International Katherine Mansfield 100 Festival
* Online *
17-19 November 2023
(9am-3pm NZ Time + Repeat 12 hours later at 9pm-3am)
Festival Schedule, Friday, November 17, 2023
10:00 am - 10:30 am Lecture: "Two Lost Works by Katherine Mansfield" (Martin Griffiths, Scholar, NZ)
11:30 am - 12:00 pm Partial Concert 1: "Catch 23" (Sherry Grant, Pianist, NZ)
12:00 pm - 12:30 pm Lunch break (Poetry Reading)
12:30 pm - 1:30 pm Documentary: A Portrait of Katherine Mansfield (Gillian Greer, NZ + Julienne Stretton, Director, NZ + Sue Kedgley, Producer, NZ)
Festival Schedule, Saturday, November 18, 2023
9:00 am - 9:30 am Short Film + Presentation: 'At the Bay' (John Horrocks, co-Director, NZ + Anne Manchester, c0-Director, NZ + Ali Carew, Presenter, NZ) (Supported by Eastebourne-Bays Community Trust)
10:00 am-10:30 pm Announcement of Winners at International KM100NZ Haiku Competition, Comments and Haiku Readings from around the world (Video in 2 Parts)
10:30 am - 11:00 am Introduction of "Child of the Sun" (by 12 NZ Composers Peter Adams + Yvette Audain + Ross James Carey + Ben Fernandez + Thomas Goss + David Hamilton + Janet Jennings + Nigel Keay + Michael Norris + Andrew Perkins + Anthony Ritchie + Kenneth Young & Mezzo Soprano Tessa Romano + Pianist Sherry Grant)
11:00 am - 12:00 pm Full Concert 3: "Child of the Sun" World Premiere @ Marama Hall, Otago Univeristy, Dunedin, NZ (Tessa Romano, Mezzo Soprano, NZ + Sherry Grant, Pianist, NZ) (In 2 Parts)
12:00 am - 12:30 pm Lunch break (Poetry Reading)
12:30 pm - 1:00 pm Talk: "Being Katherine: Seeing the World Through Katherine Mansfield's Eyes" by Sherry & Zoe Grant (NZ) - coming soon!
1:00 pm - 1:30 pm Interview with Alwv Oshg Gvli (Artist/Singer, USA)
Festival Schedule, Sunday, November 19, 2023
9:00 am - 10:00 am Keynote Lecture: "‘Sun, roses, fruit, warmth’: Mansfield, Lawrence and Huxley on the Med" by Keynote Speaker Dr Gerri Kimber (Festival Patron, UK) [copyrighted material]
10:00 am - 10:30 am Interview with Claire Davison (Scholar, UK) on "Virginia Woolf & Katherine Mansfield" [copyrighted material]
11:00 am - 12:00 pm Full Concert 5: "Katherine Mansfield et la Musique" (Isabelle Dutel, Pianist, France + Sebastien Hurtaud, Cellist + Nigel Keay, Violist + Kayla Collingwood, Contralto) given in Avon, France (In 2 Parts)
12:15pm -12:30 pm Lunch break
1:20 pm -3:00 pm Closing remarks by Festival Patron Gerri Kimber
*Note: Zoe Grant (aged 9, Judge of the KM100NZ Haiku Competition Junior Division, NZ) will be announcing the winners of the Junior Division and reading the winning poems
Martin Griffiths (KM Scholar & Cellist, NZ): Two Lost Works by Katherine Mansfield
Recently, I found two lost works by Katherine Mansfield that have musical content. “Praeludium Chopins (to T. C.)” by “K. Mansfield” – a prose-poem and a reworking of Katherine Mansfield’s “Vignette: I look out through the window”, – was published in ‘The Cremona’: A Record of the String World in London in July 1909. The appearance of concert reviews by ‘Caesar’ alongside the poem suggests that Arnold and Garnet Trowell –– cellist and violinist, respectively ––were intermediaries between the writer and the London music magazine. Notably, the title invokes the piano preludes of Frédéric Chopin, as played by the Venezuelan American pianist Teresa Carreño (the dedicatee). The influence of Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass is evident in the poem. Mansfield appears to have introduced Floryan Sobieniowski, her Bavarian lover, to Whitman in 1909. Further, Sobieniowski seems to have played a role in the publication of “The Chorus Girl and the Tariff”, the other lost work, and the first by the New Zealand-born author to use the byline “Katherine Mansfield”.
