#OTD in 1939 – At-Swim-Two-Birds, a highly experimental novel by Flann O’Brien, is published in London.

At Swim-Two-Birds is a 1939 novel by Irish author Brian O’Nolan, writing under the pseudonym Flann O’Brien. It is widely considered to be O’Brien’s masterpiece, and one of the most sophisticated examples of metafiction. The novel’s title derives from Snámh dá Én (‘Swim-Two-Birds’), a ford on the River Shannon, between Clonmacnoise and Shannonbridge, reportedly visited by the legendary King Sweeney, a character in the novel. The novel was included in TIME magazine’s list of the 100 best English-language novels from 1923 to 2005.

On 4 October 2011, a stamp commemorating 100 years since the birth of Brian O’Nolan was issued.
His poem ‘The Workman’s Friend’/’A Pint of Plain is Your Only Man’ remains popular.

‘The Workman’s Friend’/’A Pint of Plain is Your Only Man’
by Flann O’Brien (Brian O’Nolan)

When things go wrong and will not come right,
Though you do the best you can,
When life looks black as the hour of night –
A pint of plain is your only man.
When money’s tight and hard to get
And your horse has also ran,
When all you have is a heap of debt –
A pint of plain is your only man.
When health is bad and your heart feels strange,
And your face is pale and wan,
When doctors say you need a change,
A pint of plain is your only man.
When food is scarce and your larder bare
And no rashers grease your pan,
When hunger grows as your meals are rare –
A pint of plain is your only man.
In time of trouble and lousey strife,
You have still got a darlint plan
You still can turn to a brighter life –
A pint of plain is your only man.

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