Introduction: ‘The famous New Zealand Mag.-story writer’
Introduction: ‘The famous New Zealand Mag.-story writer’
Abstract and Keywords
The introduction to this book outlines the scholarly contexts that inform it, including the explosion of interest over recent years in early twentieth-century print cultures, the ‘transnational turn’ that has taken place across the discipline of literary studies, and shifts particular to scholarship on Katherine Mansfield. The chapter then considers Mansfield’s engagements with periodical culture before 1910 in order to highlight how, from the very beginning of her career, Mansfield used the magazine form as a space of subversion in which to translate her writing across cultures, articulate fantasies of global movement, and unsettle established ideas about modernity, nation and empire.
My literary career began with short-story writing in New Zealand. I was nine years old when my first attempt was published. I have been filling notebooks ever since. After I came to London I worked for some time for The New Age, and published In a German Pension in 1912 [sic]. It was a bad book, but the press was kind to it. Later, I worked with my present husband, Mr John Middleton Murry, editor of The Athenaeum, but at that time editor of Rhythm and The Blue Review. In the past two years I have reviewed novels for The Athenaeum, and I have written more short stories.1
Katherine Mansfield viewed her literary career through the prism of periodical publication. Written in the summer of 1921, the above draft of a letter composed in one of her notebooks provides a striking illustration of how Mansfield presented her credentials to others and assessed her reputation as a writer prior to the publication of her most successful short story collection, The Garden Party and Other Stories, in that annus mirabilis of literary modernism, 1922. Comprising satirical sketches first printed in the political weekly The New Age, Mansfield’s first short story collection, In a German Pension, was published at the end of 1911. It was another nine years before she published another book, with Bliss and Other Stories appearing in December 1920. In the intervening years, however, Mansfield was prolific in her output, contributing work to ‘little magazines’ such as Rhythm, The Blue Review and The Signature, to established periodicals such as The New Age and The Athenaeum, as well as making brief appearances in diverse publications such as T.P.’s Weekly, The Saturday Westminster Gazette, The Times Literary Supplement and The English Review. Before the publication of The Garden Party in 1922, therefore, it was as a contributor to magazines and periodicals on which Mansfield’s reputation hinged; indeed, even with The Garden Party in circulation, Wyndham Lewis could still describe her as ‘the famous New (p.2) Zealand Mag.-story writer’.2 Encompassing a dismissive attitude towards Mansfield’s nationality as well as disdain for the kind of mass-market magazines for which she was beginning to write, Lewis’s comment was certainly not meant as a compliment, but his pithy characterisation speaks volumes about how Mansfield was viewed by her contemporaries. In the decade spanning the years 1910 to 1920, it was as a colonial woman contributing to magazines and periodicals that Mansfield made a name for herself within the London literary establishment.
This book examines Mansfield’s contributions to and interactions with early twentieth-century periodical culture as a means of defamiliarising and recontextualising her life and work. As Faye Hammill and Mark Hussey have recently observed, ‘print culture scholarship is not only adding knowledge to our understanding of modernism, but also transforming what we thought we knew about canonical writers’.3 It is the central claim of this book that situating Mansfield’s work within the original print contexts of magazines and periodicals fundamentally changes how we understand and interpret her writings. In making this claim, I am responding to an explosion of scholarly interest over recent years in early twentieth-century print cultures. Major digitisation projects, such as the Modernist Journals Project, the Blue Mountain Project and the Modernist Magazines Project, have made a wealth of primary material readily accessible to scholars of the modernist period, leading to the emergence of ‘modern periodical studies’ as a distinct field of academic enquiry. Such initiatives have stimulated an astonishing breadth of research that is best represented by The Oxford Critical and Cultural History of Modernist Magazines, published in three volumes and containing chapters by hundreds of scholars examining the magazines and periodicals of Britain and Ireland, North America and mainland Europe. Such wide-ranging work has reshaped the contours of modernist studies.
Katherine Mansfield has gained an increasingly central position within this field of modern periodical scholarship. In tracing the development of her writing career, Mansfield’s biographers have always recognised the importance of her association with magazines and periodicals. In particular, our understanding of Mansfield’s life and work would be much poorer in this regard if it weren’t for Antony Alpers’s unsurpassed biography.4 Until very recently, however, Mansfield’s biographical narrative has dominated how we have understood her interactions with periodical culture. Rather than pay close attention to the magazines and periodicals themselves as texts worthy of study, it has been commonplace (p.3) for scholars to explain Mansfield’s association with various publications through biographical contexts, such as her romantic relationship with John Middleton Murry, editor of many of the magazines to which she contributed, or her volatile rivalry with Beatrice Hastings, co-editor of The New Age. Recent scholarship, however, has begun to look beyond the personal, reorienting focus on the publication contexts themselves and extending our understanding beyond the limitations of biographical analysis. Such work has made significant inroads in revealing the manifold ways in which Mansfield made full use of the opportunities afforded by magazines and periodicals as media. Entering these publication spaces, Mansfield engaged with various social, political and cultural debates, and developed her writing style by playing with different identities, genres and modes of address. As a result of this scholarship, it is no longer possible to explain away Mansfield’s work for the periodical press through reference to her personal loyalties and rivalries, or the financial necessity of making money by her pen; frequently, the periodical press provided an enabling space that Mansfield approached with very specific political and literary preoccupations.
Whilst there exists no single study devoted to examining Mansfield’s relation to periodical print culture, therefore, this book responds to a range of recent scholarship that has begun to position Mansfield as a prototypical ‘magazine modernist’. By resituating her work in The New Age, for instance, Lee Garver has shown how Mansfield’s early writings were influenced by contemporary political thought.5 Likewise, Carey Snyder has examined how Mansfield’s association with The New Age enabled her to experiment with satire and parody.6 Snyder has also shown how Mansfield’s contributions to Rhythm engaged with the ideas and aesthetics of modernist primitivism promoted across the magazine.7 The latter article by Snyder is indicative of the increasing attention Rhythm has garnered in much recent work on Mansfield as a means of reassessing her status as a colonial woman writer working in London. Angela Smith, in particular, has been at the forefront of a critical reappraisal of Mansfield as a writer of non-belonging, a ‘liminal’ artist at home neither in England nor in New Zealand, constantly writing from a position ‘in-between’. In order to advance this argument, Smith has written extensively about Mansfield’s association with Rhythm and her interactions with the expatriate Fauvist contributors to the magazine.8 Similarly, Anna Snaith has focused on Mansfield’s contributions to Rhythm in order to situate her within a constellation of colonial women writers working in London (p.4) in the early twentieth century who ‘used periodicals to construct, reinvent and test out their otherness’.9 Most importantly, Faith Binckes’s study of Rhythm provides a thorough, fully contextualised analysis of the magazine that examines its visual components and interrogates the ways in which Mansfield repositioned her work following her break with The New Age.10 Like Binckes, Sydney Janet Kaplan offers a detailed historicist account of Mansfield’s periodical contributions, highlighting the circulation of ideas that took place between Mansfield, Murry and D. H. Lawrence after 1916.11 Whilst Kaplan is at pains to demonstrate equivalences between the personal lives of all three writers and their work, grounding her analysis in a group biographical narrative, she also focuses on the inter-textual echoes that exist across their writings in The Athenaeum and, after Mansfield’s death, in The Adelphi, examining the specific contexts of periodical publication, the mechanics of textual recirculation and the role played by literary networks.
As implied by Lewis’s dismissal of Mansfield as ‘the famous New Zealand Mag.-story writer’, there was a time when Mansfield’s self-proclaimed position as the ‘little colonial’ – suspiciously embroiled in the feminised mass market of ‘popular’ literature and the messy commercial world of writing for money – risked placing her beyond the parameters of literary modernism; or, more specifically, a version of ‘high modernism’ institutionalised in the mid-twentieth century that centred around the so-called ‘men of 1914’ such as Lewis, Ezra Pound, T. S. Eliot and James Joyce.12 Since the 1980s, those parameters have been decisively challenged and reconfigured by feminist scholars such as Bonnie Kime Scott, whose work has revealed that the ‘gender of modernism’ was anything but exclusively male, as well as critics influenced by postcolonial theory, who have extended the borders of the modernist canon to include writers such as Mansfield, Mulk Raj Anand, Claude McKay, Una Marson and Jean Rhys.13 Responding to the work of Andreas Huyssen, moreover, recent scholarship has contested the notion of a ‘great divide’ between ‘high modernism’ and mass culture, examining the role played by economics, advertising and marketing techniques in promoting modernist art and literature.14 Foundational work in the field of periodical scholarship has been at the forefront of this reappraisal, with studies such as Lawrence Rainey’s Institutions of Modernism: Literary Elites and Public Culture (1999) and Mark Morrison’s The Public Face of Modernism: Little Magazines, Audiences and Reception, 1905–1920 (2001) highlighting connections between literary production and the marketplace (p.5) of mass culture and self-promotion. Influenced by these studies as well as the ‘material turn’ inaugurated by the work of George Bornstein and Jerome McGann, Jenny McDonnell’s Katherine Mansfield and the Modernist Marketplace: At the Mercy of the Public (2010) has examined how Mansfield forged a position for herself across various sites of publication, negotiating the ‘popular’ and ‘literary’ markets.
