By: Flann O’Brien
Flann O’Brien (Brian O’Nolan, aka Myles na Gopaleen) adopted not only a new name (George Knowall) for these rarely seen pieces, but also a new persona.
Writing his column ‘Bones of Contention’ for the Nationalist and Leinster Times, he took on the character of the quizzical and enquiring humorist who might be found in a respectable public house in Carlow: erudite, urbane and informative, he is the country cousin of the Myles of Dublin, yet still a facet of the complex character who wrote The Third Policeman and At Swim-Two-Birds. His delight in words, his uncanny ability to see through humbug, are unparalleled. Writers as disparate as James Joyce, Dylan Thomas, Graham Greene and Anthony Burgess have marvelled at his talent. New readers will discover that he is one of the funniest writers in any language, at any time.
BRIAN O’NOLAN, who also wrote under the pen names of Flann O’Brien and Myles na Gopaleen, was born in 1911 in Co Tyrone. A resident of Dublin, he graduated from University College after a brilliant career as a student briefly edited – and largely wrote – a comic magazine called Blather, and joined the Civil Service, in which he eventually attained a senior position. His career as a writer extended from his student days, and through his years in the Service and the years following his resignation. He died in Dublin on 1 April 1966. His novels include: A S-2-B, The Dalkey Archive, The Third P, The Hard Life and The Poor Mouth (originally published in Irish as An Béal Bocht).