Flann O'Brien was a major figurehead of Irish literature as a novelist, playwright, and satirist, widely followed for his bizarre, dark humor, and modernist/postmodern metafiction.
The prolific Irish writer was born in Strabane, Co Tyrone on October 5, 1911 and died on April 1, 1966, in Dublin, the city he loved so well.
To celebrate the life of Flann O'Brien, here are some of our favorite quotes attributed to him:
1. “Is it life? I would rather be without it. For there is queer small utility in it. You cannot eat it or drink it or smoke it in your pipe.”
2. “The majority of the members of the Irish parliament are professional politicians, in the sense that otherwise they would not be given jobs minding mice at crossroads.”
3. “A wise old owl once lived in a wood, the more he heard the less he said, the less he said the more he heard, let's emulate that wise old bird.” -From his novel, At Swim Two Birds
4. “When I want to read anything, however, I usually write it meself.”
5. “Remember that I too was Irish. Today I am cured. I am no longer Irish. I am merely a person. I cured myself after many years of suffering.”
6. “Having considered the matter in, of course, all its aspects, I have decided that there is no excuse for poetry.”
7. “It only occurred to me the other day that I will have biographers... All sorts of English persons writing books "interpreting" me.”
8. “I am completely half afraid to think.” -From his novel, The Third Policeman
9. “It cannot too often be pointed out that women are people.”
10. “In Boston he met a pretty lady, fat and forty, but beautiful with the bloom of cash and collateral.”
*Originally published in 2014. Updated in 2021.
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