John Pentland Mahaffy (1839-1919)

[Rev. J. P. Mahaffy; later Sir John Pentland Mahaffy]; b. 26 Feb. 1839, Chapponnaire, nr. Vevey, Switzerland; raised partly in Germany, and ed. at home in Donegal; entered TCD, 1856, rooming at No.38 in 1862; Fellow, 1864; Precentor of College Chapel, 1867; Prof. Ancient History, 1871 [var. 1869-1899 DUB] tutor of Oscar Wilde (‘my first and best teacher and the scholar who showed me how to love Greek things’) and later of Oliver St. John Gogarty; encouraged Wilde to proceed to Magdalen College (‘‘You’re not clever enough for us here, Oscar, better go to Oxford’), 1873; Donnellan Lecturer, 1873; ed. Hermethena from 1873; employed Wilde’s assistance on proofs of his Social Life in Greece (1874); wrote anon. obituary for Sir Samuel Ferguson (Athenaeum, 14 April 1886);
treated nationalism as provincialism; opposed Irish in education and disparaged Gaelic literature in Intermediate Education Committee, 1899, on grounds that it was impossible to find a text that is not ‘either religious, silly or indecent’); distanced himself from Wilde after his trial (‘We no longer speak, Sir, of Mr. Oscar Wilde’), 1895; elected Snr. Fellow, 1899; interviewed by Daily Express on Gaelic teaching in Intermediate Education Committee [var. Commission], being answered by Alice Milligan and others, 16 Feb. 1899; disappointed when Provostship went to Traill; a first subscriber to the Irish Literary Theatre; Provost, TCD, 1914-19; refused use of TCD for meeting to be addressed by ‘a man called Pearse’, Nov. 1914;
elected Pres. of RIA, 1911-16; promoted and hosted Irish Convention, 1917-18, and proposed federal constitution for Ireland akin to Switzerland, 1917; knighted 1918 [though a clergyman]; works incl. History of Classical Literature (1880); edition of Flinders Petrie Papyri (1891-93); The Empire of the Ptolemies (1895); his monograph The Principles of the Art of Conversation (1887) was reviewed by Wilde; remembered for his witty and malicious conversation and studied Irish bulls - viz., ‘An Irish bull, Madam, is always pregnant’; ‘Ireland is a country in which the probable never happens and the impossible always does’; he resided in Howth, and spoke publicly in opposition to the extension of tram service there in May 1894; considered Joyce ‘the living embodiment of [his] conviction that the native Irish are unfitted for education’;
d. 30 April, in Provost’s House; buried Mount Jerome; there is an oil portrait attributed to Sarah Celia Harrison in the National Gallery of Ireland; Gogarty called him ‘the most magnificent of snobs’; he told the Government Commission on the 1916 Rising that the National Schools were responsible, 1917; Orpen painted his portrait in 1905; a son, Arthur Mahaffey, was commissioned to supress head-hunting in the Solomon Islands and contributed culture materials found there to the Dublin Natural History Museum [RDS]. CAB ODNB JMC DIB DIH FDA DUB OCIL DIL

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  • Kant’s Critical Philosophy for English Readers (1871);
  • trans., Kuno Fischer, Commentary on Kant’s Critick of the Pure Reason (1866);
  • Twelve Lectures on Primitive Civilisation (1868) [var. 1869];
  • Prolegomena to Ancient History (1871);
  • Rambles and Studies in Greece (1876);
  • with Arthur Gilman, Alexander's Empire [Story of the Nations ser.] (London: T. Fisher Unwin 1887), xxii, 323,[1]pp., ill. [3 folding maps], 8°;
  • Greek [var. Classical] Antiquities [History Primers Ser., ed. J. R. Green] (1875);
  • Descartes (1880);
  • Decay of Modern Preaching: An Essay (1882);
  • History of TCD; Its Foundation and Early Fortunes 1591-1680 (London: T. Fisher Unwin 1903), 389pp.;
  • The Art of Conversation (1887, 2nd edn. enl. 1888);
  • Social Life of Greece from Homer to Menander (1874; 3rd edn. 1877).
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  • intro. to V. Duruy, History of Greece (1883; 1892); ed., Euripedes‘Hyppolytus’ (1881);
  • contrib. chap. to Illahun, Kahun, and Gurob (1891);
  • intro., Ptolemy II: Revenue Laws [… &c.] (1896);
  • ‘The Modern Babel’, in Nineenth Century, XL (July 1896);
  • ‘The Recent Fuss about the Irish Language’, in Nineteenth Century, XLVI (August 1899),q.pp.;
  • intro. to J. H. Bernard, Bishop Stearne, Memorial Discourses (1902); Dublin. Trinity College: The Particular Book, intro. & appendices (1904);
  • ed., The Georgian Society Records of Eighteenth Century Domestic Architecture and Decoration in Dublin, 5 vols. (Dublin UP 1909-13);
  • ed. & sel., Landor, Imaginary Conversations (London: Red Letter Press 1910; 1925);
  • intro., Robert H. Murray, Revolutionary Ireland and It is Settlement (1911).
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  • Robert William Rogers, “Sir John Pentland Mahaffy”, in Methodist Review (July 1919), pp.507-16 [offprint in. TCD Library];
  • R. B. McDowell & W. B. Stanford, Mahaffy: A Biography of an Anglo-Irishman (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul [1971] 1975), 281pp.
  • Terence de Vere White, ‘Mahaffy, the Anglo-Irish Ascendancy and the Vice-Regal Lodge’ in F. X. Martin, ed., Leaders and Men of the Easter Rising, Dublin 1916 (1967);

