Katherine Mansfield Essay

Length: 4 pages Sources: 6 Subject: Literature Type: Essay Paper: #65302740 Related Topics: Cholera, Archaeology, Tuberculosis, Colonialism

Excerpt from Essay :

Katherine Mansfield

Early Works

Later Works and Themes

Kathleen Mansfield Murry, commonly known by her penname Katherine Mansfield, was born in the late nineteenth century and only lived to be thirty-four years of age. Her early death was due to the effects of tuberculosis on her body. During her lifespan however, she was able to write a variety of short fiction stories in the modernist genre. Her works gave her a great deal of notoriety during her life and her first published stores appeared in a publication known as the High School Reporter. From 1910 publications in periodicals like the New Age through the five volumes of stories published before her death, Mansfield was recognized as innovative, accessible, and psychologically acute, one of the pioneers of the avant-garde in the creation of the short story (Poetry Foundation).

She had an interesting personal life and was born into a prominent family. She was born in New Zealand in a town known as Wellington. Kathleen was the third daughter in a wealthy and ambitious family. She was the third child out of six surviving children (one child died of cholera). The birth position allotted Kathleen a lot of time for personal reflection and introspection as she recalls in her writing as feeling largely ignored by the family in general. She was also chubby, wore glasses, and was at least slightly unattractive in her developing years. These conditions definitely influenced her and her later writing.

Early Works

In May 1898 Kathleen and her sisters transferred to Wellington Girls' High School in central Wellington, NZ and soon afterwards, Kathleen's first published piece, 'Enna Blake', appeared in the High School Reporter (Boddy). There was also a note from the editor that was published with the piece that read: 'This story, written by one of the girls who have lately entered the school, shows promise of great merit'. The


She wrote many other short stories during her high school career and some were published.

Kathleen also took advantage of the school newspaper in college as well. A number of short pieces were published in the Queen's College Magazine, such as 'The pine-tree, the sparrows and you and I'; these works reflected her early interest in popular children's writing, especially the brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen (Boddy). In college she also began to investigate new ways of expressing herself. For example, 'Die Einsame' explored the ideas of alienation and fulfilment in death, which were among common concerns of hers in her youth. 'About Pat', was based on her memories of Karori and demonstrated the vivid sense of childhood experiences that would characterize her best later work (Boddy).

Later Works and Themes

Some have attempted to classify Mansfield's work into different themes. Many of her stories were written for a particular audience in a periodical or journal. However, some have argued that most of her stories fall within three themes that are often interrelated (During). The first theme can be thought of as "switch" stories such as found within the 'The Swing of the Pendulum', 'Miss Brill', and 'Bliss'. The narratives in these stories or the mood goes through a fast and rapid transition as the story takes on a new route. Another type of narrative that Mansfield can be thought of as what is referred to as "brutal" stories…

Sources Used in Documents:


Boddy, G. "Story: Mansfield, Katherine." 1996. Terra. Online. 27 August 2015.

During, S. "Katherine Mansfield's World." Journal of New Zealand Literature (2015): 33-66. Online.

Hennessey, A. "Reading Katherine Mansfield as 'Selective Cultural Archaeology'." Deep South (1997). Online.

Keese, A. "Katherine Mansfield and Literary Modernism Review." DH Lawrence Review (2013): 111-115. Online.

Cite this Document:

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