Katherine Mansfield

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[00:00:00] This program is brought to you by pride in zero.com. And funded through a generous grant from the Galen Wellington trust with the support of the role foundation. [00:00:10] Hi, I'm Dr. Allison Lowry. I was the change Women's Studies Program Director at Victoria University of Wellington here in New Zealand. For many years, I'm a writer or historian and he's reading gay activist. Today I'm going to be looking at Catherine Mansfield regarded as one of our greatest writers, and someone whom we know had very important, emotional, and probably sexual relationships with women. Should we be thinking about Catherine Mansfield as a lesbian? Do we want to use a noun like that a label in relation to her? Should we think of her as a lesbian writer, whatever that might mean, when actually most of the things she writes about to do with same sex relationship between women, at least Of course, we think that there is some [00:01:00] sensibility that would be a parent and women whose primary relationships are without women, that that would affect the ways in which they write about things and give them another kind of sensibility. That's a possibility and people have tried to look at her writing in that way. [00:01:20] Let's think about her. She's Born in 1888. Born in Wellington, she comes from an upper class background. Her father was Australian Herald beach from her mother, any Bernal dire and they later becomes a herald and Lady Beecham. Very important people in Wellington, Lady beach from running the social scene here. Her father later becomes he's, he's not he's a director of the Bank of New Zealand and has other significant social roles. They looked in several houses around Wellington as the as the twins of the family improved, and the children attended local, initially local public schools but as the family became wealthier they were later sent to private schools. When Catherine Mansfield Kathleen beach from as was her original name, which was 12 they were transferred from Wellington girls high school to school now Samuel Mazda, Collegiate School for Girls, and that's where Katherine Mansfield first met Martha Martha awkward, probably her first lover, certainly a very intense and close relationship between the two of them. [00:02:40] The beat Trump's like other wealthy New Zealanders wanted to see their children's education education completed abroad. And in January 1903, the family say it sailed for London where the three older girls were enrolled at Queens College in London, and the return Lance build up, remained there a chaperone. It was in the school that Catherine Mansfield meet either Constance Baker from She later called Leslie more or l m. [00:03:12] during your time at the school, she was exposed to a number of different ideas. She became familiar with the work of Oscar Wilde was the Oscar Wilde trial had had happened. Not that long before then, she becomes more worldly, she makes a trip to Belgium, where she encounters some interesting people there. And then she returns to New Zealand in 1906. She becomes involved in Wellington with Edith Kathleen Bendel, who she refers to as ek be, and that relationship is very much important to him. She appears to be having very intense friendships with ek B, and with Marta who also returns to Wellington. And she appears to be relationships with the two of them at that time here in Wellington. The matter is matter. Mo poker. She's from mother Louis. She's also known as Martha grace and sometimes as Princess Martha. She was the daughter of CO new chief a deck my hope Walker and Emily Sexton who married Nathaniel grace aftermath. My hope was Dr. [00:04:34] Pat Lawler, in his early biography says that Catherine and martyrs early relationship was some concern to their teachers, and that through Harold and Lady Beecham did not favor the friendship. And this might be because they were aware of its intensity and disapproved of that, or it may be because of the fact that matter was Marty and there may have been some race ism involved in the [00:05:03] in their concerns about this. They had made up and London before Catherine returned to New Zealand, because Martha had been at finishing school in Paris, and she was accompanied by her own chaperone, let's turn. It was during this time that Catherine allowed Martha to purchase clothing and leave the bill for Harold Beecham to settle so there may have been some problems around that. In her journal, Catherine writes, and she refers to martyr as Carlotta and she writes Okay, a lotta Have you remembered? We were floating down Regent Street and a handsome on either side of us the blossoms of golden light, and here the little half loop of the moon. Then Andrew 1907 and her journal she writes, I want matter. I want her as I have had her terribly. This is unclean. I know but true. What an extraordinary I feel savagely clued and almost powerfully and armored of the child. I have thought that a thing of the past Hey hold my mind is like a Russian novel. And around about the same time Marta wrote in her own diary, which she then gave to Catherine, dearest k writes Ducky letters. I like this, but what do you mean by being so superlatively beautiful as you went away, which you are beauty incarnate. [00:06:30] Pet Lola interviewed Marta and reported