McDonnell’s study is an important intervention in Mansfield scholarship and a significant antecedent to this book; it builds on the work of biographers such as Alpers and scholars such as Smith to outline a compelling narrative of Mansfield’s life and work as a professional writer. The present book, however, is distinguished from Katherine Mansfield and the Modernist Marketplace in several important ways. Firstly, McDonnell’s focus is the publishing ‘marketplace’ widely conceived, and she draws little distinction between the limitations and liberties presented to Mansfield through book publication, on the one hand, and periodical publication, on the other. Developments in periodical scholarship over recent years highlight the importance of remaining critically attuned to these differences. In particular, the present book responds to work in the field of periodical studies that has theorised magazines and periodicals as multi-vocal texts. In an article subtitled ‘The Rise of Periodical Studies’ published in 2006, for example, Sean Latham and Robert Scholes argued that periodicals are ‘rich, dialogic texts’ that present many voices and multiple perspectives, and that reveal the complex networks of modernism.15 Paying particular attention to The New Age, likewise, Ann Ardis has also emphasised that periodicals can reveal cultural conflicts and ‘Bakhtinian dialogics in the public sphere’.16 In line with this idea of dialogic exchange, Suzanne Churchill and Adam McKible have proposed ‘a conversational model for modernism’ when analysing periodicals and magazines; these publications, they write, ‘provide loci of identification and difference, allowing us to recover lines of connection, influence, conflict, and resistance that entangle the many strands of modernism’.17 Similarly, in their general introduction to The Oxford Critical and Cultural History of Modernist Magazines, Peter Brooker and Andrew Thacker observe that examining periodicals and magazines helps to expose ‘the dialogic matrix of modernism’.18 McDonnell’s narrative of authorship allows little room for this kind of analysis. Notably, McDonnell provides only the most cursory contextualisation of each magazine and periodical that she considers, giving little sense of the various political, aesthetic or social contexts that shaped each publication and Mansfield’s interactions (p.6) with it. Similarly, the writings of key contemporaries of Mansfield are not examined in any depth. The work of Beatrice Hastings, for example, which this book demonstrates must be examined in detail if Mansfield’s writings for The New Age are to be understood fully, receives no analysis by McDonnell; instead, she offers only a narrative description of the personal relationship between the two women. Indeed, McDonnell states that her focus is on describing ‘the editorial relationships that Mansfield forged at these papers’.19 McDonnell’s book is therefore positioned within a tradition of Mansfield scholarship that emphasises the personal, explaining Mansfield’s writings through recourse to a biographical narrative. Instead, Katherine Mansfield and Periodical Culture looks to capture the rich, multi-vocal and complex nature of magazines and periodicals; it situates Mansfield’s writings in dialogue with the work of others and examines the ways in which these writings were intrinsically conditioned by the specific contexts of their first publication. Rather than considering Mansfield’s career in isolation, therefore, this book attempts to highlight the ways in which her work was composed and circulated within networks of conversation and conflict, or identification and difference.
Whereas McDonnell’s study is invested in ideas of the ‘material turn’, moreover, this book responds to the ‘transnational turn’ that has taken place across modernist studies. In 2008, Douglas Mao and Rebecca Walkowitz identified what they termed the ‘new modernist studies’ of the previous decade, revisionist work that had sought to provide a richer, thicker historical contextualisation of modernism.20 Modern periodical studies has been integral to this development, revealing previously marginalised voices in the history of modernism and demonstrating how the boundaries between ‘high’ art and popular forms of mass culture, previously viewed by critics as entrenched, were in fact highly entangled. As well as this ‘vertical’ expansion of modernist studies, Mao and Walkowitz also divided the new modernist studies into the categories of ‘temporal’ and ‘spatial’ expansions. Whilst scholarship belonging to the former category has extended the chronological boundaries of modernism beyond the first half of the twentieth century, scholarship of the latter has widened the field of modernist studies to include alternative writers and traditions; it has extended the canon beyond the metropolitan centres of Britain, America and continental Europe to consider the cultural legacy of anti-colonial movements and postcolonial peoples, and highlighted the connections between modernism and imperialism, (p.7) nationhood and race. Moreover, this scholarship has emphasised the importance of both linguistic and geographical border crossings and transgressions, examining the role of translational and transnational mobility, circulation and exchange in the development of modernist literature. As a result, what Mao and Walkowitz have identified as the ‘transnational turn’ in modernist studies has challenged and dissolved previously rigid binaries between centre and periphery, revealing a far more complex picture. As a colonial woman from New Zealand who travelled to England to become a writer, acutely aware in her fiction of the politics and history of exile, race, nationhood and empire, Mansfield has occupied a prominent position within much of this scholarship. In addition to the invaluable work conducted in this area by Smith, Snaith and Snyder referred to above, critics such as Saikat Majumdar and Mark Williams have focused on the cultural legacy of Mansfield’s New Zealand heritage,21 Elleke Boehmer and Urmila Seshagiri have examined the centrality of race in her work,22 Janet Wilson and Mary Ann Gillies have positioned Mansfield as a ‘liminal’ artist of non-belonging, situated between both metropolitan centre and colonial periphery,23 and Claire Davison has examined the significance of Mansfield’s collaborative translations with S. S. Koteliansky in shaping the development of her writing practice.24 Such work has placed Mansfield at the centre of a modernist canon reconfigured by the transnational turn.
What has not been examined in any depth, however, is how periodical culture provided opportunities for Mansfield throughout her career to negotiate many of the issues and concerns discussed above. Whilst my analysis of Mansfield’s contributions to magazines and periodicals remains highly attentive to the interpretative strategies promoted by the material turn, focusing on the ‘bibliographic codes’ of editorial design, page layout and the interaction between textual and visual elements, for example, I also look to scholarship of the transnational turn as offering analytical and theoretical models for approaching and evaluating these engagements with the periodical press. In doing so, this book meets the challenge posed by Patrick Collier, that we must look to establish ‘substantive connections between two currently separate and non-communicative – not to say hostile – enterprises in contemporary modernist criticism: on one hand work that focuses on global modernisms, transnational exchange, and modernism’s imbrication with empire’; on the other, work that analyses ‘print culture and new media rhetorics’.25 Until recent years, as the tripartite divisions in Mao (p.8) and Walkowitz’s 2008 article suggest, modern periodical studies has remained largely segregated from developments and formulations of the transnational turn. However, there have been some notable attempts to integrate spatial analysis into modern periodical scholarship. Paul Peppis, for example, has highlighted the relation between modernism and empire in the British periodical press, analysing the virulent, recrudescent forms of nationalism and imperialism that found expression in magazines such as The English Review, The New Age and BLAST.26 Adam McKible’s The Space and Place of Modernism (2002) focuses on American magazines such as The Dial and The Little Review, using the concept of ‘space’ to indicate how each magazine looked to create ‘a landscape or geography of the imagination’.27 As such, McKible examines the ways in which early twentieth-century magazines facilitated imagined transnational and transcultural interactions between America and Russia. The collection of essays edited by Ardis and Collier titled Transatlantic Print Culture, 1880–1940: Emerging Media, Emerging Modernisms (2008) emphasises networks of exchange between the print cultures of Britain and North America and maps the ways in which the periodical press in this period enabled the transnational circulation and reception of texts and ideas. Likewise, in Modernism and the New Spain: Britain, Cosmopolitan Europe, and Literary History (2012), Gayle Rogers outlines a history of transnational periodical networks in the inter-war period, examining intellectual and translational collaborations between José Ortega y Gasset’s Revista de Occidente and T. S. Eliot’s The Criterion, as well as Virginia Woolf’s correspondence with Victoria Ocampo, editor of the Argentinian magazine Sur. As Peter Kalliney has observed, Rogers’s ‘scholarship shows a form of cosmopolitanism that was not merely imagined by modernist writers, but also actually practiced through translation and specific cultural institutions’.28 In Transatlantic Avant-Gardes: Little Magazines and Localist Modernism (2013), likewise, Eric White focuses on the periodical networks that connected ‘localist’ forms of American modernism with European avant-gardes. As such, White looks to establish intersections between the ‘physical loci of geographic places, the temporal flux of cultural spaces and the textual locus of the printed page’.29 And in Little Magazine, World Form (2016), Eric Bulson analyses how the form of early twentieth-century Anglo-American and European ‘little magazines’ travelled and translated into postcolonial national contexts in the second half of the twentieth century, becoming a ‘world form’.30 The attention paid by each of these scholars to the specificities (p.9) and complexities of transnational periodical networks has helped to challenge simple divisions between the ‘transnational’ and ‘local’, the ‘international’ and ‘national’, or the ‘cosmopolitan’ and ‘regional’. As Brooker and Thacker have observed, whereas ‘an earlier generation of critics tended to talk about the international nature of the “little magazine” spawned by modernism, as if one type fitted all manifestations of the genre’, recent scholarship has highlighted the ways in which the inherently dialogic, conflict-riven nature of modernist magazines and periodicals complicates simple binary oppositions.31 Peppis, for example, demonstrates how ‘the cosmopolitan intelligentsia’s doctrine of cultural internationalism’ in this period was, at base, ‘patriotic and imperialist’ in its intentions.32 Rather than impeding or obscuring scholarly interest in the different national and sometimes nationalist traditions of modernist print culture, therefore, the ‘transnational turn’ has in fact renewed critical attention on these; examples include Sascha Bru’s research on Dutch avant-garde periodicals, David Carter’s work on the modernity of Australian print cultures and Dean Irvine’s study of the women editors of Canadian little magazines.33
