I’ve been writing hard, and hopefully getting somewhere and in the mean time
reading many short stories for inspiration, among other things. Katherine Mansfield’s stories have always been my favorites, though, I must confess to having not read all of them, but alas, I’ve found a website that seems to have quite of bit, if not all, of her literary geniuses stuffed on to its pages. Here’s a short bio and a link to my favorite story by Katherine called Bliss.
Katherine Mansfield (1888-1923) was born in Wellington, New Zealand. She persuaded her father, a banker and industrialist, to send her to London in 1903 to study the cello. With a small allowance from her family, she decided to become a writer instead of a musician after meeting such literary people as D.H. Lawrence and Virginia Woolf. Her first book of short stories, In a German Pension, was published in 1911. In the same year she met the literary critic and journalist John Middleton Murry, who became her husband in 1918.
She became stricken with tuberculosis in 1918 and she found it difficult to continue her work. In her posthumously published Journal (1927) she writes: “Look at the stories that wait just at the threshold. Why don’t I let them in? And their place would be taken by others who are lurking beyond just there—waiting for the chance.” She sought a cure for her illness at the Gurdjieff Institute in France, an establishment run by the mystic Georges Ivanovitch Gurdjieff, whose methods of combined spiritual and physical healing. Katherine died there a few months later after her thirty-fourth birthday.
So sad, to die so young. 88 of her stories have been published and they have had a great influence on the development of the literary form. She simplified plot to intensify the emotional impact, dramatized small events to reveal the larger significance in the lives of people. Katherine developed her own technique of prose narration. She presented a psychological moment when a character’s life is illuminated in an unforgettable manner. “Bliss“, in which she depicts the secret and passionate lives of individuals flowing treacherously beneath the seemingly smooth and harmonious surface of a marriage, shows the purity of her style.
Text source: The Story and Its Writer by Ann Charters