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Charles Ogden & I. A. Richards, The Meaning of Meaning (1923)
‘Throughout the Western world it is agreed that people must meet frequently, and that it is not only agreeable to talk, but that it is a matter of common courtesy to say something even when there is hardly anything to say. “Every civilized man,”, continues the late Professor Mahaffy, to whose Principles of the Art of Conversation we owe this observation, “feels, or ought to feel, this duty; it is the universal accomplishment which all must practice”; and those who fail are punished by the dislike or neglect of society.’ (p.39.)

[Lord] Douglas, Oscar Wilde, A Summing-Up (London: Richards Press, first ed. 1940; reiss. 1950), incls. the following: ‘At Trinity he [Oscar Wilde] met the Rev John Pentland Mahaffy, Precentor and Junior Dean of the College, who became his tutor and teacher in Greek. Mahaffy had a great influence (probably not for the good) over Oscar. He was a great lover of Greek art and in the preface of his Social Life in Greece from Homer to Menander he acknowledges his debt to the undergraduate Wilde who, he says, had “made improvements and corrections all through the book”. Mahaffy was an ultra-protestant and violently anti-Catholic. According to Mr Boris Brasol, Wilde’s latest, and not far from his most able, biographer, Mahaffy “had all the earmarks of a rabid libre penseur, and the extravagances of his atheistic cathecism used to shock even his agnostic co-religionists, so that only once was he permitted to deliver a sermon in the College Chapel.” the Right Reverend Abbot Sir David Hunter Blair in his book Victorian Days attributes to Mahaffy much of the pagan influence which turned Oscar Wilde away from his tendencies towards Catholicism when the two went on a journey to Greece while Wilde was at Oxford in 1877.’ (p.52f.)

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Oscar Wilde (1) Wilde reviewed Mahaffy’s Principles of the Art of Conversation in these terms: ‘If Mr Mahaffy would only write as he talks his books would be much pleasanter to read’. (‘Aristotle at Afternoon Tea’, in Pall Mall Gazette, 16 Dec. 1887; rep. in Aristotle and Afternoon Tea, ed., John Wyse Jackson, London: Fourth Estate 1991, pp.83-87.) Note that Wilde also reviewed Mahaffy’s Greek Life and Thought: From the Age of Alexander to the Roman Conquest in Pall Mall Gazette in 1887 - remarking that Wilde admits that there is ‘no reason why Mr. Mahaffy should be called upon to express any sympathy with the aspirations of the old Greek cities for freedom and autonomy’ but is appalled by his attempts to treat the Hellenic world as ‘Tipperary writ large’, and to ‘finish the battle of Chaeronea on the plains of Mitchelstown’; condemns him for ‘an amount of political bias and literary blindness that is quite extraordinary’. (Quoted in Neil Sammells, ‘Oscar Wilde, Quite Another Thing’, in Irish Writing, Exile and Subversion, ed. Paul Hyland & Sammells, London: Macmillan 1991; see further under Wilde, Commentary, infra.)

Oscar Wilde (1) Wilde told Frank Harris: ‘I got my love of the Greek idea and my intimate knowledge of the language at Trinity from Mahaffy and Tyrrell; there were Trinity to me. Mahaffy was especially valuable to me at that time. Though he was not as good a scholar as Tyrrell, he had been to Greece, had lived there and saturated himself with Greek thought and Greek feeling. Besides he took deliberately the artistic standpoint towards everything, which was coming more and more to be my standpoint. He was a delightful talker, too, a really great talker in a certain way – an artist in vivid words and eloquent pauses.’ (Quoted in Merlin Holland, Wilde Album, 1997, p.27.)

Oliver St. John Gogarty, I Follow St Patrick (London: Rich & Cowan 1838), narrates how Mahaffy refused to recognise Belfast as a young man’s “address” since there were no gentlemen’s houses there. (p.165.)

John Harvey, Dublin (London: Batsford 1949), calls Mahaffy evidently the rudest man who ever lived (p.79). Further: ‘something of the veneration and modified awe that is felt about Shaw in London is felt, much more intimately about Mahaffy in Dublin […] In 5 vols. the Georgian Society did the essential part of what is being done far more thoroughly … but oh so laboriously in London by the London Survey Committee.’ [q.p.]

