100 Myles: The International Flann O'Brien Centenary Conference, Vienna, July 24-26 2011
Full CFP available at http://www.univie.ac.at/flannobrien2011/CFP.html
The International Flann O'Brien Centenary Conference
University of Vienna, Austria, 24-26 July 2011
2011 marks the centenary year of Brian O'Nolan, whose comic masterpieces At Swim-Two-Birds and The Third Policeman (as Flann O'Brien) and bitingly satirical Cruiskeen Lawn newspaper column (as Myles na gCopaleen) remain among Ireland's, and the 20th century's, best kept secrets. A tireless documenter of the struggles of fictional characters against their oppressive creators, of the human attributes of bicycles (and vice versa), and of insufferable bores of all stripes, O'Nolan's writing remains a rich and underexplored body of comic invention and postmodern tropes. This conference will have the dual objective of celebrating and re-assessing O'Nolan's legacy and body of work -- in its various forms and genres -- as well as spearheading a more integrated international community dedicated to this 'cult' author.
Vienna provides a surprisingly fitting location for such an event. The Austrian capital might lay claim to being the European city that has engaged with O'Nolan's work most fully outside of his native Dublin, providing the home of numerous theatrical adaptations and of the only film adaptation of his novels to date (Kurt Palm's In Schwimmen-Zwei-Vogel).
As Palm's film demonstrates, the commonly held view of O'Nolan's influence as hardly reaching beyond Irish shores is in desperate need of updating, with traces of his influence increasingly evident in contemporary works of metafiction. The appearance of The Third Policeman in US primetime drama Lost likewise testifies to O'Nolan's growing cultural purchase. As such, the conference is especially interested in challenging and re-evaluating the view of O'Nolan as a purely local writer -- particularly in comparison with compatriots/expatriates Joyce and Beckett -- by considering his work in broader, more international contexts.
Since the conference aims to provide a forum for exploring the diversity of O'Nolan texts, the organisers welcome proposals on all aspects of his writings. However, as we are interested in a broadly representative programme which would explore O'Nolan's work beyond his two most famous and innovative novels, proposals on his Irish- language novel An Béal Bocht, his Irish Times column "Cruiskeen Lawn", the later novels (The Hard Life, The Dalkey Archive, and the unfinished Slattery's Sago Saga), and even on his rarely produced theatrical plays (such as Faustus Kelly) are particularly welcome.
Topics may include, but are not limited to, the following areas of interest:
• Reassessing O'Nolan's Legacy/Influence at 100
• Cultural/Textual Appropriations and Adaptations of O'Nolan's Work
• O'Nolan between Modernism and Post-Modernism
• O'Nolan and Theories of the Comic
• O'Nolan and Theories of Genre
• Self-Plagiarism as Style / Pseudonymy as Literary Technique
• O'Nolan and Science (Physics, Pataphysics, Human Biology, etc.)
• The Plain People of Ireland: O'Nolan, the Politics of Culture, and the Culture of Politics.
Keynote Speakers: Anthony Cronin, Keith Hopper, Frank McNally, Kurt Palm, Harry Rowohlt
Abstracts: If you would like to propose a paper (in English, not exceeding 20 minutes), please submit your title and an abstract of 250 words accompanied by a short biographical sketch. In addition to the presentation of papers we invite proposals for alternative forms of discussion: e.g. debate motions (and debaters), themed panels, poster sessions (esp. for PhD students), etc.
Deadline for submission of proposals and abstracts: 1 February 2011. All correspondence (preferably by e-mail) should be addressed to the organisers: