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Wellington, New Zealand: Katherine Mansfield’s Home, View into Colonial Settlement of 1860s

February 17, 2012

Katherine Mansfield, one of the most famous short story writers,  lived half of her life in Wellington, and capsuled the era of English colonial life of colonial life there in the late 1800s.  The home where she lived in her early years is preserved just as a house of 1866 would have been, and it is a key to the Victorian world   that she  satirized in her writing.  There is a picture of the queen, requisite in English homes,and a chilling picture of a dead three month old baby in her grandmother’s arms, reminiscent of what Mansfield described as “morbid Victorianism.”

Little girls of that era lived their lives in the kitchen. She describes that room with the coal stove and original wooden sink in her story “The Doll’s House.” The  ground floor rooms have portraits of Mansfield and her contemporaries, and panels with quotes from her writing that reveal her intensity and her awareness social restrictions. An upstairs room has an exhibit called “Walk on the Wild Side, with from her London circle of writers, many of whom were members of the Bloomsbury Group. KATHERINE  MANSFIELD BIRTHPLACE  www.katherinemansfield.com

by Emilie C. Harting

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