Tuesday, July 08, 2008

On the (accidental) Trail of Katherine Mansfield ...

Katherine Mansfield was a New Zealand writer and the only writer Virginia Woolf was ever jealous of ... or so wrote Virginia after Katherine's death.

Born in Wellington, New Zealand in 1888 and dead from tuberculosis by 1923, Katherine Mansfield was a conscious modernist, an experimenter in both her writing and her life.

Janice Kulyk Keeper wrote that Katherine 'was satisfied, in her writing, with nothing less than perfection ... however she never believed her work achieved anything like perfection, though critics have declared it to have changed the course of the short story in English.

Katherine Mansfield has been haunting me of late.

In Berlin, I discovered a copy of C.K.Steads novel titled Mansfield. A book I devoured, reading the 3 years Stead chose to fictionalise, using her letters and the letters of friends like D.H.Lawrence, T.S.Eliot and Virginia Woolf, while staying as close to the truth as was possible.

In Istanbul, revisiting my favourite bookshop, I found a collection of Katherine's short stories titled Something Childish But Very Natural in Robinson Crusoe

It too was devoured, perhaps with new eyes after so long out of New Zealand.

Today found me celebrating in-between errands in the city and I popped into my favourite secondhand bookshop in the northern hemisphere.

De Slegte is almost next to Ruben's House in the city and is more often than not full of paper treasures.

Today I stumbled upon another Katherine Mansfield fiction by Janice Kulyk Keefer, titled Thieves.

A lucky find, discovered along with an old favourite and much-missed The Mistress of Spices by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, one of many favourite books waiting back home in my New Zealand collection. Also 'found' today was Amos Oz's book titled The Slopes of Lebanon. Something to full future 'discussions' ...

I believe a long flight somewhere is necessary to get these books read ...

Oh, and I started pricing flights home today.
Fingers crossed I'll be heading there within a year, taking the Belgian bloke home to meet my people.

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