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Maoriland: New Zealand Literature 1872–1914

5. Katherine Mansfield: A Modernist in Maoriland

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5. Katherine Mansfield: A Modernist in Maoriland

Most Biographical and critical accounts of Katherine Mansfield concentrate on what she discovered and what she wrote after her final departure from New Zealand in 1908. Mansfield's life and work are seen to illustrate the modernist paradigm of the artist who grows up in a provincial society, like James Joyce's Stephen Dedalus, who struggles free from the worlds of family and nation, and who goes forth to encounter the 'reality' which will be transmuted into art. In this account, Mansfield's writing is produced after the break with origins, out of the pain of experience and by way of knowledge of the great world. If it involves a continual looking back to the small world left behind, nevertheless it is a product of the artist's refusal of the limitations of provincial life.

To consider Mansfield within Maoriland, then, involves a reversal of a familiar pattern, a reversal less easily justified than in Joyce's case. Joyce declined to write as part of the Irish Revival, but was thoroughly familiar with Irish writing. Mansfield's journals and letters show no such familiarity with contemporary New Zealand writing and she avoids the word Maoriland so common in that writing, although it does appear in an untraced poem, 'The Wonder of Maoriland', which the Polish writer, Floryan Sobieniowski claimed she had written.1 Yet Mansfield was as much a part of the world of her youth as Joyce was a part of the Ireland of the Revival. As scholarship has focused on the specific social and historical contexts of Joyce's Irish background,2 so Mansfield repays the same kind of attention, although her attitude towards late colonial New Zealand was in some respects as negative as was Joyce's to the Ireland of his time and the options afforded him there.3

Maoriland attitudes and stylistic habits are evident in a sketch as early as 1903, entitled 'A True Tale':

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Many, many miles from here, my little Saxons, many many years ago, there was a beautiful island. All round it lay the lovely laughing sea, and there were tall, green, 'smelly' [fragrant] woods, the like of which you have never seen, down to the water's edge.

There were no white people living there, but tall, stately, copper coloured men and women, who sailed all around their country in great, carved canoes, and hunted in the woods for game, and very often, I am afraid, human people, whom they killed with aké-akés. They were always having wars among themselves, and it is about one of these wars that I am going to tell you. Let us come closer to the fire, dear children, and be glad that you did not live in the time that Motorua did.4

The Maori markers here — aké-aké and Motorua5 — belong to the decorative exotic of Maoriland; they do not display the careful attention to Maori names evident later in the notebooks of 1907–8. There, Maori words are a part of the homework of a young writer along with lists of great books read, quotations from favourite authors, and efforts at imitation.6 Significant in Mansfield's 1903 sketch, apart from the tone of imperial school readers, is the conventionalised nature of the representation. Maori are noble looking, adventurous, with some exotically unpleasant habits, fortunately located in the past and, above all, they provide eminently suitable material for stories to relate to young 'Saxons'.7 The sources of this brief entry into the Maoriland style are difficult to trace. It is possible that the piece was written as a school exercise in New Zealand. More probably, given its likely date of composition, it was written as a personal exercise once at Queen's College.8 It is part of the deliberate self-fashioning of the 'little savage from New Zealand'.9

Back in New Zealand in November 1906 after three years at Queen's College in London where she had fallen under the spell of 'the divine Oscar' and the Decadents,10 Mansfield had, as Ian A. Gordon puts it, a 'massive (and planned) reading schedule' to attend to,11 along with dancing, flirting, practising music, and complaining about the indignities of colonial life. The lists of books Mansfield read during the period at home in Wellington until July 1908, recorded in her notebooks, suggest above all a determination to distance herself from page 144her background by familiarising herself methodically and progressively with the major works of contemporary and past European literature.12 Eager to escape her father's prosperous colonial world, both drawn into and repelled by the Maoriland of the tourist brochures, she shows no interest whatever in the Maoriland of a nascent New Zealand literary nationalism. At school in London in 1904, she enters in a notebook under the rubric 'Holiday Work and Reading': Thomas Moore, Alexander Dumas, Charlotte Brontë and a variety of more popular novelists.13 Four years later the returned schoolgirl's reading programme has broadened; she enthuses about a feminist book by Elizabeth Robins. The reading now suggests the deliberate programme of a modern writer in the making: 'a little Symons, a little Dolf Wyllarde, Ibsen, Tolstoi, … Shaw, D'Annunzio, Meredith'. She has even managed to distance herself a little from her obsession with Wilde, noting 'a wider vision' than that when he dominated her intellectual horizon.14

Constance A. Barnicoat in 1906 reported on a survey of colonial girls' reading, finding the results far less dismal than of an earlier report by Florence B. Low on the reading habits of English girls. Barnicoat had enlisted the League of Empire — a society formed to 'further[] the federation of empire in education15 — to compare the reading habits of girls across the empire, from India to Malta and New Zealand. Reiterating Mansfield's complaints around the same time that '[a] young colony has rarely a literary atmosphere', Barnicoat was nevertheless struck by 'how surprisingly well-read many Colonials are'.16 The best among the colonial girls read not only Dickens and Scott but also Dumas and even Balzac, Daudet and Victor Hugo. Of the New Zealand girls she notes that 'the varied nature of their reading was astonishing. No girls, perhaps, showed quite so much variety in their choice of reading.'17 But it is the Australian and Canadian girls she finds to be reading the literatures of their own countries and of the United States.18 Mansfield in this vast company is exceptional. Her reading is concentrated around a concept of what will aid her own development as a writer: not the adventure stories and sentimental novels that fill the lists of preference among her peers or even the classics — and certainly not the nascent literature of her own country — but literature that is sophisticated, advanced and often difficult.

In Wellington Mansfield had borrowing privileges at the General Assembly Library (originally organised in the early 1860s by Alfred page 145Domett during his brief tenure as premier)19 when parliament was not in session. Some years later, the Parliamentary Librarian, Dr G. H. Scholefield went through the old cards for her name.20 What he found there is summarised in a eulogistic essay which is appended to her father Sir Harold Beauchamp's Reminiscences and Recollections (1937).21 Scholefield mentions Heine, Neitzsche, a translation of Bushido by Dr Inazo Nitobe, the English poets, Ibsen, Maeterlinck, and a book on the psychology of women which seems to have been included to indicate how advanced she was. Mansfield, Scholefield concludes, was 'exotic in New Zealand'.22 For Scholefield, 'the essential conditions of a literary life did not exist' in New Zealand in the twenty months that was 'the whole sum of her sojourn in New Zealand after childhood'.23 This view was supported at the time by Mansfield herself, who wrote to her sister Vera in 1908, 'here there is really no scope for development — no intellectual society — no hope of finding any',24 and, later, by Sir Harold who observes in his Reminiscences: 'There was no literary market in New Zealand, and it is no disparagement to a young country to say that there was little intellectual companionship or associations.25

Yet, as the career of Jessie Mackay demonstrates, Mansfield did have contemporaries who wrote and published in local newspapers and journals as she did, who saw themselves as part of a literary scene which included Australia, and who were eager to advance the intellectual life of the colony. What separates Mansfield from her contemporaries — apart from her lack of reference to other colonial writing — is class circumstance. The daughter of Harold Beauchamp could afford to cultivate an elaborate aestheticism and ignore the exigencies of writing for meagre payment. While Mackay was writing literary essays and poems for newspapers in New Zealand and Australia and Blanche Baughan was fomenting 'strike' action among the unpaid writers for New Zealand journals,26 Mansfield was exploring the Decadents as literary models, constructing extravagantly Bohemian personae, and working her way through the highbrow literature in the General Assembly Library, just as Frank Sargeson, a generation later, would soak up the canon in the Reading Room of the British Museum. The sense of literary and intellectual isolation in Wellington produced in Mansfield a response characteristic of later modernist New Zealand writers: she not only exaggerated her apartness as an artist in an unsympathetic environment but also made it the basis of a literary persona. Mackay and page 146Baughan struck no such poses because — unlike Mansfield, Sargeson, and later Janet Frame — they felt no profound sense of alienation as artists from the life of the colony.

Although eager on her return in 1906 for publication, Mansfield was under no financial pressure to compromise her artistic standards.27 Tom Mills recounts her early expeditions into literary publication: 'She wanted to give me a story for my Satur. Supplement. But I said No — sell your stuff — don't give it away! She took my advice.'28 But to enter the available world of literary journalism was unthinkable for Mansfield, or for Harold Beauchamp who envisaged genteel lives for his daughters. Deeply offended by the 'trade' associations of even her father's eminent professional life, Mansfield would not have been able to consider the colonial writing scene of her day as a serious option for her.29 In spite of her famous observation that she needed 'power, wealth, and freedom', Mansfield was never wholly dependent on her writing.30 Her husband John Middleton Murry, himself an indefatigably professional writer and editor from a less secure class position than Mansfield, observed in his diary that 'Katherine … felt that wealth and ease were her birthright'.31

There is, moreover, an element of mythologising going on in the Reminiscences. The myth Sir Harold needs to promulgate is that Mansfield's return to Europe was enabled by the sacrifice of a loving father, realistically aware that a daughter as brilliant as Katherine (or Kathleen, as her family knew her) needed a sympathetic atmosphere in which to realise her talents. In fact, the decision to allow her to return was caught up in more fractious areas of family relations which Sir Harold fails to mention. Various parental anxieties contributed to that decision to allow a nineteen-year-old to return alone to London.32 A major source of tension was Mansfield's interest in sex, practical expressions of which, however obscurely discovered, bothered both her parents, especially her suspicious father. This sex interest also had a literary expression, about which Sir Harold is relaxed enough in retrospect to allow Scholefield to allude to in his Reminiscences. By 1937 Sir Harold had become immensely proud of her achievements as a writer and keen to depict himself as a patron of the arts as well as an astute businessman.33 A month after her death he made a gift of money for the purchase of pictures for New Zealand's 'National Gallery that is to be'.34 His friend Scholefield paints him as a man of literary sensitivities. page 147In his scrapbook, there are scrupulously kept records of her publications and successes, from very early.35

In 1907, however, the year he was appointed governor of the Bank of New Zealand, Harold Beauchamp did not feel he was in a position to make a judgement about his daughter's writing. He sent a selection of Mansfield's stories and sketches to Mills, a prominent journalist and editor of children's writing, in order to gauge its literary value. In 1933 Mills retrospectively described his surprise at the quality of the work.36 By this time Mills had become an 'ardent collector' of Mansfieldiana,37 eager to associate his name with her career and regarded, somewhat condescendingly, by Sir Harold as someone who had played a part in her early career ('If I were you I certainly would not undertake to write a book on your own account').38 Mills was also rather scathing of Mansfield in private. In a 1937 letter to Guy Morris he states: 'I am not an admirer of Kath's work nor of the woman herself. She & I were flint and steel whenever we met.'39 But in 1907 Mills was disturbed by the precocious maturity on display in the stories, most of which, as Scholefield puts it, were 'of the sex-problem type'.40 Scholefield notes Mills s observation that there was 'difficulty about placing the six stories, because they were all typically Mansfieldian', that is, sexually risqué. Scholefield, writing with Sir Harold's authority, is faintly patronising towards the Edwardian Mills, and Mills himself observed privately that Scholefield had been 'pretty rough on my critical attitude towards K.M.'s sexy writings'.41 Scholefield recounts Mansfield's response to Mills's cautioning her about the subject matter of her stories. Irritated by Mills's moralising, Mansfield, who hints in a letter that he was sexually interested in her,42 apparently rebuked him sharply for his interest in the content of her work. 'The question was,' she demanded, 'Could she write?'43

