The Scrapbook of Katherine Mansfield

Edited by J. Middleton Murry
KATHERINE MANSFIELD could never write anything insipid or undistinguished. In her sketches existence becomes like a drop of water seen under a microscope, a substance teeming with unsuspected activity. Life is strung to such a pitch of sensitivity, charged with such meaning, illumined with such darting physical and emotional perceptions, that normal living becomes a mere blur. Some of these fragments are as good as anything she published, but they are not ‘sharp’ enough for her own fastidious taste: ‘it’s like eating a bunch of grapes instead of a grape of caviare.’ The other ‘scraps’ are passages from her journal, with its recurring themes of her desolate loneliness and desperate pain, and the torture and humiliation of an unequal love.