"The Daughters of the Late Colonel": feminine temporality in Katherine Mansfield’s Short Fiction
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Universidad de Alcalá
Katherine MansfieldJulia KristevaWomen's timeShort story
Rodríguez-Salas, G. "The Daughters of the Late Colonel": feminine temporality in Katherine Mansfield’s Short Fiction. En: Gema S. Castillo García et al. (eds.) The short story in English: crossing boundaries. Alcalá de Henares: Universidad de Alcalá, 2006. pp. 786-798. (Obra colectiva. Humanidades). [http://hdl.handle.net/10481/24959]
This paper explores the close relation between the modern short story and Julia Kristeva’s concept of “Women’s Time”. Departing from her distinction between “men’s time”—historical and linear—and “women’s time”—cyclical, repetitive, and eternal—and fine-tuning this terminology to avoid certain biologism (I propose “masculine and feminine temporality”), I connect the epiphany as the organising principle of the modern short story with Kristeva’s women’s time. Thus, this genre becomes a perfect receptacle to expose the cultural construction of femininity and its confusion with female identity. The second step is to illustrate this theoretical premise with the textual analysis of a story by Katherine Mansfield: “The Daughters of the Late Colonel” (1920). While Kristeva sees feminine temporality as a realm that allows women to express themselves and achieve a form of eternity, I show Mansfield’s strategic use of this time to condemn the limitation and exploitation of women by patriarchal society. Mansfield’s intention is to display the negative connotations of this temporality for women, who are obliged to accept it with its routine, frustration, and marginality.