• Corrections

6 of Katherine Mansfield’s Short Stories You Need to Read

The only contemporary writer Virginia Woolf admitted to being jealous of, Katherine Mansfield is one of the greatest short story writers of all time. Here’s 6 you need to read.

katherine mansfield short stories to read

Though she was born in New Zealand, Katherine Mansfield spent her adult life in Europe (principally in London), where she spent her time writing reviews, poems, and short stories. It is for her short fiction that she is best remembered now as one of the leading writers of the early twentieth century. Starting with a story from her very first collection and ending with one of her most famous, here we take a look at just six of Mansfield’s best short stories – and, at just a few pages in length each, they are all well worth a read.

1. “Germans at Meat,” 1910

katherine mansfield bad worishofen villa pension muller

Taken from her 1911 debut short story collection , In a German Pension , “Germans at Meat” was originally published in A.R. Orage’s The New Age magazine on March 3rd, 1910. As the title of the collection suggests, “Germans at Meat” is set in a pension in a German spa town, based on Mansfield’s own stay in Bad Wörishofen following her first marriage. (This disastrous marriage had been orchestrated by Mansfield after finding herself pregnant with another man’s child, and Mansfield incorporates a similarly broken-down marriage into the story.)

Like many of the other stories in In a German Pension , “Germans at Meat” depicts the national demeanors of the English and the Germans with a strongly satirical quality as the story’s narrator sits down to eat with her fellow guests. When called upon by her publisher for a reprint of the collection in 1920, however, Mansfield refused, stating that they were naïve apprentice pieces and also that she feared they may be aligned with anti-German sentiment following the First World War. Nonetheless, in 1926 (three years after her death), her second husband, John Middleton Murry, republished In a German Pension .

Perhaps as a result of her refusal to reprint and her own denigration of the collection, “Germans at Meat” (and in a German Pension in general) has not received as much attention as some of her later works. While Mansfield may have claimed to feel somewhat ashamed of these juvenile short stories, “Germans at Meat” showcases Mansfield’s flair for investing seemingly inconsequential moments with real significance and thereby investing the reader in her characters’ stories.

2. “The Woman at the Store,” 1912

mansfield murry john photo

Get the latest articles delivered to your inbox

Please check your inbox to activate your subscription.

Whereas “Germans at Meat” was written in the aftermath of Mansfield’s disastrous first marriage, “The Woman at the Store” played a pivotal role in bringing Mansfield and her second husband together. John Middleton Murry was co-founder and editor at Rhythm , an artistic and literary periodical dedicated to showcasing contemporary avant-garde work.

Poet and novelist Walter “Willy” George – a mutual friend of Murry and Mansfield – sent Murry a short story of Mansfield’s, though it was turned down. Though impressed by the quality of her writing, Murry felt that the satirical fairy-tale-like story was not the right fit for Rhythm and instead asked for something darker. Mansfield duly obliged, sending him “The Woman at the Store,” a tale of murder in the New Zealand wilderness. Upon reading the story, Murry was determined to meet its author, and, as Claire Harman notes, Rhythm “soon became Murry and Mansfield’s joint venture” (see Further Reading, Harman).

It is no wonder that “The Woman at the Store” so impressed Murry. It is a remarkably mature story for such a young writer to produce: a vivid, striking, and deeply unsettling piece of writing in which judgment is suspended so that the facts of a woman’s life – ruined by poverty and her husband’s cruelty – might be told. Though Mansfield had somewhat equivocal views on the suffrage movement, throughout her stories, she displays an interest in the lives of other women and an empathic awareness of their suffering under systemic gender inequalities and the oppressive, predatory, and abusive behavior of men.

3. “The Garden Party,” 1922

“The Garden Party” was first published in three parts in the Saturday Westminster Gazette and the Weekly Westminster Gazette in 1922 – that famous year in literary modernism when T.S. Eliot’s “The Waste Land” and James Joyce’s Ulysses were published and the world, according to Willa Cather, broke in two.

katherine mansfield photograph 1913

In the same year, it was published as the title story of her collection The Garden Party and Other Stories. Set in New Zealand, the Sheridan family lives a life of luxury that is modeled after Mansfield’s own privileged upbringing as the daughter of an extremely wealthy businessman. They are to host a garden party, and the entire family is busy with preparations. While supervising the food preparations, sisters Laura and Jose are informed of the death of a working-class neighborhood, Mr. Scott, who died in front of the gates to their house. Instinctively, Laura feels that the party should be called off and is horrified that no one else in her family shares this opinion. Nonetheless, she is convinced to forget the matter for now and go ahead with the party after seeing herself reflected in a mirror, wearing a hat given to her by her mother for the occasion.

After the party, her mother instructs her to take a basket filled with leftover food from the party to the Scott family home. Here, Laura is confronted not only with Mr. Scott’s grieving widow and family but also with his dead body. His corpse exerts a strange fascination over Laura: she is struck by his peaceful expression in death, yet she flees the house and runs into her brother, Laurie, on her way home. The ending, however, evades resolution. Laura finds herself unable to articulate her feelings to her brother – and the reader is left with no guarantee that her brother has understood her.

With echoes of the Greek myth of Hades and Persephone , “The Garden Party” is a masterful meditation on mortality, morality, and class consciousness. It is one of Mansfield’s best-known – and best-loved – short stories, and deservedly so.

4. “Bliss,” 1918

virginia woolf photograph man ray

Woolf felt such a violent distaste for “Bliss” that, upon first reading the story in the prestigious English Review in August 1918, she threw her copy of the magazine across the room. Writing in her diary, Woolf criticized the quality of Mansfield’s writing – but it seems likely that her dislike for “Bliss” was far more personal.

In many ways, “Bliss” seems to bear some Woolfian hallmarks. The story is set immediately before and during a dinner party held by Bertha and Harry Young, just as Woolf would go on to place parties at the center of Mrs Dalloway and the first section of To the Lighthouse . Bertha anticipates the arrival of Pearl Fulton, a friend of hers, with such excitement that she experiences a strange sensation of bliss that verges on the homoerotic . While she experiences this sensation, she looks into her garden at a pear tree, which she then invests with symbolic resonance. During the party, she and Pearl gaze at the tree together in what Bertha believes to be an intimate moment of mutual understanding. When Pearl betrays her before the evening is over, however, it seems that Bertha has misread their relationship and perhaps the symbolism of the pear tree, too.

Why did Woolf (who later claimed that Mansfield was the only contemporary writer of whom she had felt jealous) take such a vehement dislike to this short story? The story’s irony may well have seemed especially barbed to Woolf, as Emily Midorikawa and Emma Claire Sweeney have argued, “since the character of Pearl Fulton shared some of her own most prominent qualities,” including her “icy aloofness” and her tendency to hold her head slightly to one side (see Further Reading, Midorikawa and Sweeney, p. 229).

5. “Psychology,” 1920

katherine mansfield 1913 photograph

“Psychology” centers around a platonic relationship between a man and a woman. They take tea and cake together and discuss, among other things, “whether the novel of the future will be a psychological novel or not.” This leads the man to pose the question: “How sure are you that psychology qua psychology has got anything to do with literature at all?” When their friendly discussion and moments of comfortable silence threaten to tilt into something more poignant, however, neither knows how to articulate themselves so that their old friend will understand them.

Perhaps pointing to the unknowability of other people, “Psychology” points to the early twentieth century’s fascination with the emerging science of psychology. Such was the fascination that the twentieth century is sometimes referred to as the Freudian century – and it is no coincidence, therefore, that dreams feature heavily in “Prelude.”

While “Psychology” gives us insight into the importance of Freudian theorizing in the twentieth century and contemporary thoughts surrounding psychology’s place within literature, it also provides insight into Mansfield’s writing technique. In one of his remarks that threatens to disturb the equilibrium of their friendship, the man states: “If I shut my eyes I can see this place down to every detail – every detail … […] Often when I am away from here I revisit it in spirit – wander about among your red chairs, stare at the bowl of fruit on the black table […].” In describing her writing process, Mansfield also stated that she could imaginatively inhabit spaces she wished to write about and render them more vividly real in her fiction.

6. “Prelude,” 1918

katherine mansfield photograph

First published by Leonard and Virginia Woolf’s Hogarth Press in 1918, “Prelude” is one of Mansfield’s best-known short stories. Originally, “Prelude” started out as a longer piece called “The Aloe,” which Mansfield began in 1915 and then refined over the following years. The story fictionalizes Mansfield’s own family’s move to Karori, a Wellington suburb, in 1893. Mansfield had been inspired to return to her New Zealand childhood through her writing following the death of her beloved brother Leslie in 1915, and “Prelude” proves that Mansfield is often at her best when writing of her native country.

“Prelude” is split into twelve short, somewhat impressionistic sections, perhaps pointing to Mansfield’s admiration of the impressionist painter Vincent Van Gogh , whose Sunflowers “taught me something about writing, which was queer—a kind of freedom—or rather, a shaking free” (see Further Reading, O’Sullivan and Scott, p. 333). It also has strong symbolic qualities, as the aloe (after which the earlier version of the story was named) exerts a fascination on Mansfield’s characters. And, by way of literary influences, the title of the story point to T. S. Eliot’s “Preludes.”

vincent van gogh self portrait straw hat

The story begins in media res, as many of Mansfield’s stories do, which has the effect of immediately situating the reader in the narrative. Here and across the next eleven sections, the reader is introduced to the various family members and invited into their consciousnesses through Mansfield’s masterful use of free indirect discourse (sometimes referred to as the intimate third person). There are moments of shocking violence, family arguments, and domestic strife, through which Mansfield explores feelings of isolation and (female) oppression within the family.

“Prelude” is one of Mansfield’s most accomplished short stories. She brilliantly captures a child’s view of an adult world through the character of Kezia – who, needless to say, is widely believed to be modeled on her own childhood self. As Virginia Woolf herself said of “Prelude,” “it has the living power, the detached existence of a work of art” (see Further Reading, Tomalin, p. 177).

While some critics have attempted to dismiss her as a minor writer lacking the stamina necessary to write a novel (and thereby positing the short story as a lesser literary form compared with the novel), Mansfield pioneered a new vision for English short fiction that was influenced by French and Russian writers, and, in doing so, she brought the English short story up to par with its twentieth-century continental counterparts. Her writing is vivid, immersive, and innovative – as the short stories listed above, and many others, attest.

Further Reading:

Harman, Claire, All Sorts of Lives: Katherine Mansfield and the Art of Risking Everything (London: Vintage, 2023).

Midorikawa, Emily, and Emma Claire Sweeney, A Secret Sisterhood: The hidden friendships of Austen, Brontë, Eliot and Woolf (London: Arum Press, 2017).

O’Sullivan, Vincent, and Margaret Scott (eds.), The Collected Letters of Katherine Mansfield, Volume 4: 1920-1921 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2004).

Tomalin, Claire, Katherine Mansfield: A Secret Life (London: Penguin, 2012).

Double Quotes

What is Avant-Garde Art?

Author Image

By Catherine Dent MA 20th and 21st Century Literary Studies, BA English Literature Catherine holds a first-class BA from Durham University and an MA with distinction, also from Durham, where she specialized in the representation of glass objects in the work of Virginia Woolf. In her spare time, she enjoys writing fiction, reading, and spending time with her rescue dog, Finn.

must read works aldous huxley

Frequently Read Together

what is avant garde art monet sunrise Tutti Frutti

Did Persephone Love Hades? Let’s Find out!

romaine brooks life art queer identity

Romaine Brooks: Life, Art, and the Construction of Queer Identity

Salvador Dali, Metamorphosis of Narcissus

The Impact of Sigmund Freud’s Theories on Art

Childhood Stories

20 best Katherine Mansfield Short Stories

Default image

  • July 3, 2023

20 best Katherine Mansfield Short Stories and books

If you ask any reader of short stories from New Zealand , they’d probably start the list off with Katherine Mansfield Short stories since she has written a whole host of fantastic short stories. If you haven’t started with Katherine Mansfield Short stories already , I would ask you to dive into the world since it will without a doubt be an enlightening and enriching experience for you.

Katherine Mansfield Short stories

Katherine Mansfield is a celebrated New Zealand-born modernist writer and is renowned for her exquisite and very well written short stories. She is known in her world for having a keen eye for detail and a mastery of psychological nuance. Mansfield’s stories capture the complexities and subtleties of human emotions and relationships. Her works often delve into the inner lives of her characters, exploring themes of longing, alienation, and the delicate moments of everyday existence.

Katherine Mansfield Short stories are marked by their finely crafted prose, vivid imagery, and keen observations of human behavior. She captures the essence of precious moments and seeks to infuse her narratives with a sense of realism. From poignant reflections of youth and innocence in “The Garden Party” to the introspective examinations of love and loss in “Bliss,” Mansfield’s stories offer readers a profound understanding of the human condition.

Katherine Mansfield’s short stories remain a cornerstone of modernist literature, celebrated for their lyrical beauty, emotional depth, and exploration of the complexities of human existence. Each story offers a glimpse into the fragile nature of life and leaves an indelible impression on readers, inviting them to contemplate the intricacies of the human experience.

So who is Katherine Mansfield?

Katherine Mansfield (1888-1923) was an influential modernist writer known for her innovative and deeply introspective short stories. Born in New Zealand, Mansfield’s works explored themes of identity, social class, and the complexities of human relationships. With her keen observational skills and precise prose, she captured the nuances of everyday life, often revealing the hidden depths and vulnerabilities of her characters.

Mansfield’s stories, such as “The Garden Party” and “Prelude,” continue to resonate with readers for their emotional depth, evocative imagery, and profound insights into the human condition. Her contributions to literature have secured her a lasting legacy as one of the most important writers of the early 20th century.

