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Selected Stories (Oxford World's Classics) Paperback – 21 Feb 2002

4.3 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford; New edition edition (21 Feb. 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0192839861
  • ISBN-13: 978-0192839862
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 670,858 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

About the Author

Katherine Mansfield was born in Wellington in 1888 and left for London in 1903 to finish her schooling. After travelling in Europe she returned to New Zealand in 1906 and started writing stories, some of which were published in Australia. Two years later, intent on becoming a professional writer, she again went to London.
Mansfield began submitting stories to literary magazines, notably the "New Age." A series of failed relationships, including an unconsummated marriage to the singing teacher George Bowden, did not slow her output. The collection "In a German Pension" was published in 1911.
That year Mansfield commenced the turbulent relationship with the writer John Middleton Murry that would last until her death. Their circle of friends included D. H. Lawrence and Virginia Woolf.
Mansfield was shocked by her brother's death in World War I, and in 1917 she contracted tuberculosis. The subsequent years were nevertheless productive, leading to the acclaimed collections "Bliss" and "The Garden Party."
She spent her last years seeking cures for her tuberculosis. In October 1922 she moved to France for treatment but died the following January, aged thirty-four.
With Mansfield's reputation on the ascent Murry began editing her unpublished works, resulting in two volumes of stories, as well as collections of poetry, criticism, letters and journals.
Emily Perkins is the author of four novels, including "Novel About My Wife," and a collection of short stories, "Not Her Real Name." She teaches creative writing at the University of Auckland. Her latest book is "The Forrests." --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.


Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This volume makes a great beginning to Mansfield's short stories. Arranged chronologically, with a good introduction, this collection allows the reader to follow her extraordinary development as a writer over her short life time. Reading Katherine Mansfield is a must for anyone who cares for the short story as a form; her acute observation, her passion and her subtlety mark her as classic, whereas her openness to experimentation and her needle sharp sense of humour make her absolutely modern.
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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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