Scholefield uses Mills s account to support his, and Sir Harold's, view that Mansfield could not have remained in New Zealand after 1908. The difficulty is attributed not to objections from the young writer's family but to the moralistic climate of the country, of which Mills is made a straight-laced and Victorian exemplar. There was, Scholefield asserts, 'no market for such work in puritanical New Zealand'.44 But just as fundamental a problem was the lack of publishers prepared to test its truth. Twelve years later, Jane Mander's coy entry into what the Evening Post called 'sex problem fiction', The Story of a New Zealand River, page 148written and published in New York, was 'placed on the discretionary shelf at the Whangarei Public Library' from which only those judged 'fit reader[s]' could borrow it.45 Six years after that Jean Devanny's The Butcher Shop, published in London, was banned in New Zealand.46 Local publishers would have been hard to find for works which dealt, even indirectly, with sexual excitement in a young woman in the years before the Great War.47

Nevertheless, there was a market in 1907–8 as close as Australia for some of the work which Sir Harold sent to Mills.48 Several of Mansfield's vignettes and stories appeared in the Melbourne-based Native Companion in 1907–9, for which the author was well paid (Henry Lawson complained about the Bulletin's rates of payment while in New Zealand).49 In New Zealand, magazines like the Triad and the New Zealand Illustrated Magazine, and newspapers like the Otago Witness provided local outlets for literary writing, although not necessarily paying ones.50 Mansfield herself contributed a poem, 'The Lonesome Child' and a story, 'Almost a Tragedy: The Cars on Lambton Quay', to the Dominion in 1908. 'The Education of Audrey' appeared in the Evening Post in January 1909.51 She published a prose-poem in the Triad,52 which also ran material on or by several of the writers mentioned by Scholefield as evidence of Mansfield's advanced reading. In 1909 Jane Mander wrote in a letter to the editor that the Triad was 'the only thing that keeps me from preaching temperance, or making drafty garments for the superfluous heathen, or marrying a Sunday School teacher in this brain-benumbing, stimulus-stifling, sense-stultifying, soul-searing silence'.53 As Mansfield's Australian publications demonstrate, Australia and New Zealand were virtually one market for New Zealand writers in the early 1900s, a reflection not only of the difficulties of publishing in New Zealand but also of the close ties between the two countries that developed in the 1890s. Significantly, however, Mansfield's stories and vignettes that appeared in the Native Companion were decidedly fin desiècle in style and tone; for her, 'the Nineties' meant Oscar Wilde and the Decadents, not the cultural nationalism and vernacular realism of the Sydney Bulletin's 'Red Page', which, according to Jessie Mackay in 1902, 'we all read'.54

Mansfield was not alone in her enthusiasm for Wilde; Jane Mander wrote a letter to the Triad in 1909 asking the editor to publish more of Wilde's poetry.55 Yet, Wilde's poems did appear in the Triad along with page 149articles on his work. Wilde was part of the colonial world Mansfield inhabited in 1906–8, not an exotic flower to be found only in London which, as Wilde himself had found, had its own forms of puritanism and, as Mansfield was to find, of provincialism. The point was not that Wilde was absent from New Zealand but that his outrageousness was a useful demonstration of superior difference for a young would-be aesthete and Bohemian who called for 'a mad wave of pre-Raphaelitism, of super-aestheticism' to demolish 'the firm fat framework' of her countrymen's brains. 'They must go to excess in the direction of culture,' she announced, 'become almost decadent in their tendencies for a year or two and then find balance and proportion.'56 New Zealand lacked a developed Bohemian culture in which Mansfield might have found collective relief from the philistines. Phillips observes that one reason no Bulletin school arose in New Zealand, apart from the lack of Irishry, was the lack of a city big enough (Sydney in 1891 had 400,000 inhabitants) 'to spawn a bohemian sub-culture of intellectuals who, alienated from the respectable middle class, found an easy identification with the more disreputable culture of the outback'.57 Mansfield's Bohemianism was more isolated than that of Lawson and fixated not on the drably disreputable life of the bush or the matey Bohemia of Sydney bars but on the brilliantly wicked life of the cosmopolitan centre.

Among Mansfield's early works the most Wildean are the vignettes. For Mansfield, a vignette is not a finely crafted, minimalist slice of life, like the young Kipling's first collection of stories, Plain Tales from the Hills (1888). It is a symbolist experiment with prose style, establishing mood, and using different tones. The purpose of the elaborate and self-conscious style she developed in her early vignettes and stories is to exaggerate the author's distance from colonial life, not to close it, as in Kipling's or Lawson's stories.58 The stories, like the vignettes, usually do not involve a developed narrative structure; the narrative voice is focused through a female consciousness, and characteristically an unexpected turn occurs in the protagonist's emotions over which she has no conscious control. 'In the Botanical Gardens', published in the Native Companion in 1907, is a study of mood in which a young woman is caught up with excitement walking through the Wellington public gardens, which Lawson had observed in 1893 were 'a relief after the painfully artificial gardens of Sydney'.59 (Angela Smith mistakes these Wellington gardens for the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew.60) The story page 150uses symbolist techniques to convey the protagonist's emotions. The scents and colours of the garden do not so much contribute to the young woman's mood as represent it. When the woman passes from the formal walks and enters the bush she experiences an 'age-old savagery'.61

This shift concentrates the variety of impulses behind the story's negligible action. Although the interest in the bush seems reminiscent of Maoriland writing and the theme of the weird recalls Australian colonial writing, Mansfield is not directly concerned with the bush, its prehistory, or its strangeness. Nor is she primarily concerned with the ghosting of the Maori presence by settlement. For Smith, the sudden sensation of primordial savagery signals settler guilt. Smith links this passage to a later poem about the 'pioneer taint', but two senses of the colonial are elided thereby. Mansfield's sense of being colonial as a condition of cultural disadvantage means that she is apologising to her European addressee for having no background and no history, rather than that she is aware of having a history tainted by colonisation. 'In the Botanical Gardens' is concerned with subtleties of emotion in a young bourgeois woman. The poetic heightening, the use of colour and imagery, are directed at conveying a particular kind of sensibility: that of a young woman vaguely dissatisfied with the restraints her life has imposed upon her, full of romantic readiness, but driven by impulses she does not fully understand and cannot control.

The sense that sexual energy is the source of uncontrol indicates Mansfield's identification with Wilde, first prompted by Walter Rippmann, a schoolmaster at Queen's College. Although by 1907-8 Mansfield had begun to move away from the absolute dominion Wilde had exercised over her juvenile writing, his influence remained powerful. Once resentfully back in New Zealand, Mansfield concentrated and exaggerated Wilde's role as a Bohemian model. It was Wilde who contributed to Mansfield's sense that she possessed an uncontrollable and special sexuality: 'O Oscar! Am I peculiarly susceptible to sexual impulse?'62 However, the theme has acquired by this time a particularly intense and threatened quality (what Mills perhaps was noticing when he describes the stories as 'typically Mansfieldian'). Vincent O'Sullivan notes that '[t]he sense that sexual awareness brings one to the edge of the uncontrollable, to levels of the mind and behaviour which normally are not exposed, is permanent in Mansfield's writing about men and women'.63 Part of the excitation signifies the erotic energies, dangerous page 151for a young Edwardian woman, the sources of which in 'In the Botanical Gardens' are obscure; but it also signals an interest in that area of female sexual experience which feminism in New Zealand, however advanced and successful it had been in achieving political gains, had not yet forcefully addressed.64 In this respect, Mansfield is both part of the progressive social milieu of late colonial New Zealand and straining beyond its existing parameters.

John Middleton Murry is largely responsible for lifting Mansfield out of her New Zealand background. Reluctant to allow that Mansfield had any significant life as a writer before she met him, Murry claimed that Mansfield's early life in New Zealand was important because 'it was something which awakened Love in her'.65 New Zealand, for him, was less an actual place — with particular and complex social features — than an emblematic stage in the spiritual voyage of Mansfield's life, in which he plays the dominant role, as guide and interpreter:

the first great stage in the progress was indubitably the writing of the first draft of Prelude. The purification of her memory of New Zealand, the purging of all resentment from her soul until that island could emerge, as from the waters of its own Pacific, with all the bloom and brightness of a new creation, was the outward and visible sign of the inward and spiritual grace. To be worthy of her new vision of New Zealand was to be worthy in an absolute sense; it was to have achieved a new condition of being — to have recaptured the vision of Innocence.66

The mistake in which New Zealand is described as one island is significant.67 Captivated by his metaphor, Murry conceives New Zealand's geographical presence as that of a Pacific island, bright and paradisiacal, a fit symbol of the spiritual being of one who discovered a transfiguring love in her adult life. Actually, the late New Zealand stories conjure up a stolid colonial world very unlike that of Pacific paradises. Murry's concern, however, is with what he sees as Mansfield's spiritual awakening, in which New Zealand represents recaptured innocence, a state of grace.

New Zealand in 1907 was not a mental state and certainly not a potential spiritual condition. Nor was it Sir Harold's complete intellectual and literary vacancy. This was the year in which Jessie Mackay enthused: page 152'Australasia [has] all of a sudden waked up [sic] to find a literature of her own, shaped and ready at the door.'68 Mansfield's relation to that literary world is not negligible, even though her attitude to being in New Zealand and to being with her family was deeply resistant.69 She began her publishing career by using the standard Maoriland outlets in New Zealand and Australia: newspapers and journals. While her obsession with Wilde seems at odds with her surroundings, he was read locally and his acute sense of the artificiality of all experience fitted with the sense of the arbitrary and invented nature of the colonial world of Mackay and Baughan as well as Mansfield. Although Mackay and Eileen Duggan were especially hurt by a review that described their work as 'incurably artificial',70 when Mansfield exclaims in her journal that only when New Zealand is 'more artificial, [will she] give birth to an artist who can treat her natural beauties adequately',71 she is both part of and offering a critique of colonial modes of representation.

The common view that Mansfield became a major modernist writer by staging a break from the provincial colonial culture of early 1900s New Zealand rests on a series of binaries — modernity versus tradition, province versus centre, national versus cosmopolitan, Victorian versus modernist — that ignore the continuities within Mansfield's writing from 1906 to her death seventeen years later. It also ignores the way Maoriland itself collapses those binaries — by its modernising energy and archaic nostalgia, by its imperial loyalty and resistance of provincial deference, by its smug patriotism and its openness to influence from Australia, the United States and India, and by the modernism latent in its writing.

