Brian O'Nolan (5 October 1911 – 1 April 1966) was an Irish novelist, playwright and satirist, considered a major figure in twentieth century Irish literature. Born in Strabane, County Tyrone, he is regarded as a key figure in postmodern literature. His English language novels, such as At Swim-Two-Birds, and The Third Policeman, were written under the nom de plume Flann O'Brien. His many satirical columns in The Irish Times and an Irish language novel An Beal Bocht were written under the name Myles na gCopaleen.
O'Nolan's novels have attracted a wide following for their bizarre humour and modernist metafiction. As a novelist, O'Nolan was influenced by James Joyce. He was nonetheless sceptical of the cult of Joyce which overshadows much of Irish writing, saying "I declare to God if I hear that name Joyce one more time I will surely froth at the gob."
A key feature of O'Nolan's personal situation was his status as an Irish government civil servant, who, as a result of his father's relatively early death, was obliged to support ten siblings, including an elder brother who was an unsuccessful writer. Given the desperate poverty of Ireland in the 1930s to 1960s, a job as a civil servant was considered prestigious, being both secure and pensionable with a reliable cash income in a largely agrarian economy. The Irish civil service has been, since the Irish Civil War, fairly strictly apolitical: Civil Service Regulations and the service's internal culture generally prohibit Civil Servants above the level of clerical officer from publicly expressing political views. As a practical matter, this meant that writing in newspapers on current events was, during O'Nolan's career, generally prohibited without departmental permission on an article-by-article, publication-by-publication basis. This fact alone contributed to O'Nolan's use of pseudonyms, though he had started to create character-authors even in his pre-civil service writings...
Quotes by Brian O Nolan
More Quotes by Brian O Nolan