On the Brilliance of Katherine Mansfield

“The Katherine Mansfield Memorial Garden is a peaceful, oblong-shaped park set in the midst of Thorndon, in Wellington. It is named after the city’s most famous daughter, the short story writer Katherine Mansfield, whose work is widely read in France and Europe but has been slow to capture the attention of British and American readers and critics,” New Zealand author Kirsty Gunn writes in a story published by Literary Hub.

“That is set to change this year, as the centenary of Mansfield’s death this month marks the beginning of a flurry of publications and reviews honouring the author of a prose style that Virginia Woolf envied and whose stories established a prototype for the kind of short fiction in English we now take for granted,” Gunn writes.

“Scholars and critics are in general agreement that Mansfield’s best work – ‘comparable with Proust’s breakthrough into the subconscious world,’ said Frank O’Connor – are the so-called New Zealand stories: ‘so-called’ for while they are set in places not actually named as Wellington or Days Bay, the small summer town across the harbor from that city, or Karori, a northern suburb that is the setting for ‘Prelude’ and ‘The Dolls House’, they are nevertheless clearly drawing upon these places and others, a landscape and world Mansfield had been born into and grew up amongst.”

Gunn is the author of My Katherine Mansfield Project and is currently completing a collection of short stories. Her Selected Letters of Katherine Mansfield, edited with Delia da Sousa Correa, will be published by Oxford University Press next year.

Original article by Kirsty Gunn, Literary Hub, January 23, 2023.


Tags: Katherine Mansfield  Kirsty Gunn  Literary Hub  

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