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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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Early Writings and Rites of Passage

Early Writings and Rites of Passage

(p.111) 5 Early Writings and Rites of Passage
Katherine Mansfield and Virginia Woolf

Angela Smith

Oxford University Press

In an unfinished story by Katherine Mansfield called ‘Weak Heart’, an adolescent boy hurtles away from a funeral and runs back to the home of the girl who has just been buried. This chapter pivots on literal and metaphorical voyages made by girls and young women in the fiction of Mansfield and Virginia Woolf, beginning with works that they wrote before they met and read each other’s writing, The Urewera Notebook, ‘The Woman at the Store’, ‘The Wind Blows’, and The Voyage Out, and then looking at the thematically similar stories they produced at the time when their relationship with each other was at its most influential, ‘The Garden Party’ and ‘Kew Gardens’. Various tropes are repeated within these voyages and journeys: pianos, the sea, and encounters with indigenous people that raise the complex question of colonialism in the writings of Woolf and Mansfield. The fiction by Woolf and Mansfield concerning journeys and rites of passage explores what Julia Kristeva describes as being strangers to ourselves, our own foreignness.

Keywords:   Virginia Woolf, Katherine Mansfield, Weak Heart, rites of passage, voyages, girls, fiction, indigenous people, pianos, colonialism

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