Flann O’Brien: 1911-1966


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The Flann O’Brien International Society & Annual Conference [ online ]

Short Biographical Overview - attached
The 1954 Bloomsday Trip on YouTube online.

Life
[Brian Nolan; usually Brian O’Nolan, or Ó Nualláin; pseud. “Myles na Gopaleen”; hereafter FOB]; b. 5 Oct. 1911, at No. 15, Bowling Green, Strabane, Co. Tyrone; son of Michael Victor O’Nolan [Micheál Ó Nualláin] (d.1937) and Agnes O’Nolan [née Gormley], both from Omagh who met and married in Strabane, where Michael, an excise officer, taught Irish with the Gaelic League; also worked in Glasgow and afterwards at Cappencur (nr. Tullamore); also worked ad interim in Inchicore, being in Dublin at the time of the Rising; returned there in 1923; Brian was third of 12 children - with siblings incl. Mícheál, Niall, Ciarán and two sisters; FOB learnt Irish at home; his father opted to join the Free State Customs Service and moved to Dublin in 1923; settled in rented house at 25, Herbert Place; Michael appt. Revenue Commissioner, 1925; FOB entered 4th form at Christian Brothers’, Synge St. [aetat. 12], then transferred to Blackrock College when the family move to Blackrock in 1927; and entered UCD, 1929, where he was active in the L & H and narrowly lost auditorship to Vivion de Valera; grad. BA in German, English and Irish, 1932;
 
contrib. to Comhthrom Féinne [viz., “Fair Play”] ed. by Niall Sheridan (May 1931-May 1935) - notably his “Scenes from a Novel”, later assimilated to At Swim-Two-Birds; encountered Heine’s short ‘student’ novel Die Harzreise on his college syllabus and also the Conspectus of the Arts and Natural Sciences - said by Niall Sheridan to have actually existed; said to won a travelling scholarship to University of Cologne during the first six months of 1934; submitted, an MA thesis on Irish Nature Poetry in the form of an anthology-treatise (as Brian Ua Núallain, ‘Nádúir-Fhilíocht na Gaedhilge: Trachtas maraon le Duanaire’, UCD Aug. 1934); at first rejected and then resubmitted on pink paper with commentary reluctantly added to satisfy the initial strictures of his examiners; launched Blather with his brother Ciarán, running through 5 [var. 6] issues (I.1-5, Aug. 1934-Jan. 1935), contributing to it under various pseuds. (e.g., “Brother Barnabas”); made a polemic speech at the L&H (UCD) entitled “What is Wrong with the L&H?”, 1935; entered Civil Service, 1935, rising to principal officer for town planning before retiring under official pressure, 19 Feb. 1953;
 
first used pseud. Flann O’Brien in exchange of letters with Frank O’Connor and Sean O’Faoláin in The Irish Times, 1939; wrote At Swim-Two-Birds, , published by Longmans under pseud. Flann O’Brien - though first proposing “John Hackett” - 19 April, 1939 (reissued 1960), becoming an immediate critical success though soon dampened by war concerns; contrib. “An Cruiskeen Lawn” [‘the full little jug’] column for The Irish Times at invitation of R. M. Smyllie (ed.) over pseud. “Myles na gCopaleen” [simplified to Myles na Gopaleen from 1952] being named after the character in Boucicault (4 Oct. 1940-1 April 1960); written solely in Irish for the first year and afterwards in English, and featuring ‘the Brother’, et al., in a series of raids on solecisms and pretentions, especially in the new governmental class; unsuccessfully submitted The Third Policeman to sundry publishers and practised various subterfuges to explain their lack interest (viz., MS lost in a pub, &c.);
 
wrote a play, Faustus Kelly (Abbey 25 Jan. 1943), and then another, The Insect Play, based on that by Karel Capek which ran five nights at the Gate Theatre (1943); received advise on the latter from Erwin Schrödinger, then director of the DIAS; featured on the cover of Time magazine, 1943, with an article which he later called ‘[a] superb heap of twaddle that would deceive nobody of ten years of age’; contrib. article ‘Drink and Time in Dublin’ to first issue of Irish Writing (1946), as Myles na gCopaleen; contrib. to Kavanagh’s Weekly (April 1952-14 June 1952), also as Myles na gCopaleen; issued An Béal Bocht (1941), being a parody of Gaelgeoir [language-revival] attitudes reflected in the autobiographies of Tomás Ó Criomhthain [O’Crohan], Séamus Ó Grianna, et al., here with characters such as the ubiquitous Jams O’Donnell, Bonaparte O’Coonassa, Osborne O’Loonassa (a tyrannical schoolmaster), and so on; made fun of T. F. O’Rahilly’s theory of two St. Patrick’s and Erwin Schrodinger’s dismissal of the First Cause, occasioning an apology from Smyllie, Irish Times Editor, to the Dublin Inst. of Advanced Studies, fostered by De Valera;
 
m. Evelyn McDonnell, 2 Dec. 1948; moved from parental home at Avoca Tce., Blackrock, to nearby Merrion Ave., and then to Belmont Ave., adjacent to Morehampton Rd., Donnybrook; final address in Stillorgan; published stories and articles including ‘The Martyr’s Crown’ (Envoy 1950); lambasted ‘Titostalinatarianism’ of Tostal Festival, 1953; contrib. ‘A Bash in the Tunnel’ to “James Joyce Special Number” of Envoy (April 1951); made the first Bloomsday pilgrimage with John Ryan, Patrick Kavanagh, and Anthony Cronin, 16 June 1954; denounced the plaque on birth-place of Oscar Wilde commemorating him as an Irishman in “Cruiskeen Lawn”, 1954; commenced writing for provincial papers, contributing a ‘A Weekly Look Around’ to Southern Star (15 Jan. 1955-3 Nov. 1956), as John James Doe; contrib. ‘Bones of Contention’ aka ‘George Knowall’s Peepshow’ [column] to Nationalist and Leinster Times (1960-1966);
 
contrib. ‘De Me’ to New Ireland (QUB 1964), as Myles na Gopaleen, also ‘The Saint and I’ to Manchester Guardian (19 Jan. 1966), as Flann O’Brien; issued The Hard Life (1961), sub-titled An Exegesis of Squalor’, featuring Fr. Farht and others - virtually an invitation to the censors, who took no notice of it; An Béal Bocht reissued as The Poor Mouth (1964), in a translation by Patrick Power; issued The Dalkey Archive (1965), incorporating material recuperated from The Third Policeman and bearing the dedication, ‘to my Guardian Angel, impressing upon him that I’m only fooling and warning him to see to it that there is no misundersanding when I go home’ - viz., die; immediately dramatised by Hugh Leonard as The Saints Go Cycling In (1965); O’Brien wrote sporadically for Radio Telefís Éireann; his TV dramas incl. “The Dead Spit of Kelly”, being an adaptation of the story “Two in One” (pub. in The Bell); “Flight”, and “The Time Freddy Retired”; also scripted “O’Dea’s Yer Man”, James Plunkett as director supplying a needful rewrite before transmission; d. 1 April 1966, of cancer; left “Slattery’s Sago Saga” unfinished at the time of his death;
 
O’Brien was interviewed for TV by Tim Pat Coogan in 1964, but managed to get drunk at 8.30am on a bottle of whiskey hidden in the toilet; The Third Policeman (1967) was issued posthumously with an epigraph from Shakespeare [‘… let’s reason with the worst that may befall’], and published in America as Hell Goes Round and Round; survived by Mícheál [Ó Nualláin] and Niall [O’Nolan], both living into the late 1990s; a third brother, Ciarán, serves as a memorialist; a revival of interest in Flann O’Brien was triggered by the brief appearance of The Third Policeman as an allusion in the American TV series Lost in 2005-06; papers of Flann O’Brien are held at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Centre (Texas Univ., Austin); Brian O’Nolan’s papers and personal library acquired by The John Burns Library at Boston College, Feb. 1997; subject of an RTE documentary in the “Art Lives” series (March 2006); Brendan Gleeson will direct his son Domhnall in a film version of of At Swim-Two-Birds, with Colin Farrell, Cillian Murphy and Michael Fassbender, et al., in 2011; 100 Myles: The International Flann O’Brien Centenary Conference is schedule to take place in Vienna, organised by Werner Huber (24th-27th July 2010), keynoted by Anthony Cronin, and a centenary birthday event at UCD’s Newman House, in October 2010; a Flann O’Brien International Society with an annual conference was established in 2011. NCBE DIW DIB DIH DIL OCEL FDA OCIL

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The Flann O’Brien International Society and Annual Conference
[ online ]

Call for Papers: ‘Reading Brian O’Nolan’s Libraries’ - The Parish Review: Official Journal of the International Flann O’Brien Society

The expanding field of Brian O’Nolan (Flann O’Brien/Myles na gCopaleen) scholarship has undergone a remarkable transformation in the wake of the writer’s 2011 centenary. This renewed scholarly interest has given rise to a range of Cultural Materialist, Deconstructionist, and Genetic approaches, amongst others, that have explored the representation, and indeed the limits of, knowledge within O’Nolan’s oeuvre. His writing continues to resonate within the public sphere, as is attested by the many reissues, adaptations, and collections of his works, including the recent publication of his dramatic works and short stories by Dalkey Archive Press. As Flann O’Brien (At Swim-Two-Birds, The Third Policeman) and Myles na gCopaleen (“Cruiskeen Lawn”, An Béal Bocht), O’Nolan is celebrated, in part, for his savage parodies of academic institutions, erudite individuals, and pedagogical methods; a reputation that appears to rest uneasily alongside this increasing scholarly attention. [See further, infra.]