Richard Kain, Dublin in the Age of William Butler Yeats and James Joyce (Oklahoma UP 1962; Newton Abbot: David Charles 1972): ‘In 1899, Professor Mahaffy testified, during an inquiry into secondary education, that the revival of Gaelic was “a retrograde step, a return to the dark ages.” Not content with this, he added, in a newspaper interview published in the Dublin Daily Express of February 16, 1900, the sneering suggestion that Home Rulers plead in Irish at Westminster, which “would not only be logical, but would save the House of Commons from a good deal of incompetent oratory.”’ (p.45.)

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Richard Kain (Dublin in the Age of William Butler Yeats and James Joyce, 1962, 1972) - further: ‘As for Mahaffy, Gogarty, who has described him so often and so well, called him “the Most Magnificent of Snobs.” When this thoroughgoing rationalist was approached by an eager evangelical enthusiast with the usual question, “Are you saved?” his answer was one to turn away enthusiasm: “To tell you the truth, my dear fellow, I am, but it was by such a narrow squeak that it won’t bear discussing.”’ (p.162; see also Marvin Magalaner & Richard Kain, James Joyce: The Man, The Works, The Reputation, 1956.)

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Austin Clarke writes that Mahaffy ‘declared that the early sagas were worthless and obscene although he had no direct knowledge of them.’ (‘Gaelic Ireland Rediscovered’, in Seán Lucy, Irish Poets in English, Mercier 1972, pp.30.)

Hilary Pyle describes Mahaffy as ‘the celebrated and supercilious intellectual, Provost Mahaffy’, whose portrait by William Orpen hangs in the Muncipal Gallery, Dublin. (Pyle, Portraits of Patriots by Estella Solomons, Allen Figgis 1966, p.11.)

Dominic Daly, The Young Douglas Hyde (Shannon: IUP 1974), J. P. Mahaffy fumed in the pages of The Nineteenth Century, Nov 1899, about ‘the Modern Babel’ (‘is there no limit to this absurdity?..); and bibl. ‘The Recent Fuss about the Irish language’, Aug. 1899 (‘we may possibly [though not probably] have a serious recrudescence of Irish speaking, which will have even worse effects than the maintenance and cultivation of Welsh in Wales ...’) [n., 222]. Bibl., Oscar Wilde, review of Mahaffy’s Greek Life and Thought, From the Age of Alexander to the Roman Conquest, in Pall Mall Gazette, 1887.

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W. B. Stanford, Ireland and the Classical Tradition (IAP 1976; 1984), writes: The introduction of a new system of marking which gave classical men a better chance in fellowship examinations resulted in a spectacular series of notable scholars beginning with Mahaffy, Fellow in 1864. Further, In 1889 Flinders Petrie discovered multitudinous papyrus fragments of ancient Greek literature embedded in mummy-cases in the Fayyum district [Egypt] … JP Mahaffy of TCD was given a large amount of this material to edit, which he did with speed and energy. At the same time he used his influence and persuasive powers to inform the public about the literary importance of the discoveries…. papyrology was found too specialised for more than a few of the larger English universities, and no lectureship was founded in Ireland, though a good many papyri are in Dublin libraries. [68]. See fuller bibl. on Papyrology, in Mahaffy (1971), pp.183-7, 200-4.; also Stanford, PRIA 72-3. [Cont.]

W. B. Stanford (Ireland and the Classical Tradition, 1984) - cont.: Mahaffy, last clergyman to hold professorship of Classics; strongly influenced by Grote, he did not treat Greeks and Romans as Christians manqué; with considerable courage and frankness presented their good and bad qualities in their true colours and judged thm in terms of their own standards; on the other hand, he insisted that ancient history should provide ‘guiding posts for the perplexities of modern life’. His Twelve Lectures on Primitive Civilizations (1869) and Prolegomena to Ancient History (1871) were concerned with early periods. His Social Life in Greece from Homer to Menander (1874) and History of Classical Greek Literature, 4 vols. (1880) deal with better known periods; he defended the historicity of Herodotus against Jowett; purer historians censurd digressions and modern parallels. His Social Life had wide impact, presenting Greeks as ‘men with passions like ourselves’, being prone to lying and dishonesty, but also to a ‘strange and to us revolting perversion, the Asiatic custom of attachments among men’, not before discussed in any English publication; later omitted. His candid and popular Rambles and Studies in Greece (1876) became a favourite travel book. His Greek Life and Thought from the Death of Alexander to the Roman Conquest (1887) suited him as being the study of a period in which democracy gave way to monarchy and a ‘stately ceremonial put a tight bridle on the rudeness of free speech, and taught men the importance of studied politeness’; zesty and insightful. He felt himself a pioneer in the territory, enjoying ‘the intene interest of penetrating a country either unexplored or imperfectly described by former travellers’. [Cont.]

