Performativity in words: musical performance in Katherine Mansfield's stories

da Sousa Correa, Delia (2011). Performativity in words: musical performance in Katherine Mansfield's stories. Katherine Mansfield Studies, 3 pp. 84–98.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.3366/kms.2011.0004

Abstract

This essay is about musical performance in Mansfield and about the ‘performative’ in that her stories perform rather than merely invoke musical analogy. Many of Katherine Mansfield’s musical stories make little direct reference to music. For my purposes here, I read four stories that do include specific accounts of musical performance and which therefore dramatise performative concerns that pervade Mansfield’s work as a whole. Through its contemplation of the musicality of Mansfield’s writing, the essay arrives at a sense of performativity in language that highlights the importance of affect: a notion of performative language fundamental to Mansfield’s writing and much other.

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