Remembering John Mahoney (1928–2015)

Published: September 2015

For more than five decades, John Mahoney ’50, MA’52, H’03, taught literature at Boston College, returning to his alma mater after earning a Ph.D. from Harvard. He was a scholar of Romantic poetry and a virtuoso of the classroom, the author or editor of 11 books and the University’s inaugural Rattigan Professor of English. And he was known for his recitations of poems. A 1994 Boston College Magazine profile by editor Ben Birnbaum described their effect: “John’s is not an actor’s instrument—it’s got too little polish and too much Boston in it. Nor is it a siren’s call. Too much straight-ahead power. . . . [But] as John inhabits his gestures, so does he the words he speaks.”

Mahoney published several spoken-word CDs, including one titled Freedom: America’s Literary Voices (2006) that featured the poem “A Psalm of Life” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Click below to hear his rendering.

This feature was posted on Wednesday, September 9, 2015 and is filed under Audio.