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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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‘For the life of him he could not remember’: Post-war Memory, Mourning and Masculinity Crisis in Katherine Mansfield’s ‘The Fly’

‘For the life of him he could not remember’: Post-war Memory, Mourning and Masculinity Crisis in Katherine Mansfield’s ‘The Fly’

Chapter:
(p.113) ‘For the life of him he could not remember’: Post-war Memory, Mourning and Masculinity Crisis in Katherine Mansfield’s ‘The Fly’
Source:
Katherine Mansfield and Psychology
Author(s):

Avishek Parui

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9781474417532.003.0009

This article examines the entanglement between masculinity crisis and traumatic memory as described in Katherine Mansfield's short story ‘The Fly’. By exploring the way Mansfield depicts the figure of the ‘boss’ in the story as symbolic of the stubborn resistance against the natural organic order of time, the article investigates how such a memory project of preservation fails with all its masculinist hubris. Drawing on Pierre Janet’s notions of traumatic memory and narrative memory and on Freud’stheory of traumatic repetition and castration, the article attempts to locate the politics of memory in Mansfield’s story alongside the politics of masculinity that perversely equates male hysteria with performance and prestige.

Keywords:   Katherine Mansfield, ‘The Fly’, traumatic memory, male hysteria, masculinity, crisis, performance

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