“The Garden Party”

“ The Garden Party ” by Katherine Mansfield is a captivating short story that immerses readers in a world of privilege and social intricacies. As the first-person narrator, the reader experiences the preparations and unfolding of an extravagant garden party hosted by the Sheridan family.

Mansfield’s eloquent prose vividly portrays the opulent setting, the meticulous details, and the vibrant atmosphere of the event. Amidst the glamour, the story takes a poignant turn when news of a neighboring worker’s tragic death arrives, challenging the characters’ understanding of their own privilege and prompting reflections on the boundaries of empathy.

Personally, I would rate this story 9 out of 10. Mansfield’s keen observations of human behavior and her ability to delve into the complexities of social dynamics make “The Garden Party” a compelling and thought-provoking read. However, my rating reflects my preference for narratives with more overt conflict or resolution.


“ Prelude ” by Katherine Mansfield is a poignant and introspective short story that invites readers into the inner world of its first-person narrator. Set in a boarding house, the story explores the profound impact of memory and the complexities of human relationships. Mansfield’s evocative prose beautifully captures the nuances of the narrator’s thoughts and emotions as they reminisce about their past and grapple with their present circumstances.

“Prelude” delves into themes of longing, loneliness, and the passage of time, offering a deeply introspective journey that leaves a lasting impression. Personally, I would rate this story a 7 out of 10. While the narrative possesses a quiet and contemplative beauty, it may not resonate with readers seeking more overt plot developments or dramatic resolutions. However, for those who appreciate introspective storytelling and exquisite prose, “Prelude” is a captivating and emotionally resonant read.


“ Bliss ” by Katherine Mansfield is a captivating and introspective short story that delves into the complexities of human desires and societal expectations. As the first-person narrator, I embarked on a journey alongside the protagonist, Bertha Young, a woman consumed by a sense of inner bliss. Mansfield’s skillful storytelling weaves together vivid descriptions and subtle symbolism to portray Bertha’s search for fulfillment and her realization of the limitations within her seemingly idyllic life.

“Bliss” explores themes of self-discovery, social conventions, and the contrast between appearance and reality. Personally, I would rate this story a 9 out of 10. Mansfield’s ability to capture the intricacies of human emotions, combined with her elegant prose, creates a rich and thought-provoking narrative.

“The Daughters of the Late Colonel”

“ The Daughters of the Late Colonel ” by Katherine Mansfield is a poignant and introspective short story that delves into the complex dynamics of family and the emotional struggles of its first-person narrators. Following the death of their father, the daughters, Josephine and Constantia, find themselves trapped in a web of societal expectations and stifled emotions.

Mansfield’s exquisite prose captures the nuances of the sisters’ inner thoughts and reveals the layers of their suppressed desires and regrets. “The Daughters of the Late Colonel” explores themes of duty, regret, and the constraints of tradition. Personally, I would rate this story a 9 out of 10. Mansfield’s astute observations of human behavior and her ability to convey profound emotions make this story a compelling and introspective read.

“The Doll’s House”

“ The Doll’s House ” by Katherine Mansfield is a powerful and thought-provoking short story that offers a glimpse into the complexities of social hierarchies and the innocence of childhood. As the first-person narrator, I witnessed the story unfold through the eyes of the Burnell sisters, who receive a beautiful doll’s house as a gift.

Mansfield’s skillful storytelling highlights the stark contrast between the Burnells’ privileged world and the harsh realities faced by the Kelveys, a poor family excluded from the social circle. “The Doll’s House” delves into themes of class discrimination, empathy, and the loss of innocence. Personally, I would rate this story a 9 out of 10.

“At the Bay”

“ At the Bay ” by Katherine Mansfield is a mesmerizing short story that invites readers to witness the intricacies of a day in the lives of a group of characters living by the bay. As the first-person narrator, I immersed myself in the vividly painted world Mansfield created, where the ebb and flow of daily routines intertwine with moments of contemplation and unexpected revelations.

The nuances of human relationships is beautifully captured as is the power of nature and the fleeting nature of time. “At the Bay” explores themes of longing, identity, and the complexities of family dynamics. Personally, I would rate this story a 8 out of 10. Mansfield’s skillful storytelling and evocative imagery make “At the Bay” a captivating and introspective read.

“Miss Brill”

“ Miss Brill ” is a poignant and introspective short story by Katherine Mansfield that delves into the themes of loneliness, isolation, and the human longing for connection. Through the eyes of its first-person narrator, Mansfield introduces us to Miss Brill, an elderly woman who spends her Sundays observing people in a public park. As the story unfolds,

Miss Brill is shown to have a vivid imagination and also has a deep desire to be a part of the world around her. However, a sudden encounter with harsh reality shatters her illusion, leading to a heartbreaking moment of self-realization. “Miss Brill” is a masterful exploration of the human condition, highlighting the fragility of our emotions and the power of empathy. Personally, I would rate this story a 9 out of 10.

“Her First Ball”

“ Her First Ball ” is a delightful and enchanting short story by Katherine Mansfield that captures the essence of youthful excitement and the bittersweet experience of growing up. Through the eyes of its first-person narrator, Mansfield takes us on a journey with a young girl attending her first ball. The story is filled with vivid descriptions of the ballroom, the music, and the whirlwind of emotions the protagonist experiences throughout the evening.

The protagonist’s mix of anticipation, nerves, and eventual exhilaration is well described as she navigates the complexities of social interactions and finds moments of joy amidst the fleeting nature of the event. “Her First Ball” is a celebration of youth, innocence, and the transformative power of new experiences. Personally, I would rate this story a 9 out of 10.

“The Fly”

“ The Fly ” is a powerful and introspective short story by Katherine Mansfield that explores themes of grief, loss, and the fragility of life. Through the perspective of its first-person narrator, Mansfield delves into the psychological turmoil of a businessman who is haunted by a tragic event from his past. As the story unfolds, the narrator’s encounter with a trapped fly becomes a catalyst for a deep reflection on the nature of suffering and the inevitability of death.

The nuanced characterization brings to life the emotional weight carried by the protagonist. “The Fly” is a poignant exploration of the human condition, serving as a reminder of the profound impact that even the smallest creatures can have on our perceptions of life and mortality. Personally, I would rate this story a 9 out of 10.

“The Woman at the Store”

“The Woman at the Store” is a captivating short story by Katherine Mansfield that offers a glimpse into the intricacies of human relationships and the power of empathy. Through the eyes of its first-person narrator, Mansfield introduces us to a woman who frequents a local store. The narrator observes the woman’s loneliness, her longing for connection, and her interactions with the storekeeper.

Mansfield’s evocative prose creates a sense of intimacy, drawing the reader into the emotional world of the characters. “The Woman at the Store” explores themes of isolation, the complexities of human interaction, and the yearning for understanding. It serves as a poignant reminder of the importance of compassion and the impact a simple act of kindness can have on someone’s life. Personally, I would rate this story a 9 out of 10.

“A Cup of Tea”

“ A Cup of Tea ” by Katherine Mansfield is a captivating short story that delves into the themes of compassion, privilege, and the unexpected encounters that shape our lives. Through the perspective of its first-person narrator, Mansfield introduces us to Rosemary Fell, a well-to-do young woman who encounters a destitute girl named Miss Smith during a shopping trip. The story follows Rosemary’s impulse to help Miss Smith and the subsequent consequences of her actions.

Mansfield’s exquisite prose invites readers to contemplate the complexities of social class and the moral dilemmas that arise when one’s privilege intersects with the lives of those less fortunate. “A Cup of Tea” is a poignant exploration of empathy and the transformative power of small gestures. Personally, I would rate this story an 8 out of 10 since the story leaves a lasting impression and serves as a reminder of the interconnectedness of our lives.

“Marriage à la Mode”

“ Marriage à la Mode ” by Katherine Mansfield is a poignant short story that offers a glimpse into the complexities of marriage and the societal expectations that come with it. Through the lens of its first-person narrator, Mansfield delves into the lives of a newly married couple, Eddie and Mabel. The story unfolds as the couple navigates their way through their honeymoon phase, highlighting the stark contrasts between their expectations and the realities of their relationship.

Mansfield’s exquisite prose captures the subtle nuances of their interactions, revealing the underlying tensions and unspoken desires. “Marriage à la Mode” explores themes of disillusionment, societal pressures, and the sacrifices made in the pursuit of social acceptance. Personally, I would rate this story a 9 out of 10. Mansfield’s astute observations of human behavior and her ability to convey complex emotions make “Marriage à la Mode” a thought-provoking and emotionally resonant read.

“The Singing Lesson”

“The Singing Lesson” by Katherine Mansfield is a captivating short story that delves into the themes of aspiration, self-expression, and the complexities of teacher-student dynamics. Through the eyes of its first-person narrator, Mansfield skillfully portrays a singing lesson between a young girl, Miss Meadows, and her teacher, Madame. As the lesson progresses, the reader is immersed in the narrator’s observations of Madame’s harsh critiques, Miss Meadows’ insecurities, and the power dynamics at play.

Mansfield’s vivid descriptions and insightful commentary provide a nuanced exploration of the human desire for validation and the struggles inherent in creative pursuits. “The Singing Lesson” showcases Mansfield’s ability to delve into the complexities of human relationships and to capture the subtleties of emotions. Personally, I would rate this story a 8 out of 10.

“The Voyage”

“ The Voyage ” by Katherine Mansfield is a mesmerizing short story that takes readers on an emotional journey through the perspective of its first-person narrator. Set aboard a ship, Mansfield’s exquisite prose paints a vivid picture of the sights, sounds, and sensations experienced during the voyage. As the narrator observes the diverse passengers and their interactions, the story explores themes of human connection, loneliness, and the fleeting nature of life’s encounters.

Mansfield’s keen observations and introspective exploration of the characters’ inner thoughts and emotions create a sense of intimacy and vulnerability. “The Voyage” is a testament to Mansfield’s mastery of storytelling, as she captures the essence of human experience in a confined setting. Personally, I would rate this story a 9 out of 10. Mansfield’s evocative writing and profound insights into human nature make “The Voyage” a captivating and thought-provoking read.

“The Canary”

“ The Canary ” by Katherine Mansfield is a captivating short story that immerses readers in the inner world of its first-person narrator. As I embarked on a journey through the narrator’s memories, Mansfield’s exquisite prose vividly portrays the fragile existence of a canary kept as a pet. Set against the backdrop of a woman’s lonely and confined life, “The Canary” explores themes of captivity, freedom, and the yearning for connection.

Mansfield’s skillful storytelling and evocative descriptions create a sense of intimacy, as the narrator grapples with her own desires and the longing for something more. Personally, I would rate this story a 8 out of 10. Mansfield’s ability to delve into the complexities of human emotions and her lyrical prose make “The Canary” a captivating and thought-provoking read.

“A Dill Pickle”

“ A Dill Pickle ” is a poignant and introspective short story by Katherine Mansfield that delves into the complexities of human relationships and the passage of time. As the first-person narrator, the readers will get captivated by the chance encounter between two former lovers, Rose and her ex-fiancé, William.

Set in a bustling café, Mansfield skillfully weaves together their internal monologues, revealing the layers of emotions and unresolved feelings that still linger between them. “A Dill Pickle” explores themes of nostalgia, regret, and the elusive nature of romantic connections.

Mansfield’s evocative prose and keen insights into human psychology create a sense of intimacy and vulnerability. Personally, I would rate this story a 7 out of 10. It offers a thought-provoking exploration of past relationships, I found myself yearning for more concrete resolution or closure. Nonetheless, “A Dill Pickle” remains a poignant reflection on the complexities of love and the lingering effects of the past.

Katherine Mansfield short stories – PDF

Hope you had fun reading about my treasure trove of Katherine Mansfield short stories and books!  Please happily download the free PDF copy of the most famous Katherine Mansfield short stories and books below.

20 best Katherine Mansfield Short Stories – PDF

Related Posts

The Devil and Daniel Webster

“The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” by James Thurber (1939)

  • January 30, 2024

The Destructors by Graham Greene

The Destructors by Graham Greene – with PDF

  • January 19, 2024

The End of the Party by Graham Greene

The End of the Party by Graham Greene – with PDF

One comment.

[…] Garden Party” is one of the most compelling short stories penned by Katherine Mansfield (Read the list of 20 best Katherine Mansfield short stories here), a renowned author from New […]

Leave a Reply Cancel Reply

Add Comment

Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.

Post Comment

The Spinoff

One Question Quiz

Books April 1, 2023

The stories of katherine mansfield, ranked.


  • Share Story

To mark 100 years since the great short story writer’s death, books editor Claire Mabey marathonned her collected works – these are the top 20.

Reader, I did it. I read all of Katherine Mansfield’s short stories.

Confession: I haven’t always been a fan. I have tedious memories of reading At the Bay in high school and not really “getting” it. But re-visiting her life and work in this centenary year I’m reminded that Katherine Mansfield was a punk. A scan through the timeline of the major turns in her short life (she died aged 34) reveals an individual who refused to conform and who committed her brief time to making art and having as many experiences as she could squeeze in.

On Mansfield’s influence, Witi Ihimaera (who this year celebrates 50 years as a published writer) says: “Māori say we should always put the past before us so, for short story writers, Katherine Mansfield should always have a place in the whakapapa of short fiction. And some of her stories are among New Zealand’s, let alone the world’s, best.

“I sometimes play this game: if Katherine Mansfield was a young unknown today and walked into a New Zealand publishing house with a 2023 version of In A German Pension (1911), would it be accepted? I think so. She might not be as nationalistic as some might want her to be, but, at the level of language, there is something very distinctive and personal, transcendent, about her writing style and accomplishment that marks her out as special in the same way as Patricia Grace is special, Keri Hulme is special and Kōtuku Titihuia Nuttall looks like she is going to be special.”

After reading the stories certain themes stand out as recurrent across her work: the awkward and often horrifying cusp between childhood and adulthood, innocence and experience; class and inequality; death and loss; lust; crushing disappointment; the restricted lives of women; childbearing; the slippery, strange, surprising territory of the mind.

