Katherine Mansfield (Writer) – Overview, Biography

Name:Katherine Mansfield
Occupation: Writer
Birth Day: October 14,
Death Date:9 January 1923(1923-01-09) (aged 34)
Fontainebleau, Île-de-France, France
Age: Aged 34
Birth Place: Wellington,
New Zealand
Zodiac Sign:Scorpio

Katherine Mansfield

Katherine Mansfield was born on October 14, 1888 in Wellington, New Zealand (34 years old). Katherine Mansfield is a Writer, zodiac sign: Scorpio. Nationality: New Zealand. Approx. Net Worth: Undisclosed.

Net Worth 2020

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Family Members

#NameRelationshipNet WorthSalaryAgeOccupation
#1Leslie Heron Beauchamp Siblings N/A N/A N/A
#2Jeanne Beauchamp Siblings N/A N/A N/A

Does Katherine Mansfield Dead or Alive?

As per our current Database, Katherine Mansfield died on 9 January 1923(1923-01-09) (aged 34)
Fontainebleau, Île-de-France, France.


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Biography Timeline


Kathleen Mansfield Beauchamp was born in 1888 into a socially prominent family in Thorndon, Wellington, New Zealand. Her grandfather Arthur Beauchamp briefly represented the Picton electorate in parliament. Her father Harold Beauchamp became the chairman of the Bank of New Zealand and was knighted in 1923. Her mother was Annie Burnell Beauchamp (née Dyer), whose brother married the daughter of Richard Seddon. Her extended family included the author Countess Elizabeth von Arnim, and her great-great-uncle was Victorian artist Charles Robert Leslie.


Mansfield had two elder sisters, a younger sister and a younger brother. In 1893, for health reasons, the Beauchamp family moved from Thorndon to the country suburb of Karori, where Mansfield spent the happiest years of her childhood. She used some of those memories as an inspiration for the short story “Prelude”.


The family returned to Wellington in 1898. Mansfield’s first printed stories appeared in the High School Reporter and the Wellington Girls’ High School magazine. in 1898 and 1899. Her first formally published story “His Little Friend” appeared the following year in a society magazine, New Zealand Graphic and Ladies Journal.


In 1902 Mansfield became enamoured of Arnold Trowell, a cellist, although her feelings were for the most part not reciprocated. Mansfield was herself an accomplished cellist, having received lessons from Trowell’s father.


She moved to London in 1903, where she attended Queen’s College along with her sisters. Mansfield recommenced playing the cello, an occupation that she believed she would take up professionally, but she also began contributing to the college newspaper with such dedication that she eventually became its editor. She was particularly interested in the works of the French Symbolists and Oscar Wilde, and she was appreciated among her peers for her vivacious and charismatic approach to life and work.


Mansfield had two romantic relationships with women that are notable for their prominence in her journal entries. She continued to have male lovers, and attempted to repress her feelings at certain times. Her first same-sex romantic relationship was with Maata Mahupuku (sometimes known as Martha Grace), a wealthy young Māori woman whom she had first met at Miss Swainson’s school in Wellington and then again in London in 1906. In June 1907, she wrote:


She often referred to Maata as Carlotta. She wrote about Maata in several short stories. Maata married in 1907, but it is claimed that she sent money to Mansfield in London. The second relationship, with Edith Kathleen Bendall, took place from 1906 to 1908. Mansfield also professed her adoration for her in her journals.


After having returned to London in 1908, Mansfield quickly fell into a bohemian way of life. She published only one story and one poem during her first 15 months there. Mansfield sought out the Trowell family for companionship, and while Arnold was involved with another woman, Mansfield embarked on a passionate affair with his brother Garnet. By early 1909, she had become pregnant by Garnet though Trowell’s parents disapproved of the relationship, and the two broke up. She then hastily entered into a marriage with George Bowden, a teacher of singing 11 years her senior; they were married on 2 March, but she left him the same evening, before the marriage could be consummated.