As well as building on some of this recent work in modern periodical studies, this book also responds to a longer tradition of scholarship in Victorian print studies, a field that has extensively theorised the intersections between periodical space and geographical space. Whilst modern periodical studies has come to prominence only in the last fifteen years, the analysis of print culture has flourished in Victorian studies for decades; the Research Society for Victorian Periodicals, for instance, was established in 1968. As such, the spatial imaginaries of nineteenth-century periodicals have received significant attention. In one of the foundational texts of Victorian periodical studies, for example, Joanne Shattock and Michael Wolff observed that the periodical press provided the context within which people derived their ‘sense of the outside world’.34 This led others to examine the ways in which the material, textual space of the periodical structured perceptions of geographical real-world space, becoming a major site for the production and re-production of national identities and ideologies of empire.35 As Julie Codell has argued, for example, periodicals ‘reshaped the imagined, the virtual, the geopolitical, and perhaps even the physical geographies between Britain and the colonies’.36 In his examination of The Illustrated London News, likewise, Collier has focused on how Victorian periodical culture replicated the imperialist gaze by presenting a commanding view of other lands and (p.10) subject peoples; the Victorian periodical press, Collier argues, placed ‘the reader imaginatively at the centre of a set of overlapping spatial arrays of power’ and provided ‘the reader with “imaginary mobility” through these spaces’.37 Collier suggests that the logic of nineteenth-century periodicals was therefore ‘metonymic and microcosmic: they shrink the world, on a daily or weekly basis’.38 A representative example of this metonymic logic is W. T. Stead’s The Review of Reviews, established in 1890 and published across three continents. Including a prominent image of the globe on every issue as well as a regular opening column titled ‘The Progress of the World’, The Review of Reviews metonymically made the ‘world’ legible, containable and knowable for its readers.
This metonymic logic can also be seen in the pages of The New Age, which is the focus of Chapter 1 of this book. A literary supplement to the issue of the periodical containing Mansfield’s second contribution, published in March 1910, includes a map highlighting the journal’s international distribution, titled ‘The “New Age” World’ (Figure I.1). In the first instance, this illustration highlights the periodical networks that The New Age forged around the world, announcing the transnational reach of the periodical to cities including Beirut, Shanghai, Buenos Ayres,
(p.11) New Mexico, Penang, Calcutta, Yokohama, Cairo, Mombasa, as well as Mansfield’s Wellington. The image therefore highlights what Ardis has identified as ‘the external dialogics of magazines’: ‘the mappings of geographical (and temporal) space that they perform as they claim the territories they report on, distribute copies to, take advertisements from’.39 An international readership was also complemented by a contributor list that included Mansfield as a New Zealander, Hastings from South Africa and writers such as the Irish nationalist Francis Sheehy-Skeffington, the Indian B. K. Das and the Sudanese-Egyptian Duse Mohamed Ali. The periodical therefore served as an international meeting point, connecting people and places across vast geographical distances. Despite the apparently benign gesture of internationalism motivating the publication of ‘The “New Age” World’, however, the image also implies a politics of imperialist control. Metonymically linking the textual space of the periodical and global space, the illustration promotes the idea that The New Age shrinks the world on a weekly basis, making it legible and instantly knowable. In turning the pages of the periodical, therefore, readers are placed in a position of observational power, the ‘world’ opening out in front of them: by mapping the world, as Ardis suggests, the periodical is able to ‘claim’ it. As such, the illustration highlights how the spatial imaginary promoted by The New Age was integrated into larger projects of nation- and empire-building. This is emphasised by the visual tropes of imperialist mapping in the image, such as the prominent female figure of Britannia, the larger black dot around the United Kingdom and the emphasis on naval domination, which all connect the ‘world’ of the periodical to the world of the British Empire.
Originally founded as a Christian weekly in 1894, The New Age was relaunched under the editorship of A. R. Orage in 1907 to promote socialism. In his first editorial, Orage advocated the foundation of ‘a Socialist Federation – a Socialist Empire’ and argued that ‘the task implicitly before us all, is nothing less than the creation of a British Empire’.40 Gestures of internationalism in the periodical, such as a ‘Socialist Federation’, therefore, were almost always formulated with Britain, or more specifically England, positioned at the centre. In the same issue of the periodical containing ‘The “New Age” World’, for instance, Orage writes in his opening ‘Notes of the Week’ that ‘England has always led the constitutional way [and this] entitles her to ignore the belated and, as it were, consequential experience of other countries’ that ‘may be inclined to follow’.41 Affirming a spatial-temporal logic that (p.12) posits England, the centre of empire, as the crucible of progress, Orage reasons that ‘we are English nationalists of an even bigoted order’.42 This use of the editorial ‘we’ prompts two questions. To what extent was a writer such as Mansfield excluded from the identity politics promoted by the periodical? And how did a writer from one of those ‘other countries’ at the peripheries of ‘The “New Age” World’ map negotiate the competing demands of transnational colonial affiliation and a ‘bigoted’ form of English nationalism or British imperialism?
In August 1910, Mansfield wrote a letter to the correspondence pages of The New Age posing as ‘a respectable citizeness [sic] of pagan England’.43 In this short piece, Mansfield disowns her national identity in order to dismiss a recent novel by another colonial writer, glibly observing that if Elinor Glyn is ‘the prophetic woman’s voice crying out of the wilderness of Canadian literature, let her European sister novelists lift shekelled [sic] hands in prayer that the “great gulf” may ever yawn more widely’.44 Mansfield can be seen here affecting the superior tone of the English metropolitan writer. Whilst this letter is shot through with irony and playfulness, at its heart is a serious anxiety about ‘voice’ and who has the authority to speak. As a colonial woman just beginning her career as a professional writer, it is significant that Mansfield felt the need to mimic a ‘respectable’ English critic if she was to come out of the ‘wilderness’ herself and bridge the ‘great gulf’ between England and New Zealand. With the colonial peripheries seen as backward and ‘wild’ in contrast to the civilising centres of Europe, therefore, this letter reaffirms the spatial-temporal logic advanced by Orage. And yet, throughout her other contributions to The New Age, as Chapter 1 of this book examines, Mansfield looked to unsettle and challenge the politics of English nationalism and British imperialism; through satire and parody, her sketches offer an overt and radical critique of the very logic that her letter from ‘a respectable citizeness of pagan England’ appears to subscribe to. In the story ‘Being a Truthful Adventure’, contributed to The New Age in 1911, Mansfield’s semi-autobiographical protagonist even identifies herself as an isolated New Zealander. Throughout her writing career, as this book demonstrates, Mansfield’s engagements with the periodical press were characterised by exactly these kinds of conflicting allegiances and ambivalent self-identifications.
Mansfield always struggled with feelings of internal division. In a letter written in 1922, for example, she observed: ‘I am a divided being: I am always conscious of this secret disruption in me’.45 As Elleke Boehmer (p.13) has argued, Mansfield occupied a dualistic position of ‘modernist artist as outsider’ when in Wellington and ‘colonial outsider as modernist’ when in London.46 Returning to New Zealand at the age of seventeen after completing her schooling at Queen’s College in London, where she had contributed to the school magazine, studied the cello, learned French and German, gone on brief trips to Europe, and discovered with exhilaration the writings of Oscar Wilde, Walter Pater and Henrik Ibsen, among others, Mansfield viewed Wellington, by contrast, as a dull backwater of bourgeois provinciality. Convinced that she could achieve her ambition of becoming a writer only by returning to London, Mansfield implored her family to let her make the journey back: ‘I must get back because I know I shall be successful’, she wrote.47 In 1908, at the age of nineteen, Mansfield made this journey, destined never to see New Zealand again. This early enthusiasm for London as a place of opportunity, however, was quickly superseded by Mansfield’s sense of alienation and displacement. Within weeks of her arrival, for example, she writes in a letter: ‘I am physically sick – with no home – no place in which I can hang up my hat – & say here I belong – for there is no such place in the wide world for me’.48 And in her journal, she records feeling that she is merely a trespasser in London: ‘I am the little Colonial walking in the London garden patch – allowed to look, perhaps, but not to linger […] a stranger – an alien’.49 Mansfield has long been recognised as an emblematic figure of modernist exile, isolation and homelessness. As Janet Wilson has observed, however, there remains room ‘for further development of a critical practice’ that ‘challenges the colonial/metropolitan binary in order to reposition Mansfield more decisively as a liminal artist, a colonial-metropolitan modernist who is located outside as well as within the international establishment’.50 Highlighting the ways in which she was never fully integrated into the communities of print to which she sought access, the examination of Mansfield’s periodical contributions allows for a reassessment such as this.