The ranking below is from 20 on down. Merry Christmas.

20. Frau Brechenmacher Attends a Wedding (from In a German Pension, 1911)

“Cheer up, old woman,” shouted her husband, digging her in the ribs; “this isn’t Theresa’s funeral.” He winked at the guests, who broke into loud laughter.

19. An Indiscreet Journey (from Something Childish and Other Stories, 1924)

“Courage!” I said to my muff and held it firmly, “Courage!”

In 1915 Mansfield headed into the war zone to meet her lover Franco Carco. This story takes passages directly from her diaries of that perilous, yet thrilling, journey. This is a story of irrepressible lust: for another, for life, for action over passive mulling. The story is painterly, visually active, animated by the protagonist noticing everything around her, bouncing her thoughts off objects to firm up her resolve.

18. The Child Who Was Tired (from In a German Pension, 1911)

“Ts—ts—ts!” she said, “lie there, silly one; you will go to sleep. You’ll not cry any more or wake up in the night. Funny, little, ugly baby.”

Bleak. Inspired by Chekhov’s story, Sleepy, this was written while Katherine was in Bad Wörishofen, Germany, after becoming pregnant and marrying the wrong man.

17. Marriage à la Mode (from The Garden Party and Other Stories, 1922) 

“A love-letter! But how divine!” “Darling, precious Isabel.” But she had hardly begun before their laughter interrupted her.

Best read aloud to get the voices and the satire therein.

16. Sun and Moon (from Bliss and Other Stories, 1922)

The lovely food that the man had trimmed was all thrown about, and there were bones and bits and fruit peels and shells everywhere. There was even a bottle lying down with stuff coming out of it on to the cloth and nobody stood it up again.

Another story in which we see through the eyes of children and half-see the strange world of adults. Food is again a metaphor for entropy, a fall from innocence, dreams unfulfilled. Life can be bitterly disappointing.

15. The Fly (from The Dove’s Nest and Other Stories, 1923)

It had been a terrible shock to him when old Woodifield sprang that remark upon him about the boy’s grave. It was exactly as though the earth had opened and he had seen the boy lying there with Woodifield’s girls staring down at him. Mansfield’s little brother Leslie died in World War I and it broke her heart. This is the story about a man alone with his grief, and anger, in an environment that didn’t allow men to express it freely.

A black and white photography of Katherine Mansfield beside a modern cover of her collection of stories called The Garden Party and Other Stories

14. Je Ne Parle Pas Français (from Bliss and Other Stories, 1922)

I enjoyed one of these moments the first time I ever came in here. That’s why I keep coming back, I suppose. Revisiting the scene of my triumph, or the scene of the crime where I had the old bitch by the throat for once and did what I pleased with her. The old bitch referred to in the above quote is Life. In this story, Mansfield successfully creates an unlikeable yet interesting protagonist. As readers we traverse both the immediate constructs, and the subterranean depths, of French writer Raoul Duquette. It’s another story that mines childhood experience (in this case pretty shocking recollections of sexual abuse) and surfaces it within a shaky adult perspective where it becomes confused by agenda and an unreliable narrative voice. When Raoul collides with English writer Dick Harmon they each want something from the other. Between the pair of them the story of Mouse emerges. Her character creeps through the latter half of the story: vulnerable within Raoul’s telling and fabrications. The story takes an, at times, cynical view of the male writer and what they might need to fuel their creativity: Voyeurism? Exploitation? Coffee? Faffing around in cafes thinking about whiskey and tweed?

13. The Life of Ma Parker (from The Garden Party and Other Stories, 1922)

You simply dirty everything you’ve got, get a hag in once a week to clean up, and the thing’s done.

This is the tragic, enraging story of Ma Parker, a cleaner and grandmother, whose mind wanders between her grief for her just-deceased grandson (one of too many losses in her life) and her present task of cleaning a “literary gentleman’s” “dustbin” of a kitchen. It’s a harrowing story of a woman with no space for grief who gets no sympathy from a society that exploits her services, her low status, and perpetuates a cycle of illness and early death. The structure of the story has Mansfield’s signature abstraction with the inner workings of Ma Parker’s mind driving time leaps and fractures in the narrative.

12. Her First Ball (from The Garden Party and Other Stories, 1922)

Was this first ball only the beginning of her last ball, after all? At that the music seemed to change; it sounded sad, sad; it rose upon a great sigh. Oh, how quickly things changed! Why didn’t happiness last for ever? For ever wasn’t a bit too long.

At Leila’s first ball she dances with an older man who squeezes her too close for comfort and wangs on about how one day she’ll be old, surveying the young dancers, not dancing herself. Mansfield often portrayed young women on the awkward cusp between childhood and the adult world. In this story, though, Leila triumphs which is a huge relief to all involved.

11. How Pearl Button Was Kidnapped (from Something Childish and Other Stories, 1924)

On this story, Witi Ihimaera says: “How Pearl Button Was Kidnapped is really a Māori story even though the publishers of the time changed Māori into gypsies! … I have never forgotten that Mansfield had a close relationship with Maata Mahupuku from the Wairarapa. Whenever I think of KM I sometimes think of Maata who apparently wrote a novel nobody has ever found. It’s become a metaphor for me of the way in which Pākehā writing took over the New Zealand text and Māori writers couldn’t get a look in until some 50 years later.” 

This is the story of two worlds colliding: Pākehā child Pearl Button, who has been left to her own devices in the “House of Boxes” (a child’s perception of the colonised landscape), visits a marae with two Māori women who walk past her. She has a lovely time playing in the sea, eating, being cuddled and given attention. Until “little blue men came running, running towards her with shouts and whistlings – a crowd of little blue men to carry her back to the House of Boxes”. The word “kidnapped” in the title does a lot of work to convey the racism of the coloniser’s view.

10. A Dill Pickle (from Bliss and Other Stories, 1917)

As he spoke, so lightly, tapping the end of his cigarette against the ash-tray, she felt the strange beast that had slumbered so long within her bosom stir, stretch itself, yawn, prick up its ears, and suddenly bound to its feet, and fix its longing, hungry stare upon those far away places. But all she said was, smiling gently: “How I envy you.”

This is the story for anyone who has ever sat down to reunite with an ex and discovered that they were just as self-involved as ever and all hope of rekindling romance is dissolved.

A photograph of Katherine Mansfield sitting outside in a chair, holding a large book (open). And a book cover of Bliss and Other Stories by Katherine Mansfield.

9. The Woman at the Store (from Something Childish and Other Stories, 1924)

“Now listen to me,” shouted the woman, banging her fist on the table. “It’s six years since I was married, and four miscarriages. I says to ‘im, I says, what do you think I’m doin’ up ‘ere? If you was back at the coast, I’d ‘ave you lynched for child murder. Over and over I tells ‘im—you’ve broken my spirit and spoiled my looks, and wot for—that’s wot I’m driving at.”

Another of Mansfield’s slow horrors with a startling, brilliant ending. This is gothic New Zealand.

8. The Tiredness of Rosabel (from Something Childish and Other Stories, 1924)

There was a sickening smell of warm humanity—it seemed to be oozing out of everybody in the ‘bus—and everybody had the same expression, sitting so still, staring in front of them.

This short story was published, after Mansfield’s death, by her partner John Middleton Murray (who scholars have long been irritated by given his attempts to edit and arrange her letters and diaries in an effort to sanitise Mansfield’s punkish ways). The story is deceptively simple: Rosabel works in a department store, earning a pittance and serving wealthy people. She is cold, hungry and so her imagination manufactures a fantasy escape: one of the rich men who she serves whisks her away into his world of opulence, comfort and material security. Relatable.

7. Miss Brill (from The Garden Party and Other Stories, 1922)

A cold, pale nun hurried by. A beautiful woman came along and dropped her bunch of violets, and a little boy ran after to hand them to her, and she took them and threw them away as if they’d been poisoned. Dear me! Miss Brill didn’t know whether to admire that or not!

This very short story has a killer ending. Absolute killer. Here’s the story online . Take an SSR (sustained silent reading) break and have an emotional time.

6. The Garden Party (from The Garden Party and Other Stories, 1922)

“But we can’t possibly have a garden-party with a man dead just outside the front gate.”

This story is designed to make the reader squirm in empathy with Laura Sheridan. Charged by her mother with helping with the final arrangements of an extravagant garden party at their home, Laura is horrified when everyone around her wants to go through with it even after they hear news that a neighbour has been killed, leaving a wife and five kids to certain poverty. The story takes a hideous turn towards the end, another of Mansfield’s horrors: somehow charming and childlike while at the same time stoking a severe critique of class and inequality. 

5. At the Bay (from The Garden Party and Other Stories, 1922)

The twelfth part (of thirteen) of At the Bay is a masterpiece. A horror story: a conversation that Beryl entertains between herself and her own desires blends fluidly into a scene in which a man (a cis white man I might add) is threatening, predatory, frightening. The tone of At the Bay is ominous throughout: dripping with symbolism, loneliness and the thrilling yet frightful world of after-dark. The first few sentences build and build to create an environment laden with shadows and hidden, suppressed things: “VERY early morning. The sun was not yet risen, and the whole of Crescent Bay was hidden under a white sea-mist. The big bush-covered hills at the back were smothered. You could not see where they ended and the paddocks and bungalows began. The sandy road was gone and the paddocks and bungalows the other side of it; there were no white dunes covered with reddish grass beyond them; there was nothing to mark which was beach and where was the sea. A heavy dew had fallen.”

4. Prelude (from Bliss and Other Stories, 1920)

Beryl sat writing this letter at a little table in her room. In a way, of course, it was all perfectly true, but in another way it was all the greatest rubbish and she didn’t believe a word of it. No, that wasn’t true. She felt all those things, but she didn’t really feel them like that.

This is the longest short story that Mansfield wrote and among her most experimental. In twelve episodes we wander through the Burnell family (the same ones as in The Doll’s House) as they navigate life in a new home. It’s almost filmic: moving between scenes fluidly, without resolution, each scene oscillating between painterly illuminations of the material world, and the shifting minds of the characters. The story almost feels like a cycle: as though the twelve episodes are standing for something bigger. The title Prelude indicates there’s more to come. And there was: in the story At the Bay.

3. Bliss (from Bliss and Other Stories, 1920)

“I must laugh or die.”

In this story, Bertha is inflamed, engulfed in an orgasmic sort of buzz, her feelings of “bliss.” The story follows this new mother, childishly powerless inside her middle-class comforts and security (the story is packed with beautiful things) with her pompous and at-time-crass husband. She is in love with her baby yet held at arm’s length by the nanny; she is bamboozled by her own feelings, worrying that she is by turns, “absurd”, “too happy”, “hysterical”. Her internal mind is playful, odd: she imagines one of her guests as an intelligent monkey, hoarding nuts down her bodice, dressed in banana skins, and another reminds her of the moon. There are the symbols: the pear tree and the slinking grey cat, which collide at the end of the story when Bertha glimpses the awful truth of her husband’s affair (he’s like the “creepy” cat spoiling the perfection of the pear tree). In this story Mansfield embeds us inside Bertha’s charged, highly-strung, childlike mind and it makes for a ride both filled with beauty and discomfort; absurdity and devastation.   

2. The Doll’s House (from Bliss and Other Stories, 1920)

It was the only school for miles. And the consequence was all the children of the neighbourhood, the Judge’s little girls, the doctor’s daughters, the store-keeper’s children, the milkman’s, were forced to mix together. Not to speak of there being an equal number of rude, rough little boys as well. But the line had to be drawn somewhere. It was drawn at the Kelveys. Many of the children, including the Burnells, were not allowed even to speak to them.

This is one of Mansfield’s most well-known stories. It’s a story about class and the cruelty that ideas of status inflict upon children. The Kelvey girls are the daughters of a “spry, hardworking little washerwoman” and an absent father (read: all manner of scandal manufactured and used as ammunition and justification for ostracisation). The story is heartbreaking, with the adult world insistently intruding on the child’s one with its arbitrary divisions between people and its venting of adult problems onto the minds and lives of innocents. 

The short story writer Maria Samuela (Beats of the Pa’u) says of this story: “The first time I read Katherine Mansfield, my high school English teacher at the time asked the class to consider the perspectives of Lil and Else Kelvey in Mansfield’s The Doll’s House. That opened up a world of possibilities and wonder, and introduced me to the power of the short story and the importance of representation in literature.”

And writer Anthothy Lapwood (Home Theatre) says: “Mansfield doesn’t write about her characters so much as she writes about the conditions of their existence. There is a moment in The Doll’s House when the lower class Kelvey children cast shadows that are “very long, stretching right across the road with their heads in the buttercups” outside the property of the upper class Burnells. It’s a typically deft, sly image, and it suggests a truth which snobbery resists: that beauty evades control, and becomes more valuable in being communal. These days, every time I read Mansfield, I value more the beauty of her craft, and her cunning.”

1. Daughters of the Late Colonel (from The Garden Party and Other Stories, 1922)

He lay there, purple, a dark, angry purple in the face, and never even looked at them when they came in. Then, as they were standing there, wondering what to do, he had suddenly opened one eye. Oh, what a difference it would have made, what a difference to their memory of him, how much easier to tell people about it, if he had only opened both! But no—one eye only. It glared at them a moment and then…went out.

Several Mansfield stories jostle for the number one spot. But there is something about this 10-part story of two sisters in the immediate aftermath of the death of their father that is simply unforgettable. We’re dropped into the world of Josephine and Constantia with this arresting first sentence which is (helpfully) in conversation with the title: “The week after was one of the busiest weeks of their lives.” The story is like a prism in that each part turns the reader to observe one face of their world: and it’s a world of intense freedom met with intense awkwardness. This is a story that has the feeling of getting the hysterics at a funeral. The tension is sky high: the sister-daughters are vibrating with nerves and we are enmeshed along with them in this state of heightened reality. It’s a story that stares into the brute nature of male authority. Mansfield’s distinctive style – the way she seemed to be able to pin the vivid fragments of interior and exterior worlds down onto a page – is at full force. This is one of those stories that generates a sense memory in the reader: you feel what the characters go through in your body. Genius.

