A Video Talk
This brilliant short story set in Karori, NZ, is deceptively simple, evocative and deeply memorable. Join a little group of children in a Kiwi playground, and see for yourself that painted doll’s house and “the little lamp”.
“It is the unbearable poignancy of that last line, ‘I seen the little lamp’, that continues to haunt.”
― Margaret Drabble
Katherine Mansfield’s short story The Doll’s House was first published in a UK weekly newspaper in 1922. It is a simple tale – the Burnell children have been given a doll’s house and want to show off their new plaything to the other children at the school. Their school in Karori is a social melting pot and the children have been given strict instructions, by snobbish parents, not to mix with the Kelveys, children of the town washerwoman, and a man who might, or might not, be in prison.
Gradually all the children are invited to admire the glamorous new doll’s house, which is particularly admired because in its tiny dining room is a little amber lamp that looks as if it has been filled with oil, ready for lighting. Although the two Kelvey girls, Lil and Else, have been excluded from the treat. But Kezia Burnell has something more of independence than her sisters and one day, swinging on the gate, she sees the Kelvey girls walking along the road and, on an impulse, invites them in to look.
This brilliant short story has become a New Zealand classic, often studied in schools and universities. It is a close to perfect example of what a short story ought to be, creating a whole little world, moments of drama and pathos, vividly real characters.
Katherine Mansfield had a problematic relationship with her home country of New Zealand and left it at the age of 19, never to return. However, it would be the setting of most of her finest stories, so in many ways, while she left New Zealand, the country never left her. She was a troubled and difficult woman, struggling with ill health, relationships with strange men, and spending her later years travelling to places where a warm climate might cure her TB.
Learn more about this fascinating person and discover what it was that made her such a great woman. Virginia Woolf, who knew her, once commented that Katherine Mansfield was the only writer of whom she had ever felt jealous!
Join me to learn more about New Zealand’s greatest writer and a truly brilliant short story.
This Video Talk is a real treat! Taken from a live-streamed presentation, it has been carefully recorded and completely edited to deliver the experience of being part of an audience and having the best seat in the house. It includes over 60 minutes of intriguing stories about the author to help you understand what prompted this book to be written. The main characters and their roles are identified, the themes behind the story are analysed, and a description of the influence that the era, lifestyle and circumstances have on the book’s setting. It is illustrated with photographs, paintings and illustrations – you’ll have plenty to look at while you listen.
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Just $15. Buy it now – you’ll receive access details by return email.