The great innovations in the breaking with the Victorian Age fiction were the idea of duration and the stream of consciousness technique in which the omniscient narrator disappeared to be replaced by the indirect or direct presentation of characters, through feelings and memories.
Stream of consciousness has became famous especially through the novels of James Joyce.
In Joyce’s Ulysses, ideas and images are put together and they are presented with no rational order.
Stream of Consciousness tries to reproduce the continuous flow of human thought, which at times overlaps past present and future.
Joyce’s stream of consciousness technique is characterized by linguistic and psychological devices:
- Linguistically short compressed sentences often without a main verb and subject
- Description of an event interrupted by comments or thoughts
- Bring in abrupt images or thoughts from a character’s past
- Question in the mind
- Musical quality of words (assonance, alliteration)
- Flashbacks, fade-outs and slow-ups
- Story within a story
- Use of similes and metaphors.
The stream of consciousness is the psychic phenomenon itself, while the interior monologue is the instrument used to translate this phenomenon into words. It can be divide in:
- Direct interior monologue, that refers to the direct presentation of a character’s stream of consciousness without the presence of an author or narrator.
- Indirect interior monologue, that refers to the indirect presentation of a character through the voice of an anonymous third person narrator. This type is easier to read because it often includes more descriptive passages or explanation.