At B & N Reads Somers tagged five of the greatest, dumbest characters in literary history, including:
Ignatius J. Reilly, A Confederacy of Dunces, by John Kennedy TooleRead about another entry on the list.
The smartest, best-read moron in literary history, Ignatius J. Reilly is a comical figure of contrasts. He’s a man who disdains the modern world, yet enjoys many of its comforts. He’s completely incompetent in almost everything he tries (even selling hot dogs turns into an Epic Fail), yet looks down on almost everyone he encounters. He believes himself to be open-minded and worldly, despite never having left his home city of New Orleans—in fact, his one attempt to travel a modest distance remains a story of deep psychological horror he repeats often. Reilly’s attempts to wriggle free of society’s requirements only lead him to work far harder and live deeper in squalor than he otherwise would. He is a lesson to anyone who has railed against the fact that we all have to “fit in” somehow to society.
Ignatius Reilly is on Ginni Chen's top six list of fictional mustaches, Chrissie Gruebel's top eleven list of books that will make you glad you're single, Melissa Albert's list of six of the worst fictional characters to sit next to on a plane and Jill Boyd's list of five of the worst fictional characters to invite to Thanksgiving. A Confederacy of Dunces is among the Telegraph's critics' fifty best cult books, Melissa Albert's eight favorite fictional misfits, Ken Jennings's eight notable books about parents and kids, Sarah Stodol's top ten lost-then-found novels, Hallie Ephron's top ten books for a good laugh, Stephen Kelman's top 10 outsiders' stories, John Mullan's ten best moustaches in literature, Michael Lewis's five favorite books, and Cracked magazine's classic funny novels.