Katherine Mansfield

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David Herbert Lawrence

Katherine and Lawrence were rebellious, outspoken writers with strong beliefs in their own ideals; inevitably they sailed an ocean of alternating friendship and enmity. They were worlds apart in childhood; she was the daughter of a colonial banker and he the son of a miner, but both wished fervently to write.

Writing was their common bond: each illustrated an intuitive sensitivity to the natural world; each saw human behaviour and the class rules of the early 20th century as fair game, the peculiarities of which they drew on for perceptive characterisation with no saving grace of self-immunity granted; each broke the bounds of literary and social conventions.

Katherine recognised in Lawrence a response towards life that she felt in herself: “Oh, there is something so lovable in him - & his eagerness, his passionate eagerness for life – that is what one loves so.” Even so, when she saw the furious arguments Lawrence and his wife Frieda ‘enjoyed’, it was obvious that this passion could quickly become uncontainable: “…he is completely out of control – swallowed up in an acute insane irritation.” 


At the end Katherine saluted an essential affinity with Lawrence: “I am more like L than anybody. We are unthinkably alike in fact.” Matched in their gifts, they were matched in the incandescence of their brief lives - and in fates which they met with valour.

“Let me guide myself with the blue, forked torch of this flower down the dark and darker stairs, where blue is darkened on blueness.”

D. H. Lawrence

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