Stream of consciousness

(5887 words)
  • John Mepham (Kingston University)

Literary/ Cultural Context Essay

  • The Literary Encyclopedia. Volume 12: Global Voices, Global Histories: World Literatures and Cultures.

Stream of consciousness writing aims to provide a textual equivalent to the stream of a fictional character’s consciousness. It creates the impression that the reader is eavesdropping on the flow of conscious experience in the character’s mind, gaining intimate access to their private “thoughts”. It involves presenting in the form of written text something that is neither entirely verbal nor textual. Stream of consciousness writing was developed in the early decades of the twentieth century when writers became interested in finding ways of laying open for readers’ inspection, in a way impossible in real life, the imagined inner lives of their fictional characters. The challenge was to find ways of writing that …

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Mepham, John. "Stream of consciousness". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 17 October 2003
[, accessed 06 July 2015.]