When a Modernist Becomes a Realist

Slovakia, ID LLCE2015-217

Although the New Zealand short story writer Katherine Mansfield’s place in English literary canon has long been, at its best, marginal, her classification as a modernist does not usually meet with serious challenge. However, in the course of my research of her work and its reception, I have come across attempts, mostly inspired by ideological reasons, to pass her as a realist. This presentation discusses the reasons for this blatant misrepresentation or rather miscategorization, arguing that Mansfield’s undoubtedly modernist work is rendered vulnerable to similar ideological manipulations mostly due to its seeming simplicity and readability, since, unlike many of her contemporaries and to their obvious dismay, she did not favour the aesthetic of difficulty and embraced the possibilities of literary market.

Key words: Katherine Mansfield, modernism, realism, aesthetic of difficulty








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