W. B. Stanford (Ireland and the Classical Tradition, 1984) - cont.: A series of studies of post-classical times followed, the Greek World Under Roman Sway (1890); The Empire of the Ptolemies (1895 ); A History of Egypt under the Ptolemaic Dynasty (1899); The Progress of Hellenism in Alexander’s Empire (1905); and The Silver Age of the Greek World (1906). [153-54]. Stanford’s note indicates that the remarks in this section are taken from his life of Mahaffy, with R. B. McDowell (1971). Mahaffy’s Rambles and Studies in Greece (1876), rep. 11 times. [226]. Mahaffy Hellenised the Gospels, and was formally accused of heresy by some TCD colleges in younger years [especially in connection with a sermon in Chapel]. He argued that much of St Paul’s teaching was derived from Stoicism, that St John’s gospel was indebted to Platonism; that Christ spoke Greek at times. ‘St Paul’s sermon at Athens, for example, is nothing but a statement of the Stoical morality, with the doctrine of Jesus Christ superadded, and it is quite plain that if these were his precise word he was arguing on the Stoical side against the Epicuran, just as he took the Pharisee’s side against the Sadducee on a memorable occasion. anyone who knows what the Stoic theodicy and morals were, cannot possibly deny this.’ (Mahaffy’s footnote in unspecified work.) Mahaffy a pioneer for the view that sophisiticated Christianity absorbed to its advantage much of the higher ethics of classical antiquity. [241] Note: J.W. Foster remarks that ‘[Oscar] Wilde’s interest in Greek culture derived as much from his Trinity College Dublin tutor, the celebrated Irish wit and Hellenist, John Pentland Mahaffy, as from the writings of Matthew Arnold [viz., Culture and Anarchy, 1869]’ - citing Stanford, Ireland and the Classical Tradition, Dublin: Allen Figgis 1976, pp.235-43.

Aine Hyland & Kenneth Milne, Irish Educational Documents, Vol. 1 (Dublin: CITC 1987), reprint Mahaffy’s negative submission to the Palles Comission on the Irish language (1898-99) and Douglas Hyde’s response to it [see further under Hyde, Rx.]

R. F. Foster, Modern Ireland (London: Allen Lane 1988), ‘The foundation of the Irish Georgian Society in 1909, and its publication of J. P. Mahaffy’s deliberately reactionary celebration of Georgian style, brought reassessment into disrepute …’; a monograph on his special subject, The Art of Conversation (1887). (Foster, op. cit., p.167.)

Fiona Macintosh, Dying Acts: Death in Ancient Greek and Modern Irish Tragic Drama (Cork UP 1994): ‘in a damning review by a classical scholar with nationalist sympathies – the anonymous reviewer was in fact Mahaffy’s ex-pupil Oscar Wilde – the “political bias and literary blindness” in Mahaffy’s attempts “to treat the Hellenic world as ‘Tipperary writ large”’, are condemned outright [ref. To Greek Life and Thought, 1887] (‘Mr Mahaffy’s New Book’, Pall Mall Gazette, XLVI, 7066, 9 Nov. 1887, rep. Ellmann, The Artist as Critici 1970, pp.80-84; here p.5.)

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Joseph Lennon, Irish Orientalism (Syracuse UP 2004):—

Joseph Lennon, Irish Orientalism: A Literary and Intellectual History (Syracuse 2004), pp.140-42.

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Mahaffy is accredited with a bon-mot which circulates in variant forms:
  • Ireland is a country in which the probable never happens and the impossible always does;
  • In Ireland the inevitable never happens and the unexpected constantly occurs.
Cf. Arthur Conan Doyle: ‘When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.’ Doyle ascribed this in an early story to Edgar Allen Poe and later to Sherlock Holmes but it is of his own making. (See Jeremy MacArthur, review of Michael Sims, Arthur and Sherlock: Conan Doyle and the Creation of Holmes, in New York Times, 26 Jan. 2017 - available online.) 
Note also that Benjamin Disraeli is the original of the saying, ‘The unexpected generally happens’, in Endymion (1880), Bk II, Chap. 4 - viz., ‘What we anticipate seldom occurs; what we least expect generally happens.’ (See Victoria Hooper, in Bookdrum > Dracula- online; accessed 01.10.2017). In Dracula, Dr Seward writes in his diary for 23 Aug. about of his patient Renfield:

“The unexpected always happens.” How well Disraeli knew life. Our bird when he found the cage open would not fly, so all our subtle arrangements were for nought. At any rate, we have proved one thing; that the spells of quietness last a reasonable time. We shall in future be able to ease his bonds for a few hours each day. I have given orders to the night attendant merely to shut him in the padded room, when once he is quiet, until an hour before sunrise. The poor soulös body will enjoy the relief even if his mind cannot appreciate it. Hark! The unexpected again! I am called; the patient has once more escaped.

An Epoch of Irish History, 1591-1660 (1903): ‘There was no passage in modern history which affords us a closer parallel to this Irish Rebellion than the outbreak of the great mutiny in India, where the contrast of religion and of race were not unlike those of Ireland in 1641, and where the half-civilised majority of subjects wreaked horrid vengeance upon the minority of masters, excusing themselves every brutality under the cloak of devotion to religion and ardent patriotism. […] crimes against women and children […] led to shocking retaliations […]’ (q.p.).

