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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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Home and Abroad in the South Pacific

Home and Abroad in the South Pacific

Spaces and Places in Robert Louis Stevenson and Katherine Mansfield’s Short Fiction

Chapter:
(p.102) Home and Abroad in the South Pacific
Source:
Katherine Mansfield and the (Post)colonial
Author(s):

Stefanie Rudig

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9780748669097.003.0008

This essay focuses on the parallels between two (proto-)modernist stories: ‘The Beach of Falesá’ by Robert Louis Stevenson and Katherine Mansfield’s ‘Prelude’. Even though the authors’ movements across the Pacific were diametrically opposed, their novella-length stories lend themselves to a comparison; both writers explore notions of home and of simultaneous belonging and alienation. Stevenson, whose fame relies largely on his adventure stories, writes against a Eurocentric textualisation of the South Pacific in his realist rendering of a cross-cultural romance, thus challenging the traditional dichotomy between ‘them’ and ‘us’. By contrast, Mansfield writes back to her homeland, placing the Burnell/Fairfield family in the New Zealand setting to investigate questions of identity and home as fluid and dynamic concepts. As both authors re-evaluate the relationship between self and other, between the strange and the familiar, they show that the difference between traversed and transgressive space is a thin line.

Keywords:   Katherine Mansfield, Robert Louis Stevenson, Pacific, home, belonging, displacement

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