Mansfield’s position within the metropolitan periodicals market was doubly precarious, with both her gender and colonial status continually threatening to place her at the margins of cultural authority. As her interactions with The New Age highlight, Mansfield’s integration into the London literary establishment was often predicated on her performing different authorial identities and negotiating different editorial expectations that required her either to erase her national identity or to adopt different masks that unsettled any sense of a stable, integrated (p.14) ‘self’. The authorial anxiety and uncertainty that this produced, however, frequently manifested themselves in deliberately disruptive interventions that reveal the extent to which early twentieth-century magazines and periodicals accommodated cultural difference and dialogic exchange, rather than consistently imposing hegemonic consensus. In particular, this book is interested in the ways in which Mansfield at times conformed to and at other times critiqued the spatial imaginaries promoted by the magazines and periodicals to which she contributed, and how an examination of these conflicting attitudes of affiliation and resistance allows us to reposition her more decisively as a liminal writer and colonial-metropolitan modernist, located both within and outside the institutional centres figured by the London periodical press.
In analysing these aspects of early twentieth-century periodical culture, this book extends the postcolonial critique of Benedict Anderson’s famous formulation of the ‘imagined communities’ fostered by print.51 In his seminal study, first published in 1983, Anderson argued that the proliferation of print media after the Reformation, such as daily newspapers and journals, created a temporality of periodicity which conferred a sociological solidity upon the imagined world of the nation; print media linked together members of a national community who may not necessarily have known one another but nevertheless became aware of their experiential synchronicity, day by day or week by week. According to Anderson, the ‘imagined community’ of a national culture therefore develops through the ‘homogeneous empty time’ of modernity and the serial progress signified by print. The spatial-temporal logic promoted by Orage in The New Age would support this thesis: the periodical provides a voice for the imagined, collective ‘we’ of the English nation, the modernity of which is constituted in opposition to the ‘belated and, as it were, consequential experience of other countries’. Whilst Anderson’s concept of the ‘imagined community’ has provided the starting point for many expositions of print culture, however, it has also been thoroughly disputed. Arjun Appadurai, for instance, has argued that the idea of the ‘imagined community’ becomes unsustainable in the increasingly globalised world of the twentieth century. Extending Anderson’s concept to postulate the existence of ‘imagined worlds’ that can overlap and come into conflict, Appadurai instead highlights global ‘disjuncture’ and ‘difference’, pointing to those who ‘are able to contest and sometimes even subvert the “imagined worlds” of the official mind’.52 Likewise, Homi Bhabha emphasises the ‘borderline engagements of cultural difference’ and the disruptive, (p.15) discontinuous presences that reinscribe ‘the social imaginary of both metropolis and modernity’.53 Employing Mikhail Bakhtin’s concept of ‘the enunciative subject of heteroglossia and dialogism’, Bhabha argues that ‘the structure of meaning and reference [is always] an ambivalent process’ that produces moments of ‘hybridity’ and conflict.54 In contrast to Anderson’s notion of bounded consensus, therefore, Bhabha’s focus is instead on the dialogic ‘[c]ounter-narratives of the nation’ that ‘disturb those ideological manoeuvres through which “imagined communities” are given essentialist identities’.55 In this book, I want to bring these ideas of dialogism, disjuncture and difference together with theorisations in modern periodical studies of the inherently multi-vocal, conflicted and dialogic nature of print. Employing the concept of ‘dialogism’ used across both postcolonial and modern periodical studies, this book considers how early twentieth-century magazines and periodicals provided mediating, multi-vocal spaces of contest and negotiation in which it was possible for writers from ‘outside’ to articulate alternative and potentially disruptive positions of difference that challenged hegemonic ideas of ‘community’ and dominant imaginaries of metropolis and modernity, nation and empire. As such, Katherine Mansfield and Periodical Culture contributes to the on-going critique of rigid centre/periphery binaries across contemporary literary studies, focusing on the ways in which peripheral, marginal, exilic and emergent voices found expression from within the institutions of metropolitan literary culture.
To highlight the ways in which early twentieth-century magazines and periodicals provided spaces of mediation, in which writers could negotiate conflicting positions and translate their experiences in one country into a new cultural context, I now turn to some of Mansfield’s earliest engagements with periodical culture. At the turn of the new century, on the day before her twelfth birthday, Mansfield made her first appearance in a national publication with a short story titled ‘His Little Friend’, printed on the ‘Children’s Page’ of The New Zealand Graphic and Ladies’ Journal. As Redmer Yska, who discovered the story, has observed, The New Zealand Graphic ‘flourished between 1890 and 1908. Its swirl of elite gossip, royal bulletins and moody pictorials of Māori maidens was an irresistible confection for local rumps of colonial society fixated on rank, wealth and fashion.’56 On the pages of the journal immediately preceding Mansfield’s story was the regular section ‘As Seen Through Woman’s Eyes’ and an article titled ‘Wild Women I Have Met’, describing the threat of the ‘Advanced Woman’ to conventional gender roles.57 This (p.16) indicates the kind of social world in which Mansfield was raised, one in which topics relating to women’s emancipation, such as dress reform and bicycling, were discussed politely, but preference was always given to advising ‘Young Wives’, for instance, about ‘Kitchen Necessities’.58 The memory of being published in this periodical evidently stayed with Mansfield. A cartoon printed directly alongside her story in the journal titled ‘The Biter Bit’ comically depicts a man hurling a cat into the ocean, only for the cat to be caught by the wind, knocking the ‘Cat Murderer’ into the water as well. Mansfield picks up on this image in one of the stories set in New Zealand that she later published in the London-based magazine Rhythm, ‘Ole Underwood’: ‘He tucked the little cat in his coat and stole out of the wood-yard, and slouched down towards the wharves […] He tore the little cat out of his coat and swung it by its tail and flung it out to the sewer opening.’59 This contribution to a metropolitan magazine, therefore, is layered with a veiled allusion to Mansfield’s first appearance in print when in New Zealand.
Another formative experience reading periodicals took place when Mansfield left New Zealand to study at Queen’s College, London. In 1906, as Alpers has observed, Mansfield’s school friend Vere Bartrick-Baker lent her the July 1890 issue of Lippincott’s magazine in which Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray had been published in its entirety.60 Reading this periodical promised access to the scandal and controversy still attached to Wilde’s name following his trial for indecency in 1895; passed between the girls like contraband, the periodical clearly figured a rebellious act of transgression. Following this foundational reading experience, Mansfield began to fill her notebooks with epigrammatic quotations from Wilde, which she then interspersed with her own aphorisms. From Wilde’s cult of the artificial, moreover, Mansfield also developed ideas about New Zealand. Writing in her journal in early 1907, for example, she observed: ‘When New Zealand is more artificial, she will give birth to an artist who can treat her natural beauties adequately. This sounds paradoxical, but is true.’61 And to her sister, she wrote in 1908:
I am ashamed of young New Zealand, but what is to be done. […] They want a purifying influence – a mad wave of pre-Raphaelitism, of super-aestheticism, should intoxicate the country. They must go to excess in the direction of culture, become almost decadent in their tendencies for a year or two and then find balance and proportion.62
When Mansfield arrived back in Wellington after finishing her schooling, the ‘super-aestheticism’ of Wilde, first encountered in London, served as (p.17) a symbol for the urbane, metropolitan culture that she had left behind. It was to this ‘purifying influence’ that Mansfield looked when she began writing her first professional magazine contributions, made to the Australian journal The Native Companion in the autumn of 1907.
