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Selected Stories (World's classic series-no.539) [Unknown Binding]

Katherine Mansfield
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Unknown Binding: 364 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford U.P (1953)
  • Language: English
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars highly recommended 4 Feb 2007
Katherine Mansfield's quietly devastating prose and absolute commitment to craft remain two of the most potent twentieth century contributions to the difficult genre of the short story. This well-chosen selection demonstrates why.

Rich in colour, atmosphere and poetry, these tales most frequently turn on questions of loss and self-realization. Mansfield often takes as her subjects the resonant emptiness of lives framed by the tightest of parameters - a lonely woman's complete attachment and identification with her canary, a man's dependence on the memory of his dead son - and times where cherished certainties fall away in moments of revelation.

Perhaps the most famous of the latter type is 'Bliss' where the abrupt emptying of juvenile hostess Bertha Mason's boundless, yet ultimately restricting, exhiliration comes as an ambiguous opportunity for both delayed misery and growth. Elsewhere, tiny phrases in conversation unravel inescapable disparities in relationships; the complex emotional tensions of Mansfield's characters lie, as in Chekhov, primarily beneath the glittering surface of her clipped and confident style.

Intricately crafted, the nuanced dimensions of these stories haunt the reader, echoing in your mind long after you've put the book down. I find them compulsively re-readable.

This selection contains all of Mansfield's most famous tales including 'Bliss', 'The Canary', 'The Fly', 'The Daughters of the Late Colonel', 'A Dill Pickle', 'A Cup of Tea' and a recently available, unedited version of 'Je Ne Parle Pas Francais' which restores the full depth of its narrator's deliciously depraved senses of self and sensuality. A must-read.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rich, subtle and humanistic 29 Oct 2007
By Lila
K Mansfield is an author that I really love and admire. I studied her writings at university, and rediscovered her "Selected Stories" recently with great pleasure and awe. Her style is fantastic ; her short stories focus on the characters' inner states and her depiction of human psychology is so accurate, rich and subtle. My favourites stories are Bliss, Prelude, At the Bay, the Garden Party, Mr and Mrs Dove,... The poignant "Life of Ma Parker" as well as the human cruelty depicted in "Ms Brill" will make your heart bleed. An author highly recommended.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
With her abundant usage of simile and metaphor, her sensibility and her presentation of the senses, colour, shape and aesthetic and moral perception, the indescribable style of Katherine Mansfield is present within this collection of short stories. Taken from Bliss (1920), The Garden Party (1922), The Dove's Nest (1923) and Something Childish (1924), these stories are set in many places and at many times, being linked together by Mansfield's delight in beauty and the essence of life, and her slight disgust at the crude and the ugly. Mansfield's ability to create such acute pictures within the reader's mind, to veritably sweep the reader into the narrative with her descriptive language, can only be achieved through her masterful skill of crafting language. This collection is wonderful - if you have ever felt slightly disconnected from the world around you, that you have thoughts which others do not, then this collection is for you - relish the similies, melt into the metaphors and let Mansfield take you on her magic carpet ride.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Flawless 13 April 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
These wonderfully written, beautifully concise stories capture people at crucial moments in their lives perfectly. I don't even like short stories normally, but these are unputdownable. Highly recommended for anyone who appreciates superb literature exploring human foibles and frailties and the beauty and strangeness of everyday life.
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4.0 out of 5 stars KM is a great writer! 19 Feb 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I haven't given this book full stars through no fault of Katherine Mansfield. I discovered I had about one-third of the stories in another of her books which I should have checked first.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Shimmering with humour and insight 2 Jan 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
So good to have copies of these splendid stories in the house. The short story form seems to release authors from the solemn write complete and sealed work.
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These stories are exquisitely written. Each is emotionally powerful. They are evocative, with almost impressionist, lifelike depictions of people and places. Mansfield's mastery of language allows her to give an impression of the character of her subjects just by the texture of her prose. It makes you understand why Virginia Woolf said that hers was the only writing that she had ever been jealous of.

That said, I didn't enjoy this book - it was a struggle to finish. The stories are powerful rather than beautiful, and what they depict so powerfully is human alienation, misunderstanding, pettiness, minor cruelty and selfishness. Occasionally they show us (convincingly) the workings of a really depraved and selfish mind.

The most sympathetic characters are achingly, agonisingly lonely - people with absolutely nothing to live for. They are shown supporting themselves on a few happy illusions or little pleasures, which Mansfield then snatches cruelly from them. They, and we, are left in despair.

So these stories are certainly worth reading for the beauty and skill of the language. Unfortunately they are so despairing and painful, with such a grindingly pessimistic view of life, that they were not pleasurable to read in any real sense - at least for me.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
posted as advertised and on time
Published 1 month ago by alhaze
4.0 out of 5 stars Selected Sories for English student
Item for my grandaughters course work at uni. She is happy with the product. I myself have not read them but they are what she requested.
Published 15 months ago by Ice Maiden
5.0 out of 5 stars fantastic read!
Each story draws you in from the moment you read the first few words. Individually unique and compelling. Lyrically beautiful, some made me laugh and cry! Read more
Published on 20 Sep 2011 by claire
5.0 out of 5 stars enigmatic
A wonderful collection of whitty enigmatic stories. Perfect for a sunny afternoon with a cup of tea and a biscuit. The book was in excellent condition and promptly received.
Published on 16 Sep 2011 by wendy
5.0 out of 5 stars love her
Katherine Mansfield is a BRILLIANT writer. I love that the reader gets nothing given to them on a plate, she makes you work to find the meaning in her descriptions of a person's... Read more
Published on 6 Nov 2010 by wilhemina
4.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing and beautiful
I am new to Mansfield's work (shameful, I know) and was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed her short stories. Read more
Published on 16 Nov 2007 by H Pedder
5.0 out of 5 stars Good
I enjoyed her style, her vocabulary and such plot lines as in the two strangers with an odd childish relationship in "Something childish but very natural" and one woman's... Read more
Published on 19 Sep 2001 by
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