Sunday, October 19, 2014

Katherine Mansfield and Virginia Woolf: A Public of Two

Angela Smith has an interesting entry on the Oxford Scholarship Online web site ( the abstract is shown below:
Abstract Long after the death of Katherine Mansfield (1888–1923), Virginia Woolf (1882–1941) described being haunted by her in dreams. Through detailed comparative readings of their fiction, letters, and diaries, this book explores the intense affinity between the two writers. Their particular inflection of modernism is interpreted through their shared experience as ‘threshold people’, familiar with the liminal, for each of them a zone of transition and habitation. Writing at a time when the First World War and changing attitudes to empire problematized boundaries and definitions of foreignness, this book shows how the fiction of both Mansfield and Woolf is characterised by moments of disorienting suspension in which the perceiving consciousness sees the familiar made strange, and the domestic made menacing.
As a New Zealander I have a keen interest in the writings of both Katherine Mansfield (another New Zealander)and Virginia Woolf. Woolf concurred that the only writer whose writing she would like to be able to emulate was that of Katherine Mansfield. Both women were pushing the edges of Victorian and post Victorian society in the late 1800s and early 1900s. I had not seen the mention to her being haunted by KM in her dreams before.