In total, eleven issues of The Native Companion were published between January and December 1907, with the first volume edited by Bertram Stevens and the second by E. J. Brady. This short life span, coupled with the distinctive, modern aesthetic foregrounded on covers of the second volume (Figure I.2), indicates that The Native Companion was a typical ‘little magazine’. Published in Melbourne, the magazine was one among a constellation of new literary journals founded in the decade following the Federation of Australia in 1901 as alternatives to the established weekly periodical The Bulletin, which had begun publication
(p.18) in 1880. These magazines included the Sydney-based Lone Hand, which Mansfield contributed to in October 1909, as well as titles such as Gadfly, Trident and Heart of the Rose. These magazines, as Ken Gelder and Rachel Weaver argue, created ‘alternative literary spaces not only for Bulletin contributors themselves, but also for a newer generation of aspiring writers (and editors) who had come to regard the Bulletin as limited in its range’.63 The Native Companion was therefore the perfect venue for a young, aspiring writer like Mansfield. It is also not surprising that Mansfield began her publishing career by contributing to an Australian magazine. As Jane Stafford and Mark Williams have observed, ‘Australia and New Zealand were virtually one market for New Zealand writers in the early 1900s, a reflection not only of the difficulties of publishing in New Zealand but also of the close ties between the two countries that developed in the 1890s’.64 When Tom L. Mills, a journalist on the New Zealand Evening Post, was asked by Mansfield’s father to read some of her verses and sketches, therefore, he suggested that she send these to The Native Companion. Not only did contributing to this magazine make Mansfield a paid writer, it also gave her a new identity.65 Born Kathleen Beauchamp, Mansfield adopted her pseudonym for the first time in print, writing to the editor: ‘please do not use the name K. M. Beauchamp. I am anxious to be read only as K. Mansfield or K.M.’66
Carol Mills describes Brady, the editor of the second volume of The Native Companion, as ‘clamorously nationalistic’.67 The title of the magazine referred not only to the popular name given to the brolga, the bird depicted on the cover, therefore, but also to an implicit nationalist politics. However, Mills also states that Brady looked to distinguish his magazine from the ‘popular herd’ and to foster new, exclusive bohemian networks.68 In line with this, as Gelder and Weaver note, Brady’s magazine promoted ‘a feminine aesthetic more attuned to emergent forms of literary modernism’ than other magazines, and the ‘vignette’ became an important genre in contributions to The Native Companion made by women writers, such as Mabel Forrest, Sumner Locke, Beatrix Tracy, B. Cecil Doyle and Sydney Partridge; these stories ‘provide brief glimpses into a character’s consciousness, rendering intensely-felt emotions and embedding themselves in the particularity of their setting’.69 Positioning herself within this ‘emergent’ modernism, Mansfield’s first contribution to the magazine was pointedly titled ‘Vignettes’. This collection of sketches opens with the narrator imagining the twilight hour, when ‘London stretches out eager hands towards me, and in her eyes is the light of knowledge’: this (p.19) is the hour when ‘Convention has long since sought her bed’ and when ‘nothing [shall] remain hidden’.70 Both in style and thematic focus, the ‘Vignettes’ clearly resemble Wilde’s prose poems and the psychological sketches popular among the Decadents and Aesthetes of the 1890s. Like Wilde, Mansfield distinguishes between the ‘inner life’ of imagination or emotion and the ‘outer life’ of convention or custom; for instance, a ‘hidden’ ‘knowledge’ is revealed when the narrator recalls how ‘[a] year ago we sat by the fire, she and I, hand in hand, cheek to cheek […] The long night dragged coldly through, while I watched her, and thought, and longed.’71 The story articulates this transgressive homosexual desire, recalled across a distance of time. More than this, however, ‘Vignettes’ also performs a spatial, geographical transgression, with the penultimate line revealing that each of the sketches has been written from ‘at the other end of the world’: ‘To-day, at the other end of the world, I have suffered, and she, doubtless, has bought herself a new hat at the February sales’.72 Whilst the story is firmly located in the imaginative realm of London, therefore, the narrator reveals that the ‘Vignettes’ have been composed in Wellington, with the rain from the wharves lashing against her window to the sound of ‘a foghorn far out at sea’.73 The story pivots on this sense of the narrator being dislocated from her own narrative, positioned ‘miles away’ from a city that is the site of illicit desire and where all stultifying conventions are quashed.74 In this way, Mansfield translates her experience in England back to the place of publication, highlighting by contrast what she considered to be the ‘monotonous’ and ‘dull, steady, hopeless’ aspects of life in New Zealand.75 Unlike other vignettes published in The Native Companion, therefore, Mansfield’s ‘Vignettes’ were not embedded ‘in the particularity of their setting’. Instead, the action of her narrative takes place in the ambivalent, liminal space between London and Wellington, privileging the ‘elsewhere’ and imagining mobility across global space. This focus on the ‘world’ is also highlighted in the very last line of ‘Vignettes’: ‘Sic transit gloria mundi’, which translates as ‘thus passes the glory of the world’.76 Whilst ‘Vignettes’ contributed to the development of the new modernist aesthetic promoted across The Native Companion, therefore, in these sketches Mansfield also looked to undermine the magazine’s focus on the local, native landscape as the space in which this modernism would be formulated.
Most significantly, perhaps, Mansfield’s emulation of metropolitan English culture and Wilde’s aestheticism put her directly at odds with the periodical against which many other writers of the newer generation (p.20) in New Zealand and Australia were also positioning themselves, The Bulletin. In his study of the modernity of Australian print cultures, David Carter observes that the ‘reference points’ for The Bulletin in the last decades of the nineteenth century and the first decades of the twentieth were ‘not English but the weird or unconventional American and Continental. Precisely because of the colonial relation no English modernity can be visible: modernity was anti-English.’77 Quoting the research of D. R. Jarvis, Carter notes that ‘the development of the Bulletin’s “egalitarian poetics” occurred between a negative account of Oscar Wilde and aestheticism and a positive account of Emile Zola and realism’.78 Clearly, Mansfield’s ‘Vignettes’ presented a very different vision of modernity. In December 1907, moreover, Mansfield again imitated Wilde with a contribution to The Native Companion titled ‘In a Café’, in which a young man and woman talk through the ‘witty remarks’ of fin-de-siècle epigram, about ‘Art, Art, Art, and youth, scarlet youth, and mortality, and life, and the Ten Deadly Conventions’.79 In the same issue of the magazine, a story by Mansfield appears under the male pseudonym ‘Julian Mark’ titled ‘In the Botanical Gardens’. In this story, the narrator walks to the edge of the cultivated, colonial gardens, encountering the wild ‘bush’ landscape beyond:
I turn from the smooth swept paths, and climb up a steep track, where the knotted tree roots have seared a rude pattern in the yellow clay. And, suddenly, it disappears – all the pretty, carefully-tended surface of gravel and sward and blossom, and there is bush, silent and splendid. On the green moss, on the brown earth, a wide splashing of yellow sunlight. And, everywhere that strange, indefinable scent. As I breathe it, it seems to absorb, to become part of me – and I am old with the age of centuries, strong with the strength of savagery.80
Mansfield was certainly acquainted with The Bulletin. As Jenny McDonnell was the first to suggest, her story ‘The Woman at the Store’, published in Rhythm in 1912, is clearly indebted to Henry Lawson’s ‘The Drover’s Wife’, published in The Bulletin in 1892.81 Lawson was the most prominent among a group of writers who popularised the ‘outback genre’ and horse-and-saddle school of colonial writing in The Bulletin; as Mark Williams has observed, these stories place male pioneers, bravely taming the wild landscape of the bush, in opposition to vulnerable women, confined to domestic space.82 Such writing advanced a hyper-masculine narrative of the nation and colonial settlement. As Gelder and Weaver note, The Bulletin was also integrated into ‘larger, (p.21) nationally representative projects, an obvious example of which [was its] slogan “Australia for the Australians” – which became “Australia for the White Man” under James Edmond’s post-Federation editorship in 1903’.83 The explicit nationalism of The Bulletin, as Carter suggests, served as ‘a statement of its modernity, a way of placing Australia in the contemporary world’.84 The horse-and-saddle stories by writers such as Lawson, firmly rooted in a particular local setting and advancing the hegemonic narrative of white male nationalism, contributed to this feeling that a ‘national school of literature’ was beginning to emerge; as Carter notes, ‘Australian literature could be seen to have its own time and place, no longer merely as a “supplement” to English literature’.85
If the focus on transgressive female desire in ‘Vignettes’ presented an alternative to the hyper-masculine, hetero-normative narratives of The Bulletin, then ‘In the Botanical Gardens’ also unsettled ideas promoted in the periodical about the national modernity of Australia, and by extension New Zealand. The story replicates the spatial-temporal logic of empire, not by looking to London as a site of progress and modernity but by casting the native bush as eternally ‘old with the age of centuries, strong with the strength of savagery’. At the same moment when European modernists were beginning to look to the past of ‘primitive’ cultures as a way of reinvigorating their own modernity, Mansfield makes a similar gesture. This does not equate to support for empire, however. Unlike the frontier stories popularised in The Bulletin, which celebrate the lone male pioneer who retains the country for the ‘White Man’ by taming the wild landscape, Mansfield’s story instead reveals the suppressed history of racial violence behind colonial settlement:
Bending down, I drink a little of the water. Oh is it magic? Shall I, looking intently, see vague forms lurking in the shadow staring at me malevolently, wildly, the thief of their birthright? Shall I, down the hillside, through the bush, ever in the shadow, see a great company moving towards me, their faces averted, wreathed with green garlands, passing, passing, following the little stream in silence until it is sucked into the wide sea… .86
From mid-November to mid-December 1907, at the time when this story was published in The Native Companion, Mansfield undertook a caravan expedition through the central territories of New Zealand’s North Island. The journal that she kept during this expedition records her impressions, in which she sees hostile, ghostly presences emanating from the natural landscape: for example, ‘now and again the silver tree-trunks, like a skeleton army, invade the hills’ and ‘[v]isions of long dead Maoris, (p.22) of forgotten battles and vanished feuds, stirred in me’.87 ‘In the Botanical Gardens’ evokes these suppressed presences: felt in the liminal space between the cultivated gardens and the wild bush, as Angela Smith has observed, this ‘great company’ is a manifestation of a repressed colonial guilt regarding the theft of the Māori ‘birthright’.88 Whilst this sketch employs racial stereotypes linking the native population with ‘savagery’, its recognition of a suppressed otherness and a violent past behind the cultivated, ‘carefully-tended’ façade of the modern nation offers a radical critique of the history of settlement. The use of a male pseudonym for this story invites the reader to falsely position it in a tradition of the hyper-masculine ‘outback’ stories popularised by The Bulletin. The content of the story, however, invites a very different reading: the story disrupts the ‘imagined community’ of the nation, revealing the presence of a suppressed otherness, and thereby critiques the hegemonic narrative of colonial settlement.
