Consciousness in Modernist Fiction: A Stylistic Study by V. Sotirova

By V. Sotirova

This stylistic learn of realization within the Modernist novel explores shifts throughout varied viewpoints and the innovations by which they're dialogically interconnected. The dialogic resonances within the presentation of personality cognizance are analysed utilizing linguistic facts and proof drawn from daily conversational practices.

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The lack of a syntactic boundary and the presence of the coordinating conjunction ‘and’ between these clauses and Mrs Ramsay’s direct thought, together with the grammatical violation of the sequence of tenses, seem to invite an interpretation of the whole sentence as stemming from the consciousness of the character. Even the portions that report narrative action relay at the same time the character’s The Novel of Consciousness 33 perception with the use of loose coordination and evaluative adjectives (and an exquisite scent of olives and oil and juice rose from the great brown dish).

And it is Virginia Woolf who characteristically dissolves the syntactic boundaries between these different narrative modes: (C) She knew from the effort, the rise in his voice to surmount a difficult word that it was the first time he had said ‘we’. ‘We’ did this, ‘we’ did that. They’ll say that all their lives, she thought, and an exquisite scent of olives and oil and juice rose from the great brown dish as Marthe, with a little flourish, took the cover off. The cook had spent three days over that dish.

Kenner detects this sudden change primarily in ‘the quality of city life’ that produced ‘the First Machine Age’ (1982: 5), not least through the advent of mechanised public transport, and that resulted in the new social phenomenon of the ‘crowd’. The Modernist Revolution 19 As he states: ‘A crowd-man’s experience of life was governed by discontinuities and cued by omnipresent machines’ (1982: 6). The artistic manifestation of this mechanised existence is discernible in the Modernist work on the level of both linguistic form and narrative structure, as Kenner has observed with accuracy: Rapid transit had not previously been part of experience; it underlies the ‘episodic’ structure of Ulysses, where on turning a page we are suddenly somewhere else, and the quick-cutting of The Waste Land, where one moment we watch eyes and back turn upward from a desk (a line which, in asking to be read literally, conveys Picassoesque distortion) and the next moment the remains of an early morning’s breakfast being cleared in a dreary flat as the sun goes down.

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