*Abbreviations under the "Available" column: A = Available // NA = Not Available // R = Previously Registered // WL = Currently on the Wait List

Katherine Mansfield: New Zealand, the Modern World, and the Short Story

After Katherine Mansfield’s death, Virginia Woolf wrote in her diary, “I was jealous of her writing–the only writing I have ever been jealous of.” At the time of her death, Mansfield was just 34 years old and had published only a handful of short story collections, but she had built a literary reputation that still influences fiction writers today. She was friends not just with Woolf, whose Hogarth Press published Mansfield’s second book Prelude, but also with D. H. Lawrence and Aldous Huxley, both of whom used portraits of her in their novels. This class looks at representative examples of Mansfield’s writing, focusing on her efforts to develop a “special prose” that would explore her colonial upbringing in New Zealand and pay a sacred debt to her brother Leslie who died just a week after arriving in Belgium in 1915. The three stories on which this study will focus–“Prelude,” “At the Bay,” and “The Doll’s House”–are all centered on the Burnells, a family based on her own. In addition to viewing scenes from a New Zealand television production which focused on Mansfield’s youth as a colonial, excerpts from her letters and journals will be distributed to enhance understanding of Mansfield’s mixture of autobiography, the prose poem, and high modernism.
Note: The March 15 class meeting will be held at the Albert & Shirley Small Special Collections Library.

Instructor Bio:

Richard Cappuccio is a retired educator and member of both the Katherine Mansfield Birthplace and the Katherine Mansfield Society. He has presented talks at conferences in Wellington, Paris, Chicago, and Bandol, and he has published articles about Mansfield in scholarly journals. He is a member of the Virginia Arts of the Book Center and tends his garden in Charlottesville.

Required Reading:

The three stories on which we’ll focus–“Prelude,” “At the Bay,” and “A Doll’s House”–are all available in Katherine Mansfield, Stories (Vintage Classics, 1991), generally available online in ample numbers and links to those resources will be provided. Please note that “Prelude” and “At the Bay” are relatively long (50 plus pages), so you may prefer to have a copy on paper. There are also modestly priced e-book editions of Mansfield’s collected stories which contain the three stories.

Recommended Reading:

Alpers, Antony. The Life of Katherine Mansfield, 1982.


Course Number Instructor Dates Day Time Location Available
A26 Richard Cappuccio Mar 8, 15, 22 We 1:00-2:30 p.m. OLLI Conference Room WL

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