Models of the Fantastic in Flann O’Brien’s The Third Policeman

Abdalhadi Nimer Abu Jweid, Ghada Sasa


This article demonstrates how specific forms of magical realism in Flann O’Brien’s The Third Policeman are integral parts of subversive poetics in early postmodernism. It examines the author’s implied polyphonic voice to explore magical realism’s mixture of reality and fantasy. It identifies allegory as authorial critical tool conveying his response to modernism’s sense of collective reality because postmodern subversive poetics is inherently experimentation with the depiction of reality. Postmodernism ascribes reality to unique meanings of fragmentation i.e., individuals perceive reality differently. The study applies Mikhail Bakhtin’s concepts of polyphony and carnivalesque to elaborate interpretations of constructing magical realism. It focuses on the plot as contexts of absolute epistemological uncertainty that metaphorically dramatises the subtle relation between culture and ideology. It highlights aspects seldom remarked on by postmodern scholars; the “indirect” or “allegorical” fiction that often constitutes the only available form of oppositional discourse providing one with highlighting socially familiarised patterns.


Allegory, Carnivalesque, Magical Realism, Polyphony, Postmodernism

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