Book summary: The Collected Letters of Katherine Mansfield: Volume Two: 1918-September 1919


Volume II of the five-volume Collected Letters begins with Mansfield's stay at Bandol in the early months of 1918 and follows her until she leaves for the Continent in September 1919. This volume, like the first, demonstrates her brilliance as a correspondent--her wit as well as her warmth, her deftness in conveying places and personalities, the vitality of her tastes and enthusiasms--and it also reveals the wide swings and dark alternations of her moods. The letters here are dominated by her love for Middleton Murry, her response to the First World War, and the ways in which she accepted the inevitable advance of her tuberculosis. They are as courageous as they are frank, and shot through with the intelligence and flair that would prompt Virginia Woolf, a few years later, to write that with Mansfield's death she had lost her greatest rival, and the person whose literary opinion she most valued.

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