Katherine Mansfield's Fiction

By Patrick D. Morrow | Go to book overview

Chapter Six

Stories from the Posthumous Collection
The Dove's Nest and Other Stories (1923)

Before her death in 1923, KM planned to include six stories about New Zealand and three about London in her fourth volume. But because of the severity of her illness, she was only able to write four stories; all were about New Zealand. Among these stories were "The Doll's House" and "The Fly." Even though both are regarded as two of her most outstanding achievements, "The Fly" is considered to be Mansfield's last great story. In this story Mansfield expresses some hateful feelings towards her father; most of the story is based on circumstances that took place between her and her father. Also included in this volume is "A Married Man's Story" which was written shortly after Mansfield married Murry. During the time in which it was written, Mansfield and Murry were having major marriage problems. Especially the never-finished stories from this set have the sound of a sociopath writing. These incomplete stories are vividly gothic and established at a preconscious level.

The Dove's Nest and Other Stories was the first posthumous volume put together by J.M. Murry. Published in 1923, it contains only one complete story originally planned by KM, "The Doll's House," originally titled "At Karori," although the title of the collection is the one she had planned to use. Of the other six works planned, fragments remain of "Weak Heart," "Honesty," "Second Violin," "Six Years After," and "Widowed." There remains no trace of the three other stories. It is possible to determine from Mansfield's plan and the remaining fragments that she was continuing the themes from her earlier collections, such as her New Zealand childhood, death, and women on their own. Yet she also planned to write longer works, such as the unfinished "The Dove's Nest" and the never seen "Lives Like Logs of Driftwood."

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