Released by Louisiana State University Press in April 1980, A
confederacy of Dunces is nothing short ora publishing phenomenon.
Turned down by countless publishers and submitted by the author''s
mother years after his suicide, the book won the 1981 Pulitzer
Prize for Fiction. Today there are over 1.5 million copies in print
worldwide in eighteen different languages.
Toole''s lunatic and sage novel introduces one of the most
memorable characters in American literature, Ignatius Reilly, whom
Walker Percy dubs "slob extraordinary; a mad Oliver Hardy, a fat
Don Quixote, a perverse Thomas Aquinas rolled into one -- who is in
violent revolt against the entire modern age." Ignatius''s ire
explodes when his mother backs into an automobile. The owner of the
damaged vehicle insists on payment; Mrs. Reilly demands that her
son cease watching television and writing in his Big Chief tablet
and get a job.
Set in New Orleans, A Confederacy of Dunces outswifts Swift, one
of whose essays gives the book its title. As its characters burst
into life, they leave the region and literature forever changed by
their presence -- Ignatius and his mother; Miss Trixie, the
octogenarian assistant accountant at Levi Pants; inept, wan
Patrolman Mancuso; Darlene, the Bourbon Street stripper with a
penchant for poultry; Jones, the jivecat in spaceage dark glasses.
Satire and farce animate A Confederacy of Dunces; tragic awareness
The twentieth anniversary edition will include a new
introduction looking back on the history of this modern-day
classic. Louisiana State University Press will celebrate the
anniversary with a birthday party during the Tennessee Williams
Festival in New Orleans in March 2000.John McConnell, the actor who
brilliantly portrayed Ignatius in the Swine Palace stage production
of A Confederacy of Dunces, will be on hand and in character to
blow out the candles.