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Measuring Joycean Influences on Flann O'Brien

O'Sullivan, James; Bazarnik, Katarzyna; Eder, Maciej; Rybicki, Jan

This paper examines the stylometric similarities between James Joyce and Flann O’Brien, demonstrating which works from the latter’s oeuvre are stylistically the most Joycean. We will outline the results of a series of quantitative enquiries focused specifically on Joyce and O’Brien, before offering a number of literary interpretations. It has long been argued that Brian O’Nolan, operating under the pseudonym of Flann O’Brien, is a disciple of James Joyce. This relationship remains a concern for scholars, and so our purpose here is to contribute some computational evidence to the discussion. We pinpoint those exact moments where O’Brien’s style is quantitatively similar to that of Joyce, using our results to re-engage existing arguments with renewed statistical precision.

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