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Sir Samuel Ferguson [Obituary, as anon.], in Athenaeum, 14 April 1886 (p.205), later attributed to Mahaffy by Lady Ferguson: ‘[Despite his knowledge of the] real grievances of his country … yet there was never a more loyal or orderly British citizen, or one who felt more deeply the mistakes that are made, and the crimes that are committed, under the guise of demanding justice for his country. He never lent his poetic talent to increase the volume of Irish discontent.’ (Cited in John P. Frayne, ed., Uncollected Prose of W. B. Yeats, Vol. 1, 1970, p.89.)

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Gaelic Ireland: ‘The Gael was a rung on the ladder, a rung which has long been over-stepped. The modern movement in the new political entity - the Irish Free State - backwards towards this Gaelic Hey-Day - is pathetic; or if you wish it is comic; certainly it is useles. […] Any such retrograde movement as an attempt at the compulsory revival of a dead language only becomes a local racial injury […] There is not a thought in me that does not want well-being for the land of my birth; yet there is no room today in their own land for thousands of Irishmen of similar views.’ (‘The Fateful Minorities’, quoted in Terence Brown: Ireland: A Social and Cultural History, 1922-1985 London: Fontanta 1985, p.117; cited in John Harrington, The Irish Beckett, Syracuse UP 1991, p.132.)

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James Joyce: ‘Joyce is the living embodiment of my conviction that the native Irish are unfitted for education; but for the Jesuits, Joyce to-day would be one of the cornerboys leaning spitting into the Liffey over Carlisle Bridge!’ (Quoted in Donogh MacDonagh, ‘The Lass of Aughrim or the Betrayal of James Joyce’, in Maurice Harmon, ed., The Celtic Master: Contributions to the first James Joyce Symposium held in Dublin, 1967, Dolmen Press 1969, p.17.)

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Joyce & Moore: ‘Thank God, they have both cleared out of Dublin [Joyce and George Moore], but not before they had squirted stink like a pair of skunks on all the decent people…. It's an ill bird that fouls its own nest. James Joyce is a living argument in defence of my contention that it was a mistake to establish a separate university for the aborigines of this island - for the cornerboys who spit into the Liffey.’ (Gerald Griffin, The Wild Geese: Pen Portraits of Famous Irish Exiles (London 1938), p.24: quoted in Marvin Magalaner & Richard M. Kain, James Joyce: The Man, The Works, The Reputation London; John Calder 1957, p.22.)

Christian Brothers: ‘There has been throughout the National Schools a propaganda of hatred to England on the part of the schoolmasters living on the pay of the Imperial Government ... It can be proved to any man who will listen to the evidence of those who lived through the whole insurrection in Dublin that it was deliberately planned. By the careful instilling of revolutionary principles in the teaching of many of our primary schools.’ The Nation replied calling Mahaffy: ‘malicious-tongued villain [with] distorted intellect’: ‘Mahaffy is a past master in the art of slander, and the Irish – ancient and modern – are his favourite theme.’ (Quoted in RTÉ Century - 1913-1923 - online.

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Brian McKenna
, Irish Literature, 1800-1875: A Guide to Information Sources (Detroit: Gale Research Co. 1978), p.174, cites Also, Mahaffy’s obituary tribute to Samuel Ferguson, in Athenaeum, 88 (1886), p.205. See also Irish Booklover 5, 6.

Kate Newmann, Dictionary of Ulster Biography (Belfast: QUB/IIS 1993), relates that Flinders Petrie asked him to decipher Egyptian papyri and he that subsequently published The Empire of the Ptolemies (1895).

References works: Social Life in Greece [… &c.] is not cited in either Brian Cleeve & Ann Brady, A Dictionary of Irish Writers (Dublin: Lilliput 1985) or Henry Boylan, A Dictionary of Irish Biography [rev. edn.] (Gill & Macmillan 1988). In The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing (Derry: Field Day 1991), Mahaffy is cited only as friend and mentor of Gogarty (FDA2, 780), while FDA3 makes out that the ‘provost scoffing’ in Finnegans Wake [p.5] is Mahaffy (FDA3 86n.).

