Estudios Irlandeses (2006-03-01)

Intertextual Re-creation in Jamie O’Neill’s At Swim, Two Boys

  • Bertrand Cardin

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 1, no. 1
pp. 23 – 31


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As the title of the book indicates, Jamie O’Neill’s At Swim, Two Boys, published in 2001, refers back to Flann O’Brien’s At Swim-Two-Birds (1939). Through the use of such a parodic title, O’Neill places himself within a postmodern literary tradition, involving the influence of famous Irish parodists such as O’Brien or Joyce, who overshadow his novel. This title alludes to a famous text, gives it a new meaning, a new story and re-locates it in a different context, namely a gay universe which calls to mind another famous literary predecessor, Oscar Wilde, a writer also referred to repeatedly, whether explicitly or implicitly, throughout the novel. This paper focuses on the intertextual articulations of the novel in connection with the theories advanced by Neil Corcoran, Augustine Martin and Harold Bloom, whose essays take a real interest in the literary phenomenon of intertextuality.