You can read most of Katherine Mansfield’s short stories online at the New Zealand Electronic Text Centre . This year marks 100 years since Mansfield’s death and a century of her influence as a leading figure of the Modernist movement – more information at KM23.co.nz . 

The Spinoff Review of Books is proudly brought to you by Unity Books , recently named 2020 International Book Store of the Year, London Book Fair, and Creative New Zealand. Visit Unity Books Wellington or Unity Books Auckland online stores today. 

Summaries, Analysis & Lists

Best Katherine Mansfield Short Stories

This page has a list of Katherine Mansfield short stories for your consideration. I’ve included an approximate word count and links for online reading where possible.

Katherine Mansfield Short Stories

Bertha Young is happy with everything in her life. She’s throwing a dinner party, and one of the guests is her friend Pearl. Bertha’s husband doesn’t really like Pearl, but she hopes they will grow to like each other.

This story can be read in the preview of  The Complete Short Stories .

How Pearl Button Was Kidnapped | 3,100 words

Pearl Button is swinging on her front gate while her mother does her weekly ironing. Two women come by and start talking to Pearl. They lead her away with them.

This story can be read in the preview of  The Best Short Stories of Katherine Mansfield .

The Tiredness of Rosabel 

After she gets off work as a clerk at a hat counter, Rosabel thinks about her life and the customers she dealt with at the shop. Among them was a young woman trying on hats with her boyfriend. Rosa imagines what her life would be like if she were her.

This is the first story in the preview of  Stories .

Best Katherine Mansfield Short Stories

The Garden-Party | 5,400 words

The Sheridans, an upper-class family, are making preparations for a garden party. The weather is perfect, and the grounds are beautiful. As Laura Sheridan attends to various aspects of the preparation she hears some news. There’s been an accident.

This is the first story in the preview of  50 Great Short Stories .

The Fly | 2,150 words

Old Mr. Woodifield visits his former boss at work. When Woodifield mentions their sons who were killed in World War I, the boss becomes disturbed.

This is the second story in the preview of  50 Greatest Short Stories .

Miss Brill | 2,000 words

A middle-aged woman takes a weekly Sunday walk. This time she takes out her fur to wear. She likes to observe and listen to people, but she overhears something that upsets her.

Read “Miss Brill”

At “Lehmann’s”

Sabina works all day at the shop and café of Herr Lehmann. Frau Lehmann, his wife, is expecting a baby and nearing her delivery day. A young man comes in to the shop and pays extra attention to Sabina.

“At Lehmann’s”

A woman talks about her old pet, a canary. She doesn’t want to remove the big nail where she hung the cage. It sang beautifully. It kept her company throughout her daily routine. She loved him.

Read “The Canary”

A Cup of Tea

Rosemary Fell has been married two years and is very rich. One winter afternoon she visits a little antique shop she likes. The proprietor shows her a little enamel box that’s very expensive. Outside the shop, she’s approached by a young woman asking for the price of a cup of tea. Rosemary sees it as a opportunity for a charitable adventure.

Read “A Cup of Tea”

A Dill Pickle 

After six years a woman and man meet again in a cafe. He talks about his life away from her and of shared experiences. She compares his recollections with her own. They fall into their old pattern.

“A Dill Pickle”

The Doll’s House | 2,800 words

The Burnell children are given a beautiful doll house as a gift. They are allowed to bring their classmates to see it, so they choose who gets to come to their house.

“The Doll’s House”

A husband and wife miss their train after staying at a hotel. The wife blames her husband for this problem. He wasn’t attentive enough to the details. They take a carriage instead. She’s bothered by lots of things. He’s not paying attention to her preferences.

Read “The Escape”

Frau Brechenmacher Attends a Wedding

Frau Brechenmacher gets the children to bed and prepares her husband’s uniform. They’re going to attend a wedding which has already started. The guests enjoy themselves, and Frau Brechenmacher believes she will too.

“Frau Brechenmacher Attends a Wedding”

Her First Ball | 2,600 words

Eighteen-year-old Leila, a country girl, goes to her first society ball with her cousins, city girls with more social experience.

“Her First Ball”

Life of Ma Parker

Ma Parker cleans a gentleman’s flat once a week. On this day he asks about her grandson. He died; they buried him yesterday. Not knowing what to say, the man makes an awkward comment about the funeral. She goes about her duties and thinks about her life, which has been a hard one.

Read “Life of Ma Parker”

A Man and His Dog

Mr. Potts is an insignificant little man with ill-fitting clothes. He gets delayed on his way home from work; the bus has broken down. He’s tired from the night before when he stayed up looking after his wife.

This is one of Mansfield’s unfinished stories, but I think it’s fairly satisfying as it is.

Read “A Man and His Dog”

Marriage a la Mode | 3,850 words

William is on the way to visit his wife and kids who have moved to the suburbs. William thought they had been happy, but his wife, Isabel, wanted a change. He has an eye-opening visit with his wife and her friends.

“Marriage a la Mode”

Sixpence | 2,230 words

Dicky is almost always a good boy. He has rare times when he gets into a mood and rebels. Dicky’s mother is entertaining Mrs. Spears one afternoon when Dicky starts acting up. He breaks a plate and runs off. Mrs. Spears offers some child-rearing advice.

Read “Sixpence”

Sun and Moon  2,250 words

Sun and Moon, a young boy and girl, are home while their parents are preparing for a party. They’re being put to bed before it starts.

Read “Sun and Moon”

The Wind Blows

Matilda is awakened by the wind; it makes her feel unsettled. Her mother doesn’t want her to go to her music lesson because of the high wind, but Matilda wants to go anyway.

“The Wind Blows”

The Woman at the Store

The female narrator, her brother Jo, and their acquaintance Jim are traveling in the heat, looking forward to stopping for refreshment at a place Jim knows. He says the man of the place is generous with his whisky, and the woman is attractive and welcoming. They arrive at a lonely establishment and are greeted by a disheveled woman with a rifle.

Read “The Woman at the Store”

The Young Girl | 2,260 words

Mrs. Raddick gets the narrator to attend to her two children,  while she gambles. The daughter is seventeen. She’s impatient with her mother and disagreeable. The son is only twelve. They go to a fancy place for refreshments.

Read “The Young Girl”

As I come across more Katherine Mansfield short stories they will be added to this page.

best short stories of katherine mansfield

Literary Theory and Criticism

Home › New Zealand Literature › Analysis of Katherine Mansfield’s Stories

Analysis of Katherine Mansfield’s Stories

By NASRULLAH MAMBROL on June 14, 2020 • ( 0 )

Katherine Mansfield’s ( 14 October 1888 – 9 January 1923) themes are not hard to discover. In 1918, she set herself the tasks of communicating the exhilarating delicacy and peacefulness of the world’s beauty and also of crying out against “corruption.” A reader will soon make his or her own list of themes: the yearnings, complexities, and misunderstandings of love; loneliness, particularly of independent women; the superficiality of much of modern life; the erosions of time and forgetfulness; the beauty and indifferent power of the natural world, especially plant life and the sea. Her exact meanings are not so easily pinned down, for her tone is complex: She mixes witty satire and shattering emotional reversals. Moreover, she uses dialogue and indirect speech extensively, and she does not often seem to speak directly in her own voice; the reader is not sure exactly who is speaking. It is vital for readers to understand that Mansfield (like Chekhov, to whom she is often compared) does not conceal a hidden “message” in her stories. If a story appears to point in many directions, not all of which are logically consistent, that is the way Mansfield feels the whole truth is most honestly communicated. This essay suggests some of the ways these stories may be read.


Mansfield’s stories often evoke the complexities of the conversational give-and-take between women and men and the unexpected courses that passion can take. An early story, “In a Café,” portrays a youthful “new woman” and her male acquaintance, a musician. They flirt as they discuss life, art, and the future. Before he leaves, he asks the girl for her violets, but once outside he drops them because he must keep his hands warm for performing. The young woman is totally happy until she sees the violets on the sidewalk. The reader knows that her love has been crushed, but, new woman that she is, she kicks the flowers and goes her way laughing.

Epilogue II

“Epilogue II” (also known as “Violet”) is more complex. At a pension in France, where the acidly worldly narrator is recovering from an attack of nerves, she reports a long conversation with an exasperating woman named Violet, who in turns tells of a conversation she has had with a man named Arthur. Violet says that, after a few dances, Arthur asked her if she believed in Pan and kissed her. It was her first adult kiss, and they immediately became engaged. The narrator can hardly believe what Violet tells her and is repelled by how easily the naïve Violet and Arthur have found each other. The story (a conversation within a conversation) ends with the narrator thinking that she herself might be too sophisticated. (In this story, Mansfield has imported a piece of conversation from real life. Sometime before she wrote “Epilogue II,” she startled a man by asking him if he believed in Pan.)

In “Psychology,” Mansfield dissects the ebb and flow of attraction between two older artists, culminating in a moment of potential, a moment which, because of their agonizing self-consciousness, they miss. This story shows both minds, but readers are left with the woman and with another characteristically unexpected psychological twist. An older female acquaintance brings her flowers—violets again. This spontaneous gift revitalizes the woman, and with renewed hope she begins an intense letter to the man who has left her. Readers may guess that their next meeting will be no more satisfying than their last.

Je Ne Parle Pas Français

Mansfield often portrays more complex and ambiguous sexual and psychological relationships and, as usual, constructs her story to lead her reader in roundabout ways into unexpected territory. Though she often takes readers briefly into male minds, the story “Je Ne Parle Pas Français” has one of her rare male narrators. Raoul Duqette, a grubby Parisian writer, pimp, and gigolo, tells of an Englishman, Dick Harmon, and the woman nicknamed “Mouse,” whom he brings to Paris. Not all critics agree on whom the story concerns. Although the reader learns much about the English couple’s tortured relationship (Dick leaves Mouse because he cannot betray his mother, and Mouse knows she cannot return to England), many readers think that the story centers on the Frenchman. Incapable of deep emotion, Raoul spies on those with fuller lives than his own; he despises women, is sexually attracted to Dick, and is able to recognize only dimly the suffering that he has witnessed. At the end, he revels in Mouse’s sorrow and imagines selling a girl like her to an old lecher.

Analysis of Katherine Mansfield’s Je ne parle pas français

The triangle in “Bliss” is different, and again, Mansfield mixes her tones. Bertha seems childishly happy in her marriage, her home, her child, and her arty friends. She gives a marvelous party in which sophisticated guests make inane, decadent conversation. Meanwhile, Bertha finds herself physically attracted to one of her guests, the cool Miss Fulton, and thinks that she detects Miss Fulton giving her a signal. Together in the garden, they contemplate a lovely, flowering pear tree, and Bertha senses that they understand each other intuitively. Again Mansfield surprises the reader. Bertha transfers her feelings for Miss Fulton to her husband; for the first time, she really desires him. When she overhears him making an assignation with Miss Fulton, however, her life is shattered. In “Bliss,” as elsewhere, Mansfield’s brilliant and precise descriptions of the nonhuman world are always evocative. Although sometimes nature simply reveals an unsympathetic force, allied to human passions but beyond human control, some natural features demand to be interpreted as symbols, such as the phallic pear tree in this story. Phallic it is, but it may be feminine as well, for Bertha identifies with it. The story is read, however, and the pear tree cannot be explained simply. Neither can the reader’s final reaction: Is Bertha trapped in an evil world? Is she a free adult at last?

The Lost Battle

Mansfield also explores the problems of lonely women, often by showing the reader their inmost trains of thought. In “The Lost Battle,” a woman traveling alone is escorted to her room in a French hotel by an overbearing man who makes demeaning and insinuating remarks: A bed in a small room will be enough for her, he implies. She asserts herself and demands a better room, one with a table on which to write. She wins her struggle and is happy with her new room—its size, the view from its windows, and its sturdy table. When she overtips the boy who delivers her bags, however, her joy somehow leaves her. In a convincing but mysterious moment typical of Mansfield’s stories, the woman’s bravery collapses in selfconsciousness, memory, tears, and desire.

Perhaps Mansfield’s best-known version of the lonely woman is the central character of “Miss Brill.” The reader follows Miss Brill’s thoughts as she arrives at the public gardens. The first faint chill of fall and the noise of the band signal that a new season has begun. Miss Brill’s sympathetic interest extends to the various sorts of people in the park; the reader senses an older, precise woman who yearns that happiness and gentleness will come for herself and others. Even some unpleasantries fail to shake Miss Brill’s enjoyment, as she rejoices that everyone there is performing in some wonderful, happy play. Her illusions, however, are shattered by two insensitive young lovers who simply wish that the fussy old woman would move. Again the reader is taken into a lonely woman’s mind as she undergoes a psychic shock.

The Daughters of the Late Colonel

In “The Daughters of the Late Colonel,” the shock is muffled, and the reader does not enter the two sisters’ minds so deeply so soon. The story at first appears to center on the familiar Mansfield theme of male domination. The sisters seem to react alike to the death of their domineering father. They are still under his spell. Mansfield shows her dry wit as their hesitant and ineffectual efforts to assert themselves with the nurse and their maid are pathetic and hilarious at the same time. Even sisters, however, may be alone. Not only have they lost their father and are without prospects of marriage, but also they differ so much in temperament that they will never understand each other—the older sister is prosaic, the younger one dreamy. It is only at the end of the story that each sister shows small signs of vitality. The prosaic sister hears a cry from within, muses on lost chances, and feels a hint of hope. When Mansfield takes readers into the thoughts of the younger sister, they discover that all along she has been living in a secret and extravagant imaginary world of repressed desire: her real life. For a moment, each sister thinks that some action could be taken, but the moment passes without communication. Their lives will never bear fruit.

