dimanche 21 septembre 2014

Katherine Mansfield's letters

I was recently given all of my grandparents books. They both died when I was ten, so it is fascinating to reconnect with them through words: reading, books and their marginalia. My grandma appears to have had a passion for poetry. This summer I read her two hard-backed editions of Katherine Mansfield's letters. Collated by her husband, John Middleton Murray, the letters span from 1913-1922. The writing is alive, spontaneous, extraordinary. Desperately ill, Mansfield describes convalescence on the Cote d'Azur, Paris during WW1 and a writing life separated from her beloved author husband. In his introductory note, J. Middleton Murray writes, "Mansfield's one concern was to leave behind her some small legacy of truth..not a little of her 'truth' is contained in these letters"; the texts are lit by her veracity, a naive startling brilliance. Here's an excerpt from a letter written to her husband in the Summer of 1913,

"I'm a lion all day, darling, but with that last point of daylight I begin to turn into a lamb and by midnight mon Dieu! by midnight the whole world has turned into a butcher!"

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