Katherine Mansfield: A Secret Life

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Email me when back in stock. Leave Review. Author Info. Synopsis Pursuing art and adventure across Europe, Katherine Mansfield lived and wrote with the Furies on her heels; but when she died aged only thirty-four she became one of the most influential writers of the twentieth century.

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Dr Tony Shaw: Claire Tomalin: Katherine Mansfield: A Secret Life ()

All words. Any words. She feels that certain aspects of her life have not been dealt with sufficiently, 'in particular the chain of events leading from her first foray into sexual freedom in , and the various long-term results of her association with Floryan Sobieniowski in Katherine Mansfield Beauchamp — was born in Wellington, New Zealand the daughter of banker Harold Beauchamp, who became wealthy shortly after her birth and, like her mother Annie, was born in Australia.

Family legend has it that Katherine wanted to become a writer on finding out about her father's cousin Elizabeth von Arnim's novel Elizabeth and Her German Garden. On leaving New Zealand to settle permanently in England, Mansfield was entering a society that was changing, becoming more democratic, less male-dominated, with freer sexual habits, a country breaking away from the constraints of the Victorian ethos which had dominated for several decades.

In a chapter titled 'London New Women', Tomalin writes about four women — Virginia Stephen later Woolf, of course , Ottoline Morrell, Dorothy Brett, and Frieda Weekley, all of whom rebelled against their backgrounds: all of whom came to know and love Mansfield, who had also broken free — from the colonial shackles she'd left at the other end of the world, one to which she would never return.

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This compelling book, then, shows a woman eager to embrace different forms of liberation, as Mansfield indeed did, although her story is no exhilarating read, describing a then forbidden love followed by pregnancy and miscarriage, sexually transmitted disease followed by a disastrous operation, suffering and illness, an essential relationship that it was essential to keep escaping from, more suffering and illness, and early death. In between, Mansfield never managed to complete a novel but left a number of fine short stories. And she was the inspiration behind a number of fictional characters, of which these are a few examples: Lawrence's depiction of Ursula Brangwen's distinctly lesbian relationship with the older Winifred Inger in the 'Shame' chapter of The Rainbow seems in part an imagining of Mansfield and her friend Edith Bendall; in Women in Love too, Lawrence based Ursula's sister Gudrun on Mansfield; J.

I can't say I'm convinced that Sobianiowski's blackmail of Mansfield was on account of her 'plagiarizing' Chekhov's ' Spat' khochetsia' translated as 'Sleepy' by Constance Garnett in , and although her 'The-Child-Who-Was-Tired' may well have a similar basic story outline to Chekhov's it is far from being anything like a copy.

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But Tomalin goes out of her way to put her case for this tenuous blackmail construction, as well as including an Appendix containing several pages from the TLS letters pages for , where several academics argue about the short story. I find Tomalin is too eager to psychologize: for instance, regarding a photo of Mansfield aged about nine, the author sees 'a rebellious and inquisitive glimmer' in her eyes, whereas I, especially when bearing in mind the long exposures necessary at the time, merely see a suggestion of boredom.

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