Sue Casson (Singer Songwriter, UK): A Two Tigers Taster
Over 30 years ago Two Tigers, a musical drama about the life of Katherine Mansfield and her relationship with John Middleton Murry, was the first musical by a woman to be shortlisted for the PRS Vivian Ellis Prize. It was produced in London and Edinburgh in 1988 – the centenary of Mansfield’s birth. For the centenary of her death, Sue returned to that show to re-imagine it in the light of the material and research that has emerged in the ‘lifetime’ since. A presentation - in music and words - offering a glimpse of the new show which premiered at the Edinburgh Fringe this summer.
Juliane Roemhild (Senior Lecturer & Author, Australia): TBC
Katherine Mansfield’s story “At the Bay” offers a kaleidoscope of the everyday in a little summer colony by the beach. As the day unfolds, it captures off-hand nature of conversations among the members of the Burnell household, which yet involve all the big themes of life: the love of children, marriage, vocation, romance, death, autonomy, etc. In my presentation I would like show how Mansfield’s story can be used for bibliotherapy and talk about my experiences of reading it together with a group of librarians as part of a Shared Reading project at La Trobe University, Melbourne.
Jia Qiong (Scholar, China/NZ)
An Ecofeminist Study of Katherine Mansfield and Xiao Hong
Katherine Mansfield was introduced to China by Chinese poet Xu Zhimo. Xu visited Mansfield in London and translated eight of her short stories into Chinese.
Living in the same era, Chinese woman writer, Xiao Hong, bears striking similarities in life experiences and creative talents with Mansfield. This comparative study adopts an ecofeminist lens to analyze the oppression of animals and women in Burnell sequence and Hong’s novel. It also explores the human-nonhuman interactions and interdependence in both authors through an ecofeminist reinterpretation to negate the supremacy of the anthropocentric mindset, urging men to confront the social and environmental crises.
Hannah Wen-Shan Shieh (Scholar, Taiwan):
Restlessness Transformed: Revisiting the Metaphor of Tuberculosis
in Katherine Mansfield’s Notebooks and Letters
Part one of this presentation builds on Sontag’s notion that TB patients are seen as “restless” and on Mary Burgan’s view that the sense of urgency in Katherine Mansfield’s writing comes from a “a conscious defense against fragmentation.” Part two argues that the detailed descriptions in her letters and diary entries in her notebooks of her symptoms and her far-flung search for a suitable treatment manifest Mansfield’s restlessness, and contrast this with Sontag’s view that Mansfield regarded TB as “a disease of the soul” intractable to conventional medical treatment. Part three draws on Clark Lawlor’s argument that “narratives of consumption were still performing certain important discursive functions in society” and Katherine Byrne’s observation that in the twentieth century TB was transformed from a private disease into a “public experience” involving medical intervention, and explores the role played by the metaphor of TB in Mansfield’s writing. By making a detailed analysis of the accounts in her notebooks and letters of the suffering she encountered in her battle with TB, I present a plausible alternative to Burgan’s view that Mansfield had succumbed to “the narcissistic self-absorption of invalidism.” I also argue that the restlessness found in Mansfield’s work should be viewed more productively than Sontag sees it. In other words, Mansfield’s restlessness resulted from her being diagnosed with a fatal disease, but she transmuted it into the driving force behind her writing, which became for her a way of facing her impending demise. Mansfield quotes various nineteenth-century writers who suffered from TB as a way to make meaningful her own painful experience of illness and treatment. At the same time, the self-mocking tone in which she writes about her experience of TB indicates that she is keenly aware of the difference between these male Romantic poets and herself, and that she does not indulge in the Romantic myth of TB, as Burgan claims.
Cherie Jacobson (KMHG Director, NZ): “Katherine Mansfield's Birthplace and the Century Year of the Death"
Cherie will share the story of the house Katherine Mansfield was born in and its restoration by passionate locals to create a historic house museum that is now open to the public six days a week. This year, Katherine Mansfield House & Garden has worked with many organisations on activities and events to mark the centenary of Mansfield’s death so Cherie will also provide an overview of some of that activity. Cherie has been the Director of the Katherine Mansfield House and Garden since 2019, during which time she has curated exhibitions such as Costuming Katherine and EKB: Artist and Friend and collaborated on the publication Woman in Love: Katherine Mansfield’s Love Letters. Cherie has a background as a theatre maker, producer and venue manager and has worked as a researcher, writer and curator in the heritage sector.
