Leighton, H. Vernon > John Kennedy Toole Research > Evidence of Influences 2.1

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    Leighton, H. Vernon. Evidence of influences on John Kennedy Toole's "A Confederacy of Dunces," including Geoffrey Chaucer. Version 2.1 (June 2, 2014). Self-published on the Web. Format: PDF.
URL: http://course1.winona.edu/vleighton/toole/Leighton_Toole_Chaucer.pdf

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Peer Review Status: This paper was rejected by two peer-review journals and has not yet been accepted by such a journal. Instead of publication by a journal, I am building a grass-roots peer-review by seeking the endorsement of scholars and those close to Toole Studies. In the sense that it has been reviewed (and endorsed) by scholars in the field (peers if you will), I argue that it is in a deeper sense peer-reviewed. The paper has been endorsed by: I will list other endorsements for the merit of the paper here as they are made. If you are a Toole scholar and are willing to endorse the paper, either send email to vleighton@winona.edu , or add a comment to the blog below.

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Abstract: This study uses the evidence held in John Kennedy Toole’s papers located at Tulane University to investigate many literary works and authors who may have been possible influences on his novel A Confederacy of Dunces (Confederacy). Part one is a catalog of evidence about authors, texts, and characters to which Confederacy has been compared, including Boethius, Chaucer, John Lyly, Edmund Spenser, Cervantes, Shakespeare’s Falstaff, John Milton, various authors of picaresque novels, Jonathan Swift, the Romantic Poets, Mark Twain, Herman Melville, Joseph Conrad, T.S. Eliot, various ethnic melee dramas, Walker Percy, J. D. Salinger, and Flannery O’Connor. Part two then analyzes themes common to both Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales and Toole’s Confederacy, such as the use of the grotesque, the dynamics within intimate relationships, and the parody of romance. In Confederacy, Ignatius Reilly is an agent of Fortuna and fulfills a role occupied by the planetary god Saturn in Chaucer’s Knight’s Tale. Some critics have called Toole’s outlook deterministic. This study argues that he was not a determinist, and that his Boethian position on free will was derived indirectly through the influence of Chaucer.

Earlier version: Because scholars have cited version 2.0 of this paper, I will continue to make version 2.0 available. If anyone desires an earlier version, please contact the author.
Evidence of influences on John Kennedy Toole's "A Confederacy of Dunces," including Geoffrey Chaucer. Version 2.0 (July 1, 2011). Self-published on the Web. Format: PDF.
URL: http://course1.winona.edu/vleighton/toole/Leighton_Toole_Chaucer_2_0.pdf

Copyright: This work is copyrighted and has a creative commons license. It can be shared, but it cannot be sold or plagiarized.
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Evidence of influences on John Kennedy Toole's "A Confederacy of Dunces" by H. Vernon Leighton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.