Mansfield’s wit is sometimes closer to the center of a story. In “Bliss,” many early pages show a devastating view of the world of artists that Mansfield knew so well at Garsington and elsewhere. “Marriage à la Mode” is more purely a social satire. A nice, plodding husband, William, supports his wife Isabel’s ambitions. They move from a cozy little house to the suburbs and entertain her artistic friends. Mansfield’s acute ear for conversation enables her to give the reader the wonderful remarks that pass for wit among the arty set. The reader cheers when William, in a dignified letter, asks for a divorce. Isabel’s friends mock the letter. Isabel herself realizes how shallow they are, but she runs to them laughing. The story has a moral, but its chief impact is satirical. This is also true of “The Young Girl.” The title character is the disgustingly spoiled and overdressed teenage daughter of a selfish mother who is mainly interested in gambling at a casino. By the end of the story, the girl has revealed her youth and vulnerability, but a reader probably remembers the story’s vapid world most vividly.

Analysis of Katherine Mansfield’s The Daughters of the Late Colonel

Mansfield’s modernist method seldom gives the reader straightforward statements of her themes; the reader needs to interpret them carefully. Her most deliberately ambiguous and hotly debated story is “The Fly.” A businessman (“the boss”) is reminded of his beloved son’s death inWorldWar I and how he has grieved. Now, however, the boss is troubled because he can no longer feel or cry. At this point, he rescues a fly caught in his inkwell; the fly carefully cleans itself. Then the Mansfield surprise: The boss drops another gob of ink on the fly, admires its courage as it cleans itself again, but then drops more ink. The fly is dead. The boss feels wretched and bullies an employee. The story may remind some readers of William Shakespeare’s “As flies to wanton boys are we to the gods;/ They kill us for their sport.”

Murry said that “The Fly” represents Mansfield’s revulsion from the cruelty of war; other critics discover her antipathy to her own father. Whatever its biographical source, the reader must try to decide his or her reaction to the boss. Where are the readers’ sympathies? At first they are with the aged employee who jogs the boss’s memory and perhaps with the boss himself. When readers hear of the son’s death, they do sympathize with the father. What do they make of his torturing—yet admiring— the fly? Do readers despise him as a sadistic bully? Do they sympathize with him? Is the fly simply another victim of society’s brutality, the boss’s brutality? Are readers to see Mansfield as the fly, unfairly stricken with tuberculosis? Does the boss refuse to admit his own mortality until he sees himself as a victim, like the fly? At the very end, is he repressing such thoughts again? Critics are divided about this story, but what is clear is that its ambiguities raise a host of issues for consideration.

Analysis of Katherine Mansfield’s The Fly

The Man Without a Temperament

Another story that poses problems is “The Man Without a Temperament.” The reader has trouble establishing where the story is taking place and who are its characters. Gradually it can be determined that the story takes place at a continental hotel and that the central characters are, not the grotesque guests like The Two Topknots, but The Man (Robert Salesby) and his invalid wife (Jinnie—Mrs. Salesby). The Mansfield woman here is not only lonely but also sick—sick with something that resembles the author’s own tuberculosis. The reader’s difficulties are slightly compounded when Mansfield manipulates time; readers soon decide that the dislocations in the story are Robert’s memories of happier days in England. This story’s greatest problem, however, is what the reader is to think of Robert. At first glance, he seems without temperament; all his care is for his wife, her comfort, her health, and her whims. Soon, the tension that he is under becomes obvious. He is tortured by his memories. When his wife encourages him to take a walk by himself, he quickly agrees and almost forgets to return. The exquisite tact and humor that his wife loves so much ring hollow: Readers know that he suspects that she will not live much longer. Is he an icy, resentful, and disgusting hypocrite? Some readers may think so. Is he admirably patient and forbearing? Murry, who acknowledged that Robert was a portrait of himself, thought it was drawn with admiration.

New Zealand Stories

Soon after her return to London, Mansfield wrote some stories based on her experiences among the common people of New Zealand. “The Woman at the Store” is a chilling and dramatic tale in which three travelers stop far from civilization at a dilapidated store run by a slatternly woman and her child. Although the travelers feel sympathy for the woman’s hard life, they also laugh at the woman and child—laugh until the child’s drawing makes clear that the woman has murdered her husband. The travelers leave quickly. “Ole Underwood,” a character sketch based on a real Wellington character, lets readers see into the mind of a deranged former convict as he makes his way around town, driven by memories of his wife’s infidelity. In both cases, Mansfield tries to get into the minds of lower-class people, people much different from those she usually depicts. Another story that deals sympathetically with the doomed struggles of a lower-class character is “The Life of Ma Parker.”

When Mansfield returned in earnest to telling stories of the New Zealand life that she knew best, she produced her finest work. (The critic Rhoda B. Nathan thinks that the New Zealand stories, taken as a group, can be considered as a Bildungsroman, or story of an artist’s growth.) The family drama of her childhood provided material for many of these stories. Her mother was attractive but delicate. Her father was forceful and successful. They lived in a substantial house in Wellington just on the edge of a poor district, then in a nearby village, and later at the edge of the sea in Wellington harbor. She was the third of five surviving children living among a number of aunts and cousins, an uncle and a grandmother.

Mansfield’s two longest works of fiction, “Prelude” and “At the Bay,” are strikingly different from conventional short stories. Both take a slight narrative line and string on it a number of short episodes and intense renderings of the inner lives of members—mainly female—of an extended family. In both, readers are set down among these people without preparation; they must work out their relations for themselves. In both, readers must take time to discover the rich vision that Mansfield is giving them.

In “Prelude,” the reader enters the consciousness of several members of the family as they adjust to a new house in the country. (The Beauchamps moved from Wellington to Karori in 1893.) The reader is led into the minds of the child Kezia (the character who resembles the author as a girl), her hearty father (Stanley), her pregnant mother (Linda), and her unfulfilled aunt (Beryl). Their relations are strained, and they reveal their hopes, loves, and anxieties. Gradually, Mansfield’s emphasis becomes clear. She gives most weight to Linda and Beryl, whose inner worlds invite a range of analysis. Analysis begins with the aloe tree. Mansfield had earlier prepared readers for this huge, ugly, ominous growth, which flowers only once every hundred years. Readers sense that the tree is somehow symbolic. Linda is fascinated by it. When she sees the tree by moonlight, its cruel thorns seem to embody the hate that she often feels, or do they embody the masculine force that she hates? Either way, the aloe tree brings out for the reader the secret that Linda keeps from everyone else: Alongside her other emotions (dislike for her children, love and concern for her husband) is pure hatred. She wonders what Stanley would think of that. Beryl, too, has her secret self. The story ends with her taking an inventory of her attractive qualities and wondering if she can ever get beyond her poses, her false life, to the warm authentic life that she thinks is still within her. Mansfield’s apparently haphazard plot has in fact been drawing the reader to two striking female visions.

“At the Bay” tells about the same household perhaps a year later. Some characters, such as Kezia, appear to have changed. Mansfield’s methods, however, are much the same, though the sea that frames this story does not insist on its symbolic force so obviously as did the aloe tree. Stanley forges off to work. The women he leaves are happy that he is gone, especially Linda, his strangely passive wife, who still loves him but dislikes their children, including a new baby boy. The children and their cousins play games. Kezia almost faces death when she pleads with her grandmother not to leave them. Linda’s weak brother does face his failure. Beryl has a new friend, a vivid witchlike woman with an attractive younger husband. Though Linda briefly finds love with Stanley, this story, like “Prelude,” ends with two dissimilar kinds of unfulfilled love. Linda loves her baby only for a moment. Beryl yearns for sexual contact but is terrified and revolted when she finds the real thing. Perhaps at the end, the sea (as a possible symbol of female fecundity, time, and destruction) sympathizes with human desires, perhaps not. Mansfield’s way of presenting her incidents and structuring her story creates intense sympathy for her characters, yet simultaneously lets readers see them, without obviously judging them, from a distance.

The Doll’s House

Two shorter New Zealand stories probably show Mansfield at her finest, and they show most clearly how her narrative surprises and moments of brilliant revelation of character and motive can be concentrated in a single phrase, in what might be called a domestic epiphany: a small moment of great importance not easily summarized. In “The Doll’s House,” Kezia and her sisters are given a vulgar plaything. The house is despised by Aunt Beryl but loved by the girls (Kezia is particularly enthralled by a tiny lamp in the diminutive dining room) and much admired by their schoolmates. The story seems to be about adult cruelty and juvenile snobbery. All along, however, there appear to be two social outcasts, Lil Kelvey and her silent little sister, Else, both daughters of a washerwoman and (perhaps) a criminal. When Kezia impulsively invites them to look at the house, Aunt Beryl orders them away. Lil says nothing, but her silent, wretched little sister had got one glimpse of the beautiful doll’s house and remembers, not her humiliation, but that she saw the house’s tiny lamp. A small human spirit asserts itself.

The Garden-Party

“The Garden-Party” is based on what happened at a real party that the Beauchamps gave in Wellington in 1907. Part of its meaning concerns the relations between two social classes. The central character is Laura, clearly a Mansfield-like character, an adolescent Kezia. Laura is thrilled by the promise of festivity, but in the middle of the expensive preparations—canna lilies, dainty sandwiches, a small band to play under the marquee—she learns of the death of a poor man who lived close by in a wretched house. Readers see the clash of generations when Laura demands that the party be canceled, but her worldly mother says no. The party is a grand success. As usual in Mansfield, important matters slip the mind; Laura enjoys herself immensely, especially because her large new hat is widely admired. After the guests have left, her mother sends Laura with a basket of party food to the house of the dead man. Her journey at dusk is phantasmagoric. Her sympathies, forgotten at the party, return. She is shocked by the somber house of death and by the grieving wife, and overwhelmed by the stillness, even the beauty, of the corpse. Laura feels that she must say something: “Forgive my hat.” What she says is certainly inadequate, but it seems to signal a moment of understanding and growth—or does it? Laura has found a moment of beauty in death. Is that evasive or profound? She accepts the sympathy of her brother at the very end. He understands—or does he?

Major Works Nonfiction: Novels and Novelists, 1930 (J. M. Murry, editor); The Collected Letters of Katherine Mansfield, 1984-1996 (4 volumes); The Katherine Mansfield Notebooks, 1997 (2 volumes). Poetry: Poems, 1923 (J. M. Murry, editor).

Bibliography Alpers, Antony. The Life of Katherine Mansfield. Rev. ed. New York: Viking Press, 1980. Daly, Saralyn R. Katherine Mansfield. Rev. ed. New York: Twayne, 1994. Darrohn, Christine. “‘Blown to Bits’: Katherine Mansfield’s ‘The Garden-Party’ and the Great War.” Modern Fiction Studies 44 (Fall, 1998): 514-539. Hankin, C. A. Katherine Mansfield and Her Confessional Stories. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1983. Mansfield, Katherine. The Complete Stories of Katherine Mansfield, edited by Antony Alpers. Auckland: Golden Press/Whitcombe and Tombs, 1974. May, Charles E., ed. Masterplots II: Short Story Series, Revised Edition. 8 vols. Pasadena, Calif.: Salem Press, 2004. Nathan, Rhoda B. Katherine Mansfield. New York: Continuum, 1988. _____________, ed. Critical Essays on Katherine Mansfield. New York: G. K. Hall, 1993. New,W. H. “Mansfield in the Act ofWriting.” Journal of Modern Literature 20 (Summer, 1996): 51-63. Robinson, Roger, ed. Katherine Mansfield: In from the Margin. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1994. Tomalin, Claire. Katherine Mansfield: A Secret Life. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1987.

Share this:

Categories: New Zealand Literature , Short Story

Tags: Analysis of Katherine Mansfield’s Stories , Characters of Katherine Mansfield’s Stories , Critical Analysis of Katherine Mansfield’s Stories , Criticism of Katherine Mansfield’s Stories , Essays of Katherine Mansfield’s Stories , Literary Criticism , Literary Theory , Modernism , Notes of Katherine Mansfield’s Stories , Plot of Katherine Mansfield’s Stories , Simple Essays of Katherine Mansfield’s Stories , Study Guides of Katherine Mansfield’s Stories , Summary of Katherine Mansfield’s Stories , Themes of Katherine Mansfield’s Stories

Leave a Reply Cancel reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

We will keep fighting for all libraries - stand with us!

Internet Archive Audio

best short stories of katherine mansfield

  • This Just In
  • Grateful Dead
  • Old Time Radio
  • 78 RPMs and Cylinder Recordings
  • Audio Books & Poetry
  • Computers, Technology and Science
  • Music, Arts & Culture
  • News & Public Affairs
  • Spirituality & Religion
  • Radio News Archive

best short stories of katherine mansfield

  • Flickr Commons
  • Occupy Wall Street Flickr
  • NASA Images
  • Solar System Collection
  • Ames Research Center

best short stories of katherine mansfield

  • All Software
  • Old School Emulation
  • MS-DOS Games
  • Historical Software
  • Classic PC Games
  • Software Library
  • Kodi Archive and Support File
  • Vintage Software
  • CD-ROM Software
  • CD-ROM Software Library
  • Software Sites
  • Tucows Software Library
  • Shareware CD-ROMs
  • Software Capsules Compilation
  • CD-ROM Images
  • ZX Spectrum
  • DOOM Level CD

best short stories of katherine mansfield

  • Smithsonian Libraries
  • Lincoln Collection
  • American Libraries
  • Canadian Libraries
  • Universal Library
  • Project Gutenberg
  • Children's Library
  • Biodiversity Heritage Library
  • Books by Language
  • Additional Collections

best short stories of katherine mansfield

  • Prelinger Archives
  • Democracy Now!
  • Occupy Wall Street
  • TV NSA Clip Library
  • Animation & Cartoons
  • Arts & Music
  • Computers & Technology
  • Cultural & Academic Films
  • Ephemeral Films
  • Sports Videos
  • Videogame Videos
  • Youth Media

Search the history of over 866 billion web pages on the Internet.