that she revealed unpublished incidents and Catherine's life, saying that Karen had Lyft, New Zealand because of a flotation in 1988. And saying that, so Harold and locked his daughter in her room as a punishment, and to console here, [00:06:50] Martin had climbed up to her room model revealed other sensational aspects of knowledge knowledge of Katherine Mansfield, which Lola said he did not, did not wish to publish. So, there are clearly all kinds of clues and rumors and incidents that are of interest in relation to this. One of the most interesting is a story that Katherine Mansfield writes, and she writes it, placing a protagonist in the assault [00:07:25] and the industry she writes, I can never forget the festival hotel. I can never forget that strange winter night. My room was opposite hers. She said, Could I lace up her evening bought us? It was hooks at the back [00:07:39] very well. The story ends. [00:07:41] She told me as we walked along the car door to her room, that she was glad the night have come. I did not ask why. I was glad to. It seemed a secret between us. So I went with her into her room to undo those troublesome Hawks. Like a sleepy child, she slipped out of your frog. Then suddenly, she turned to me in front, her arms around my neck and use was not dead. The story was called the Levis mores and it was eventually published from a copy that Catherine Mansfield had century school friend, we're Patrick Baker, who she referred to as Mimi. [00:08:20] In January 1922, Catherine roads and this is about a year before he decided 23 that she'd received a frightening later for me, me, which brought back the inexplicable past. It flashed into my mind true that she must have a large number of leaders of mine, which don't be thinking about, and some why I fear here. This suggests that Catherine had said many similar stories audiences regarding her as a safe confident, maybe was the girl who had introduced Catherine to the 1891 and expurgated version of Oscar Wilde The Picture of Dorian Gray at school, and it was at school recording to biographer clear trauma, that the true that's me, me and Catherine, with respect to the morality of a kind specified. [00:09:05] Now, it appears that the appearance may have read the story, certainly, when gave the story to a father's typist to type. And it may be this that's the reason that there's an incident, which does result in the fact that they are prepared to allow here in night in 1982, to return to London, unchaperoned now this is a young woman, where they felt that his sisters and her constantly needed chaperones on the voyage, suddenly, that refused to allow her to go off to England on her own, and have a remittance money that she's going to regularly receive in order to live the innocent. She's a remittance woman in the opposite direction. And a possible explanation of this is that she there's a scandal going on that they don't want her in Wellington. It's going to affect the family's reputation, and that there are concerned, it's likely that we're concerned about your relationship with Marta. And there was evidence that matter. During an engagement party for cesarean sister matter came to Wellington she attended it, it's very unlikely that she would have stayed with the family at Fitzherbert tears, it's much more likely that should have stayed at the facility up the road, so that this story was actually about matter at the festival, and that the parents did end up reading it. [00:10:30] Even entity LPs talks about this and says that [00:10:37] there was an episode that happened and he wonders with a story that was being put about which was which was about a dance with a sailor or a ball. And he wonders whether there was an adventure actually with a man or with Master. And whether the Beatles were concerned about Catherine's chastity or whether they hit the word pivot and my [00:11:01] now, Tisha also had a relationship with these Kathleen Bendel and she writes about this fairly frankly in her journal. In June 1907. She writes about an episode with it is Kathleen Bendel at the Beatrice holiday conagen days Bay that's the cottage that's the subject to the story at the bay. But that's not what she's writing about her journal. She writes, I feel more powerfully all those sodium sexual impulses with words and I have with any men, I feel it to lie with my head on a breeze disappear what life can hold pillows against her, clinging to her hands, who face against mine. I am a child, a woman and more than half men. We lay down together still silently, she every now and increasing me to hear kissing me. My head on her breasts two hands around my body, stroking me lovingly. What an experience. And when we return to town, small wonder that I could not sleep but tossed to and fro and yearned and realized 1000 things chubbiness Europe. Oh, Oscar, am I particularly susceptible to sexual impulse? I must be I suppose, but I rejoice. Now each time I see her. I want her to put her arms around me and hold me against her. I think she wants to to but she is afraid and customer he just we're in I feel we should go away again. [00:12:22] Then she writes, in between February and may 1908. She writes, I shall end of course by killing myself. I purchased my brilliance with my life. It would be to that I would did already. But I am unlike others because I have