Next Article in Journal
Islamic Ethos: Examining Sources of Authority
Next Article in Special Issue
Intertextuality, Christianity and Death: Major Themes in the Poetry of Stevie Smith
Previous Article in Journal
“Zwischen allen Stühlen”: Reflections on Judaism in Germany in Victor Klemperer’s Post-Holocaust Diaries
Previous Article in Special Issue
Gwendolyn Brooks and the Legacies of Architectural Modernity
Open AccessArticle

“Always Trembling on the Brink of Poetry”: Katherine Mansfield, Poet

Department of English, University of Northampton, Northampton NN1 5PH, UK
Humanities 2019, 8(4), 169; https://doi.org/10.3390/h8040169
Received: 7 September 2019 / Accepted: 19 October 2019 / Published: 23 October 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Modernist Women Poets: Generations, Geographies and Genders)
Today, Katherine Mansfield is well known as one of the most exciting and cutting-edge exponents of the modernist short story. Little critical attention, however, has been paid to her poetry, which seems a strange omission, given how much verse she wrote during the course of her life, starting as a very young schoolgirl, right up until the last months prior to her death in 1923. Even Mansfield devotees are not really familiar with any poems beyond the five or six that have most frequently been anthologised since her death, and few editions of her poetry have ever been published. Mansfield’s husband, John Middleton Murry, edited a slim volume, Poems, in 1923, within a few months of her death, followed by a slightly extended edition in 1930, and Vincent O’Sullivan edited another small selection, also titled Poems, in 1988. Unsurprisingly, therefore, critics and biographers have paid little attention to her poetry, tending to imply that it is a minor feature of her art, both in quantity and, more damagingly, in quality. This situation was addressed in 2016, when EUP published a complete and fully annotated edition of Mansfield’s poems, edited by myself and Claire Davison, incorporating all my recent manuscript discoveries, including a collection of 36 poems—The Earth Child—sent unsuccessfully by Mansfield to a London publisher in 1910. This discovery in 2015 revealed how, at the very moment when Mansfield was starting to have stories accepted for commercial publication, she was also taking herself seriously as a poet. Indeed, had the collection been published, perhaps Mansfield might now be celebrated as much for her poetry as for her short stories. Therefore, this article explores the development of Mansfield’s poetic writing throughout her life and makes the case for her reassessment as an innovative poet and not just as a ground-breaking short story writer. View Full-Text
Keywords: Katherine Mansfield; symbolism; fin-de-siècle; decadence; modernism; poetry; Arthur Symons Katherine Mansfield; symbolism; fin-de-siècle; decadence; modernism; poetry; Arthur Symons
MDPI and ACS Style

Kimber, G. “Always Trembling on the Brink of Poetry”: Katherine Mansfield, Poet. Humanities 2019, 8, 169.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats
Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Article Access Map by Country/Region

1
Back to TopTop