Form and Content

(Masterpieces of Women's Literature)

The Stories of Katherine Mansfield, edited by Antony Alpers, is the most authoritative and probably the most complete of the collections of Mansfield’s short stories made since her death in 1923. Mansfield is regarded as one of the greatest female authors of the first quarter of the twentieth century. Not only can she be said, along with James Joyce, to have created the modern short story, but almost all of her stories have women as central characters and focus on women’s lives and concerns.

Of the approximately 120 stories that Mansfield left complete or unfinished when she died, this edition prints 85. This number includes the 42 stories that Mansfield published in book form and a representative selection of her other stories. They are divided into thirteen sections, arranged chronologically according to the time they were written. At the end of the volume, Alpers supplies a “Commentary” on each story, telling when it was written and published, as well as supplying essential background information. The “Commentary” also notes stories not printed in this selection.

The thirteen sections of The Stories of Katherine Mansfield show the great range of Mansfield’s stories and allow the reader to follow her development closely. The first two sections contain stories that she wrote as a girl in New Zealand and as a young woman attending Queen’s College in London. A number of these youthful stories contain hints of...

(The entire section is 440 words.)