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Title: La maschera e il racconto : strategie d'identità nella narrativa di Katherine Mansfield
Authors: Di Bari, Marcello
Keywords: Identity in Mansfield’s writingMasks in Mansfield’s writingSearch of identity in Mansfield
Issue Date: 2001
Publisher: EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste
Source: Marcello Di Bari, "La maschera e il racconto : strategie d'identità nella narrativa di Katherine Mansfield", in: Prospero. Rivista di Letterature Straniere, Comparatistica e Studi Culturali, VIII (2001), pp. 53-70
Series/Report no.: Prospero. Rivista di Letterature Straniere, Comparatistica e Studi Culturali
VIII (2001)
Katherine Mansfield’s extraordinary ability to mould her character depending on the situations and the people she was interacting with is especially evident in her letters. Mansfield’s personality was forged through a string of formative events that initiated her into writing: her stay in London, the influence this had on her cultural growth, and the introduction to the Decadent classics. Mansfield was a tormented woman in search of an identity, a quest that led to the adoption of masks and to role-play. Lytton Strachey described her social mask as “wooden made”, a disguise for which she looked remote, seductive, and dreamy, just like an Oriental doll. On the other hand, she could play the mysterious seductress, the needy, remissive wife or the dominant masculine artist, anxious to break the gender based conventions she felt a strong aversion to.
In Mansfield’s work the theme of identity evolves alongside her artistic development, and her characters seem to follow her own life’s path and experiences. Through them, she recreates her own sense of displacement and her dual behaviour. In this reflexion, models of evolution of the characters can be detected, some of which are proposed in the essay as interpretative keys: the meeting with the Shadow, epiphany, multiple voices, the ‘anthropomorphism’ of objects. Mansfield’s search seems to end in solitude. The essay proposes two interpretative hypothesis on this possible result.
Type: Article
ISSN: 1123-2684
Appears in Collections:2001 / 8 Prospero. Rivista di culture anglo-germaniche

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