Mansfield in 1907 was confronted by more choices than those of languishing in a culturally barren New Zealand or flowering artistically in London. She might have remained in New Zealand, as she contemplates in a 1906 letter to Sylvia Payne: 'in future I shall give all my time to writing. There are great opportunities for a girl in New Zealand — she has so much time and quiet — and we have an ideal little "cottage by the sea" where I mean to spend a good deal of my time'.72 Had she done so, 'The Woman at the Store' (1912) would have been a 'colonial' story in the sense Lydia Wevers has in mind when she observes that it indicates 'the writer KM might have been had she stayed in her colonial dress, and resisted appropriation by Europe'.73 In fact, 'The Woman at the Store' was written in London and published in Murry's page 153journal, Rhythm. Its closeness to colonial writing, especially the stories in Barbara Baynton's Bush Studies which appeared first in the Bulletin in the 1890s, indicates literary self-consciousness, given its English readership. Always a deliberate writer, Mansfield is trying out a style that she knows has exotic currency, just as in New Zealand earlier she sent off her Wildean prose-poem, 'The Death of a Rose', to the Triad.

Mansfield's modernism was part of a reaction against the modern-isation that had made her father rich. It is rebellious, but dependent on the cheques from home. It is self-consciously international, but informed by local shapes, nostalgias and ambivalences. It is contemptuous of the smug provincialism of late colonial New Zealand, but does not wholly escape Maoriland. Might Mansfield have become a modernist while remaining within and writing about the colonial condition, as Blanche Baughan almost did? Sydney Janet Kaplan, who argues that Mansfield belongs among the major figures of English literary modernism, sees her as having worked out the constituent methods of a modernist practice before 1908.74 She cites the sketch, 'Summer Idylle' (1906), as evidence of Mansfield's early breakthrough into a modernist method. Mansfield by this time, she claims, had already

reworked '90s artificialities of style into an early modernist piece full of elusiveness, indirection, and sexual innuendo. Many of the features of her later style are already in embryo, demonstrating that her emergence into 'modernism' was not derivative of other twentieth-century writers, but a function of her own synthesis and imaginative reworking of late nineteenth-century techniques and themes.75

This judgement is substantially true, although 'synthesis and imaginative reworking' was a general feature of Victorian as well as modernist writing. However, Kaplan fails to allow sufficiently for the shaping influence of a specific colonial context on the process she describes in Mansfield's development. If 'Summer Idylle', with its 'elusiveness, indirection, and sexual innuendo', looks forward to the high modernism of 'Bliss' (1918), its use of Maoriland legend looks back to Victorian colonial writing.

Marina and Hinemoa, the heroines of 'Summer Idylle', belong in a cross-cultural fantasy, not unlike Domett's Ranolf and Amohia, but page 154with homoerotic suggestions and on a less epic scale. In a story full of local markers — tui song, the scent of manuka — the girls repeat (albeit in reverse) Hinemoa's famous swim, conveyed in language redolent both of Maoriland and of Oscar Wilde:

They stretched out their arms & ran in without speaking, & then swam swiftly & strongly towards an island that lay like a great emerald embedded in the heart of a gigantic amethyst. Hinemoa fell back a little to see Marina. She loved to watch her complete harmony — it increased her enjoyment.

They reached the island & lay on a long smooth ledge of brown rock & rested. Above them the fern trees rose, & among the fern trees a rata rose like a pillar of flame.

'See the hanging beautiful arms of the fern trees' laughed Hinemoa.

'Not arms, not arms. All the other trees have arms — saving the rata with his tongues of flame — but the fern trees have beautiful green hair. See Hinemoa, it is hair, & know you not, should a warrior venture through the bush in the night they seize him & wrap him round in their hair & in the morning he is dead. They are cruel even as I might wish to be to thee, little Hinemoa.'

She looked at Hinemoa with half shut eyes, her upper lip drawn back showing her teeth, but Hinemoa caught her hand.76

Clearly, Mansfield was familiar with the legendary sources of Maoriland writing. It is difficult to credit that she could have read Henry Lawson without being sufficiently struck by his achievement to remark on it, yet it is also difficult to believe that stories like 'The Woman at the Store', 'Ole Underwood' or 'Millie' could have been written without some knowledge of the colonial writing style represented by Lawson and Baynton. Although it seems unlikely that she could have entirely avoided coming across reference to Lawson's work or to the colonial school in 1900s New Zealand, it is possible; J. C. Beaglehole, from a highly literary New Zealand family background, enthuses about his discovery of Lawson as a graduate student in London in the late 1920s.77 There is, however, clear evidence in 'Summer Idylle' that Mansfield was page 155acquainted with the legends of Maoriland, if not by way of Sir George Grey's still authoritative rendering, perhaps byway of Edward Tregear's edition for children of 1892.78

Mansfield would have encountered colonial writing for children and popular versions of Maori legend at school. The Whitcombe story books, some of which had New Zealand and Australian settings, were highly popular during her school years. Dennis McEldowney notes the importance of textbooks designed for New Zealand schools in the late nineteenth century.79 Edith Howes, author of a number of the Whitcombe books and of Maoriland Fairytales (1913), became headmistress at Wellington Girls' College in 1914, where Mansfield was a pupil from 1898–1900. Howes was advanced for the time and a pioneer of sex education for children.80 Doubtless also, in the personal library of a colonial family of substance headed by a 'Pa man' with an interest in Maori lore, who would later show himself eager to display his cultural as well as his material success and good judgement, Mansfield found at least popular editions of Maori myth and legend.81 Mansfield's childhood friend, Marion Ruddick, much later described visiting 75 Tinakori Road: 'along one wall [was] a book case holding some well worn books'.82 She also describes Mr Beauchamp's interest in Maori chivalry and notes that he 'liked to talk about Maoris and knew many of their words and phrases'.83

It is also possible that Mansfield came across colonial writing in London. Wevers demonstrates that the template of colonial writing is present in the group of stories — 'Ole Underwood', 'Millie', and 'The Woman at the Store' — which appeared in English journals in 1912–13.84 It is tempting to suggest that this passage from Alfred Grace's Atareta: The Belle of the Kainga lies behind 'How Pearl Button Was Kidnapped':

The white tohunga's little daughter, in hat, pinafore, cotton skirt, and all those articles so dear to the heart of a pakeha mother, toddled down to the beach, and attracted by the laughter of the girls, found her way to the bathing-place. She reached the rock at an important moment for all the girls came scrambling out of the water in a state of great excitement, and among them the little maiden stood in diminutive shoes and garments, the representative of civilisation amid nature unadorned.85

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For Grace and Mansfield the beach is a zone where whiteness meets Polynesia, civility loses its dress code, the cold straight lines of Pakeha life relax into the easy warmth of the physical.

Despite the Maoriland overtones of 'Summer Idylle', there are important distinctions between Mansfield and other writers of the Maoriland period. The contrast between A. A. Grace's 'The Korowhiti' which appeared in the Triad in 1905, and Mansfield's prose-poem, 'Study: The Death of a Rose', which appeared in the same journal three years later is stark. Mansfield's symbolist reverie begins with Edgar Allen Poe-like atmospherics and Wildean sonorities:

It is a sensation that can never be forgotten, to sit in solitude, in semi-darkness, and to watch the slow, sweet, shadowful death of a Rose.

Oh, to see the perfection of the perfumed petals being changed ever so slightly, as though a thin flame had kissed each with hot breath, and where the wounds have bled the colour is savagely intense.86

Grace's stereotyped and voyeuristic representation of Maori life begins:

Te Whetu (The Star) was in love. The tattooed lines of his face expressed nothing but sorrow; his large brown eyes usually so fierce with warlike ardour, were pathetic and full of grief; his majestic head, always held so high, drooped upon his love-sick breast. He was the picture of despair.


Mihamiha was a kiritea, lovely beyond description; her complexion was several shades lighter than that of the ordinary Maori, though she was as pure-blooded as the Star himself. Naturally of a slight build, she had suddenly blossomed into luscious womanhood, which found her lissom though full of shape.87

Mansfield's highly self-conscious, deliberately artificial, and mannered piece is striving to sound sophisticated and cosmopolitan, in part by removing all the indicators of place, so oppressively obvious in Grace's story. The markers of Maoriland in 'Summer Idylle' have evaporated.

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Grace's story, of course, does not represent the whole repertoire of Maoriland, which had its own forms of self-consciousness (ironically, in striving to evoke a 'natural' world, Grace himself manages only to sound artificial).88 Moreover, the advanced style Mansfield wears so proudly in much of her writing between 1906 and 1908 was not wholly unknown in New Zealand. When Mansfield calls for 'a mad wave of… super-aestheticism' in New Zealand, she seems to be speaking from a great and superior height, as well as one which implies some knowledge of what was actually being written. Yet the aesthetic movement had already been canvassed in the Triad.89 As 'Summer Idylle' shows, among the stylistic options Mansfield explored in her juvenile writings was that of the Maoriland mythic mode.

In countering the predominant influence on her style of Chekhov, Kaplan makes Wilde the sign of Mansfield's remarkably early discovery of a modernist method.90 Wilde himself, however, was inserted among a variety of stylistic influences — sentimental literature, feminist writing, indigenous colour, all of which are the markers of colonial writing — and these influences coexisted with the period of his strongest presence in her writing. By 1908, a great deal separates Mansfield's writing from Grace's, but Mansfield's composite style has developed byway of the use of Maori legendary material and local colour as well as of aestheticism.

There was an Experiential basis to Mansfield's knowledge of Maoriland, in another sense of the word, derived chiefly from her camping trip through the Urewera District in 1907.91 In the Ureweras, Mansfield entered a world described in an account of the Governor, Lord Ranfurly, who visited three years earlier, as 'Darkest Maoriland'. Her experience of that fabled place is at a remove from those of imperialist and colonial, tourist and settler, although all these worlds intersect in the course of her journey. In March 1904 Lord Ranfurly had undertaken a journey through the Urewera Country, which was recorded in an elegant scrapbook kept by Major Dudley Alexander. The party, Alexander writes, was entering a 'little known' district of New Zealand 'where the Maori has remained in his more primitive state among his native fastnesses, bush and mountain'.92 The anticipation of an encounter with exotic otherness is increased by the information that page 158previous imperial parties had been refused admission.93 The Ureweras is a 'land full of ancient Maori lore, traditions & people: a land troops could never penetrate owing to its mountains & forests; the land of a fine old race who are gradually dying away'.94 A highpoint of the Governor's journey into romantic darkness is reached at a place where 'the natives… do not speak English, and no white people live with them'.95 Romanticism, however, does not completely subdue imperial pragmatism; approaching these Maori 'fastnesses', the recorder is impressed both by the beauty of the country and by its suitability for sheep.96

Three years later Mansfield was taken on a camping trip from Napier through the Ureweras to Rotorua. This journey and the diary records she kept provided a storehouse of memories, images, and experiments that thread through her later writing. The actual as opposed to the literary genesis of 'The Woman at the Store' is to be found in the observations of one of her companions on this journey, at a very isolated spot named Runanga:

[W]e saw a cottage. We knocked at the door as we wished to get permission to pitch our tent on the property. The door was opened by a cheerful, blowsy woman, who proved to be the roadman's wife. Delighted to find a crowd of humans to talk to she cried, 'Come in and sit down. I'll make a cup of tea. I haven't got me drorin-room boots on!'. This remark tickled [Mansfield] immensely. I feel very sure that this meeting with the roadman's wife was something she never forgot and that (many years later) gave her inspiration for 'The Woman at the Store'.97

Yet Ian Gordon indicates that Mansfield's realism is too complex to be tied so directly to experience. Discussing the 'photographic realism' of Mansfield's account of the Karori journey in 'Prelude', he also shows her playing with physical details in 'Old Tar': 'To heighten the dramatic effect, Katherine Mansfield has quietly moved the sea about 12 kilometres inland. Even her sharply remembered Karori landscape was a landscape of the mind.'98 The Ureweras were also for Mansfield a country of the mind: nature and imagination interpenetrated each other in the course of her journey.

