Francis Sylvester Mahony

Biography of Francis Sylvester Mahony

Francis Sylvester Mahony (31 December 1804–18 May 1866), also known by the pen name Father Prout, was an Irish humorist. He was born in Cork, Ireland, to Martin Mahony and Mary Reynolds. He was educated at the Jesuit Clongowes Wood College, Kildare, and later in Saint Acheul, a similar school in Amiens, France and then at Rue de Sèvres, Paris, and later in Rome. He began teaching at the Jesuit school of Clongowes as master of rhetoric, but was soon after expelled from the order. He then went to London, and became a leading contributor to Fraser's Magazine, under the signature of "Father Prout." Mahony at one point was director of this magazine.

He was witty and learned in many languages. One form which his humour took was the professed discovery of the originals in Latin, Greek, or mediaeval French of popular modern poems and songs. Many of these jeux d'esprit were collected as Reliques of Father Prout. He wittily described himself as "an Irish potato seasoned with Attic salt." Later he acted as foreign correspondent to various newspapers, and during the last eight years of his life, his articles formed the chief attraction of the Globe newspaper. Mahony spent the last two years of his life in a monastery and died in Paris reconciled to the Church.

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