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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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The ‘Burden’ of the Feminine: Frank Sargeson’s Encounter with Katherine Mansfield

The ‘Burden’ of the Feminine: Frank Sargeson’s Encounter with Katherine Mansfield

Chapter:
(p.207) Chapter 15 The ‘Burden’ of the Feminine: Frank Sargeson’s Encounter with Katherine Mansfield
Source:
Katherine Mansfield and Literary Influence
Author(s):

Janet Wilson

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9780748694419.003.0015

This chapter examines Katherine Mansfield’s legacy for the development of a New Zealand national literature, as reflected in the social realist short stories of Frank Sargeson. It contests the conventional view that Mansfield’s metropolitan impressionism was ‘inimical’ to Sargeson’s ‘ambitions for a cultural nationalism’, arguing that Mansfield’s legacy is not only a burden to be overcome but an ‘intertextual presence’, as the two writers share a critique of colonial culture and its normative gender constructions and key techniques of literary modernism. Focusing on ‘The Canary’ (1923) and ‘A Man and his Wife’ (1939), Wilson argues that Sargeson adapted Mansfield’s ‘techniques of impressionism and impersonation’ to render masculine homosexual vulnerability and unrequited love in a homophobic society. Mansfield’s influence on Sargeson, then, suggests ‘continuity across the decades of New Zealand’s cultural nationalism’.

Keywords:   Katherine Mansfield, Frank Sargeson, literary influence, short story, New Zealand literature, intertextuality, sexuality, postcolonial literature, 'The Canary', 'A Man and his Wife', legacy

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