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Selected Stories n/e (Oxford World's Classics) Paperback – 11 Sep 2008
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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With Mansfield's reputation on the ascent Murry began editing her unpublished works, resulting in two volumes of stories, as well as collections of poetry, criticism, letters and journals.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. -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine vergriffene oder nicht verfügbare Ausgabe dieses Titels.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Not enough content in my opinion, it was meant to parallel the Oxford Classic Option but it didn't. but very easy to read and use for study too.Published 15 months ago by Morin
These stories by Katherine Mansfield have, as the title suggests, been sellected.Published 17 months ago by Nathan D.
Katherine Mansfield's stories are great. But this edition is shockingly bad. The editor is so caught up with her political agenda that virtually every comment or 'explanation'... Read morePublished 22 months ago by TAO