Thursday, July 8, 2010

The bliss of Mansfield

What can you do if you are thirty and, turning the corner of your own street, you are overcome, suddenly, by a feeling of bliss – absolute bliss! – as though you’d suddenly swallowed a bright piece of that late afternoon sun and it burned in your bosom, sending out a little shower of sparks into every particle, into every finger and toe?...”  Katherine Mansfield.
Mansfield fan, scholar and poet, Elizabeth Welsh reports on the recent Katherine Mansfield symposium in Melbourne, and explains how reading the passage above aged 14 sent her in pursuit of the provocative, elusive, brilliant Mansfield. Her enthusiasm is, quite frankly, infectious. And the paper she delivered? ‘Mansfield’s ellipses as phenomenological markers of time’. You've got to be a fan...

She begins her report:
As a scholar, enthusiast and society member I was recently fortunate enough to attend Katherine Mansfield, the ‘Underworld’ and the ‘Blooms Berries’Symposium held in the UNESCO city of literature, Melbourne.  I was there to present a paper and to soak up all things Mansfield.  Having spent the last five years immersed in Mansfield studies I was in my element. ... more here at Morph magazine.
Elizabeth is our latest Tuesday Poet, too, by the way. You can catch her poetry here. 

And another enthusiast enthuses on the symposium .... this time it's my mate Maggie Rainey-Smith - a near-neighbour, novelist and Mansfield fan who lives within a stone's throw of Mansfield's family bach in Days Bay, Wellington. I guess where Elizabeth's report is 'in the... mind of', Maggie's is 'in the footsteps of':  
First, as I wandered down the wide pavements of Melbourne where the fat autumn leaves lay undisturbed, I marvelled at the difference and also the similarities between Wellington (birthplace of KM) and Melbourne, where the Symposium was being held.   I don’t think Katherine ever visited Melbourne, but it occurred to me that she would have loved it (as it is now), so stylish, cultural, and definitely a place to find a classy tea shop.  more on Beattie's Bookblog. 

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