Katherine Mansfield’s “hedonistic” period

Katherine Mansfield’s “hedonistic” period

Katherine Mansfield destroyed letters and journals relating to 1909-10, a time when she was in reckless search of ‘life experience’ and had several lovers, a one-night marriage, and probably two aborted pregnancies. Now UK researcher Dr Gerri Kimber – the recipient of the 2015 Friends of Turnbull Library Research Grant – has discovered a folder of 35 poems by Katherine Mansfield dating from this time, in the manuscript collections of the Newberry Library in Chicago. Apparently retained by the London publisher who rejected them for publication in 1910, they were eventually sold to an American buyer who then passed them to the Newberry Library in 1999. Although they were catalogued as poems by Katherine Mansfield, no previous researcher had stumbled on to the realisation that these were not yet included in any listings of KM writing.

Dr Gerri Kimber, a leading authority on Katherine Mansfield, has been working on a new biography of Katherine Mansfield’s early years. She is a tenacious researcher who has already located previously unpublished material relating to KM’s first 19 years in New Zealand. Dr Kimber will use the FoTL Research Grant to visit Wellington in August 2015 to explore the collections of the Alexander Turnbull Library, which is renowned for its substantial archives concerning Mansfield. This material includes the recently acquired literary and personal papers from the estate of John Middleton Murry, Mansfield’s husband.

Gerri Kimber will be speaking at a FoTL public lecture at the National Library of New Zealand on Tuesday 4 August at 5.30pm.

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