John Kennedy Toole: A Confederacy of Dunces

“A satirical novel (1980) by the US novelist John Kennedy Toole (1937-1969). Thanks to the efforts of his mother it was published more than ten years after he committed suicide, and went on to win the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. It is set in New Orleans, and the central character, Ignatius Reilly, is an overweight, argumentative layabout who interrelates with a cast of equally eccentric and accident-prone characters. The title comes from Jonathan Swift:

‘When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in a confederacy against him.

Swift: Thoughts on Various Subjects, Moral and Diverting (1711)'”

Excerpted from: Crofton, Ian, ed. Brewer’s Curious Titles. London: Cassell, 2002.

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