A Theory of Humor (Abridged) and the Comic Mechanisms of John Kennedy Toole's A Confederacy of Dunces
In order to examine the comedy of A Confederacy of Dunces (Confederacy) by John Kennedy Toole, I present a theory of humor (abridged), including some neuroscience. Within that framework, I examine Confederacy's comic mechanisms. The novel uses the comic devices of farce and concurrent incongruities to generate its humor. The overarching incongruity of the book is between how Ignatius Reilly sees himself and how he is portrayed. He sees himself as crusader and genius; he is shown to be coward and fool. Ignatius's primary personality trait is his selfish immaturity. He is both the trickster of the plot and one of the blocking characters who is tricked. Ignatius shares many qualities with physical comedians. Toole may have drawn on concepts of the trickster and fool available at the time he wrote the novel from thinkers in psychology, sociology, and historical studies, particularly the work of Enid Welsford.
The book chapter "A Theory of Humor (Abridged) and the Comic Mechanisms of John Kennedy Toole's A Confederacy of Dunces" was published in the book Theology and Geometry: Essays on John Kennedy Toole's A Confederacy of Dunces. The book was edited by Leslie Marsh. (Lanham: Lexington Books, 2020), pp 1-21. ISBN: 978-1498585477. No full text available through OpenRiver. Citation only.
English Language and Literature | Literature in English, North America
Leighton, H. Vernon, "A Theory of Humor (Abridged) and the Comic Mechanisms of John Kennedy Toole's A Confederacy of Dunces" (2020). Library Faculty Works. 1.