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University of Otago
Dr Chris Prentice

KATHERINE MANSFIELD LECTURE 4 Katherine Mansfield’s review of Mander: Reference: Katherine Mansfield, Novels and Novelists, 219-20  8 years between colonial stories and the review of Mander.  “False Wrappings” = Artificial attempt to localise a piece of fiction – trying to make it “New Zealand.” NZ referent = exterior.  “Glimpse of what she really felt and knew”. Lived New Zealand reality rather than an idea of it – the story can’t take place anywhere else due to how it feels. Modernism and character – Virginia Wolf  To capture a character the writer should not concentrate on external details but recreate the working of that character’s consciousness.  Viewing how the character looks on the world rather than how the world looks on the character.  Limited narration on the characters emotions – allows the reader to discover themselves.  An example of this is the character of Harry Potter. He is created in a way that the reader could imagine a scenario and think of what Harry would do in a particular situation. The image doesn’t just stop at his physical appearance with his glasses/scar etc. 2 main aspects in creating the modernist character: 1. Depth: The relationship between the narrative point of view and the characters view.  “I can’t bear two-legged gods, especially if they are invented. Give us life” – Anton Chekhov. Two legged gods = The narrator of the story. Give us life = Get the character in the book to capture rather than destroy them.  The narrator can get between the character and the reader by spelling it out and distorting our image. For example it may say “she is unhappy” when underneath the words the character is feeling happy.  In a distorted way this may be shown as subjectivity – An attempt to get at the character in an objective way as they would present themselves – beyond the narrator. 2. Narrative time: Characters experience of time  Duration: “Time as experienced by consciousness not clock time” – Henri-Louis Bergson. Clock time = “We are here from 4 to 5pm. Duration = How your mind thinks about events such as what to have for dinner or what to do in the next holidays – Can’t put a specific time on these events. WOMAN First person Modernist Narrator. Character. Katherine Mansfield modernist short stories common characteristics:  “Slice of life”.  Mood.  Opening in medias res – Thrown straight into the story with no introduction of characters or situation.  Limited third person point of view.  Duration – Captures the working of the character’s mind.  “Glimpses” – Katherine Mansfield definition of epiphany. A moment/significant event/sudden clarity that shifts characters thinking.  “Objective correlative” – A set of objects, situation, chain of events that are the formula of that particular of that particular emotion eg. Raining at a funeral gives the emotions of sadness/represents tears therefore tells this emotion for you rather than the author spelling it out. “The wind blows” characteristics:  Her earliest modernist story.  “Slice of life.”  Opening in medias res.  Limited third person.  Set in Wellington – Wind is the objective correlative – suggests change/stability.  Written in memory of her brother and growing up together in Wellington.  Duration – Suspension of temporal boundaries in memory = Mind bringing past, present and future together.  Shows 2 stages of the character’s lives – Adolescent and adults, however set in the present of their adult lives. “Miss Brill” characteristics:  Slice of life.  Opening in medias res  Objective correlative – Her name “Brill” reminds the reader of the word brilliant which represents what she strives for. The fur that accompanies her is like the character of confinement – brings life to her and the fur when they go to the park together, putting it back into the box when she comes home.  Limited third person – Self-delusion and isolation.  Compromised “glimpse” – At park on the verge of understanding her reality but no full revelation. “Prelude” characteristics:  Written after her brother died in war.  Multiple point of view narration.  Family life – life in New Zealand narration.  Nation as it is experienced.  Not the “false wrappings” – Instead reveals the strangeness of experience and memory. Fragments lead to imagined unity. Double quality: Collectively and Individually. What is the relationship between Nation and Narration? When you think of NZ what comes to mind?  Idea of “home”.  Countryside/landscape.  Kiwi – bird, fruit and person.  Laid-back attitude.  Sheep.  Sport – rugby. All very natural aspects – why? Advertising:  “Constructed image” of the country.  Presents NZ in a positive image.  Could say advertising creates the ideas of our country.  Advertising is like a narrative.  An example of this is the 100% pure campaign which has been going for the last decade. But is NZ really pure?  If the message is repeated it becomes more natural and people believe it is true.  Particular ideas that have taken hold.  For exam
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