Mansfield Had Something to Say and Said It Uncommonly Well

A 1922 review of Katherine Mansfield’s The Garden Party and Other Stories is pulled “from the stacks” of a New Republic back issue. “It is necessary to read no more than two or three of Miss Mansfield’s stories before discovering that she has great talent,” American journalist Robert Littell began.

“And after reading all of them, including her first volume, Bliss, there is no doubt at all that this talent amounts to the rare thing which a lack of a juster word to express our enthusiasms we call genius, and that her name must be added to that small company of the living – so small that they could all get into one Lexington Avenue car without straphanging – who really have something to say, and can say it uncommonly well.

“Miss Mansfield does not write what one usually thinks of as a “short story.” She is interested in people, not in plots, in the substance and color of life, and not the chess patterns that can be made with it.

“All the more difficult is her art because it deals with what on the face of them are such trifles, with passing joys, old sadnesses suddenly unburied, the particular feeling of a time of day, the brief moods that chase each other across human souls like small shadows across the water. She is a connoisseur of the ripples that mean so much more than waves, a collector of little emotions caught on the wing, never pinned or bottled in her pages, but kept alive there in all their fragile iridescent colours.”

Original article by Robert Littell, The New Republic, January 9, 2014.

Photo by Hulton Getty.

Tags: Katherine Mansfield  New Republic  New Republic (The)  Robert Littell  The Garden Party and Other Stories  

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