Daily Archives: September 24, 2010

Faculty/Staff Book Recommendation: Harlan Pease

Confederacy of Dunces

 John Kennedy Toole

There is no shortage of material available dissecting, analyzing, and praising this classic by John Kennedy O’Toole.   But one key thing exists outside the realm of Literary Critics (with a capital “L”) – the book is funny.  Ignatius T.Reilly gets in your head and stays there, and his voice lives on after the bookis finished to make you laugh at the absurd in the everyday.

For the literary analysis, O’Toole seems to have revisited the unreliable narrator that Chaucer used so well.  Like Chaucer’s narrator, Ignatius appears to be the fool, yet he is the one that reveals the real truth of situations and people in a bitingly sarcastic look at human existence and assumptions.  

Be sure to visit your library to borrow a copy of the book, or, if that is not an option, buy a used copy.  As Ignatius would say, “possession of anything new or expensive only reflect[s] a person’s lack of theology and geometry; it could even casts doubts upon one’s soul.” 

Actually, go ahead and buy a copy.  Ignatius supports the arts. 

Harlan Pease, English