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A Confederacy of Dunces

Titre en français : La Conjuration des Imbéciles
Auteur : Kennedy John, Toole

anglais

Nombre de pages : 405
Dimensions : 13,3 x 2,5 x 21 cm
Éditeur : Grove Press
Date d'édition : 1994-01

prix TTC :
16,95 €
Réf.9780802130204

À trente ans passés, Ignatus vit encore cloîtré chez sa mère, à La Nouvelle-Orléans. Harassée par ses frasques, celle-ci le somme de trouver du travail. C'est sans compter avec sa silhouette éléphantesque et son arrogance bizarre. Chef-d'ouvre de la littérature américaine, La Conjuration des imbéciles offre le génial portrait d'un Don Quichotte yankee inclassable, et culte. « On ne peut pas lire ce livre, l'un des plus drôles de l'histoire littéraire américaine, sans pleurer intérieurement tous ceux que Toole n'a pas écrits. » Raphaëlle Leyris, Les Inrockuptibles John Kennedy Toole est né en 1937. Il ne trouve pas d'éditeur de son vivant pour ses deux romans : La Conjuration des imbéciles et La Bible de néon. Persuadé de n'être qu'un écrivain raté, il se suicide en 1969. Grâce à la détermination de sa mère qui contacte l'écrivain Walker Percy et le convainc de faire publier La Conjuration des imbéciles, John Kennedy Toole obtient le Prix Pulitzer à titre posthume en 1981. La Bible de néon a été adaptée au cinéma par Terence Davies avec Gena Rowlands, Denis Leary, Diane Scarwid et Jacob Tierney et présentée en sélection officielle au Festival de Cannes 1995. Selon le bon mot de Yann Queffélec, " l'humanité ne souffre de génies qu'à l'état de regrets éternels ". La vie et l'ouvre de John Kennedy Toole procèdent de ce malentendu : se croyant un écrivain raté, il se suicide à l'âge de 32 ans. Récompensé à titre posthume par le Prix Pulitzer, Toole a gagné sa victoire contre les imbéciles de tous poils en conjurant l'absurde et la bêtise par l'humour et l'ironie.

"A green hunting cap squeezed the top of the fleshy balloon of a head. The green earflaps, full of large ears and uncut hair and the fine bristles that grew in the ears themselves, stuck out on either side like turn signals indicating two directions at once. Full, pursed lips protruded beneath the bushy black moustache and, at their corners, sank into little folds filled with disapproval and potato chip crumbs." Meet Ignatius J. Reilly, the hero of John Kennedy Toole's tragicomic tale, A Confederacy of Dunces. This 30-year-old medievalist lives at home with his mother in New Orleans, pens his magnum opus on Big Chief writing pads he keeps hidden under his bed, and relays to anyone who will listen the traumatic experience he once had on a Greyhound Scenicruiser bound for Baton Rouge. ("Speeding along in that bus was like hurtling into the abyss.") But Ignatius's quiet life of tyrannizing his mother and writing his endless comparative history screeches to a halt when he is almost arrested by the overeager Patrolman Mancuso--who mistakes him for a vagrant--and then involved in a car accident with his tipsy mother behind the wheel. One thing leads to another, and before he knows it, Ignatius is out pounding the pavement in search of a job. Over the next several hundred pages, our hero stumbles from one adventure to the next. His stint as a hotdog vendor is less than successful, and he soon turns his employers at the Levy Pants Company on their heads. Ignatius's path through the working world is populated by marvelous secondary characters: the stripper Darlene and her talented cockatoo; the septuagenarian secretary Miss Trixie, whose desperate attempts to retire are constantly, comically thwarted; gay blade Dorian Greene; sinister Miss Lee, proprietor of the Night of Joy nightclub; and Myrna Minkoff, the girl Ignatius loves to hate. The many subplots that weave through A Confederacy of Dunces are as complicated as anything you'll find in a Dickens novel, and just as beautifully tied together in the end. But it is Ignatius--selfish, domineering, and deluded, tragic and comic and larger than life--who carries the story. He is a modern-day Quixote beset by giants of the modern age. His fragility cracks the shell of comic bluster, revealing a deep streak of melancholy beneath the antic humor. John Kennedy Toole committed suicide in 1969 and never saw the publication of his novel. Ignatius Reilly is what he left behind, a fitting memorial to a talented and tormented life. --Alix Wilber A Confederacy of Dunces is an American comic masterpiece. John Kennedy Toole's hero, one Ignatius J. Reilly, is "huge, obese, fractious, fastidious, a latter-day Gargantua, a Don Quixote of the French Quarter. His story bursts with wholly original characters, denizens of New Orleans' lower depths, incredibly true-to-life dialogue, and the zaniest series of high and low comic adventures" (Henry Kisor, Chicago Sun-Times).