Monday, April 09, 2007

Katherine Mansfield

The first I heard of her was in connection with Virginia Woolf. She was mentioned in one of the Woolf biographical works and was rated very highly as a short story writer. Once you register a name, you keep coming across it now and then. So it was with Katherine Mansfield. A mention of John Middleton Murry or DH Lawrence usually dragged along with itself Mansfield's name. And whenever someone was seriously discussing the short story, after Anton Chekhov, one invariably heard of Katherine Mansfield (Mansfield is said to have been heavily influenced by Chekhov).

For a month now, I've been reading, savouring, Bliss and Other Stories. A story a night, few nights a week. Each of her stories in the mentioned collection are stunning. Not a wasted word, not a wasted rhythm. As a reader, you are that invisible witness at the scene, watching the playing out of an hour or a day or a week. You are suddenly in the mind of the players and suddenly at their side, provided with all the tools of omnipotence, yet lacking the power that comes with them. Until the story ends, you are not quite sure which way it will go. Once it ends, you are not quite sure of its full import. What a delight to have a question mark play in your head!

Bliss and Other Stories - very highly recommended.


Suppamani said...

What a timing. I was wondering, why you hadn't written anything about her? Nice post

MSV Muthu said...

I read about Katherine Mansfield in uyirmai- a monthly tamil magazine. Thanks for the intro.