Inversion and Complementarity in ‘Two in One’

Author: Thomas Jackson Rice (University of South Carolina)

  • Inversion and Complementarity  in ‘Two in One’


    Inversion and Complementarity in ‘Two in One’



This article applies the theoretical coordinates of inversion and 'cultural cannibalism' to Myles na Gopaleen's 1954 short story ‘Two in One’ to open it up as a multivalent parable that sustains several interrelated layers of meaning – biographical, political, aesthetic, cultural – each of which shares in the common element of an intense ambivalence. After exploring these themes by submitting 'Two in One' to queer and postcolonial readings, the article focuses on the story as a cultural parable that reflects Brian O’Nolan’s position as an Irish writer at mid-century, including his literary 'incorporations' of James Joyce. Ultimately, it is argued that in its striking imagery of taxidermy and cannibalism, ‘Two in One’ expresses the combination of strongly antithetical viewpoints that operates in such works of cultural transfer.

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Keywords: James Joyce, Postcolonialism, Queer Theory, Cultural Transfer, Cannibalism, Inversion, Myles na Gopaleen, Two in One

How to Cite:

Rice, T. J., (2016) “Inversion and Complementarity in ‘Two in One’”, The Parish Review: Journal of Flann O'Brien Studies 3(2), 53-64. doi:

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Published on
13 May 2016
Peer Reviewed