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Dhira Mahoney (1938-2019)

in memoriam

John X. Evans

Katherine Heenan

Dhira Mahoney

Helen Nebeker

Kathleen "Kay" Sands

accents on english

Newsletter of the Department of English
at Arizona State University

Fall 2018-Spring 2019
Volume 22

Page image from 2019 ACMRS/MAP Conference program.Dhira Mahoney, a beloved medievalist and Department of English professor emeritus, passed away on January 24, 2019. A friend shared information and a remembrance, calling her "our gracious, wise, and beautifully spoken friend" and a "scholar and culture critic to the last," saying Mahoney, "spent her final moments in studious reading at home":

Dhira was a staunch supporter of the Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies (ACMRS) and president of The Medieval Association of the Pacific (MAP) from 2000-2002 and represented the organization well with stunning wit, good sense—and an infectious smile. Having received a BA and MA from Oxford University and a PhD in 1974 from the University of California, Santa Barbara, Dhira became a well-known scholar of Arthurian literature, publishing many articles and a widely-read Casebook on the Grail Quest in 2000.

She often relied on medieval rhetorical theories to frame her literary interpretations and was polishing book chapters on the rhetoric of medieval prologues during her final months. As Georgiana Donavin and Anita Obermeier wrote so eloquently in the introduction to her festschrift, Romance and Rhetoric, “If three words could sum up Mahoney, they would be generosity, hybridity, and elegance—generosity to both students and colleagues, hybridity in interdisciplinary research and teaching, and elegance in her manner of relating to others and expressing her ideas.”

Many colleagues and students at ASU and beyond received her generous help, learned from her insights, and came into her welcoming presence.

Mahoney wanted no memorial, so instead colleagues honored her memory at the ACMRS/MAP Conference in February and at a Mildred Flood Mahoney Memorial Organ concert at the University of Arizona in April.

—Editors

Image: Page from 2019 ACMRS/MAP Conference program.