A Confederacy of Dunces

A Confederacy of Dunces

Book - 1980
Average Rating:
Rate this:
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
Publisher: Baton Rouge : Louisiana State University Press, 1980
ISBN: 9780807106570
Branch Call Number: FIC Tool
Characteristics: vii, 338 p. ; 24 cm


From Library Staff

Pete M. writes "I was questioned about being on drugs at 17 when I couldn't stop laughing and fell off the sofa, tears streaming down my face. Whoo, Night of Joy!"

From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Nov 10, 2018

I could read this book much faster if only I could stop laughing out loud and stop losing my place on almost every page!

Jul 08, 2018

This book is hilarious. I’d been wanting to read it and finally had the chance. I gave it a 4-Star rating only because i can’t recommend it to certain groups of people (church friends, my in-laws, etc.), due to various crudeness, vulgarities, etc., (one scene in particular, regarding masturbation. I’ll spare you the details).

At any rate, I would say this book easily falls into one of my top 10. I can’t remember the last time I laughed out loud so much while reading. And because it’s such a fun and enjoyable read, it’s an easy read. It took me 3 days.

The protagonist (or antihero) has to be one of the most unlikable characters you will meet. A brilliant moron, or a moronic genius, whichever you prefer. There are a few slapsticky/campy moments, reminiscent of what was popular during that era.

As an aside, I think I’ve actually met a real-life incarnation of Ignatius J. Reilly, and if I ever see that man again, I’ll be forced to call the police.

May 29, 2018

Have to agree with Bisqit and Sonoraanne; could not get into the characters; had no desire to know what would happen next to any of them, even though I listened to about 2 of the 12 hours. Not recommended, not funny.

May 07, 2018

I got through 3 chapters and still wondered, "How is this a Pulitzer Prize?" It did not capture my interest.

Jan 24, 2018

Possibly the funniest book I've ever read.

Sep 29, 2017

This is a sprawling comic novel full of unforgettable characters ridiculous situations and often insulting stereotypes. Published posthumously after the authors tragic suicide it nevertheless went on to win the Pulitzer Prize. But perhaps its greatest accomplishment is the main character Ignatius J Reilly. He is hard to describe beyond calling him a modern day Don Quixote, but with more flatulence. He is a man at war with the modern world, out of touch with his own emotions, manipulative, self-righteous, eloquent and insane. He is the swirling center of the book, but there are many others memorable characters. Set in New Orleans in the 1970's the novel is colorful. humorous and implausible, but you won't ever forget its scenes.

Jul 17, 2017

One of my all-time favorite books.

CMLReads_Kristin Jun 01, 2017

This book is hilarious, but the most fascinating part of this book for me is the tragic life of John Kennedy Toole and the improbable story of how this book came to be published.

Feb 06, 2017

Very funny, well imagined characters set in New Orleans. I laughed out loud reading it in the airport.

Jun 13, 2016

The funniest book I have ever read, my all-time favorite book. If you can't laugh at this then I can't be your friend.

View All Comments


Add Age Suitability
Brown_Dog_365 May 19, 2012

Brown_Dog_365 thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over


Add a Quote
Jul 16, 2008

Your total ignorance of that which you profess to teach merits the death penalty. I doubt whether you would know that St. Cassian of Imola was stabbed to death by his students with their styli. His death, a martyr's honorable one, made him a patron saint of teachers.
Pray to him, you deluded fool, you "anyone for tennis?" golf-playing, cocktail-quaffing, pseudo-pedant, for you do indeed need a heavenly patron.
Although your days are numbered, you will not die as a martyr–for you further no holy cause–but as the total ass which you really are.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number

Subject Headings


Find it at CHPL

To Top