The Life and Work of Katherine Mansfield Essays

The Life and Work of Katherine Mansfield Essays

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The Life and Work of Katherine Mansfield



Born as Kathleen Mansfield Beauchamp in Wellington, New Zealand in the year 1888, Katherine Mansfield has long been celebrated as New Zealand’s most influential and important writer. Daughter of Annie Dyer and Herold Beauchamp, Mansfield was born to a wealthy businessman and a mother who was often thought to have been “aloof”. Attending school at a young age, Mansfield went to Wellington GC as well as Miss Swainson’s private school before being sent to Queen’s college in London for a more formal education. At Queen’s, Mansfield learned to speak French and German, and also took up the cello. It was here that Mansfield first began to write her prose and poetic work (Robinson). During her three years spent at college, perhaps Kathleen’s most important lessons were learned through her rebellious activities and desire to break free from the socialized standards she was continuously exposed to. She would write to class mates about loathing marriage, saying “The idea of sitting and waiting for a husband is absolutely revolting and it really is the attitude of a great many girls...” (Wilkins). By the time Kathleen returned to New Zealand in 1906, she was filled with ideas for an adventurous, unconventional life that lead her on a long string of relationship infatuations with both men and women, as well as out of the ordinary exploits into the wilderness of New Zealand. She felt uncomfortable and detached from her homeland, and found Wellington to be “provincial” (Robinson).

It took Kathleen twenty months to convince her Father to allow her to go, but in 1908, Mansfield found herself traveling back to “Mother England”, which meant she would be leaving her home forever at the age of twenty....


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...od of Katherine Mansfield. In heavy detail, it describes the year-by-year events of Mansfield’s life, from parental conflict to her relationships with men and women. A very detailed and thorough look into Mansfield’s career.

Wilkins, Damien. “The New Zealand Edge: Heros… Katherine Mansfield.” NZEdge.com. Monday 10 Oct.2005. <“http://www.nzedge.com/heroes/mansfield.html”>

Another wonderful biography of Mansfield that also offers the commonly held opinions of her fellow New Zealanders on the writer, Wilkins creates a well-rounded piece on Katherine’s life and work. This website presents Katherine as an idol for modern writers and a revolutionary figure in the complete overhaul of the short story. It details a great deal upon the opinions and personal views of Mansfield herself, which offers a very thorough and unique perspective into the life of the author.

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