CfP: Flann O’Brien & the Nonhuman (deadline 1 Feb 2020)

New Flann O’Brien Publication: Call For Papers

Flann O’Brien & the Nonhuman:
Animals, Environments, Machines

eds. Katherine Ebury, Paul Fagan, John Greaney

Recent years have seen a remarkable rise in studies dedicated to the nonhuman turn in Irish literary and modernist contexts. Yet this proposed collection posits that the writing of Brian O’Nolan (pseud. Flann O’Brien, Myles na gCopaleen) constitutes a significant gap in these critical conversations. This is a body of writing acutely suited to the concerns of animal studies, ecocriticism, ecofeminism, object oriented ontology, cyborg theory and posthumanist approaches, but which remains conspicuous by its absence in these debates. This volume of essays addresses and corrects this critical lacuna.
At first blush, readers might think of The Third Policeman’s uncanny landscapes and the ‘monstrous exchange of tissue for metal’ in the atomic hybridisation of people and bicycles; or of the cast of At Swim-Two-Birds, which includes the bird-man Sweeney, the Pooka MacPhellimey, and a cow who is called as a star witness in the author’s show trial. But this is an oeuvre in which conventional narratives of the human-nonhuman binary are troubled at all turns, whether in the author’s high modernist novels as Flann O’Brien, his newspaper columns, Irish-langauge work, and writing for stage, radio and television as Myles na gCopaleen, or his diverse short stories, non-fiction, and letters under an arsenal of pseudonyms and personae. For instance, in this broader canon we observe the brutal, rain-soaked landscapes, Irish-speaking pigs, and seals of An Béal Bocht; the protagonist’s strange metamorphosis into a train in ‘John Duffy’s Brother’; the columns’ recurrent concern with steam men, writing machines and pataphysical inventions; the donkey’s tragedy in the late-career teleplay The Man with Four Legsor Rhapsody in Stephen’s Green, O’Nolan’s stage adaptation of Karel and Josef Čapek’s The Insect Play.
The editors invite proposals for chapters on all approaches to O’Nolan’s broader body of writing and its creative reception that are relevant to the volume’s themes, but are particularly interested in submissions that address:

  • O’Nolan’s Animals
    • O’Nolan’s Environments, Landscapes, and Ecologies
    • O’Nolan and the Anthropocene
    • O’Nolan’s Machines
    • O’Nolan’s Technologies
    • Planes, Trains and Bicycles: O’Nolan’s Vehicles
    • O’Nolan and the Posthuman
    • O’Nolan and the Spectral
    • O’Nolan and Nonhuman/Geological Time
    • O’Nolan and Eco-Criticism/Eco-Feminism/Eco-Marxism
    • Vibrant Matter: O’Nolan and Object Oriented Ontology
    • Queering the Nonhuman in O’Nolan
    • Gendered Animals, Environments, Machines in O’Nolan
    • Agriculture, Food, and Eating Animals in O’Nolan
    • Technologies of Clothing in O’Nolan
    • Becoming-Animal in O’Nolan
    • O’Nolan and the Gaze of the Animal
    • O’Nolan and Biopolitics/Ecopolitics
    • Fuel, Energy, Extraction, Consumption
    • Coastlines, Islands, Archipelagos
    • Urban Landscapes

Please send bios and abstracts of no more than 500 words to, and by 1 February 2020.

Successful proposals will be invited to return a viable draft chapter of 6,000-7,000 words by 1 July 2020.