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Katherine Mansfield

(1888—1923) New Zealand short-story writer

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New Zealand short-story writer.

Katherine Mansfield was born in Wellington, New Zealand, and educated there until she went (1903) to London to study music. Failing to settle after her return to New Zealand in 1906, she came back to London where she married George Bowden (1909). This marriage was a failure and the pair separated. In 1911 she met the writer John Middleton Murry (1889–1957), with whom she lived from 1912 until her divorce from Bowden (1918) enabled them to marry.

Meanwhile she became a regular contributor to various journals and her first collection of short stories, showing her mastery of the form, appeared in 1911 under the title In a German Pension. In 1915 she, Murry, and D. H. Lawrence collaborated in producing a magazine called The Signature. The death of her only brother in France (1915), added to the general strain of the war, undermined her health. In 1917 tuberculosis was diagnosed and she spent much of the rest of her life travelling in search of a cure in Italy, Switzerland, and France. Nonetheless she published two more collections of stories: Bliss (1920), which included the stories ‘Prelude’ and ‘Je ne parle pas français’ and The Garden Party (1922). She died at the Gurdjieff Institute near Fontainebleau early in 1923. Two further collections of stories, The Dove's Nest and Something Childish (both 1924), were published posthumously, as were collected poems (1923); her journal, edited by her husband, was published in 1927, and her letters in 1928.

Subjects: Literature

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