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In a German Pension

3.71  ·  Rating details ·  802 ratings  ·  115 reviews
In a German Pension is a remarkable collection of short stories, displaying all Katherine Mansfield’s skill in the genre. Written shortly after the author visited Germany as a young woman, these short stories form a series of satirical sketches of German characters. From a young wife’s preoccupation with her husband’s stomach, to a society lady’s inability to see beyond th ...more
Paperback, 112 pages
Published April 1st 2003 by Hesperus Press (first published 1911)
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Short stories can be like photographs, catching people at some moment in their lives and trapping the memory for ever . There they are, smiling or frowning, looking sad, happy, serious, surprised ... And behind those smiles and those frowns lie all the experience of life, the fears and delights, the hopes and the dreams.
― Katherine Mansfield

Last year, I was enraptured by a collection of Katherine Mansfield’s short stories, Something Childish But Very Natural so while reading Willem Elsschot’s Vi
There was a time when I had lost all interest in Jane Austen, resigned to accepting the self-assured utterances of a few male acquaintances who still continue to believe that she wrote nothing other than classical 'chick-lit'. (My ignorant, younger self hadn't thought of asking them what was wrong with 'chick lit' in the first place) But a reading of A Room of One's Own and a re-reading of Pride & Prejudice later, I was tempted to literally beat some sense into those bluntheads (with a brick-siz ...more
This is Mansfield's first published collection of short stories, and it comes from her experiences during her short time in Germany prior to 1906. She called it "immature", but you can see the promise of things to come in this collection. One story alone, The child who was tired, makes it worth reading. ...more
May 25, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: random, pub-1911
Katherine Mansfield would’ve matured to be an amazing writer if she hadn’t died at the age of 34 of tuberculosis – which quite possibly was another of the knock-on effects of the gonorrhoea she contracted from her Polish lover – Florian Sobieniowski. Was it worth it, Katherine - ? Ladies, beware of men who have more consonants in their names that seems reasonable.

I know all that from the introduction to my Penguin edition written by Anne Fernihough – an
As everybody knows 24 is the highest number, and in the same spirit there are only two women writers, Jane Austen is one, and then there is the other one.

That other one though is multifaceted.

Mansfield herself apparently regarded this collection as immature, which I suppose we can understand in many different ways. Everything from Mansfield saying 'pooh don't be impressed by these, kiddo because you ain't since anything yet, I've once started to write' before she cartwheeled down the street and
Feb 17, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this sometime in the last few years. It's an interesting collection.

"Hoo-wih!" shouted the wind, shaking the window-sashes.

...very creative!
Jan 10, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: chicks-dig-it
I realize I’m about to piss off some lovely people around here, but it can’t be helped: I dislike Virginia Woolf. A lot. The other day at the gym I was watching Family Guy on mute—yes, this is relevant—and the closed captions described a character’s unintelligible yammering as “pretentious babble.” Exactly. Pretentious babble is what I hear in my head when I read Woolf. I know what you’re thinking: “But, but—the beauty, the lyricism, the subtle nuances, the, the-" Yeah, fine, whatever. Pretentio ...more
Katherine Mansfield died of tuberculosis at the age of 34. 34. I'm 34. That just puts a whole lot of shit in a whole lot of perspective.

I was going through one of those phases where I'm reading a really big book at home but currently don't have anything tiny enough to carry with me on the bus to and from work, so I'm in a major funk, so I spent a good part of last night opening books from my shelves, reading a page or two, and then putting it back. Nothing was speaking to me.

This slight little c
Mar 04, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
An excellent set of short stories; brief with abrupt and unsettling endings and sharp, dry humour. These are early stories by Katherine Mansfield, written when she was barely over 20. She was recuperating from a miscarraige in Germany and from a short unpleasant marraige.
The stories analyse the German middle class and their habits, prejudices and loves. They also look at the more difficult lives of the servants. Mansfield was in the vanguard of the modernist movement acquainted with Virginia Wo
A German Burlesque?

An early collection of Mansfield’s short stories from 1910-11. I very much enjoyed the first half of the collection as the stories focused on life in a German pension. The guest (KM?) examines the habits and behavior of the Germans guests. KM often takes quite a humorous look at Germans – actually almost a bit sarcastic at times. The Germans appear bombastic and narrowminded. I’m not quite sure how KM stood politically at this time, but she is certainly making fun of German cu
Jan 06, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
What a wonderful little book. A selection of short stories set in a German B&B just prior to WW1. It is full of life and finely observed - foibles, jealousies, love, even murder - all are there. It has a contemporary feel to it, for all that it was written a century ago. There is impish humour aplenty and enough stings in the tale to please a scorpion.

I am delighted that I chanced upon this book, and I will look out for more by the same author.
“On the appointed day the married ladies sailed about the pension dressed like upholstered chairs, and the unmarried ladies like draped muslin dressing-table covers.”

This collection of gently mocking tales is full of strangely accurate details like these.

Have you ever walked past windows along the street and wondered about the dramas going on behind each one? This was like that, only with a witty and insightful storyteller to fill you in.

My favorite was “A Birthday,” but I enjoyed them all. Acc
Jan 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
he stories in this collection are divided between vignettes of guests staying at the Pension, which are gently mocking in tone, and much darker stories that often have a sting in the tail. A frequent theme of the latter is the social and sexual oppression of women.

