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Virginia Woolf and the Common(wealth) Reader$
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Helen Wussow and Mary Ann Gillies

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780989082679

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9780989082679.001.0001

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On a View from the Rims

On a View from the Rims

Katherine Mansfield and Emily Carr

(p.94) On a View from the Rims
Virginia Woolf and the Common(wealth) Reader

Mary Ann Gillies

Liverpool University Press

This chapter discusses Emily Carr and Katherine Mansfield, relating them to both Virginia Woolf and to the theme of the conference. Focusing on the issue of creativity, it asks: What is creativity? What is its source, how does the artist/writer/scientist tap into it and use it to produce new, or even original work? What prompts a woman on the rugged Canadian West Coast to pick up a paintbrush in order to give shape to the landscape and peoples that surround her, and in doing so to create a new mode of painterly expression? What is it that compels a young New Zealander to wrestle with her European intellectual and literary heritage, struggling to shake free of its influence in order to represent her felt experience, shaped as it so clearly was by her early years on an island situated “in the ring of fire”? What pushed a daughter of Victorian privilege to the breaking point, and beyond, again and again, as she sought literary forms that would adequately express her unique experience of modernity? Inquiring into these questions leads down interesting, sometimes frustrating, and always complex paths. The chapter sketches out some of these paths and in the process, provides insights not only into the question of creativity, but also, and perhaps more importantly, into Mansfield and Carr's enactment of it.

Keywords:   Virginia Woolf, Katherine Mansfield, Emily Carr, creativity

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