chapter  3
“Attaining Majority” in the Celtic Peripheries
Francis Sylvester Mahony, Walter Scott, and “The Groves of Blarney”
WithFergus Dunne
Pages 26

This chapter considers the unheralded role played by marginal Celtic traditions in the formation of a canonical metropolitan literature. Walter Scott's strategic use of peripheral texts to articulate a pluralist conception of "Britishness" will be reevaluated in relation to Francis Sylvester Mahony's satiric rejection of peripheral writing as a source of "authentic" national sentiment. In "A Plea for Pilgrimages," Mahony self-consciously dramatizes the dialogue between contrasting major and minor literary conceptions of authorship, his use of Scott as a fictional character giving figurative focus to abstract issues of representation in a peripheral context. In contrast, Prout's spoof antiquarianism in "A Plea for Pilgrimages" deliberately evokes the Scottian theme of the unreliability of history writing in a marginal context. In "A Plea for Pilgrimages," Mahony first supplies a series of bogus translated precursors for his version of "The Groves of Blarney.".