Mobile Apps

  • Wayback Machine (iOS)
  • Wayback Machine (Android)

Browser Extensions

Archive-it subscription.

  • Explore the Collections
  • Build Collections

Save Page Now

Capture a web page as it appears now for use as a trusted citation in the future.

Please enter a valid web address

  • Donate Donate icon An illustration of a heart shape

Selected stories

Bookreader item preview, share or embed this item, flag this item for.

  • Graphic Violence
  • Explicit Sexual Content
  • Hate Speech
  • Misinformation/Disinformation
  • Marketing/Phishing/Advertising
  • Misleading/Inaccurate/Missing Metadata

obscured text on back cover.

[WorldCat (this item)]

plus-circle Add Review comment Reviews

56 Previews

Better World Books


No suitable files to display here.

EPUB and PDF access not available for this item.


Uploaded by station26.cebu on June 15, 2020

SIMILAR ITEMS (based on metadata)

  • Find a Library
  • Browse Collections
  • The Best Short Stories of Katherine Mansfield

By Katherine Mansfield

cover image of The Best Short Stories of Katherine Mansfield

Add Book To Favorites

Is this your library?

Sign up to save your library.

With an OverDrive account, you can save your favorite libraries for at-a-glance information about availability. Find out more about OverDrive accounts.


Katherine Mansfield

Dover Publications

21 September 2012

Facebook logo

Find this title in Libby, the library reading app by OverDrive.


Search for a digital library with this title

Title found at these libraries:.


best short stories of katherine mansfield

  • Kindle Store
  • Kindle eBooks
  • Literature & Fiction

Audible Logo

Promotions apply when you purchase

These promotions will be applied to this item:

Some promotions may be combined; others are not eligible to be combined with other offers. For details, please see the Terms & Conditions associated with these promotions.

Buy for others

Buying and sending ebooks to others.

  • Select quantity
  • Buy and send eBooks
  • Recipients can read on any device

These ebooks can only be redeemed by recipients in the US. Redemption links and eBooks cannot be resold.

best short stories of katherine mansfield

Download the free Kindle app and start reading Kindle books instantly on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required .

Read instantly on your browser with Kindle for Web.

Using your mobile phone camera - scan the code below and download the Kindle app.

QR code to download the Kindle App

Image Unavailable

The Best Short Stories of Katherine Mansfield

  • To view this video download Flash Player

Follow the author

Katherine Mansfield

The Best Short Stories of Katherine Mansfield Kindle Edition

  • Print length 194 pages
  • Language English
  • Sticky notes On Kindle Scribe
  • Publisher Dover Publications
  • Publication date September 21, 2012
  • File size 862 KB
  • Page Flip Enabled
  • Word Wise Enabled
  • Enhanced typesetting Enabled
  • See all details

Popular titles by this author

The Garden Party and Other Stories

Editorial Reviews

"The interpretations of the five narrators...provide a helpful throughline to the twentieth-century New Zealand-born author's wonderful writing...Gabrielle de Cuir brings expressiveness and warmth; Stephan Rudnicki, resonance and timing; Justine Eyre, pacing and a quavering Kiwi intonation; and Nan McNamara, a sweet yet bracing delivery that aligns with Mansfield's oblique takes on the works."

From the Back Cover

About the author.

Nan McNamara has performed on stage, television, film, and behind the microphone in voice-overs for over twenty years. Her passion is to tell good stories--no matter what the medium. Originally from St. Paul, Nan received a BA cum laude in theater.

Katherine Mansfield (1888-1923) was born in Wellington, New Zealand, and settled in Europe to finish her education. She published her first short fiction in The New Age , then in Rhythm , whose editor, the British writer and critic John Middleton Murry, she soon married. Her writing contributed to the development of the stream of consciousness technique and to the modernist use of multiple viewpoints, and her style has had a powerful influence on subsequent writers in the same genre.

Stefan Rudnicki first became involved with audiobooks in 1994. Now a Grammy-winning audiobook producer, he has worked on more than five thousand audiobooks as a narrator, writer, producer, or director. He has narrated more than nine hundred audiobooks. A recipient of multiple AudioFile Earphones Awards, he was presented the coveted Audie Award for solo narration in 2005, 2007, and 2014, and was named one of AudioFile's Golden Voices in 2012.

Justine Eyre is a classically trained actress who has narrated many audiobooks, earning the prestigious Audie Award for best narration and numerous Earphones Awards. She is multilingual and known for her great facility with accents. She has appeared on stage, with leading roles in King Lear and The Crucible , and has had starring roles in four films on the indie circuit. Her television credits include Two and a Half Men and Mad Men .

Product details

  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ B00A73585C
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Dover Publications (September 21, 2012)
  • Publication date ‏ : ‎ September 21, 2012
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • File size ‏ : ‎ 862 KB
  • Text-to-Speech ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Screen Reader ‏ : ‎ Supported
  • Enhanced typesetting ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • X-Ray ‏ : ‎ Not Enabled
  • Word Wise ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Sticky notes ‏ : ‎ On Kindle Scribe
  • Print length ‏ : ‎ 194 pages
  • #34,624 in Single Authors Short Stories
  • #39,656 in Short Stories Anthologies
  • #64,018 in Short Stories (Books)

About the author

Katherine mansfield.

Discover more of the author’s books, see similar authors, read author blogs and more

Customer reviews

Customer Reviews, including Product Star Ratings help customers to learn more about the product and decide whether it is the right product for them.

To calculate the overall star rating and percentage breakdown by star, we don’t use a simple average. Instead, our system considers things like how recent a review is and if the reviewer bought the item on Amazon. It also analyzed reviews to verify trustworthiness.

  • Sort reviews by Top reviews Most recent Top reviews

Top reviews from the United States

There was a problem filtering reviews right now. please try again later..

best short stories of katherine mansfield

  • Amazon Newsletter
  • About Amazon
  • Accessibility
  • Sustainability
  • Press Center
  • Investor Relations
  • Amazon Devices
  • Amazon Science
  • Start Selling with Amazon
  • Sell apps on Amazon
  • Supply to Amazon
  • Protect & Build Your Brand
  • Become an Affiliate
  • Become a Delivery Driver
  • Start a Package Delivery Business
  • Advertise Your Products
  • Self-Publish with Us
  • Host an Amazon Hub
  • › See More Ways to Make Money
  • Amazon Visa
  • Amazon Store Card
  • Amazon Secured Card
  • Amazon Business Card
  • Shop with Points
  • Credit Card Marketplace
  • Reload Your Balance
  • Amazon Currency Converter
  • Your Account
  • Your Orders
  • Shipping Rates & Policies
  • Amazon Prime
  • Returns & Replacements
  • Manage Your Content and Devices
  • Recalls and Product Safety Alerts
  • Conditions of Use
  • Privacy Notice
  • Consumer Health Data Privacy Disclosure
  • Your Ads Privacy Choices
  • International edition
  • Australia edition
  • Europe edition

A brief survey of the short story part 11: Katherine Mansfield

A contradictory profile ... Katherine Mansfield, circa 1920. Photograph: Hulton Getty

Katherine Mansfield 's short stories tend to polarise opinion. In the very first blog of this series, one casual below-the-line mention of her was enough to prompt both brickbats and devotionals . For myself, I both love and hate her work.

It's easy enough to enjoy the young, breezily comic but insubstantial Mansfield of In a German Pension (1911), her first collection. Far less winsome is the melodramatic, clumsy, and at times unbearably sentimental creator of later stories such as The Canary, A Suburban Fairy Tale, or The Fly, which ruins some fine writing with a metaphor only marginally less subtle than a klaxon's blast.

Taken as a whole Mansfield's work confounds because, from 1915 onwards (following her debut she suffered several years of writer's block), the very good and the plain bad arrive tripping over one another's heels. All writers fail as well as triumph, but the gulf between the successful and the disastrous is rarely as wide as it is in her work.

To concentrate on the successes, Mansfield's second and third collections, Bliss (1920) and The Garden-Party (1922), contain strikingly impressive pieces such as Prelude, The Little Governess, Je Ne Parle Pas Français, The Voyage and The Daughters of the Late Colonel. This last story, perhaps her greatest achievement, describes two spinsters whose overbearing father has just died. It flickers between comedy, menace, outlandish interludes and engulfing sorrow with consummate skill.

The story's razor-sharp humour is a more refined variant of that displayed in her debut collection. Similarly, the darker currents of Mansfield's fiction - ever present to a degree, as her early story of backwoods murder The Woman at the Store makes plain - had by now grown more powerfully insinuating. In her later works the tone can shift from light-hearted to menacing in an instant; relationships between men and women are oppressive and predatory (The Little Governess), life a sequence of missteps (see Psychology, wherein a couple on the cusp of a kiss falter, and suddenly see themselves as "two grinning puppets jigging away in nothingness"), and happiness fragile and fleeting (as in Bliss, whose subject, Bertha, is a highly-strung cousin to Virginia Woolf's Clarissa Dalloway).

Talk of recurrent themes might, however, give an inaccurate impression of uniformity to Mansfield's work. In fact she was constantly altering her voice, which is another reason for her inconsistency. As Claire Tomalin notes in her excellent biography, "Katherine did not seem to be interested in building on a successful piece of work, but persistently dispersed herself in different styles and tones. In her writing, as in her life, she revelled in change, disguise, mystery and mimicry: the last she saw as the key to creation and understanding of character. It gave her freedom, but it also became a weakness; lacking stamina, she dispersed herself too widely in different effects."

But it would be ludicrous to allow her bad stories to demean the good. She may lack the body of work to qualify as a major writer, but her influence has nevertheless been significant. She is essentially too strange a writer to be copied, but writers as accomplished as VS Pritchett have learned, as he put it in the New Statesman in 1946, from "her economy, the boldness of her comic gift, her speed, her dramatic changes of the point of interest, her power to dissolve and reassemble a character and situation by a few lines"; Philip Larkin and Angela Carter both claimed an affinity with her; Virginia Woolf extolled "the only writing I have ever been jealous of."

If excuses are to be sought for those stories of Mansfield's which would discourage some from ever reading her again, they are manifold and pitiable. She contracted gonorrhoea in 1909, the inexpert treatment of which caused it to spread to her bloodstream. From 1910 onwards she was a chronic invalid. In 1917 she was diagnosed with tuberculosis, which she probably contracted from her friend DH Lawrence the year before, during their ill-starred co-habitation in Zennor. She and her partner, JM Murry, were always short of cash, and she wrote many stories purely as a means of getting some. Rather than destroy these rush jobs after her death, as she requested, Murry had them published in two posthumous collections of scant quality (How Pearl Button Was Kidnapped and the unfinished A Married Man's Story being notable exceptions).

She died in 1923. She lived her life pell-mell, only rarely experiencing conditions ideal, or even sufficient, for the pursuit of her craft. But while biographical information goes a long way to explaining her artistic failings, no such knowledge is required to appreciate the brilliance of her best stories. They stand on merit alone. Next: Heinrich von Kleist

Comments (…)

Most viewed.

Interesting Literature

A Summary and Analysis of Katherine Mansfield’s ‘The Fly’

By Dr Oliver Tearle (Loughborough University)

‘The Fly’ is not one of the best-known short stories of the New Zealand-born writer Katherine Mansfield (1888-1923), but it is significant for being one of her few stories which deals directly with the First World War. In the story, a man is reminded of the death of his young son in the war, only to become distracted by a fly which has fallen into the inkpot on his desk.

A classic example of Mansfield’s modernist fiction, ‘The Fly’ is about loss, grief, war, and death, among other themes. You can read the story here before proceeding to the summary and analysis of the story below. The story takes around 10 minutes to read.

‘The Fly’: plot summary

The setting of the story is the office of a man referred to simply as ‘the boss’. Old Woodifield is making his weekly social visit to the boss’s office. It becomes clear that Woodifield used to work at the company the boss runs, but after he suffered a stroke, he has taken early retirement and his daughters only let him out of the house once a week for his visit to the company where he used to work.

The two men admire how snug the office is, and the boss thinks how old and near to death Woodifield looks. Woodifield has something he meant to tell his host, but he cannot remember it. To treat his guest and to try to jog his memory, the boss takes out a bottle of rare whisky and pours them both a drink.

Then Woodifield tells the boss that his daughters have recently visited his son’s war grave in Belgium. He mentions that the girls also found the grave of the boss’s son. The boss has not made it over to Belgium to see his son’s grave yet.

After Woodifield has gone, the boss finds himself struggling to grieve for his dead son, who was killed in the war. He reminisces about how much promise the boy had shown, and how well-liked he was at the company, where the boss had been training him up to take it over one day when he, the boss, retired. But then the war had broken out and his son had gone off to fight, and had never come back. He tells Macey, his office messenger, not to allow anyone to disturb him for half an hour.

While he is caught in these reminiscences, examining an old photograph of his son, the boss notices a fly that has fallen into the inkpot on his desk. He fishes it out onto the blotting paper and then takes a drop of ink and drops it over the fly, watching it struggle. He then does the same again, and again, willing the fly to wash itself clean and carry on.

However, when he chances a fourth drop, it proves too much for the fly, which stops moving and dies. The boss throws the fly’s corpse into the waste paper basket and then finds he cannot remember what he was thinking about beforehand. He has forgotten about his son.

