In the previous chapter, I argued that Virginia Woolf’s novel Jacob’s Room, written during Katherine Mansfield’s lifetime, could be read, in part, as a complex response to Mansfield and her works. After Mansfield’s death in 1923, however, Woolf’s writing offers evidence of another kind of negotiation, as she confronted the loss of her friend, “that strange ghost” (DVW 2:317), Katherine Mansfield. The intricate nature of this struggle is illustrated by a moment in Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway, in which Woolf places Mansfield’s words into the mouth of one of her characters. In this scene the fictional Doris Kilman pleads pathetically: “Don’t quite forget me” (Dalloway 201). This phrase echoes Mansfield’s own, as written in a letter to Woolf in June 1917: Mansfield’s note ends “& don’t quite forget Katherine” (CLKM 1:324). That Woolf was aware of these words as Mansfield’s is clear: she had remarked on them in her diary shortly after Mansfield’s death (DVW 2:226). Why, I wonder, might Woolf have employed Mansfield’s plea in Mrs. Dalloway, and, more important, why would she have given those words to the self-righteous Miss Kilman to voice?
KeywordsMain Character Open Book Textual Difficulty Ghost Effect Ambivalent Response
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