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Katherine

Mansfield
Life & Work
Anna Steele Rice - 1918

Importance
• A new style of writing coupled with
an unconventional lifestyle.
• Influence on several authors and the
literature of her time and there after.
• Popularity of her writing affected the
mindset of those in her time.

Katherine as a New-Zealander
stamp

Biography
• Katherine was born on October 14th
1888 in Wellington, New Zealand, into
a Middle-Class Colonial family.
• Born as Kathleen Mansfield
Beauchamp, one of six children.
• Her mother was the delicate and aloof
Annie Dyer; her father, Harold
Beauchamp, a canny and successful
businessman.

• She went to Wellingtons Girl's College; Miss
Swainson’s private school in Fitzherbert
Terrace and the Queen's College in England.
• Her first story was published when she was
nine years old.
• Her first published stories appeared in the
High School Reporter and Wellington Girls
High School Magazine in 1898.
• Most of her most famous pieces came in the
final and most tragic years of her life

• Disillusioned with her childhood, she began
writing stories about her experiences in New
Zealand and her views on the treatment of Maori
people. She then moved to London in 1903, where
she enrolled to Queen’s College.
• It was here she played the cello and occasionally
started writing articles for the university
newspaper. Between 1903 and 1906, she toured
Europe and was mainly enamored by Germany
and Belgium.
• Following her graduation, she returned to New
Zealand in 1906 and started writing short stories.

• She had several of her stories and articles
published in a local Australian publication,
‘Native Companion’. This was not only her first
venture as a professional writer, but it was also
the first time she used the pen name, ‘K
Mansfield’.
• She returned to London in 1908 and was
involved in a tumultuous love affair, which led
to a brief halt in her career. Around this time,
she got pregnant and had a daughter in
Bavaria, Germany, a place which had
considerable influence on her works.

• She documented her experiences in Germany
in a publication titled, In a German Pension,
which was published in 1911.
• Around this time, she was inspired by
Fauvism and she published a short-story, ‘The
Woman at the Store’, which was published in
the unconventional magazine, ‘Rhythm’.
• Post-marriage, she moved to Paris in 1914,
along with her husband in the hope of gaining
new inspiration for her works.

• In Paris, she wrote only one short story, ‘Something
Childish But Very Natural’, which was published only
after her death, though it was written in 1914. She
was called back to London, where she was declared
bankrupt.
• During her time in Paris, she became enamored with
a writer, Francis Carco, which inspired her to write
about her inconspicuous relationship in, ‘An
Indiscreet Journey’, published in 1920. However, her
style of writing and themes changed following the
death of her younger brother, Leslie Beauchamp.
• In 1916, she was at her productive peak and began
writing a plethora of stories including, ‘Mr. Reginald
Peacock’s Day’, ‘A Dill Pickle ‘ and ‘Prelude’.

• Despite being diagnosed with tuberculosis
in 1917, she continued to publish short
stories viz. ‘Je ne parle pas Francais’ and
‘The Man without a Temperament’.
• Following her separation with her husband,
a collection of her short stories was
published such as ‘Bliss’, and ‘The Garden
Party’. By the end of her life, she had
composed an extremely high-volume of
work, but most of her works remained
unpublished till her death.

• When she was in England, at the age of nineteen, she
fell in love with Garnet Trowell and became pregnant.
She then rashly married her singing teacher, George
Bowden and then abandoned him—all of which
happened within seven months of her arrival.
• She then gave birth to her baby in Germany and at
the same time, she fell in love with a Polish writer,
Floryan. It is believed that a possible ectopic
pregnancy around this time resulted in the loss of one
of her fallopian tubes and a subsequent, miscarriage.
• She had numerous affairs with many men and was
also believed to have been in two lesbian
relationships with Maata Mahupaku and Edith
Kathleen Bendall.

• Her final years were that of pain and suffering.
She sought medical help from a physician,
Ivan Manoukhin, for tuberculosis and then
moved to France. On one ill-fated day, when
she was climbing the stairs, she suffered a
pulmonary hemorrhage which eventually
resulted in her death at the age of 34.

Today, there are a
number of educational
institutions which have a
house named in her
honor including,
‘Rangitoto College’,
‘Mount Roskill Grammar
School’ and Westlake
Girls’ High School. A
number of films have
also been made on her
life including ‘Leave all
Fair’, ‘Bliss’ and ‘A
Katherine Mansfield: a woman of words.
Sculpture located in Wellington, NZPicture of Katherine
by artist Virgina King.
Mansfield’.

Sources
• http://www.katherinemansfieldsociety
.org/
• http://www.thefamouspeople.com/pro
files/kathleen-mansfield-beauchamp
-murry-2053.php