In “German Meat”, the female English narrator is a sardonic commentator on the coarseness of the German guests who are constantly eating, perspiring and discussing their ailments and bodily functions. They, however, believe themselves
"Germans at Meat" - an English woman is at a German pension where she and her dinner companions talk about the possibility of war breaking out (3 stars)

"The Baron" - an unnamed narrator observes a solitary baron (3 stars)

"The sister of the Baroness" - an English lady is staying in a German pension where people are expecting the arrival of a daughter of a baroness and her aunt (3 stars)

"Frau Fischer" - Frau Fischer comes to the pension for the 'cure' and begins to tell our unnamed English lady ab
Despite the rise of social media, we are so private now. What was it like to live among a household of people, a large household of most/all virtual strangers. What was it like to raise children not yours, to birth a child in such a well-traversed place, to never have a private bath but to be sprayed down by others. These stories provide a variety of glimpses into a variety of people's lives. ...more
When I belatedly realised that I had been neglecting New Zealand fiction on this blog, the first author I thought of to redress this neglect was Katherine Mansfield (1888-1923). She died very young of TB but she left behind some unforgettable short stories, of which In a German Pension was the first collection to be published. I read it in December 2003, and this (edited a little after this re-reading) is what I wrote in my journal at the time:

Whoo!! This author has a barbed pen indeed! It’s a

Same comments here as apply to The Garden Party and Other Stories.
Feb 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: modern-classic
The first published work (1911) of an English author who died young, a collection of short stories, which Penguin Modern Classics describe as "Checkovian".

Written when very young, 19-20 years old, whilst in Germany "recovering" from an unplanned pregnancy ending in miscarriage, many carry a bitter edge, and the introduction proclaims her as disowning these stories as unworthy as she moved on. She has too high standards.

This was a slow burner, like a movie or play where everything goes slow and t
Mar 27, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories, kindle
This collection is the third and last part of my Kindle edition of Selected Stories (the first 2 parts, "The Garden Party and Other Stories" & "Bliss and Other Stories", I read in 2013). I found this collection distinct from the other 2 in that the stories are almost chapters in a "slice of life" novel, describing the various characters & events that occur while the main character, an Englishwoman, is staying at this pension (sort of like a boarding house).

A set of short stories written around a young British woman who is in a clinic in Germany for a"cure". Based, and written, just before WWI this is a good read to see the values of the times. Funny in parts. The main difference in this book is the showing of the young lady as a strong, independent person who sees the other people with all their weaknesses. ...more
Feb 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read these stories just after leaving school and have only recently returned to them. Mansfield herself famously said that they were 'not good enough'; for me, they are perfect. With the brevity of Chekhov, the lyrical style of James Joyce, the cynical observation of Guy de Maupassant and the twist in the tail of Roald Dahl, they are all a reader could wish for. ...more
John Anthony
Apr 14, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
1. Germans at Meat
2. The Baron
3. The Sister of the Baroness
4. Frau Fischer
5. Frau Brechenmacher Attends a Wedding
6. The Modern Soul
7. At “Lehmann’s”
8. The Luft Bad
9. A Birthday
10. The Child-Who-Was-Tired
11. The Advanced Lady
12. The Swing of the Pendulum
13. A Blaze

Katherine Mansfield was a precocious child and began writing short stories from a very early age. It was clear even then that she was talented.

The earliest of these short stories was written when she was 17 or 18 years old. H
Marcus Hobson

This short collection of stories marks the beginning of Katherine Mansfield brief literary life. They were published as a collection in 1911, but had been appearing in The New Age magazine from 1910, after some months spent in a Bavarian spa town. During her stay there, she was introduced to the works of Anton Chekhov and some have claimed that at least one of her stories in this collection is direct plagiarism.

Whilst most of the short pieces refer to ever
Oct 08, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I only read her poetry and The Garden Party before this, was too surprised by the sudden Germans (really, the title should have given it away!) and wasn't immediately pulled in the way I was by her other collection. Who are these people? Why are there random German words scattered throughout the stories?! The plot; Katherine Mansfield is stuck with a great number of Germans, many of whom she dislikes (but not really, although there are a few in which she herself is the main character, many of th ...more
Erika Nerdypants
Katherine Mansfield, a contemporary of Virginia Woolf, writes amazingly beautiful short stories. It is too too bad she couldn'thave written more before she died at the age of 35. "In a German Pension" focuses on a young English woman who takes the cure with a variety of German fellow patients whom she loathes. Written cynically, with the kind of wit where you can't help laughing, despite the dark subjects. Mistaken identity, cruel husbands, overworked servants. The banality of everyday life take ...more
Nov 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Katherine Mansfield delivers such a smorgasbord of interesting characters in these 13 short stories. Our narrator, whom anyone that thinks about it for a minute, will realize is KM herself, is a vegetarian "fish out of water" in the carnivorous German pension. She paints a portrait of German men as overbearing chauvinists. Her feminist sentiments really shine in The Swing Of Pendulum:

“You’ve really hurt me,” he said in a choking voice.

“Of course I have. I meant to. That’s nothing to what I’ll do
A great debut of an exceptional talent gone too soon - set in Germany

„In a German Pension“ suggests itself to be read by those who found Mann’s Zauberberg too self-indulgent or just too long but liked the general plot (or just would appreciate another point of view) or to those who appreciated Elizabeth von Arnim’s view of on outsider on German society.

Katherine Mansfield has her first-person narrator heroïne wittilly report on her visit to a German spa – vacation, „Kur“, told in 13 short storie
Aug 28, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
These stories, written in 1911, form the vanguard of Modernist short story writing. The stories themselves are fantastically real. The people do not conform to vague stereotypes, but instead are presented in semi-autobiographical form. In some cases, the characters are named vaguely to represent a character type, and in others, one can infer that this person is representative of life as it really is. The people are filled with angst, indelicacy, and other unhealthy psychological maladies. In sho ...more
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Kathleen Mansfield Murry (née Beauchamp) 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 colle

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