After Mansfield had a brief reunion with Garnet, Mansfield’s mother, Annie Beauchamp, arrived in 1909. She blamed the breakdown of the marriage to Bowden on a lesbian relationship between Mansfield and Baker, and she quickly had her daughter dispatched to the spa town of Bad Wörishofen in Bavaria, Germany where Mansfield miscarried. It is not known whether her mother knew of this miscarriage when she left shortly after arriving in Germany, but she cut Mansfield out of her will.


Mansfield’s time in Bavaria had a significant effect on her literary outlook. In particular, she was introduced to the works of Anton Chekhov. Some biographers accuse her of plagiarizing Chekhov with one of her early short stories. She returned to London in January 1910. She then published more than a dozen articles in Alfred Richard Orage’s socialist magazine The New Age, and became a friend and lover of Beatrice Hastings, who lived with Orage. Her experiences of Germany formed the foundation of her first published collection, In a German Pension (1911), which she later described as “immature”.

In 1910, Mansfield submitted a lightweight story to Rhythm a new avant-garde magazine. The piece was rejected by the magazine’s editor John Middleton Murry, who requested something darker. Mansfield responded with a tale of murder and mental illness titled, “The Woman at the Store”. Mansfield was inspired at this time by Fauvism.


Mansfield and Murry began a relationship in 1911 that culminated in their marriage in 1918, although she had left him in 1911 and again in 1913. The characters Gudrun and Gerald in D.H. Lawrence’s Women in Love are based on Mansfield and Murry.


The publisher of Rhythm, Charles Granville (sometimes known as Stephen Swift), absconded to Europe in October 1912, and left Murry responsible for the debts the magazine had accumulated. Mansfield pledged her father’s allowance towards the magazine, but it was discontinued, being reorganised as The Blue Review in 1913 and folding after three issues. Mansfield and Murry were persuaded by their friend Gilbert Cannan to rent a cottage next to his windmill in Cholesbury, Buckinghamshire in 1913, in an attempt to alleviate Mansfield’s ill health. In January 1914, the couple moved to Paris, in the hope that a change of setting would make writing easier for both of them. Mansfield wrote only one story during her time there, “Something Childish But Very Natural”, before Murry was recalled to London to declare bankruptcy.


Mansfield had a brief affair with the French writer Francis Carco in 1914. Her visit to him in Paris in February 1915 is retold in her story “An Indiscreet Journey”.


Mansfield’s life and work were changed by the death of her younger brother Leslie Beauchamp, known as “Chummie” to his family. In October 1915, he was killed during a grenade training drill while serving with the British Expeditionary Force in Ypres Salient, Belgium, aged 21. She began to take refuge in nostalgic reminiscences of their childhood in New Zealand. In a poem describing a dream she had shortly after his death, she wrote:

At the beginning of 1917, Mansfield and Murry separated, although he continued to visit her at her new apartment. Ida Baker, whom Mansfield often called, with a mixture of affection and disdain, her “wife”, moved in with her shortly afterwards. Mansfield entered into her most prolific period of writing after 1916, which began with several stories, including “Mr Reginald Peacock’s Day” and “A Dill Pickle”, being published in The New Age. Virginia Woolf and her husband Leonard, who had recently set up the Hogarth Press, approached her for a story, and Mansfield presented to them “Prelude”, which she had begun writing in 1915 as “The Aloe”. The story depicts a New Zealand family moving house.


In December 1917, at the age of 29, Mansfield was diagnosed with pulmonary tuberculosis. For part of spring and summer 1918, she joined her close friend the American painter Anne Estelle Rice at Looe in Cornwall, in the hope of recovering. While there, Rice painted a portrait of her dressed in red, a vibrant colour Mansfield liked and suggested herself. The Portrait of Katherine Mansfield is now held by the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.