In her diary record of the expedition Mansfield enthuses, like Alexander, about Maori in their least Europeanised state. In much of page 159her account of her trip Mansfield shows little sign of ironic distance from the romantic primitivism of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. She is not immune to the Maoriland associations of the ancient Maori with the places through which she passes: 'Visions of long dead Maoris, of forgotten battles and vanished feuds stirred in me.'99 Such stirring moments are reflective less of settler consciousness of relatively recent military events in the area100 than of the romanticised interpretations of Maori myth and prehistory common at the time — Jessie Mackay's 'Ossianic melancholy'. Keen to observe the wild Maori, Mansfield finds the more remote members of the Tuhoe tribe captivating and beautiful because they occupy what Anne McClintock calls 'anachronistic space'.101

Mansfield's account is, however, significantly different from that of Major Alexander. For him, the Maori, like the scenery, are curious, splendid, exotic, but they are not unfamiliar as types of a conquered race. Their presence does not disorient the imperial self. Mansfield's response to the land and its people is equivocal and shifting; it displays that uncertainty E. H. McCormick identifies as the 'insignia' of a colonial mentality.102 For Mansfield, the Urewera district and its people, especially when she moves into those places where English is not spoken, are pleasing but also disconcerting. The Maori on one occasion seem 'almost threatening'.103 The feelings of romantic awe elicited by the scenery unsettle rather than thrill her; she feels the land is withholding something from her, that it contains some secret she cannot penetrate:

Mist over the distant hills, the fascinating valleys of toitoi swayed by the wind. Silence again, and a world full of the loneliness and the sweetness of the wild places. Kathie in the morning in the manuka paddock saw the dew hanging from the blossoms & leaves, put it to her lips & it seemed to poison her with the longing for the sweet wildness of the plains, for the silent speech of the Silent Places, the golden rain of blossom.104

She recognises the beauty of the 'wild places' but fears its poison. She is drawn to the unfamiliar land, but it resists her approach. She touches it, but it recoils from her. She puts it into words, but it remains silent.

Angela Smith has noted another reference to poison in the poem Mansfield wrote for her dead brother, 'To LHB 1894–1915':

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By the remembered stream my brother stands Waiting for me with berries in his hands … 'These are my body. Sister, take and eat'.105

Smith suggests that one way of reading the poem's odd mix of images of cannibalism and communion is to see the poisonous berries the dead man offers his sister as 'regenerative food for writing, poisoned because it is inextricable from grief'.106 Yet the 'remembered stream' suggests that the event is located in New Zealand, and the berries may well be the poisonous karaka, which also figure in 'The Garden Party' (1922). In other words, Mansfield's brother, Leslie, dead by the time the poem was written, is offering her material for writing, but he does so by identifying himself with the New Zealand world his death brought so forcefully to her mind. The bond between the two was extremely close, as a 1913 letter to Mansfield from Leslie indicates:

My beloved Kate

Why do you write such beautiful letters? They bring home all the fragrance of your being and atmosphere and fill me with a gigantic longing to press your loving heart kissing your lips — 107

The memories of the world before the war, before Leslie's death in a hand grenade accident, before expatriation, are locked in the body — of the brother and the land — and one is able to be retrieved only by association with the other. Even in 'Prelude', the story which marks his death, Leslie is absent, at most registered by Linda's possible pregnancy. In 'The Garden Party' the trauma of Leslie's death has been transposed and appears by way of Laura's bewildered observation of the dead worker.108 Colonial society inhabits an insular calm protected from the intrusions of reality. The brother and sister are so close that overt articulation of their feelings is not necessary, the garden is cultivated, even the weather is controlled by the mother. Only the clump of karaka trees, whose dangerous beauty Laura does not want covered by the marquee, reminds the reader of the primeval forest which settled Wellington has displaced and the poison worked into even the most self-assured worlds.

The idea that the land contains a mystery, that it refuses to be read, page 161and that the Maori past holds one of the keys by which it might be read — 'Read me the Rune', as Jessie Mackay asks, 'for I faint with the mystery'109 — is at the heart of Maoriland writing. Mansfield later abandons the specifically local features and associations of this idea, but she carries into her 'modernist' writing after 1916 the sense of unsettlement it produces. While this sense is generalised, it is still characteristically focused through a young, dissatisfied female consciousness. There is, thus, a direct line of continuity between the central consciousness of 'In the Botanical Gardens', the diarist of the Urewera notebook, and the protagonist of 'The Garden Party'.

A familiar preoccupying problem for colonial writers and painters was how to cope with the sense of distance or strangeness of the new place. The words and conventions with which they had to figure the new world did not quite fit. One solution was to emphasise the sublimity of the landscape. Mansfield's response in the poison passage from the Urewera notebook is significantly different from Jessie Mackay's: she internalises the sublime so that it lies within the ironically observed mind of the protagonist (in this case that of the authorial self recording her experiences in her diary). Thus she employs the symbolist techniques learned from Wilde and the Decadents; however, she uses the symbolism not only to represent the consciousness of a young female protagonist but also to add complexity to writing about a colonial landscape:

… right before them the lonely mountain outlined against a vivid orange sky. The colour is so intense that it is reflected in their faces, in their hair. The very rock on which they climb is hot with the colour. They climb higher, the sunset changes, becomes mauve, & in the waning light all the stretch of burnt manuka is like a thin mauve mist around them. A bird, large and widely[?] silent, flies from the river right into the flowering sky. There is no other sound except the voice of the passionate river. They climb onto a great black rock & sit huddled up there alone — fiercely almost brutally thinking — like Wagner. Behind them the sky was faintly heliotrope, & then suddenly from behind a cloud a little silver moon shone through.110

At one level factual narrative describing the movements of the tourist party, this is also mood painting, using colours and effects of landscape page 162and sky to convey the tumultuous emotions of the writer who sees herself and her party as possessed by Wagnerian passion and aloofness. The interest of the writing seems to move away from its ostensible subjects — external scenery or emotional landscape — to the effects the writer is experimentally achieving, so that the question for Mansfield seems to be, as in her disagreement with Mills, not what she has chosen to write about but how well she can write it.

However, the landscapes in the Urewera notebook — human and physical — are not merely the occasions of juvenile exercises in symbolist writing or in working out how to convey consciousness. Mansfield's moods are continually modified by the landscape through which she moves. The consciousness that is evoked in the diary is at different times, uncertain, curious, and exhilarated. Mansfield's voice in the notebooks, vignettes, and stories is already modernist because it is so continuously inflected by the author's uncertainties, indecisions and evasions about subjectivity and because she presents her privacy, in all its complexity, so relentlessly. In contrast, Mackay, a more truly Victorian and thus public writer, positions the voice in her writing without Mansfield's solipsistic edge and self-regard. Mackay writes from within a sense of community to which Mansfield is impervious or hostile.

In her Urewera expedition Mansfield entered Maoriland both as a real world and as a romantically conceived one, but the role of colonial traveller was not a secure one for her. She was a member of the colonial upper class, but neither English nor an imperialist. Her status was enmeshed in the shifting relations between New Zealand as a nascent nation (a cause in which the term Maoriland had already been conscripted) and empire. In spite of the lack of 'powerful nationalist myths' generated by an outback literary tradition as in Australia, New Zealanders in the 1890s 'did anticipate the birth of a national culture'.111 Mansfield does not directly refer to this movement, but after 1915 she determined to represent her 'undiscovered country' to the world in her writing, embracing a kind of absentee literary nationalism.112 In the next few years Mansfield would find herself a colonial in another, more derogatory sense: that of the outsider in Bloomsbury trying to work her way into the centre of literary power.

Antony Alpers attributes the lack of a 'sense of security in the culture' to her status as a colonial, arguing that she found herself more alone than Joyce, James, or Chekhov, who were 'outsiders' yet had European page 163minds'.113 This quality of insecurity is already present in 1907 and distinguishes her response to the Urewera from that of Major Alexander, for whom the impenetrability of the place and the exotic quality of its people are romantic correlatives to the sublime pleasures afforded by the scenery. The strangeness is readily related to similar experiences of British rule in other parts of the world; the cartoon in which the caption 'Darkest Maoriland' appears features a 'faithful Maori gillie' running beside the Governor: a Maori rendered as that familiar romantic servant from another conquered race, the Scots, a parallel that Mackay would have recognised.114 Darkness here is charged with touristic excitement; it evokes ancient savageries, but in a tamed context.

In the Urewera Mansfield's impressions of Maori shift continually, reflecting her uncertainties. It is not simply that she finds the Maori of 'the utter backblocks' romantically fascinating and the anglicised Maori whom she encounters nearer civilisation, having lost the glamour of the traditional, unappealing.115 The problem is that she cannot neatly dissociate herself from other negotiations of colonial status. In the notebook she is capable of writing, tourist fashion, 'Post letters there — see Maoris',116 yet just three years earlier, a master at Queen's College had described her as 'a little savage from New Zealand'. Later, her first husband, George Bowden, would claim that she used to dress 'more or less Maori fashion' in London, although precisely what Bowden would have meant by this claim is hard to imagine.117

In another form of dressing up, Mansfield shifts continually and unpredictably among the names she uses to signify herself in the notebooks.118 Alpers sees this as a sign of colonial uncertainty, but this is to read her enthusiastic experimentalism with voices, styles and personae too abjectly. Uncertain of her place in language (as owner or borrower), she employs style always in a highly self-conscious fashion. The Maoriland touches in her early literary exercises have this experimental air, although she avoids the outright parody of 'One Day', published earlier in the Queen's College Magazine in 1905, where she guys imperial adventure stories for children:

three Englishmen armed to the teeth were seen stealing round the Jungle. They seemed to be rather inconvenienced by numerous oceans, which they swam with great exertion and puffing. Suddenly, from behind a giant fuchsia bush they caught page 164a glimpse of a tomahawk. A fierce battle ensued, ending in the complete victory of the English.119

Terry Eagleton argues that 'Language is weapon, dissemblance, seduction, apologia — anything, in fact, but representational…. Language is strategic for the oppressed, but representational for their rulers.'120 As a 'colonial', Mansfield could not speak with the assurance of rule of Major Alexander, yet neither could she speak from or for the position of the colonised. In her early writing she uses language neither as an instrument with which to represent a world whose assumptions and orderings are taken for granted nor as a means of subverting power. Language in her vignettes and stories, even in the notebooks, is continually being converted into 'style', by which she understands the deliberate manipulation of a manner — or variety of manners — which draw attention to their own distance from what they represent.

