Confederacy of Dunces, A.. Title of the 1980 posthumously-published, 1981 Pulitzer Prize-winning, novel by John Kennedy Toole (1937 – 1969). The title echoes the novel's epigraph, a quote from Jonathan Swift's essay, Thoughts on Various Subjects, Moral and Diverting:"When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him".
' A Confederacy of Dunces is a picaresque novel by American novelist John Kennedy Toole which appeared in 1980, eleven years after Toole's suicide. Published through the efforts of writer Walker Percy (who also contributed a foreword) and Toole's mother, the book became first a cult classic, then a mainstream success; it earned Toole a posthumous Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1981, and is now considered a canonical work of modern literature of the Southern United States. '