chapter  9
“Shameful Literary Traditions”
Daniel Corkery and the Literary Reputation of Francis Sylvester Mahony
WithFergus Dunne
Pages 21

This chapter examines the simplification and distortion of Francis Sylvester Mahony's work. Daniel Corkery's analysis, then, picks up on and develops the three main tropes that attached to Mahony's name in the early twentieth century: emotional detachment, frivolous yet shameful treatment of Irish themes, and a lack of national sympathy. With the dearth of critical attention to Mahony's work in the late twentieth century, the next significant milestone in his critical reception was the publication of The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing, which also betrays the abiding influence of Corkery's analysis. Hans Robert Jauss stresses the defamiliarizing function of literature, which serves to objectify the existing "horizon of expectations" prevalent within a given culture in regard to generic norms, relationships to familiar literary works, and the opposition between fiction and reality – all key aspects of Mahony's achievement in the "Prout Papers.".