Ah, What Is It? ‒ That I Heard

Katherine Mansfield’s Wings of Wonder


The spirit of the narrative is mankind’s reflexive consciousness, or poetic genius ‒ our unique access to ourselves, our desperate endeavour “to be REAL”. It brings to light the dark unknown which is the zest of our lives; it gives shape to the tremor of our inner souls ‒ otherwise nearly imperceptible. “Ah, what is it? ‒ that I heard”, Katherine Mansfield wondered throughout her whole life and writings ‒ poems and stories, letters and notebooks. Through the metamorphic movement of her highly sensitive, perceptive mind, she highlights the deep ambivalence of light and dark, mirth and awe, fear and longing which is the keen feature of our naked existence. She sketches her epic motifs with a dedicated sense of wonder.
A true poet, she returns, as Baudelaire, Keats, Hopkins, Proust, or Shakespeare, to the origins of language ‒ this poignant contrast of light and dark following the alternate rhythm of night and day, of yielding to darkness and converting it into speech: “Let there be light.” Poetic language is performative. It means an everlasting questioning over the abyss ‒ with wings of wonder upon the face of the deep.
This volume will also be of interest to scholars and dedicated readers who wish to share in the current reassessment of Katherine Mansfield’s poetic achievement. Her awareness of the literary tradition and modernity, the utmost finesse of her artistic thought, the boldness of her temper make her a major twentieth-century poet.

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Foreword, by Vincent O’Sullivan
Chapter 1. The “Thoughtful Child” in Love with Words: Katherine Mansfield’s Achievement of Joy
Chapter 2. “Ah, What Is It ? – That I Heard”: The Sense of Wonder in Katherine Mansfield’s Stories and Poems
Chapter 3. “And God Saw that It Was Good”: Katherine Mansfield and the Bible
Chapter 4. “And He Handed Her an Egg”: The Art of Memory in “Feuille d’Album”, Katherine Mansfield and Proust
Chapter 5. Birds … Swelling and Dying, in Katherine Mansfield’s Stories and Poems – the Sadness of It, the Voice
Chapter 6. Revelations on the Train and Other Means of Metamorphosis and Rhythm in Katherine Mansfield’s Work
Chapter 7. “Palpable Darkness” – “O My Wings!”: Katherine Mansfield and D.H. Lawrence
Chapter 8. “‘I Am Desire’ Said the Sea” ‒ “the Kiss of a Wave”: Katherine Mansfield and Virginia Woolf
Chapter 9. Marvellous Gardens: Katherine Mansfield, Colette, Catherine Pozzi, Dorothy Richardson
Chapter 10. A Flavour of Paris in Katherine Mansfield’s Stories
Chapter 11. Katherine Mansfield and the Spirit of the Narrative
Chapter 12. The Sequence of Senses and the Unity of Being: Katherine Mansfield and French Literature
So as Not to Conclude: Katherine Mansfield’s Art of the Open
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