Flann O'Brien, At Swim Two Birds

Carol Taaffe (Trinity College Dublin)
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At Swim-Two-Birds

, Flann O'Brien's first novel, was published in March 1939. As early as 1935, the UCD magazine

Comhthrom Féinne

reported that the university's “best humorous writer” was “engaged on a novel so ingeniously constructed that the plot is keeping him well in hand”. Years later the author declared that anything which took longer than six months to write was not a good book, but at that stage of his life, he was quite happy to dismiss

At Swim

as mere juvenilia. Despite the author's disdain, it has remained his most famous comic achievement. In the same year he began writing

At Swim-Two-Birds

, Brian O'Nolan – Flann O'Brien's alter ego – began work as a junior administrative officer in the Irish Civil Service. Civil Service regulations contributed to O'Nolan's…

2207 words

Citation: Taaffe, Carol. "At Swim Two Birds". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 20 September 2002 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=6483, accessed 30 May 2024.]

6483 At Swim Two Birds 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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