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    Dublin's dadaist: Brian O'Nolan, the European avant-garde and Irish cultural production

    Harris, Tobias William (2020) Dublin's dadaist: Brian O'Nolan, the European avant-garde and Irish cultural production. PhD thesis, Birkbeck, University of London.

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    Brian O’Nolan, who wrote variously as Brother Barnabas, The O’Blather, Flann O’Brien, Myles na gCopaleen, Myles na Gopaleen, George Knowall or under one of many other guises, now occupies a central position in twentieth-century Irish literature. The lasting influence of his novels, At Swim-Two-Birdsand The Third Policeman, stretches across contemporary experimental and comic writing. The previous decade saw a succession of conferences, monographs and edited collections devoted to the field of O’Nolan studies. This thesis participates in the ongoing expansion of the locus of critical attention in the field, as scholarly interest evolves from an early focus on O’Nolan’s novels to encompass his journalism for the Irish Times (and a range of other magazines and newspapers), his theatrical work and his untranslated writing in Irish. The thesis uses a methodology based on original research into periodicals and newspapers. The theoretical argument of the thesis can be summarized in three related claims. Firstly, that many of the texts associated most closely with O’Nolan can be seen as the product of collaboration between a network of writers who embody a particular literary impulse and moment in the history of Irish society. Secondly, that we can compare this impulse to the wave of experimentation associated with the European avant-garde, defined broadly enough to include its fellow-travellers in European modernism and its diverse nineteenth-century predecessors. Their shared use of montage is a particular focus for this comparison. Thirdly, that like the European avant-garde, the work of the O’Nolan circle is characterized by a politicized orientation towards popular culture, scepticism towards claims to artistic autonomy and an insistence on the writer or artist as a subject of the historical process. As such, the work of the O’Nolan circle emerges as an illuminating example of Irish cultural production between 1934 and 1945.


    Item Type: Thesis
    Copyright Holders: The copyright of this thesis rests with the author, who asserts his/her right to be known as such according to the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. No dealing with the thesis contrary to the copyright or moral rights of the author is permitted.
    Depositing User: Acquisitions And Metadata
    Date Deposited: 27 Oct 2021 14:48
    Last Modified: 01 Nov 2023 14:59


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