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John Middleton Murry and Katherine Mansfield were only 22 and 23 respectively when they met in London, after she had submitted some stories to Rhythm – a review he was editing while studying at Oxford. She floats across the pages of his heavy-footed autobiographical novels, ‘superior, condescending, lovely, untouchable, tired of asking first-rate questions from […]

In January 1923, Katherine was living at the Gurdjieff Institute at Fontainebleau, trying to achieve spiritual peace in the hope that by healing the mind she could also heal the body. Aware that she was in the final stages of tuberculosis, she still hoped that she could be cured. Although she had already said a […]

Shortly after Katherine’s death Murry married Violet le Maistre, a girl who was Katherine’s physical double and who also had ambitions as a writer. Violet was very young for her age – the product of a sheltered childhood. In an uncanny echo of his meeting with Katherine, Murry met Violet when she submitted some stories […]

Within three weeks of Violet’s death Murry had agreed to marry the aptly named Betty Cockbayne – an uneducated farmer’s daughter who had a reputation for ungovernable rages. Her father warned Murry what to expect, but he went ahead with the wedding. His third marriage was as violent, destructive and punishing as his critics could […]

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