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Works
Novels
  • At Swim-Two-Birds (London: Longmans, Green & Co. 1939); Do. [reiss.] (London: MacGibbon & Kee 1960); Do. [another edn.] (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1967, 1977, 1986, 1991, &c); Do. [USA edn.] (NY: NAL 1966); French trans. as Kermesse irlandaise (Paris: Gallimard 1964);
  • An Béal Bocht (Dublin: An Press Naisiúnta 1941), and Do. [another edn.] (Dublin: Dolmen Press 1964); another edn. as An beál bocht, nó An milleánach: droch-sgeál ar an droch-shaoghal / curtha i n-eagar le Myles na gCopaleen [Seán Ó Súilleabháin nach maireann a tharraing an clúdach, an leárscáil agus an cat mara] (1975); Do., trans. by Patrick Power as The Poor Mouth: A Bad Story about the Hard Life (London: Hart-Davis 1964, MacGibbon & Kee 1973), ill. Seán O’Sullivan; and Do. [another edn.] (London: Paladin 1993);
  • The Hard Life: An Exegesis of Squalor (London: MacGibbon & Kee 1961), 157pp., ill. Seán O’Sullivan; Four Square Books 1964; Picador 1976; Flamingo 1994, &c.); Do. [another edn.] (London: Paladin 1992), and Do. [another edn.] (Scribner/Townhouse 2003), 170pp.; trans. in French as Une vie de chien (Paris: Gallimard 1972); Do. (London: Souvenir Pres 2011).
  • The Dalkey Archive (London: MacGibbon & Kee 1964; Paladin 1990);
  • The Third Policeman (London: MacGibbon & Kee 1967); Do. (London: Hart-Davis; MacGibbon 1973, 1975), 200pp.; Do. (London: Pan Books 1974), [1], 173pp., port.; Do. (London: Granada 1983), 200pp.); Do. [rep. edn.] (Harmondsworth Penguin 1986) [with a copy of O’Brien’s letter to William Saroyan, 14 Feb. 1940]; Do. [Paladin Modern Classic] (London: Paladin 1988), 207pp.; Do. [Paladin Books] (London: HarperCollins [Flamingo] 1993), 207pp.; Do. (London: Flamingo 2001), 228pp.; Do. (London: Harper Perennial 2007), [q.pp.]; Do., intro. by Richard Fortey (London: Folio Society 2006), xvi, 219pp., ill. [by David Eccles; in slip case]; Do. [Harper Perennial Modern Classics] (London: Harper Perennial 2007), 214pp. [See also Discography, infra.]
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Dramatic Works
  • Faustus Kelly: A Play in Three Acts (Dublin: Cahill 1943);
  • Robert Tracy, ed. & intro., Rhapsody in Stephen’s Green: The Insect Play (Dublin: Lilliput Press 1994), 88pp. [one act prev. held at Illinois Univ.; whole text rediscovered in Hilton Edward’s prompt copy of 1943].
Translations
  • trans. Brinsley MacNamara, play, Margaret Gillan [as Mairead Gillan] (Dublin 1953);
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Reprints & Collections
  • [as Myles Na gCopaleen,] ed., anthology of “Cruiskeen Lawn” (Dublin: The Irish Times 1943).
  • Kevin O’Nolan, ed., The Best of Myles: A Selection from “Cruiskeen Lawn” (London: MacGibbon & Kee 1968); Do. [another edn.] (London: Grafton 1987), and Do. [another edn.] (London: Paladin 1990, 1993);
  • Stories and Plays, intro. by Claud Clockburn (London: Hart-Davis, MacGibbon 1973); Do. [another edn.] (London: Paladin 1991);
  • Anne Clissmann & David Powell, eds., ‘A Flann O’Brien-Myles na Gopaleen Portfolio’, in Journal of Irish Literature III, 1 (Delaware: Jan. 1974);
  • Kevin O’Nolan, ed., Further Cuttings from “Cruiskeen Lawn” (London: Hart-Davis, MacGibbon 1976), and Do. [reiss.; John F. Byrne Literature Ser.] (Dalkey Archive 2000), 189pp.;
  • Benedict Kiely, ed. & intro., The Various Lives of Keats and Chapman,[and] The Brother (London: Hart-Davis, MacGibbon 1976);
  • The Hair of the Dogma: A Further Selection from “Cruiskeen Lawn” , ed. Kevin O’Nolan (London: Hart-Davis &c 1977); Do. [another edn.] (London: Grafton 1989), and Do. [another edn.] (London; Paladin 1993);
  • Stephen Jones, ed., A Flann O’Brien Reader (NY: Viking 1978);
  • Martin Green, ed, Myles Away from Dublin (Granada 1985);
  • John Wyse Jackson, ed., Flann O’Brien at War: Myles na gCopaleen 1940-1945 (Duckworth 2000), 191pp.;
  • The Various Lives of Keats and Chapman [and] The Brother (Dublin & NY: Scribner/Townhouse 2003), 188pp.;
  • Flann O’Brien: The Complete Novels, intro. by Keith Donohue (Everyman Library 2007), 220pp. [At Swim-Two-Birds, The Third Policeman, The Poor Mouth, The Hard Life, and The Dalkey Archive];
  • The Various Lives of Keats and Chapman [and] The Brother ([London:] Souvenir Press 2010), 1878pp. [incls. text of Eamon Morrissey’s monologue based on “The Brother” series].
  • Neil Murphy & Keith Hopper, ed., The Short Fiction of Flann O'Brien (Dalkey Archive Press 2013), 156pp. [incls. “Scenes in a Novel”; “The Tale of Black Pete”; “Two in One”; “John Duffy’s Brother” (1940); “Drink and Time in Dublin” (1946), and “Naval Control” by John Shamus O’Donnell - see review by Frank McNally under Commentary, infra.]
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Articles & reviews
  • Sundry contributions to Comhtrom Féinne [later The National Student, UCD] (May 1931-May 1935), of which 15 are rep. in Myles before Myles, 1985];
  • [as Brother Barnabas,] ‘Scenes from a Novel’, in Comhtrom Féinne (May 1934), rep. Journal of Irish Literature, III, 1 (Jan. 1974);
  • “Cruiskeen Lawn” by Myles na gCopaleen/Gopaleen, The Irish Times (4 October 1940-1 April 1966);
  • ‘Drink and Time in Dublin’ by Myles na gCopaleen, article, Irish Writing, 1 (1946) [rep. in Vivian Mercier and David H. Greene, 1000 Years of Irish Prose (NY: Devin-Adair 1952);
  • review of L. A. G. Strong, The Sacred River,in Irish Writing, 10 (Jan. 1950);
  • review of Patrick Campbell, ‘A Long Drink of Cold Water’, in Irish Writing, 11 (May 1950);
  • ‘Donabate’, in Irish Writing, 20-21 (Nov. 1952), rep. Journal of Irish Literature (Jan. 1974);
  • ‘I Don’t You’, in Kavanagh’s Weekly, 1, 3 (26 April 1952), rep. in Kavanagh’s Weekly (Kildare: Goldsmith Press 1981);
  • ‘The New Phoenix’, in Kavanagh’s Weekly, 1, 4 (3 May 1952), rep. in Kavanagh’s Weekly (Kildare: Goldsmith Press 1981);
  • ‘Letter to the Editor’, and ‘Motor Economics’, in Kavanagh’s Weekly, 1, 10 (14 June 1952), rep. in Kavanagh’s Weekly (Kildare: Goldsmith Press 1981);
  • [as John James Doe,] ‘A Weekly Look Around’, in Southern Star [Skibbereen] (15 Jan. 1955-3 Nov. 1956);
  • ‘Baudelaire and Kavanagh’, in The Irish Times [Nonplus] (1959);
  • [as John James Doe,] ‘A Weekly Look Around’, in Southern Star [Skibbereen] (15 Jan. 1955-27 Oct. 1965);
  • [as George Knowall,] ‘George Knowall’s Peepshow’, in The Nationalist and Leinster Times [Carlow] (1960-1966) [‘Bones of Contention’, early/mid 1960, sel. in Myles Away from Dublin];
  • [as Myles na Gopaleen,] ‘De Me’, in New Ireland [QUB New Ireland Soc.] (March 1964) ;
  • ‘George Bernard Shaw on Language’, Irish Times (28 Jan. 1965);
  • ‘The Cud of Memory,’ in Manchester Guardian([q.d.] 1965);
  • ‘The Saint and I’, in Manchester Guardian, 19 Jan. 1966);
  • ‘Two in One’, in The Bell XIX, 8 (July 1954), pp.30-34, rep. Journal of Irish Literature, III, 1 (Jan. 1974);
  • Extract from The Poor Mouth, in Fiction, III, 1 (1974);
  • ‘Three Poems from the Irish’, in Lace Curtain, 4 (Summer 1971).
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Sundry contributions

Blather [anon. & var. pseuds.] (Aug. 1934-Jan. 1935); Blather (Nov. 1934); Ireland Today (1938); Envoy, III, 12 (Nov. 1950); Weekly, 1, 7 (24 March 1952); Hibernia (Sept. 1960); New Ireland (1964); Evening Mail (Oct. 1961); The Harp (1960-65).

For titles and dates, see Journal of Irish Literature (1974) and Myles before Myles (1985)
Miscellaneous
  • Three articles [on dog-tracks dancehalls, and pubs,] in The Bell (1940);
  • autobiographical notice, in Twentieth Century Authors (1934);
  • ‘De Me’ [autobiographical], in New Ireland [QUB student mag.] (March 1964);
  • ‘Can a Saint Hit Back’, in The Guardian (19 Jan. 1966) [autobiographical and based on idea attributable to St Augustine];
  • [as Myles na Gopaleen,] on a Rouault painting in The Irish Times (1942); rep. in Fintan Cullen, ed., Sources in Irish Art: A Reader (Cork UP 2000);
  • ‘Editorial Note’, in Envoy: An Irish Review of Literature and Art [“James Joyce Issue”], 5, 7 (April 1951), pp.6-11, rep. as ‘A Bash in the Tunnel’ in A Bash in the Tunnel: James Joyce by the Irish, ed. John Ryan (Brighton: Clifton Books 1970), pp.15-20 [with variations, as infra]; and in Flann O’Brien, Stories and Plays (NY: Penguin 1977), c.p.207.
Manuscripts
  • The Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center at the University of Texas at Austin holds two boxes of the papers of Flann O’Brien (R2707, R4815, and G8215), acquired by purchase and gift, 1965, 1970, and 1989; processed by Bob Taylor, 1997; RLIN Record ID: TXRC97-A18. Collection Incls. MS1 and MS2 of At Swim-two-Birds.
  • Letters to and from Brian O’Nolan, in O’Nolan Collection, Morris Library, S. Illinois Univ., Carbondale Illinois (USA).
Discography
  • The Third Policeman, read by Jim Norton (Redhill, Surrey: Naxos AudioBooks 2007 ), 6 sound discs; ca. 404 mins.

Stage adaptations ...
  • Hugh Leonard, The Dalkey Archive (Gate 1965);
  • Eamon Morrissey, The Brother (1974) [one-man show based on At Swim Two Birds];
  • Eamon Morrissey, The Third Policeman (Gate Th. 1974);
  • Jocelyn Clarke, At Swim-Two-Birds (Abbey Th. 1970);
  • Paul Lee, The Poor Mouth (1989) [as two-hander]
  • At Swim-Two-Birds [new version] (Abbey Th. 1998);
  • At Swim-Two-Birds (Blue Raincoat Co., at Project Th., Dublin 2011);
  • The Poor Mouth (Blue Raincoat Co., Oct. 2011);
  • At Swim-Two-Birds, film version dir. Brendan Gleeson (planned for 2011);
See Fintan O’Toole, ‘Lost in translation: a Wilde notion from Myles na gCopaleen’, in The Irish Times (5 March 2011), Weekend Review, “Culture Shock” [attached].

The Dublin Review, "Flann O’Brien at 100" [Special Issue], ed. Brendan Barrington (Autumn 2011)

“Writers reflect on a genius unfulfilled” - with contributions from Kevin Barry, Angela Bourke, John Butler, Ciaran Carson, Roddy Doyle, Ann Marie Hourihane, Paul Muldoon, Joseph O’Connor, Ian Sansom, and Carol Taaffe.

