Date of Award

5-2018

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

College/School

College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Department/Program

English

Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Jonathan Greenberg

Committee Member

David Galef

Committee Member

Janet Cutler

Subject(s)

O'Brien, Flann,--1911-1966--Criticism and interpretation, O'Brien, Flann,--1911-1966--Third policeman, O'Brien, Flann,--1911-1966--At swim-two-birds, O'Brien, Flann,--1911-1966--Béal boċt--English

Abstract

Brian O’Nolan’s novels At Swim-Two-Birds, The Poor Mouth, and The Third Policeman present worlds where character actions are largely inconsequential. This discussion will focus on reflexive metanarrative elements, criticism of the Irish revivalist movements and authorship and creation as a means to survive these worlds. O’Nolan’s novels will be shown to be largely optimistic in their confrontation of nihilistic concerns. Much of his writing is comedic and playful even when dealing with serious topics. Repetition through both language and story structure are key components of the futility O’Nolan constructs for his characters and readers. This thesis examines the interplay between futility and creativity in O’Nolan’s works.

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