Myles na gCopaleen or Flann O’Brien

Cool article at the Wall Street Journal on the man from whom the Dalkey Archive Press borrowed its name:

Kenner notwithstanding, O’Brien wrote five great novels—”At Swim-Two-Birds,” “The Third Policeman,” “The Poor Mouth,” “The Hard Life” and “The Dalkey Archive.” And while it is true that few people read either Myles or Flann in O’Brien’s lifetime, no Irish writer has inspired a classier cult following: Samuel Beckett, William H. Gass, James Joyce, William Saroyan and John Updike were just a few of its members.

So was Graham Greene, on whose recommendation O’Brien’s first novel, “At Swim-Two-Birds,” was published in 1939. Dylan Thomas, who loved “At Swim,” called it “just the book to give to your sister, if she is a dirty, boozey [sic] girl.”

O’Brien blamed the commercial failure of that novel on the damage German bombers had inflicted on his British publisher, preventing the book’s wide release . . .



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