From the very beginning of her literary career, therefore, Mansfield used the magazine form as a space of subversion in which to translate her writing across cultures and articulate fantasies of global movement, unsettling established ideas about modernity, nation and empire. Revealing her desire for metropolitan assimilation ‘at the other end of the world’, these stories also point to the essential ‘homelessness’ of Mansfield’s writing, in which the place of identity is always located elsewhere, in ‘other’ places across the globe. When in Wellington, as her contributions to The Native Companion demonstrate, Mansfield looked to transpose London into the publication spaces of Australia and New Zealand as a way of articulating her ‘outsider’ status and critiquing hegemonic narratives of the colonial nation. In an inversion of this, when she began contributing to periodicals and magazines published in London, Mansfield now looked back with nostalgia to the country of her birth, as well as ‘other’ places across Europe and the imagined world of an ‘undiscovered country’. An example of this inversion can be seen in Rhythm, where Mansfield now parodied the tropes of modernist primitivism as a way of holding a mirror up to her metropolitan reader. This book examines the ambivalent negotiations performed by Mansfield throughout her contributions to London magazines and periodicals in the decade spanning 1910 to 1920; interrogating the ways in which her writings variously conform to and resist the dominant spatial imaginaries promoted in these publications, I argue, enables us to reposition Mansfield more decisively as a colonial-metropolitan modernist and liminal artist.
(p.23) Chapter 1 focuses on The New Age, examining the ways in which Mansfield’s interactions with contemporary feminist politics in the periodical enabled her to unsettle established ideas about nationhood and empire. After Mansfield travelled to England from New Zealand at the end of August 1908, she started a love affair with the musician Garnet Trowell, which resulted in an unwanted pregnancy and a short-lived marriage to another man designed to give legitimacy to her unborn child. Hearing of this scandal, Mansfield’s mother sailed from New Zealand and shuttled her daughter away to a pension in Bavaria, Germany, where Mansfield underwent the trauma of either a miscarriage or giving birth to a stillborn child on her own. Returning to London at the beginning of 1910, Mansfield was introduced by her husband, George Bowden, to A. R. Orage. The contributions that Mansfield made to Orage’s periodical from February 1910 were her first published stories in England, and these viciously satirical sketches, caricaturing German coarseness, comprised her first book publication, In a German Pension. In these stories, Mansfield translates her experience as an ‘outsider’ in Germany into the pages of a British periodical as a way of articulating a critique of British nationalism and imperialism. Scholars have often interpreted the ‘Pension Sketches’ either as autobiographical fiction, produced in response to the isolation Mansfield felt whilst in Bavaria, or as scare-narratives about possible invasion or international war. Citing the consistent focus on foreign affairs and prevailing anxieties about the increasing military dominance of Germany expressed throughout The New Age, critics have frequently interpreted these stories as deliberately positioned in a periodical that stoked anti-German sentiment and British nationalism in the years immediately prior to the conflagration of the First World War. Rather than focusing on biographical contexts, however, Chapter 1 instead traces textual convergences between Mansfield’s stories and the writings produced for the periodical by Orage’s notoriously vituperative editorial assistant, Beatrice Hastings; and instead of arguing that the ‘Pension Sketches’ fuelled British nationalism, I examine the ways in which Mansfield’s interactions with Hastings’s feminist writings in fact helped to unsettle and challenge established ideas in the periodical about ‘community’, nationhood and the British Empire.
Like Mansfield, Hastings was an ‘outsider’ in London; born in South Africa, her writings demonstrate a sustained engagement with the politics of empire and offer a radical critique of metropolitan consensus regarding questions of gender and female suffrage. The first section of (p.24) Chapter 1 examines how the radical version of individualist feminism advanced by Hastings in The New Age responded to a contemporary cultural discourse linking gender and empire. It was in the context of this public discourse that both Hastings and Mansfield formulated remarkably similar, coterminous ideas about female suffrage, marriage and maternity. This section of the chapter focuses on Hastings’s pamphlet Woman’s Worst Enemy: Woman and the serialised novella Whited Sepulchres, both published in 1909, reading these texts alongside a newly discovered short story by Mansfield titled ‘A Little Episode’ (1909). The second section of the chapter examines the ways in which Mansfield’s contributions to The New Age between 1910 and 1911 deployed Hastings’s feminist politics in order to subvert and critique dominant ideas about national health, racial stability and imperial power advanced elsewhere in the periodical, exposing connections between the early twentieth-century politics of gender and race, motherhood and imperialism. Finally, in the last two sections of the chapter, I examine how both writers employed fragment forms in their later contributions to The New Age, such as aphorism and ellipsis, in order to disrupt linear, systematised discourse and thereby challenge notions of male superiority or English national, cultural and linguistic integrity; in this way, both writers used periodical publication to unsettle dominant belief systems and formulate alternative modes of identification. These sections of the chapter, as such, highlight another aspect of this book, which looks to recover and interrogate the many different literary forms that Mansfield used throughout her career, in order to reposition her as a writer who was not restricted exclusively to the short story form, as is commonly assumed. The chapter also examines original archival findings, including Mansfield’s ‘A Little Episode’ and her collection of fifty aphorisms titled ‘Bites from the Apple’ (1911), as well as typescript fragments by Hastings, which are the only known documents to have survived her systematic attempt to destroy all her papers before her suicide in 1943.
At the beginning of 1912, Mansfield began to consider alternative outlets for her work and started publishing in a self-consciously ‘modernist’ little magazine titled Rhythm, edited by John Middleton Murry. Published quarterly and then monthly, Rhythm was a short-lived, avowedly experimental coterie magazine that was very different to The New Age, a political weekly with a broad readership and long publication run. As such, contributing to Rhythm presented Mansfield with new opportunities and possibilities for her writing; she quickly established (p.25) herself as an assistant editor to Murry and began publishing stories clearly influenced by her colonial upbringing. Furthermore, Mansfield began exploring different authorial signatures in Rhythm. As Chapter 2 examines, Mansfield used Rhythm as a performative space in which to develop multiple authorial identities and cultivate different national registers in her work, employing parody, satire and mimicry as modes of critique. Firstly, this chapter argues that Mansfield reframed some of her poems as ‘parodic translations’ in order to open up a liminal space between centre and periphery in her contributions to the magazine. The chapter then examines the ways in which Mansfield’s short story contributions to Rhythm parody the outback genre of colonial writing typified by stories in The Bulletin in order to unsettle both the masculine gaze and the colonial quest narrative that permeates visual illustrations and other written contributions to Rhythm, in which the female body is universally equated with verdant landscapes and virgin territories. Whilst identifying with the metropolitan modernism advanced by the magazine, I argue in this chapter, Mansfield sought to introduce aspects of cultural difference into Rhythm that challenged the spatial imaginaries upon which its discourse of communal affiliation had been constituted. This ambivalent negotiation of the colonial/metropolitan binary clearly structures Mansfield’s satire ‘Sunday Lunch’, which is examined in the third section of the chapter.