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Adaptations: Leonard adapted The Dalkey Archive as The Saints Go Cycling In (Gate Th., 1965). See also Aubrey Welch, adaptation of At Swim-Two-Birds (Abbey, Feb. 1970) and another adaptation by the touring company Ridiculismus (Kilkenny Arts Week; Riverside, Coleraine, &c., 1995). The Third Policeman was recorded by Patrick Magee for BBC4’s ‘Late Book’ programme, produced by Maurice Leitch.

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Criticism
Major studies
  • Timothy O’Keeffe, ed., Myles: Portraits of Brian O’Nolan (London: Martin, Brian & O’Keeffe 1973) [contents].
  • Ciarán Ó Nualláin, Óige an Déarthár .i. Myles na gCopaleen (Baile atha Cliath: Foilseacháin Náisiúnta Teo. 1973).
  • Anne Clissmann, Flann O’Brien: A Biographical and Critical Introduction to His Writing (Dublin: Gill & Macmillan 1975) [Chap. 4, ‘Bicycles and Eternity’, pp.151-81].
  • Rüdiger Imhof, ed., Alive-alive O!: Flann O’Brien’s ‘At Swim-Two-Birds’ (Dublin: Wolfhound 1985, 1993) [contents].
  • Anthony Cronin, No Laughing Matter: The Life and Times Of Flann O’Brien (London: Grafton 1989; rep. Paladin 1990) [extract]; and Do. [rep. edn.], with new intro. (Dublin: New Island Press 2003), 250pp.
  • Sue Asbee, Flann O’Brien (Boston: Twayne Publ. 1991), xiv, 142pp. [extract; based on thesis, “Flann O’Brien: A Postmodernist and His Reader” (Univ. of London 1986).
  • Thomas F. Shea, Flann O’Brien’s Exorbitant Novels (Assoc. UP 1993), 183pp. [see contents].
  • M. Keith Booker, Flann O’Brien: Bahktin, and Mennipean Satire (Syracuse UP 1995), 163pp.
  • Keith Hopper, Flann O’Brien: A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Post-Modernism (Cork UP 1995), 192pp. [see extract]; Do. [rev. 2nd edn], with a Foreword by J. Hillis Miller (Cork UP 2009), 292pp.
  • Keith Donohoe, The Irish Anatomist: Flann O’Brien (Dublin & Bethseda: Maunsel 2002), 222pp. [chaps.: Vertiginious extravagance; Anatomy of a murder; The Irish less; The uncrowned king of Ireland, 1940-1945; Myles Gloriosus, 1945-1952; Notes; Bibliography [203-15; based on thesis at CUA, Washington];
  • Joseph Brooker, Flann O’Brien [Writers & Their Work] (Tavistock: Northcote House 2005), viii, 120pp., ill [1]
  • Thomas C. Foster, A Casebook on Flann O’Brien’s At Swim-Two-Birds (IL: Dalkey Press 2005).
  • Carol Taaffe, Ireland Through the Looking Glass: Flann O’Brien, Myles na gGopaleen, and Irish Culture Debate (Cork UP 2008), 284pp.
  • Jennika Baines, ed., “Is It About a Bicycle?”: Flann O’Brien in the Twenty-first Century, with a foreword by Micheál ÓNualláin (Dublin: Four Courts Press 2011), 175pp. [incls. contribs. by Baines (on The Hard Life), Kimberly Bohman-Kalaja, Joseph Brooker, Jon Day, Frank McNally, Richard T. Murphy (on An Béal Bocht], Adrian Naughton, Amy Nejezchleb, Carol Taaffe, & Samuel Whybrow.]
  • Ruben Borg, Paul Fagan & Werner Huber, eds., Flann O’Brien: Contesting Legacies (Cork UP 2014), 296pp. [see contents].
See Robert Looby’s informative and amusing and informative biographical notice at The Modern Word - online [accessed 31.01.2011] - or copy, attached.
Annual Listing
1939-69
  • Kate O’Brien, ‘Fiction’ [review of At Swim], The Spectator (14 April 1939), pp.645-46.
  • Anthony West, ‘New Novels’ [incl. review of At Swim], New Statesman (17 June 1939), pp.940, 942 [rep. as ‘Inspired Nonsense’ in Rüdiger Imhof, Alive-alive O!, 1985].
  • Nigel Heseltine, ‘At Swim-Two-Birds by Flann O’Brien’, Wales (1939), pp.308-09.
  • Thomas Hogan [pseudonym of Thomas Wood, of the Dept. of External Affairs [aka ‘Thersites’ in The Irish Times], ‘Myles na gCopaleen’, in The Bell, XIII, 2 (1946), pp.126-40 [a witty ad hominem attack].
  • John Jordan, ‘The Saddest Book Ever to Come Out of Ireland’ [review of At Swim], Hibernia, 24, 46 (5 Aug. 1960), p.5.
  • Anthony Burgess, ‘Mister-piece’, review of The Hard Life, in Yorkshire Post (16 Nov. 1961);
  • W. L. Webb, ‘Flann O’Brien’s Misterpiece’ [sic], review of The Hard Life, in Manchester Guardian (17 Nov. 1961);
  • Vivian Mercier, ‘Fantasy, Humour and Ribaldry’, in The Irish Comic Tradition (London: Souvenir Press 1962) [Chap. 2], pp.11-46.
  • Risteárd Ó Glaisne, ‘Scríbhneoireach Ghaeilge Myles na gCopaleen’, in Comhar, 21, 4 (Aibréan 1962), pp.16-19.
  • Martín Ó Cadhain, ‘Leabhar atá as Aora Móra Phróis na Gaeilge’, Feasta (Aibréan 1965), pp.25-26.
  • John Jordan, ‘Dublin Theatre Festival: Flann O’Brien’s Fantasy’, in Hibernia, 29, 11 ([?] Nov. 1965), p.17.
  • Tom McIntyre, ‘The Dalkey Archive’, in Dublin Magazine, 4, 1 (Spring 1965), p.86.
  • Seamus Kelly, ‘Brian O’Nolan: Scholar, Satirist and Wit’, in The Irish Times (2 April 1966) [rep. Journal of Irish Literature (Jan. 1974)].
  • Mervyn Wall, ‘The Man Who Hated Only Cods’, in The Irish Times (2 April 1966).
  • L. L. Lee, ‘The Dublin Cowboys of Flann O’Brien, in Western American Literature ,4 (1969), pp.219-25.
  • Bruce Cook, ‘The Irish: Pugnacious, Powerless, and Bored’, in National Observer (1 March 1975), p.102/55 [extract].
  • Niall Sheridan, ‘Brian, Flann, and Myles’, in The Irish Times (2 April 1966) [rep. O’Keeffe, ed., Portraits, 1973, pp.32-33].
  • Frank McGuinness [review of The Third Policeman], ‘Books’, Queen (1 Sept. 1967), pp.10-11.
  • Patrick Boyle, ‘Books We Enjoyed Most in ’67’, in Hibernia, 32, 1 ([?] Jan. 1968), p.21.
  • Thomas Kilroy, ‘Fiction’ [review of The Third Policeman] in Irish University Review, V, 1 (Spring 1968), p.112-17.
  • Patrick Boyle, ‘At Whim-Few Surds’ [review of The Best of Myles], in Hibernia, 32, 10 ([?] October 1968), p.68.
  • Bernard Benstock, ‘The Three Faces of Brian Nolan’, in Éire-Ireland, 3, 3 (Autumn 1968), pp.51-65.
  • Del Ivan Janik, ‘Flann O’Brien: The Novelist as Critic’, in Éire-Ireland, 4, 4 (Winter 1969), pp.56-63.
  • Benedict Kiely, ‘The Whores on the Half-Doors, or an Image of the Irish Writer’, in Conor Cruise O’Brien Introduces Ireland, ed. Owen Dudley Edwards (1969), pp.148-61 [rep. in A Raid into Dark Corners, Cork UP, 1991].
 
