ESSAY PRIZE COMPETITION #13 (2021)
The co-editors of the Katherine Mansfield Studies book series are pleased to announce that the 2021 Essay Prize for a scholarly essay on the theme of Katherine Mansfield and The Garden Party and Other Stories, has been awarded to Daisy Birch, a recent graduate of the University of Oxford, UK. Her winning essay, ‘Redefining “Photographic Realism” in the Short Fiction of Katherine Mansfield’, convinced the judges, Professor Elleke Boehmer, Professor Jay Dickson, and Dr Claire Drewery, with its assured, original and theoretically astute discussion of Mansfield’s engagement with the art of photography in the 1922 collection and more broadly. The essay considers the dichotomy between Mansfield’s representational and representative approaches, drawing in Barthes, Benjamin, Woolf and others to point to how Mansfield combines and transcends culturalist and formalist approaches to modernism. Professor Elleke Boehmer, Chair of the Judging Panel, commented that the essay ‘works as a beautiful zoetrope that keeps revealing different photographic perspectives and angles in rich and illuminating ways. The essay offers a serious and sustained treatment of Mansfield as a serious modernist writer’.
The judges would also like to commend highly Dr Martin Griffiths’ essay ‘Dickens, Death and Mary Anne: Katherine Mansfield’s “Life of Ma Parker”’ for its fine, sustained critical treatment of this story, in a way that builds intelligently and closely on Mansfield scholarship, as well as drawing in interesting links to Dickens.
Both essays will be published in Katherine Mansfield Studies, vol. 14, which will be published in October 2022.
ESSAY PRIZE COMPETITION #12 (2020)
The co-editors of Katherine Mansfield Studies are pleased to announce that the 2020 Essay Prize for a scholarly essay on the theme of Katherine Mansfield and Childhood has been awarded to Dr Tracy Miao. Her essay, ‘Casting a “haunting light”: Katherine Mansfield’s Modernist Vision of Childhood’ impressed the judges with the illuminating connections it makes between Mansfield’s fiction and Peter Pan, and the subtlety with which it teases out the interplay of Modernist and Edwardian elements in Mansfield’s writing about childhood. Chair of the Judging Panel, Professor Anna Jackson, notes how biographical details are written about with the same assurance and attentiveness that Dr Miao brings to the analysis of scenes from the fiction, not only contributing to our understanding of childhood in Mansfield’s work but also to Modernist and Edwardian concepts of gender, sexuality and romance. Dr Miao is a lecturer in English at Xi’an International Studies University in China where she teaches literature as well as language courses. She has published several essays and book chapters on Katherine Mansfield and has recently contributed an essay on ‘Katherine Mansfield and the East’ to the forthcoming Bloomsbury Handbook to Katherine Mansfield, edited by Todd Martin.
This year’s essay submissions were of such a high standard that very difficult choices had to be made by judges Anna Jackson, Donna Couto, and Gerri Kimber. Also commended were three further essays. ‘Katherine Mansfield’s Play Aesthetics’, by Imola Nagy-Seres, University of Exeter, UK, illuminates the satirical bite of scenes and details of domestic discord in Mansfield’s fiction while casting a new light, too, on the progressiveness of the Montessori method of education which was newly fashionable when Mansfield was writing. Full of beautifully observed detail and sharp comparisons, the essay conveys both Mansfield’s sympathy for children and for childhood creativity, and her sharp eye for social absurdities and adult superficiality. ‘Kezia a “ninseck”, Kezia the Bee’, by Dr Janka Kascakova, Catholic University in Ruzomberok, Slovakia, focuses on the moment in part IX of ‘At the Bay’ when Kezia decides, against the implied rules of the game which is being played, to take on the character of a bee. Following its symbolic connotations, from European folklore as a ‘messenger between the living and the dead’ to classical mythology as a poet-prophet, the close attention this essay gives to Kezia’s ‘ninseck’ places it on a level of importance with the ‘little lamp’ of the doll’s house. Last, but not least, the absorbing and sophisticated essay, ‘Katherine Mansfield’s Sleeping Boys’, by Dr Erika Baldt, Rowan College at Burlington County, USA, explores the aestheticisation of death in the work of Katherine Mansfield in the light of the First World War, drawing detailed, compelling parallels with classical Greek imagery. All four essays will be published along with several others on the theme in Katherine Mansfield Studies, vol. 13, which will appear next year.
