Books similar to Confederacy of Dunces?
Anything with an anti-social, "autistic" protagonist
with a wicked sense of humour
Some I've read:
>A Long Evening of Goodbyes
>Welcome to the N.H.K.
>Notes from the Underground
>Imaginative Qualities of Actual Things
Diary of a Superfluous Man.
not necessarily as funny or as interesting, but definitely one of the sources of the literary archetype. I know there are quite a few more, gimme time to think.
can someone recommend me an edition of oblomov?
i like how he is constantly in his bed in all the cover pictures. That is essentially how I live my life, although I sometimes leave the country to travel and I do have a full-time job. But I lay in my bed all day jacking off to porn and reading literature, so this seems like my kind of book.
I don't write or anything, and I work in the service industry. Dropped out of college twice.
A confederacy of dunces is NOT a picaresque.
examples of picaresques would be
Gil Blas, Lazarillo De Tormes, El Buscon, Roderick Random, Journey to the West, Simplicissimus, Nicholas Nickleby, Tom Jones, etc. Confederacy of Dunces lacks two essential pieces of the picaresque. The picaro, which is a rogue, and Ignatius is no rogue, just a superfluous man, a misunderstood scholar at the rim of society, and the episodic format of the story itself. There is very similar characterization in that most of the characters are merely caricatures and have very little depth (there are some exceptions in both cases). However, in all, it doesnt quite fit that bill. It is definitely more of a modern archetype of the superfluous man rather than the picaro.
Hell, i'd even argue that Don Quixote himself does not fit the fashion of a Picaro. his story is told in the picaresque fashion, but he is not a picaro. He is a Knight Errant, opposing evil and saving maidens, with his trusty squire Sancho Panza. Hardly a rogue in anyone's book. The inspiration that Cervantes took was from a book called Lazarillo De Tormes. It's a very short novella, and comprised of two anonymously written parts, both i suspect are written by different people. I highly suggest you go and read it some time when you have the chance, it will enlighten you as to what is the conventional picaro.
*shoves you against a locker*
Umm, okay bud. Ignatius is the definitive rogue. He is of a low social class, he conducts himself in an absurd manner, the society he inhabits is corrupt (degenerate), he avoids finding work, the story is episodic, there is no character development (one of the common criticisms of the novel), its satiric and his behaviour borders on the criminal. Those are the elements that define the rogue character in a picaresque novel. Even Ignatius's obsession with food is part of a long tradition of picaresque novels where food and over-consumption is a trope, and his dressing as a pirate is also a reference to the early texts in the genre where pirates / mutineers etc were depicted as the rogue in the story. You fucking got that kiddo? Or do I need to get my friends here to explain it in a way you'll understand?
*nods to a pair of goons pounding their palms nearby*
Racist / Ageist
>borders on criminal
you're a fucking pleb.
in no way is Ignatius remotely similar to Lazarillo (once again, the source itself of the picaresque). He is not homeless, he is not a thief, nor does he fall under the teachings of various different rogues, He is not absolutely destitute, nor is he forced to fend for himself against the world he inhabits. He is on the fringes of society, whereas Lazarillo IS the society. He is an essential part of it, a beggar, a wastrel who will soon grow into a highwayman or worse. In your argument, you imagine ignatius, an overweight, clumsy man who lives with his mother, never commits a vital crime to survive, and is an imminent scholar though completely misunderstood, is not a superfluous man, but rather a picaro, a rogue who steals, kills, and travels off across segmented and plotless adventures? you simply don't know what you're talking about. it may be that the conventional wiki scholar thinks that he is a picaro, however, it is quite simply not a true statement. the fact that you fall on their definitions instead of your own after having actually READ the works, is quite indicative of your lack of valid criticisms.
>thinks picaro is subjectively dealt with in my argument
wrong again, simpleton. i can SHOW you the literature from which this definition spawns, and which is attributed as the source of the archetype. if you can hardly perceive the term "rogue" and what that entails, vs. the term "superfluous man", then you're simply moronic and don't deserve any more time.
Look kiddo, I'm a busy guy. I don't have time to debate with cloistered autists in academia.
Ignatius was NOT born into wealth and privilege. he is NOT existentially bored, he has NO romantic intrigues (Myran doesn't count), he is involved in NO duels or physical altercations, and he is by NO MEANS unempathetic. You're referencing a literary genre born in and confined to the Russian upper class. The very fact
Try reading "A Handbook to Literature" (1960) and then get back to me okay? I'll accept your apology in advance.
Or try "The picaresque element in A Confederacy of Dunces" (1993) by the acclaimed Greg Giddings
Or try even reading a single chapter of "Road-book America: Contemporary Culture and the New Picaresque" (2000) by Rowland Sherrill.
You think I'm some wise guy who is going to put up with some contrarian upstart trying to upset the applecart? You're out of your depth buddy. You're in too deep and you can't even tell your drowning. Now go play with your undergrad friends while us adults get on with the serious work.
