The Reception of Katherine Mansfield in Germany

Sobotta, Monika (2020). The Reception of Katherine Mansfield in Germany. PhD thesis The Open University.



This thesis is the first full-length study to explore the reception of Katherine Mansfield’s works in Germany and provides substantial previously un-researched materials. It investigates the reception processes manifested in the selection and translation of Mansfield’s writings into German, the attention given to them by publishers, reviewers, and academics, the reactions of her German readership, the inclusion of her works in literary histories and curricula of grammar schools and universities in Germany. This thesis provides a clear chronological narrative of Mansfield’s German reception and a major concern is answering the question as to how the different socio-political ruptures that affected Germany have shaped Mansfield’s reception during the past eight decades. It also explores the creative ways in which a number of writers from German-language countries were inspired by Katherine Mansfield’s fictional and personal writings.

I have divided my thesis into seven chapters. The first presents my findings on the translation and publication histories. The second chapter identifies the ways in which a particular story evolved, considering that, over the period of my study, Germany was shaped by the ideologies of diverging political entities. The third chapter investigates Mansfield’s reception from the 1920s to 1945. In the fourth, I present Mansfield’s reception in post-war West Germany from the 1950s to 1990. The fifth chapter is concerned with Mansfield’s reception in the former German Democratic Republic. In the sixth, I examine her reception from the German reunification to the present day. The final chapter illustrates that texts live in relation to a larger network of intertexts and that Mansfield’s short stories and personal writings inspired responses from a number of German and German-speaking authors.

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