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As with John Murry, Ida Baker’s life was irrevocably altered by her relationship with Katherine Mansfield. Ida had a severe nervous breakdown after Katherine’s death and said afterwards that she had never completely recovered. She also believed, like Murry, that she had a special connection with Katherine beyond the grave. There has always been considerable […]

Katherine Mansfield stares out of her photographs with a direct gaze that challenges the observer. Courageous, contradictory, self-willed, single-minded, argumentative, elusive, in both her life and her work, she has always defied the attempts of posterity to pin down the qualities that fascinated her contemporaries. Bertrand Russell admired her brain and would have liked to […]

GERMANS AT MEAT. Bread soup was placed upon the table. “Ah,” said the Herr Rat, leaning upon the table as he peered into the tureen, “that is what I need. My ‘magen’ has not been in order for several days. Bread soup, and just the right consistency. I am a good cook myself”–he turned to […]

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 […]

David Herbert Lawrence was born on the 11th September 1885, in a small terraced house in Nottinghamshire, the son of a coal miner. Lawrence’s father was well-liked but had a tendency to drown his depression in drink. His mother was religious, highly articulate and literate (she read widely and wrote poetry) and is generally regarded […]

In 1941 John Murry left Betty to live with the woman who would become his fourth wife – Mary Gamble. Many found their relationship incomprehensible, since Mary was approaching forty, extremely plain, and rather shy. But they defied convention to live together for fifteen years before they were legally able to marry. Like Katherine, Mary […]

As with John Murry, Ida Baker’s life was irrevocably altered by her relationship with Katherine Mansfield. Ida had a severe nervous breakdown after Katherine’s death and said afterwards that she had never completely recovered. She also believed, like Murry, that she had a special connection with Katherine beyond the grave. There has always been considerable […]