Published to celebrate Katherine Mansfield’s centenary, this is a compact but comprehensive new portrait of her life, work, relevance and wonderfully inspiring personality. Restless outsider, masher-up of form and convention, Katherine Mansfield’s short but dazzling career was characterised by struggle, insecurity and sacrifice – alongside a glorious, relentless creative drive and openness. She was the only writer Virginia Woolf admitted being jealous of, yet by the 1950s was so undervalued that Elizabeth Bowen was moved to ask, ‘Where is she – our missing contemporary?’ Now, looking back over the hundred years since her death, it is evident how vital Mansfield was to the Modernist movement and how strikingly relevant she is today, helping us to see differently, to savour and to notice things.
In this dynamic and perceptive study, Claire Harman takes a fresh look at Mansfield’s life and achievements side by side, through the form she did so much to revolutionise: the short story. Exploring ten pivotal works, we watch how Mansfield’s desire to grow as a writer pushed her art into unknown territory, and how illness sharpened her extraordinary vitality: ‘Would you not like to try all sorts of lives – one is so very small.’Inventive, intimate and informative, All Sorts of Lives is the perfect introduction for those who aren’t familiar with Mansfield’s work and, for those who are, it offers a new way of viewing and celebrating her and her legacy.