>still quoting wikipedia and posting relevant books which he hasnt even read himself
you are not arguing on an even keel.
the avoidance of society and existential boredom and romantic intrigue (yes, myra DOES count, even though you deny the idea that a romantic intrigue is a romantic intrigue)
he does not fight in a duel, but he also does not steal, kill, fight, beg, or scratch and scrape to survive. He does not fit the entire category of the superfluous man, however, he fits more of the definition of one than he does a spanish rogue orphan. even the fucking format is completely different in terms of writing, Lazarillo De Tormes is written in first person, in episodic form without an overarching plot. Confederacy of Dunces is written in 3rd person, in chapters, in an overarching plot. Their interests and needs are completely different, their motivations, even the characters they meet and their interactions with them. Ignatius is a social misfit, completely stranded and away from society, whereas Lazarillo is forced to rely on his social abilities to learn from his Mentors, and beg for money to eat. This is really simple stuff, and if you took your time to actually read the literature i'm talking about, you would have a different picture and different argument. The idea that literary criticisms handed down from wikipedia are absolute is nonsense, and that concepts cannot be argued is absolutely folly.
while we're posting relevant articles, here's a wonderful essay on how the picaresque has been perverted over time, and is not indicative as a genre of even Don Quixote, let alone the various novels that are described by the epithet.
There is an unfortunate and enduring belief among non-Hispanist scholars
that Miguel de Cervantes was a writer of the picaresque and that his most
famous protagonist, Don Quixote, is a picaresque (anti)hero. This misjudgment,
mostly outside Spain, has historical roots, starting with Cervantes'
own contemporaries, and has lasted to the present.• The misunderstanding
stems firstly from the fact that many scholars are unfamiliar with the Spanish
picaresque. This is confounded by the fact that Cervantes did indeed
integrate numerous features of the Spanish picaresque into several of his
works, especially Don Quixote and his Exemplary Novels. However, this
problem extends beyond Cervantes to a number of authors whose works
have been lumped into the picaresque with disregard for what the genre
entails. W M. Frohock brought attention to this fact by noting that nonHispanists
employ the term "picaresque" so loosely that "for every novelist
to write a new novel there is at least one critic waiting to find something
picaresque in it:'2 More recently, Joseph V. Ricapito points out that even
today "one sees the word 'picaresque' used in so many ways" that "the
original sense of the word has become blurred."
Myra does NOT count because Ignatius is repulsed by idea of having sex with anybody but himself (and maybe his dog).
He DOES steal: hotdogs
He DOES scratch and scrape to survive: the very reason he seeks work
Walker Percy even refers to Ignatius as a "fat Don Quixote".
Relying on one obscure book that *may* have inspired Don Quixote is pure skullduggery on your part. If you had any shame you would admit as much.
But hey, two can play at that game.
*smirks and leafs through a nearby book*
Oh look, what does Rowland Sherrill, a writer who specializes in the genre, have to say about this issue?
>"Toole's 'A Confederacy of Dunces' [...] appear[s] on a literary-historical line reaching back to 'Gil Blas' and 'Lazarillo de Tormes'."
- p.84, Road-book America: Contemporary Culture and the New Picaresque
If YOU took the time to read the literature I referenced, copies of which I have right here in one of the bookcases adjacent to my desk, then maybe you would be less artistically dependent on a novella that only pale, wan academics care about. Why you are referencing Wikipedia so much I don't know. It really is the most childish logical fallacy through guilt by (presumed) association I have ever read. Your back is against the wall. You know it. I know it. Your skittish colleague in the room next door knows it. I almost feel bad for deciding to set you straight.
to this, i would simply say that your Rowland Sherrill is mistaken, and should probably read more. :D
Myra does absolutely count, it is a romantic involvement, despite his disinterest sexually, it is a romantic relationship. Just because they don't have sex does not mean that she is not his romantic interest. The reason he seeks work is his mother's bickering and bitching, not a desperate need to survive. the hotdog theft is not of necessity, though i will agree that he does steal, though not for the same reasons a true picaro would, but for rather gluttonous boredom and disdain.
besides, telling me that Lazarillo De Tormes is irrelevant, and then posting an excerpt that necessitates a reference to Lazarillo De Tormes is a laughable error on your part.
>Walker Percy even refers to Ignatius as a "fat Don Quixote".
Too bad that Don Quixote isn't a picaro either. I can agree that Don Quixote is somewhat similar to Ignatius, but very vaguely. but that only strengthens my point that he is not a true picaro.
>The reason he seeks work is his mother's bickering and bitching, not a desperate need to survive
My god. It's as though you haven't even read the book. He seeks work because his home, which he cares deeply about and does not wish to vacate, would otherwise be claimed by debtors as a consequence of his mother's poor driving.
>i will agree that he does steal, though not for the same reasons a true picaro would
One admission of many you should be making. What does a true picaro look like in your fetid imagination? Similar to a true Scotsman by any chance?
Also as you not have noticed, my referencing Lazarillo was the result of my wanting to (and succeeding in) beating you AT YOUR OWN game.
he's not a picaro. the story itself is completely different. draw me the similarities between Lazarillo and Ignatius.
I was wrong about his reason for working, perhaps, but that does not invalidate my entire argument.
