Stream of consciousness novel
It was in the early part of the nineteenth century that m the stream of the consciousness novel, a new litera genre, came to appear in the realm of English the literature. was William James who first used this ful phrase in his “Principles of Psychology” in 1890. Then pre Freud’s writing began to appear in English translations the shortly after 1910. The ideas of Bergson and William The James also began to have their impact in England cor According to William James, Consciousness is an mo amalgamation of all that we have experienced and to p continued to experience. Every thought is a part of the nov personal consciousness, every thought is also unique and wee ever changing.” In fact the Edwardian writers saw people deel as simple, who were definable, whereas the Georgian began to see them as complex and diverse. This new som genre of stream of consciousness novel developed in early twentieth century and the idea of inwardness life after und outbreak of First World War. The Georgian realized that if they were to explore new territories, they required new ons tools, Mrs. Dorothy M. Richardson was, no doubt, the s ur pioneer in this field in England. But Virginia Woolf was ife it the most important protagonist of new literary genre On orm the eve of First World War, three novelists unknown to o the of the each other have enormous influence on the fiction of the century, and then, in 1914 James Joyce, an 1rish man began publishing in serial form A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man So, between 1913 and 1915 was born the new novel, the psychological novel or the novel of stream of consciousness. The great thing is that Lhe three novelists turned fiction from the extemal to internal reality. The novelists of this new school were greatly influenced by Bergson who divided time into inner time. It may also be called as psychological time. Another is mechanical time. Hence its division into past, present and future is artificial and mechanical. In fact, the past lives on the present in
memories and hence it also shapes the future. Hence in psychological novels, there is a preoccupation with time. So in this type of novel we find the action moving backward and forward freely in time. There is no chronological forward movement which is the common feature of the traditional novel. There the movement is zigzag as sinuous movement from the past to present and present to the past. Thus we often find the novelists of this school making an hour like a week or a week like an hour The great psychologists like Freud and some others deeply studied human consciousness. To them it was something in a state of nux, constantly changing and becoming different, in response to sensations and emotions received from outside. And then deeper probing and careful researches by them revealed uat there were layers within layers in human consciousness. Beneath the consciousness, there is sub-consciousness, and then there is un-consciousness. What ever we have experienced in life it all go to our sub-conscious and un-conscious in the form of memories and recollection. Things are brought up to the level of conscious. And conscious is the only part of small part of human psyche or soul. Hence human actions are bound to be determined more by sub-conscious and s un-consciousness than by conscious. Freud’s concept of level of conscious also influenced to modern novelists
of the age The modern novelists are more interested in the inner than in the outer life of a character. The aim of these writers is to reveal the soul and psyche truthfully and realistically and hence they use the stream of consciousness technique They want to show that the human is not simply logical, rational and predictable. The novelist creates a world of his own with its own laws. Hardly any climax or turning point is to be found in the story There is very little of external action. But in its place we get the interior monologue and the mental state existing simultaneously at a number of points in a person’s total experience. The interior monologue is in fact an integral part of the novels of this new literary genre. This internal or interior monologue is a silent s of a given character designed to introduce us directly into the internal life of the character without the
author’s intervention to explain. We can say that this is a new technical device that enables the reader to enter the inner life of a character and to watch the flow of sensations and impressions as they arise without any logical organization. In the psychological novel there is hardly any plot or story. Both plot and character in the conventional sense have decayed in the novels of this new genre. There is no sad description of characters as in older nov there is a shift from the externals to the inner self of various personages. And then there is no plot-construction in the sense of logical arrangement of incidents and events, leading chronologically to the catastrophe or denouement. According to Virginia Woolf herself, in the novel of subjectivity there is no plot, no character, no tragedy, no comedy and no love interest as in traditional novel. Undoubtedly, Dorothy Richardson is the pioneer of stream of consciousness writings. But among these writers in England, Virginia Woolf is the most important name. She realized that the tools and established conventions of the Edwardian novelists would mean sure ruin of the modern novel, and she made continued experiments with this form of novel. Her chief purpose was to record what life felt like to living being and then to communicate the impression made by one individual upon another.