The paper begins by engaging with recent reviews of volume five of The Collected Letters of Katherine Mansfield, challenging the principles on which the reviews were written and questioning the assumption of personal intimacy that reviewers, critics and biographers often make in relation to Mansfield. Her role as a reviewer for the Athenaeum is then analysed, principally using reviews that were not covered by Clare Hanson in her selection of Mansfield's critical writing. Initially the paper considers Mansfield's experience as a reviewer and editor during the Rhythm period, and the significance for her of the Fauvist aesthetic of that journal. Mansfield's ruthless scrutiny of the fiction of contemporaries is examined for what it reveals about her own practice, and is then applied to two particular themes in her fiction, the depiction of children and of the secret self, here specifically in relation to tuberculosis. The opportunities that were not offered to Mansfield, perhaps because she was seen as an uneducated woman, are discussed as well as the dimension that her witty and incisive reviewing adds to our assessment of her literary achievement.
About this Journal
From 2013, Katherine Mansfield Studies is available as an annual book publication. To view recently published titles in the series, please visit the Katherine Mansfield Studies Book Series homepage.
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The Katherine Mansfield Society, a charity, has been set up to promote and encourage the worldwide appreciation and enjoyment of Katherine Mansfield's writing. Whilst the Society's scope is international, it has strong New Zealand representation, and part of its focus is to ensure that Mansfield continues to be recognized as New Zealand's greatest writer, and internationally, her most famous.
The Society aims to establish a biennial Mansfield Literary Scholarship, to pursue strategies to ensure Mansfield's work is well represented in school and university curricula internationally, to publish the annual Katherine Mansfield Studies journal, run a biennial conference and work towards a permanent Mansfield memorial in her home town of Wellington, New Zealand.
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