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Prelude is a short story by Katherine Mansfield. It was first published by the Hogarth Press in July 1918, after Virginia Woolf encouraged her to finish the story. Mansfield had begun writing Prelude in the midst of a love affair she had in Paris in 1915.  It was reprinted in Bliss and Other Stories (1920). The story was a compressed and subtler version of a longer work The Aloe, which was later published posthumously in full.
The story is based on the Beauchamps’ move to Karori, a country suburb of Wellington, in 1893. Alpers says that some readers may not pick up the numerous hints that Linda is pregnant.
‘Prelude’, the long short story which opens Katherine Mansfield’s 1920 collection Bliss and Other Stories, is a modernist masterpiece. But like much modernist fiction, its meaning and its subtle use of symbolism and other narrative devices are unlikely to be fully apparent after a first, or even a second reading. You can read ‘Prelude’ here; on Tuesday we offered a detailed summary of the ‘plot’ of the story; now, we venture to put down some words of analysis about this story.
Because ‘Prelude’ is a modernist short story, the emphasis is on character rather than plot, as is also often the case with James Joyce’s short stories or Virginia Woolf’s short fiction. Mansfield is using the Burnells’ house-move, and the period when they are busy settling into their new home, as a situation around which she can make a number of local observations about family, women, and class, among other things.