Part of Mansfield's response to Maori involves a preference for traditional peoples, unspoiled by modernity, but even this does not exclude her penchant for experiment. In a notebook of early 1908 are three descriptions of the same scene, in which some fishermen, initially Italian, become Maori, then Italians again. Here are the last two passages:

Across the blue sea a boat is floating with an orange sail. Now the Maori fishermen are sailing in, their white sail bellying in the wind. On the beach a group of them, with blue jerseys, thick trousers rolled to their knees. The sun shines on their thick crisp hair, & shines on their faces, so that their skins are the colour of hot amber. It shines on their bare legs & firm brown arms. They are drawing in a little boat called 'Te Kooti', the wet rope running through their fingers and falling in a mystic pattern on the foam blown sand.

And now the Italian fishermen are sailing in, their white sail bellying in the breeze — several come rowing in a little boat. They spring ashore. The sun shines on their crisp black hair. It shines on their faces, so that their skin is the colour of hot amber, on their bare legs & strong brown arms. They are dragging towards them the boat, the long black wet rope page 165running through their fingers & falling in a mystic pattern on the foam blown sand.121

There was an Italian fishing community at Island Bay at this time, which Mansfield observed. In a letter of 1908 she writes: 'Am just off to Island Bay for a long day & maybe an evening — I am going to write — and have to go to the sea for "Copy".'122 So there is a source in reality, but it is being adjusted, like Karori in the late stories.

What is significant is that Mansfield has inserted Maori experimentally into the lyrical prose passage. This construction of traditional people as mystical yet intimately related to the earth is commonly encountered in Celtic Twilight and Maoriland writing; it is also present in modernist writing. Nicholas Thomas distinguishes between the primitivism in settler culture and that in modernism:

[s]ettler primitivism is not … necessarily the project of radical formal innovation stimulated by tribal art that we are familiar with from twentieth-century modernism. It was, rather, often an effort to affirm a local relationship, not with a generic primitive culture, but a particular one — for example, that of Australian Aboriginal people, or the Maori of New Zealand.123

Mansfield is positioned neatly between these two positions. She belongs to Maoriland in that the traditional culture in question is specific not generic, but she is not part of the Maoriland effort to construct a locally inflected nationalism. She already belongs to modernism in that her commitment to formal innovation has established itself by way of her assimilation of the symbolist line drawn chiefly from Wilde and the Decadents. Hence, in one of her very early vignettes, 'By the Sea', over-rich description gives way to a fin-de-siècle image: 'And near me there is a light upon the blue coast — steadily, tenderly it burns — a little candle set upon the great altar of the world.'124 But, if Mansfield is putting a little smoke between herself and her father's colonial bourgeois world by her style, she is also remarkably attentive to and curious about many aspects of the life of the colony — Maori people, the brilliant oddities of the flora, white women gone queer in the bush — and she registers these with Lawson-like exactness.

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Alpers Implicitly Aligns Mansfield with literary modernism when he suggests that what she recognised in the Ureweras was the possession of a rooted culture: 'The Maoris had something which she recognised and was drawn to: they reminded her of Europe, where people had roots. In her white compatriots she sensed no nutrient for her ambition, no humus of tradition.'125 Colonial bourgeois culture, in other words, lacks depth, a past, or the sense of tradition required by the modernist artist; traditional culture, however, is organic and authentic, richly connected to the past. Colonial culture — Maoriland — gets round the problem by making the Maori past its own; Mansfield experiments with this in the notebooks, but does not carry it over into such later stories as 'How Pearl Button Was Kidnapped'.

When Mansfield in her Urewera notebook writes of a Maori girl whose face is 'passionate, violent, crudely savage' while in her eyes 'slumbers a tragic illimitable Peace', she employs a heightened kind of language and reveals a sense of the 'primitive' that curiously looks forward to D. H. Lawrence.126 But such apparent congruencies of feeling, style or ideology need to be treated cautiously. Lawrence's views on race and the primitive became caught up in his increasingly reactionary politics. For Lawrence, especially after the War, the present was to be judged as the result of a decline from a more whole and satisfying past. Lawrence loathed the present, unlike colonial figures like Harold Beauchamp and his expansive literary persona, Stanley Burnell.

Lawrence was responding to a particular, personal, and longstanding experience of the conflict between the traditional world of English rural life and industrialisation, which had been made unbearably acute by the War. Mansfield exhibits a highly fractured response to the questions of race and tradition that needs to be seen in its complexity, its contradictions, and in terms of the specific colonial world that shaped that response. For example, the name of the fishing boat in the first of the Island Bay passages, 'Te Kooti', refers to the prophet who led military campaigns against the settlers from the Ureweras. Mansfield's father in his Reminiscences recalls moving to Wanganui in 1869 when 'two of the most powerful chiefs of the Whanganui tribe, were in the field chasing Te Kooti in the dense forests of the Urewera and Bay of Plenty'.127 Recent historical memory informs the place through which Mansfield passes.

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Much connected Lawrence and Mansfield in the decade after 1908. They lived in adjoining houses; she figures in his fiction; his ideas and his presence are scattered through her letters and notebooks. As profoundly affected by the War as Lawrence, Mansfield also set about reconceptualising the basic forms and procedures of modern fiction in order to register the damage dealt. Nevertheless, a great deal separates them, and those differences are governed by their backgrounds. Mansfield from the colonial upper bourgeoisie finds the power of fathers, not industrialists, oppressive. Her politics are less acutely related to her life; she has more distance from poverty and physical ugliness. Her experience of 'primitive' peoples is more intimate than Lawrence's; even in the Ureweras the Maori are part of the colonial world Mansfield inhabits — other, but not foreign like Lawrence's Mexicans.

On her Urewera camping trip Mansfield encountered more than reminders of a seemingly untouched traditional world. She encountered a world, like all colonial worlds, in which conflict and accommodation cannot be disentangled, in which the busy process of constructing the other is continually contested by those so constructed. When she objects to the anglicised Maori she meets, she is registering her discomfort with those Maori resisting the impositions of the romantic archaic.128 Stopping at Te Whaiti, Mansfield observes, among a gathering of Maori there, a follower of the prophet, Rua Kenana, who claimed descent from Te Kooti. She makes no comment on Rua, merely noting the exotic appearance of one the group.129 Yet at this moment Mansfield stands at what Rod Edmond calls 'the intersection of … the traditional with the modern'.130 Rua a few miles away at Maungapohatu, like Te Whiti at Parihaka two decades earlier, would soon come to represent in the settler-colonial imagination a stubborn remnant of the dark Maori past. Yet his own view of Maori options did not rest on an atavistic vision of the past or a repudiation of the modernity brought with colonisation. As with Te Whiti, Rua's efforts to organise a community in the Urewera, his vision of Maori social and political options, and the synthesised religion he promulgated all involved the manufacture of hybrid forms rather than a return to pure origins.131 Rather than staging a retreat to precontact life, he was attempting to accommodate modernity to Maori needs and priorities. Judith Binney's description of the houses built by Rua's followers at Maungapohatu recalls descriptions of Parihaka at the time of the military intervention or Bertha Lawson, arriving at page 168Mangamaunu with her husband Henry a decade before, and describing the little settlement: 'a group of small weatherboard homes, scrupulously clean, with pretty flower gardens.'132

In 'Darkest Maoriland', then, Mansfield encountered not wholly opposed worlds — ancient and modern, organic and rootless — but communities and individuals engaged, like her, in complex negotiations of the opposing terms. If these worlds seemed in the Ureweras to exist in a more dramatic opposition than in her own familiar worlds of Karori or Thorndon, Mansfield nevertheless still finds herself situated between them; she belongs unequivocally to neither, yet is implicated in both. It is possible that among the gathering of Maori she saw at Te Whaiti were, unknown to her, her own relations. An 'unrespectable brother' of her grandfather, as Alpers notes, had married into the Tuhoe people.133

In leaving her native land Mansfield did not abandon what Nellie Macleod calls 'the simplicity and sincerity of the less sophisticated society' for which, in Europe, she would later yearn.134 The conditions of modernity that would figure in her writing were present in the contradictory world in which she grew up. The backward look of colonial nostalgia served present interests and purposes. Maoriland by 1907 was advertising itself as both energetically modern and pleasingly archaic, an apparent contradiction Mansfield neatly catches in a 1907 poem:

I know the bush is beautiful
The cities up to date
In life, they say, we're on the top
It's England, though, that's late.
But I, with all my longing heart,
I care not what they say
It's London ever calling me
The live long day.135

In 1907 modernism, a term which only began to have currency around the same time, was not available to Mansfield in New Zealand, but this was also the case for Joyce in Dublin until 1904 or Lawrence in Nottingham until 1908. Their situations were remarkably similar in respect of the dislocated cultural landscapes they inhabited; engaged in modernity, both were able to observe traditional worlds (Joyce's invented page 169by the Celtic Revivalists, Lawrence's largely by himself). Lawrence, as Raymond Williams has shown, found himself 'on a kind of frontier, within sight both of industrial and of agricultural England', although the distance between Eastwood and Haggs Farm was surely not as great as that between London in 1906 and the Urewera in 1907.136

Mansfield could not escape Maoriland in early 1900s New Zealand. Her father's combination of material pragmatism, progressivism, Anglophilia, and an interest in Maori lore and language expressed exactly the dominant public face of that world; and Mansfield's stance towards Maoriland is inseparable from her ambivalent response to her family. At times impelled to dramatise her frustration at their bourgeois ordinariness and the embarrassments they caused her, Mansfield was nevertheless a part of their world, its beneficiary, and eventually its most accomplished and celebrated interpreter. Maoriland writers tended to mediate the history of settlement by way of myth as a means of controlling its squalors, displacements and violence; Mansfield constructed an extravagant aestheticism by way of compensation for the frustrations and indignities of colonial life. Like another young aesthete, Stephen Dedalus, also seeking escape from the nightmares of colonial history into the static realm of art, Mansfield's aestheticism is always one of self-conscious gesture.137 Both forms of escape indicate how closely imbricated are their subjects in the worlds they seek to transcend. Mansfield carried hers with her into exile, fashioning from the evasions and controlling stratagems she had learned in Maoriland her particular variety of modernism.

