Past Events

Symposium on Katherine Mansfield - 22-23 September 2012


Hosted by the British Residents Association and the English Department of the University of Geneva, together with the Katherine Mansfield Society at Crans-Montana, Switzerland, 22-23 September 2012.  Introduced by the New Zealand Ambassador.  Keynote speakers: Witi Ihimaera, Angela Smith, Gerri Kimber

In 1921 and 1922 Katherine Mansfield was in search of a cure for tuberculosis, travelling to both Switzerland and France. She spent two separate periods in Switzerland during this time, totalling approximately twelve months. For four of these she stayed in hotels in Montreux and Sierre, and the remainder of the time she and her husband John Middleton Murry rented the Chalet des Sapins in Montana-sur-Sierre (now known as Crans-Montana). There she wrote some of her most celebrated stories, including ‘At the Bay’, ‘The Doll’s House’ and ‘The Garden Party’. It was also in Switzerland that she read the book Cosmic Anatomy, whose esoteric philosophy would ignite a desire for a spiritual cure from the physical symptoms of her tuberculosis, leading her ultimately to Gurdjieff’s community in Fontainebleau, where she would die in January 1923, aged just 34.

This symposium sought a reassessment of Mansfield’s time spent in Switzerland. Topics for discussion  included:

Mansfield and Switzerland;
Mansfield’s stories written during her stay at Montana;
Comparisons between Mansfield and other writers living at Montana such as S. Corinna Bille, Elizabeth von Arnim and Rainer Maria Rilke;
The relationship between Murry and Mansfield in Switzerland;
The relationship between Mansfield and Ida Baker (LM) in Switzerland;
Mansfield and gender;
Mansfield and spirituality;
Mansfield and travel;
Mansfield and tuberculosis;
Mansfield’s personal writing.

28 Sept 2012