; Mrs. Reilly's matchmaking friend, Santa Battaglia; Miss Trixie, the octogenarian assistant accountant at Levy Pants; inept, bemused Patrolman Mancuso; Jones, the jivecat in spaceage dark glasses. Juvenal, Rabelais, Cervantes, Fielding, Swift, Dickens — their spirits are all here. Filled with unforgettable characters and unbelievable plot twists, shimmering with intelligence, and dazzling in its originality, Toole's comic classic just keeps getting better year after year.

Released by Louisiana State University Press in April 1980 and published in paperback in 1981 by Grove Press, A Confederacy of Dunces is nothing short of a publishing phenomenon. Turned down by countless publishers and submitted by the author's mother years after his suicide, the book won the 1981 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. Today, there are over 1,500,000 copies in print worldwide in eighteen languages.

Review:

"This novel records the adventures of Ignatius J. Reilly, a Falstaffian slob who is also one of the most memorable characters in recent fiction. Ignatius wallows through New Orleans reminiscing about Abelard, Boethius, and Batman, while railing against Freud, academics, and Greyhound buses. Like his creator, who committed suicide in 1969, Ignatius never finds his place in the modern world. This comic novel, on the other hand, should have no trouble finding a niche in the literary world; it is a superb mock-heroic tale that is full of the exuberance—and the profound solitude—of life." Reviewed by Daniel Weiss, Virginia Quarterly Review (Copyright 2006 Virginia Quarterly Review)

Review:

"A masterwork...the novel astonishes with its inventiveness...it is nothing less than a grand comic fugue." The New York Times Book Review

Review:

"Astonishing, extravagant, lunatic, satiric, and peculiar, but it is above all genuine, skillful, and unsentimentally comic." Booklist

Review:

"A corker, an epic comedy, a rumbling, roaring avalanche of a book." The Washington Post

Review:

"A masterpiece of character comedy...brilliant, relentless, delicious, perhaps even classic." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"Crazy magnificent once-in-a-blue-moon first novel....There is a touch of genius about Toole and what he has created." Publishers Weekly

Review:

"An astonishingly good novel, radiant with intelligence and artful high comedy." Newsweek

Review:

"You'll be hooked, rolling on the floor laughing at the antics of main character Ignatius Reilly, an intellectual deadbeat goof-off and all his misadventures in New Orleans....This book has a Pulitzer to back up my claims of greatness." Susan Reinhardt, Gainsville Times

Review:

"One of the funniest books ever written...it will make you laugh out loud till your belly aches and your eyes water." The New Republic

Review:

"I found myself laughing out loud again and again as I read this ribald book." Christian Science Monitor

Review:

"The episodes explode one after the other like fireworks on a stormy night. No doubt about it, this book is destined to become a classic." The Baltimore Sun

Review:

"A brilliant and evocative novel." San Francisco Chronicle

Review:

"The dialogue is superbly mad. You simply sweep along, unbelievably entranced." The Boston Globe

Review:

"If a book's price is measured against the laughs it provokes, A Confederacy of Dunces is the bargain of the year." Time

Review:

"An astonishingly original and assured comic spree." New York

Review:

"As hilarious as it indisputably is, A Confederacy of Dunces is a serious and important work." Los Angeles Herald Examiner

Synopsis:

A Confederacy of Dunces is an American comic masterpiece. John Kennedy Toole's hero, one Ignatius J. Reilly, is "huge, obese, fractious, fastidious, a latter-day Gargantua, a Don Quixote of the French Quarter. His story bursts with wholly original characters, denizens of New Orleans' lower depths, incredibly true-to-life dialogue, and the zaniest series of high and low comic adventures" (Henry Kisor, Chicago Sun-Times).

About the Author

John Kennedy Toole was born in New Orleans in 1937. He received a master's degree in English from Columbia University and taught at Hunter and the University of Southwestern Louisiana. In 1969, frustrated at his failure to interest a publisher in A Confederacy of Dunces, he committed suicide. Toole's book was eventually published, after his mother brought the work to the attention of Walker Percy and insisted that he read her son's manuscript. Percy became one of the novel's many admirers and The Confederacy of Dunces would eventually be awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1981. Following that posthumous success, The Neon Bible, which Toole had written when he was sixteen, was first published in 1989.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 19 comments:

