chapter  4
The Politics of Translation in “The Rogueries of Thomas Moore”
WithFergus Dunne
Pages 26

This chapter considers Francis Sylvester Mahony's satiric reappraisal of contemporary Irish culture in "The Rogueries of Thomas Moore". It examines Mahony's ironic exploration of the idea of textual transformation in his reworked ballads, using modern deconstructive theory to illuminate his translation practice. It was against the backdrop that Mahony came to formulate his satiric Catholic unionist critique of the representative figure of Moore. As a noted "Edinburgh Reviewer" and Whig-affiliated polemicist, he embodied much of what Mahony, the Tory Fraserian, despised about modern culture and politics. The chapter focuses on Mahony's adroit critique of the politicized role of translation in contemporary efforts to offer an authentic literary and historical depiction of the Irish past. Moore's epic poem unintentionally underlined the central, politicized role of allegorical storytelling in Irish Catholic historiography, as well as its contribution "to the rhetorical doubleness that became a hallmark of much Irish literature."