Doctoral School of Alba Iulia University, Romania
Despite Benedetto Croce’s dismissal of literary genres, modernists did show concern for generic distinctions, while also trying to change their status from binding constraints to free play and hybridization. Poets abandoned self-expressionism in favour of various degrees of impersonality, while novelists constructed characters through interior monologues which resembled soliloquies on an imaginary stage of the mind. Under the circumstances, the question whether drama was still possible in the modernist age, without lapsing under lyric or epic guises, seems inevitable to those engaged in genre studies from a diachronic perspective. The inquiry, which is a matter of epistemology no less than of the phenomenology of literary forms, has brought us before Irish Flann O’Brien as a telling example of a late modernist’s use of drama as existential puzzle.
Keywords: Flann O’Brien, Luigi Pirandello, Samuel Beckett, selfhood, otherness, representation