Book summary: The Collected Letters of Katherine Mansfield: Volume Three: 1919-1920

1993 BY KATHERINE MANSFIELD

The third volume of the Collected Letters of Katherine Mansfield covers the eight months she spent in Italy and the South of France between the English summers of 1919 and 1920. It was a time of intense personal reassessment and distress. Mansfield's relationship with her husband John Middleton Murry was bitterly tested, and most of the letters in this present volume chart that rich and enduring partnership through its severest trial. This was a time, too, when Mansfield came to terms with the closing off of possibilities that her illness entailed. Without flamboyance or fuss, she felt it necessary to discard earlier loyalties and even friendships, as she sought a spiritual standpoint that might turn her illness to less negative ends. For all the grimness of this period of her life, Mansfield's letters still offer the joie de vivre and wit, self-perception and lively frankness that make her correspondence such rewarding reading--an invaluable record of a "modern" woman and her time.

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