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Kathleen Jones
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $27.95
Kindle Price: $4.30
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Book Description

The compelling, intimate, and often controversial, story of Katherine Mansfield -- one of the world's greatest short story writers – the only writer Virginia Woolf confessed to being afraid of. Kathleen Jones has been the beneficiary of a mass of previously unavailable material relating to Mansfield and her husband John Middleton Murry. Weaving together intimate details from Katherine Mansfield's letters and journals with the writings of her friends and acquaintances, Jones vividly evokes the tragic, but courageous, drama of this fragile yet feisty author: her life, loves and her passion for writing. The biography takes us beyond Mansfield's death in 1923 to explore the life of her husband, John Middleton Murry -- and his relationship with three further wives -- as he manipulated the posthumous publication of Mansfield's unpublished work. In this vivid portrayal of one of the world's foremost short story writers, the first new biography for a quarter of a century, Kathleen Jones crafts an intriguing narrative of Katherine Mansfield's relationships, health issues and creativity.
‘I read it with huge enjoyment - I think it's by far the best Katherine Mansfield biography yet - giving a truthful but still sympathetic portrait.’ --Jacqueline Wilson, novelist & patron of the Katherine Mansfield Society
‘A marvellous, innovative biography - Kathleen Jones conveys the living presence of Katherine Mansfield in the present tense, so that one feels . . . her continued presence. She conveys the full complexity of Mansfield's character with understanding and without bias . . . What Middleton Murry made of her has a parallel fascination; the contrasts of the living reality and the purified legend, an ephemeral construct appropriately narrated in the past tense, were striking.’ --Lyndall Gordon, biographer
‘A compelling narrative of a writer's passion for her work, her growth to maturity and the extraordinary trajectory which took a plump, awkward, rebellious little girl from a rigidly conventional family halfway across the world and into a culture of artistic, social and sexual experimentation.’ --Helen Dunmore, novelist

Editorial Reviews


I read this with huge enjoyment. I think it's by far the best Katherine Mansfield biography yet, giving a truthful yet still sympathetic portrait.

(Jacqueline Wilson, patron of the Katherine Mansfield Society)

A compelling narrative of a writer's passion for her work, her growth to maturity, and the extraordinary trajectory which took a plump, awkward, rebellious little girl from a rigidly conventional family halfway across the world and into a culture of artistic, social, and sexual experimentation.

(Helen Dunmore, author of The Betrayal )

Jones writes with insight and verve and an intelligent sympathy as her story is set out against those overlapping literary and social worlds the writer passes through. A mass of material unavailable to earlier biographers makes this new telling richly detailed and compelling.

(Vincent O'Sullivan, coeditor of The Collected Letters of Katherine Mansfield)

What [emerges] with indisputable clarity from Jones's skillful use of her sources is a portrait of Mansfield, stylish and febrile, cigarette in one hand, pen in the other, relishing life, scrutinizing it with her keen intelligence, and recording her perceptions in a voice that continues to unsettle and surprise.

(Pamela Norris Literary Review)

About the Author

Kathleen Jones is Royal Literary Fund Fellow at the Lancaster University.

Product Details

  • File Size: 6367 KB
  • Print Length: 528 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: The Book Mill (December 19, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00AR14SIC
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #466,321 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Jones has woven the life of Mansfield into an eminently readable story. I again read Mansfield's stories in one hand with this biography in the other, which added another layer of complexity to both! Highly recommended!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It adds to our understanding December 22, 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is the most comprehensive and in-depth biography of Mansfield that I have come across. After reading it I have a greater understanding and appreciation of her life, and the fact that she produced such masterpieces as "The Garden Party" in spite of the daunting difficulties of her personal life and her struggles with illness.
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Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
As the other reviewers have indicated, this book is a welcome addition to Mansfield studies and
an improvement even on the classic biography by Claire Tomalin. But what makes it utterly unique
is that it is actually a joint biography of Mansfield and her husband, the mostly reviled literary critic
John Middleton Murry. Why that fact is not indicated in the title is beyond me. Perhaps the publishers
thought that it would be a turn-off -- after all, Murry mostly serves as an irritating footnote in the more
interesting lives and tragic early deaths of his wife Mansfield and his friend D. H. Lawrence. But this
book does its part to kick off a quiet reassessment of Murry's importance in English literary modernism,
as it goes on to cover Murry's three later marriages and the course of his work after Mansfield's death.

This author has shown herself able to evoke the inner feeling of a household (taking you into the homes
and families of the English poets Wordsworth and Southey in her book A Passionate Sisterhood). In
this book, she takes you not only into the places where Murry lived with Mansfield but also into the places
where he lived with his next three wives. Most importantly, this is one of the best evocations I've come across
of what it is like to grow up with an abusive stepmother. Murry's children (two of whom wrote excellent
memoirs of their own) grew up under the reign of terror of his third wife. This book had me there with them --
to the point that I had to knock one star off because the author did not follow up with an epilogue regarding
the later fate of Murry's children. This book compelled me to follow up with research and some further reading
of my own -- Katherine Middleton Murry's memoir (Beloved Quixote) is also strongly recommended.
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More About the Author

KATHLEEN JONES was born and brought up on a hill farm in the English Lake District and now lives with her partner, sculptor Neil Ferber, in a small house in an olive grove in northern Italy while working on another book. She has been writing since she was a child and has published twelve books including nine biographies, a novel and a collection of poetry. She lived for ten years in Africa and the Middle East, where she worked for the Qatar Broadcasting Corporation. Since then she has written extensively for BBC radio and contributed to several television documentaries.

Kathleen is best known for her award-winning biographies, but has also published poetry, feature articles and short fiction in a variety of national and international magazines and newspapers. Her short stories have been broadcast on BBC Radio and on radio networks in Holland, Germany and Spain. She was one of the featured authors in the recent 'Save our Short Story Anthology' compiled by the Arts Council. As a journalist Kathleen has written articles and reviews for the Independent, the Guardian, the Daily Express, and the TLS, as well as magazines such as SHE and Cosmo.

Kathleen Jones is an enthusiastic blogger, writing an on-line journal 'A Writer's Life' and a book review blog. She is part of the 'Tuesday Poem' group, based in New Zealand. Kathleen regularly leads creative writing workshops for fiction, poetry and life writing. In September each year she also tutors a residential writing course at Peralta in Italy.

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