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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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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: 24 September 2021

A Raft in the Sea of Loneliness: Katherine Mansfield’s Discovery of Cosmic Anatomy

A Raft in the Sea of Loneliness: Katherine Mansfield’s Discovery of Cosmic Anatomy

Chapter:
(p.38) A Raft in the Sea of Loneliness: Katherine Mansfield’s Discovery of Cosmic Anatomy
Source:
Katherine Mansfield and Psychology
Author(s):

Maurizio Ascari

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9781474417532.003.0004

M. B. Oxon’s Cosmic Anatomy and the Structure of the Ego (1921) was a prominent feature of Katherine Mansfield's 'myth' right from its inception, in the years following her death, when John Middleton Murry orchestrated the publication of her uncollected writings. When Mansfield’s Journal appeared in 1927 the public came into contact with a little-known book that had changed the life of the author one year before her death. This article investigates the role Cosmic Anatomy played within the imagination of Mansfield, in relation to her late story production. It also sheds light on the personality of M. B. Oxon, whose real name was Lewis Alexander Richard Wallace, and notably his relationship with Mansfield's mentor, A.R. Orage. The chapter also investigates Wallace’s contribution to The New Age, the journal Orage edited and the 'alternative thinking' laboratory in which Cosmic Anatomy is rooted. While exploring the milieu with which Mansfield came into contact through Orage, ultimately leading her to Ouspensky and Gurdjieff, the chapter sheds light on Mansfield’s own quest for connection, also due to her condition as an invalid, which progressively deprived her of sensory contacts with the external world. The chapter is rounded up by an investigation into the role dreams and archetypal forms of symbolism play in Mansfield’s short stories within a holistic perception of things that translate into a narrative strategy of plurisignification.

Keywords:   Katherine Mansfield, Psychoanalysis, Pseudoscience, Dreams, Unconscious, plurisignification

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