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British Library holds [1] The Particular Book of Trinity College, Dublin. A facsimile from the original, with introduction and appendices by J. P. Mahaffy. pp.xii. 258. T. Fisher Unwin: London, 1904. fol. [2] History of Greece […] With an introduction by J. P. Mahaffy. With […] engravings, maps, &c. 4 vol. Kegan Paul & Co.: London, 1892. 8o. [3] Euripidou ‘Ippolutos. The Hippolytus […] Edited, with introduction, notes and appendix, by J. P. Mahaffy […] and J. B. Bury. pp.xxiv. 114. Macmillan & Co.: London; Dublin printed, 1881. 8o. [4] A Commentary on Kant’s Critick of the Pure Reason: translated from the History of Modern Philosophy, by […] K. F., with an introduction, explanatory notes, and appendices, by J. P. Mahaffy. London, Dublin [printed], 1866. 8o. [5] ‘The Attic Orators from Antiphon to Isaeos’. A Rejoinder to Prof. Mahaffy’s ‘Reply’. London, Cambridge [printed], 1877. 8o. [6] “The Attic Orators from Antiphon to Isaeos.” Some remarks [by R. C. J.] on an article by the Rev. Prof. J. P. Mahaffy in the Academy of April 1, 1876. London, Cambridge [printed], 1876. 8o. [7] Chronicles of three Free Cities-Hamburg, Bremen, Lübeck […] With an introduction by Rev. J. P. Mahaffy & numerous illustrations, &c. pp.xx. 464. J. M. Dent & Sons: London; E. P. Dutton & Co.: New York, 1914. 8o. [8] Imaginary conversations […] Selected with an introduction by […] J. P. Mahaffy. London: Blackie & Son, 1909. pp.xix, 438: plate; port. 16 cm. [9] Imaginary conversations. Selected with an introduction by Sir J. P. Mahaffy. London, &c.: Blackie & Son [1925]. pp.xix, 438: plate; port. 15 cm. [10] A History of Classical Greek Literature […] Fourth edition. Macmillan & Co.: London, 1903- . 8o. [11] A History of Classical Greek Literature […] With an appendix on Homer, by Prof. Sayce. Title Second edition, revised throughout. Title (Third edition.). 2 vol. Longmans, Green & Co.: London, 1880. 8o. 2 vol. Longmans and Co.: London, 1883. 8o. 2 vol. in 4 pt. Macmillan & Co.: London, 1895, 90. 8o. [12] A Survey of Greek Civilization. pp.337. Macmillan & Co.: London, 1897. 8o. [13] A Survey of Greek Civilization. pp.337. Flood & Vincent: Meadville Penna., 1896. 8o. [14] Alexander’s Empire. By J. P. M. […] with the collaboration of A. Gilman. pp.xxii. 326. T. Fisher Unwin: London, 1887. 8o. [15] An epoch in Irish history, &c. (Reissued.). Port Washington, N.Y., London: Kennikat Press, 1970. SBN 8046 0794 X pp.xv, 389. 23 cm. [16] An Epoch in Irish History. Trinity College, Dublin. Its foundation and early fortunes, 1591-1660. pp.xv. 389. T. Fisher Unwin: London, 1903. 8o. [17] Bishop Stearne. [18] Classical Antiquities […] Old Greek Life. [19] [Classical Antiquities. Old Greek Life.] Antigüedades griegas. [Translated by J. Martí.]. 1945. [20] Das Verhältniss von Novum Ilium zu dem Ilion des Homer. [21] Descartes. 211. 1880. [22] Euripides. [An account of his life and works.] [23] Greek Antiquities, &c. pp.101. Macmillan & Co.: London, 1889. 8o. [24] Greek Life and Thought […] Second edition, corrected and considerably enlarged. pp.xlii. 669. Macmillan & Co.: London, 1896. 8o. [25] Greek Life and Thought, from the age of Alexander to the Roman Conquest. pp.xxxviii. 600. Macmillan & Co.: London; Edinburgh printed, 1887. 8o. [26] Greek Pictures, drawn with pen and pencil. pp.223. Religious Tract Society: London, 1890. 8o. [27] Kant’s Critical Philosophy for English Readers. 2 vol. Longmans & Co.: London, 1872-74. 8o. [28] Old Greek Education. pp.161. 1881. [29] On the Introduction of the Ass as a Beast of Burden into Ireland. 1917. [30] On the Origins of Learned Academies in Modern Europe. 1913. [31] On the relation of Novum Ilium to the Ilios of Homer. [32] Problems in Greek History. pp.xxiv. 240. Macmillan and Co.: London, 1892. 8o. [33] Prolegomena to Ancient History, containing: Part I., The Interpretation of Legends and Inscriptions. Part II., A Survey of Old Egyptian Literature. 2 pt. London, Dublin [printed], 1871. 8o. [34] Rambles and Studies in Greece […] Fifth edition. pp.xii. 439. Macmillan & Co.: London, 1907. 8o. [35] Rambles and Studies in Greece. [With illustrations.] Title Second edition […] enlarged. London, Dublin [printed], 1876. 8o. London, Dublin [printed], 1878. 8o. [36] Rambles and Studies in Greece. Third edition […] enlarged. pp.xviii. 465. Macmillan & Co.: London; Edinburgh printed, 1887. 8o. [37] Social Life in Greece from Homer to Menander. Title Third edition, revised and enlarged. With a new chapter on Greek Arts. pp.xii. 990. Macmillan & Co.: London, Oxford [printed], 1874. 