Flann O'Brien, Wittgenstein, and the Idling of Language

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Abstract

This article examines unrecognized points of conceptual and stylistic convergence between the work of Flann O'Brien and Ludwig Wittgenstein. Though operating in quite different generic and discursive modes, both writers critique impulses to metaphysical systems, idealized models of language, and skepticism. O'Brien and Wittgenstein adopt as correctives to these tendencies techniques to train their readers' attention on the zones of overlap in linguistic usage where points of confusion tend to arise. Finally, this comparison with O'Brien casts new light on Wittgenstein's later work as it illuminates satirical and ironizing styles that have often been overlooked.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)22-37
Number of pages16
JournalPhilosophy and Literature
Volume46
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy
  • Literature and Literary Theory

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