By April, Mansfield’s divorce from Bowden had been finalised, and she and Murry married, only to part again two weeks later. They came together again, however, and in March 1919 Murry became editor of The Athenaeum, a magazine for which Mansfield wrote more than 100 book reviews (collected posthumously as Novels and Novelists). During the winter of 1918–19 she and Baker stayed in a villa in San Remo, Italy. Their relationship came under strain during this period; after she wrote to Murry to express her feelings of depression, he stayed over Christmas. Although her relationship with Murry became increasingly distant after 1918 and the two often lived apart, this intervention of his spurred her on, and she wrote “The Man Without a Temperament”, the story of an ill wife and her long-suffering husband. Mansfield followed her first collection of short stories, Bliss (1920), with another collection, The Garden Party and Other Stories, published in 1922.


Rejecting the idea of staying in a sanatorium on the grounds that it would cut her off from writing, she moved abroad to avoid the English winter. She stayed at a half-deserted, cold hotel in Bandol, France, where she became depressed but continued to produce stories, including “Je ne parle pas français”. “Bliss”, the story that lent its name to her second collection of stories in 1920, was also published in 1918. Her health continued to deteriorate and she had her first lung haemorrhage in March.


In May 1921, Mansfield, accompanied by her friend Ida Baker, travelled to Switzerland to investigate the tuberculosis treatment of the Swiss bacteriologist Henri Spahlinge. From June 1921, Murry joined her and they rented the Chalet des Sapins in the Montana region (now Crans-Montana), until January 1922. Baker rented separate accommodation in Montana village and worked at a clinic there. The Chalet des Sapins was only a “1/2 an hours scramble away” from the Chalet Soleil at Randogne, the home of Mansfield’s first cousin, once removed, the Australian-born writer Elizabeth von Arnim, who visited Mansfield and Murry often during this period. Von Arnim was the first cousin of Mansfield’s father. They got on well, although Mansfield considered her wealthier cousin, who had in 1919 separated from her second husband Frank Russell, the elder brother of Bertrand Russell, to be rather patronising. It was a highly productive period of Mansfield’s writing as she felt she did not have much time left. “At the Bay”, “The Doll’s House”, “The Garden Party” and “A Cup of Tea” were written in Switzerland.


Mansfield spent her last years seeking increasingly unorthodox cures for her tuberculosis. In February 1922, she went to Paris to have a controversial X-ray treatment from the Russian physician Ivan Manoukhin. The treatment was expensive and caused unpleasant side effects, without improving her condition.

From 4 June to 16 August 1922 Mansfield and Murry returned to Switzerland, living in a hotel in Randogne. Mansfield finished “The Canary”, the last short story she completed, on 7 July 1922. She wrote her will at the hotel on 14 August 1922. They went to London for six weeks before Mansfield, along with Ida Baker, moved to Fontainebleau, France on 16 October 1922.


Mansfield suffered a fatal pulmonary haemorrhage on 9 January 1923, after running up a flight of stairs. She died within the hour, and was buried at Cimetiere d’Avon, Avon, near Fontainebleau. Because Murry forgot to pay for her funeral expenses, she was initially buried in a pauper’s grave; when matters were rectified, her casket was moved to its current resting place.

Mansfield was a prolific writer in the final years of her life. Much of her work remained unpublished at her death, and Murry took on the task of editing and publishing it in two additional volumes of short stories (The Dove’s Nest in 1923, and Something Childish in 1924); a volume of poems; The Aloe; Novels and Novelists; and collections of her letters and journals.


Mansfield was the subject of a 1973 BBC miniseries, A Picture of Katherine Mansfield, starring Vanessa Redgrave. The six-part series included depictions of Mansfield’s life and adaptations of her short stories. In 2011, a television biopic titled Bliss was made of her early beginnings as a writer in New Zealand; in this she was played by Kate Elliott.

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Currently, Katherine Mansfield is 133 years, 0 months and 7 days old. Katherine Mansfield will celebrate 134th birthday on a Friday 14th of October 2022.

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