Problems with Authority: The II International Flann O'Brien Conference - Rome, June 19-21 2013

full name / name of organization: 
The International Flann O'Brien Society & Università Roma Tre

-- Jed Esty (University of Pennsylvania)
-- Carol Taaffe (Author of *Ireland Through the Looking-Glass: Flann O'Brien, Myles na gCopaleen & Irish Cultural Debate*)
-- Dirk Van Hulle (University of Antwerp)

The International Flann O'Brien Society is proud to announce that a conference on the Works of Brian O'Nolan will be hosted by the Department of Comparative Literatures, at the Università Roma Tre under the title 'Problems with Authority: The II International Flann O'Brien Conference'.

It is an exciting time for the expanding field of Brian O'Nolan scholarship. Despite the significant increase in O'Nolan events and publications since his centenary year in 2011 – and even, perhaps, because of them – a great deal of work remains to be done in exploring O'Nolan's under-analysed minor texts and in closing the many critical gaps in the academic record. At the centre of these critical projects are explorations of O'Nolan's texts as fertile territory for mediating between conflicting Authorities: between traditional and modern scripts, local and international perspectives, and between avant-garde and conservative approaches to the authorities of science, history, and literary tradition.

With these issues in mind, the conference aims to address questions of canonicity and authority in Brian O'Nolan's work. 2013 sees the publication of collections of O'Nolan's short stories (Neil Murphy & Keith Hopper, Dalkey Archive) and dramatic works (Daniel Jernigan, Dalkey Archive). As these collections give us greater access to a rich variety of overlooked texts in the O'Nolan literary canon, they also prompt and challenge us to broaden and retrace its borders. Indeed, given the amount of pseudonyms and apocryphal texts in play, we might ask whether these borders can ever be definitively drawn. Similarly, the vast collections of O'Nolan's correspondence, manuscripts, and drafts housed in Illinois, Boston, and Texas, – as well as the Irish Times's online digital archive – have recently given rise to emerging fields of Genetic and Cultural Materialist approaches that seek to explore the borders of authorship and authority in O'Nolan's ever-expanding oeuvre.

And while longer-running critical conversations continue to be finessed about the ways in which O'Nolan's texts are shaped by towering 20th Century figures such as Joyce and Beckett (and the more local authorities of Church and State), the increasingly international contexts in which O'Nolan is being read have brought a new set of names to the table: from Calvino, Borges, and Kafka, to Nabokov, Danielewski and Bolaño. This international gaze brings with it other issues, such as the challenges of adaptation and translation, and the opportunities of exploring O'Nolan's broader canon as a fertile ground for a range of critical perspectives, from Cultural Materialism, Queer Theory, and Feminism, to Metafiction, Genre Theory, and Deconstruction.

The organisers invite proposals on any aspect of O'Nolan's writing, but are especially interested in papers that explore questions of authorship and authority in O'Nolan's work, including, but not limited to:

Broadening the Canon
– Problems of canonicity and the reception of minor works
– O'Nolan on Screen and Stage: The forgotten scripts
– O'Nolan as letter writer
– Challenges in adapting/translating O'Nolan's writing

On Whose Authority?
– Ideological critique & the comedic subversion of authority in O'Nolan's writing
– Conflicting Authorities: The traditional vs. the avant-garde, the local vs. the international in O'Nolan's writing
– Writing Under the Influence: O'Nolan and his contemporaries
– The Clowning of Science: Menippean Satire and the encyclopaedic ideal

Theoretical Authorities
– Death of the Author: O'Nolan and Capital "T" Theory
– O'Nolan and theories of Genre
– Cultural Materialist and Genetic Approaches
– Male Authorities / Feminist Readings
– The Reception of Flann O'Brien in Ireland and beyond

Please submit abstracts and panel proposals to by February 1st 2013.

Keynote lectures will be given by Jed Esty (University of Pennsylvania), Carol Taaffe (Author of *Ireland Through the Looking-Glass: Flann O'Brien, Myles na gCopaleen & Irish Cultural Debate*), and Dirk Van Hulle (University of Antwerp). The programme will include performances by Mark O'Halloran (Award-winning screenwriter of "Adam and Paul" and "Garage"), and Mikel Murfi (Director of "John Duffy's Brother").

For more details as they emerge, including social programmes and accommodation & travel details visit our website

John McCourt (Università Roma Tre)
Ruben Borg (Hebrew University of Jerusalem)
Paul Fagan (University of Vienna)