Another admission! Well your willingness to admit your error here, if not wholly forthcoming, is at least a sign that you possess a degree of self-awareness capable of perceiving its own faulty thinking. The brevity of your assertion in this post indicates to me that you are now fleeing the field of battle, as it were, and thus I make no effort to renounce an argument I have already thoroughly defeated.
you have not thoroughly defeated my argument. you have not dealt with the fact that ignatius is not a wastrel rogue. he is an anti-social scholar. I may not be able to argue my point well enough to establish the truth of my claims, but that is left up to sophistry. even your book admits that it is not a true picaresque, "The New Picaresque". the title itself betrays that the genre has shifted, and that the genre has been perverted and is not tied with its absolute source, Lazarillo De Tormes completely. I'll even give you that by today's popular standards that Don Quixote and Confederacy of Dunces is considered a picaresque, however, I would not say that the picaresque in its origins as a genre has been upheld in its purity, and has now been left as fragments of what it once was as a genre, and what I hold it to be. You can happily enjoy your argumentive defeat over me, but in terms of conviction I hold fast. You are incorrect that Ignatius is a rebirth of Lazarillo, The true Picaro.
I really might suggest you take a look through this essay I posted, regardless of whether it furthers my point, it's quite relevant and interesting. I plan to read the two books you referenced, if i can get my hands on them.
I'm the rusemaster you were "debating" with. In all honesty I haven't read the book I quoted, I just quickly searched their contents (via google books) for something that would reinforce my pseudo-argument. That's not to say you're right about this, but I don't want you to waste your time as the result of me having a bit of fun.
I had some inkling, especially after you said you owned that book you referenced, and what definitions you used, I thought either I was arguing with a person who actually somehow had the same interests as i did, or someone who was just trolling me. It's too bad, really. It would have been nice to think that there was someone so into the picaresque as I've been, not to say that I'm a scholar or have truly studied all of the works associated, one essential one being Guzman De Alfarache, which isn't currently translated aside from an ancient english translation that uses "f"s for "s"s, but i still am very interested in the subject.
anyhow, back to this essay. and I probably really will get that book, it looks cheap enough.
I have been of this opinion for a long time, actually it's funnily enough due to its namesake, a lot like the roguelike genre, and how games like adom and nethack differ from games like rogue legacy and the binding of isaac, and how the genre itself has become a victim of vicious popularity and so had come under the name to sell more and more of the product. I feel that the picaresque is the same, it's a term that has been molded to be vague enough to apply to the back of a book to sell it to a wider group of people.
Well I really do respect what appears to be a sincere interest in the picaresque genre. Are you pursuing a career in academia at all, if even if it's not to focus on this specific form?
no, i'm a mere dilettante. In fact, my passion for the books came to me when I read an abridgement of Don Quixote in prison, I remember the defining point when it became funny to me, and I finally felt welcomed into his world. Anyhow, no, I'm just a basic loser who likes picaresques.
I don't know, I've thought about it, but I'm not much of a writer. I have a couple of short stories, but they're disappointing. I don't read any contemporary literature, really. I mean, hell. I'm trying to fill in a lot of blanks I have in my literary education. Right now, I'm reading Moby Dick. I haven't even read that! It's pretty sad, really. I have a lot of classics to read before I'll feel at least somewhat confident in what I've read. Anyway, enough of my life story. heh. What are you reading at the moment?
I don't think enough has been said in this thread about how little Quixote as a character belongs in the company of Ignatius and the Underground Man. He's not anti-social but rather has a sharp sense of justice; his engagements with people come not from self-aggrandizing or compensating but from compassion for the lowly (carried to a logical extreme, but still).
I'm actually reading Butterfly in the Typewriter, which is the most recent biography of John Kennedy O'Toole. It's quite intimidating to read how intelligent was since his youth, despite how embellished some of his stories seem to be. I haven't read Moby Dick either, but needless to say my opinions of the book are quite profound, if I do say so myself.
What are you reading?
Moby Dick, after I man up and finish it, I'll be moving on to Les Miserables, then War and Peace, then I'm either going to the greeks and then orlando furioso and to reread Don Quixote and finally finish Gil Blas, So many thousands of pages. I order my reading, or try to, and then I never get anything done and just reorder my list all the time. I swear I spend more time rewriting it and scribbling at it that I never read anything. I just wish I had more focus, I'm seriously considering a total internet black out, until I complete at least 20 novels, but I have yet to make the leap.
the campaign for moorish dignity, isnt that the banner that ignatius held up when he incited a riot on the levy factory? heh, I guess that was justice, though ignatius may have had ulterior motives. I only read the introduction halfassedly when I read confederacy of dunces, it's pretty tragic really, I don't particularly love the book, but it was definitely one that deserved recognition in his lifetime. It would have been interesting to see his work after as well.
the picaresque novel has almost nothing to do with the "picaro" character of lazarillo and is more about the structure the novels take: largely plotless, continuing from one event to another without dramatic tension etc.
No, I was addressing the attributes that OP was assigning to Ignatius and protagonists like him and pointing out that Quixote doesn't belong on that list because OP's characteristics don't apply at all to him.