Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Best of John Kennedy Toole Scholarship #9: Patteson, Movies

As I said in June 2013, I would like to offer an annotated bibliography, one citation at a time, of the best of the scholarship on Toole's Confederacy that is findable via MLA Bibliography (as opposed to obscure). Here is item number nine:

Citation: Patteson, Richard F. "Ignatius Goes to the Movies: The Films in Toole's A Confederacy of Dunces." NMAL: Notes on Modern American Literature 6.2 (1982): Item 14.

Annotation: This brief note tries to identify temporal markers in Confederacy through movie references. As Patteson points out, Confederacy does not name a date, but it still achieves chronological specificity through film. Unlike Joyce, who was extremely specific, “Toole deliberately blurs his image by combining the very specific with the relatively vague. In this way, he manages both to approach graphic realism and to suggest the timelessness of fable.” The first film described must be “Jumbo,” which was shown in the Prytania Theatre from February 22 to 28, 1963. This matches the references in Toole’s letters to when he began writing Confederacy in earnest. But other films could not have been shown when the action in Confederacy takes place. Ignatius was conceived after his parents viewed “Red Dust,” which showed in New Orleans in the winter of 1932-1933. This is the only article that has offered dates for some of the events in Confederacy, so it is a brief but important contribution to the literature.