"Kew Gardens" and "Miss Brill": Virginia Woolf and Katherine Mansfield as short story writers

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This chapter considers the literary relationship between Katherine Mansfield and Virginia Woolf, whose complex friendship between 1916 and 1920 is well documented. It suggests possible lines of influence between them, discernible in their experimentation with the short story genre during a formative period for both writers: when Woolf was writing short stories and before she had established her reputation as a novelist, and when Mansfield was approaching the mature style that would make her name as a short story writer par excellence. It will draw a comparison between two stories—Woolf’s “Kew Gardens” (1917), and Mansfield’s “Miss Brill” (1920)—both set in public gardens. As responses to similar settings that exhibit differences of modernist technique and approach the stories can also be read in relation to each other through the lens of Mansfield’s and Woolf’s inconstant friendship and literary rivalry.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRe-forming World Literature: Katherine Mansfield and the Modernist Short Story
EditorsJanet Wilson, Gerri Kimber
Place of PublicationStuttgart
Number of pages325
ISBN (Print)9783838211138
Publication statusPublished - 27 Apr 2018

Publication series

NameStudies in world literature


  • Katherine Mansfield
  • Virginia Woolf
  • modernist short story
  • "public gardens" stories
  • "feminized sociology"
  • "Kew Gardens"
  • "Miss Brill"


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