You don’t need physics to appreciate Katherine Mansfield

In an entertainingly self-deprecating essay for Oxford University’s independent student newspaper Cherwell, Ben Jureidini apologies to the ghost of New Zealand short story master Katharine Mansfield for almost submitting a terribly pretentious theory about her work.

Juredini imagines Mansfield as “willing to cross both space and time in order to beat me around the head with a copy of Crime and Punishment” if he had published the essay in its original form, which apparently drew on a combination of theories by both Albert Einstein and Jean-Paul Sartre.

Asking for Mansfield’s forgiveness, Juredini goes on to detail his realization that her short stories don’t require theoretical physics or existentialism to explain their greatness – “Like a bundle of fairy stories, these brief descriptions of a journey, or a moment, or a party, are ephemeral, to be read in one sitting. Mansfield’s stories are not comforting by any means, they are often disturbing, following a character coming to terms with the realisation that the world might be a nastier place than they once thought… Garden parties, train journeys, sitting in the park being a bit sad, Mansfield turns moments into miniature fairy tales.”

Original article:, 11 December 2020
Image Source: Katherine Mansfield Wikipedia

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