Reconfiguring the national canon: The Edinburgh edition of the Collected Works of Katherine Mansfield

Gerri Kimber, Janet M Wilson

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This paper looks at how the new two volume edition of the Collected Works of Katherine Mansfield, edited by Gerri Kimber and Vincent O'Sullivan, helps us to reassess the creativity of Katherine Mansfield. Gerri Kimber and Janet Wilson’s essay on the four-volume Edinburgh Edition of the Collected Works of Katherine Mansfield makes clear how in recent years Mansfield has been ‘brought home’ to New Zealand by way of establishing her reputation as a writer of world significance. Those mid twentieth-century years of cultural nationalism, when Frank Sargeson could write that ‘Mansfield imposed this feminine thing on New Zealand’, and Allen Curnow in the Introduction to his milestone Penguin Book of New Zealand Verse could suggest that Mansfield has ‘something like shame for her country’, have long gone. Mansfield has been (re)instated as the country’s foremost writer; her proto-feminism is seen as one of her many qualities, and her in-between location as both a New Zealand writer and an Anglo-European modernist as a defining strength. Mansfield was a diasporic writer; so too for a number of years was Janet Frame. Both Mansfield and Frame are the most innovative and experimental writers New Zealand has produced. And both, of course, were women. The relation between these elements common to both writers, and their significance for New Zealand literary history, is something that still remains to be fully explored.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)122-144
JournalJournal of New Zealand Literature, Special Issue: New Zealand’s Cultures: Histories, Sources, Futures
Volume31
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2013

Keywords

  • Katherine Mansfield
  • The Edinburgh Edition of the Collected Works of Katherine Mansfield
  • New Zealand national canon
  • The Auckland University Press Anthology of New Zealand Literature

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