chapter  1
Centrally Peripheral, Peripherally Central
The “Prout Papers” of Francis Sylvester Mahony
WithFergus Dunne
Pages 24

By the time the first installment of the "Prout Papers" was published in April 1834, Fraser's was already an influential literary periodical of four years' standing. The peripheral dialogism of Blackwood's' "Noctes Ambrosianae" was reproduced in miniature in series like the "Prout Papers," which incorporated the editorial input of Maginn, the illustrations of Maclise, the footnotes of the antiquarian and folklorist Thomas Crofton Croker, and the translations of the barrister Frank Stack Murphy, all of whom hailed from Cork City or County. Concepts of literary canonicity are here extended to encompass the peripheral energies that underpinned Swift's Irish writings and the "Prout Papers," thus allowing Mahony to invoke an ironic tradition of Irish patriotism in giving voice to a marginal Catholic aesthetic. The "Prout Papers" are characterized by Oliver Yorke as a "Trojan horse" smuggled into the arena of early nineteenth-century periodical literature.