Courageous Quotes by Katherine Mansfield

katherine mansfield

Katherine Mansfield was born in New Zealand and attended college in London, where she began to write. Writing short stories that were first published in 1911, she had complicated literary relationships with other authors.  Katherine attended the Institute for the Harmonious Development of Man, continuing to work on her craft; sadly, she died at a young age of tuberculosis. Though she had many challenges in her short life, her grit and courage comes through in this selection of quotes by Katherine Mansfield.

“I have discovered that I cannot burn the candle at one end and write a book with the other.” (From her journal, June 10, 1919)

“Risk! Risk anything! Care no more for the opinion of others, for those voices. Do the hardest thing on earth for you. Act for yourself. Face the truth.” (From her journal, October 14, 1922)

Katherine Mansfield quote on risk

“I believe the greatest failing of all is to be frightened.” (From a letter to John Middleton Murry, October 18, 1920)

“To work — to work! It is such infinite delight to know that we still have the best things to do.” (From a letter to Bertrand Russell, December 7, 1916)

“The mind I love must have wild places, a tangled orchard where dark damsons drop in the heavy grass, an overgrown little wood, the chance of a snake or two, a pool that nobody’s fathomed the depth of, and paths threaded with flowers planted by the mind.” (Katherine Mansfield Notebooks: Complete Edition, 2002)

“What is it with me? Am I absolutely nobody, but merely inordinately vain? I do not know…. But I am most fearfully unhappy. That is all. I am so unhappy that I wish I was dead—yet I should be mad to die when I have not yet lived at all.”

“To be alive and to be a ‘writer’ is enough.”

“I’m a writer first and a woman after.” (From a letter to John Middleton Murry, December 3, 1920)

“Could we change our attitude, we should not only see life differently, but life itself would come to be different. Life would undergo a change of appearance because we ourselves had undergone a change of attitude.”

“I have made it a rule of life never to regret and never to look back. Regret is an appalling waste of energy, and no one who intends to become a writer can afford to indulge in it. You can’t get it into shape; you can’t build on it; it’s only good for wallowing in.” (Bliss and Other Stories, 1920)

Katherine Mansfield quotes

Learn more about Katherine Mansfield

“The pleasure of all reading is doubled when one lives with another who shares the same books.” (From a letter to Ottoline Morrell, January 1922)

“When we can begin to take our failures seriously, it means we are ceasing to be afraid of them. It is of immense importance to learn to laugh at ourselves.” (from her journal, October 1922)

“… Every true admirer of the novels cherishes the happy thought that he alone – reading between the lines – has become the secret friend of their author.”

“To acknowledge the presence of fear is to give birth to failure.” (Journal entry from “Reading Notes”, 1905-1907)

“What do you want most to do? That’s what I have to keep asking myself, in the face of difficulties.”

“Without passion, one writes in the air, or on the sands of the seashore.”

Katherine Mansfield quote on passion


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