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A Confederacy Of Dunces: TOOLE, John Kennedy (1937-1969) A Confederacy Of Dunces: TOOLE, John Kennedy (1937-1969) A Confederacy Of Dunces: TOOLE, John Kennedy (1937-1969)

A Confederacy Of Dunces

TOOLE, John Kennedy (1937-1969)

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ISBN 10: 071391422X / ISBN 13: 9780713914221
Published by Allen Lane, London, 1981
Condition: Fine Hardcover
From Fine Editions Ltd (New York, NY, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

First UK Impression, one of only 1500 copies, with a foreword by Walker Percy. 8vo: xii,338pp. Publisher's parchment-colored paper-covered boards, spine lettered in gilt; illustrated dust jacket, repriced with publisher's sticker £7.95. A superlative copy (indeed As New) and yet another example of the value to be found in UK editions of American authors's works. This cult classic (and now mainstream success) first appeared eleven years after Toole's suicide, published through the efforts of Walker Percy and Toole's mother, earning Toole a posthumous Pulitzer Prize. The book's title is drawn from Jonathan Swift's essay Thoughts on Various Subjects, Moral and Diverting: "When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him." The book chronicles the "misadventures of Ignatius Jacques Reilly, an obese, lazy, obnoxious, opinionated, erudite, quixotic thirty-year-old medievalist who views himself as "an anachronism": he criticizes, and alienates himself from, the contemporary reality of 1960s New Orleans, preferring, in the "Miltonic isolation" of his bedroom, an idealized medieval world view inspired by Boethius' Consolation of Philosophy and determined by Fortuna, the goddess of fortune." the misadventures of Ignatius J. Reilly, a lazy, obese, misanthropic, self-styled scholar who lives at home with his mother in the Uptown neighborhood of early 1960s New Orleans." (Literary Encyclopedia) Toole wrote the novel in 1963, during his final few months in Puerto Rico. The novel has sold some 1.5 million copies and has been translated into more than 20 languages. Toole is now widely regarded as a gifted prose stylist who has immortalized the eccentricity of New Orleans. N. B. With few exceptions (always identified), we only stock books in exceptional condition, with dust jackets carefully preserved in archival, removable polypropylene sleeves. All orders are packaged with care and posted promptly. Satisfaction guaranteed. Bookseller Inventory # BB1441

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Bibliographic Details

Title: A Confederacy Of Dunces

Publisher: Allen Lane, London

Publication Date: 1981

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Fine

Edition: First Edition.

About this title

Synopsis:

A popular Pulitzer Prize-winning comedy follows the adventures of New Orlean's lower denizens of the French Quarter.

Review:

"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

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