Sunday, May 30, 2010

Well, did you evah?

Via a post of mine on Flann O'Brien's surreal comic novel At Swim-Two-Birds (on Moonrat's book review blog, The Book Book), I received an invitation the other day to write an article on 'Flann O'Brien and Catholicism' for a biannual Irish Catholic magazine called CHRISTVS REGNAT.

Well, you could have knocked me down with a feather. It's very gratifying to learn that anyone thinks my writing is any good, particularly if they're willing to pay me for it (hm, no fee was mentioned, in fact). Alas, I could not in good conscience accept such a commission, since I really know fairly little about Flann O'Brien, and know absolutely bugger-all about Catholicism (except that 'bugger all' appears to be one of the central tenets of its priesthood).

I tried to turn the nice man down as graciously as possible:

Alas, I am only an O'Brien enthusiast rather than any kind of expert. All I know of the man is what I gleaned from Anthony Cronin's excellent biography of him, which, as far as I recall, does not have much, if anything at all, to say on his attitude to religion. I have always liked to think that he was an irreverent pagan like myself, but I can cite no evidence to support that notion.

Therefore, I fear I must decline your kind offer - on grounds of lack of time, lack of knowledge, and lack of interest in matters of religion.

And I am rather hoping that my young friend Mr O'Kane might possibly take up the gauntlet on this. He is, I believe, far more knowledgeable than me in both branches of the suggested topic.

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