After Rhythm folded in March 1913, Murry and Mansfield established a similar little magazine, The Blue Review, publishing three issues between May and July 1913. A notable contributor to The Blue Review was D. H. Lawrence. In the autumn of 1915, Lawrence worked with Murry and Mansfield to found another little magazine, titled The Signature, in response to the ‘corruption’ and ‘disintegration’ of the First World War. Again, only three issues were forthcoming. Over the next three and a half years, Mansfield published little and inconsistently, returning to the pages of The New Age with several contributions in 1917 and publishing the stories ‘Bliss’ and ‘Carnation’ the following year in The English Review and The Nation respectively. When Murry was appointed editor of the established periodical The Athenaeum at the beginning of 1919, tasked with rejuvenating it as a modern literary review, however, Mansfield finally found a publication venue in which she was free to contribute liberally. Between April 1919 and December 1920, Mansfield published over a hundred reviews under the initials ‘K.M.’ in The Athenaeum, finding her voice as a literary critic; she also contributed a series of (p.26) translations of Anton Chekhov’s letters and diaries, produced in collaboration with the Ukrainian émigré S. S. Koteliansky, poems written under the pseudonym ‘Elizabeth Stanley’, three leading articles and a number of short stories. Mansfield’s time working for The Athenaeum figures her clearest integration into the London literary establishment. Associating with the likes of Virginia Woolf, E. M. Forster, T. S. Eliot and Bertrand Russell, Mansfield was also writing with newfound critical authority in this period. Excepting brief surveys by Clare Hanson, Kaplan and McDonnell, however, Mansfield’s reviews have received almost no sustained scholarly attention.89
Chapter 3 examines Mansfield’s reviews in The Athenaeum against a critical discourse first articulated in The Signature. The first section of the chapter interrogates the ways in which Mansfield linked the ‘new word’ of modernist formal experimentation with the spatial imaginary of an ‘undiscovered country’ or ‘new world’. This critical vocabulary was first formulated in The Signature by Lawrence and Murry, who had postulated the idea of a ‘new word’ that would counteract the ‘spiritual crisis’ of the war and thus inaugurate a ‘new world’ of possibility. The chapter examines how this idea of being ‘between two worlds’ shaped the editorial philosophy of The Athenaeum after the war and influenced Mansfield’s language of liminality and geographical discovery in her reviews. Employing metaphors equating the writing process with ‘sailing’ across the world, Mansfield in this late stage of her career now looked back fondly to the colonial ‘new world’ as a source of cultural rejuvenation. In her reviews, moreover, Mansfield consistently looked with admiration to other national literatures from across the world, such as those in Russia and Japan, and her co-translations with Koteliansky also helped to privilege transnational exchange as the basis for a revivifying form of global modernism in the immediate post-war years. As this chapter examines, concepts such as the ‘new world’ and ‘undiscovered country’ of literature provided a geographical imaginary through which Mansfield could distinguish literary realism from an emergent modernism. In the second section of the chapter, I examine how this idea of the ‘two worlds’ also shaped the language of ‘spirit’, ‘emotion’, ‘love’ and ‘feeling’ employed throughout the critical writings produced by both Mansfield and Virginia Woolf at this time. This section traces a dialogue between Mansfield and Woolf in the years 1919–20, highlighting the ways in which both writers privileged deep ‘emotion’ as the basis for a modernist ‘new word’. Finally, the conclusion to the chapter demonstrates how (p.27) the language of Mansfield’s reviews conditioned the contemporary response to her own short stories.
After Mansfield resigned as a reviewer on The Athenaeum in December 1920, she negotiated a position for her writing across ‘popular’ and ‘literary’ markets by contributing short stories to diverse publications such as The London Mercury, The Sphere, The Saturday Westminster Gazette and The Nation and the Athenaeum, a title which was the result of a merger between the two periodicals after Murry resigned as editor of The Athenaeum at the start of 1921. This negotiation of the ‘popular’ and ‘literary’ in Mansfield’s late magazine contributions has been examined in depth by McDonnell, and I do not intend to repeat such analysis in the present book. Instead, Chapter 4 analyses the ways in which Mansfield’s reputation was moulded and mediated in Murry’s magazine The Adelphi after her death in January 1923. The chapter interrogates the ways in which Murry now sought to elide those disruptive and disjunctive aspects of Mansfield’s work examined in the first three chapters of the book: of Mansfield the feminist, who eschewed gender stereotypes of feminine ‘purity’ and ‘saintliness’ in The New Age; of Mansfield the (post)colonial writer, who negotiated a deliberately ambiguous position for her work between England and New Zealand in Rhythm; and of Mansfield the modernist, whose critical writings in The Athenaeum indubitably helped to shape the literary innovations of the early 1920s.
This book offers a new perspective on Mansfield’s life and work by analysing the original print contexts in which she produced the majority of her writings. Tracing a chronological narrative, Katherine Mansfield and Periodical Culture inevitably provides another iteration of Mansfield’s biography; however, I seek to reorient scholarly focus away from personal contexts and instead towards the contexts of publication. This is not to say that we should overlook important biographical reasons for Mansfield’s association with certain magazines and periodicals, especially as such involvement was often predicated upon her romantic involvement with Murry. However, rather than reading Mansfield’s biography onto her work, this study instead focuses on the textual record, to the greatest degree possible reading each periodical as ‘an autonomous object of study’.90 In this way, this book looks to position Mansfield’s work within networks of production, uncovering the manifold ways in which she engaged with the writings of others and responded to the particular political, aesthetic and social contexts of early twentieth-century periodical culture.
(1.) Katherine Mansfield, Journal of Katherine Mansfield: Definitive Edition, ed. John Middleton Murry (London: Constable, 1954), p. 252.
(2.) Wyndham Lewis (c. 20 September 1922), quoted in Antony Alpers, The Life of Katherine Mansfield, rev. edn (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1982), p. 372.
(3.) Faye Hammill and Mark Hussey, Modernism’s Print Cultures (London: Bloomsbury, 2016), p. 174.
(5.) Lee Garver, ‘The Political Katherine Mansfield’, Modernism/Modernity, 8.2 (April 2001), pp. 225–43.
(6.) Carey Snyder, ‘Katherine Mansfield and the New Age School of Satire’, Journal of Modern Periodical Studies, 1.2 (2010), pp. 125–58.
(7.) Carey Snyder, ‘Katherine Mansfield, Rhythm, and Metropolitan Primitivism’, Journal of Modern Periodical Studies, 5.2 (2014), pp. 139–60.
(8.) Angela Smith, Katherine Mansfield: A Literary Life (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2000); ‘Fauvism and Cultural Nationalism’, Interventions: International Journal of Postcolonial Studies, 4.1 (June 2002), pp. 35–52; ‘Katherine Mansfield and Rhythm’, Journal of New Zealand Literature, 21 (2003), pp. 102–21; ‘J. D. Fergusson’s Painting Rhythm’, Katherine Mansfield Studies, 2 (2010), pp. 184–7; ‘“As fastidious as though I wrote with acid”: Katherine Mansfield, J. D. Fergusson and the Rhythm Group in Paris’, Katherine Mansfield Studies, 3 (2011), pp. 4–20.
(9.) Anna Snaith, Modernist Voyages: Colonial Women Writers in London, 1890–1945 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014), p. 132.
(10.) Faith Binckes, Modernism, Magazines, and the British Avant-Garde: Reading Rhythm, 1910–1914 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010).
(11.) Sydney Janet Kaplan, Circulating Genius: John Middleton Murry, Katherine Mansfield and D. H. Lawrence (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2010)
(13.) Bonnie Kime Scott (ed.), Gender in Modernism: New Geographies, Complex Intersections (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2007).
(14.) Andreas Huyssen, After the Great Divide: Modernism, Mass Culture, Postmodernism (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1986).
(15.) Sean Latham and Robert Scholes, ‘The Changing Profession: The Rise of Periodical Studies’, PMLA, 121.2 (March 2006), p. 528.
(16.) Ann L. Ardis, ‘The Dialogics of Modernism(s) in The New Age’, Modernism/Modernity, 14.3 (September 2007), p. 409.
(17.) Suzanne W. Churchill and Adam McKible, ‘Introduction’, in Suzanne W. Churchill and Adam McKible (eds), Little Magazines and Modernism: New Approaches (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2007), pp. 12, 4.
(18.) Peter Brooker and Andrew Thacker, ‘General Introduction’, in Peter Brooker and Andrew Thacker (eds), The Oxford Critical and Cultural History of Modernist Magazines, Volume I: Britain and Ireland, 1880–1955 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009), p. 3.
(19.) Jenny McDonnell, Katherine Mansfield and the Modernist Marketplace: At the Mercy of the Public (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010), p. 6.
(20.) Douglas Mao and Rebecca L. Walkowitz, ‘The New Modernist Studies’, PMLA, 123.3 (May 2008), pp. 737–48.
