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Katherine Mansfield

The Story-Teller

Kathleen Jones


Weaving together intimate details from Katherine Mansfield's letters and journals with the writings of her friends and acquaintances, Kathleen Jones creates a captivating drama of this fragile yet feisty author: her life, loves and passion for writing.

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Part I-Leaving All Fair, 1 Fontainebleau, 2 The Husband's Story, 3 Ida's Story
Part II-Wanted: A New World, 4 'The Wizard London', 5 Freedom and Experience, 6 The Lost Child, 7 Coming of Age in Bavaria, 8 In Search of Katherine Mansfield, 9 'The Model Boys-will-be-boys Pseudo Intellectual Magazine'
Part III-The Two Katherines, 10 Violet, 11 The Failure of Love
Part IV, 12 Tig and Wig, 13 Rananim, 14 Prelude, 15 The 'Blooms Berries'
Part V-Betty, 16 In Limbo, 17 'The Last Hell'
Part IV-The Dark Katherine, 18 Facing Oblivion, 19 At the Bottom of the Sea, 20 The Perfect Friend, 21 'A Writer First and a Woman After'
Part VII-A Religion of Love, 22 Keeping Faith
Part VIII-'The Levantine Psychic Shark', 23 The Soul's Desperate Choice, 24 'A Child of the Sun'

About the Author

Born and brought up on a hill farm in the north of England, Kathleen Jones read law and then English Literature at university before specialising in early women writers - work that culminated in A Glorious Fame, the life of Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle. She spent several years in Africa and the Middle East - where she worked in English broadcasting - before returning home. Her published work includes radio journalism, articles for magazines and newspapers, short fiction and eleven books - a mixture of biography, general non-fiction and poetry. Her biographies include:- A Passionate Sisterhood (Virago) - an account of the lives of the women who lived with the 'lake poets', which Sue Limb described as 'a fascinating, marvellous, utterly absorbing book . . . the stuff your English teacher never told you.': Learning not to be First, a life of the Victorian poet Christina Rossetti (OUP) which was Doris Lessing's 'book of the year', and a biography of Catherine Cookson (Time Warner). Kathleen lives in Cumbria where she writes full time. She has taught creative writing in a number of colleges and universities and is currently a Royal Literary Fund Fellow at Lancaster University. Further information at:


Kathleen Jones conveys the living presence of Katherine Mansfield in the present tense, so that one feels, along with her all-time words, her continued presence. She conveys the full complexity of Mansfield's character with understanding and without bias - what a feat given how manifold it is. What Middleton Murry made of her has a parallelled fascination; the contrasts of the living reality and the purified legend, an ephemeral construct appropriately narrated in the past tense, were striking. A marvellous, innovative biography.

- Lyndall Gordon, Biographer

What [emerges] with indisputable clarity from Jones's skilful use of her sources is a portrait of Mansfield, stylish and febrile, cigarette in one hand, pen in the other, relishing life, scrutinising it with her keen intelligence, and recording her perceptions in a voice that continues to unsettle and surprise.

- Pamela Norris, Literary Review
A compelling narrative of a writer's passion for her work, her growth to maturity and the extraordinary trajectory which took a plump, awkward, rebellious little girl from a rigidly conventional family halfway across the world and into a culture of artistic, social and sexual experimentation.
- Helen Dunmore, novelist
I read it with huge enjoyment – I think it's by far the best Katherine Mansfield biography yet – giving a truthful but still sympathetic portrait.
- Jacqueline Wilson, novelist & patron of the Katherine Mansfield Society
Jones … writes with insight and verve, and an intelligent sympathy as her story is set out against those overlapping literary and social worlds the writer passes through … A mass of new material unavailable to earlier biographers makes this new telling richly detailed and compelling.
- Vincent O'Sullivan, co-editor of The Collected Letters of Katherine Mansfield
Jones has brought to the work a scholar's regard for fact, a novelist's regard for form, and a poet's regard for cadence. The test of a good literary biography is whether it makes you want to reacquaint yourself with the author's writing. This biography does just that.
- Sarah Sandley, Honorary Chair of the Katherine Mansfield Society