ESSAY PRIZE COMPETITION #11 (2019)
The Katherine Mansfield Society is pleased to announce the winner of this year’s prize for a scholarly essay on the theme of the centenary of the publication of Katherine Mansfield’s Bliss and Other Stories. This has been awarded to Richard Cappuccio for his essay, ‘The Well-Tempered Story: Experiments with Sound in “The Man Without a Temperament”‘.
The judges for this year’s prize were Professor Enda Duffy (Arnhold Chair, English Dept., University of California, Santa Barbara, USA, and Chair of the Judging Panel), Professor Marilyn Reizbaum (Harrison King McCann Professor of English, Director of Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies Program, Bowdoin College, Maine, USA), and Professor Sarah Cole (Parr Professor of English and Comparative Literature, Dean of Humanities, Columbia University, New York, USA).
The judges were unanimous in their praise for the essay, which offers a new approach to thinking about the specific modulation of Mansfield’s modernist prose. Chair of the Judges, Professor Enda Duffy, notes: ‘The writer is clearly very well informed both on modernist music and on the classical repertoire, and the range of references is striking. Similarly, he is expert on Mansfield, not only on the primary materials but on the full range of Mansfield criticism. He also makes excellent use of Mansfield’s letters to John Middleton Murry to prove the writer’s conscious and specific interest in capturing particular cadences and rhythms in the prose flow of each of her stories. On the matters of both “the noises of modernity” and even more on its silences, the essay is revelatory. Of the story “The Man Without a Temperament” he provides as far as we know a striking new reading, unprecedented in its sensitivity for the ways in which sound, whether acknowledged or not, can “bring [a character] back to life”. Using in part Helen Rydstrand’s recent work in Rhythmic Modernism, he reads the short story as a modernist performance piece, a score of modernist dissonant, living experiment, in which Mansfield’s intense concentration on evoking “the middle of the note” is what brings the work to life’.
The judges also agreed that the essay ‘‘‘We were a nothingness shot with gleams of what might be. But no more”: Katherine Mansfield, Virginia Woolf and the Queer Sublime’, by Oxford postgraduate student Eleri Watson was to be commended for its quality and insights, which reads key ‘sapphic’ moments in ‘Bliss’, ‘Prelude’, and Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway as a version of a specifically queer sublime, commenting: ‘This fine essay stands as a notable invitation and a critical incitement to study even more the intersection of sublimity and queerness in the stories of Katherine Mansfield’.
Richard Cappuccio is an independent scholar who has written numerous essays on Mansfield, which have been published in a variety of volumes and journals including Katherine Mansfield Studies, The Journal of New Zealand Literature, Katherine Mansfield and the Bloomsbury Group, and the forthcoming Modernism Revisited. He will receive a prize of £200, and both his essay, as well as Eleri Watson’s will appear in Volume 12 of the Katherine Mansfield Society’s annual yearbook, Katherine Mansfield Studies, on the theme of Katherine Mansfield and Bliss and Other Stories, which will be published by Edinburgh University Press in 2020. Members of the Katherine Mansfield Society will receive a copy on publication.
ESSAY PRIZE COMPETITION #10 (2018)
The Katherine Mansfield Society is pleased to announce the winner of this year’s prize for a scholarly essay on the theme of Katherine Mansfield and Elizabeth von Arnim. This has been awarded to Dr Juliane Roemhild for her essay, ‘After Life: Expressions of Mourning in Elizabeth von Arnim and Katherine Mansfield’. The judges for this year’s prize were Professor David Trotter (University of Cambridge), Claire Tomalin (renowned biographer and author of Katherine Mansfield: A Secret Life), Professor Susan Sellers (University of St Andrew’s) and Dr Isobel Maddison (Lecturer and Director of Studies, Lucy Cavendish College, University of Cambridge).