1970-79
  • William David Powell, The English Writings of Flann O’Brien [PhD dissertation] (S. Ill., Univ., May 1970) [Diss. Abst. 31 3560 A].
  • Ruth ApRoberts, ‘At Swim-Two-Birds and the Novel as Self-Evident Sham’, in Éire-Ireland (Summer 1971), pp.76-97 [see extract].
  • David Powell, ‘An Annotated Biliography of Myles na gCopaleen’s “Cruiskeen Lawn” Commentaries on James Joyce’, James Joyce Quartlerly, 9, 1 (Fall 1971), pp.50-62.
  • Thomas Redshaw Dillon, ‘O’Nolan’s First Limbo: On the Imaginative Structure of At Swim-Two-Birds’, Dublin Magazine, 9, 2 (Winter/Spring 1971/72), pp.89-99.
  • John Wain, ‘“To Write for My Own Race”: The Fiction of Flann O’Brien’, in A House for the Truth: Critical Essays (London: Macmillan 1972), pp.67-104 [first pub. in Encounter, July 1967, pp.71-85].
  • Thomas Kilroy, ‘Teller of Tales’, Times Literary Supplement (17 March 1972), p.301.
  • Timothy O’Keeffe, ed., Myles: Portraits of Brian O’Nolan (London: Martin, Brian & O’Keeffe 1973) [contents].
  • Ciarán Ó Nualláin, Óige an Déarthár .i. Myles na gCopaleen (Baile atha Cliath: Foilseacháin Náisiúnta Teo. 1973).
  • Breandán Ó Conaire, ‘Flann O’Brien, An Béal Bocht, and Other Irish Matters’, Irish University Review 3, 2 (1973), pp.121-40.
  • J. C. C. Mays, ‘Brian O’Nolan and James Joyce on Art and on Life’, James Joyce Quarterly, XI, 3 (1974), pp.238-56.
  • Anthony Cronin, ‘An Extraordinary Achievement’, in The Irish Times (5 Dec. 1975), and ‘After at Swim’, in The Irish Times (12 Dec. 1975).
  • James MacKillop, ‘The Figure of Finn MacCool: A Study of Celtic Archetypes in the Works of James Macpherson, Flann O’Brien, James Joyce, and Others’ [PhD] (Syracuse Univ. 1975).
  • John Updike, ‘Flann Again’ [review of Stories and Plays], in New Yorker (June 1976), pp.116-18;
  • Denis Johnston, ‘Myles na Gopaleen’ in Ronsley, ed., Myth and Reality in Irish Literature (1977).
  • John M. Kelly, ‘Matchless Ashplant’ [review of ‘Hair of the Dogma’], in Hibernia (28 Oct. 1977), p.25.
  • Rüdiger Imhof [review of] ‘Hair of the Dogma’, in Irish University Review, 9, 1 (Spring 1979), pp.187-89.
  • N. Mellamphy, ‘Aestho-autogamy and the Anarchy of Imagination: Flann O’Brien’s Theory of Fiction in At Swim -Two-Birds’, in Canadian Journal of Irish Studies, IV, 1 (June 1978), pp.8-25.
  • Declan Kiberd, ‘Writers in Quarantine?: The Case for Irish Studies’, Crane Bag, III, 1 (1979), pp.9-21.
  • Breandán Ó Conaire, ‘Flann O’Brien, An Béal Bocht, and Other Irish Matters’, in Irish University Review, 3, 2 (1973), pp.121-40.
  • Anne Clissmann & David Powell, eds., ‘A Flann O’Brien Special Number’, in Journal of Irish Literature, 3 (January 1974) [contents].
  • J. C. C Mays, ‘Brian O’Nolan and Joyce on Art and on Life’, in James Joyce Quarterly, 11, 3 (Spring 1974), pp.238-56.
  • Danielle Jacquin, ‘Never Apply Your Front Brake First, or Flann O’Brien and the Theme of a Fall’, in Patrick Rafroidi and Maurice Harmon, eds., The Irish Novel in Our Time (Lille, 1975-76), pp.187-97.
  • John Ryan, ‘The Incomparable Myles’, in Remembering How We Stood: Dublin at the Mid-Century (Dublin: Gill & Macmillan 1975), pp.127-47.
  • Anne Clissmann, Flann O’Brien: A Biographical and Critical Introduction to His Writing (Dublin: Gill & Macmillan 1975) [Chap. 4, ‘Bicycles and Eternity’, pp.151-81].
  • Anthony Cronin, Dead as Doornails: A Chronicle of Life (Dublin: Dolmen/Talbot 1976; rep. Oxford Pbks. 1994) [extracts].
  • Lorna Sage, ‘Flann O’Brien’, in Two Decades of Irish Writing, ed. Douglas Dunn (Cheadle 1975), pp.197-206.
  • J. M. Silverthorne, ‘Time, Literature, and Failure: Flann O’Brien’s At Swim Two Birds and The Third Policeman’, in Éire-Ireland, 11, 4 (Winter 1976), pp.66-83.
  • Seán Ó Tuama, ‘Some Highlights of Fiction in Irish’, in Patrick Rafroidi and Maurice Harmon, eds., The Irish Novel in Our Time (Lille Publications de l’Université Lille III 1976), pp.31-47.
  • Brendan Kennelly, ‘An Béal Bocht’, in John Jordan, ed., The Pleasures of Gaelic Literature (1977), pp.85-96.
  • Miles Orvell, ‘Brian O’Nolan’ [review of Stories and Plays and Anne Clissmann, Flann O’Brien], in Journal of Modern Literature [Supplement] (1977), pp.689-91.
  • Mervyn Wall, ‘A Flann O’Brien Reader’ [review of Stephen Jones, ed., Reader (… &c.)], in The New Republic (18 Feb. 1978), pp.31-33.
  • Ninian Mellamphy, ‘Aestho-Autogamy and the Anarchy of Imagination: Flann O’Brien’s Theory of Fiction in At Swim-Two-Birds’, in Canadian Journal of Irish Studies, 4, 1 (June 1978), pp.8-25.
  • Rüdiger Imhof, ‘To Meta-Novelists, Sternesque Elements in Novels by Flann O’Brien’, Anglo-Irish Studies, 4 (1979), pp.59-90.
  • Rüdiger Imhof, ‘Flann O’Brien: A Checklist’, in Études Irlandaises (Dec. 1979), pp.125-48 [primary & secondary bibls.].
  • George O’Brien, ‘O’Brien, Flann’, in James Vinson, ed., Great Writers of the English Language: Novelists and Prose Writers (London: Macmillan 1979), pp.916-18.
  • Rüdiger Imhof, ‘Flann O’Brien: A Checklist’, in Études Irlandaises (Dec. 1979), pp.125-48.
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1980-89
  • Brian Moore, ‘English Fame and Irish Writers’, London Review of Books, 2, 22 (1980), pp.37-43.
  • Julia Dietrich, ‘Flann O’Brien’s Parody of Transubstantiation in The Dalkey Archive’, Notes on Contemporary Literature, 10, V (1980), pp.5-6.
  • Alan Warner, ‘Flann O’Brien’, in A Guide to Anglo-Irish Literature (Dublin: Gill & Macmillan 1981), pp.143-68.
  • Antony Burgess, ‘Flann O’Brien, A Note’, Études Irelandaises [Univ. de Lille III] No. 7 [n. s.] (December 1982), pp.83-86.
  • Anthony Cronin, ‘Flann O’Brien: The Flawed Achievement’, in Heritage Now: Irish Literature in the English Language (Dingle: Brandon 1982), pp.203-14.
  • Bernard Benstock, ‘A Flann for all Seasons’, in Irish Renaissance Annual, 3 (1982), pp.15-29.
  • Hugh Kenner, ‘The Mocker’ [Chap.], in A Colder Eye: The Modern Irish Writers (NY: Knopf 1983), pp.318-28.
  • Joseph C. Voelker, ‘“Doublends Jined”: The Fiction of Flann O’Brien’, in Journal of Irish Literature, 12 (Delaware 1983), pp.87-95.
  • José Lanters, ‘Fiction within Fiction: The Role of the Author in Flann O’Brien’s At Swim-Two Birds and The Third Policeman’, in Dutch Quarterly Review of Anglo-American Letters, 13 (1983), pp.267-81.
  • Joseph Browne, ‘Flann O’Brien, Post Joyce or Propter Joyce?’, in Éire-Ireland, 19, 4 (Winter 1984), pp.148-57.
  • Eva Wäppling, “Four Irish Legendary Figures in At Swim-Two-Birds: A Study of Flann O’Brien’s Use of Finn, Suibhne, the Pooka and the Good Fairy” [Uppsala PhD] (Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell 1984).
  • A. C. Partridge, ‘A Trio of Innovators: Joyce, Beckett and Flann O’Brien’, in Language and Society in Anglo-Irish Literature (Dublin: Gill & Macmillan 1984), pp.314-17.
  • Charles Kemnitz, ‘Beyond the Zone of the Middle Dimensions, a Relativistic Reading of The Third Policeman’, Irish University Review, 15, 2 (Spring 1985), pp.56-72.
  • Joseph M. Conte, ‘Metaphor and Metonymy in Flann O’Brien’s At Swim-Two-Birds’, in Review of Contemporary Fiction, 5.1 (1985), pp.128-34.
  • Eric Korn, ‘Uncontented Bones’ [review of Myles Away from Dublin], in Times Literary Supplement (30 Aug. 1985), p.959.
  • Rüdiger Imhof, ed., Alive-alive O!: Flann O’Brien’s ‘At Swim-Two-Birds’ (Dublin: Wolfhound 1985, 1993) [contents].
  • Augustine Martin, ‘Fable and Fantasy’, in Martin, ed., The Genius of Irish Prose (Cork: Mercier 1985), pp.110-20.
  • Anthony Cronin, ‘Post Structuralists, Post Modernists, Post Everything: Myles among the Academics’, in The Irish Times (1 April 1986), p.12.
  • Seamus Deane, ‘Irish Modernism: Fiction’, in A Short History of Irish Literature (London: Hutchinson 1986), pp.193-99.
  • Marilyn Throne, ‘The Provocative Bicycle of Flann O’Brien’s The Third Policeman’, Éire-Ireland, 21, 4 (Winter 1986), pp.36-44.
  • Breandán Ó Conaire, Myles na Gaeilge: Lámhleabhar ar Shaothar Gaeilge Bhrian Ó Nualláin (Baile Átha Cliath: An Clóchomhar Teo. 1986).
  • Jerry L. Maguire, ‘Teasing After Death, Metatextuality in The Third Policeman’, in Éire-Ireland, 16, 2 (Summer 1986), pp.107-21.
  • Patricia O’Hara, ‘Finn MacCool and the Bard’s Lament in Flann O’Brien’s At Swim-Two-Birds’, in Journal of Irish Literature, 15 (1986), pp.55-61.
  • David Cohen, ‘James Joyce and the Decline of Flann O’Brien’, in Éire-Ireland: Journal of Irish Studies, 22, 2 (Summer 1987), pp.153-60.
  • Benedict Kiely, ‘Rare Roads to Hell’, review of The Third Policeman, in The Irish Times (Sat. 2 Sept. 1987).
  • Brendan P. O Hehir, ‘Flann O’Brien and the Big World’, in Literary Interrelations: Ireland, England and the World, Vol. III: National Images and Stereotypes, ed. Wolfgang Zach and Heinz Kosok (Tübingen: Guntar Narr Verlag, 1987), pp.207-16.
  • Peter Costello and P. Van de Kamp, Flann O’Brien: An Illustrated Biography (London: Bloomsbury 1987).
  • Cathal Ó Háinle, ‘Fionn and Suibhne in At Swim-Two-Birds’, in Hermathena, 142 (Summer 1987), pp.13-49.
