[Msa-discuss] Conference in Chicago: Katherine Mansfield and the 'Blooms Berries', 28-30 May 2015

Gerri Kimber gerri at thekimbers.co.uk
Sun Sep 21 04:40:49 EDT 2014

Katherine Mansfield and the ŒBlooms Berries¹
An international conference organized by the Katherine Mansfield Society, to
be held at the Newberry Library in Chicago, Illinois, USA
28-30 May 2015
Keynote Address:
Professor Sydney Janet Kaplan
University of Washington

In his eagerness to establish Katherine Mansfield¹s place among her peers,
John Middleton Murry sometimes published work that she herself would have
rejected. Likewise, the extent of his culling of her letters and notebooks
glossed over Mansfield¹s complex personality and relationships, elements of
her life that provide a context for better understanding her fiction.  This
ŒMansfield Myth¹ made her appear out of touch with the social and cultural
upheaval of her time.

            Having generally been relegated to the fringe of literary
modernism during her lifetime, especially among the influential ŒBlooms
Berries¹, as Mansfield referred to them in a letter to Lady Ottoline Morrell
on 15 August 1917, she nevertheless worked her way into enviable positions
of prestige in some key literary magazines, and had become well known as a
writer by the end of her life. It is as a member of the social fringe,
though, that Mansfield becomes the most intriguing. As Sydney Janet Kaplan
demonstrates in her seminal book, Katherine Mansfield and the Origins of
Modernist Fiction, Mansfield brings a different perspective ­­ and, like
Virginia Woolf, provides a corrective ­ to the dominant, male-centered
version of modernism.  Likewise, as a colonial, Mansfield remained free of
the traditions that haunted most of the Bloomsbury group, including their
Œanxiety of influence¹. In this, Mansfield demonstrated herself as more
Œmodern¹ than some of her contemporaries; having less Œtradition¹ to
overcome, she was able to adopt a style that was unselfconscious of
influence. The focus of this conference will therefore allow us to place her
more firmly within the literary context of her time.

Suggested topics for papers might include:
Ø  Mansfield and the ŒBlooms Berries¹, focusing on her personal and/or
professional relationships with particular members of the Bloomsbury group.
Ø  Mansfield on the Fringe, exploring her relationship with other
fringe-members of the Bloomsbury group such as D.H. Lawrence and T.S. Eliot,
or perhaps the impact her relegation to the fringe had on her personal
and/or professional life.
Ø  Mansfield and Style, which could address some of the literary influences
of some of the Bloomsbury group on Mansfield or her influence on them.
Ø  Mansfield and Art, focusing on the shared influences the
post-impressionists had on both Mansfield and the members of the Bloomsbury
group, as well as other cross-fertilizations.
Ø  Mansfield Œin¹ Bloomsbury, exploring how Mansfield has been portrayed in
the fiction and letters of the various members.
Ø  Bloomsbury Œin¹ Mansfield, turning the tables to focus on how members of
Bloomsbury are portrayed in Mansfield¹s fiction and letters.
Ø  Mansfield, herself.  We would entertain proposals that focus more
specifically on Mansfield; however, priority will be given to those
proposals that tie more directly to the conference theme.
What better venue to explore Mansfield¹s interrelationships with the members
of Bloomsbury than the beautiful Newberry Library in Chicago, the world¹s
second largest holder of Mansfield¹s papers.  As part of the conference,
Huntington University will sponsor an exhibit of some of the library¹s
Mansfield holdings.  Those interested in staying over on Sunday can arrange
to visit the Shedd Aquarium, the Art Institute of Chicago, or the Chicago
Field Museum of Natural History.
Please submit abstracts of 250 words plus a bio-sketch of 50 words to the
conference organizers, Todd Martin, Erika Baldt, and Alex Moffett, to:
kmsintheus at gmail.com <mailto:kmsintheus at gmail.com>
Complete panel proposals of three speakers plus a chair, are welcome.
Deadline for abstracts: 30 October 2014

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