David Profumo

Life of O’Brien

Flann O'Brien: An Illustrated Biography

By Peter Costello and Peter van de Kamp

Bloomsbury 159 pp £14.95 order from our bookshop

He was born in Paddington station, became tutor to Einstein, honorary valet to the Duke of Edinburgh, and President of Ireland. He was had up for smuggling and was a musical genius. He was born in Paris in 1891, ‘a connoisseur of potheen and stirabout’. For alm ost twenty-five years he contributed a column to the Irish Times, and his name was Myles na gCopaleen. In the boozers of Dublin still dwells his spirit. His creator was Brian O’Nolan (aka Flann O’Brien, Brother Barnabas, The O’Blather, George Knowall or John Hackett) who, as well as being a legendary satirist was the author of novels, stories and plays that dash porter in the face of Irish society, stab Joyce in the backside and offer a comprehensive vision of the thinly veiled chaos of the human mind.

The life of O ‘Brien, as his biographers call him, was in factual terms rather mundane.

Royal Shakespeare Company


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