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Katherine Mansfield and Literary Influence

Edited by Sarah Ailwood, Melinda Harvey

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Provides new reflections on literary influence using Katherine Mansfield as a case study

Katherine Mansfield and Literary Influence identifies Mansfield’s involvement in six modes of literary influence - Ambivalence, Exchange, Identification, Imitation, Enchantment and Legacy. In so doing, it revisits key issues in Mansfield studies, including her relationships with Virginia Woolf, John Middleton Murry and S. S. Koteliansky, as well as the famous plagiarism case regarding Anton Chekhov. It also charts new territories for exploration, expanding the terrain of Mansfield's influence to include writers as diverse as Colette, Evelyn Waugh, Nettie Palmer, Eve Langley and Frank Sargeson.

Key Features

  • Extends upon models of literary influence that are oriented around the ideas of anxiety and coteries
  • Engages with and develops areas of scholarly inquiry investigating modernism as the product of social and intellectual networks
  • Offers new interpretations of Mansfield’s relationships with writers with whom she is often associated, such as D H Lawrence, Anton Chekhov and Virginia Woolf
  • Traces new connections between Mansfield’s work and the work of writers not previously linked to Mansfield, such as Evelyn Waugh, Colette and Nettie Palmer


Notes on Contributors
1. ‘Like a thousand reflections of my own hands in a dark mirror’: Katherine Mansfield and Literary Influence, Sarah Ailwood and Melinda Harvey
I: Ambivalence
2. ‘The Twilight of Language’: The Young Evelyn Waugh on ‘Catherine’ Mansfield, Naomi Milthorpe
3. ‘Where is she?’ Katherine Mansfield and Elizabeth Bowen, Jessica Gildersleeve
II: Exchange
4. ‘[O]ur precious art’: Katherine Mansfield, Virginia Woolf and the Gift Economy, Kathryn Simpson
5. ‘The Silence is Broken’: Katherine Mansfield and the ‘Manifesto Moment’, Susan Reid
6. Circles of Influence: Katherine Mansfield, S. S. Koteliansky and Russia, Gerri Kimber
III: Identification
7. ‘Worms of the Same Family’: Katherine Mansfield and Elizabeth von Arnim, Juliane Römhild
8. ‘Objectless Love’: The Vagabondage of Colette and Katherine Mansfield, Deborah Pike
IV: Imitation
9. ‘God forgive me, Tchehov, for my impertinence’: Mansfield and the Art of Copying, Melinda Harvey
‘[A]ctively making one feel’: Katherine Mansfield, Evolving Empathy and Intimate Influence in Virginia Woolf’s Writings of the 1920s and 1930s, Katie Macnamara
V: Enchantment
11. Mansfield eats Dickens, Michael Hollington
12. Katherine Mansfield, Nettie Palmer and Critical Influence, Sarah Ailwood
13. The meeting of Katherine Mansfield and Eve Langley, Bonny Cassidy
VI: Legacy
14. Mansfield, Shakespeare and the Unanxiety of Influence, Mark Houlahan
15. The ‘Burden’ of the Feminine: Frank Sargeson’s Encounter with Katherine Mansfield, Janet Wilson
16. Writing from the Cellar: Revisiting the Villa Isola Bella, Brigid Magner

About the Author

Dr Sarah Ailwood is Assistant Professor in the School of Law and Associate Dean (Innovation) in the Faculty of Business, Government and Law, at the University of Canberra. While she trained as a lawyer, her PhD was on Jane Austen and she has published on women writers and life writing in Women’s Studies International Forum, Katherine Mansfield Studies, and Kunapipi.

Dr Melinda Harvey is Lecturer in English at Monash University, Melbourne. She is the co-editor, with Deborah Pike and Gillian Sykes, of Curious Eyes: Sites and Scenes of Modernism (Colloquy, 2000) and the author of Dorothy Richardson’s Modernist Encounters: Women, Writing, Place


The editors offer a refreshing new look at the anxiety, or lack of it, of influence. Bonny Cassidy writes, influence is ‘a bushfire: it jumps and lands.’ Contributors show how Mansfield absorbed her  eclectic reading and how writers as diverse as Evelyn Waugh and Nettie Palmer responded to the stimulus of her stories.

- Professor Angela Smith, University of Stirling

The beautifully organised essays combine in fascinating ways to suggest new theoretical approaches to the question of Katherine Mansfield’s impact on twentieth-century fiction. Well-grounded in both critical theory and literary history, these essays complicate older models of influence study and reveal unexpected interconnections between Mansfield and other writers.

- Professor Sydney Kaplan, University of Washington

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