Looking at two of von Arnim’s novels, Christine and In the Mountains, through the double lens of wartime mourning and biographical research frequently favoured by Mansfield scholars, Roemhild argues that grief was a feeling shared by both these authors in 1921 when they lived close by each other in Switzerland. The judges admired the painstaking archival research from a previously unearthed private collection that underpins this essay. Chair of judges, Professor Trotter, commented that the work undoubtedly represents an original contribution to knowledge, illuminating a particular dimension of the relationship between these two key early-twentieth century writers, who were also cousins.
The judges also agreed that the essay submitted by independent scholar, Richard Cappuccio, was to be highly commended. Titled ‘Strange Monsters: The Struggle for Women’s Validity as Artists in the Writings of Elizabeth von Arnim and Katherine Mansfield’, the judges praised the deft way in which the essay engages with the harsh demands made on the female artist by social convention as presented in the writing of both authors.
Dr Juliane Roemhild is a lecturer at La Trobe University, Melbourne, where she works on British and German interwar literature. She has published widely and is the author of Femininity and Authorship in the Novels of Elizabeth von Arnim At Her Most Radiant Moment (2014). A founding member of the International Elizabeth von Arnim Society, she will receive a prize of £200, and both her essay, as well as Richard Cappuccio’s, will appear in Volume 11 of the Society’s annual yearbook, Katherine Mansfield Studies, on the theme of Katherine Mansfield and Elizabeth von Arnim, which will be published by Edinburgh University Press in 2019. All members of the Katherine Mansfield Society will receive a copy on publication.
ESSAY PRIZE COMPETITION #9 (2017)
The international Katherine Mansfield Society is pleased to announce that this year’s £200 prize for a scholarly essay on the theme of ‘Katherine Mansfield and Virginia Woolf,’ has been awarded to Karina Jakubowicz of University College London for her essay ‘A Conversation Set to Flowers: Beyond the Origins of Virginia Woolf’s Kew Gardens.’ The judges for this year’s Katherine Mansfield Essay Prize were Stuart N. Clarke (Chief Editor, Virginia Woolf Bulletin, Virginia Woolf Society of Great Britain, and co-editor of Virginia Woolf’s Essays), Christine Reynier (Université Paul Valéry – Montpellier, France), Kathryn Simpson (Cardiff Metropolitan University), and Christine Froula (Northwestern University, Chair of the Judging Panel).
Putting in question the widely accepted proposition by eminent Mansfield biographer Antony Alpers that a lost letter from Mansfield to Woolf inspired Woolf’s famous short story, Karina Jakubowicz examines an array of documents by Mansfield, Woolf, and Ottoline Morrell, whose spectacular Italianate and wild gardens at Garsington Manor drew many artists and thinkers loosely associated with Bloomsbury, to demonstrate the lively interest in gardens as a literary theme shared by several of these writers. Such documents include Morrell’s unpublished manuscript, ‘Garsington.’ Jakubowicz characterises Morrell’s, Mansfield’s and Woolf’s distinct approaches to writing about gardens even as each seeks to capture in words the vibrancy, movement, colour, and experimentation of garden spaces. In the judges’ view, this outstanding essay offers a detailed, original and astute reconsideration of the origins of Kew Gardens within these writers’ shared interest in the social and psychological possibilities of garden spaces for literary representation. It brings archival materials to light and examines in detail the interconnections, experiences and correspondences of Morrell, Mansfield, and Woolf to show why each was attracted to traditional gardens as spaces to set in play ‘bold, even radical ideas.’
Karina Jakubowicz is a doctoral candidate at University College London writing a thesis on gardens in the work of Virginia Woolf. She now teaches at University College London and The Foundation for International Education. She recently published Garsington Manor and the Bloomsbury Group with Cecil Woolf Publishers. Her current scholarly work widens the scope of her dissertation to the study of gardens in the work of early-twentieth-century writers. ‘A Conversation Set to Flowers: Beyond the Origins of Virginia Woolf’s Kew Gardens’ will appear in Katherine Mansfield Studies, volume 10, on the topic of Katherine Mansfield and Virginia Woolf, to be published in October 2018 by Edinburgh University Press. All members of the Katherine Mansfield Society will receive a copy on publication.
