Stream of consciousness

(5887 words)
  • John Mepham (Kingston University)

Literary/ Cultural Context Essay

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 …

Please log in to consult the article in its entirety. If you are not a subscriber, please click here to read about membership. All our articles have been written recently by experts in their field, more than 95% of them university professors.

Citation:
Mepham, John. "Stream of consciousness". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 17 October 2003
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/stopics.php?rec=true&UID=1062, accessed 01 October 2014.]