  • James Cahalan, ‘Fantasia, Irish Fabulists 1920-55’ [Chap. 6], The Irish Novel: A Critical History (Dublin: Gill & Macmillan 1988), pp.220-60.
  • Richard Kearney, ‘A Crisis of Fiction: Flann O’Brien, Francis Stuart, John Banville’, in Transitions: Narrative of Modern Irish Culture (Manchester UP 1988); rep. in Navigations: Collected Irish Essays, 1976-2006, Richard Kearney (Dublin: Lilliput Press 2006), pp.199-215.
  • Anthony Cronin, No Laughing Matter: The Life and Times Of Flann O’Brien (London: Grafton 1989; rep. Paladin 1990) [extract]; and Do. [rep. edn.], with new intro. (Dublin: New Island Press 2003), 250pp.
  • Wim Tigges, ‘Ireland and Wonderland, Flann O’Brien’s Third Policeman as Nonsense Novel’, in C. C. Barfoot and Theo D’Haen, eds., The Clash of Ireland: Literary Contrasts and Connections (Amst: Rodopi 1989), pp.195-208.
  • Denis Donoghue, ‘In the Celtic Twilight’, review of Anthony Cronin, No Laughing Matter, in Times Literary Supplement (Oct. 27-Nov. 2 1989), pp.1171-72.
  • David Widgery, ‘Comic Genius’, review of Anthony Cronin, No Laughing Matter, in New Statesman & Society, 2, 74 (3 Nov. 1989), p.38.
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1990-99
  • John Cronin, ‘Flann O’Brien, At Swim-Two-Birds’, in The Anglo-Irish Novel, Vol II (Belfast: Appletree 1990), pp.170-82.
  • P. L. Henry, ‘The Structure of Flann O’Brien’s At Swim-Two-Birds’, Irish University Review, 20, 1 (Spring 1990), pp.35-40.
  • Earl. G. Ingersoll, ‘Irish Jokes: A Lacanian Reading of Short Stories by James Joyce, Flann O’Brien, and Bryan MacMahon’, Studies in Short Fiction, 2 (Spring 1990): pp.237-45.
  • Monique Gallagher, Flann O’Brien: Myles from Dublin, pamphlet No. 7 [Princess Grace Lib. Lect. Series, Monaco] (Gerrards Cross: Colin Smythe 1991), [7-]24pp.
  • Monique Gallagher, ‘Reflecting Mirrors in Flann O’Brien’s At Swim-Two-Birds’, in Journal of Narrative Technique, 22 (1992), pp.128-35.
  • Richard Corballis, ‘Wilde … Joyce … O’Brien Stoppard: Modernism and Postmodernism in Travesties’, in J[anet] E. Dunleavy, M[artin] J. Friedman, M[ichael] P. Gillespie, eds., Joycean Occasions (Delaware UP 1991), pp.157-70.
  • Sue Asbee, Flann O’Brien (Boston: Twayne Publ. 1991), xiv, 142pp. [extract; based on thesis, “Flann O’Brien: A Postmodernist and His Reader” (Univ. of London 1986).
  • J. C. C. Mays, ‘Flann O’Brien, Beckett, and the Undecidable Text of Ulysses’, Irish University Review, 22, 1 (Spring/Summer 1992), pp.126-33.
  • Stewart Donovan, ‘Finn in Shabby Digs: Myth and the Reductionist Process in At Swim-Two-Birds’, in Antigonish Review, 89 (1992), pp.147-53.
  • Michael McLoughlin, ‘At Swim Six Characters or Two Birds in Search of an Author: Fiction, Metafiction and Reality in Pirandello and Flann O’Brien’, in Yearbook of the Society for Pirandello Studies, 12 (1992), pp.24-31.
  • Kelly Anspaugh, ‘Flann O’Brien: Postmodern Judas’, in Notes on Modern Irish Literature, 4 (1992), pp.11-16.
  • Joseph Devlin, ‘The Politics of Comedy in At Swim-Two-Birds’, in Eire-Ireland, 27.4, (1992), pp.91-105.
  • Terence Dewsnap, ‘Flann O’Brien and The Politics Of Buffoonery’, Canadian Journal of Irish Studies, 19, 1 (July 1993), pp.22-36.
  • David Cohen, ‘An Atomy of the Novel: Flann O’Brien’s At Swim-Two-Birds’, in Twentieth Century Literature, 39 (Summer 1993), pp.208-29.
  • Kim McMullen, ‘Culture as Colloquy: O’Brien’s Postmodern Dialogue with Irish Tradition’, in Novel: A Forum on Fiction, 27, 1 (Autumn 1993), pp.62–84.
  • Thomas F. Shea, Flann O’Brien’s Exorbitant Novels (Assoc. UP 1993), 183pp. [see contents].
  • Thomas F. Shea, ‘Patrick McGinley’s Impressions of Flann O’Brien: The Devil’s Diary and At Swim-Two-Bird s’, in Twentieth Century Literature, 40 (1994), pp.272-81.
  • Constanza del Rio Alvaro, ‘Narrative Embeddings in Flann O’Brien’s At Swim-Two-Birds’, in Miscelanea, 15 (1994), pp.501-31.
  • Keith Hopper, Flann O’Brien: A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Post-Modernism (Cork UP 1995), 192pp. [see extract]; Do. [rev. 2nd edn], with a Foreword by J. Hillis Miller (Cork UP 2009), 292pp.
  • M. Keith Booker, Flann O’Brien: Bahktin, and Mennipean Satire (Syracuse UP 1995), 163pp.
  • Caoimhghaín Ó Brolcháin, ‘Flann, Ó Caoimh agus Suibhne Geilt: Flann, O’Keeffe agus Mad Sweeney’, in Irish Studies Review (Winter 1995), pp.31-34.
  • Henry Merritt, ‘Games, Ending and Dying in Flann O’Brien’s At Swim-Two-Birds’, in Irish University Review, 25 (Autumn/Winter 1995), pp.308-17.
  • Joshua D. Esty, ‘Flann O’Brien’s At Swim-Two-Birds and the Post-Post Debate’, in ARIEL, 26, 4 (1995), pp.23-46.
  • Declan Kiberd, ‘Flann O’Brien, Myles, and The Poor Mouth’, in Inventing Ireland: The Literature of the Modern Nation (London: Jonathan Cape 1995) [Chap. 28], pp.497-512.
  • Julian Gitzen, ‘The Wayward Theoreticians of Flann O’Brien’, Thalia: Studies in Literary Humor, 15, 1&2 (1995): pp.50-62.
  • Andrew Spencer, ‘The New Physics in Flann O’Brien’s The Third Policeman’, Éire-Ireland, 30, 1 (Spring 1995), pp.145-59.
  • Hwai Kim, ‘Metafiction and the Response of the Reader’, in Journal of English Language and Literature, 41 (1995), pp.149-66.
  • Anne Clune & Tess Hurson, eds., Conjuring Complexities: Essays on Flann O’Brien (Belfast: IIS/QUB 1997), 233pp. [contents]
  • Concetta Mazullo, ‘Flann O’Brien’s Hellish Otherword: From Buile Suibhne to The Third Policeman’, Irish University Review, 25, 2 (Autumn/Winter 1995), pp.318-27 [extract].
  • Steven Curran, ‘“No, This is Not From The Bell”: Brian O’Nolan’s 1943 Cruiskeen Lawn Anthology’, in Éire-Ireland, 32, 2 & 3 (Summer/Fall 1997), pp.79-92.
  • Kennedy, Conan, Looking for De Selby (Killala, Co. Mayo: Morrigan [Morigna MediaCo Teo] 1998), 32pp. [extract]
  • Louis de Paor, ‘Myles na gCopaleen agus Drochshampla na dDealeabhar’, The Irish Review, 23 (Winter 1998), pp.24-32.
  • Ciaran Ó Nuallain, trans., The Early Years of Brian O’Nolan / Flann O’Brien / Myles na gCopaleen [first issued in Irish as Óige an Dearthár, 1973] (Dublin: Lilliput Press 1998), 128pp.
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2000-
  • Declan Kiberd, ‘Gaelic Absurdism: At Swim-Two-Birds’, in Irish Classics (London: Granta 2000), pp.500-19.
  • Steven Curran, ‘Designs on an “Elegant Utopia”: Brian O’Nolan and Vocational Organisation’, in Bullán, V, 2 (Winter/Spring 2001), pp.87-116.
  • Steven Curran, ‘“Could Paddy Leave Off from Copying Just for Five Minutes?”: Brian O’Nolan and Eire’s Beveridge Plan’, in Irish University Review, 31, 2 (Autumn/Winter 2001), pp.353-76.
  • Keith Donohoe, The Irish Anatomist: Flann O’Brien (Dublin & Bethseda: Maunsel 2002), 222pp. [chaps.: Vertiginious extravagance; Anatomy of a murder; The Irish less; The uncrowned king of Ireland, 1940-1945; Myles Gloriosus, 1945-1952; Notes; Bibliography [203-15; based on thesis at CUA, Washington];
  • Sarah E. McKibben, ‘An Beal Bocht: Mouthing Off at National Identity’, in Éire-Ireland: Journal of Irish Studies (Spring/Summer 2003), [q.pp.; cp.6-41.]
  • Joseph Brooker, ‘Estopped by Grand Playsaunce: Flann O’Brien’s Post-colonial Lore’, in Journal of Law and Society, 31, 1 (March 2004), pp.15-37.
  • Thomas C. Foster, A Casebook on Flann O’Brien’s At Swim-Two-Birds (IL: Dalkey Press 2005).
  • Joseph Brooker, Flann O’Brien [Writers & Their Work] (Tavistock: Northcote House 2005), viii, 120pp., ill [1]
  • Terence Brown, ‘Two Post-modern Novelists: Beckett and O’Brien’, in The Cambridge Guide to the Irish Novel, ed. J. W. Foster (Cambridge UP 2006), pp.205-22; espec. p.215ff.
  • R. W. Maslen, ‘Flann O’Brien’s Bombshells: At Swim-Two-Birds and The Third Policeman’, in New Hibernia Review 10, 4 (2006), pp.84-104.
  • Carol Taaffe, Ireland Through the Looking Glass: Flann O’Brien, Myles na gGopaleen, and Irish Culture Debate (Cork UP 2008), 284pp.
  • Todd A. Comer, ‘A Mortal Agency: Flann O’Brien’s At Swim-Two-Birds’, in Journal of Modern Literature 31, 2 (2008), pp,.104-14;
  • Gregory Dobbins, ‘Constitutional Laziness and the Novel: Idleness, Irish Modernism and Flann O’Brien’s At Swim-Two-Birds, in Novel 42, 1 (2009), pp.86-108;
  • Jennika Baines, ed., “Is It About a Bicycle?”: Flann O’Brien in the Twenty-first Century, with a foreword by Micheál Ó Nualláin (Dublin: Four Courts Press 2011), 175pp. [contribs. by Baines (on The Hard Life), Kimberly Bohman-Kalaja, Joseph Brooker, Jon Day, , Frank McNally, Richard T. Murphy (on An Béal Bocht], Adrian Naughton, Amy Nejezchleb, Carol Taaffe, & Samuel Whybrow.]
  • Keith Hopper & Neil Murphy, Centenary Issue of Review of Contemporary Fiction (Dalking Archive Press 2011).
  • Fintan O’Toole, ‘The fantastic Flann O’Brien’, in The Irish Times (1 Oct. 2011), Weekend Review [see extract].
  • Eamonn Hughes, ‘Flann O’Brien’s At Swim Two Birds in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction’, in Irish Modernism: Origins, Contexts, Publics, ed. Edwina Keown & Carol Taaffe (Bern & Oxford: Peter Lang 2009) [q.pp.]
  • Ruben Borg, Paul Fagan & Werner Huber, eds., Flann O’Brien: Contesting Legacies (Cork UP 2014), 296pp.
See also unlisted notices under Commentary, infra.
See also ...