ESSAY PRIZE COMPETITION #8 (2016)
The Katherine Mansfield Society is delighted to announce that this year’s £200 essay prize, on the theme of ‘Katherine Mansfield and Russia’, has been awarded to Professor David Rampton. The judges who came to this decision, having evaluated a strong group of excellent entries, were: Dr Rebecca Beasley (The Queen’s College, University of Oxford), Professor Claire Davison (Sorbonne Nouvelle), and Dr Joanna Woods (author of Katerina: The Russian World of Katherine Mansfield).
Chair of the Judging Panel, Professor Galya Diment (University of Washington, Seattle), commented, summarizing the panel’s reactions: ‘David Rampton’s essay, “Underground Men” sheds new light on a much discussed short story, “Je ne parle pas français” and Dostoevsky’s Notes from Underground. It goes beyond any existing criticism and is particularly interesting at its moments of close analysis, which are always convincing – and appealingly open – rather than just stating or interpreting. Such reading reveals some of the more shady spaces of this well-known Mansfield story. The essay is original, nuanced, beautifully written, and fully worthy of the prize.’ The essay will be published next year in Katherine Mansfield and Russia, volume 9 of Katherine Mansfield Studies, the annual yearbook of the Katherine Mansfield Society, published by Edinburgh University Press.
David Rampton is Professor of English at the University of Ottawa, Canada. He served as Chair of the Department of English from 2002-2007. A specialist in American and Comparative Literature, his publications include studies of the work of Vladimir Nabokov and William Faulkner. He has edited a number of anthologies, including The Government Inspector and Other Works (2014) and Notes From Underground and Other Stories (2015).
ESSAY PRIZE COMPETITION #7
The Katherine Mansfield Society is delighted to announce that this year’s prize for the best essay on the theme of ‘Katherine Mansfield and Psychology’ has been awarded to Polly Dickson. The judges, Professor Laura Marcus (Goldsmith’s Professor of English Literature, University of Oxford), Dr Isobel Maddison (Director of Studies in English, Lucy Cavendish College, University of Cambridge) and Professor Clare Hanson (Professor of Twentieth Century Literature, University of Southampton) were unanimous in choosing this essay from a wide field of excellent entries.
Chair of the Judging Panel Professor Clare Hanson comments: ‘Polly Dickson’s winning essay “Interior Matters: Hunger and Secrecy in Katherine Mansfield’s ‘Bliss’” is a subtle, finely nuanced essay which allows us to see this much-discussed story in a new light. It adopts a mode of enquiry in which psychoanalysis is not applied to Mansfield’s texts, rather the essay explores the implication of psychoanalysis within them. This yields a reading which is supremely alert to textual detail and which opens up new perspectives on this familiar story. The essay is innovative, beautifully written throughout and announces the arrival of a fresh and original critical voice’.
Polly Dickson is a Ph.D. student with the departments of German and French at the University of Cambridge (UK). Her dissertation focuses on mimesis and mimicry in the works of E. T. A. Hoffmann and Honoré de Balzac. She is currently a visiting research scholar at New York University. She will receive a prize of NZ$ 500 (£211), and her essay will appear in the annual book series Katherine Mansfield Studies (Volume 8), on Katherine Mansfield and Psychology, to be published in October 2016 by Edinburgh University Press (sent free to all members of the Society).
ESSAY PRIZE COMPETITION #6
The Katherine Mansfield Society is delighted to announce that this year’s prize for the best essay on the theme of ‘Katherine Mansfield and Translation’ has been awarded to Chris Mourant. The judges, Professor Maurizio Ascari (Professor of English, University of Bologna), Dr Gerri Kimber (Senior Lecturer in English, University of Northampton) and Professor Claire Davison (Professor of Modernist Studies, University Sorbonne-Nouvelle – Paris III), chose the winner unanimously, from a wide choice of excellent entries.
