Stream of Consciousness in Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway

1354 WordsFeb 17, 20185 Pages
Stream of Consciousness in Virginia Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway. “These novels may very well be within a category we can label stream of consciousness, so long as we know what we are talking about. The evidence reveals that we never do – or never have done so.” (5). (Humphrey, 1954). This quote from Robert Humphrey, author of Stream of Consciousness in the Modern Novel, is about the use of the writing technique, stream of consciousness, in novels such as James Joyce’s Ulysses and Virginia Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway; he highlights that we can only label them as novels that use this technique if we have an understanding of what stream of consciousness means, and how it is used, which, according to Humphrey, we do not. However, this essay will express an attempt at understanding the use of the stream of consciousness technique in the novel, Mrs Dalloway. Firstly, to do so, we have to know the meaning of the term. ‘Stream of Consciousness’ is a psychological term that was coined by William James and first introduced in his 1890 novel, Principles of Psychology. James used the term as a way to describe a person’s mental processes in which their thoughts and feelings are presented in a continuous flow, much like the flow of a stream. After several years, the term started to become associated with novelists like Dorothy Richardson, James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, and William Faulkner, as their novels seemed to take on a stream of consciousness form; in their writings, we witness a flow of thoughts
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