‘The Fly’: analysis

Mansfield wrote ‘The Fly’ in February 1922 in Paris, and the story was first published in The Nation and Athenaeum in March of that year. 1922 was a key year for modernist responses to the First World War: T. S. Eliot’s long poem The Waste Land , in many ways a response to the chaos wrought by the war, was published in the same year, as was Virginia Woolf’s Jacob’s Room , in which the title character dies in the war, leaving a grieving mother behind.

More than many of her other stories, ‘The Fly’ draws on Mansfield’s own life and family experiences for its inspiration. Her younger brother, Leslie Beauchamp, aged just 21, had been killed in 1915 during a grenade training drill while serving with the British Expeditionary Force. Like the sons mentioned in ‘The Fly’, Leslie died in Belgium, and like the boss’s son, he had been working at his father’s firm before the outbreak of the war.

‘The Fly’ is an example of modernist fiction , and this modernism is evinced in the story in several ways.

First of all, there is Mansfield’s interest in the interiority of her characters’ minds, specifically the mind of the boss here. She is concerned with reflecting his psychology to us, including his rather strange trains of thought. More specifically, she uses the symbolic encounter with the fly to suggest the deep grief the boss feels, but is unable to confront even six years after his son’s death.

Second, there is the ambiguity of the symbolism, which makes the story’s meaning ultimately open-ended and undecidable. Does the boss kill the fly out of spite or malice? Or simply lack of empathy for another living thing? And if so, is Mansfield trying to suggest a link between the boss’s actions and those of all of the generals and field marshals and other men of a similar age, who sent so many young men to their deaths during the war?

Note, in this connection, how the boss completely forgets about his son not long after he had been lost in his reveries about him. No sooner has he recalled him to mind, it would seem, than he was capable of forgetting about him all over again. We are invited to draw a parallel between this act of swift forgetting and the boss’s casual discarding of the fly’s dead body into the waste paper bin. No sooner is it out of sight than it is out of his mind.

However, when we examine the boss’s actions – and, even more crucially, examine his psychology while he is attacking the fly with the drops of ink – a more complex picture emerges.

The boss, we are told, ‘felt a real admiration for the fly’s courage.’ And although we might at first be tempted to interpret the boss’s dousing of the fly’s body with ink as a callous act, designed to taunt the poor creature, the boss clearly sees it slightly differently. When he drops some more ink on the insect, he ‘felt a rush of relief’, Mansfield tells us, when the fly rallied and cleaned itself once again.

The state of the boss’s office is perhaps significant here. It is cosy and snug and well-furnished, we are told at the beginning of the story. Behind his comfortable desk, like so many of the generals who sent young men over the top in France and Belgium, the boss has no knowledge of the real struggle the fly is facing as it battles for its life, just as he can barely comprehend what his son, and millions of young men like his son, went through in Belgium.

In the last analysis, it is thoughtlessness , perhaps, rather than heartlessness which is the cause of the boss’s blind spot.

Discover more from Interesting Literature

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Type your email…

Continue reading

(92) 336 3216666

[email protected]

Katherine Mansfield

Katherine Mansfield is considered the most talented modern short story writer in English. She is regarded as the pioneer of avant-gardism in the short story. Her writing is psychologically acute, accessible, and innovative. There is clarity and precision in her language. She has a resonant and distilled reaction to the experience. 

She is considered a seminal modernist, and her works are regarded in great esteem. She was able to reach a wide range of audiences because of the brevity of the genre she wrote in, its variety, and accessibility. She had developed a distinctive prose style. Her style had overtones of poetry. Her writing has the influence of Anton Chekhov, which can be seen in the subtlety of observation, in her obliqueness in narration, and delicacy of her stories. Her role in the development of the short story as a form of literature is undeniable.

Her short stories cover a wide range of thematic topics. These topics range from problems and difficulties in families, vulnerable and fragile nature of relationships, rising middle class, and its complexes, and the numbness related to them. Other themes include the extraction of life and energy from ordinary, mundane experiences, and the consequences of war faced by society, etc. 

She was contemporary of great writers like Virginia Woolf, James Joyce, and like them, she plays her role in the evolution of the short story. She helped redefine the genre by doing experiments with the genre, themes, and subject matter. She had a prolific career during which she wrote journals, reviews, letters, etc. Her role as a significant modernist writer was recognized after the rise of feminist criticism in the 1970s.

She was a close friend and literary rival of Virginia Woolf. Virginia Woolf envied her skill as well as the audience that was attracted by her short stories. In sharp contrast to Woolf, Mansfield had an amorphous economic, social, sexual experience that was disapproved by Virginia Woolf. This relationship was not only based on envy; rather, Woolf respected her and communicated with her to learn from her. At her death, Woolf wrote in her diary that Katherine was the only person from whose writing she was jealous.

In her works, she questioned the nature of reality, challenged the certainties. She changed the underpinned facts of Victorian literature and replaced them with modernist attributes. In her works, we see a crucial role of gender where the story is presented from the male perspective while the values are of the female side. Her works focus on the marginalized of society. 

Shortly, her works are concrete, which communicates moods, transient emotions, and impressions, and these make her works seminal.

A Short Biography of Katherine Mansfield

Katherine Mansfield was the pen name of Kathleen Mansfield Beauchamp. She was born in Wellington, New Zealand, on October 14 th , 1888. She belonged to a socially and commercially active family. Her father was born to a successful business family in Australia while her mother also belonged to a prosperous family. Both her parents had migrated from Australia to New Zealand. Her father had investments in business companies, insurances, and banks. She was the third child of her parents.

Her family was an English family whose previous generation had migrated to Australia for better financial prospects. She was the comparatively ignored child and spent most of her time with her maternal grandmother, who lived with her parents. She was a gifted child and wrote for her school magazines and other journals. At the age of nine, her first short story, Enna Blake , was published in The High School Reporter .

She was described by her relatives as kind of surly, an overly imaginative girl, and inquisitive in many matters. She was one of the founding members of her school magazine, wrote the most part of it, and edited it. She was admitted to Queen’s College in Harley Street, London. There she developed her interest in music, liberal arts, and languages. Her relations with her parents were not ideal, and for this reason, she didn’t visit them and spent most of her time in Britain. Her mother was weary of her homosexual tendencies.

She had peculiar sexual tendencies and was attracted to both men and women. Ida Baker was her friend and lifelong partner with whom she had intimate relations. Her first marriage was with George Brown in 1909, which ended soon in few days because they couldn’t go along. She had an affair with Garnett Trowell, and with him, she had become pregnant. Her first collection was In a German Pension , which was published in 1911.

During this time, she also had a relationship with George Bowden, which resulted later in marriage and separation in 1918. Due to her relationship, she was disinherited by her mother, and this led to the hard financial crisis in her life. She had a relationship with Floryan Sobieniowski in Germany, and from him, she contracted a sexually transmitted disease. This disease caused her much trouble later and was the reason for her weakness for the rest of her life.  

She met John Middleton Murry in 1911 and married him in 1918. In 1916, he and Katherine met a lady, Ottoline Morrel, and she introduced her to great writers of the day like Virginia Woolf, Mr. and Mrs. D. H. Lawrence, Lytton Strachey, Bertrand Russel, etc. She visited the front of France during World War I to visit her new lover Francis Carco who was a writer.  She was diagnosed with tuberculosis the same year. Her second collection of short stories, Bliss and Other Stories , was published in 1922.

In her last days, she was admitted to Gurdjieff Institute in France due to pulmonary problems. She died of pulmonary hemorrhage in the same hospital on January 9 th , 1923.

Katherine Mansfield’s Writing Style

Katherine’s first collection of short stories is based on sketches where she describes the coarseness and grossness of Germans. Sketches were then popular in journals, and she followed this trend. They described a specific segment of life and had no sufficient theme or plot development. Later changes came to her work as in other short stories; she traversed different topics and themes.

Her short stories are about everyday concerns. They are descriptive, full of imagery, metaphors, and symbols. The characters that she has featured are sensitive and warm-hearted. She wants to make the reader see through the descriptions what she wants to convey and feel a part of it. The descriptions in her short stories are vivid, which covers the minutest details. In her stories, there is a narrative presentation with an element of dialogue.

In her works, there are imperatives, questions, polite requests, exclamations, etc. which show the variety in characters. The language of her short stories is expressive and emotional, and simple. Her works interest the reader through their explorations of psychological detail.

Modernist Short Story

Mansfield made a short story a psychological sketch. This genre was considered by many readers and critics as a useless genre. She used it as the ex-centric vehicle of expression, and the estranged vision of women. She didn’t completely reject the conventions of short story writing rather made amends to the form. In conformity to literary modernism, she rejected conventional dramatic action and plot structure in favor of the character.

She retains her distinction from other modernists by not completely following the modernist tenets. Typical modernist issues like anomie, guilt, anxiety are not her only concerns. She has sardonic comments about sophistication. There are not only internal problems of mind, rather the common life problems as well, such as unhappiness, poverty, etc. shown in her works like Life of Ma Parker , Pictures .

There is a spiritual search in her work and a longing to return to the world of childhood, which added new dimensions to the modernist short story.

Narrative Technique

She was a professional, lifetime writer. Her narrative technique has several elements. Her short stories develop with the passage of time into slices of life. She offers miniatures which present an aspect of life true in the case of whole life. Her stories are apparently simple, but on the internal level, there are subversive attitudes and themes. There is mention of the ‘unmentionable’ aspects of life which are hidden in her carefully chosen lexicon.

These ironically subversive themes cover the criticism of conventional relationships, small-mindedness, and prejudice. There are some characters who narrate the interior monologue in a single text. She develops an appropriate narrative strategy and a distinctive voice for each character. She had a gift for impersonation, which relates to her experience as an actress.

She uses many grammatical devices that include exclamation, rhetorical question, the unfinished sentence, abrupt shift in syntax, etc. Her short stories in different collections abound with these features.

Dramatic Techniques

‘Nouvelle-instant’ or commonly known as ‘slices of life,’ is her most common dramatic technique that she uses in her works. It is the technique in which the action is brief and occupies a few moments. In her first collection, German Pension , she uses this technique in nine out of thirteen stories. This hallmark technique is further strengthened in her later works, where it is used in 12 stories in Bliss , 14 in The Garden Party , 5 in The Dove’s Nest , and 8 in Something Childish .  

This technique is divided further into two types, which include habitual and unique moments. The former type refers to happenings that are usual while the later to the happenings taking place once in life. ‘In medias res’ is another technique that she uses in her works; this is the reference to the foreknowledge of happenings. In longer stories like The Prelude , At the Bay , etc. she has made divisions based on scenes.  

The Epiphanic Moment

She refers to this moment as the ‘blazing moment,’ and it is related to the idea of ‘nouvelle-instant.’ Epiphany has the power to emphasize the unattractive reality which underlies human feelings. This technique is prominent in her short story Bliss . In this short story behind the sense of bliss, there are uncomfortable feelings of self-discovery. In Bliss , the protagonist and her husband have an epiphany at two different moments. They come to realize that they will not be there, but the tree that is there will remain even after them.

Another example is from her short story, At the Bay . In this work, the protagonist recognizes that the person she is flirting with is a womanizer. There is a profound realization in Mansfield’s epiphanic moments. It is not necessarily understood by the characters but is clearly perceived by the reader.

Literary Impressionism

Katherine Mansfield was greatly influenced by post-impressionist art. This impressionistic technique she transposed in her own literary works. This technique was employed in Literature with Naturalism. It was an attempt to present things with minimum efforts. Bates notes that it was the view that if a woman can be presented through her hands, then there is no need to portray the complete picture. Mansfield was the first writer who shaped it as a suitable technique to be used in a short story.

She prefers vignette to complete description, has a preoccupation with color, and lays emphasis on reflections and surfaces. She used these to alter perceptions; there is transition seen from present to past, to future. This is used as a metaphorical threshold, which helps in realization. A significant example is from The Tiredness of Rosabell , where a mirror is used to realize the harsh reality and even dream a fairy-tale scenario. Her short story Bank Holiday is an example which is wholly an example of a vignette. 

Incorporation of Symbolism

Mansfield had accepted influences from French Symbolist and Decadent movements. She, like Walter Pater, Oscar Wilde, and Arthur Symons is of the view that instead of descriptive analysis of abstract states of mind, concrete images should be used. Her symbolist work is essentially poetic and metaphorical in nature. One story in which this notion is signified is Miss Brill. These symbols are considered a powerful tool through which the reader is encouraged to discover the character’s development.

Flowers are used as a symbol in her short story The Garden Party , which represents sexuality. These are indicative of the end of innocence, and the corrupting effect on the characters. In Prelude and At the Bay , she uses the aloe plant as a symbol. It carries with itself a sense of mystery, troubles, and childlike concerns in the real world. It also signifies pains and intimidating fears of a lifetime. 

Use of Humor

In Mansfield’s short stories, there is the frequent use of humor noticed. She, through her use of psychological subtlety and narrative art and metaphorical flair, produces the effect of humor by capturing the nuances of consciousness. In her life, Katherine was known for being an amusing companion, and the same is seen in her literary works. It was her devotion to Oscar Wilde that perfected this art. 

Sarcastic and brittle comedic examples of her humor can be seen in her short story Bliss . In this story, two characters talk about tomato soup and its presence everywhere; the reason that is told for its presence is being eternal.

Her humor is a satire on the pseudo-intellectuals who say things that are of no value. She mimics the dandified tone of upper-class society. She mocks the depiction of grandiose by the use of ‘affected’ idiolects. An example of it is the ridiculous accent of Nurse Andrews from The Daughters of the Late Colonel . His snobbish character is known in few humorous sentences which wouldn’t have been done in long descriptions. 

Sun, Moon, and Sea Imagery

In her last works, Mansfield used esoteric imagery to describe the ironic self-discovery. She has a feminine approach as she presents her subconscious understanding of the universe through recurring symbols. In her work, the imagery of the moon is allied to mysterious and feminine. Sun is associated with the masculine.

