Classic Author Focus: Katherine Mansfield

Katherine Mansfield

Katherine Mansfield was a New Zealand author who was considered a master of the short story form and one of the most influential and important Modernist authors. Her works explored anxiety, existentialism, and sexuality, and eventually developed a New Zealand identity.

Mansfield was born in Thornton near Wellington to a socially prominent family. She became disillusioned with New Zealand partly because of the treatment of the Maori. Her first printed stories appeared in high school magazines, but her first formally published story, “His Little Friend,” appeared in a society magazine in 1900.

Mansfield was partially educated in England, but she eventually left New Zealand altogether to establish herself in London, leading a bohemian existence and befriending members of the Bloomsbury Group. Her first published work in London reflect her disillusionment: In a German Pension, published in 1911. Her reputation was made in 1918 with Prelude, a selection of stories that evoke her memories of New Zealand.

Mansfield did her best work in 1922 and 23, publishing The Garden Party and The Dove’s Nest, which was published posthumously. She died of tuberculosis in France.

Dates: 1888-1923

Most popular works: Prelude, The Garden Party and Other Stories, The Dove’s Nest and Other Stories

Other works: In a German Pension, Bliss and Other Stories, Poems, Something Childish and Other Stories, The Urewara Notebook, The Montana Stories and other stories, journals, and writings

11 thoughts on “Classic Author Focus: Katherine Mansfield

  1. Thank you for the author focus on Katherine Mansfield, so interesting. Also right in time since I just read Linda Lappin’s excellent historical fiction on Katherine Mansfield, Katherine’s Wish (see Emmas comment earlier) I went on to read two of her short stories; The Garden Party and Other Stories as well as Something Childish and Other Stories. Mansfield has a talent for words and her short stories are really great. Highly recommended as well as the historical fiction, where you really come very close to Mansfield. My review of the novel is here:

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  2. So neat you feature Mansfield. I know this is not classic lit, but I have just read a fabulous historical fiction that can help you understand the last years of her life.
    Here is my ecstatic review, if you still need convincing:
    And if I’m allowed here, it’s free so why not, you can even request a review copy of it before December 31. And you can review it whenever is good for you:
    Ignore the date on the banner and the form, it has been extended, it is still available until December 31

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