experienced all ears to experience but there was no one to help me. Of course, Oscar Dorian Gray as bought this to pass. I'm now so much worse than Eva madness must lie this way. Pull yourself up. [00:12:52] It's clear that Catherine was familiar with the work not only of Oscar Wilde but of Jordan Eddington summons April carpenter and Bob Whitcomb. She read books at the General Assembly library, arrange to her father's connections. And she mentions Ingrid carpenter, who wrote the intermediate six, and a litter. And she also writes, I find a resemblance and myself to john Eddington Simmons. So it appears that she actually has quite a bit of information and that her information is that homosexuality is degenerate, it's a perversion. And she starts to become very frightened about all of this, and especially if she is sent away from Wellington, then that clearly is going to be very traumatic for her. Now, both Martha and ek be remain in New Zealand. And she corresponds with them for some years, and Catherine Mansory right, several stories inspired by these women, and traces and clues can be seen in relation to that. [00:13:57] Now Meanwhile, although she's having these intense relationship with these two women, she continues her friendship with either Baker and when she returns to London. That's the person with whom she resumes a friendship and a relationship and that's the relationship between Jews for the rest of her life until her death in 1923. So that's actually the most important [00:14:19] relation relationship of her life certainly the most consistent. [00:14:23] When she returns to London, she's met by otter Baker she stays with her family before she moves to a hospital. And then she becomes involved with the New Zealand musician Ghana travel and moves in with his family's paying guest. And she appears to have been trying to create relationship with him. She writes to travel that she felt as though nature said to me now you found your truth so now that you are at peace with the world accepting instead of doubting now that you love you can see [00:14:55] another larger at the hospital has described travel as slender dreaming, cultured and alphas committed that he was not markedly masculine. Her interested in the trolls they were twins had began in New Zealand. She had written in her journal that Arnold trout must always be everything to me because he pulled into my virgin soul, the life essence of music. And here is the kernel of the whole matter that Oscar like three and so it clearly she is dwelling on emerging sexuality. She's concerned about this, and the circumstances. And she's particularly concerned because before they return to New Zealand, she visited the trials in Brussels where she'd met their homosexual friend Rudolph and shortly afterwards, Rudolph had shot himself and entered the office comments the circumstances which belong to the world of Oscar Wilde and the love that do not spirits name were very disturbing to confirm and so did that sort of thing lead to suicide, and perhaps the trials and Rudolph with involved in homosexual relationships at that time, the Oscar likes red or justice significantly, perhaps Catherine Mansfield believed that they were. She wanted to marry Ghana trail, but his parents intervened and the relationship ended. Suddenly in March 1909. She married George Bowden, a singing teacher, she'd made only a fortnight before, bowed at age 31, left with a male friend Lamont, chained again, perhaps they were homosexual, or perhaps kept romance will believe they were. She was constantly in her journals and in her later seeking, my people, perhaps a reference to human sexuality as well as to like mindedness. Clear Tomlin suggests that she married Bowden because she was pregnant Arnold, even if this were the case, she may still have preferred to marry a man that she thought might have an inclination toward his own six. Bowden and his own recollections record that when they first met, she looked like Oscar Wilde. So perhaps she was attempting to sing her sexuality through dress for the wedding, she dressed and back as a for a funeral. And afterwards, they went to a hotel where Catherine answered immediately Lyft him and fled back to our Baker. She returned to the hostel and automatic and found her flat. And then her mother because of these incidents, then her mother comes to London, there's a good deal of trouble and on her, she takes her to Germany to the Bavarian spa, bed waters often, and that is the place where Dr. canape has the water treatment, and the water treatment was thought very useful for nervous and mental problems and was frequently used for sexual problems. So that may well be the case that lady beach from thanks that Catherine has some sexual problem because of her interest in women. This is upset the marriage, certainly she's not pleased with her. And she said Victor New Zealand and two cats, Katherine out of her will. And that's pretty drastic. News of the scandal reaches Wellington and Vero Beach from the sister. Her fiance was warned against marrying the sister of somebody like Catherine Mansfield. So contemporary theories of biological determinism might have encouraged the belief that there was some kind of inherited to version and the family. [00:18:27] Catherine stayed in Germany till the end of 1909 possibly miscarried pregnancy and she