(21.) Saikat Majumdar, ‘Katherine Mansfield and the Fragility of Pākehā Boredom’, in Prose of the World: Modernism and the Banality of Empire (New York: Columbia (p.29) University Press, 2013), pp. 71–100; Mark Williams, ‘Mansfield in Maoriland: Biculturalism, Agency and Misreading’, in Howard J. Booth and Nigel Rigby (eds), Modernism and Empire (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2000), pp. 249–74; Jane Stafford and Mark Williams, ‘Katherine Mansfield: A Modernist in Maoriland’, in Maoriland: New Zealand Literature 1872–1914 (Wellington: Victoria University Press, 2007), pp. 142–70.
(22.) Elleke Boehmer, ‘Mansfield as Colonial Modernist: Difference Within’, in Gerri Kimber and Janet Wilson (eds), Celebrating Katherine Mansfield (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011), pp. 57–71; Urmila Seshagiri, Race and the Modernist Imagination (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2010).
(23.) Janet Wilson, ‘“Where is Katherine?” Longing and (Un)belonging in the Works of Katherine Mansfield’, in Gerri Kimber and Janet Wilson (eds), Celebrating Katherine Mansfield (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011), pp. 175–88; ‘Mansfield as (Post)colonial-Modernist: Rewriting the Contract with Death’, in Janet Wilson, Gerri Kimber and Delia da Sousa Correa (eds), Katherine Mansfield and the (Post)colonial (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2013), pp. 29–44; Mary Ann Gillies, ‘Oceans Apart? Emily Carr and Katherine Mansfield’s Encounters With Modernism’, in Mary Ann Gillies, Helen Sword and Steven Yao (eds), Pacific Rim Modernisms (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2009), pp. 233–60.
(24.) Claire Davison, Translation as Collaboration: Virginia Woolf, Katherine Mansfield and S. S. Koteliansky (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2014); ‘Introduction’, in Claire Davison, Gerri Kimber and Todd Martin (eds), Katherine Mansfield and Translation (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2015), pp. 1–11.
(25.) Patrick Collier, ‘Imperial/Modernist Forms in the Illustrated London News’, Modernism/Modernity, 19.3 (September 2012), pp. 487–8.
(26.) Paul Peppis, Literature, Politics, and the English Avant-Garde: Nation and Empire, 1901–1918 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000).
(27.) Adam McKible, The Space and Place of Modernism: The Russian Revolution, Little Magazines, and New York (London: Routledge, 2002), p. 8.
(28.) Peter Kalliney, Modernism in a Global Context (London: Bloomsbury, 2016), p. 71.
(29.) Eric B. White, Transatlantic Avant-Gardes: Little Magazines and Localist Modernism (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2013), p. 2.
(30.) Eric Bulson, Little Magazine, World Form (New York: Columbia University Press, 2016).
(33.) Sascha Bru, ‘“The Will to Style”: The Dutch Contribution to the Avant-Garde. Leiden: De Stijl (19I7–32), Mécano (1922–3); Amsterdam: Wendingen (1918–32), i10 (1927–9); and Groningen: The Next Call (1923–6)’, in Peter Brooker, Sascha Bru, Andrew Thacker and Christian Weikop (eds), The Oxford Critical and Cultural History of Modernist Magazines, Volume III: Europa 1880–1940 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013), pp. 293–312; David Carter, Almost Always Modern: Australian Print Cultures and Modernity (Melbourne: Australian Scholarly Publishing, 2013); Dean Irvine, Editing Modernity: Women and Little-Magazine Cultures in Canada, 1916–1956 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2008).
(34.) Joanne Shattock and Michael Wolff, ‘Introduction’, in Joanne Shattock and Michael Wolff (eds), The Victorian Periodical Press: Samplings and Soundings (Leicester: Leicester University Press, 1982), p. xv.
(35.) See Peter Sinnema, Dynamics of the Pictured Page: Representing the Nation in the Illustrated London News (Aldershot: Ashgate, 1998); Paula Krebs, Gender, Race, (p.30) and the Writing of Empire: Public Discourse and the Boer War (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999); Julie F. Codell (ed.), Imperial Co-Histories: National Identities and the British Colonial Press (London: Associated University Presses, 2003); Simon J. Potter, News and the British World: The Emergence of an Imperial Press System (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003); Linda E. Connors and Mary Lou MacDonald, National Identity in Great Britain and British North America, 1815–1851: The Role of Nineteenth-Century Periodicals (Farnham: Ashgate, 2011).
(36.) Julie F. Codell, ‘Introduction’, in Julie F. Codell (ed.), Imperial Co-Histories: National Identities and the British Colonial Press (London: Associated University Presses, 2003), p. 18.
(39.) Ann L. Ardis, ‘Staging the Public Sphere: Magazine Dialogism and the Prosthetics of Authorship at the Turn of the Twentieth Century’, in Ann L. Ardis and Patrick Collier (eds), Transatlantic Print Culture, 1880–1940: Emerging Media, Emerging Modernisms (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008), p. 38.
(40.) Anon. [A. R. Orage], ‘The Outlook’, New Age, 1.1 (2 May 1907), p. 1.
(41.) Anon. [A. R. Orage], ‘Notes of the Week’, New Age, 6.18 (3 March 1910), p. 411.
(43.) Katherine Mansfield, ‘North American Chiefs’, New Age, 7.17 (25 August 1910), p. 407.
(45.) Katherine Mansfield, The Collected Letters of Katherine Mansfield, Volume V: 1922–1923, ed. Vincent O’Sullivan and Margaret Scott (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2008), p. 304.
(46.) Elleke Boehmer, Colonial and Postcolonial Literature: Migrant Metaphors, 2nd edn (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005), p. 127.
(47.) Katherine Mansfield, The Collected Letters of Katherine Mansfield, Volume I: 1903–1917, ed. Vincent O’Sullivan and Margaret Scott (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1984), p. 41.
(50.) Wilson, ‘“Where is Katherine?”’, pp. 185–6.
(51.) Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism, rev. edn (London Verso, 2006).
(52.) Arjun Appadurai, ‘Disjuncture and Difference in the Global Cultural Economy’, Theory and Society, 7 (1990), pp. 296–7.
(53.) Homi K. Bhabha, The Location of Culture, rev. edn (London: Routledge, 2004), pp. 3, 9.
(56.) Redmer Yska, A Strange Beautiful Excitement: Katherine Mansfield’s Wellington, 1888–1903 (Dunedin: Otago University Press, 2017), p. 215.
(57.) Anon., ‘Wild Women I Have Met’, New Zealand Graphic and Ladies’ Journal, 25.15 (13 October 1900), p. 704.
(58.) Anon., ‘As Seen Through Women’s Eyes’, New Zealand Graphic and Ladies’ Journal, 25.15 (13 October 1900), pp. 705–6.
(59.) Katherine Mansfield, ‘Ole Underwood’, Rhythm, 12 (January 1913), p. 336.
(63.) Ken Gelder and Rachel Weaver, ‘Literary Journals and Literary Aesthetics in Early Post-Federation Australia’, JASAL: Journal of the Association for the Study of Australian Literature, 14.5 (2014), p. 1.
(64.) Stafford and Williams, ‘Katherine Mansfield’, p. 148.
(65.) Mansfield received £2 for ‘Vignettes’ and £2.7.6 for ‘In a Café’ and ‘In the Botanical Gardens’, according to the Thomas Lothian Papers in the State Library of Victoria, quoted in Jean E. Stone, Katherine Mansfield: Publications in Australia, 1907–09 (Sydney: Wentworth Books, 1977), p. 13.
(67.) Carol Mills, The Native Companion: Complete Indexes to Text, Illustrators, Book Notices and Subjects and Brief Bibliographies and an Introduction (Canberra: Mulini Press, 1999), p. 4.
(69.) Gelder and Weaver, ‘Literary Journals and Literary Aesthetics’, p. 4.
(70.) K. [Katherine] Mansfield, ‘Vignettes’, Native Companion, 2.3 (1 October 1907), pp. 129–30.
(79.) K. [Katherine] Mansfield, ‘In a Café’, Native Companion, 2.5 (2 December 1907), p. 265.
(80.) ‘Julian Mark’ [Katherine Mansfield], ‘In the Botanical Gardens’, Native Companion, 2.5 (2 December 1907), p. 286.
(81.) McDonnell, Katherine Mansfield, pp. 48–9. Mark Williams also connects Mansfield’s story to ‘the outback genre identified with Henry Lawson’ – Williams, ‘Mansfield in Maoriland’, p. 259. Henry Lawson, ‘The Drover’s Wife’, Bulletin (23 July 1892), pp. 21–2.
(83.) Gelder and Weaver, ‘Literary Journals and Literary Aesthetics’, pp. 1–2.
(86.) Mansfield, ‘In the Botanical Gardens’, p. 286.
(89.) Clare Hanson (ed.), The Critical Writings of Katherine Mansfield (London: Macmillan, 1987); Kaplan, Circulating Genius; Jenny McDonnell, ‘“Wanted, a New Word”: Katherine Mansfield and the Athenaeum’, Modernism/Modernity, 16.4 (November 2009), pp. 727–42.