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Katherine Mansfield's Selected Short Stories

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  704 Ratings  ·  45 Reviews
[Contains 35 stories, plus correspondence and critical essays]

With the exception of the first four stories, all were written within a period of ten years. These stories, and the letters following, reflect the urgency of a writer who knew her time was limited. All but four of the texts of the stories reprinted here are versions that Mansfield herself revised or selected.


Paperback, 430 pages
Published November 1st 2005 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published 1948)
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Sep 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mansfield was revered to the point of envy as a writer by Virginia Woolf. Her stories are written in a distinctive style, somehow spare and yet lush, usually accessible and emotionally charged, with extraordinary characters, often so well realised that they take up residence in the reader's consciousness. I read this as I began my solitary travels in Brazil, and Kezia followed me everywhere through those months; her longing for her grandmother's unconditional love and the security of her embrace ...more
There seem to be two schools of thought regarding what makes a great short story. (There may be more - tell me about them if you can think of any.) I'm going to call them the Bradbury School and the Chekov School. I was brought up to love the Bradbury School where-in the perfect short story tells a story and has a remarkable ending that might be a revelation or plot twist or unexpected action or possibly even an ambiguous cliff-hanger. The absolute best of these will have a crucial and memorable ...more
Oct 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I couldn't find the exact collection that I own, so I'll be reviewing her, generally.

Mansfield had a talent for atmosphere, creating sensory impressions that are (still) both physically and emotionally vivid to the reader. The effect is a very solitary voice, -- yet close to the ear, and inclusive in spirit. She never argued a story. She let the story speak for itself.

To be honest, there were times I didn't quite know what she was getting at. But then, I am an idiot. About midway through, around
Mar 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
First ever foray into Katherine Mansfield.
First off, I’ll be honest and just get it out that I didn’t quite know what Mansfield was getting at for the most times. I found her writing to be ambiguous especially at the beginning, but as I read on, I began to get a sense of understanding of her stories.

Some of my favourite are:
• A Cup of Tea
• The Little Girl
• The Garden Party
• Late at Night
• Two Tuppenny Ones, Please
• The Black Cap
• A Suburban Fairy Tale
• Sixpence
• How Pearl Button was Kidnapped
S. Mehdi
Oct 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The collection includes:

From Bliss (1920): Prelude,Je ne parle pas français, Bliss, Psychology, Pictures, The Man without a Temperament, Mr. Reginald Peacock's Day, Sun and Moon,Feuille d'Album, A Little Pickle, The little Governess

From The Garden-Party (1922): At the Bay, The Garden-Party, The Daughters of the Late Colonel, Mr. and Mrs. Dove, Life of Ma Parker, Marriage a la Mode, The Voyage, Miss Brill, Her First Ball, The Stranger

From The Dove's Nest (1923): The Doll's House, A Cup of Tea, Th
Jul 18, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Aspiring women writers/ fans of women's lit
Shelves: alwaysreading
I'll tend to read a story from this book here and there. On a rainy night, I'll read one of the stories from this book. They're pretty short, but each one is very profound. I'll probably be reading it for a long time because I don't want it to end :).
Richard Needham
Jul 11, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a re-read for me; as I get a little older it is nice to go back and re-experience (and perhaps apply new perspective to) dusty books from the home library. The edition I have is a 1956 Vintage paperback, with introduction by Elizabeth Bowen.
Katherine Mansfield’s stories are a joy to read; you never quite know what delight will come next. It is said that she basically invented the modern short story. At times, the characters are quite briefly sketched, with inner musings to fill in the de
James Wilkinson
Jun 26, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a little difficult to get into. Some of her themes I found initially ambiguous but this panned out in relation to the number of stories I read. What becomes clear is the simple scenes that are evoked and how these straightforward scenes are made to symbolise the subtle inner workings of her fabulous characters. The heartbreaking truths of many of her stories is how her characters seem on the brink of making beneficial changes to their lives but are somehow trapped or harried into taking ...more
Phillip Kay
Dec 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
A selection of 73 stories originally published in 1965 by Alfred A Knopf. Contains the amateurish "From a German Pension" stories, the great "Bliss", the two masterpieces which are surely novel fragments about her childhood, "Prelude" and "At the Bay", and the final work which contains many accomplished stories. About 12 good stories here in a career which was cut short before it really developed. No criticism I've noticed explores Mansfield's relation to Chekhov and many seem to credit Mansfiel ...more
Jul 18, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mustread, pleaseread
Kathrine Mansfield is a true master of un resolved epiphany...Her characters never find out what can be done to make thing right. Like Tchekouf, she shows the gun in first chapter and for sure will shoot the barrel in the end.
She is a pioneer in feminist writing. Short stories such as Miss Brill, The Fly, Je ne parle pa francies, doll house, Bliss are among the best short stories of the world.
Jacqui Miller
Jul 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
I love Mansfield's writing. She is insightful and uses beautiful, poetic prose. I'm not a big fan of short stories but Mansfield is very skilled at drawing you in quickly and at creating interesting and complex characters that stay with you. Particularly enjoyed Miss Brill, The Fly and Bliss.
Nov 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories
Oh she is a fun writer.
Nov 05, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
Exhibition of contrived revelation.