Chair of the Judging Panel, Professor Claire Davison, explains the judges’ decision: ‘Chris Mourant’s winning essay entitled “Parodic Translation: Katherine Mansfield and the ‘Boris Petrovsky’ pseudonym” explores the fascinating story behind Mansfield’s intriguing nom-de-plume for the series of poems she published in Rhythm in 1912. By removing the poems from what has become their more familiar place in collections of poems by Mansfield, and situating them in their original context in the little review, Chris Mourant reconstructs a fascinating account of what inspired and motivated them, and how they were intended to be read. The essay is clever, innovative and surprising from beginning to end, confirming once again that Chris Mourant is not only a talented scholar but also a gifted literary detective, opening up perspectives on Mansfield’s life and works that we never even knew existed’.
Chris Mourant is completing his PhD at King’s College London, researching Katherine Mansfield and periodical culture. He is a co-founder of the Modernist Magazines Research Seminar at the Institute of English Studies, and a postgraduate representative of the British Association for Modernist Studies (BAMS). He will receive a prize of NZ$ 410 (£200), and his essay will appear in the annual book seriesKatherine Mansfield Studies (Volume 7), to be published in October 2015 by Edinburgh University Press (sent free to all members of the Society).
ESSAY PRIZE COMPETITION #5
The Katherine Mansfield Society is pleased to announce the winner of its fifth international essay competition, on the theme of ‘Katherine Mansfield and World War One’. The judges, Professor Sydney Janet Kaplan (Professor of English, University of Washington, Seattle), Dr Santanu Das (Reader in English Literature, King’s College London) and Professor Margaret Higonnet (Professor of English, University of Connecticut), agreed on the winner unanimously, from a wide field of excellent entries.
The winning essay by Professor Josiane Paccaud-Huguet. entitled ‘“By what name are we to call death?”: The case of “An Indiscreet Journey”’, examines the connections between death and eroticism in Mansfield’s war writings. Drawing on a wide range of references (Agamben, Freud, Lacan), Professor Paccaud-Huguet illuminates Mansfield’s famous war story through a close reading alongside the genres of the fairy tale and the mystery play, whilst simultaneously suggesting that the story ‘deals with the real substance of war experience’. The judges praised both the originality of her argument, and the elegance and fluidity of her writing.
Josiane Paccaud-Huguet is Professor of Modern English Literature and Literary Theory at Université Lumière-Lyon 2, France. She has published extensively on Modernist authors (Joseph Conrad, James Joyce, D.H. Lawrence, Malcolm Lowry, Virginia Woolf). She is currently completing a monograph entitled The Real Thing: The Modernist Moment of Vision, which includes a chapter on Katherine Mansfield. A founding member of the Katherine Mansfield Society, she will receive a prize of £200, and her essay will appear in the Society’s annual yearbook, Katherine Mansfield Studies (Volume 6), to be published in September 2014 by Edinburgh University Press (and sent free to all Society members).
ESSAY PRIZE COMPETITION #4
The Katherine Mansfield Society is pleased to announce the winner of its fourth international essay competition, on the theme of ‘Katherine Mansfield and the (Post)colonial’. The judges, Professor Elleke Boehmer (Professor of World Literature, University of Oxford), Dr Simone Oettli (Chargée d’enseignement, University of Geneva) and Professor Janet Wilson (Vice Chair, KMS, Professor of English and Postcolonial Studies, University of Northampton), agreed on the winner unanimously from a wide field of excellent entries.
The winning essay is by Aimee Gasston. The abstract of her essay, ‘Katherine Mansfield, Cannibal’, argues that Mansfield engaged with concepts of barbarism throughout her career and displayed a particular fascination with cannibalism that held both political and aesthetic significance for her. The article traces Mansfield’s transition from ‘a negative cannibalism of revenge’ towards a ‘tender anthropophagy of incorporation’. Gasston claims that this transition allowed Mansfield to transgress displacement and find a route to her most accomplished work by returning from Europe to New Zealand through fiction.