In a notebook entry for 21 December 1908 Mansfield sketches a fictional biography which looks forward to her life in England and back to the New Zealand she is abandoning:

I should like to write a life much in the style of Walter Pater's 'Child in the House'. About a girl in Wellington; the singular charm and barrenness of that place, with climatic effects — wind, rain, spring, night, the sea, the cloud pageantry. And then to leave the place and go to Europe, to live there a dual existence — to go back and be utterly disillusioned, to find out the truth of all, to return to London to live there an existence so full & so strange that Life itself seemed to greet her, and, ill to the point of death, return to W. & die there. A story, no, it would page 170be a sketch, hardly that, more a psychological study of the most erudite character. I should fill it with climatic disturbance, & also of the strange longing for the artificial. I should call it 'Strife', & the child I should call — Ah, I have it — I'd make her a half-caste Maori & call her Maata. Bring into it Warbrick the guide.138

Warbrick is presumably the same government guide who had met Governor Ranfurly's party in 1904 at Lake Waikaremoana and outside whose whare Mansfield mentions sleeping in 1907.139 He is also perhaps cited by Blanche Baughan as one who witnessed the eruption of Mt Tarawera in 1886.140 The heroine to be named Maata in the narrative is not Maata Mahupuku but Mansfield herself, or a composite of the two.141 '[T]he most strange longing for the artificial' which is to fill the projected 'life' indicates that the hold of Wilde on her imagination has not yet loosened, but Wilde, celebrated earlier in the diaries as 'the essence of savoir faire', has been made to cohabit with Warbrick the guide into Maoriland.142

1 Antony Alpers, The Life of Katherine Mansfield (London: Jonathan Cape, 1980), p. 100.

2 See, for example, Peter Costello, James Joyce: The Years of Growth, 1882–1915: A Biography (London: Kyle Cathie, 1992).

3 Bridget Orr has written on Mansfield's colonial background in 'Reading with the Taint of the Pioneer: Katherine Mansfield and Settler Criticism', Landfall 43 no. 4 (December 1989), pp. 447–61; and 'The Only Free People in the Empire: Gender Differences in Colonial Discourse', De-Scribing Empire: Post-colonialism and Textuality, eds. Chris Tiffin and Alan Lawson (London, New York: Routledge, 1994), pp. 152–68. Sydney Janet Kaplan in Katherine Mansfield and the Origins of Modernist Fiction (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1991) and Angela Smith in Katherine Mansfield: A Literary Life (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 2000) both pay attention to the place of a colonial background in shaping her writing.

4 Scott, Notebooks, I, p. 9.

5 The former phrase also appears as 'Ake, Ake, Aroha' at the head of some early poems among the Unbound Papers in Scott, Notebooks, I, p. 22.

6 Scott, Notebooks, I, pp. 94, 148, 166. Ian A. Gordon notes that George Ebbett, a Hastings solicitor 'with a considerable knowledge of Maori history and ethnology, and a collector of Maori artifacts … was responsible for KM's references to Maori history and for her accurate knowledge of Maori place-names', The Urewera Notebook, by Katherine Mansfield, ed. Ian A. Gordon (Auckland: Oxford University Press, 1978), p. 33.

7 The expression 'Saxon' was commonly used in this period, reflecting imperial assumptions about racial differentiation. Jessie Mackay uses the term routinely to establish a contrast with romantic Celticism. As late as 1955, her biographer, Nellie Macleod, observes: 'Of what Jessie called her "Celtic depth of yearning for the past," perhaps no Saxon can speak with understanding', A Voice on the Wind, p. 114.

8 The piece is among material headed 'Notebook 40' in Scott's Notebooks. It is not dated but is included among a group of prose exercises, at the top of which is the date '-/8/03', Notebooks, I, pp. 7–9. Mansfield's family sailed from Auckland for London on 29 January 1903.

9 The phrase was applied to her by the principal at Queen's College. See Claire Tomalin, Katherine Mansfield: A Secret Life (London: Viking, 1987), p. 23.

10 A seminal essay on the influence of Wilde is Vincent O'Sullivan's 'The Magnetic Chain: Notes and Approaches to KM.', Landfall 29 no. 2 (June 1975), pp. 95–131. Kaplan also traces the theme in Katherine Mansfield and the Origins of Modernist Fiction, pp. 19–35ff.

11 Ian A. Gordon, 'Warmth and Hydrangeas: Katherine Mansfield's Wellington Years, 1907–8', New Zealand Listener, 8 May 1976, p. 23.

12 See, for example, 'Books I have read', placed under the rubric 'Holiday Work and Reading' and dated 13 July 1904. The list includes Thomas Moore, Alexander Dumas, Charlotte Bronte, E. A. Poe, and a variety of more popular novelists. By May 1908 a diary entry mentions enjoying a feminist book by Elizabeth Robins, goes on to note 'a wider vision' than that when Oscar Wilde dominated her intellectual horizon and lists as indication of this vision: 'a little Symons, a little Dolf Wyllarde, Ibsen, Tolstoi, Elizabeth Robins, Shaw, D'Annunzio, Meredith', Scott, Notebooks, I, pp. 31–2, 110.

13 Notebook entry, 13 July 1904, Scott, Notebooks, I, p. 31.

14 Scott, Notebooks, I, pp. 31–2, 110. A diary entry for 23 January 1908 suggests more catholic taste, listing Charles Dickens and G. K. Chesterton as 'Books selected for study', Scott, Notebooks, I, p. 153.

15 Constance A. Barnicoat, 'The Reading of the Colonial Girl', Nineteenth Century and After, no. 358 (December 1906), p. 939.

16 Barnicoat, 'The Reading of the Colonial Girl', p. 941.

17 Barnicoat, 'The Reading of the Colonial Girl', p. 944.

18 Barnicoat, 'The Reading of the Colonial Girl', p. 943.

19 Jones, Writers in Residence, p. 139.

20 Alpers, Life, p. 50.

21 Beauchamp, Reminiscences and Recollections, pp. 194–5. We have been unable to trace Scholefield's original list.

22 Guy H. Scholefield, 'Katherine Mansfield', Beauchamp, Reminiscences and Recollections, p. 195.

23 Scholefield, 'Katherine Mansfield', p. 193.

24 Letter to Vera Beauchamp, [late March 1908], Collected Letters of Katherine Mansfield, vol. 1, ed. Vincent O'Sullivan and Margaret Scott (Oxford: Clarendon, 1984), p. 42. Similarly, Jane Mander, in Sydney in 1907, felt that there she had access to an intellectual, literary and artistic world she had not known previously in New Zealand. See Rae McGregor, The Story of a New Zealand Writer: Jane Mander (Dunedin: Otago University Press, 1998), p. 38. However, Mander, having lived much of her life in the far north, felt the absence of a sympathetic cultural milieu particularly acutely, just as Sargeson did a generation later in Hamilton. Jessie Mackay in Christchurch in the years immediately before Mansfield and Mander left New Zealand had access to Mrs Colbourn-Veel's 'approach to a salon', which would not have satisfied the former but which did provide 'intellectual companionship' for Mackay.

25 Beauchamp, Reminiscences and Recollections, p. 90.

26 Dennis McEldowney observes that in 1908 'Blanche Baughan was inciting Johannes Andersen to join in a "strike": "Miss Mackay has already: we have resolved to allow nothing of ours to be printed without pay"', OH, p. 639.

27 See Jean E. Stone, Katherine Mansfield: Publications in Australia, 1907–09 (Sydney: Wentworth Books, 1977), p. 13.

28 Tom L. Mills, letter to Guy Morris, 30 October 1937, Guy and Maude Morris Collection, MS-Papers-3981- 013, ATL. Mills here may solve a problem regarding a missing Mansfield story which supposedly appeared in the 1907 Fielding Star: 'The Star never published a story by K. M.' Presumably, the missing story is the one he told her to sell.

29 Sir Harold was one of the most important financial figures in the New Zealand of his day, influential in sorting out the difficulties the Bank of New Zealand got into in the mid 1890s. A full list of his directorships is to be found in an appendix to Reminiscences and Recollections, taken from Who's Who, p. 223. Mansfield's lack of admiration for his success is expressed in the novel draft, 'Juliet', where the heroine finds herself caught between her attraction to 'the mode boheme — alluring, knowledge-bringing, full of work and sensation, full of impulse, pulsating with the cry of Youth Youth Youth' and 'the Suitable Appropriate Existence' urged on her by her father, who demands 'a sane healthy-minded girl'. Juliet smiles at his stilted, conventional way of speaking: 'an undeniable trade atmosphere', Scott, Notebooks, I, p. 67.

30 Scott, Notebooks, I, p. 88.

31 Murry is here quoting D. H. Lawrence in conversation, who observed that 'Katherine … felt herself to be an outlaw', John Middleton Murry, 'Diary and Poems, 1915–1919', 22 February 1915, John Middleton Murry Collection, Diaries and Notebooks, MSX-4143, ATL.

32 See Claire Tomalin, Katherine Mansfield: A Secret Life (London: Viking, 1987), pp. 16–17. In a letter written to her sister, Vera, in late March 1908, Mansfield writes: 'Mother has the plan of sending us to London to live together — we three in a flat on £300 a year', Collected Letters, p. 42.

33 Sir Harold proudly records his membership of the New Zealand Academy of Fine Arts and his gift to the nation of a house at 47 Fitzherbert Tce, valued at between £5000 and £6000 ('the home in which Mansfield had spent many happy years') to purchase pictures for a National Picture Gallery, Reminiscences and Recollections, pp. 181–2.

34 'Notes at Random', by TDH, Dominion, 7 February 1923, Chaddie Pickthall Collection, MS-Papers-3964-04, ATL.

35 On 1 October 1909 is 'A Day in Bed' published in The Lone Hand by K. M. Beauchamp. On the same page is another poem by 'K. Mansfield' published in the Daily News 3 November 1909, with the word 'London' inked in with a flourish at either side. On the facing page is 'The Education of Audrey' from the Evening Post 30 January 1909 by K. Mansfield, Harold Beauchamp scrapbook, vol. 1. p. 114–15. Later we find two poems, 'Spring, ou les oiseaux' and 'For Vera', dated 24 October 1912 and 23 June 1912, Harold Beauchamp scrapbook, vol. 1. pp. 201–2. The scrapbook was compiled by Sir Harold's daughter, Vera.

36 Tom L. Mills, 'Katherine Mansfield: How Kathleen Beauchamp Came into her Own', New Zealand Railways Magazine, 8 no. 5 (September 1933), pp. 6–7. In January 1923 Sir Harold wrote an appreciative letter to Mills from the Bannatyne office thanking him for a reference to his public services in an article in the Fielding Star and reminding him of his earlier services to Mansfield. 'In the very early stages of Kathleen's literary career, I have to recognize that you were her guide, philosopher and friend', Harold Beauchamp, letter to Tom Mills, 5 January 1923, Thomas Mills Collection, MS-Papers-4007, ATL.

37 See G. N. Morris, letter to Tom Mills, 17 February 1937, Thomas Mills Collection, MS-Papers-4007, ATL.

38 From a 1938 letter to Mills in which Sir Harold sympathises with his lack of luck in getting articles on Katherine published in Melbourne and Sydney and advises him: Harold Beauchamp, letter to Tom Mills, 17 March 1938, Thomas Mills Collection, MS-Papers-4007, ATL.

