Bowler, RM (2011) ‘“The beauty of your line – the life behind it”: Katherine Mansfield and the Double Impression’. Katherine Mansfield Studies, 3 (1). ISSN 2041-451X

[thumbnail of Katherine Mansfield and the double Impression Rebecca Bowler.doc] Text
Katherine Mansfield and the double Impression Rebecca Bowler.doc - Accepted Version

Download (86kB)


This article examines Katherine Mansfield's aesthetics and attitude to the relation between what she called ‘life’ and work, the visual and the intellectual. It emphasises doubleness both in Mansfield's selves and in her aesthetics, a doubleness which led her to experiment with the literary impression. ‘The Meaning of Rhythm’, that manifesto for the privileging of ‘life’ in art, is read as a manifesto for the primary impression. Mansfield's letters, particularly to the painter Dorothy Brett, are analysed for what they reveal about Mansfield's ideas about ‘life’ and the purely perceptual in art, and one can see her begin to formulate views on what painting should encompass, and what fiction can take from painting. Her review of Dorothy Richardson's Pilgrimage in the Athenaeum is set against the letters in an attempt to delineate her attitude toward the visual and the primary impression in fiction. Jesse Matz's theory of the ‘double impression’ is used as a key to understanding the dichotomy between perception and definition, life and writing, glimpses and recording in Mansfield's fiction and journals, but ultimately I will argue that through her use of the symbol, Mansfield progresses beyond the bounds of literary impressionism and creates her own unity.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Mansfield; impressionism; painting; selves; Henry James; visual; Dorothy Richardson
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PR English literature
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Humanities
Depositing User: Symplectic
Date Deposited: 08 Sep 2016 13:28
Last Modified: 11 Jun 2019 10:58

Actions (login required)

View Item
View Item