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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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PRINTED FROM EDINBURGH SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.edinburgh.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Edinburgh University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ESO for personal use.date: 23 July 2021

Workmanship and Wildness

Workmanship and Wildness

Katherine Mansfield on Edith Wharton’s The Age of Innocence

Chapter:
(p.87) Workmanship and Wildness
Source:
Katherine Mansfield and the (Post)colonial
Author(s):

Emily Ridge

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9780748669097.003.0007

This article focuses on Katherine Mansfield’s succinct 1920 review of Edith Wharton’s The Age of Innocence. While admiring Wharton’s ‘skill and delicate workmanship’, she begs to be allowed to ‘entreat a little wildness’.i I argue that, as a writer, Mansfield identifies herself directly here with the ‘dangerous, fascinating, foreign character of Ellen Olenska in Wharton’s novel while the character of Newland Archer is aligned with Wharton herself, as a ‘young man who belongs deeply to the family tradition, and yet at the same time finds himself wishing to rebel’(307). Mansfield’s review marks her affiliation to a dangerous, fascinating and foreign modernism, conceived as a revolt against a form of writing to which Wharton is shown to be tied but from which she covertly wishes to escape. The larger question to be addressed, however, is how far such an implied opposition between Wharton’s workmanship and Mansfield’s wildness is sustainable.

Keywords:   Mansfield, Edith Wharton, The Age of Innocence, literary reviews, style, adultery

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