Flann O'Brien, The Third Policeman

Carol Taaffe (Trinity College Dublin)
Download PDF Add to Bookshelf Report an Error
The Third Policeman

has a peculiar, and unfortunate, publication history. In January 1940, Brian O'Nolan (Flann O'Brien) submitted the manuscript to the publishers of his first novel,

At Swim-Two-Birds


At Swim

was a critical success, but had failed commercially and Longman's were unhappy with the new novel, advising that: “he should become less fantastic and in this new novel he is more so”. More rejections followed. O'Nolan wrote despondently to William Saroyan in September 1940 that: “I got so sick looking at a ragged […] copy of that story I wrote about the policeman that I flew into a frenzy (the Sweeny kind), put it into a box with 2 short stories and sent the whole lot across the sea to Matson & Duggan”. His American agents subsequently misplaced their copy of the…

2064 words

Citation: Taaffe, Carol. "The Third Policeman". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 20 September 2002 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=7924, accessed 25 July 2024.]

7924 The Third Policeman 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.

Save this article

If you need to create a new bookshelf to save this article in, please make sure that you are logged in, then go to your 'Account' here

Leave Feedback

The Literary Encyclopedia is a living community of scholars. We welcome comments which will help us improve.