Aimee Gasston is a PhD candidate at Birkbeck, University of London, researching the modernist short story with a focus on Virginia Woolf and Katherine Mansfield. A member of the New Zealand Studies Network (UK and Ireland) she also read a paper on Katherine Mansfield at the Network’s inaugural conference, ‘New Zealand’s Cultures: Sources, Histories, Futures’ held at Birkbeck, 6-7 July 2012. She will receive a prize of £200, and her essay will appear in the annual journal, Katherine Mansfield Studies (Volume 5), to be published in October 2013 by Edinburgh University Press (sent free to all members of the Katherine Mansfield Society).
ESSAY PRIZE COMPETITION #3
The Katherine Mansfield Society is pleased to announce the winner of its third international essay prize competition, on the theme of ‘Katherine Mansfield and the Fantastic’. The judges, Professor Susan Sellers and Dr Marie Mulvey-Roberts, chaired by Professor Gina Wisker, were unanimous in their view that one of the essays submitted was outstanding in the originality of its approach and in the subtlety of its expression.
The winner is Maria Casado Villanueva’s essay ‘The Little Red Governess: Mansfield and the Demythologisation of the Motif of “Little Red Riding Hood” in “The Little Governess”’. The essay explores the ways in which Mansfield deploys the fairy tale motif of ‘Little Red Riding Hood’ in her story ‘The Little Governess’, showing how – as with the fairy tale – it operates as a socialising agent, a perpetuator of gender notions, and how through a modernist game of perspectives Mansfield articulates a criticism of a model of education, which both relegates women to a state of undesirable naïveté and punishes them for their own gullibility. Maria Casado Villanueva, a PhD candidate at the University of Santiago de Compostela in Spain, will receive a prize of NZ$390 (£200), and her essay will appear in the journal Katherine Mansfield Studies (Volume 4), to be published in October 2012 by Edinburgh University Press (sent free to all members of the Katherine Mansfield Society).
ESSAY PRIZE COMPETITION #2
The Katherine Mansfield Society is pleased to announce the name of the winner of its second international essay prize competition, on the theme of ‘Katherine Mansfield and the Arts’. The judges, Kirsty Gunn and Vincent O’Sullivan, chaired by Angela Smith, were unanimous in their view that one of the essays, written by a postgraduate student, was outstanding in the originality of its approach and in the subtlety of its expression.
The winner is Rebecca Bowler’s essay ‘“The beauty of your line – the life behind it”: Katherine Mansfield and the Double Impression’. It explores Katherine Mansfield’s attitude to the relation between what she called ‘life’ and work, the visual and the intellectual, emphasising doubleness in both Mansfield’s selves and in her aesthetics, a doubleness which led her to experiment with the literary Impression. Rebecca Bowler, a PhD student at the University of Sheffield, will receive a prize of NZ$ 420 (£200), and her essay will appear in the journal Katherine Mansfield Studies (Volume 3), to be published in October 2011 by Edinburgh University Press (sent free to all members of the Society).
ESSAY PRIZE COMPETITION #1
The Katherine Mansfield Society is delighted to announce the results of its first annual international essay prize competition, which attracted a broad range of high quality entries on the subject of ‘Katherine Mansfield and D. H. Lawrence’. The judges – C. K. Stead and Andrew Harrison, chaired by Susan Reid – faced a difficult challenge since, as Reid explains, ‘It was impossible to select just one winner from this outstanding selection, so we have awarded a joint first prize, to two very different but equally engaging essays’.
The two winning entries are by Linda Lappin – on ‘A Parallel Quest’ for an authentic self, which led both writers through similar stages of exploration of ancient religions and philosophies – and by Kirsty Martin, on how Lawrence and Mansfield approached the difficulties of writing about happiness. The winners will each receive a prize of £150 and their essays will be published in the journal of Katherine Mansfield Studies (Volume 2), 2010, published by Edinburgh University Press. The judges have also commended as a close runner up, an entry by Elise Brault, which examines marginality in the poetry of Mansfield and Lawrence.
Gerri Kimber, Chair of the Katherine Mansfield Society, said that ‘the response to this essay competition is enormously encouraging for the growing field of Mansfield studies, demonstrating the quality of scholarship and opening up new lines of inquiry’. She also praised the efforts of Susan Reid, who has worked tirelessly on this project over the last year.