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Literary Precedents for A Confederacy of Dunces

John Kennedy Toole
This Study Guide consists of approximately 87 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of A Confederacy of Dunces.
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Literary Precedents

More recent precedents than Shakespeare or Chaucer include such large, wordy comic novels as Henry Fielding's Tom Jones (1749) and Lawrence Sterne's Tristram Shandy (1759-1767).

Indeed, Ignatius' vocabulary, the author's satirical point of view, and the fact that the novel's title is borrowed from Swift, all point to eighteenth-century influences.

Toole's caricatures are reminiscent of Charles Dickens's style. The novel has been compared to the modern theater of the absurd, and to contemporary black comedy novels such as Joseph Heller's Catch-22 (1961) and John Irving's The World According to Garp (1978).

However, Toole's novel is more purely comic than those of Heller and Irving, and it lacks their dark tragic vision.

(read more from the Literary Precedents section)

This section contains 110 words
(approx. 1 page at 300 words per page)
Purchase our A Confederacy of Dunces Study Guide
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A Confederacy of Dunces from BookRags and Gale's For Students Series. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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