beth60best, April 7, 2013 (view all comments by beth60best)
A joyful and sad experience reading this book: Joy in the author, John Kennedy Toole, and his use of wonderful descriptions of the characters (as an example:"Her brown wedgies squeaked with discount price defiance as she walked...along the broken brick sidewalk."), love for New Orleans and its characters, and joy and pride in his environment. Sad experience, in the knowledge that this book was not printed until after Toole's suicide, and went on to win a Pulitzer. This is a book of rare experiences, characters and writing. When Toole's mother submitted the badly-copied manuscript to Walker Percy, his first reaction was that nothing could be so good! We are lucky that Percy saw this magnificent work for what it is.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(1 of 1 readers found this comment helpful)
Dayle, August 7, 2012 (view all comments by Dayle)
Do not read this book where unplanned, snot-producing laughter might be considered inappropriate. For instance, your desk at work. Ignatius J. Reilly is one of the most eccentric protagonists you will ever encounter, prone to pontificating in his Big Chief writing tablet, obsessing over his pyloric valve, which is sensitive to all manner of stimuli and can snap shut with little provocation, and seeking employment in a shirt factory and as a weenie vendor to help pay for his mother's car crash after one too many beers at the "Night of Joy" strip club. The characters are brought to life in hilarious detail, seemingly unrelated to each other at the story's start, but spinning ever-closer to each other until their worlds inevitably collide. I read this in preparation for my first trip to New Orleans, where the store is set. I look forward to standing next to the statue of Ignatius on Canal Street, outside the old DH Holmes department store this September. That is, assuming Fortuna does not give life's wheel an unexpected downward turn and thwart my plan.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
hckstuart, August 4, 2012 (view all comments by hckstuart)
The truest book on twentieth century New Orleans ever written, down to the nuance. "It's funny because It's true."
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View all 19 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780802130204
Author:
Toole, John Kennedy
Publisher:
Grove Press
Foreword by:
Percy, Walker
Foreword:
Percy, Walker
Author:
Percy, Walker
Location:
New York, N.Y. :
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Fiction
Subject:
Mothers and sons
Subject:
Louisiana
Subject:
Classics
Subject:
Humorous Stories
Subject:
Humorous
Subject:
New orleans
Subject:
Young men
Subject:
Humorous fiction
Subject:
New Orleans (La.) Fiction.
Subject:
New Orleans (La.)
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Copyright:
Edition Number:
20
Edition Description:
Anniversary
Series:
Evergreen Book
Series Volume:
no. 6
Publication Date:
19940131
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
416
Dimensions:
8.5 x 5.75 in 11 oz
Age Level:
from 12

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A Confederacy of Dunces Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$9.95 In Stock
Product details 416 pages Grove Press - English 9780802130204 Reviews:
"Review" by , "A masterwork...the novel astonishes with its inventiveness...it is nothing less than a grand comic fugue."
"Review" by , "Astonishing, extravagant, lunatic, satiric, and peculiar, but it is above all genuine, skillful, and unsentimentally comic."
"Review" by , "A corker, an epic comedy, a rumbling, roaring avalanche of a book."
"Review" by , "A masterpiece of character comedy...brilliant, relentless, delicious, perhaps even classic."
"Review" by , "Crazy magnificent once-in-a-blue-moon first novel....There is a touch of genius about Toole and what he has created."
"Review" by , "An astonishingly good novel, radiant with intelligence and artful high comedy."
"Review" by , "You'll be hooked, rolling on the floor laughing at the antics of main character Ignatius Reilly, an intellectual deadbeat goof-off and all his misadventures in New Orleans....This book has a Pulitzer to back up my claims of greatness."
"Review" by , "One of the funniest books ever written...it will make you laugh out loud till your belly aches and your eyes water."
"Review" by , "I found myself laughing out loud again and again as I read this ribald book."
"Review" by , "The episodes explode one after the other like fireworks on a stormy night. No doubt about it, this book is destined to become a classic."
"Review" by , "A brilliant and evocative novel."
"Review" by , "The dialogue is superbly mad. You simply sweep along, unbelievably entranced."
"Review" by , "If a book's price is measured against the laughs it provokes, A Confederacy of Dunces is the bargain of the year."
"Review" by , "An astonishingly original and assured comic spree."
"Review" by , "As hilarious as it indisputably is, A Confederacy of Dunces is a serious and important work."
"Synopsis" by ,
A Confederacy of Dunces is an American comic masterpiece. John Kennedy Toole's hero, one Ignatius J. Reilly, is "huge, obese, fractious, fastidious, a latter-day Gargantua, a Don Quixote of the French Quarter. His story bursts with wholly original characters, denizens of New Orleans' lower depths, incredibly true-to-life dialogue, and the zaniest series of high and low comic adventures" (Henry Kisor, Chicago Sun-Times).
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