possibly had an affair with Florian Serbia now ski who infected her with gonorrhea, subsequently making her vulnerable to the tuberculosis infection from what she died. She may have thought that having a number of heterosexual affairs might cure her interest in women. [00:18:50] Perhaps she's bisexual or some biographers have written about her pet she's just very interested in sexual experimentation. It's difficult to know how we but she's clearly not very happy. And clearly she finds all of this a great worry industry events. When she returns to London she performs at the Cave of the golden calf which is a nightclub patronized by lesbians and run by free to Strindberg, the lesbian, acknowledged as being the former wife of Swedish playwright alga Strindberg. She's also familiar with the Bloomsbury circle and Lady awfully morels group at Garsington, though she feels ambivalent about Boone's Berry, or blooms beggary as she calls it with discussions on the labs of bagels, sodomy, and Cephas, and more common. She's close to became close to Virginia Woolf for 1916 the connection probably expressed in this passage. Again, they came that silence that was a Christian, but this time she did not hesitate. She moved forward very softly and gently she put her arm around her friend, along Tinder, embrace your step reserved. Of course, that was what was one time. So there are many other kinds of passages where she writes about those kinds of things. She becomes involved with john Middleton, Mary from 1911 and he became a larger in flat and after some weeks a lover They married in 1918, after her divorce from Bowden [00:20:19] Keshavan writes in 1919 journal that I had been the man and he had been the woman, we'd always act more or less like men friends, then this illness getting worse and worse and turning me into a woman. [00:20:34] Others also perceived them as mean friends when Bendel Frenchmen record Mr. With his cigarette in his stick, and Madame was his cigarette in his deck, it was impossible to tell which was which they were so alike. [00:20:46] So that's the relationship she had with him. It's quite an intense relationship, but largely carried on through letters and difficult the stage to know how physical that relationship might have been. She becomes very old from 1980 Tina, it's unlikely that she has any kind of physical relationship match with anybody after that. [00:21:06] Either Baker, later known as lm. [00:21:10] In her memoirs, she writes, she puts in a poem that cast romance with handwritten to her called the secret and the profoundest ocean, there is a rainbow shell, it is always the shining mostly under the great storm waves, and under the happy little waves that the old Greeks called ripples of laughter. And you listen, the rainbow shell sings in the profoundest ocean, it is always there singing most silently. And this might suggest the existence of a secret care for mental self spiritual to either Baker and Trillium, which cannot be destroyed even by storm waves. [00:21:48] She writes, earlier in her in her journal, I think quite seriously that lm and I are so extraordinarily interesting. And it's not while the thing is happening, that I think there but the significance is near enough, have I ruined to a happy life, am I to blame. And she writes in one of her last leaders to leave easily more as I had been in this quickly, for the old feeling is coming back and ache, a longing, a feeling that I can't be satisfied unless I know you a near, not for my account, not because I need you. But because of my Harvard, odious, intolerable way, I love you, and I'm yours if and she, in through life by going to Fontainebleau, she becomes interested in the teacher. That's good, Jeff, which is interesting in itself, because a year later, a number of American lesbians also go the so that's an interesting, esoteric kind of religion. And it's unclear whether she just goes there with it, because she feels it will help cure her tuberculosis, or whether she wants some other kind of more spiritual psychological change. But an entry that she writes and her journal is interesting. She writes us in October 20, 1922, [00:23:09] risk risk anything Canada and more for the opinions of others, for those voices, do the hardest thing on earth, for you act for yourself, face the truth. And it may be that she was hoping to begin a new and to find a way in which to live her life. Unfortunately, her health completely declines. And she died. So we don't know from this stage what her life would have been like he lived longer. We don't know how important the relationships that she had with women were. But I think we can say that she's certainly deeply conflicted about them. They were important to her. And in those ways, it's very interesting to think about how same sexuality has been such an important part of the lives of meeting creative women and New Zealand. [00:24:03] This program was funded through a generous grant from the Galen Willington trust with the support of the rule foundation and brought to you by pride in zero.com.

This page features computer generated text of the source audio - it is not a transcript. The Artificial Intelligence Text is provided to help users when searching for keywords or phrases. The text has not been manually checked for accuracy against the original audio and will contain many errors.