39 Tom L. Mills, letter to Guy Morris, 30 October 1937, Guy and Maude Morris Collection, MS-Papers-3981-013.

40 Scholefield, 'Katherine Mansfield', p. 197.

41 Mills, letter to Guy Morris, 30 October 1937, p. 4.

42 '[He] likes me far too much', Katherine Mansfield, Letters, I, p. 45.

43 Scholefield, 'Katherine Mansfield', p. 197. Mills recounts this meeting in his letter to Morris: 'I confirmed her own judgment that she could write. I went even further & said she was a Genius. I had her own word for it, given with all the Beauchamp emphasis, that that was all that was expected from me: To answer the question — Can my daughter Kathleen write? I offended her beyond forgiveness by criticizing what she wrote', Tom L. Mills, letter to Guy Morris, 30 October 1937, Guy and Maude Morris Collection, MS-Papers-3981-013, ATL.

44 Scholefield, 'Katherine Mansfield', p. 197.

45 See McGregor, The Story of a New Zealand Writer, pp. 73–4. Mander, as McEldowney writes, had 'tentatively explored marriage and what her contemporaries called "the sex problem" in a story in the New Zealand Illustrated Magazine', 'Publishing, Patronage, Literary Magazines', OH, p. 639. In 2001 Hugh Selby Jr's Last Exit to Brooklyn, a source for Alan Duff's Once Were Warriors, was still on the discretionary shelves in the Wellington City Library.

46 The Butcher's Shop was published by Duckworth in 1926 and banned in New Zealand and Australia; The Story of a New Zealand River was published in London and New York in 1920, having been written in New York in 1914–16. It was not published in New Zealand until 1938 when Whitcombe and Tombs brought out a reprint.

47 At any rate, the few New Zealand vehicles for literary publication — newspapers and magazines — generally preferred to run overseas stories and often did not pay local contributors (hence, Jessie Mackay's return to teaching in 1902). See McEldowney, OH, p. 640. For an account of Jessie Mackay's turning to teaching see Letter to A. G. Stephens, 10 May 1903, MS-Papers-0778/1, ATL.

48 Mills in his letter to Guy Morris sets out her earliest publications, and notes the quality of saccharine sentimentality as well as sexual precociousness in the stories he read: 'So far as I remember she sent the 3 verse and 6 story items submitted to me for the judgment of Solomon under her Beauchamp name. They had no pen names on them when I read them. I wrote on the top of each item (all short) the addresses of the magazine I thought would accept them. She told me she had posted them to those addresses.' Tom L. Mills, letter to Guy Morris, 30 October 1937, Guy and Maude Morris Collection, MS-Papers-3981-013, ATL.

49 Mansfield was paid two pounds for 'Vignettes', which appeared in the October 1907 issue, and two pounds, seven and six for 'In a Cafe', published in the December number, Stone, Katherine Mansfield: Publications in Australia, p. 54. The Native Companion: An Australian Magazine of Literature and Life appeared in two series, from January to May 1907, edited by Bertram Stevens and from June to November 1907 edited by E. J. Brady. The editorial for vol. 1 no. 1, 31 January 1907 promised less nationalist tone than the Bulletin. Quoting from Pater's Appreciation, the editor reflected on the problems of genius and environment, praising the Australian ballad tradition but noting that bush literature, while a beginning, had not as yet produced a nationalist literature. New Zealand interest was not confined to Mansfield; Johannes C. Andersen's forthcoming Maori Life in Ao tea roa is mentioned and his essay 'Rhyme and Metre' appeared in vol. 1, no. 6, 29 June 1907, pp. 14–23. Stevens's tone is different from that of the editors of New Zealand Verse (1906), which is given high praise in vol. 1 no. 2, p. 24. Brady was not, however, anti-Bulletin. Tom Mills describes meeting Brady in the Bulletin office in his letter to Guy Morris, 30 October 1937.

50 Phillips observes that the amount of New Zealand material in the magazine progressively declined, 'Musings in Maoriland', p. 526.

51 See B. J. Kirkpatrick, A Bibliography of Katherine Mansfield (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1989), pp. 106–8.

52 K. Mansfield, 'Study: The Death of a Rose', the Triad, vol. 16 no. 4 (1 July 1908), p. 35.

53 McGregor, The Story of a New Zealand Writer, p. 34.

54 Jessie Mackay, letter to A. G. Stephens, 29 August 1902, MS-Papers-0778/1, ATL.

55 Jane Mander, letter to the Triad, 1909; quoted in McGregor, The Story of a New Zealand Writer, p. 34.

56 Katherine Mansfield, letter to Vera Beauchamp [?April–May 1908], Collected Letters of Katherine Mansfield, Volume I, 1903–1917, ed. Vincent O'Sullivan and Margaret Scott (Oxford: Clarendon, 1984), p. 44.

57 Phillips, 'Musings in Maoriland', p. 525.

58 Experiments with vignettes were not, however, confined to her time in New Zealand. See, for example, 'Vignette — Westminster Cathedral' in Scott, Notebooks, I, pp. 130-1, which seems to have been written in England. The vignette exercise immediately before this in Scott's edition of the notebooks, 'It is evening, and very cold', was written while at Queen's College and published as 'Silhouettes', The Native Companion, 1 November 1907. It is reprinted in Stone, Katherine Mansfield: Publications in Australia, pp. 32–3.

59 Lawson, 'New Zealand from an Australian's Point of View', Fair Play, A Camp-Fire Yarn, p. 345.

60 Smith, Katherine Mansfield, p. 25. Mansfield's use of botanical rather than the correct botanic agrees with the Wellington usage.

61 Katherine Mansfield, 'In the Botanical Gardens', Stone, Katherine Mansfield: Publications in Australia, p. 42.

62 Diary entry, 1 June 1907, Scott, Notebooks, I, p. 101. Wilde's preface to The Portrait of Dorian Gray is also, perhaps, the source of Mansfield's stern insistence to Tom Mills that in literature style is more important that content and that 'good' writing is differentiated from 'bad' by aesthetic, not moral, criteria, The Portrait of Dorian Gray (London: Everyman, 1976), pp. 1–2.

63 O'Sullivan, 'The Magnetic Chain', p. 121.

64 The Reporter, the magazine of Wellington Girls' College in which Mansfield had published a story in 1899, printed in the issue for the third term of 1908 extracts from the Lady Principal's report which cite Sir Arthur Rucker, Principal of London University: 'I believe you have very advanced ideas about women in New Zealand', p. 35. National Archives, Wellington, Wellington Girls Archive, AANB, Series 883, Item 4B. Jane Mander, arriving at Barnard College in New York City in 1912, found herself as a New Zealander 'an object of inspiration': 'We were then leaders in social legislation…. We were utopia materialized!', quoted in McGregor, The Story of a New Zealand Writer, p. 44.

65 John Middleton Murry, Katherine Mansfield and Other Literary Studies (London: Constable, 1959), p. 83

66 Murry, Katherine Mansfield, p. 84.

67 Mansfield herself wrote in a letter to Ottoline Morrell on 13 July 1917 of her yearning for 'that wild untamed water that beats about my own forlorn island', but the island she is remembering here is more likely to be the North Island than New Zealand itself, Letters, I, pp. 316–17.

68 Letter to Stephens, 26 January 1907.

69 For example: 'I am ashamed of young New Zealand, but what is to be done. All the firm fat framework of their brains must be demolished before they can begin to learn', letter to Vera Beauchamp, [?April–May 1908], Collected Letters, I, p. 44.

70 Frederick Archibald de la Mare Collection, MS-Papers-3865-1/14, ATL; cited in Jones, Writers in Residence, p. 285.

71 Scott, Notebooks, I, p. 81.

72 Katherine Mansfield, letter to Sylvia Payne, 24 April 1906, Letters, I, p.18.

73 Lydia Wevers, 'How Kathleen Beauchamp Was Kidnapped', Women's Studies Journal, 4 no. 2 (December 1988), p. 6.

74 An increasing body of scholarship has built on Kaplan's case in Katherine Mansfield and the Origins of Modernist Fiction (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1991). See, for example: Pamela Dunbar's Radical Mansfield: Double Discourse in Katherine Mansfield's Short Stories (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1997); Patricia Moran's Word of Mouth: Body Language in Katherine Mansfield and Virginia Woolf (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1996); and Angela Smith's Katherine Mansfield and Virginia Woolf: a Public of Two (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1999).

75 Kaplan, Katherine Mansfield and the Origins of Modernist Fiction, p. 47.

76 Scott, Notebooks, I, p. 75.

77 T. H. Beaglehole, '"Home"? J. C. Beaglehole in London, 1926–1929', The Turnbull Library Record, 14 no. 2 (October 1981), p. 79.

78 Edward Tregear, Fairy Tales and Folk Lore of New Zealand and the South Seas (Wellington: Lyon and Blair, 1891). Phillips observes that there were 12 poetic versions of the Hinemoa legend during the 1890s, 'Musings in Maoriland', p. 530.

79 McEldowney, 'Publishing Patronage, Literary Magazines', OH, pp. 636–7.

80 See Betty Gilderdale, 'Children's Literature', OH, pp. 530–1. Howes also wrote guides to walking, following Blanche Baughan, Jones, Writers in Residence, p. 273.

81 Sir Harold notes 'artistic and intellectual tastes' among his forebears, Reminiscences and Recollections, p. 4. He also shows concern to close gaps in what he calls the 'whakapapa of the Beauchamps' left by careless father and brothers. For Sir Harold, ancestry in the colonies did not date from arrival on the shore, ibid, pp. 2–3. The poetry line in his family is a sign of distinction he traces from his grandfather John to his daughter, Mansfield, ibid, p.9.

82 Marion C. Ruddick, 'Incidents in the Childhood of Katherine Mansfield', Andrew Beauchamp Mackintosh Bell Papers, MS-Papers-1339, pp. 10–11, ATL.

83 Ruddick, 'Incidents', pp. 65–6. An interest in Maori custom and the use of Maori tags and greetings was an accepted part of the gentility of colonial families. Sir Harold closes his foreword to Reminiscences and Recollections with a tribute in Maori to his friend Guy Scholefield: 'Kia whiti tonu te ra ki runga kia koe.' He also, however, quotes a piece of doggerel which bastardises Maori words and suggests the limitations of his poetic taste: 'O how shall I cross the great river Ohau? / O Waikanae not reach the shore?', Beauchamp, Reminiscences and Recollections, p. 34. A similar vulgar playfulness is to be found in 'Maori Place Names', the Triad, 13 no. 7 (2 October 1905), p. 34. Tom Mills concludes his letter to Guy Morris, 'Kia Ora! / Sincerely'.

84 'The Woman at the Store' appeared in Rhythm in 1912; 'Ole Underwood' appeared in Rhythm in 1913; 'Millie' appeared in the Blue Review in 1913.

85 A. A. Grace, Atareta, the Belle of the Kainga (Wellington: Gordon & Gotch, [1908]), p. 10.

86 The concluding stanza with its self-consciously Decadent air turns to a favourite Mansfield theme: 'From the tedious sobbing and gasping, and hoarse guttural screaming, and uncouth repulsive movements of the body of dying Man, I draw apart, and, smiling, I lean over you, and watch your dainty, delicate Death', 'Study', Triad, 1 July 1908, p. 35.