She read a book Cosmic Anatomy on the Structure of Ego a year before death. This had a great influence on her because she took the notions of the opposition of sun and moon from this, which she used in her works. Under the influence of this book, she wrote the story Sun and Moon . It was written in 1918 and represented Blake’s concepts of beauty and innocence. This short story is considered a masterpiece of ironic exposé.

Sea is also used as a feminine symbol in her works. It is considered a feminine response which is allied to the moon. It is used in her work At the Bay , where it is employed to show Beryl’s moment of epiphany.     

Feminist Issues as a Theme

In her works, feminist issues are presented as a recurring motif. She exhibits the discontinuity between male and female experiences. There is a feminist awareness running throughout her works. Though she was not an open suffragette, her works talk about the problems that are faced by feminine gender. Her earlier critics were unable to discern feminist issues in her works. If her works are deeply analyzed, there are two recurring themes in her every work, viz. money, and love.

An example of her story with feminist issues is the Life of Ma Parker . She considers money as a source of independence; if a woman is deprived of money, then it is an attempt to deprive her of freedom. In her other stories, there is a harsh polemic about a lot of women.

Works Of Katherine Mansfield

Short stories.

  • A Cup of Tea

“The Best Short Stories of Katherine Mansfield” by Katherine Mansfield Review Essay

The characters of Boss and Woodifield demonstrate how people experience grief in different ways. At first glance, it may seem that the Boss is better at coping with the loss of his son, since he is a successful businessman and energetic and healthy person. At the same time, Woodifield rarely leaves the house, looks like an older man, and, apparently, has a low income. However, Boss’s emotional turmoil demonstrates that his problem is much deeper, and in the end, it can lead to unwanted consequences.

Woodifield accepted his son’s death, mourned him, and although he still misses him, he and his family have found peace of mind to move on. Although Woodifield is not wealthy, as evidenced by his outrage at the price of jam and admiration for whiskey, his family visits the grave of their deceased son and deal with reality (Mansfield 160-161). The Boss never accepted his son’s death; thus, his high social status and prosperity do not bring him peace of mind, and the mention of his son’s grave causes him shock and anxiety. The Boss shielded himself from grief and acceptance of his son’s death, so after six years, he experiences confusing emotions because he cannot cry.

This condition indicates extreme nervous tension, which can be the last straw for the Boss. The scene with the fly emphasizes this state as the author suggests a parallel between the fly and the Boss. The fly drowns in ink, but each time survives through effort and struggle, just as the Boss loads himself with work to avoid pain and grief (Mansfield 163). However, the last drop of ink kills the fly, just as an event can break the Boss.

Thus, while it may seem that the Boss coped better with his grief due to his successful business and appearance, his inner state is unstable. His community is thriving, unlike the Woodifield family, but the support of his wife and daughters makes Woodifield richer. At the same time, the fly symbolizes the Boss’s struggle against a reality without a son, which will ultimately defeat him.

Mansfield, Katherine. The Best Short Stories of Katherine Mansfield . Courier Corporation, 2012.

  • Chicago (A-D)
  • Chicago (N-B)

IvyPanda. (2022, October 8). "The Best Short Stories of Katherine Mansfield" by Katherine Mansfield Review. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-best-short-stories-of-katherine-mansfield-by-katherine-mansfield-review/

""The Best Short Stories of Katherine Mansfield" by Katherine Mansfield Review." IvyPanda , 8 Oct. 2022, ivypanda.com/essays/the-best-short-stories-of-katherine-mansfield-by-katherine-mansfield-review/.

IvyPanda . (2022) '"The Best Short Stories of Katherine Mansfield" by Katherine Mansfield Review'. 8 October.

IvyPanda . 2022. ""The Best Short Stories of Katherine Mansfield" by Katherine Mansfield Review." October 8, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-best-short-stories-of-katherine-mansfield-by-katherine-mansfield-review/.

1. IvyPanda . ""The Best Short Stories of Katherine Mansfield" by Katherine Mansfield Review." October 8, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-best-short-stories-of-katherine-mansfield-by-katherine-mansfield-review/.


IvyPanda . ""The Best Short Stories of Katherine Mansfield" by Katherine Mansfield Review." October 8, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-best-short-stories-of-katherine-mansfield-by-katherine-mansfield-review/.

  • Experience of Grief and Loss in the Story “The Fly” by Katherine Mansfield
  • Katherine Mansfield’s “Miss Brill": Characterization of the Heroes
  • Character, Conflict and Imagery in Katherine Mansfield's "The Voyage"
  • Leila from "Her First Ball" by Katherine Mansfield
  • "Miss Brill" by Katherine Mansfield
  • What Is the Nature of Irony in Mansfield Park, and To What Ends Does It Work
  • Social Discriminations in “Mansfield Park”by Jane Austen
  • The Story “Miss Brill” by Katherine Mansfield
  • Comparison of 20th Century Short Stories
  • The “Out With It” Book by Katherine Preston
  • Researching of Social Prejudice and Love
  • Supernatural Forces in Literature
  • “Yvain” by Chrétien de Troyes
  • The Narrator as Creator and Critic in the Invention of Morel
  • Censoring Relatively Old Texts



    best short stories of katherine mansfield

  2. Short Stories by Katherine Mansfield

    best short stories of katherine mansfield

  3. The Best of Katherine Mansfield's Short Stories by Katherine Mansfield

    best short stories of katherine mansfield

  4. 😊 Katherine mansfield works. An introduction to Katherine Mansfield's

    best short stories of katherine mansfield

  5. [PDF] The Best Short Stories of Katherine Mansfield de Katherine

    best short stories of katherine mansfield

  6. The Complete Short Stories of Katherine Mansfield by Katherine

    best short stories of katherine mansfield


  1. Katherine Mansfield: Prelude

  2. Kew Gardens (Virginia Woolf), The Voyage (Katherine Mansfield), and The Victim (May Sinclair), read

  3. Katherine Mansfield Një filxhan çaj

  4. Selected short stories by Katherine Mansfield, read by Lucy

  5. LITTLE MISS SOMERSAULT. Mr Men Little Miss Read Aloud Read Along

  6. Prelude by Katherine MANSFIELD read by iremonger


  1. The Best Katherine Mansfield Short Stories Everyone Should Read

    The New Zealand-born writer Katherine Mansfield (1888-1923) was one of the pioneers of the modernist short story in English, taking her cue from Russian writers like Anton Chekhov. Below we've given a brief beginner's guide to five of Mansfield's very best short stories, with links to where each of them can be read online. 1.

  2. 6 of Katherine Mansfield's Short Stories You Need to Read

    6. "Prelude," 1918. Photograph of Katherine Mansfield, via The British Library. First published by Leonard and Virginia Woolf's Hogarth Press in 1918, "Prelude" is one of Mansfield's best-known short stories. Originally, "Prelude" started out as a longer piece called "The Aloe," which Mansfield began in 1915 and then refined ...

  3. 20 best Katherine Mansfield Short Stories and books

    Mansfield's exquisite prose captures the nuances of the sisters' inner thoughts and reveals the layers of their suppressed desires and regrets. "The Daughters of the Late Colonel" explores themes of duty, regret, and the constraints of tradition. Personally, I would rate this story a 9 out of 10.

  4. The stories of Katherine Mansfield, ranked

    Best read aloud to get the voices and the satire therein. 16. Sun and Moon (from Bliss and Other Stories, 1922) ... You can read most of Katherine Mansfield's short stories online at the New ...

  5. Katherine Mansfield Short Stories

    The Modern Soul. The Advanced Lady. The Swing of the Pendulum. A Blaze. The Journey to Bruges. Being a Truthful Adventure. The Festival of the Coronation (with Apologies to Theocritus) Two Parodies: Arnold Bennett and H. G. Wells.

  6. Best Katherine Mansfield Short Stories

    This is the first story in the preview of Stories. Katherine Mansfield Short Stories The Garden-Party | 5,400 words. The Sheridans, an upper-class family, are making preparations for a garden party. The weather is perfect, and the grounds are beautiful. As Laura Sheridan attends to various aspects of the preparation she hears some news.

  7. The Best of Katherine Mansfield's Short Stories

    My interest in Katherine Mansfield's stories was triggered by her inclusion, long after her death, in lists of important female authors, proto-feminists, in the vanguard of queer writing. Her short life was full of fascination, as she see-sawed between the London and Paris literary glitterati, her tumultuous love life and her tragic illness.

  8. Analysis of Katherine Mansfield's Stories

    Perhaps Mansfield's best-known version of the lonely woman is the central character of "Miss Brill." ... Mansfield, Katherine. The Complete Stories of Katherine Mansfield, edited by Antony Alpers. Auckland: Golden Press/Whitcombe and Tombs, 1974. May, Charles E., ed. Masterplots II: Short Story Series, Revised Edition. 8 vols. Pasadena ...

  9. The Best Short Stories of Katherine Mansfield

    An artist who excelled at the expression of subtle details and concentrated emotion, Katherine Mansfield ranks among the twentieth century's greatest short story writers. Her elegant, ironic tales reflect her own bohemian lifestyle, which involved tempestuous relationships with Bertrand Russell and Virginia Woolf. This collection of a dozen of Mansfield's finest works features compelling ...

  10. Katherine Mansfield's Short Stories

    The complete classic stories by New Zealand's most famous writer. Unlike many selected editions, this is a complete collection of all 75 of Katherine Mansfield's finished stories taken from her five books: Bliss, The Garden Party, The Doves' Nest, Something Childish and In a German Pension. Virginia Woolf claimed that Mansfield's writing was 'The only writing I have ever been jealous of.'

  11. The Complete Short Stories of Katherine Mansfield

    Katherine Mansfield's 'The Complete Short Stories of Katherine Mansfield' represents an exhaustive collection of the author's quintessential narratives, each piece a vibrant exploration of early 20th-century modernist literature. Her succinct prose, often juxtaposed with deep psychological insight, parses the intricacies of human nature and the ephemerality of life.

  12. Selected stories : Mansfield, Katherine, 1888-1923 : Free Download

    Selected stories by Mansfield, Katherine, 1888-1923. Publication date 2012 Topics Short stories Publisher ... 1 volume Here in one volume are twenty-three of the finest stories by Katherine Mansfield. Considered one of the finest short-story writers of the twentieth century, Mansfield was from a young age heavily influenced by Anton Chekhov, a ...

  13. Bliss & Other Stories by Katherine Mansfield

    A collection of short stories by Katherine Mansfield, widely recognized as one of the greatest writers of her period, that capture with accuracy those emotionally-charged moments when an individual is most revealing. The escape. 176 pages, Paperback. First published January 1, 1920.

  14. The Best Short Stories of Katherine Mansfield

    An artist who excelled at the expression of subtle details and concentrated emotion, Katherine Mansfield ranks among the twentieth century's greatest short story writers. Her elegant, ironic tales reflect her own bohemian lifestyle, which involved tempestuous relationships with Bertrand Russell and Virginia Woolf.

  15. The Best Short Stories of Katherine Mansfield

    An artist who excelled at the expression of subtle details and concentrated emotion, Katherine Mansfield ranks among the twentieth century's greatest short story writers. Her elegant, ironic tales reflect her own bohemian lifestyle, which involved tempestuous relationships with Bertrand Russell and Virginia Woolf.

  16. The Best Short Stories of Katherine Mansfield Kindle Edition

    Katherine Mansfield was a popular New Zealand short-story writer best known for the stories "The Woman at the Shore," "How Pearl Button Was Kidnapped," "The Doll s House," and her twelve-part short story "Prelude," which was inspired by her happy childhood.

  17. Short Stories by Katherine Mansfield

    Katherine Mansfield was part of a "new dawn" in English literature with T.S. Eliot, ... even the colloquial speech of the country form the fabric of much of her best work. Mansfield's stories were the first of significance in English to be written without a conventional plot. ... one of the best collection of short stories that I have ever read ...

  18. Katherine Mansfield

    Katherine Mansfield (born October 14, 1888, Wellington, New Zealand—died January 9, 1923, Gurdjieff Institute, near Fontainebleau, France) was a New Zealand-born English master of the short story, who evolved a distinctive prose style with many overtones of poetry. Her delicate stories, focused upon psychological conflicts, have an ...

  19. A brief survey of the short story part 11: Katherine Mansfield

    A brief survey of the short story part 11: Katherine Mansfield. Although some of her work is stunningly bad, the best of it ranks alongside the greats. Chris Power. Tue 5 Aug 2008 03.00 EDT. A ...

  20. Stories

    The Letters of Katherine Mansfield vol 1. The stories below were prepared by Gerri Kimber, Paul Capewell and especially Robert Corrington, to whom the KMS extends its grateful thanks. Pre 1910. Silhouettes (1907) Enna Blake. A Happy Christmas Eve. Die Einsame (The Lonely One) About Pat. In a Cafe.

  21. A Summary and Analysis of Katherine Mansfield's 'The Fly'

    'The Fly' is not one of the best-known short stories of the New Zealand-born writer Katherine Mansfield (1888-1923), but it is significant for being one of her few stories which deals directly with the First World War. In the story, a man is reminded of the death of his young son in the war, only to become distracted by a fly which has ...

  22. Katherine Mansfield's Writing Style and Short Biography

    Katherine Mansfield was the pen name of Kathleen Mansfield Beauchamp. She was born in Wellington, New Zealand, on October 14th, 1888. She belonged to a socially and commercially active family. Her father was born to a successful business family in Australia while her mother also belonged to a prosperous family.

  23. The Best Short Stories of Katherine Mansfield

    The scene with the fly emphasizes this state as the author suggests a parallel between the fly and the Boss. The fly drowns in ink, but each time survives through effort and struggle, just as the Boss loads himself with work to avoid pain and grief (Mansfield 163). However, the last drop of ink kills the fly, just as an event can break the Boss.