Friday, March 01, 2013

Katherine Mansfield’s New Zealand

A stunning, fully illustrated guide to the country and times that shaped our greatest short story writer — a feast of images and relevant excerpts from Mansfield’s stories and journals. It is an absolute gem; yesterday I spent a delightful two hours reading the text and looking at the numerous illustrations. I plan to buy copies to send to several ex-pat Kiwis.

Katherine Mansfield was born in Wellington in 1888 and died in France in 1923, regarded as one of the finest short story writers of her time. Her country of birth, initially a source of frustration for her, in time came to influence her writing. From Kezia’s Karori journey in Prelude, to the landscape of The Woman at the Store, the images of colonial New Zealand are a distinctive and compelling part of KM’s writing. A fascinating section of the book details her expedition to the Urewera and thermal regions. 

The first (monochrome) edition of Katherine Mansfield’s New Zealand appeared in 1974; this edition has been extensively revised, with colourful new images and vivid excerpts from Katherine Mansfield’s writing.It covers the years from KM's birth in 1888 until 1908 when she sailed for England.

Vincent O’Sullivan has edited several volumes of Mansfield's letters and stories. He is also a fiction writer, poet and biographer, and was Professor of English at Victoria University, Wellington.

Steele Roberts Publishing - Hard cover, 96 pages, 250 x 230mm * RRP $39.99

This is an extensively revised and enhanced edition of Katherine Mansfield's New Zealand first published by Golden Press, Melbourne, 1974 which I well remember selling in my Napier bookselling days. Alas my copy of that edition has long been lost.
The author particularly thanks Beverley Randell and Susan Price for making available their extensive knowledge of early Wellington (where of course much of the book is set).

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