I will be presenting a lecture that has the same name as my forthcoming paper in the journal Renascence, "The Dialectic of American Humanism: John Kennedy Toole's A Confederacy of Dunces, Marsilio Ficino, and Paul Oskar Kristeller." This lecture is part of the Winter 2012 Presentations for the Minor in Medieval and Renaissance Studies at St. Mary's University of Minnesota. The lecture will be on Wednesday March 28th, 7:00 p.m., in the President’s Room in the Toner Center at St. Mary’s University. It is open to the public with free refreshments.
Abstract of talk: Viewing the novel A Confederacy of Dunces filtered through the ideas of the Renaissance philosopher Marsilio Ficino adds layers of meaning to the text not discussed before. This perspective allows one to read A Confederacy of Dunces as a commentary on the scholarly dispute over the meaning of Humanism that was taking place at Columbia University in the 1950s when Toole was there as a graduate student. This presentation will discuss the investigative principle and methods that were used to discover the connection between Toole’s contemporary novel and Medieval and Renaissance studies.