8o. London, Oxford [printed], 1877. 8o. [38] “The Attic Orators from Antiphon to Isaeus.” Reply to the “Remarks” of R. C. Jebb, Esq. […] on a review [by J. P. Mahaffy] in the “Academy.” By J. P. Mahaffy. London, Dublin [printed], 1876. 8o. [39] The Decay of Modern Preaching. An essay. pp.160. Macmillan & Co.: London; Edinburgh printed, 1882. 8o. [40] The Empire of the Ptolemies. pp.xxv. 533. Macmillan & Co.: London, 1895. 8o. [41] The Flinders Petrie Papyri. With transcriptions, commentaries, and index. By Rev. J. P. Mahaffy (and Prof. J. G. Smyly). [With plates.]. 4 pt. Dublin, 1891-94, 1905. 4o. [42] The Greek World under Roman Sway, from Polybius to Plutarch. pp.xiii. 412. Macmillan & Co.: London, 1890. 8o. [43] The Plate in Trinity College, Dublin: a history [by J. P. Mahaffy] and a catalogue [by M. S. D. Westropp, rearranged and edited by J. P. Mahaffy, with notes and appendices. With plates]. pp.vii. 94. Macmillan & Co.: London, 1918. 4o. [44] The Post-assaying found on dated pieces of Plate in the collection of Trinity College, Dublin. 1917. [45] The Principles of the Art of Conversation. Title Second edition […] enlarged. pp.xii. 174. Macmillan & Co.: London; Edinburgh printed, 1887. 8o. pp.xxiii. 180. Macmillan & Co.: London; Edinburgh printed, 1888. 8o. [46] The Progress of Hellenism in Alexander’s Empire. 154. University of Chicago Press: Chicago; T. Fisher Unwin: London, 1905. 8o. [47] The Silver Age of the Greek World. pp.vii. 482. University Press: Chicago; T. Fisher Unwin: London, 1906. 8o. [48] Three Epochs in the Social Development of the Ancient Greeks. [49] Twelve Lectures on Primitive Civilizations, and their physical conditions, &c. London, Dublin [printed], 1869. 16o. [50] What have the Greeks done for Modern Civilisation? The Lowell Lectures of 1908-09. pp.xi. 263. G. P. Putnam’s Sons: New York & London, 1909. 8o. [51] Kant’s Critical Philosophy for English Readers […] A new and completed edition [of the work by J. P. Mahaffy]. Title [Other editions.]. 2 vol. Macmillan & Co.: London, 1889- . 8o. [52] Greeks: Hellenic Era. Compiled and abstracted […] by J. P. Mahaffy […] and W. A. Goligher. pp.ii. 75. Williams & Norgate: London, 1910. fol. [53] Hellenistic Greeks. Compiled and abstracted […] by […] Sir J. P. Mahaffy […] and W. A. Goligher […] Completed by Professor W. A. Goligher. pp.94. Williams & Norgate: London, 1928. fol. [54] Sketches from a tour through Holland and Germany. pp.xv. 271. Macmillan & Co.: London, 1889 [1888]. 8o. [55] Nuovi papiri classici. I. Classical Texts […] edited by F. G. Kenyon […] II. ‘Erondou Mimiamboi […] Recension by W. G. Rutherford […] III. The Flinders Petrie Papyri, with transcriptions […] by Rev. J. P. Mahaffy, &c. [Reviews from the “Rivista di Filologia.”]. pp.337-347. [Turin, 1891.] 8o. [56] Revolutionary Ireland and its settlement […] With an introduction by the Rev. J. P. Mahaffy. pp.xxiii. 446. Macmillan & Co.: London, 1911. 8o. [57] Remarks on Prof. Mahaffy’s account of the rise and progress of Epic Poetry, in his History of Classical Greek Literature. pp.44. Bell & Sons: London, 1881. 8o. [58] Hermathena. A series of papers on literature, science and philosophy, by members of Trinity College, Dublin. [Edited by J. K. Ingram, B. Williamson, J. P. Mahaffy and R. Y. Tyrrell.]. Dublin, 1873, &c. 8o. [59] A History of Egypt. Title [Earlier editions.]. 6 vol. Methuen & Co.: London, 1894-1927. 8o. [60] Illahun, Kahun and Gurob. 1889-90 […] With chapters by Prof. Sayce, Canon Hicks, Prof. Mahaffy, F. Ll. Griffith, and F. C. J. Spurrell. [With plates.]. pp.viii. 59. D. Nutt: London, 1891. 4o. [61] Revenue Laws of Ptolemy Philadelphus. Edited from a Greek Papyrus in the Bodleian Library, with a translation, commentary, and appendices by B. P. Grenfell […] and an introduction by […] J. P. Mahaffy […] With thirteen plates. 253. Clarendon Press: Oxford, 1896. 4o & fol. [62] Mahaffy: a biography of an Anglo-Irishman. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1971. SBN 7100 6880 8 xiv, 281 p.: plates; ports. 23 cm. bibl. p. 255-272. ALSO, listed in Reference Collections since 1975) [1] Prolegomena to ancient history containing, Part I. The interpretation of legends and inscriptions. Part II. A survey of old Egyptian literature by John P. Mahaffy. 1871 [2] The progress of Hellenism in Alexander’s empire by John Pentland Mahaffy. 1905. [3] Title Mahaffy a biography of an Anglo-Irishman W. B. Stanford and R. B. McDowell. 1975 [rep.]

