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Katherine Mansfield and the (Post)colonial$
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Janet Wilson, Gerri Kimber, and Delia da Sousa Correa

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780748669097

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748669097.001.0001

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‘Unmasking’ the First-Person Narrator of In a German Pension

‘Unmasking’ the First-Person Narrator of In a German Pension

Chapter:
(p.76) ‘Unmasking’ the First-Person Narrator of In a German Pension
Source:
Katherine Mansfield and the (Post)colonial
Author(s):

W. Todd Martin

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9780748669097.003.0006

Lee Garver argues that Katherine Mansfield participated in the politically charged anti-German sentiments of the New Age, where much of her early fiction first appeared, but this paper contends that as a New Zealander Mansfield would not necessarily have harboured the same hostile Anglo sentiments prior to the First World War. While the stories from In a German Pension reveal the imperial influence of the English on Mansfield, some of the stories in the collection provide a corrective, subverting the dominant cultural perspective of the English and demonstrating a more conflicted Mansfield – a colonial trying to find her place in Europe. I suggest that Mansfield, self-conscious of her place as a white colonial, established an implied author who pandered to both British nationalism and anti-German sentiment. The first-person narrator, however, because she is once-removed from the implied author, is used to share the ‘true’ sentiments that Mansfield had whilst a guest at the German pension, undermining the cynical caricatures of the Germans by sharing in their humanity.

Keywords:   Katherine Mansfield, In a German Pension, New Age, anti-German, first-person narrator, implied author

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