Mansfield, Katherine. (1888 - 1923).
L i f e
- born in New Zealand, received higher education in London, and finally settled here
- involved in a number of love affairs, married suddenly, and left the man the same evening
- got pregnant by another man, went to Germany to await the birth x but: miscarried (see In a German Pension)
- involved with both the critic John Middleton Murry and the magazine Rhythm he edited, divorced, and married him
W o r k
- proceeded through a variety of literary styles x but: at her best in the last years of her life
- early period: wrote poems, sketches, and stories, and criticized the narrowness of middle-class life in New Zealand
- middle period: experimented with technique, perfected the story of insight into certain kinds of experience
- later period: returned in her imagination back to New Zealand, reworked the experiences of her home
- develops the post-impressionist principle of suggestiveness and rhythm from a distinctively feminine point of view
- combines symbolic patterning of incidents, images, and symbols
- uses the technique of suggestion x rather than explicit development
- achieves the meaning through the atmosphere, the accumulation of small strokes, each of them seemingly but a piece of realistic detail
- manipulates time by the effective use of unobtrusive flashbacks
- worked determinedly on a small scale, wrote carefully pointed and delicately elusive short stories
In a German Pension (1911):
- her first published book, on her own experience of Germany
- carefully observed sketches full of ironic detail expressing her dislike of Teutonic manners and mannerisms
Bliss, and Other Stories (1920)
The Garden Party and Other Stories (1922):
> “The Garden Party”:
- based on her own experience of New Zealand
- a fatal street accident of a neighbour from a poor quarter nearby almost spoilt the festive atmosphere of her mother’s party in their house
"'Your lovely pear tree--pear tree--pear tree!' Bertha simply ran over to the long windows. 'Oh, what is going to happen now?' she cried. But the pear tree was as lovely as ever and as full of flower and as still."
From "Bliss" (1918).
(Photo: Wikimedia Commons).
AuthorBorn Kathleen Mansfield Beauchamp. Penname Katherine Mansfield. (1888 - 1923). New Zealand.
WorkShort story writer. Author of New Zealand stories.
Abrams, Meyer Howard, ed. The Norton Anthology of English Literature. New York: W. W. Norton, 1993.
Barnard, Robert. Stručné dějiny anglické literatury. Praha: Brána, 1997.
Baugh, Albert C. ed. A Literary History of England. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1967.
Coote, Stephen. The Penguin Short History of English Literature. London: Penguin, 1993.
Sampson, George. The Concise Cambridge History of English Literature. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1946.
Sanders, Andrew. The Short Oxford History of English Literature. New York: Clarendon Press, 1994.
Her Short Stories
“Something Childish but Very Natural” (1914)
“Miss Brill” (1920)
“The Daughters of the Late Colonel” (1921)
“At the Bay” (1922)
“The Doll’s House” (1922)