BIROn - Birkbeck Institutional Research Online

    Estopped by Grand Playsaunce: Flann O'Brien's Post-colonial Lore

    Brooker, Joseph (2004) Estopped by Grand Playsaunce: Flann O'Brien's Post-colonial Lore. Journal of Law and Society 31 (1), pp. 15-37. ISSN 0263-323X.


    Download (230kB) | Preview


    This article seeks to extend our understanding of the Irish writer Flann O'Brien (Myles na gCopaleen, Brian O'Nolan) by reading him from a Law and Literature perspective. I suggest that O'Nolan's painstaking and picky mind, with its attention to linguistic nuance, was logically drawn to the languages of law. In this he confirmed the character that he showed as a civil servant of the cautious, book-keeping Irish Free State. The Free State, like other post-colonial entities, was marked at once by a rhetoric of rupture from the colonial dispensation and by a degree of legal and political continuity. I suggest that O'Nolan's writing works away at both these aspects of the state, alternating between critical and utopian perspectives. After establishing an initial context, I undertake a close reading of O'Nolan's parodies of actual legal procedure, focusing on questions of language and censorship. I then consider his critical work on the issue of Irish sovereignty, placing this in its post-colonial historical context. Finally I describe O'Nolan's treatment of Eamon de Valera's 1937 Constitution. I propose that his attention to textual detail prefigures in comic form the substantial rereadings of the Constitution that have been made in the last half-century.


    Item Type: Article
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Creative Arts, Culture and Communication
    Research Centres and Institutes: Contemporary Literature, Centre for
    Depositing User: Administrator
    Date Deposited: 10 Jan 2005
    Last Modified: 09 Aug 2023 12:28


    Activity Overview
    6 month trend
    6 month trend

    Additional statistics are available via IRStats2.

    Archive Staff Only (login required)

    Edit/View Item Edit/View Item