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Ulster Libraries: Belfast Central Public Library holds An Epoch of Irish History (1903, 1906); Euripides (1879); The Plates of Trinity College (1918); Greek Antiquities (1883); Principles of the Art of Conversation (1888). University of Ulster Library (Morris Collection) holds Greek Pictures, Drawn with Pen and Pencil (1890).

Bookselllers: Hyland Books (Cat. 1996) lists Twelve Lectures on Primitive Civilisation (1st edn. 1869).

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Oscar Wilde (1): Mahaffy’s acknowledgement of Oscar Wilde’s help appeared in Social Life in Greece (1874) not Prolegomena to the Study of Greek Culture [1871], as stated by Alfred Lord Douglas. Wilde was fifteen when Prolegomena was prepared for press and 19 when Social History was published.)

Oscar Wilde (2): The title of Oscar Wilde’s “Decay of the Art of Lying” conjoins Mahaffy’s The Principles of the Art of Conversation (1887) with a headed section in Greek Life and Thought (1874) entitled “Decay of Oratory” (Chap. XVII; p.409.)

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W. B. Yeats (1): In subscribing to the Irish Literary Theatre, founded by W. B. Yeats and Lady Gregory, et al, Mahaffy wrote in a cover-letter: ‘I am ready to risk £5 for your scheme and hope they may get their drama in Irish. It will be as intelligible to the nation as Italian, which we so often hear on our stage.’ (Cited in Frank Tuohy, Yeats, 1976, p.97; no source given.)

W. B. Yeats (2): on his applying to read at TCD library, Mahaffy he was sent him the oath in Latin to prepare, with the [phonetic] quantities marked, ‘for I have a sensitive ear.’ (See Oliver St. John Gogarty’s W. B. Yeats: A Memoir, 1951, p.14.)

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J. M. Synge, in writing of Jane Barlow’s a review of ‘Irish Literature’ of 1892, states that she deals ‘with Professor Mahaffy, some other Irish writers, and the periodicals of Dublin’, before summing up: ‘This bird’s eye view has revealed no brilliant prospect, and the causes of dimness considered, it is difficult to point out any quarter of the horizon as a probable source of rising light.’ (Synge, Collected Works, II: Prose, ed. Alan Price, 1966, p.383.)

James Joyce: In his “Pola Notebook”, Joyce recorded the witticism under the title S.D.: ‘Hellenism - European appendicitis’; rep. in The Workshop of Daedalus (Northwestern UP 1965), p.91, with a note to the effect that the ‘three witticisms’ given there were ‘apparently destined for Stephen as early as this [1904] but though we never see him deliver one, Joyce apparently thought of him as having done so [since] John Eglinton teases him about the first’ - viz., “Six medical studens under my direction will write Paradise Lost except 100 lines', which he is said to have borrowed a title from hack novelist Marie Corelli: The Sorrows of Satan. (Idem; Ulysses, “Scylla and Charybdis”)

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Patrick Pearse (1): Dr. Gwynn, An Account of the Thomas Davis Centenary Meeting, Nov. 20 1914, describes Dr. Mahaffy’s prohibition of ‘the man called Pearse’. (See W. B. Yeats, Tribute to Thomas Davis [ &c.], 1947).

Patrick Pearse (2): See Pearse writes of ‘“Irish” nationalist politicians who in heart and soul are as un-Irish as Professor Mahaffy […]’ (The Letters of PH Pearse, ed., Seamus Ó Buachalla, Gerrards Cross 1980. q.p.)

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Samuel Beckett: Note that a paragraph ascribed to Mahaffy [‘The Gael was a rung on the ladder … &c’] in John P. Harrington’s The Irish Beckett (1991), p.132, and therein quoted from Terence Brown, Ireland, A Social and Cultural History 1922-79 (1981), p.117, was actually written by Mahaffy’s friend P. L. Dickinson in his book The Dublin of Yesterday (1929, p.177), as Brown’s text and footnote clearly states.

Samuel Beckett (2): Professor Rudmose-Brown - Beckett's French professor and mentor - was asked by Mahaffy to translate a letter he had received in French with the contemptuous remark: ‘why keep a dog and bark yourself?’ (See in Anthony Cronin, Samuel Beckett: The Last Modernist, 1996, p.59.)

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A. N. Jeffares, the doyen of Anglo-Irish studies and leading Yeats critic, possessed copies of Horace and Virgil formerly owned by Mahaffy when residing at No.38, TCD, in 1862. (See Images of Invention, Gerrards Cross: Colin Smythe 1996, p.165.)

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