Wednesday, July 14, 2010

New Version of both Evidence of Influences and Obscure Bibliography

I have posted new versions of both Evidence of influences on John Kennedy Toole's "A Confederacy of Dunces," including Geoffrey Chaucer and A Critical Annotated Bibliography of Obscure Scholarship on John Kennedy Toole and A Confederacy of Dunces. Almost all of the changes to Evidence of Influences are corrections that are detailed already in this blog.

NOTE: For anyone quoting from version 1.0 of the Evidence of Influences, version 1.1 is slightly longer, so the pagination can be slightly different. The final page of version 1.1 lists all of the changes (mostly additions) to the 1.0 version of the paper.

Evidence of Influences (now 1.1) is still at:

Obscure Scholarship is at:

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Another Toole study to add to Part I

In looking through my notes to finalize my latest publication, A Critical Annotated Bibliography of Obscure Scholarship on John Kennedy Toole,, I discovered a Toole study which had slipped through when I was compiling the list of comparisons made between A Confederacy of Dunces and other literary works.

Here is the citation and the information:

Woodland, James R. "in that City Foreign and Paradoxical": The Idea of New Orleans in the Southern Literary Imagination (Louisiana). Diss. U of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1987.

As I wrote in the above bibliography,
Chapter Seven (302) discusses and compares Confederacy with Percy’s Moviegoer and Lancelot. Woodland cites Regan’s article comparing Moviegoer to Confederacy. Both Binx and Ignatius are in the culture but not of it (308, 325). In all three novels, insiders become outsiders. Woodland sees Ignatius Reilly as an native who is nevertheless an outsider like George Washington Cable’s Frowenfeld (325). Woodland also briefly compares Confederacy to Williams’s A Streetcar Named Desire (324, 326). He points out that in both, ethnic diversity is comforting rather than exotic, which ties in nicely to Lowe’s study of Confederacy’s relationship to ethnic melee comedy. He compares Ignatius’s outrage about the degeneracy of the French Quarter as being like Lance’s (327). In 1968, Percy wrote in an article in Harper's that the virtue of New Orleans was the talent for everyday life. Ignatius also finds in New Orleans a source of creature comforts, the hope of small things (328).

This study would be added to the section on Percy, the footnote on Tennessee Williams, and George Washington Cable would be added to the list of authors absent from the Toole Papers.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

More thank yous

I have been negligent in my thanking persons who have helped me with the project. I need to also thank Eira Tansey and Susanna Powers for their help at Tulane University. Also, the correct library at Tulane is the Louisiana Research Collection, not the Special Collections Library.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Three corrections to Evidence of Influences already

Since the publication of Evidence of Influences on John Kennedy Toole's A Confederacy of Dunces, including Geoffrey Chaucer, I have run across three items so far that I would have fixed in the original text.

First, O'Connor's "Artificial Nigger" is a short story. I erroneously italicized the title rather than putting it in quotation marks. The error in format makes it appear as though it is a novel rather than a short story.

Second, in the long footnote at the end of part one of the paper, I tried to list every author to whom Toole has been compared in the published scholarly literature. I missed at least one author: Ruppersburg compared Ignatius Reilly to George Washington Harris's Sut Lovingood. Harris should be included in the list of authors who do not appear in the Toole Papers, along with others like Henry David Thoreau.

Third, Ruppersburg also suggests that Toole was influenced by T.S. Eliot (125). The only reference to Eliot in the Toole Papers was an answer to one question in a simple quiz for English 102 undated (box 2, folder 9).

Thursday, July 1, 2010

"Evidence of influences" published to the Web

Hello Toole enthusiasts and scholars,

Evidence of influences on John Kennedy Toole's A Confederacy of Dunces, including Geoffrey Chaucer
has now been published to the Web.

Though I have not published the study in a peer-review journal, I am inviting Toole Scholars to review it. In that sense, it is reviewed by peers. Currently, it is endorsed by

Here is the abstract:
This study uses the evidence held in John Kennedy Toole’s papers located at Tulane University to investigate many literary works and authors who may have been possible influences on his novel A Confederacy of Dunces (Confederacy). Authors and characters discussed here include Boethius, Chaucer, John Lyly, Shakespeare’s Falstaff, Cervantes, Jonathan Swift, the Romantic Poets, Mark Twain, Joseph Conrad, Walker Percy, J. D. Salinger, and Flannery O’Connor. The study then analyzes themes common to both Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales and Toole’s Confederacy, such as the use of the grotesque, the dynamics within intimate relationships, and the parody of romance. In Confederacy, Ignatius Reilly is an agent of Fortuna and fulfills a role occupied by the planetary god Saturn in Chaucer’s Knight’s Tale. Some critics have called Toole’s outlook deterministic, while others have suggested that his attitude toward free will was influenced directly by Boethius. This study argues that he was not a determinist, and that his Boethian position on free will was derived indirectly through Chaucer.