Neil Cornwell, The Absurd in Literature (Manchester UP 2006), xii, 354 p.; espec. pp.251-64 [also deals with Samuel Beckett, Franz Kafka and Daniil Kharms]

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Bibliographical details

Timothy O’Keeffe, ed., Myles: Portraits of Brian O’Nolan (London: Martin, Brian & O’Keeffe 1973), incls. Niall Sheridan, ‘Brian, Flann, and Myles’, Irish Times (2 April 1966) [here pp.32-33]; John Garvin, ‘Sweetscented Manuscripts’ [pp.54-61]; James White, ‘Myles, Flann and Brian’, in O’Keeffe [pp.62-69]; John Montague, ‘Sweetness’, [q.pp.], et al. See also Donagh MacDonagh, ‘The Great Lost Novel’, unpub. MS (London: MacGibbon & Kee).

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Anne Clissmann & David Powell, eds., ‘Brian O’Nolan/Myles Na gCopaleen Portfolio’ [ Special Number], Journal of Irish Literature, 3 (January 1974), containing Plays and stories; incls. contribs. by Seamus Kelly, ‘Brian O’Nolan, Scholar, Satirist, and Wit’; J. C. C. Mays, ‘Brian O’Nolan: Literalist of the Imagination’, pp.47-115; David Powell, ‘Who was Myles and What Was He?’; and Myles Orvell, ‘Entirely Fictitious: The Fiction of Flann O’Brien’, pp.93-103; also portofolio of juvenalia; two plays, The Insect Play and The Man with Four Legs; two stories, Two in One and Donabate; also ‘Sheaf of Letters’ ed. by Robert Hogan and Gordon Henderson; checklist by Powell, pp.104-12.

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Rüdiger Imhof, ed., Alive-alive O!: Flann O’Brien’s ‘At Swim-Two-Birds’ (Dublin: Wolfhound 1985; 1993), incl. early pieces by Graham Greene (‘A Book in a Thousand’, p.42), V. S. Pritchett (‘Death of Finn’, p.55), Antony West (‘Inspired Nonsense’, p.55), Niall Sheridan (‘Brian, Flann and Myles’, p.74); also J. C. C. Mays (‘Literalist of the Imagination’, p.83), Anthony Cronin (‘After Swim’, p.112), Rüdiger Imhof (‘Two Meta-Novelists: Sternesque Elements in Novels by Flann O’Brien’, p.162)’, John Coleman, ‘The Use of Joyce’, et al.; Thomas Hogan [pseudonym of Thomas Wood, of the Dept. of External Affairs; also wrote as ‘Thersites’ in Irish Times], ‘Myles na gCopaleen’, in The Bell, XIII, 2 (1946), pp.126-40 [a witty ad hominem attack].

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Anne Clune & Tess Hurson, eds., Conjuring Complexities: Essays on Flann O’Brien (Belfast: IIS/QUB 1997), 233pp. content: Acknowledgements and Abbreviations [vii]; Tess Hurston, ‘Suspension of Disbelief’ [viii]; Anne Clune, Introduction [xi]; Daniel Jacquin, ‘Flann’s Savage Mirth’ [1]; Caoimhghin Ó Braolchain, ‘Comparatively Untapped Sources’ [9]; Cathal Ó Hainle, ‘Fionn and Suibhne in At Swim-Two-Birds’ [17]; Anthony Cronin, ‘Squalid Exegesis: Biographical Reminiscence, Part the First’ [37]; Michael Cronin, ‘Mental Ludo - Ludic Elements in At Swim-Two-Birds’ [47]; Sue Ashbee, ‘At Swim-Two-Birds: Readers and Literary Reference’ [53]; David Cohen, Arranged by Wise Hands: Flann O’Brien’s Metafictions [57]; Hugh Kenner, ‘The Fourth Policeman’ [61]; Paul Simpson, ‘The Interactive ‘World of The Third Policeman’ [73]; Alf Mac Lochlainn, ‘The Outside Skin of Light Yellow: Flann O’Brien’s Tribute to Berkeley’ [83]; Jane Farnon, ‘Motifs of Gaelic Lore and Literature in An Beal Bocht’ [89]; Steven Young, ‘Fact/Fiction: Cruiskeen Lawn’ [111]; Hurson, ‘Conspicuous Absences: The Hard Life’ [119]; Chris Morash, ‘Augustine … O’Brien … Vico …. Joyce’ [133]; Jose Lanters, ‘“Unless I am a Dutchman by Profession and Nationality”: The Problems of Translating Flann O’Brien into Dutch’ [143]; Rüdiger Imhof, ‘The Presence of Flann O’Brien in Contemporary Fiction’ [151]. Notes [165]; Primary Bibliography by John Wyse Jackson [185]; Secondary Bibliography by Anne Clune [187; containing listings of critical studies, reviews of works and critical studies, newspaper notices (per journal), dissertations, &c.]; Contributors [231] ISBN 0 9853890 675 5 pb. [x hb].

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Thomas F. O’Shea, Flann O’Brien’s Exorbitant Novels (Lewisburg: Bucknell UP 1992), 183pp., with index. CONTENTS: Comhthron Féinne and Blather, The Early Experiments [17]; At Swim-Two-Birds, Exorbitance and the Early Manuscripts [50]; At Swim-Two-Birds, Verbal Gamesmanship and Palimpsest [81]; The Third Policeman, ‘Re-inscribing’ the Self [113]; The Hard Life and The Dalkey Archive, The Craft of Seeming Pedestrian [142]. [Select Bibliography as in Works and Criticism, supra.]

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Ruben Borg, Paul Fagan & Werner Huber, eds., Flann O’Brien: Contesting Legacies (Cork UP 2014), 296pp. CONTENTS: Keith Hopper, ‘Coming off the rails: the strange case of “John Duffy’s Brother’’; Jack Fennell, ‘Irelands enough and time: Brian O’Nolan’s science fiction’; Marion Quirici, ‘(Probably post-humous): the frame device in Brian O’Nolan’s short fiction’; Paul Fagan, ‘“I’ve got you under my skin’: “John Duffy’s Brother”, “Two in One”, & the confessions of Narcissus’; Thierry Robin, ‘Tall tales or “petites histoires”: history & the void in “The Martyr’s Crown” and “Thirst”’; Ute Anna Mittermaier, ‘ In search of Mr Love, or: the internationalist credentials of “Myles before Myles’’; John McCourt, ‘Myles na gCopaleen: a portrait of the artist as a Joyce scholar’; Tom Walker. ‘“A true story”: The Third Policeman and the writing of terror’; Neil Murphy, ‘Myles na gCopaleen, Flann O’Brien, and An Béal Bocht: intertextuality and aesthetic play’; Ondrej Pilny, ‘“Did you put charcoal adroitly in the vent?”: Brian O’Nolan and pataphysics’; Alana Gillespie, ‘“Banjaxed and bewildered’: Cruiskeen Lawn and the role of science in independent Ireland’; Maebh Long, ‘The trial of Jams O’Donnell: An Béal Bocht and the force of law’; Thomas Jackson Rice, ‘Brian O’Nolan: misogynist or “ould Mary Anne”?’; Jennika Baines, ‘The murders of Flann O’Brien: death and creation in At Swim-Two-Birds, The Third Policeman, An Béal Bocht, and “Two in One’’.’

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References
Seamus Deane, gen. ed., The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing (Derry: Field Day Co. 1991), Vol. 3: selects At Swim-Two-Birds; The Best of Myles; 93 [At Swim, nihilistic extravaganza; The Third Policeman, language of the dead], 250 [Joyce paired the English original of Beckett’s Murphy with O’Brien’s At Swim as ‘Jean qui pleure’ and ‘Jean qui rit’, and was able to quote sections of it from memory]; 523 [a tragic group, with Kavanagh and Behan, ed. comm. on Anthony Cronin’s Dead as Doornails]; 526n [err. for C. C. O’Brien]; 611 [‘experimental tradition’, in Deane’s Celtic Revivals, 1985], 639 [‘By the time Flann O’Brien emerges with his resuscitated banalities, the tongue will be lodged wholly in the side of the mouth’, Declan Kiberd, Anglo-Irish Attitudes, Field Day Pamphlet, 1984]; 658 [rems. on O’Brien’s satire on the absurdity of Gaelic nationalist rural pieties]; 684 [‘exile-at-home’, ed. comm. Seamus Deane]; 937 [Benedict Kiely comments in 1968 on Frank O’Connor’s view that Ireland could not produced novelists; ed. comm.]; 939 [Patrick McGinley O’Brienesque acc. ed. JW Foster]; 942 [modernism of, ed.], 949 [Patrick Boyle, Irish-English dialect ear compared to]; 1431 [in biog. notice on Charles Donnelly, his contemp. at UCD].

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Albert Manguel, ed., Anthology of Fantasy Literature (1983), contains ‘John Duffy’s Brother’ [story], pp.371-76, from Stories and Plays by Flann O’Brien [copyright Brian O’Nolan 1941, and Evelyn O’Nolan, 1973, rep. permission Viking/Penguin Inc and Brandt & Brandt agency].

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Peter Ellis (Cat. 10; 2002) lists Faustus Kelly: A Play in Three Acts (Dublin: Cahill 1943), rare; performed 25th Jan. 1943 [£950]; The Hard Life: An Exegesis of Squalor (MacGibbon & Kee 1961), 157pp. [£250].

Harry Ransom Humanities Research Centre (Texas Univ., Austin), holds two series: Works (1934-1963) and Criticism (1989). WORKS: At Swim-Two-Birds, two typescript drafts, the first containing extensive marginalia and holographic additions by author, ‘was most likely composed between 1934 and 1937.’ (Thomas F. Shea); The second: typescript bearing signed note by author indicating that it is ‘the final version for Longmans Green’, typed in 1937. Also a group of clippings relating to the 1960 republication of At Swim-Two-Birds, together with a note from O’Nolan to Niall Montgomery 21 Sept. 1960). The Dalkey Archive: here in four drafts; the first, a holograph, dated ‘November 1962 ... July 1963’; the others dated August, September and October 1963, of which the first is identified as ‘first typescript’, the second as is described as ‘first typescript drastically revised’, the last being a typescript bound in boards and dated October 1963. Faustus Kelly (1943) in two manuscripts each in a ruled notebook, together with a number of unbound leaves of dramatic writing for that play. CRITICISM: a typescript draft of Thomas F. Shea, Flann O’Brien’s Exhorbitant Novels (Bucknell UP 1992). Go to: HRC (Texas) [link].

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Notes
At Swim Two Birds: Snáimh-dá-en (‘swim-two-birds’), is one of the resting-places of Sweeney (in Buile Suibhne) after his madness came upon him at the battle of Moira (Magh Rath), is Devinish Island between Clonmacnois and Shannonbridge; Flann O’Brien spent part of his childhood at Tullamore, in Co. Offaly, nearby. See P. J. Kavanagh, Voices in Ireland (1994), p.150.

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Why Flann?
Flann O’Brien told his publisher that he adopted the name Flann for the benefit of a common Irish name (O’Brien) with an unusual one (q. source). But A Short History of Ireland by P. W. Joyce offers a possibly different inspiration in the form of an account of a work called the Synchronisms of Flann, of whose author he writes:

‘This Flann was a layman, Ferleginn or chief professor of the school of Monasterboice: died in 1056. He compares the chronology of Ireland with that of other countries, and gives the names of the monarchs that reigned in Assyria, Persia, Greece, and Rome, from the most remote period, together with most careful lists of the Irish kings who reigned contemporaneously with them. Copies of this tract, but imperfect, are preserved in the Books of Lecan and Ballymote.’ (P. W. Joyce, A Short History of Ireland from the Earliest Times to 1608, Longmans 1893, p.27.)

