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Stream of consciousness

Related: literature - literary technique

Titles: The Catcher in the Rye (1951) - Ulysses (1922) - In Search of Lost Time (1913 -1927)

Writers: Céline - Dostoevsky - Jack Kerouac - Marcel Proust - Virginia Woolf

The Bays Are Sere (1888) -
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Édouard Dujardin's "The Bays are Sere", first published in 1887, was the first novel written entirely in interior monologue or stream of consciousness.


In literary criticism, stream of consciousness denotes a literary technique which seeks to describe an individual's point of view by giving the written equivalent of the character's thought processes. Stream-of-consciousness writing is strongly associated with the modernist movement.

A few of the most famous works to employ the technique are James Joyce's Ulysses (in particular Molly Bloom's soliloquy), Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway, and Jack Kerouac's On the Road. The technique has also been parodied, notably by David Lodge in the final chapter of The British Museum Is Falling Down. Stream-of-consciousness writing is characterised by associative leaps that can make the prose difficult to follow. Typically, writers employ very long sentences which move from one thought to another. Sometimes, writers avoid punctuation altogether in order to prevent artificial breaks in the "stream."

With its rapid, unconnected association of objects, geometrical shapes and numerology Sir Thomas Browne's Discourse The Garden of Cyrus (1658) may, upon examination of its text, be considered one of the very earliest examples of stream-of-consciousness writing.

Contemporary singer-songwriter Alanis Morissette is also well-known for her employment of the stream-of-consciousness technique, in songs like All I Really Want, The Couch, and I Was Hoping. The album Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie signifies this method of writing. Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit is also done in a stream-of-consciousness style. -http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stream_of_consciousness [Jun 2004]

The Bays Are Sere (1888) - Édouard Dujardin

Edouard Dujardin's "The Bays are Sere", first published in 1887, was the first novel written entirely in interior monologue or stream of consciousness. For a long time its impact was dormant, until James Joyce read it in 1903 and subsequently revealed its influence upon him. As a result it was republished to great acclaim in 1924, after which Dujardin wrote "Interior Monologue", an essay on the origin of this style and how he came to adopt it. This book was freely translated into English by Joyce's friend Stuart Gilbert and published in 1938 as "We'll To The Woods No More". The present completely new translation is faithful to the original and reproduces all Dujardin's innovations. "Interior Monologue" is translated here for the first time. Edouard Dujardin (1861-1947) was editor of the "Revue Wagerienne", one of the most influential literary journals in Paris in the 1885. He was a poet and playwright who also wrote on the history of religion. --from the publisher

Édouard Dujardin (1861–1949) was one of the early pioneers of the literary technique stream of consciousness, exemplified in his 1888 novel Les lauriers sont coupés (which remains in print into the 21st century). --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%89douard_Dujardin [Oct 2006]

See also: French literature - stream of consciousness - 1888

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