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Katherine Mansfield and Literary Influence$
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Sarah Ailwood and Melinda Harvey

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780748694419

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748694419.001.0001

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Mansfield, Shakespeare and the Unanxiety of Influence

Mansfield, Shakespeare and the Unanxiety of Influence

(p.195) Chapter 14 Mansfield, Shakespeare and the Unanxiety of Influence
Katherine Mansfield and Literary Influence

Mark Houlahan

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter explores how William Shakespeare’s literary legacy influences Katherine Mansfield’s personal relationships and professional writing practices, and ultimately frames her own legacy. Examining Mansfield’s notebooks and correspondence, Houlahan reveals that Mansfield and John Middleton Murry enjoyed a generous, three-way literary engagement with Shakespeare, described as the ‘unanxiety of influence’ for the ‘bold, unafraid and explicit’ manner in which Mansfield used Shakespeare without any desire to emulate him. The chapter particularly focuses on Mansfield’s enchantment with these lines from Henry IV, Part 1: ‘But I tell you my lord fool, out of this nettle danger, we pluck this flower, safety', which she recorded in a 1916 notebook, used in the late story, ‘This Flower’, and which Murry, ultimately, placed on her tombstone, enigmatically framing Mansfield’s own legacy.

Keywords:   Katherine Mansfield, William Shakespeare, John Middleton Murry, literary influence, anxiety, Harold Bloom, archive

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