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  • Print publication year: 2013
  • Online publication date: March 2014

Marco Sonzogni: Gerri Kimber and Vincent O’Sullivan, eds, The Collected Fiction of Katherine Mansfield, 1898-1915 (Volume 1) and The Collected Fiction of Katherine Mansfield 1916-1922 (Volume 2)

from Reviews

Summary

‘“Oh, mother, it is still raining, and you say I can’t go out.” It was a girl who spoke; she looked about ten’ (1: 3). The schoolgirl who wrote this was nine years old. Her name was Kathleen Beauchamp, whom the world would come to admire as Katherine Mansfield, an undisputed master of the short story. The sentence is the opening of her first published short story. Titled ‘Enna Blake’, it appeared in the High School Reporter - the periodical of Wellington Girls’ High School, which Mansfield attended from May 1898 until May 1899 - in the second term of 1898. An editorial comment recorded that the story showed ‘promise of great merit’ (1: 4), an accurate prediction indeed, even though that talented girl would not live beyond the age of thirty-four. Yet in spite of her short life - burned out by the unforgiving fire of tuberculosis - Mansfield produced a monumental body of work. Over 200 stories and fragments have been collected for the first time in this two-volume edition. Her collected poetry, non-fiction and diaries are to be published soon in a similar, two-volume edition.