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A Confederacy of Dunces (Penguin Modern Classics) Paperback – 30 Mar 2000

4.2 out of 5 stars 205 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; New Ed edition (30 Mar. 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141182865
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141182865
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.5 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (205 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,882 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

It's been hailed as a masterpiece and reviled as trash, but A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole has never been lightly dismissed. By creating Ignatius J. Reilly, a bigger-than-life bag of wind stuffed with some of the most comically outrageous and disturbingly insightful opinions ever put to paper, Toole made an indelible mark on the landscape of American literature--a feat recognized with the posthumous publication of this novel, followed by a Pulitzer Prize. Forced to wade the lower depths of New Orleans society, the gargantuan Ignatius, his poor mother in tow, takes us on a tour de force through the back alleys and juke joints of the French Quarter of New Orleans as he implores the gods, railing against the hypocrisy of contemporary politics and the crushing weight of late capitalism. "The luminous years ... dimmed into dross; Fortuna's wheel had turned ... Having once been so high, humanity fell so low. What had once been dedicated to the soul was now dedicated to the sale." Toole's suicide at 32 silenced a uniquely promising literary voice, denying his critics and fans the opportunity to determine whether his talent was a flash in the pan or a first spark of genius. Read A Confederacy of Dunces and you'll no doubt have formed your own inflexible opinion, which you'll defend tenaciously against all reason. --George Laney, Amazon.com --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"What a delight, what a roaring, rollicking, footstomping wonder this book is. I laughed until my sides ached, and then I laughed on."

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
In 'A Confederacy..' Toole created a masterpiece of contemporary writing.Set in the the tense air of 60's New Orleans ,the storyline weaves to and fro among Toole's motley cru cast of pornographers, bureacrats and "communiss" with a cold,honest yet human eye."A Confederacy Of Dunces" stole my undivided attention for all 400 pages;I could'nt stop from giggling at the unfathomable situations in which Ignatius J. Reilly found himself and yet I sighed with delight on reading the climax, one which does total justice to the excellence of the novel.But the book's greatest achievement is Reilly himself.A marvellous orator with a repulsive appearance, a slob and a shameless social critic, Reilly's presence in the novel is simply immense, literally and metaphorically. He shall go down as one of the great characters of 20th century literature."A Confederacy Of Dunces" stands tall above all the rest.
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Format: Paperback
If anyone is confused by that title, I’d better explain: I’ve been pondering why the majority of previous reviewers have either loved or hated this book. I think one reason is that you have to really engage with the character of Ignatius J. Reilly in order to expose the funny side of the novel. Admittedly his lofty sense of self-importance and heedless misanthropy won’t make this easy, not forgetting his predilection for hot dogs, burping, etc; but if you bear with him, the scorn he pours forth on virtually everyone he comes into contact with does start to make you chuckle, particularly since his anachronistic language and imaginative insults sound positively alien amidst the casual slang of his New Orleans acquaintances.
There are some genuinely funny moments, and the storyline is structured along the lines of classical farce drama, with the unfortunate Ignatius spiralling downwards into an ever more precarious position, both socially and financially. Not that he cares, mind you – he has only entered the world of work temporarily and under coercive pressure from his mother, biding his time until his great social commentary modelled on the philosophy of Boethius propels him to prominence. I agree with one other reviewer that it is this latter project that makes the book a little turgid at times, when Ignatius casts down pages of vitriolic invective in his diary. These sections aren’t boring, but neither are they that funny, and the reader might be forgiven for skipping them to get back to Ignatius loudly criticising the latest film, or condescendingly mocking whomever he encounters that day.
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Format: Hardcover
One of the most humorous books you will ever read - spent all day at work wanting to get back to the book. Characters sublime, setting brilliant and the plot rolls along like a bus driving through a cardboard box factory.
Look out for Jones - Ooooeee, he ain't no vagran cawmniss. Just buy it, you won't go wrong.
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Format: Paperback
It's true, many of the reviews on amazon are rated too highly, like anything we've come to like for whatever reason is by default given 5 stars. From a technical standpoint this novel deserves 4 stars, but the reason I have to give it 5 is because ever since I first read it about 10 years ago, when I go into bookshops now with the intent of finding a book that will make me laugh, I walk in with my shoulders slumped and my feet scuffling along the foor in full knowledge that I'll never find anything as funny as The Confederacy of Dunces.

Ok, some people will not find it funny no matter how hard they try - I mean, I just don't get how something like the comedy show, Little Britian, could ever become so popular. But I do think the majority of readers out there who want more than the latest Ben Elton novel or have already read Catch 22, won't just laugh at the way Ignatius J Reilly sees and interacts with the world, but will laugh so hard that you'll have to keep closing the book for a few seconds just to gain back your senses.

I've lent out and given away a lot of books to friends over the years, but none have done the rounds as much as this one.
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By A Customer on 26 Mar. 2001
Format: Paperback
John Kennedy Toole created a masterpiece with Confederacy of Dunces and indeed a master, of sorts, in Ignatius J.Reilly. It is indeed a pity that we cannot indulge in more of his books.
Ignatius is a unique hero. He is overweight, superbly rude and self involved and treats his mother despicably - however, I still found myself liking this uncouth character. His high intelligence and fluent eloquence create an amusing sharp wit that everyone wishes for and few people possess. Not only did I find the character rather 'charming' (in his own absurd and bizarre way) I found myself wishing he could emerge real and thus I could 'meet him'.
Ah, truly a book to recommend. Surpasses most, and makes reading a true pleasure!
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By A Customer on 18 July 1999
Format: Paperback
This is one of the funniest novels I have ever read. In my opinion it ranks alongside Catch-22, Breakfast of Champions and A Frolic of His Own in terms of both laughs and the sheer class of its writing. Ignatius J. Reilly is of course a mammoth fictional character, in every sense of the word, but he is only part of a brilliantly etched cast, whose words and actions spring forth from the page. In terms of sheer destructive farce only Don Quixote comes close (but even that classic doesn't feature it's hero selling unhygienic hot-dogs in a ridiculous pirate costume; attracting tourists and homosexual admirers). For years this brilliant book remained unpublished and ignored by that ever-so-sharp rabble that we call agents and publishing houses (yes, the same ones who ignored Catch-22 for over 2 years). Due in part to this ignorance the author committed suicide. And it is this tragedy that, in part, colours Reilly's adventures with a certain sense of sadness. Along with the realization that, as you laugh at this book, the author would never write another. However, before things get too maudlin, let me just say this: buy it, read it, love it.
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