O'Brien, Flann, 1911-1966

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Brian O'Nolan, born 5 October 1911, began his literary career as a newspaper columnist writing under various pseudonyms: George Knowall, John Doe, Myles na Gopaleen, and Flann O'Brien. His later works include sketches, TV scripts, and novels, the best-known of which is At Swim-Two-Birds. One novel, The Dalkey Archive, was rewritten as a play, The Saints Go Cycling In, by Hugh Leonard. O'Nolan's flair for comedy in all his works was admired by such prominent authors as James Joyce, Graham Greene, Dylan Thomas, Brendan Behan, and S.J. Perelman. Brian O'Nolan died in Dublin on 1 April 1966.

From the description of Brian O'Nolan papers, 1914-1966. (Southern Illinois University). WorldCat record id: 180943566

Irish author and journalist.

From the description of Manuscripts and criticism 1934-1989, (bulk 1934-1963). (Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center (HRC); University of Texas at Austin). WorldCat record id: 122545961

Brian O'Nolan was born into the family of a civil servant in County Tyrone, Ireland, on 5 October 1911, the third of twelve children. After the family settled in Dublin in 1923 Brian attended school there, entering University College, Dublin in 1929. After receiving a B.A. degree (English, Irish, and German) and later an M.A., O'Nolan began eighteen years' employment in the Irish civil service in 1935. During the late 1930s he embarked on a literary career, writing a bilingual column for the Irish Times under the pseudonym Myles na Gopaleen and publishing his first (and best-known) novel At Swim-Two-Birds, in 1939 under the pseudonym Flann O'Brien.

The outbreak of World War II drew attention away from what is arguably O'Nolan's major literary achievement, but he continued his newspaper column and wrote other novels: An Beal Bocht (The Poor Mouth), The Hard Life, The Dalkey Archive, and the posthumously-published The Third Policeman, actually written in 1940. Additionally he wrote Faustus Kelly and other dramatic pieces.

While O'Nolan had enjoyed a continuing reputation among educated Irish, it was only upon the republication of At Swim-Two-Birds in 1960 that his broader fame began. A collection of his Irish Times pieces (edited by his brother Kevin O'Nolan) was published in 1968 as The Best of Myles. Brian O'Nolan died in Dublin on 1 April 1966.

From the guide to the Flann O'Brien Manuscripts and Criticism TXRC97-A18., 1934-1989, (Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas at Austin)

Irish author.

Flann O'Brien is a pen name of Brian O'Nolan, who was born in Strabane and educated in Dublin. O'Brien worked for the Irish Civil Service and published his first novel in 1939. In later years he produced a number of creative works and won fame for his column "An Cruiskeen Lawn" in THE IRISH TIMES.

From the description of Flann O'Brien Papers, 1881 - 1991 (bulk 1935 - 1975). (Boston College). WorldCat record id: 37484924

Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Ackerley, J. R. (Joe Randolph), 1896-1967. person
correspondedWith Envoy (Dublin) corporateBody
associatedWith FitzGerald, Garret. person
associatedWith Greene, Graham, 1904-1991. person
associatedWith Shea, Thomas F., 1953- person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Authors, Irish--20th century--Manuscripts
Authors, Irish--20th century--Correspondence


Birth 1911-10-10

Death 1966-04-01

Irish (Republic of Ireland)




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