Carole M. Cusack (Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Sydney, Australia): Katherine Mansfield and G. I Gurdjieff: A Spiritual Encounter
The New Zealand writer Katherine Mansfield (1888-1923) died at G. I. Gurdjieff’s Institute for the Harmonious Development of Man at the Prieuré des Basses Loges, Fontainebleau-Avon on 9 January 1923. Diagnosed with tuberculosis in 1918, she had little time left when she arrived at the Prieuré on 17 October 1922, having joined A. R. Orage’s circle of Gurdjieffians in London in August 1922 and heard P. D. Ouspensky lecture a few times. Gurdjieff was held responsible by for her death by hostile critics, but there is evidence that his teachings, and the care of his pupils, comforted her last months. This presentation examines the record of Mansfield and Gurdjieff’s interactions and compares it to a fictional about Mansfield’s time at the Prieuré, the play The Rivers of China by Alma de Groen (b. 1941), herself a female writer from New Zealand, for whom Mansfield’s life and death are primarily read through the lens of feminism.
Gerri Kimber (Festival Patron/Keynote Speaker, UK): ‘Sun, roses, fruit, warmth’: Mansfield, Lawrence and Huxley on the Med
From the mid-nineteenth century up to the Second World War, the French Mediterranean coast was perceived as a health-restoring refuge for sufferers of tuberculosis, with its mild climate and proximity to the sea. In addition, for writers
and artists in particular, the beauty of the Mediterranean landscape frequently provided creative inspiration. Katherine Mansfield, D. H. Lawrence and Aldous Huxley were three writers all of whom had, intermittently, shared a close friendship. All three would travel to the south of France, in Bandol, staying at the same hotel – the Beau Rivage – at different times, and for different reasons. This talk will explore the time spent by all three writers in Bandol and Sanary-sur-Mer, another town Mansfield knew well, and assess the influence the area had on their creativity.
Kathleen Jones (Scholar/Author, UK): Looking for Kathleen Beauchamp
I was seventeen, alone and lost in London when I first encountered the author who shared my name – a name she abandoned when she came to Europe. ‘Katherine Mansfield’ was a fiction – her own creation. She was born Kathleen Beauchamp in New Zealand and, under all her other identities, she remained Kathleen Beauchamp to the bone. If you want to know who she is, you have to go to New Zealand to find her. As her biographer, that’s where I began. A.S. Byatt argued that biography is a ‘bastard form’, and it’s true that writing a biography is an odd business. It’s rather like a found novel – you’re given the characters, the plot and some of the dialogue and you have to bring the story to life. Where the subject is also a writer it becomes even more complicated. Kathleen/Katherine wrote her own life in diaries and letters. Writing her biography became an intricate dance between her account and the one I was creating. Autobiographers are notoriously unreliable narrators. Research for a biography is both a detective game and a journey – physical and intellectual. You are tracking your subject, looking for traces, entries in hotel registers, shipping manifests, rail tickets, electoral rolls. It’s exciting, particularly when you find things that no one else has found. But it’s also demanding. You have the weight of academic discipline on your shoulders, juggling the novelist's duty to recreate the character so that it lives for the reader, against the scholar’s duty to weigh all available evidence like a lawyer and to argue the case successfully for your chosen subject. Discovering and interpreting the life is a puzzle you may never be able to solve even though you are given all the available clues. And so it proved with Kathleen/Katherine. ‘There’s always just one secret,’ she wrote in her journal, ‘just one – that can never be told’.
Janet Wilson (Scholar, NZ/UK): Seeking the modern woman: Katherine Mansfield’s German Pension stories
In several of her satires In a German Pension, Mansfield considers the concept of the ‘modern’ woman. In this paper I suggest that the protagonist of ‘The Advanced Lady’ may have been inspired by the German antifeminist writer Laura Marholm, whose controversial Study in the Psychology of Women, (1896), promoted women as strong protectors of weak and feeble men in a degenerate
world. The double standards of the so-called modern women in her story ‘The Advanced Lady’ and of the sapphic heroine in the story ‘A Modern Soul’ who, despite their artistic ambitions and liberated stance, remain dominated by conventional patriarchal expectations, enables her to satirise them as false images of the modern (as she was coming to understand it). Referring to the debates in Germany at this time on ‘the woman question’, and the arguments of Marholm, I examine Mansfield’s critical depictions of the modern woman in these stories, especially in ‘The Advanced Lady’. Her views on such issues as woman’s suffrage and domestic identity were still evolving in 1909, when she spent six months in Bad Wörishofen, a time when she was paying the price of her bid for sexual freedom with pregnancy and abandonment by her lover Garnet Trowell, as well as her mother, who took her to Bad Wörishofen, then returned to New Zealand. At this time she was attempting to establish her pathway as a writer and free spirit, seeking a form of self knowledge though art, though also longing for partnership, domesticity and children. Finally I suggest that Mansfield’s seemingly fragmentary conceptualisation of the ‘advanced’ female heroine at this stage of her writing life constructs a dialectic between the traditional and modern, the bound and freed, that will resurface as a dominant tension in later stories.
More to come soon...