Katherine Mansfield employed free indirect discourse, literary impressionism, and the innovative use of time and symbolism, culminating in her position as one of the most important early exponents of the modernist short story. Mansfield’s fiction—and literary modernism as a whole—is associated with a rejection of conventional plot structure and dramatic action in favor of the presentation of character through narrative voice. Many different influences converged to create Mansfield’s own personal aesthetic philosophy, which continually evolved and developed throughout her short lifetime. She presents a down-to-earth kind of “truth,” with its foundations in her observations of the everyday world. The modernist revelation of character through narrative voice—through suggestion and symbolism—became her method, through which she would offer glimpses into the lives of individuals and families captured at a certain moment, frozen in time like a painting or snapshot. This essay seeks to illustrate how innovative Mansfield’s narrative writing is, placing her at the forefront of modernist short story writers.
|Publication status||Published - 3 Aug 2018|