Katherine Mansfield – The New Zealand Writer


Katherine Mansfield 125th Birthday

Today if you visit Google’s Homepage you will find that they are celebrating the life and legacy of Katherine Mansfield. If you have never heard of Katherine Mansfield before fear not, millions of people across the globe will visit Google today, without recognizing her contributions to society.

Katherine Mansfield

Who was Katherine Mansfield?

As always Wikipedia is one of the greatest resources to discover basic information about people and we headed straight to the article about Katherine Mansfield on Wikipedia to find out more about her. Katherine Mansfield was born on the 14th of October 1888 in Wellington, New Zealand and passed away in Fontainebleau, France on the 9th of January 1923 at the age of 34.

She contracted Tuberculosis during the First World War and it is said that this have led to her death in 1923.

Today is exactly 125th years after her Birthday. I hate to say that we are celebrating Katherine Mansfield’s 125th Birthday since she is no longer with us, and prefer to say celebrating 125th years of her legacy.

Katherine Mansfield were born into a powerful family, her father Harold Beauchamp, became the chairman of the Bank of New Zealand and was knighted. Her Grandfather Arthur was involved in politics and briefly represented the people of New Zealand in the New Zealand Parliament.

Katherine Mansfield legacy is her writing, and Wikipedia classify her as a Prominent Modernist and writer. She lived in New Zealand until she was 19 when she moved to the United Kingdom. Here she made friends with other prominent modernist writers like Virginia Woolf and D.H. Lawrence. (Both very famous writers).

Katherine Mansfield’s earliest years already showed that she was a talented writer, her first published stories appeared in the High School Reporter and the Wellington Girls’ High School magazine.

It should also be noted that Katherine Mansfield were Bisexual and have both relationships with male and female partners. It is said that Katherine Mansfield attempted to repress her lesbian feelings towards other woman, and if she have been born in the modern era she may have more prominently perused her lesbian affairs.

In her early years in the United Kingdom Katherine Mansfield followed a bohemian lifestyle. The term Bohemianism emerged in France in the early nineteenth century when artists and creators began to concentrate in the lower-rent, lower class, gypsy neighborhoods. Bohemian was a common term for the Romani people of France, who had reached Western Europe via Bohemia. She published only one story and one poem during her first 15 months in the UK.

Katherine Mansfield proved to have been a prolific writer in the final years of her life. Much of her work remained unpublished at her death, and Murray took on the task of editing and publishing it in two additional volumes of short stories (The Dove’s Nest in 1923 and Something Childish in in 1924), a volume of Poems, The Aloe, Novels and Novelists, and collections, letters and journals.

Katherine Mansfield’s Legacy

The following high schools in New Zealand have a house named after her: Rangitoto College, Westlake Girls’ High School, Mount Roskill Grammar School, Macleans College all in Auckland, Tauranga Girls’ College in Tauranga, Wellington Girls’ College in Wellington, Rangiora High School in North Canterbury and Southland Girls’ High School in Invercargill. She has been honoured at Karori Normal School in Wellington which has a stone monument dedicated to her with a plaque commemorating her work and her time at the school.

A Street in Menton, France, where she lived and wrote, is named after her and a Fellowship is offered annually to enable a New Zealand writer to work at her former home, the Villa Isola Bella. New Zealand’s preeminent short story competition is also named in her honour.

She was the subject of the 1973 BBC miniseries A Picture of Katherine Mansfield starring Vanessa Redgrave. The six-part series included adaptations of Mansfield’s life and of her short stories. In 2011, a biopic film titled “Bliss”, was made of her early beginnings as a writer in New Zealand, played by Kate Elliott and featured on the TVNZ TV-movie series “Sunday Theatre”.

Source Wikipedia –


Famous works by Katherine Mansfield included titles such as:

  • “Germans at Meat” (1911 from In a German Pension)
  • “The Woman At The Store” (1912)
  • “How Pearl Button Was Kidnapped” (1912)
  • “Millie” (1913)
  • “Something Childish But Very Natural” (1914)
  • “The Little Governess” (1915)
  • “Pictures” (1917)
  • “Feuille d’Album” (1917)
  • “A Dill Pickle” (1917)
  • “Je ne parle pas français” (1917)
  • “Prelude” (1918)
  • “An Indiscreet Journey” (1920)
  • “Bliss” (1920)
  • “Miss Brill” (1920)
  • “Psychology” (1920)
  • “Sun and Moon” (1920)
  • “The Wind Blows” (1920)
  • “Mr Reginald Peacock’s Day” (1920)
  • “Marriage à la Mode” (1921)
  • “The Voyage” (1921)
  • “Her First Ball” (1921)
  • “Mr and Mrs Dove” (1921)
  • “Life of Ma Parker” (1921)
  • “The Daughters of the Late Colonel” (1921)
  • “The Little Girl” (1912)
  • “The Stranger” (1921)
  • “The Man Without a Temperament” (1921)
  • “At The Bay” (1922)
  • “The Fly” (1922)
  • “The Garden Party” (1922)
  • “A Cup of Tea” (1922)
  • “The Doll’s House” (1922)
  • “A Married Man’s Story” (1923)
  • “The Canary” (1923)
  • “The Singing Lesson”
  • “An Ideal Family”
  • “Sixpence”

The Katherine Mansfield Google Doodle

The Google Doodle were created using greenish colors, there is a female character in the doodle, presumably Katherine Mansfield holding a piece of cake. In the letter “o” there is what looks like either a house or a tent, making reference to her bohemian lifestyle, this is however only speculation, and could in fact be a drawing from one of her books or short stories.

Although I do not feel particularly enriched by today’s Google Doodle, it were interesting to learn more about “Katherine Mansfield” and her contributions to New Zealand and global literature. Do you know anything interesting about “Katherine Mansfield” that I have missed?