The Critical Response to Katherine Mansfield

By Jan Pilditch | Go to book overview

Since 1957 the Turnbull has acquired, either by gift or by purchase, a number of small groups of Mansfield letters (some originals, some copies), correspondence of others concerning Katherine Mansfield or her work, letters to her from Elizabeth, Countess Russell, and one from Virginia Woolf, collections of newspaper clippings, reviews and obituary notices, Katherine Mansfield's Bible with some markings and notes by her, texts of talks and lectures, the manuscript of Miss Baker's book Katherine Mansfield. The Memories of LM and a giant-sized scrapbook compiled and given by Mrs. Vera Mackintosh Bell, Katherine Mansfield's older sister, containing a wide variety of relevant material collected by Mrs. Bell through half a century. These items (together with many smaller ones) come within the province of the Manuscripts Section of the Library. The Photograph Section has about 150 photographs of which about 50 feature KM herself, while the others are of people and places associated with her. The collection of published material includes KM's own works (all editions and translations), and all books and periodical articles about her or her work. And gradually some of her own possessions have come to rest in the Turnbull because there is no more appropriate place for them: KM's little Corona typewriter, on which she typed her stories, a chair which she once gave to S. S. Koteliansky, a miniature portrait of her which was commissioned by her father, a brooch, a shawl, a lock of hair, several dressing-table jars, a Chinese embroidered jacket, a fruit-knife, a fan. These articles are valued for their association with Katherine Mansfield but it is her manuscripts, above all, which have given rise to the Turnbull occasionally being referred to as "the Katherine Mansfield library".

Etudes Anglaises, vol. XXVI, 1973, pp. 413-19.


T. O. Beachcroft, "Katherine Mansfield's Encounter with Theocritus"

That Katherine Mansfield had at one time read a translation of the XVth Idyll of Theocritus and had given it considerable thought may not at first glance seem a very important piece of information. Yet it has a remarkable interest in the development of her own art and thus of the modern short story; and when Antony Alpers , author of Katherine Mansfield ( 1954), wrote to tell me that in the course of writing a new biography dealing with Katherine Mansfield and her circle he had discovered evidence of this encounter between Katherine Mansfield and Theocritus, it had the same effect as the discovery of an important piece that had been missing from the middle of a puzzle. It is the object of this article to explain why.

At the outset a brief definition is needed of the elusive phrase 'the modern short story'. Without making a lengthy analysis, may I say that by the modern short story I mean the story that has been developed especially since the work of Chekhov and that has often been thought of as the 'Chekhov kind' of story.

Many critics have adopted this as a standpoint-- Austin McGiffert Wright, for instance, in The American Short Story in the Twenties ( 1961) asks why it is that

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