"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.
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 ...
John Kennedy Toole was born in New Orleans in 1937. After receiving a bachelor's degree from Tulane University, Toole received a master's in English from Columbia University, and taught at Hunter College and the University of Southwestern Louisiana (University of Louisiana-Lafayette). In 1961, while pursuing a doctorate and Columbia University, Toole was drafted into the United States Army, where he spent his time teaching English, while stationed in Puerto Rico. After two years in the army, Toole returned to New Orleans, where he taught at Dominican College. 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 the author Walker Percy and insisted that he read her son's manuscript. Percy became one of the novels many admirers and A Confederacy of Dunces would eventually be awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1981, one year after the books first printing. Following the success of A Confederacy of Dunces, The Neon Bible, which Toole had written when he was only sixteen, was first published by Grove Press in 1989.
Loved It (2)
Did Not Like (1)
Read It (4)
Want To Read (8)