Book Industry, Books, challenges, history, literary fiction, Reading, short stories

Book Bingo Ten – A forgotten classic

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The second last square I have to fill for this book bingo round is a forgotten classic. For this square, which completes Row One Down and Row Four Across, I read Selected Stories by Katherine Mansfield – the Oxford University Press edition in their World Classics series.

I’m doing something a little different this time, including a full review rather than a summary of one for this book.

About the book:

‘I was jealous of her writing. The only writing I have ever been jealous of.’ Virginia Woolf

Virginia Woolf was not the only writer to admire Mansfield’s work: Thomas Hardy, D. H. Lawrence, and Elizabeth Bowen all praised her stories, and her early death at the age of thirty-four cut short one of the finest short-story writers in the English language.

This selection covers the full range of Mansfield’s fiction, from her early satirical stories to the subtly nuanced comedy of ‘The Daughters of the Late Colonel’ and the macabre and ominous ‘A Married Man’s Story’. The stories that pay what Mansfield calls ‘a debt of love’ to New Zealand are as sharply etched as the European stories, and she recreates her childhood world with mordant insight. Disruption is a constant theme, whether the tone is comic, tragic, nostalgic, or domestic, echoing Mansfield’s disrupted life and the fractured expressions of Modernism.

This new edition increases the selection from 27 to 33 stories and prints them in the order in which they first appeared, in the definitive texts established by Anthony Alpers.
ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World’s Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford’s commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.

The edition I read was published in 2008 and can be bought for around $19.95.


The 33 stories are set in the years before, during and just after World War One, and they give glimpses into a life and society that Katherine grew up in, capturing moments in time – and that therefore, need to be understood in the context of the time and place Katherine was writing in – an early twentieth century England, after a childhood spent in New Zealand, experiences that would have contributed to her world view and the way she wrote.

Each story is its own entity, though there are three or four that involve the same family, and are connected but can also be read as lone stories as well as consecutively and still understood within their individual and collective contexts.

Like many writers, Katherine Mansfield was influenced by the time and places she lived in, and the Great War – a war that inspired many authors, including Katherine’s friend and admirer, Virginia Woolf. I first read several of these short stories during an English course, and read the rest for the book bingo challenge this post is part of.

Katherine Mansfield has a way with words where she hints at what has happened, and where it isn’t always clear, but her stories that end on an ambiguous note such as The Garden Party, are perhaps some of her most interesting stories. With each story very different, the characters show the length and breadth of Katherine’s experiences and encounters in her life. I did wonder which one in my collection, if any had been inspired by what her family had lost during World War One, or if that is relegated to another collection if she wrote one like that at all/

Of all the classics, I have found that not as many people know about Katherine Mansfield compared to other authors such as Jane Austen, Virginia Woolf, and May Gibbs – which is why I have slotted her into this square for this bingo round. Prior to a university course, I had never heard of her, and I feel she is one of those authors who deserves more recognition.

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Row #1 – – BINGO

A book set more than 100 years ago: Rose Raventhorpe Investigates: Hounds and Hauntings by Janine Beacham – AWW2018

A book with a yellow cover: Tin Man by Sarah Winman

A book written by an Australian woman:The Tides Between by Elizabeth Jane Corbett – AWW2018

A forgotten classic: Selected Stories by Katherine Mansfield

A book that became a movie: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

Row #4 – BINGO


A forgotten classic: Selected Stories by Katherine Mansfield

A book with a one-word title: Munmun by Jesse Andrews, Thunderwith by Libby Hathorn – AWW2018

A book with non-human characters: Monty the Sad Puppy by Holly Webb

A funny book: Grandpa, Me and Poetry by Sally Morgan

A book with a number in the title: Four Respectable Ladies Seek Part-Time Husband by Barbara Toner – AWW2018

2 thoughts on “Book Bingo Ten – A forgotten classic”

    1. Thank you, it is at times perhaps a bit conceptual or at least doesn’t always have a satisfying ending, but interesting when one considers she was publishing alongside Virginia Woolf.

      Liked by 1 person

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