I adore these short stories. They are just simply stunning.
May 14, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2017
Didn't find the stories interesting at all, with the exception of a few. Most of them were beautifully written, but the stories' contents did just not appeal at all...
Tim Rideout
Aug 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
'Under [the canary's] sweet, joyful little singing it was just this - sadness? (...) that I heard.'

Mansfield's intricate short stories engage with many lives of quiet desperation, exposing the disappointments, petty jealousies and thwarted dreams of adult life.

Not easy reading, but stories that stay with you long after reading.
Jul 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
I only had to read about twelve of these short stories and I thoroughly enjoyed all of them. This and To The Lighthouse have both pleasantly surprised me and I might actually enjoy Modernism on my course next year.

While I have only read some, I will definitely read the rest in the future when I get time.
Apr 22, 2010 rated it liked it
Mansfield would have otherwise been off my radar if it wasn't for reading fellow New Zealander, Janet Frame's, work. (Apparently, Frame's mother was a maid for Mansfield's family.) The selected short stories are written very cleanly and have a distinct British, middle-class air. A good sense of loss and longing is captured throughout.
Jan 17, 2012 rated it liked it
I'd have to agree with Mansfield speaking of her earliest work:

“I cannot have the German Pension republished under any circumstances. It is far too's not good enough”

The later stories, however, were much more enjoyable.
Lauren  Addicott
Dec 05, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
She's sublime, but that's nothing new. She's the friendly Woolf [insert a metaphor in your Gran's clothing].

Her writing is an iceberg, but the top percent is decorated in tassels and tinsel and intrigue.
Feb 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Личи си, че тези разкази са писани по времето, когато нещата са произвеждани с качество и с предназначение да служат минимум на едно поколение, а защо не и на няколко следващи.
Майсторски език, добронамерена ирония, смисъл и мъдрост.
still musing!
Dec 16, 2010 is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Mansoure by: my dearest
Till now, I've just read "A cup of tea". It was amazing.Specially the last part of the story:
"Philip," she whispered, and she pressed his head against her bosom, "am I pretty?"
Kate Kolenda
Oct 10, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I must admit that I only read three of the stories, but I liked them so much that I plan to read the rest the next time I have a spare moment to do so (in December).
Rupinder K
Jun 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
Really enjoyed reading the short stories - Mansfield's style of writing reveals brief glimpses into the lives of her characters.
Oct 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Cruel little woman
Emma Fentiman
Mar 23, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009-reads
Reading it on and off as they're short stories, but so far they're the most depressing take on life and people. Every story has the most negative and miserable outlook on people. Not a happy read!
Aug 02, 2011 added it
if you like short stories, katherine mansfield is the master
Christopher Riley
Just great writing. Very skilled at portraying characters and changing tempos and mood.
Scarlett O'H.
I just can't stand the condescending tone of her narratives. I wanted to find out what it is that Virginia Woolf admired so much in her. I frankly don't get it.
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Kathleen Mansfield Murry was a prominent New Zealand modernist writer of short fiction who wrote under the pen name of Katherine Mansfield.

Katherine Mansfield is widely considered one of the best short story writers of her period. A number of her works, including "Miss Brill", "Prelude", "The Garden Party", "The Doll's House", and later works such as "The Fly", are frequently collected in short st
More about Katherine Mansfield...

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“I could need you in many ways yet I don’t; I love you in many ways. It is peculiar. I need you only in the sense that you need yourself. I don’t expect anything to be mutually intense among us. I somehow like the thought of being the one who is feeling already more than one should. But I need you to believe that you are distinctively refreshing. And uncommon. And intriguing. It is an extreme oddity of mine but I need you to believe that. Call it a form of paranoia; I know that I am feeding your ego right now. Call it self-defense; I am putting in words your uniqueness in an attempt to explain to my own self why is it that I adore you. The truth is: You shine out like the sun shines out and you melt away all my intentions of a fatal, whatsoever, description regarding what is it exactly that you do. There is no exactness. See, it takes suns and miraculous imagery to slightly sketch you in words whereas you probably are as complex as an impressionist painting of impeccable quality. You continually provoke my blatantly awful poetical instincts; that is for sure.” 12 likes
“There! it had come ― the moment ― the geste! And although I was so ready, it caught me; it tumbled me over; I was simply overwhelmed. And the physical feeling was so curious, so particular. It was as if all of me, except my head and arms, all of me that was under the table, had simply dissolved, melted, turned into water. Just my head remained and two stick of arms pressing on to the table. But, ah! the agony of that moment! How can I describe it? I didn’t think of anything. I didn’t even cry out to myself. Just for one moment I was not. I was Agony, Agony, Agony.
Then it passed, and the very second after I was thinking: "Good God! Am I capable of feeling as strongly as that? But I was absolutely unconscious! I hadn’t a phrase to meet it with! I was overcome! I was swept off my feet! I didn’t even try, in the dimmest way, to put it down!"
And up I puffed and puffed, blowing off finally with: "After all I must be first-rate. No second-rate mind could have experienced such an intensity of feeling so.. purely.”
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