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Katherine Mansfield and Psychology$
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Clare Hanson, Gerri Kimber, and W. Todd Martin

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781474417532

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474417532.001.0001

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Interior Matters: Secrecy and Hunger in Katherine Mansfield’s ‘Bliss’

Interior Matters: Secrecy and Hunger in Katherine Mansfield’s ‘Bliss’

Chapter:
(p.11) Interior Matters: Secrecy and Hunger in Katherine Mansfield’s ‘Bliss’
Source:
Katherine Mansfield and Psychology
Author(s):

Polly Dickson

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9781474417532.003.0002

This article offers a reading of Katherine Mansfield’s short story ‘Bliss’ alongside Maud Ellman’s psychoanalytical readings of hunger and Sara Ahmed’s ‘queer phenomenology’. It suggests that in ‘Bliss’, the main character Bertha, imprisoned in her domestic setting, yearns for an alternative or ‘queer’ mode of existence. This desire is articulated at one of Bertha’s dinner parties in the figure of the guest Pearl, but in the very moment in which it seems to be fulfilled, it is again stifled by the re-iteration of prescribed domestic practices. Such hunger is described, then, in the very terms by which is satisfaction is denied: after her dinner party, Bertha is left only hungrier.

Keywords:   Katherine Mansfield, ‘Bliss’, Hunger, Domesticity, Psychoanalysis, queer phenomenology, secrecy, interiority

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