The Daughters of the Late Colonel Background

The Daughters of the Late Colonel Background

First published in the London Mercury in 1921, The Daughters of the Late Colonel is a short story by Katherine Mansfield that was later re-printed in a compendium of her work entitled The Garden Party and Other Stories. It tells the story of two women, Constantia and Josephine, who are struggling to run a household and to keep day to day affairs in order after the death of their father. Their father had been quite a tyrant, and their new-found freedom leads to some extraordinary decision making on the women's part.

The story is written in the Modernist style which means that it has no set beginning, middle, and end structure. Mansfield instead includes long and short paragraphs, changes in narrative style, and different narrators and points of view.

Katherine Mansfield grew up in New Zealand, the country of her birth, but left when she became very distressed about the repression of the indigenous Maori people, heading instead to London where, after graduating Queens' College, she became a member of the Bohemian set, and had relationships with both her male and female writing peers. At the time of writing The Daughters of the Late Colonel, Mansfield was suffering terribly with tuberculosis and consulted a range of alternative practitioners who all offered brand new treatments and cures that turned out to be nothing but promises and snake oil. She passed away in 1923, with much of her work as-yet unpublished.

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