Stream of consciousness

(5863 words)
  • John Mepham (Kingston University)

Literary/ Cultural Context Essay

  • The Literary Encyclopedia. Volume : WORLD HISTORY AND IDEAS: A CROSS-CULTURAL VOLUME.

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 would create …

Please log in to consult the article in its entirety. If you are a member (student of staff) of a subscribing institution (see List), you should be able to access the LE on campus directly (without the need to log in), and off-campus either via the institutional log in we offer, or via your institution's remote access facilities, or by creating a personal user account with your institutional email address. If you are not a member of a subscribing institution, you will need to purchase a personal subscription. For more information on how to subscribe as an individual user, please see under Individual Subcriptions.

Mepham, John. "Stream of consciousness". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 17 October 2003
[, accessed 28 September 2016.]