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I love Katherine Mansfield and The Garden Party is her loveliest collection in my opinion.

I have a lovely original copy of her Journal and I think I have an old hardback of selected letters...I have her biography too. I think I was planning on doing my dissertation on her then switched to the Brontes so I bought a lot of biographical books that I never actually read. You and Simon have made me want to revisit. Maybe I might start a little independent research project and start ploughing through all the stuff I have.

Simon T

What a great post, Danielle - matches a great story. I remember reading the Folio selected KM in 2003, and this was my favourite - I didn't even know then that it was one of her most famous, or even that it was the title story of a collection. I read it aloud to Mum as we travelled in the car to a Modernist lecture day. I've read it a fair few times since - she is SUCH a talented writer. It's a shame collections of her work tend to be chronological, because that does end up with her best pieces being last.

Kate S.

Great post! I'm a huge fan of Katherine Mansfield's stories. I particularly admire how adept she is at evoking sensory detail. I always feel as if I can hear the noises, and smell the smells, and feel the textures in her stories. One of my favourites is "At the Bay" which I think is included in "The Garden Party and Other Short Stories."

Dorothy W.

How interesting! I'm curious to know more about the Woolf/Mansfield relationship -- that sounds like it was interestingly tense. I remember coming across mentions of Mansfield in Woolf's diary.


Rachel--I'm glad I found this collection on my shelves. It's much more approachable than the huge Complete Stories! She would be a great subject for a dissertation, but it would be hard to choose! I love having these little reading projects to work on--I flit back and forth but I come back to them all eventually. It's taken me a while, but I think the timing is right for me to read KM.
Simon--It's hard to write about a short story in any sort of meaningful way without giving the plot away! I agree that she was indeed very talented and I'm glad I've gone back and picked up a smaller collection of stories to start with. The Complete Stories is nice, but so overwhelming, which is why, I'm sure, I 'shelved' this project the first time around. I like the idea of reading aloud, too, and short stories would be perfect!
Kate--Yes, it's the first story in the collection and I'm looking forward to reading it eventually. I want to read the story through again more slowly now that I know what happens. I get the feeling that she was a very careful writer, or at least it feels that way, as if there is nothing extraneous there. I'll be rereading now with your comment in mind!
Dorothy--Woolf and Mansfield did seem to have an interesting relationship. I'd love to read VW's diaries at some point--Ann/Table Talk also suggested I try and read them as they throw insight onto KM and the period as well. So many books to read (on just one subject).


I actually just purchased a book of her short stories and am itching to start reading (as soon as I finish my current book). I, too, was intrigued by the fact that Woolf felt somewhat threatened by Mansfield, which can only be considered a huge compliment. Especially coming from someone like Woolf who was an incredible writer in her own right. Not to mention she was also a bit of a snob, so you know that whomever Woolf happened to esteem as a writer must be very talented indeed!

Table Talk

Wait till you come to the one about the egg. It 'broke' my heart.


"The Garden Party" is a wonderful story. My favorite is "A Doll's House", which if I remember correctly features on of the same characters (Kezia). Yesterday I reread "Bliss" and "Mr & Mrs Dove" as your posts made me want some KM this week; I plan to read a couple of stories at a time from one of my collected stories volumes.


I've read The Daughters of the Late Colonel twice this past week, I think I'm missing something. It's in my Ghost Stories book and this story isn't eerie and I didn't feel any connection with the characters. The Garden Party sounds like something I'd enjoy though.


Joanna--I love short stories when I set myself the task of reading them, but I tend not to pick them up on a whim otherwise. I'm looking forward to reading more of KM's stories! At the moment I am also reading a book of short stories by Daphne du Maurier, so I am getting my fill!
Table Talk--I have a feeling I will know this one when I read it...
Paperback Reader--I think I might read Miss Brill next. What's nice about short stories is you can squeeze one in here and there. I read one called Prelude a year ago and I think Kezia was in that as well.
Darlene--That story is in this collection so I will be reading it eventually. Sometimes I wonder how some stories end up in certain collections. I'll try to read this one soon so I can compare notes! And The Garden Party is a nice volume--not too much--though about 15 stories, so none too terribly long, I think. It seems far more approachable than the Collected Stories, though I am still glad I bought that volume!


I read The Garden Party - my first meeting with Katherine Mansfield - yesterday. 'Balance' is the word that comes to mind when reflecting on it. I think she balanced the events in the story beautifully. And thus made believable that Laura will be changed due to what has happened further down the road. A perfect slice of life indeed.


Great review! I've read much more about Mansfield than I've read by Mansfield! My favourite story is Bliss, though, and I confess I haven't read this one - must remedy that.


Catharina--Isn't it amazing how she does that in so short a story?! The last line was sort of ambiguous, but it's made me think and I think she was changed as well at the end of the story.
Litlove--I'm sure Bliss is in my Collected Stories so I will get to it eventually. I feel like I've read more about her than by her as well--but I find that to be the case with other authors occasionally as well!


KM was a cousin of Elizabeth von Arnim (Enchanted April et al), so that's an interesting bit of trivia for you! I need to revisit KM and her work too. Cant recommend VW's diaries too highly, they are amazing. Wish I had more time for reading.


Citronyella--Isn't that interesting that they were cousins? Their work is so different--I wonder what they thought of each other. And I really must get started reading VW's Diaries--I have the first one on hand!


I haven't read any Mansfield before even though I keep seeing her name popping up here and there. Your review has definitely inspired me to pick up this book.


Thomas--I've read just a few stories, but it's been enough to know that I want to read more. I already have a collection of stories on the go at the moment, but once I finish I'll be reading her in earnest. She was an interesting person as well--her life makes for fascinating reading.

Mel u

I read my first Mansfield yesterday, "Miss Bliss"-I totally loved it-based on your post I will look for Garden Party as my next Mansfield read-much of her work can be read on line


Mel--I loved The Garden Party and was just contemplating that I need to read it again--would love to hear what you think of it when you get to it. She was such a wonderful short story writer--I've wanted to read more of her stories for a while now!

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