A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole

A Confederacy of Dunces is a picaresque novel written by John Kennedy Toole, published in 1980, 11 years after the author's suicide. The book was published through the efforts of writer Walker Percy (who also contributed a revealing foreword) and Toole's mother Thelma Toole, quickly becoming a cult classic, and later a mainstream success. Toole posthumously won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1981. It is an important part of the 'modern canon' of Southern literature. The title derives from the epigraph by Jonathan Swift: "When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him." (Thoughts on Various Subjects, Moral and Diverting) The story is set in New Orleans in the early 1960s. The central character is Ignatius J. Reilly, an educated but slothful man still living with his mother at age 30 in the city's Uptown neighborhood, who, due to an incident early in the book, must set out to get a job. In his quest for employment he has various adventures with colorful French Quarter characters.

The 124th greatest fiction book of all time

This book is on the following lists:

  1. - 7th on The Ideal Library (Book)
  2. - 12th on The Best Southern Novels of All Time (Oxford American)
  3. - 15th on Koen Book Distributors Top 100 Books of the Past Century (themodernnovel.com)
  4. - 43rd on Entertainment Weekly's Top 100 Novels (Entertainment Weekly)
  5. - Best Books Ever (bookdepository.com)
  6. - Select 100 (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee)
  7. - The Great American Read (PBS)
  8. - 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (The Book)
  9. - Pulitzer Prize for Fiction (Pulitzer Prize)
  10. - 100 Novels That Shaped Our World (BBC)
  11. - What Is the Best Work of American Fiction of the Last 25 Years? (New York Times)
  12. - The 80 Books Every Man Should Read (Esquire)
  13. - The 100 Greatest American Novels, 1893 – 1993 (Jeff O'Neal at Bookriot.com)

Buy This Book

Name Binding Sales Rank Lowest New Lowest Used Published
A Confederacy of Dunces Hardcover 74117 $11.25 $2.76 2000
Die Verschwörung der Idioten: Roman (German Edition) Kindle Edition 3890847 $10.80 2011
A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole (1987) Paperback Paperback 6060496 $30.71 $10.99 1987
A Confederacy of Dunces Kindle Edition 2469 $8.48 2007
Confederacy of Dunces Paperback 360251 $8.72 $0.01
La Conjura De Los Necios Hardcover 6328289 $740.74
La Conjura De Los Necios/a Confederacy of Dunces (Spanish Edition) Paperback 873554 $14.28 2006
Confederacy of Dunces (Penguin Essentials) Paperback 2894064 $7.61 $6.17 2011
A CONFEDERACY OF DUNCES Mass Market Paperback 61585 $10.60 $8.28
A Confederacy of Dunces Hardcover 2370080 $35.86 $3.33 1980
A Confederacy of Dunces Audio CD 406990 $20.96 $16.00
La conjura de los necios (La Conjura De La Risa) (Spanish Edition) Paperback 2087577 $17.16 $24.60 2014
A Confederacy Of Dunces Hardcover 846536 $20.49 $3.68 2004
A Confederacy of Dunces Hardcover 552675 $4.83 $0.01 1994
A Confederacy of Dunces Hardcover 594552 $2.89 $0.01
A Confederacy of Dunces (Penguin Modern Classics) Paperback 874540 $7.65 $1.49 2000
La conjura de los necios (Compactos) (Spanish Edition) Paperback 801712 $14.40 $7.51 2006
La conjura de los necios (Otra vuelta de tuerca nº 35) (Spanish Edition) Kindle Edition 417738 $9.99 2013
La conjura de los necios (Spanish Edition) Paperback 3324992 $24.52 $24.34 2013
A Confederacy of Dunces Paperback 2095 $5.99 $0.01
A Confederacy of Dunces Audible Audio Edition 1 $14.95 2005