Living in the Confederacy of Dunces: There’s an eerie parallel at work between Ignatius Reilly and vain, overeducated young adults who can’t hold a job, live healthily, or maintain a friend. (Auguste Meyrat, 3/01/24, Law & Liberty)

In all likelihood, it was this odd yet hilarious combination of characters, along with Toole’s Southern heritage, that led to the book’s posthumous release. Even in the early ‘60s, the novel offended the progressive sensibilities of publishers based in New York. It took a fellow writer from Louisiana, Walker Percy, to agree to read the manuscript and advocate for the book’s publication nearly a decade after Toole committed suicide. As if to satisfy the demands of divine justice, the book went on to become a bestseller and win the Pulitzer Prize for that year.

However, what really makes A Confederacy of Dunces a classic worthy of being read today is how closely and how well it predicts the future—our present. Even if Ignatius was a complete anomaly in his own time, there’s a whole generation of Ignatiuses today: vain, overeducated young adults who can’t hold a job, live healthily, own any property, or maintain a friendship or romantic partnership, and yet often feel proud of themselves. Like Ignatius, they feel qualified to deliver their opinion on a whole range of issues they have no clue about. Without a doubt, if Ignatius existed today, he would likely be an online influencer hosting a popular YouTube channel or podcast that spoke to disaffected men like himself.