As modernity, and by implication modernism, is increasingly interpreted as a global and transnational phenomenon, functioning through multiple interactions across social and geographical locations, and as empire is likewise often perceived as globally constituted, part of a world system, Mansfield’s dual affiliations to her New Zealand society of origin and the European world where she pursued her art have come under new scrutiny. This chapter draws on these expanded critical frameworks, seeing Mansfield as a colonial-metropolitan writer, who masked her colonial ‘otherness’ as British to enable an anonymous multi-positionality. It argues that her satire of German imperial values in stories published in In a German Pension (1911) belies an interior subjective space in which she cultivated in her art a colonial counter-imaginary focused on issues of gender and women’s place. Her chiastic crossover between imperial and colonial sensibilities, and enfolding and overlapping of their different geographies and temporalities, informs a reading of two early New Zealand ‘outback’ stories of savagery, “The Woman at the Store“ (1912) and “Millie“ (1913). Gaps and silences in these narratives indicate untouched areas of the colonial experience she would plunder in later stories and anticipate the postcolonial critiques of subsequent writers.
|Title of host publication||Bloomsbury Companion to Katherine Mansfield|
|Publisher||Bloomsbury Publishing PLC|
|Number of pages||19|
|Publication status||Accepted/In press - 20 Dec 2019|
Bibliographical noteJanet M. Wilson is Professor of English and Postcolonial Studies at the University of Northampton. She recently co-edited with Aimee Gasston and Gerri Kimber the collection, Katherine Mansfield: New Directions (2020), and has just published the edition, The General and the Nightingale: Dan Davin’s War Stories (2020). She is vice-chair of the Katherine Mansfield Society, co-editor of the Journal of Postcolonial Writing and series editor of Ibidem-Verlag’s Studies in World Literature.
- Katherine Mansfield
- 'The Woman at the Store'
- In a German Pension
Wilson, J. (Accepted/In press). Katherine Mansfield and Empire. In T. Martin (Ed.), Bloomsbury Companion to Katherine Mansfield (1st ed., pp. 325-343). Bloomsbury Publishing PLC. https://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/the-bloomsbury-handbook-to-katherine-mansfield-9781350111462/