The case is a little comparable with that of James Joyce who inevitably included the Martyrology of Gorman in the Shem chapter of the Wake - reflecting the biography of himself that had been prepared by Herbert Gorman. Modern Irish writers must have their ancient antecedents. Perhaps, too, O’Brien felt that the multiculturalism of his avatar - or, at least, his zany collocation of radically disparate culture epochs - was apposite to his own procedure as a deeply achronological writer.

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Suibhne’s verses: ‘Terrible is my plight this night / the pure air has pierced my body, / lacerated feet, my cheek is green - / Oh might God, it is my due. [&c.]’, selected in Flann O’Brien’s translation from At Swim-Two-Birds (Penguin edn., p.84); otherwise entitled ‘Wolves for Company’ in ‘Frenzy of Sweeney’, from John Montague, ed., The Faber Book of Irish Verse (1974), p.83.

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The Third Policeman (1967): A thriller, a hilarious comic satire about an archetypal village police force, a surrealistic vision of eternity, the story of a tender, brief, unrequited love affair between a man and his bicycle, and a chilling fable of unending guilt, The Third Policeman is comparable only to Alice in Wonderland as an allegory of the absurd. Distinguished by endless comic invention and its delicate balancing of logic and fantasy, The Third Policeman is unique in the English language. (See COPAC records online; accessed 24.08.2009.)

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Myles na Gopaleen - see Gerald Griffin, The Collegians (Chap. 7): ‘“[...] Myles-na-coppuleen? - Myles of the ponies, is it?” said Lowry Looby, who just then led Kyrle Daly’s horse to the door. “Is he in these parts now?” /  “Do you know Myles, eroo?” was the truly Irish reply. /  “Know Myles-na-coppuleen? Wisha, an’ ’tis I that do, an’ that well! O murther, an’ are them poor Myles’s ponies I see in the pound over? Poor boy! I declare it I’m sorry for his trouble.” /  “If you be as you say,” the old innkeeper muttered with a distrustful smile, “put a hand in your pocket an’ give me four and eightpence. an’ you may take the fourteen of em ‘after him.” (Prior to O’Brien’s expropriation of it - meaning Myles of the Ponies [Little Horses], the character’s sobriquet was first taken up by Dion Boucicault, supra.)

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Stage version: A theatrical adaptation of At Swim-Two Birds was made by by Ridiculusmus, a Derry and London-based company wit David Woods, John Hough, Pete McCabe, and Angus Barr (reviewed at Cleere’s Theatre, in Kilkenny, Sunday Ind., 20.8.1995).

Locus classicus: A proximate source for the pastiche of Irish medieval lyrics conducted by Flann O’Brien in At Swim-Two-Birds is to be found in the ‘Cyclops episode’ of Joyce’s Ulysses, viz., the song of the Citizen’s dog Garryowen: ‘The curse of my curses / Seven days every day / And seven dry Thursdays / On you, Barney Kiernan, / Has no sup of water / To cool my courage, / And my guts red roaring / After Lowry’s lights.’ (Ulysses, Bodley Head Edn.,p.404.)

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Sharpened needles (in The Third Policeman): The idea of ‘sharpness’ connected with iron needless is the subject of a discourse in J. M. Synge’s Aran Islands (1907). ‘“Take a sharp needle”, he said, “and stick it under the collar of your coat, and not one of them will be able to have power on you.” Iron is a common talisman with barbarians, but in this case the idea of exquisite sharpness was probably present also, and perhaps some feeling for the sanctity of the instrument of toil, a folk-belief that is common in Brittany. The fairies are more numerous in Mayo than in any other country, though they are fond of certain districts in Galway […].’ (Coll. Works, II: Prose, 1966, ed. Alan Price; p.80).

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Carletonesque? Compare the nature-descriptions of The Third Policeman with this in the opening passage of William Carleton’s “Ned M’Keown”: ‘[A] delightful vale, which runs up, for twelve or fourteen miles, between two ranges of dark, well-defined mountains, that give to the interjacent country the form of a low inverted arch. […, &c.’; p.22, and the following on Knockmany:] ‘On the north-west side ran a ridge of high hills, with the cloud-capped peak of Knockmany rising in lofty eminence above them; these, as they extended towards the south, became gradually deeper in their hue, until at length they assumed the shape and form of heath-clad mountains, dark and towering. The prospect on either range is highly pleasing, and capable of being compared with any I have ever seen, in softness, variety, and that serene lustre which reposes only on the surface of a country rich in the beauty of fertility, and improved, by the hand of industry and taste. Opposite Knockmany, at a distance of about four miles, on the south-eastern side, rose the huge and dark outline of Cullimore, standing out in gigantic relief against the clear blue of a summer sky, and flinging down his frowning and haughty shadow almost to the firm-set base of his lofty rival; or, in winter, wrapped in a mantle of clouds, and crowned with unsullied snow, reposing in undisturbed tranquillity, whilst the loud voice of storms howled around him. […; &c.]’ (Wildgoose Lodge and Other Stories, ed. Maurice Harmon, Cork: Mercier Press 1973, pp.22-23.)

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Sheepness of allsheep: O’Brien owes an obvious debt to James Joyce in his celebrated account of the atomic structure of a sheep: ‘What is a sheep only millions of little bits of sheepness whirling around and doing intricate convolutions inside the sheep? What else is it but that?’ (The Third Policeman, 1993 Edn., p.86.) Cf. Stephen Dedalus: ‘Unsheathe your dagger definitions. Horseness is the whatness of allhorse. Streams of tendency and eons they worship. God: noise in the street: very peripatetic. Space: what you damn well have to see. Through spaces smaller than red globules of man’s blood they creepycrawl after Blake’s buttocks into eternity of which this vegetable world is but a shadow. Hold to the now, the here, through which all future plunges to the past.’ (Ulysses, Bodley Head Edn., 1962, p.238.)

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J. W. Dunne: Dunne’s Experiment with Time offers a conceptual framework of The Third Policeman: ‘Death involves the continuation of the mind, but on a different time scale, called “time 2”. The mind, when it enters this different time-scale, which is the “fourth dimension” (a dimension which does not involve any kind of forward progression) wanders about in a daze and has to learn to control its focus of “attention”. Otherwise its new world seems like the world of a nightmare.’ [Student source.]

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William Saroyan [1]: O’Brien was not unique in wishing to write like Saroyan. See, for instance, a story by John Hillier, in which the Bob Crawshaw, a British World War II bomber, writes a ‘chit’ for sending home if he does not return: ‘He got to his bunk and took his pen and some paper and sat down and wrote “Dear Father and Mother and Eileen.” [26] Then he leaned back and chewed the end of his pen, and he thought, Christ, I wish I could write like William Saroyan and those types, and he thought of flying at night on a trip. Up there with yourself, feeling tingling all over your body with no taste except the nothing but the dryness of the back of your throat and seeing everything, including your own death, and your own aircraft catching fire and falling out of the sky, leaving you still up there watching it and yet being all the time inside the plane in the middle of all the searchlight beams on God’s earth and the red, white and green sausages of small-arms fire curling all round the sky in search of you.’ (“Daylight on Berlin”, in The Penguin New Writing, ed. John Lehmann, March 1943, pp.25-26; cf. O’Brien’s letter to Saroyan, quoted in Anthony Cronin, No Laughing Matter, 1989, as given in Quotations, supra.)

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William Saroyan [2]: Note that the epithet ‘bum’ - as in Flann’s phrase ‘bum book’ - also occurs in an American connection when Sean O’Faolain records, in Vive Moi, that ‘an American friend once said to me when I talked to him about University College Cork: “Well Sean, it may have been a bum joint but it suited you down to the ground.”’ (Vive Moi, q.p.; quoted in John A. Murphy, ‘O’Faolain and U.C.C.’, in The Irish Review, 26 (Autumn 2000), pp.38-50; p.40.)

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Flann & DIAS: Eamon de Valera helped Erwin Schrödinger [var. Schroedinger] to escape Nazi Germany with his wife and attached him to the DIAS, gave a lecture at Dublin University (TCD) Metaphysical Soc. with arguments for ‘not regarding causality as an irremissable necessity of thought’ and claiming that ‘open-mindedness towards these questions was the most imperative demand.’ Flann O’Brien objected to ‘an argument that could do away with the first cause’ and let fly at the institute in his column during Nov. 1942: ‘Talking of this notorious Institute (Lord, what I would give for a chair in it with me thousand good-lookin’ pounds a year for doing “work” that most people regard as recreation). A friend has drawn my attention to Professor O’Rahilly’s recent address on “Palladius and Patrick”. / I understand also that Professor Schrödinger has been proving lately that you cannot establish a first cause. The first fruit of the Institute therefore, has been an effort to show that there are two Saint Patricks and no God. […] The propagation of heresy and unbelief has nothing to do with polite learning, and unless we are careful this Institute of ours will make us the laughing stock of the world.’ (Allanah Hopkin, The Living Legend of St Patrick, NY: St. Martin’s Press, 1989, p.151.)

See also ‘How Myles na gCopaleen belled Schrödinger’s cat’, in Irish Times (22 Feb. 2001) - with the additional information that Schrödinger laughed off the attack but the DIAS demanded an apology from the editor Robert Smyllie, who supplied it along with an assurance that Myles would never mention the Institute again.’ (See further under Quotations, supra, and see also note on Arthur Riordan, Improbable Frequency, infra.]

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Dord Fian: ‘The music that Finn loved was that which filled the heart with joy and gave light to the countenance, the song of the black bird of Letter Lee, and the melody of the Dord Fian, the sound of the wind in Droum-Derg, the thunders of Assaroe, the cry of the hounds let loose through Glen Ra, with their faces outward from the Suir, the Tonn Rury lashing the shore, the wash of water against the side of ships, the cry of Bran at Knock-an-awr, the murmur of streams at Slieve-mish and oh, the black bird of Derry-Cairn. I never heard, by my soul, sound sweeter than that. Were I only beneath his nest!’ (q. trans.; John Philip Cohane, The Indestructible Irish (NY: Hawthorn Books 1969, p.172.)

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Dear Editor: Nolan wrote up to nine letters under daily to The Irish Times under different names during 1940, before he was given a column of his own. “Two in One”, a story of a taxidermist’s assistant who murders his employer and hides within his skin, only to be arrested for his own murder. (David Wheatley, review of John Wyse Jackson, ed., Flann O’Brien at War: Myles na gCopaleen 1940-1945, Duckworth 1999, in Times Literary Supplement, 21 July, 2000, p.29.)

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Home Rule?: ‘That’s a nice piece of law and order for you, a terrific indictment of democratic self-government, a beautiful commentary on Home Rule.’ (The Third Policeman, Flamingo Edn. 1993, p.165.) Flann O’Brien appears to set his second in the period of Home Rule, a form of independence never actually accorded to Ireland and perhaps intended as a jocose equivalent of the Irish Free State. Equally, this might be taken as feature of the three policemen, who stand as oddly Victorian figures in their Irish setting, or else contemporaries of the novelist who remain uncertain as to prevailing politic arrangements in the era when the novel - and their part in it - is set (viz., 1940).

