Biography of Katherine Mansfield

Katherine Mansfield was a writer best known for her modernist short stories and her association with Virginia Woolf and other members of the Bloomsbury Group.

Born in Wellington, New Zealand, Mansfield moved to London in 1903. While there, Mansfield became a proficient cellist, and published her first short stories in school newspapers and literary magazines. When she became editor of her college’s newspaper, Mansfield found her life’s work and decided to become a writer.

Mansfield led a bohemian lifestyle, rarely settling in one place for long and moving house often. Her father supported her financially, sending her a hundred pounds a year while she traveled, engaged in affairs with men and women, and wrote dozens of short stories. Although not a member herself, Mansfield was close with the Bloomsbury Group of writers based in central London and was friends with D. H. Lawrence and Virginia Woolf.

Mansfield was diagnosed with pulmonary tuberculosis in 1917. Moving often from one country to the next in search of a cure for her ailment, Mansfield settled for the last time at a spiritual commune in Fontainebleau, France. In January 1923, she died of a pulmonary hemorrhage after running up a flight of stairs.

Study Guides on Works by Katherine Mansfield

Katherine Mansfield's 1922 short story "The Doll's House" is about the daughters of the wealthy Burnell family receiving an elaborate doll's house which the girls show off to children at school. The Burnell girls' mother forbids them from inviting...

“The Fly” was published in the The Nation and Athenaeum in 1922. At the time, Mansfield was grieving over the loss of her brother, who died in a military training accident shortly before he was to be deployed to France at the start of World War I....