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Katherine Mansfield and Virginia WoolfA Public of Two$
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Angela Smith

Print publication date: 1999

Print ISBN-13: 9780198183983

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198183983.001.0001

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A Common Certain Understanding

A Common Certain Understanding

Chapter:
(p.30) 2 A Common Certain Understanding
Source:
Katherine Mansfield and Virginia Woolf
Author(s):

Angela Smith

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198183983.003.0002

In spite of Virginia Woolf’s insistence in her personal writing on the significance of her relationship with Katherine Mansfield, some of her biographers pay scant attention to it, although this is not true of Mansfield’s major biographers, Antony Alpers and Claire Tomalin, who each include a chapter on the friendship. Though they were literally foreigners to each other, with Mansfield prizing her colonial childhood increasingly as she grew older, they had border crossings in common: those traced in this chapter concern their abjection in illness, their bisexuality, their responses to childlessness, and their complex gender relationships with their editor husbands and with their fathers, as they move from late-Victorian childhood to young womanhood at the beginning of the new century. There is throughout the record of the relationship in the letters and diaries of the two writers a sense of Woolf’s intensity of feeling for Mansfield: admiration, love, and the hatred that stems from jealousy.

Keywords:   Virginia Woolf, Katherine Mansfield, friendship, abjection, illness, bisexuality, gender relationships, letters, diaries, jealousy

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