Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Myles from Dublin

"I considered it desirable that he should know nothing about me but it was even better if he knew several things that were quite wrong."     Flann O'Brien

This coming weekend, if you can find your way to Dublin, you would have a chance to attend a talk on Flann O'Brien and 'Pataphysics - @ Flann100.   It forms part of a celebration of that notional 100th birthday that dead people seem to celebrate these days.   [I still find it a bit strange to celebrate a day when someone 'would have been' 71 - John Lennon - or 100, say].  Perhaps a subjunctive birthday?  - [Later: Nah, I had to look it up...'would have been' looks like the 'perfect conditional' of the verb 'to be'. Ahem]

Although Flann O'Brien's work can prove an acquired taste, and varies in quality quite wildly, I guess readers of this blog might well enjoy The Third Policeman.  Whether the strange take on Atomic Theory has anything to do with Erwin Schrödinger spending his time in Dublin at the Institute for Advanced Studies - hard to know.

And his best known work At-Swim-Two-Birds still bears re-reading. It amused James Joyce.

Find all his books at The Dalkey Archive Press
Myles na gCopaleen, aka Flann O’Brien, aka Brian O’Nolan

Robert Anton Wilson references him fairly frequently, as also his creation de Selby - see, for instance,
The Celtic Roots of Quantum Theory - and footnotes throughout The Widow's Son.

And for something about De Selby and the link to 'Pataphysics, check out Borsky's piece written for the Maybe Quarterly, written in memory of Bob.

The dubious ascend of Mount Wilson

Robert Anton Wilson made the gesture of dying [2] on the 14 décervelage 134 E.P. Phlegmatic as ever, the last comment on his Blog five days previously was: "Please excuse my levity...but I just can't take dying seriously".
2. 'Pataphysicians only lose their earthly shelf when dying; as such a physical death is considered an illusion, a pure formal matter; and it is said they 'make the gesture of dying' as if saluting when leaving the stage.
IFOBS celebration - July 2011

The Atomic Theory of Bicycles

“The gross and net result of it is that people who spent most of their natural lives riding iron bicycles over the rocky roadsteads of this parish get their personalities mixed up with the personalities of their bicycle as a result of the interchanging of the atoms of each of them and you would be surprised at the number of people in these parts who are nearly half people and half bicycles...when a man lets things go so far that he is more than half a bicycle, you will not see him so much because he spends a lot of his time leaning with one elbow on walls or standing propped by one foot at kerbstones.”
                                                                                                     - Flann O'Brien, The Third Policeman

And all that, long before Albert Hofmann's fateful bicycle ride...                           Jarry on a bicycle   


michael said...

Another artistic (high info content for my nervous system) post by yous guys.

Coincidantally, I have been investigating the teratological molecules.

Thanks for the list 'o links with things Myles, and may all your bicycle rides be at least a tad psychedelic.

-The Mgt

Alias Bogus said...

Thanks Michael - RAW's piece seemed particularly info-dense to me - I think he really felt at home in Ireland, for the time he spent there.


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