Essay on Katherine Mansfield

Submitted By russ456
Words: 748
Pages: 3

Katherine was a passionate woman who dared to live outside the strict code decreed for young women at the beginning of the century and who did not deserve the cruelty of what she sometimes regarded as her punishment. Out of a short life of great daring and considerable suffering she created stories that readers always remember and that critics throughout the twentieth century have suddenly re-visited.
Her influence on other writers throughout the twentieth century has been immeasurable. If it had not been for her conversations with Katherine, Virginia Woolf would probably not have written Mrs Dalloway. Katherine wrote constantly about the process of writing, and her letters and notebooks are among her best work. Born in Wellington New Zealand in 1888 - the daughter of a self-made colonial merchant and financier, educated at queens collage London then return to new Zealand to study music for 2 years then went back to London where she fell in love with a young musician - Garnet Trowell - became pregnant, rashly married her singing teacher George Bowden and then abandoned him - all within seven months of her arrival. She was taken to Germany by her mother where she had a stillborn baby and then met and fell in love with a Polish writer, Floryan Sobienowski, who later blackmailed her into buying back her letters. She destroyed all her diaries and letters from this period. Subsequently she lived on her own and had numerous love affairs, eventually meeting John Middleton Murry –who was and editor so Katharine started to contribute stories many based on her new Zealand childhood. In January 1923, Katherine was aware that she was in the final stages of tuberculosis, she still hoped that she could be cured. Although she had already said a final goodbye to John Murry when she left England to go to Paris France in the previous September, she invited him to visit her at the Institute - perhaps aware that she had very little time left. On the evening of Murry’s arrival, Katherine tried to run up the stairs to go to bed, began to haemorrhage and died in the arms of the family doctor - James Young.

Katherines short life was filled of bohemian rebel unrest and brutality of illness, her stories too under cover of a polite seeming realism, are bursting with sharp angles and a drive to expose hypocrisy.

Widely anthologized, "The Garden Party" is considered Katherine Mansfield's finest piece of short fiction. Such authors as Virginia Woolf were profoundly influenced by Mansfield's stream-of-consciousness and symbolic narrative style. ''The Garden Party'' is a remarkably rich and innovative work that incorporates Mansfield's defining themes: New Zealand, childhood, adulthood, social class, class conflict, innocence, and experience.
Structured around an early afternoon garden party in New Zealand, "The Garden Party" has clear connections to Mansfield's own…