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“That Pole outside our door”: Katherine Mansfield and Floryan Sobieniowski

Kimber, G. (2012) “That Pole outside our door”: Katherine Mansfield and Floryan Sobieniowski. Invited Keynote presented to: Katherine Mansfield and Continental Europe, Ruzomberok, Slovakia, 27-29 June 2012. Also presented at: Material Meanings: Third Biannual Conference of the European Network for Avant-Garde and Modernism Studies (EAM), University of Kent, 07-09 September 2012 (Unpublished)

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Invited Keynote)
Abstract: This paper seeks to explore the relationship between Floryan Sobieniowski and Katherine Mansfield and reconsiders the time they spent together in Germany during 1909. Mansfield made deliberate and sustained efforts to destroy all her personal papers from this difficult and painful period in her life, and, as a result, biographers have had very little material evidence to work on when trying to piece together her exact movements during this time. Supposition and guess work must necessarily replace hard facts. In light of my discovery that Mansfield’s poem ‘To God the Father’, written during this year, describes a stained glass window of the same name completed in 1904 by Poland’s most revered artist and creative genius, Stanislaw Wyspianski, I would like to suggest the possibility that she may in fact have visited Cracow with Sobieniowski and seen evidence of Wyspianski’s creative endeavours in his home town for herself. In addition, I have discovered evidence suggesting that an entire issue of Rhythm was planned, devoted to the work of Wyspianski. We know that Mansfield intended living with Sobieniowski in Paris at the beginning of 1910, characteristically changing her mind at the last minute. For the rest of her life he appeared to have some sort of hold over her, scrounging money, lodgings and a position on the magazine during the Rhythm years, and, as late as 1920, blackmailing her with letters in his possession which dated back to their relationship in 1909. She gave her entire advance on Bliss and Other Stories – £40 (equivalent to nearly £4000 today) – to retrieve them, and had them burnt, sight unseen, by Murry. This paper will therefore discuss the possibility that Mansfield might have visited Poland in 1909, and will suggest that the relationship between Mansfield and Sobieniowski was more complex than has previously been acknowledged
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PR English literature > PR8309 English literature: Provincial, local, etc. > PR9639.3 New Zealand literature
Creators: Kimber, Gerri
Faculties, Divisions and Institutes: University Faculties, Divisions and Research Centres - OLD > Faculty of Education & Humanities > English and Creative Writing
University Faculties, Divisions and Research Centres - OLD > Research Centre > Centre for Critical and Creative Writing
Faculties > Faculty of Education & Humanities > English and Creative Writing
Research Centres > Centre for Critical and Creative Writing
Date: 27 June 2012
Date Type: Presentation
Event Title: Katherine Mansfield and Continental Europe
Event Dates: 27-29 June 2012
Event Location: Ruzomberok, Slovakia
Event Type: Conference
Language: English
Status: Unpublished
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