Reading Bliss and Bending Time with a New Story
“Now widely anthologised, taught, and considered a paragon of modernist literature, [Katherine Mansfield’s] ‘Bliss’ seems to prove what we have discovered as editors of NOON – that a story that generates powerful feeling, whether delight or fear or revulsion, bears closer examination. Rereading can yield different responses as our relationship to a story or novel or poem – or to an author – changes over time. Woolf’s strong reaction to ‘Bliss’ came after she had championed Mansfield’s earlier work, and upon Mansfield’s death Woolf acknowledged that her work was ‘the only writing I have ever been jealous of.’”
This is an excerpt from an article, entitled ‘Bliss’, published in the current edition of annually-published NOON, and appearing online at Literary Hub.
“Close to a century later, American writer Christine Schutt was inspired to write her own response to Bliss, ‘The Life of the Palm and the Breast’, which first appeared in her collection A Day, a Night, Another Day, Summer.
“Reprinting ‘Bliss’ alongside ‘The Life of the Palm and the Breast’ offers a way of achieving the impossible – bending time, allowing two artists who never lived in the same moment to greet each other.”
Original article by Rachel Chait, Zach Davidson, Madelaine Lucas, Liza St. James, NOON, Literary Hub, March 6, 2023.