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Conan Kennedy: Kennedy conjectures that the name de Selby is taken from the De Selby Quarries on Mount Seskin Road between Terenure and Blessington, nr. Jobestown, from which hard-core for the roads of S. Dublin was extracted, and pursues the connection with Walter Conan (1867-1936), proprietor of a tailoring firm which made academic gowns and shared buildings and business interests with the De Selby company as well as being - more significantly - was the inventor of a meat preservation system, incandescent gas lamps, a keyless lock and an index carding sysem and a depth charge (patent fuse) that was adopted by the British war office as an anti-submarine weapon. Sir John Ross and Walter Conan himself give accounts of the invention, trial and attempted exploitation of the fuse. (See Looking for De Selby, Killala: Morrigan 1998).

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Oscar O’Brien: At one place, a least, Flann adopts the Wildean manner of wit in characterising the peculiarities of De Selby: ‘Another of de Selby’s weaknesses was his inabilility to distinguish between men and women. […] The age, the intellectual attainments and the style of dress of the Countess would make [that] a pardonable error for anybody afflicted with poor sight but it is feared that the same cannot be said of other instances.’ (The Third Policeman, 1993 Edn., p.173-74.)

Murder most foul: Liam O’Flaherty, in his school-days, wrote a story of a farmer who murders his wife which he quoted in Shame the Devil (1934; 2nd. imp. 1939): ‘He struck with his spade on the head many times, blaspheming joyously at each stroke, how she sank into the furrow, where she bled so profusely that the ensuing blows made her gore splash into her murderous husband’s face.’ (Quoted in Patrick Sheeran, “The Novels of Liam O’Flaherty: A Study in Romantic Nationalism”, UCG/NUI PhD Diss., 1972, p.54.) Cf. the murder with which The Third Policeman begins.

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Aldous Huxley, Point Counterpoint (1928), Philip Quarles: ‘Put a novelist into a novel. He justifies the aesthetic generalisatins, which may be interesting - at least to me. he also justifies experiment. Specimens of his work may illustrate other possible or impossible ways of telling a story. And if you have him telling parts of the same story you are, you can make a variation on the theme. But why draw the line at one novelist inside your novel? Why not a second inside his? And a third inside the second novel? Ans so on to infinity, like those advertisements of Quaker Oats where there’s a Quaker holding a box of oats on wihc is a picture of another Quaker holding another box of oats, &c., &c. At about the tenth remove you might have a novelist telling your story in algebraic symbols or in terms of variation in blood pressure, pulse, secretion of ductless glands, and reaction time.’ (NY Harper 1965 Edn., pp.301-02; quoted in Niall Fisher, ENG507 UUC 2002.)

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Bashed about: O’Brien’s ‘Editorial Note’ to the “James Joyce” special issue of in Envoy (1951, pp.6-11) was reprinted by John Ryan ‘A Bash in the Tunnel’ in his edited collection A Bash in the Tunnel: James Joyce by the Irish (1970, pp.15-20), with small variations, viz., in place of O’Brien’s editorial words, ‘I doubt whether the contents of this issue will get any of us any forrarder. / A little, perhaps. Mr. Cass seems to establish that Joyce was at heart an Irish dawn-bursting romantic, an admirer of de Valera […]’, Ryan has given: ‘Some think that Joyce was at heart [… &c.]’ Again, where O’Brien writes, ‘This issue of ENVOY claims to be merely a small bit of that garden’ (Envoy, p.11), Ryan substitutes, ‘All we can claim to know is merely a small bit of that garden’. (A Bash [… &c.], p.20.)

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Tomás Ó Criomhthain [O’Crohan]: At the end of The Islandman, Ó Criomthain provides the original for the parody that O’Brien produced in The Poor Mouth: ‘‘[…] to set down the character of the people about me so that some record of us might live after us, for the like of us will never be again…. that when I am gone men will know what life was like in my time and the neighbours that lived with me.’ Cf., ‘Yes! I think that I shall never forget the Gaelic feis which we had in Corkadoragha. During the course of the feis many died whose likes will not be there again and, had the feis continued a week longer, no one would be alive now in Corkadoragha in all truth.’ (The Poor Mouth [An Beal Bocht], trans. Patrick C. Power, 1973; Picador 1975, p.61.) [See further, under Ó Criomhthain, infra.]

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Tom Stoppard professed admiration for O’Brien’s first novel, At Swim Two Birds in an early interview [with Giles Gordan, Transatlantic Review 29 (1968)], and there are clear signs that Lord Malquist and Mr. Moon, Stoppard’s only novel to date, was written under its influence. At Swim is about a student who writes a novel about a novelist who is eventually taken over and killed by his own characters; Stoppard - somewhat less ambitiously - writes about a latter-day Boswell (Moon) who is chronicling the day-to-day activities of his patron (Malquist) and is eventually killed by the repercussions of those activities. Besides this self-reflexiveness, the two novels share a predilection for ready-made characters, often of a bizarre kind, ‘nigger skivvies’ in O’Brien’s Dublin, a black Irish Jew in Stoppard’s London, and cowboys in both. (See Richard Corballis, ‘Modernism and Postmodernism in Travesties’, in Joycean Occasions, ed. Janet Dunleavy, 1991, p.163.)

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Blooming anxiety: The theory of anxiety of influence invoked by Seamus Deane and others to describe Flann O’Brien’s relation to James Joyce takes its rise and definition from Harold Bloom, The Anxiety of Influence: A Theory of Poetry (NY: OUP 1973). See Alex Davis, ‘Irish Poetic Modernisms: A Reappraisal’, in Critical Survey, 8, 2, 1996, pp.186-97; cited on Thomas MacGreevy Archive [online].

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Improbably Frequency, a musical farce by Arthur Riordan and Bell Helicopter (directed by Lynne Parker for Rough Magic) is set in Dublin 1941 and features Flann O’Brien, Erwin Schrödinger, et al., among the dram. persona: ‘As he seeks out the truth on Irish shores, Faraday is drawn in many different directions, his suspicions aroused with regard to just about everyone he meets. Why do the songs on O’Dromedary’s popular radio show all seem to forecast the weather? Why does the lovely Philomena turn up everywhere there’s trouble? Just what do the Austrian physicist Erwin Schrödinger and the hack Myles na gCopaleen have to hide? […].’ Note that the IRA-veteran is called Muldoon. (Dublin Th. Fest.,2004; see RTÉ Arts Online / October 2004 [link].)

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Check names and dates of family members, chiefly brothers and wife; also, check family home at Avoca Tce. [all as supra], being at right angles to Avoca Rd., Blackrock and facing The Smoothing Iron (mentioned by Joyce in Finnegans Wake).

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RTÉ Arts Live” edition on “Flann O’Brien” (March 2006), produced by Liam Ó Muirthile, incls. contribs. from Anthony Cronin, Louis de Paor, Declan Kiberd, Alan Titley, Micheál Ó Nuallain (br.) and comic Tommy Tiernan; also an interview with Tim Pat Coogan and the film of the first Bloomsday recreation (1954) shot by John Ryan in which O’Brien, Cronin, and Patrick Kavanagh took part. A conference was on 1st April organised at UCD by Jennika Pierie, with presentations from Josephh Brooker (Birbeck), Carol Taaffe (TCD), Gregory Dobbins (UC, Davis).

Call For Papers: “Reading Brian O’Nolan’s Libraries&##148; - The Parish Review: Official Journal of the International Flann O’Brien Society

The expanding field of Brian O’Nolan (Flann O’Brien/Myles na gCopaleen) scholarship has undergone a remarkable transformation in the wake of the writer’s 2011 centenary. This renewed scholarly interest has given rise to a range of Cultural Materialist, Deconstructionist, and Genetic approaches, amongst others, that have explored the representation, and indeed the limits of, knowledge within O’Nolan’s oeuvre. His writing continues to resonate within the public sphere, as is attested by the many reissues, adaptations, and collections of his works, including the recent publication of his dramatic works and short stories by Dalkey Archive Press. As Flann O’Brien (At Swim-Two-Birds, The Third Policeman) and Myles na gCopaleen (“Cruiskeen Lawn”, An Béal Bocht), O’Nolan is celebrated, in part, for his savage parodies of academic institutions, erudite individuals, and pedagogical methods; a reputation that appears to rest uneasily alongside this increasing scholarly attention.

The John Burns Library at Boston College acquired Brian O’Nolan’s papers and personal library in February 1997, yet a complete inventory of the latter has only just been compiled and published for the first time in the most recent issue of The Parish Review (2.1, Fall 2013), guest edited by Maebh Long. (A copy of the issue, including the full inventory, is available from the International Flann O’Brien Society by contacting the general editors at viennacis.anglistik@univie.ac.at). This is an important and exciting resource for O’Nolan scholars: the library contains over four hundred books, periodicals, and newspapers in French, German, Greek, Irish, and Latin on subjects as diverse as archaeology, philosophy, politics, psychology, science, and theology. Additionally, there are literary texts from the Classical, Renaissance, Romantic, Victorian, and Modern periods. Due to the complexity of this collection, its potential as a resource for scholarship is only beginning to be examined.

A forthcoming issue of The Parish Review (October 2014) will take up the question of how to assess Brian O’Nolan’s personal library, particularly in light of the representation of archives, marginalia, and scholarship across his oeuvre. We will encourage dialogue between frequently polarized critical approaches, asking which O’Nolan we might find between these shelves. Is O’Nolan’s work invigorated or exhausted by questions of influence? Does the representation of scholarship within his work mark a point of potential or resistance for archival approaches? What might be gathered from the annotations and marginalia within this wide-ranging collection of texts? Or should O’Nolan scholarship be spared from such lines of inquisition?

The editors invite proposals on any aspect of O’Nolan’s writing, but are especially interested in papers that explore the holdings at the Burns Library and/or investigate the wider epistemological issues that arise within his work. Potential topics for papers include, but are by no means limited to:

•   How models of influence are sustained by and/or undermined by
O’Nolan’s work
•   The complexities of O’Nolan’s national and intellectual contexts
•   The representation of libraries and/or scholarship within modernist
and post-modernist texts
•   O’Nolan’s engagement with, or response to, specific literary movements
•   How emerging methodologies and technologies might inform our use and
understanding of O’Nolan’s library.

Proposals of no more than 300 words should be submitted to theparishreview@gmail.com by 31 January 2014. The Essays will be limited to 5,000 words and adhere to the MLA style guide. They will be submitted for peer-review to the editors by 31 May 2014. Contributors can expect to receive feedback by 31 July 2014.

  Vienna Centre for Irish Studies
Universitaet Wien
Spitalgasse 2-4, Hof 8
1090 Wien
AUSTRIA
Tel.: +43 1 4277 42481
Flann O’Brien International Society and Annual Conference - online.

 

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