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Bliss (Penguin Mini Modern Classics) [Kindle Edition]

Katherine Mansfield
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

'Although Bertha Young was thirty she still had moments like this when she wanted to run instead of walk, to take dancing steps on and off the pavement, to bowl a hoop, to throw something up in the air and catch it again, or to stand still and laugh at - nothing - at nothing, simply.'

Katherine Mansfield's perceptive and resonant writing helped to define the modern short story, observing apparently trivial incidents to create quietly devastating revelations of inner lives. In these three tales, aglow with light and colour, Mansfield describes an exultant epiphany, fading memories and the unspoken, half-understood emotions that make up everyday existence.

This book includes Bliss, The Daughters of the Late Colonel and The Doll's House.

Product Description


This recording presents six of the thirteen stories originally published together in the 1920s... Each is served up by Juliet Stevenson as a rare delicacy, each character brought forth with perfect accent and timbre, each tale with full awareness of every nuance. The result? The listener is blessed with the good fortune of hearing two great storytellers working in concert, and it is absolute bliss --Maine Portland, AudioFile

Juliet Stevenson is the perfect narrator for these six delicately observed stories. In one, Bertha in her white dress and jade beads presides over a dinner party, her happiness to be obliterated by seeing her husband kiss heavy-lidded Pearl; in another, ex-lovers meet again beside a Japanese vase of paper daffodils. Unbeatable. --Rachel Redford, The Observer


1923. Mansfield is New Zealand's most famous writer. She was closely associated with D.H. Lawrence and something of a rival of Virginia Woolf. Mansfield's creative years were burdened with loneliness, illness, jealousy, alienation, all this reflected in her work with the bitter depiction of marital and family relationships of her middle-class characters. Her short stories are also notable for their use of stream of consciousness. Like the Russian writer Anton Chekhov, Mansfield depicted trivial events and subtle changes in human behavior. Mansfield's family memoirs were collected in Bliss and secured her reputation as a writer. Contents: Prelude; Je Ne Parle Pas Francais; Bliss; The Wind Blows; Psychology; Pictures; The Man without A Temperament; Mr. Reginald Peacock's Day; Sun and Moon; Feuille d'Album; A Dill Pickle; The Little Governess; Revelations; and The Escape.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1652 KB
  • Print Length: 80 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (15 Feb. 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004MME2L0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #337,965 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bliss and Other Stories 26 Feb. 2011
This review is based on the one I wrote for 'The Garden Party'.

If you like Penelope Lively or Tracy Chevalier, chances are you will love Katherine Mansfield's stories.

This is a collection of captivating short stories about life in the early 20th century. The author is a painter with words - she beautifully captures the colours, textures and atmosphere of the places and people she writes about, encapsulating a beauty and tranquillity that existed before the technological age; yet her stories are in no way sentimental. On the contrary, there is an edgy, almost surreal quality about them, and they seem to loiter at the fragile limits of concrete experience and human equanimity. They tap into real human feelings, never presuming to analyse fully, but only to understand with deep empathy the concerns, wishes, hopes and dreams that flow through our lives. Mansfield crafts each story with care - though seamlessly - and so each one satisfies the reader by having a theme, a development of it, and a resolution (even if this is an emotional state rather than a dramatic event). Finally, I wouldn't want you to assume that these stories are dreamy or passive. There are also some powerful and dramatic elements, so that reading them can be an emotionally intense experience. For example, 'The Little Governess' bowls you along unwittingly, in happy oblivion, until - but I wouldn't want to spoil it for you. The eponymous 'Bliss' explores the intense experience of joy in relation to beauty, and of joy and beauty in relation to cold hard reality.

Katherine Mansfield, who as a short-story writer has been compared to Chekhov, died at the age of 34 and does not seem to be as well recognised today as she fully deserves.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bliss 26 April 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Having read about Katherine Mansfield in Uncommon Arrangements: Seven Marriages in Literary London 1910 -1939, I was intrigued to read some of her work. However, I really don't read short stories often and I was uncertain about where to begin. This small volume, containing only three of her stories, seemed a good place to start - allowing me to sample her style and see if I would want to read on. I don't think I was prepared for the sheer strength of these stories and the way they drew you in. There are only three stories in this collection: Bliss, The Daughters of the Late Colonel and The Doll's House. They are about simple, human emotions - the joy to be found in everyday life, betrayal, grief, relief, bullying and exclusion. Did I really imagine I would not want to read on? Katherine Mansfield, like the short story genre, may not be as widely read as they once were, but they certainly deserve to be. I am delighted to have discovered her and will certainly read more. I highly recommend this small volume and others in the Penguin Mini Modern Classics range - they are a great way of sampling authors you may have not read before and you may well find someone special, like Katherine Mansfield.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Very Good Read 16 Nov. 2008
These perfectly formed short stories are like brightly coloured miniatures in an art gallery. The author's choice of format for her stories produces a fast paced series of scenes, very visually rendered, sometimes covering a very short space of time, perhaps a few hours, one story at least probably covers half an hour. Each story ends with a sense of a line having been firmly drawn or a door firmly closed on the scene, so that one imagines the characters continuing their progress but one is satisfied that one has seen and understood enough. The stories are about characters whose feelings surprise them or hinder them or are unrecognised by them. These emotions are depicted through sharp observation of reported speech and of unexpressed inner feelings and thoughts, with revealing and sometimes comic results arising from the natural discrepancies. The author (and therefore the reader too) sees more than the characters do themselves, as in Jane Austen. Sharply observed and cool but not detached. Timeless classic writing.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One to read (and re-read) 29 Dec. 2002
By A Customer
"Bliss" may be one of the lesser known classics but it is without doubt a delightful read. The stories are character as opposed to plot-based and Mansfield deserves to be called a "master" of her genre. Her language is quite accessible. She creates a strong sense of place in each story yet excludes any unnecessary description from her work. My personal favourite story is "Psychology." Definitely a book I'll re-read.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.5 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars I love the book 22 Mar. 2014
By Anne Doyle - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Katherine Mansfield is to me the real struggeling artist. Lots of real raw courage and endurance. Leaving her homeland, having a baby without been married, which was difficult stuff at the time and then heartbreak when it died.
A real creative force, who wrote her books even when everything else was falling apart.
I would love to be like her.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Another excellent readine 23 Aug. 2013
By Experienced Audiophile - Published on
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
This CD excellent, maintaining the level of the other naxos readings. The stories themselves are overrated, alas; Katherine Mansfield no longer seems to be on a par with D.H. Lawrence, and the stories have eve even 'corny' surprise endings. But if you want to read them the diction is impeccable. THe reading merits four stars, the texts themselves only one star Reread Mansfield before making the purchase.
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