Flann O'Brien

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O'Brien, Flann,

pseud. for

Brian Ó Nualláin or O'Nolan

(ō nō`lən) 1911–66, Irish novelist and political commentator. Born in County Tyrone and raised in Dublin, he studied at University College, Dublin, entered the Irish civil service in 1937, and formally retired in 1953. From 1940 until his death, he wrote a political column called "Cruiskeen Lawn" for The Irish Times, under the pseudonym of Myles na Gopaleen; his biting, satiric commentaries made him the conscience of the Irish government. Under this name, he also wrote the novel An Be'al Bocht (1941, tr. The Poor Mouth, 1973), a parody of Irish country life. As Flann O'Brien, he published four comic novels in English, all of which display his brilliant abilities at wordplay and absurdist sensibility: At Swim-Two-Birds (1939, repr. 1960), a wildly funny literary send-up widely considered his masterpiece; The Hard Life (1961), a farce; The Dalkey Archive (1964), a satiric fantasy; and the surreal The Third Policeman (1967). He was also the author of a play, Faustus Kelly (1943).


See his Complete Novels (2008) and The Short Fiction of Flann O'Brien (2013, ed. by N. Murphy and K. Hopper); biography by A. Cronin (1998); studies by A. Clissmann (1975), S. Asbee (1991), T. F. Shea (1992), K. Hopper (1995), and K. Donohue (2002).

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To say that Flann O'Brien may have spoken English better than Winston Churchill did is to patronize the Irish writer.
There is no clear distinction between the work of expatriate modernists like Beckett and Joyce and the activities of those who stayed at home, notably Flann O'Brien.
Flann O'Brien es, con justicia, desconocido, pues sus libros apenas se reeditaban o en su primera edicion apenas se vendian un par de centenas.
Such is the case with Kiberd's treatment of Cre na Cille, which he refers to as the "logical consummation" of a "movement" initiated by Beckett, Kavanagh, and Flann O'Brien.
There is a kind of civilized Schadenfreude in his having modern English writing be the work of the Americans Pound, Eliot, and Lewis; the Pole Conrad; and the Irish Joyce, Beckett, and Flann O'Brien.
A brief historical survey of twentieth century Irish fiction writers follows Lanters's essay, mentioning the works of Samuel Beckett, Flann O'Brien, Sean O'Faolain, and Elizabeth Bowen and some Northern Irish novelists such as Glenn Patterson among others.
The Irish writer Flann O'Brien, in one of the earliest postmodern novels of flaunted artifice, At Swim-Two-Birds (1939), has devised just such a book" (Alter 1975: 223).
He is coeditor of Genitricksling Joyce (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 1999), and he has published essays on James Joyce and genetic criticism, Flann O'Brien, the photographer Nadar, and new literatures in English and their relation to literary history.
Paul: An old Irish author called Flann O'Brien who wrote humorous, satirical books.
Flann O'Brien (na gCopaleen's legal name) never really concentrated on racing, largely because his time was more or less completely taken up by other preoccupations, especially writing and drink.
Wells, Aldous Huxley, William Saroyan ("the bicycle is the noblest invention of mankind"), Marcia Lowe, Edward Abbey, Sean O'Faolain, Alan Sillitoe, and Flann O'Brien.