The modern novel shifted from the values of the Victorian and Edwardian Age to the decadence of morality, which characterised the modern man. Moreover, a new conception of time and of human unconscious influenced the modern novel. The analysis of the character’s personality was not determined by the passing of time or his actions, but by the relation between his past and present. The truth about characters was thus revealed by his way of performing common actions, or by what Joyce called Epiphany, the revelation of one’s interiority caused by everyday life. The three most important groups of modern novelists are:
• Psychological novelists: who concentrated on the development of the human mind and relationships, like Conrad, D.H. Lawrence and Forster.
• Modernist novelists: who chose subjective narratives techniques to explore their character’s minds, such as Joyce and Virginia Woolf.
• The political novelists: who paid attention to society and mainly described anti-utopian worlds, such as Orwell and Huxley.
The interior monologue and the stream of consciousness
The “stream of consciousness”, term coined by the psychologist William James, described the continuous flow of thoughts and emotions of the human mind. On the other hand, the interior monologue is its verbal expression and description. The four types of interior monologues are:
• Indirect interior monologue: the character is present in his thoughts and “guides” the reader throughout the reading of his own thoughts; he is also fixed in space and considers his consciousness as part of the present, of an “inner time”, outside the rules of the reality.
• Interior monologue with two levels of narration: one external and one internal the character’s mind. Example: when Mr Bloom appears for the first time in Joyce’s Ulysses.
• Interior monologue with the mind level of narration: no external event interrupts the character’s monologue. Example: Molly’s monologue in the final chapter of Joyce’s Ulysses.