Author, reviewer and translator: Katherine Mansfield's place in literary culture

Jones, Katie L. (2021) Author, reviewer and translator: Katherine Mansfield's place in literary culture. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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Abstract

This thesis extends and revises current assessments of Katherine Mansfield’s engagements with literary culture and the literary marketplace. Historical examinations of Mansfield’s literary and professional development have largely overlooked the impressive breadth of her involvement with the literary field in favour of accentuating her role as a short story specialist. Building on recent attempts by Mansfield scholars to encourage a renewed critical interest in her wider investments in the literary marketplace, this thesis examines some of her most neglected creative and critical contributions. These include her early ‘child verses’, her 1908-9 musical performance pieces, her 1919-20 translations of the personal writings of Anton Chekhov, and her critical and editorial contributions to Rhythm and The Athenaeum. By offering the most nuanced contextualisation to date of her investments as a professional author, reviewer and translator, this thesis looks to provide a multifaceted account of Mansfield’s place in literary culture and her literary legacy.

The thesis combines close attention to the compositional and publication histories of Mansfield’s texts with an analysis of the works in their original sites of publication in order to access their contemporary cultural and political meanings. It brings together biographical evidence and literary criticism to demonstrate Mansfield’s ability to cultivate a voice of alterity in her work. I contend that Mansfield regularly drew strength from her enforced liminal status as the colonial ‘outsider’ and produced some of her best work out of this unfixed position. The thesis draws on empirical and archival sources, examining the extent to which Mansfield’s personal and professional writings can be read as astute expressions of her self-presentation and self-positioning in the literary marketplace. Tracing her development as a writer from 1907 to 1922, the thesis assesses the ways in which her writing both reinforced and challenged the aesthetic and political investments of periodicals like The Native Companion, The New Age, Rhythm, The Blue Review, The Signature, and The Athenaeum/Nation and Athenaeum as she navigated the mutable conditions of the publication culture of her time.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Harrison, Andrew
Thacker, Andrew
Keywords: Katherine Mansfield, Modernism, Modernist periodicals, Feminism, Colonialism, Anton Chekhov
Subjects: P Language and literature > PR English literature
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Arts > School of English
Item ID: 64581
Depositing User: Jones, Katie
Date Deposited: 04 Aug 2021 04:40
Last Modified: 04 Aug 2021 04:40
URI: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/64581

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