Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Saturday, October 30, 2010

"Taking the Veil" by Katherine Mansfield

"Taking the Veil" by Katherine Mansfield (1922, 7 pages)

"Taking the Veil" is one of the last few stories written by Katherine Mansfield (1888 to 1923-New Zealand).   Her husband, John Middleton Murry, included it in a collection of her stories he published in 1923, The Dove's Nest and Other Stories.

How could anyone dislike a story that begins its second paragraph with these lines

Perhaps even Edna did not look quite as unhappy as she felt. It is not easy to look tragic at eighteen, when you are extremely pretty, with the cheeks and lips and shining eyes of perfect health. Above all, when you are wearing a French blue frock and your new spring hat trimmed with cornflowers.

The night before Edna and her boyfriend Jimmy had been at the theater.   Edna took one look at an actor in the play and she was in love!   The feeling was not at all pleasant to her and in fact it cast her into despair.   Jimmy and Edna had known they would be married since age ten but now Edna has lost all interest in this idea.      I really do not want to say a lot more about this story.   To me it is just brilliant.    Mansfield takes what at first seems like an overly melodramatic typical teenage cliche and turns it into beautiful story about the true meaning of love.   

This story can be read on line at the New Zealand Electronic Text Center.   

Mel  u


Suko said...

Very nice review, Mel. I read the story and agree with you--it is brilliant.

nicole said...

Despite all the Mansfield you've read, you still manage to intrigue me with further reviews. It's lovely when an author so prolific is also so dependably good. That last sentence you quote is just about perfect.