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  • Necrology for Dhira Mahoney
  • Anita Obermeier and Georgiana Donavin

Dhira Mahoney, our gracious, wise, and beautifully-spoken friend, died suddenly on Thursday, January 24, 2019. A scholar and culture critic to the last, she spent her final moments in studious reading at home. 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. She held a specific tender place in her heart for Malory, publishing many articles in such venues as Viator, Arthuriana, ELH, Medievalia and Humanistica, The Arthurian Yearbook, and many edited volumes. The biggest feather in her cap was the widely-read The Grail: A Casebook in 2000 in the highly respected Garland series on Arthurian Characters and Themes. Her amazing chart of all the medieval Grail traditions is one of the most useful aspects of the book. Dhira Mahoney also reviewed books for an impressive array of journals, including Speculum, Studies in the Age of Chaucer, JEGP, and Arthuriana.

A gifted and gentle teacher, she worked at the University of Arizona from 1976–1988, and retired from Arizona State University as an associate professor in 2006. From 2003–2006, she served on the editorial boards of Arthuriana and Studies in Medieval and Renaissance History and as Secretary Treasurer of the International Courtly Literature Society, North American Branch, from 1989–1995. After having been vice president of the Medieval Association of the Pacific (MAP) from 1998–2000, Dhira assumed the presidency of MAP from 2000–2002 and represented the organization well with stunning wit, good sense—and an infectious smile. 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.

Dhira may no longer be ‘on lyve,’ but she left a wonderful legacy. As we wrote in our Introduction to her festschrift, Romance and Rhetoric (2010), ‘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 of us in the profession received her generous help, learned from her insights, and came into her welcoming presence. Dhira Mahoney will be sorely missed. [End Page 74]

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Published jointly with the Journal of the International Arthurian Society

[End Page 75]



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pp. 74-75
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