87 Triad, 13 no. 4 (July 1905), p. 9.

88 Grace collected stories from what he regarded as authentic sources. Mansfield's observations in her diaries that only when New Zealand writers had learned to be more 'artificial' would they be able to represent the country's natural beauties indicates perhaps her awareness of the nature of the problem Grace faces here, Scott, Notebooks, I, p. 81.

89 The pre-Raphaelite movement was discussed in a lengthy review of Holman Hunt's autobiography in the Triad, 14 no. 1 (April 1906), pp. 82–10, reprinted from The Argus. Nellie Macleod writes of 'the decadents of the nineties and their New Zealand imitators, the poets of The Triad', A Voice on the Wind: The Story of Jessie Mackay, by Nellie F. H. Macleod (Wellington: A. H. and A. W. Reed, 1955), p. 117. Ezra Pound, albeit negatively, also figured in the Triad. See K. K. Ruthven, 'Ezra Pound, Alice Kenny and the Triad', Landfall, 23 no. 1 (March 1969), pp. 73–84.

90 This is first discussed by O'Sullivan in 'The Magnetic Chain'. Kaplan extends O'Sullivan's discussion of the debt to Wilde in Katherine Mansfield and the Origins of Modernist Fiction.

91 Ruddick notes 'Katie's' own early fascination with the Maori, following a trip to Rotorua by Marion's mother, Incidents, p. 68. Mansfield's early romantic interest in the Maori had family precedents. Her ancestress, Jane Beauchamp, had invested a legacy in Wakefield's New Zealand Company at the very beginning of organised settlement. When the validity of the land titles proved doubtful and the Maori vendors troublesome, Jane, undeterred, wrote to a friend: 'I had for several years admired the national character of the aborigines', Beauchamp, Reminiscences and Recollections, p. 13.

92 Major Dudley Alexander, 'The New Zealand Journals', 1900–1904, Ranfurly Papers, MSY-4600, p. [115], ATL. This book is available on the National Library's website at: <http://ead.natlib.govt.nz/ranfurly/MSY-4600view.html> see Ranfurly Collection MS-Group-0756. In A. A. Grace's 'Why Castelard Took to the Blanket' remoteness is signified by the Urewera: 'Castelard… has been to the most inaccessible parts of Maoriland, and has even explored the remotest corners of the Urewera country', Tales of a Dying Race, p. 68.

93 Lord Onslow was refused permission and Lord Glasgow 'did not try to go there', Alexander, 'The New Zealand Journals', p. [115].

94 Alexander, 'The New Zealand Journals', pp. [117–18].

95 Alexander, 'The New Zealand Journals', p. [129].

96 Alexander, 'The New Zealand Journals', p. [117].

97 Elsie Webber, letter to H. G. Cook, 'Letters Regarding Investigations into Katherine Mansfield', transcript made from originals owned by Mr H. G Cook, April 1956, H. G. Cook Collection, MS-Papers-4010, pp. 3–4, ATL. In Mansfield papers in the ATL there is a typescript outlining an interview with T. E. Y. Seddon, 21 August 1968, in which the interviewee recounts seeing 'Kass' in Rotorua in 1908 looking very despondent and observing: '"I'm tarvelling in a caravan with some people Father doesn't approve of and I feel miserable but I've written a marvellous story". This was "The Woman at the Store"', MS-Papers- 6425, ATL. This seems unlikely as 'The Woman at the Store' was written in London in 1911.

98 Ian A. Gordon, 'The House That Katherine Built', Evening Post, 14 March 1981, p. 12.

99 Scott, Notebooks, I, p. 136.

100 Mansfield was, however, aware of those military events. Towards the end of the journey she passes through a place called 'Opipi', 'the scene of a most horrible massacre', Scott, Notebooks, I, p. 149.

101 The Tuhoe of the Urewera District were at the time and remain today the tribe most resistant of European intrusion. A history of the Tuhoe people was written by Elsdon Best, an early ethnographer who ran the store at Te Whaiti where Mansfield stopped in 1907. It is interesting to compare the map of Mansfield's journey included in The Urewera Notebook (p. 32) with that in the recent reprint of Best's Tuhoe: The Children of the Mist: a Sketch of the Origin, History, Myths, and Beliefs of the Tuhoe Tribe of the Maori of New Zealand; with some Account of Other Early Tribes of the Bay of Plenty District, vol. 1, 4th ed. (Auckland: Reed, 1996). See also McClintock, Imperial Leather, p. 30.

102 E. H. McCormick, who castigates the cultural dependency of the Maoriland period, argues that 'Mansfield found herself only by escaping from the suffocating materialism of New Zealand', New Zealand Literature, p. 84.

103 See Ian A. Gordon's note in The Urewera Notebook, p. 52.

104 Scott, Notebooks, I, p. 144.

105 Poems of Katherine Mansfield, ed. Vincent O'Sullivan (Auckland: Oxford University Press, 1988), p. 54.

106 Angela Smith, Katherine Mansfield: A Literary Life (Houndmills: Palgrave, 2000), pp. 100–1.

107 Leslie Beauchamp to K. M., from 47 Fitzherbert Tce, 15 October 1913, MS- Papers-7224-05, ATL. C.K. Stead in Mansfield: A Novel (2004) suggests incestuous feelings between the siblings.

108 The scene in which Laura views the dead man here is remarkably close to that in D. H. Lawrence's 'Odour of Chrysanthemums' published in 1914 in The Prussian Officer and Other Stories.

109 Jessie Mackay, 'Phantom Ford', From the Maori Sea, p. 26.

110 Scott, Notebooks, I, p. 145.

111 Phillips, 'Musings in Maoriland', pp. 525–6.

112 Journal, 22 January 1915; quoted in Letters and Journals, p. 65.

113 Alpers, Life, pp. 329–30.

114 Bridget Orr notes, a 'commonly-made analogy between Highlanders and the Maori' in 'The Only Free People in the Empire', p. 166. This is confirmed by the cartoon in Alexander's scrapbook which implicitly figures the enthusiasm of Queen Victoria, who had died two years earlier, for things Scottish in that between the Governor and his faithful Maori guide, Alexander, [p. 124].

115 Scott, Notebooks I, p. 138. At one place she finds that the Maori 'know some English and some Maori… [and] dress in almost English clothes'. She compares them unfavourably with the natives of Umuroa who wear 'a great deal of ornament … & strange hair fashions', ibid., pp. 140–1. Orr sees her contempt for the mimicry by the colonised of their colonisers as a sign of the 'pioneer taint', 'Reading with the Taint of the Pioneer', p. 456.

116 Scott, Notebooks, I, p. 137.

117 Alpers, Life, p. 87.

118 Above a poem of 1903 which celebrates the books, pictures and music in her 'world, this room of mine', Mansfield has written: 'K Mansfield, Kass, K, Kath, <Cass>', Scott, Notebooks, p. 28. In the version of the Urewera notebooks ed. Scott, a brief inscription at the top is signed 'K.__ Mansfield'. At this stage of her life her experiments with different names — Katie, Mansfield, Katherine, Mansfield, Beauchamp — indicate how fluid her personality is and how open she is to different kinds of writing. Significantly, in the notebooks she often switches between the pronouns 'I' and 'she', indicating uncertainty about identity. Antony Alpers suggests that this also indicates that she 'wasn't certain whether she belonged [in her native country] or not', Life, p. 58

119 Scott, Notebooks, I, p. 37.

120 Terry Eagleton. 'Form and Ideology in the Anglo-Irish Novel', Heathcliff and the Great Hunger, p. 171.

121 Scott, Notebooks, I, p. 157. The same passage appears, with Italian fishermen, worked into a vignette, 'By the Sea', Scott, Notebooks, I, pp. 193–4.

122 Katherine Mansfield, letter to Miss Putnam, January 1908, Letters, I, 36.

123 Nicholas Thomas, Possessions: Indigenous Art / Colonial Culture (London: Thames and Hudson, 1999), pp. 12–13.

124 Vignette — By the Sea', Pat Lawlor — Mansfield material, Hugh Norwood Collection, MS-Papers-7293-07, ATL.

125 Alpers, Life, pp. 58–9.

126 Scott, Notebooks, I, p. 148.

127 Beauchamp, Reminiscences and Recollections, p. 32.

128 1907 saw the conclusion of the International Exhibition in Christchurch, where a model pa had been constructed and Maori instructed to perform in the traditional manner. Sir John Gorst, Special British Commissioner to the Exhibition, who found the ceremonial dances, haka and speeches splendid, noted one or two young men 'who wore English dress and spoke in English fashion, and wished us to know that there was a race of young Maories [sic] now springing up who were desirous of attaining the knowledge and civilization which the white men's schools and colleges could teach them and were ambitious of seeing their race become in every respect the equals of the Europeans, and taking part in the government and administration of the country'. See Bernard Kernot, 'Maoriland Metaphors and the Model Pa', Farewell Colonialism: The New Zealand International Exhibition Christchurch, 1906–07, ed. John Mansfield Thomson (Palmerston North: Dunmore Press, 1998), p. 74.

129 See Ian Gordon's note in The Urewera Notebook, p. 52.

130 Edmond, Representing the South Pacific, p. 192.

131 James Belich argues that Maori constructed 'a new Maori religion of many variants, which converted European Christianity as much as it was converted by it…. The conversion of Christianity by Maori was not solely a matter of retaining elements of tradition, but of developing non-European interpretations of Christianity, non-Christian interpretations of the Bible, and new elements that were neither traditional, nor Christian, nor Biblical', Belich, Making Peoples, p. 223.

132 Pearson, Henry Lawson Among Maoris, p. 43.

133 Alpers, Life, p. 58. On Maori Beauchamps at 1974 family reunion at Picton/ Anakiwa attended by 150, see Ian Gordon's papers at the Turnbull. George Frederick Beauchamp served in the Armed Constabulary in the Urewera country 1868–85, from him proceeded 'Maori Beauchamps', Ian Gordon Collection, Papers re Katherine Mansfield, MS-Papers-6984-35, ATL.

134 Macleod is citing an essay on Hawthorne by Henry James Jr., A Voice on the Wind, p. 50.

135 Scott, Notebooks, I, p. 86.

136 Raymond Williams, Culture and Society: 1870–1950 (London: Chatto and Windus, 1967), p. 207.

137 Alpers notes Mansfield's turning against self-conscious or 'made up' writing towards the end of her life, Life, p. 336.

138 Scott, Notebooks, I, pp. 111–12.

139 Scott, Notebooks, I, p. 141.

140 Baughan, Uncanny Country, pp. 55–6.

141 Margaret Scott notes that in the draft of the incomplete novel, 'Maata', written around this time Mansfield identified herself with Maata, Scott, Notebooks, I, p. 237, fn. The habit of adopting a Maori name among privileged Pakeha women was distinctively Maoriland; Mansfield also adopts a Maori persona in a fragmentary novel, 'The Story of Rewa', ibid. pp. 161, 220n.

142 Scott, Notebooks, I, p. 109.