Stream of consciousness Stream of consciousness the continuous flow of sense? perceptions, thoughts, feelings, and memories in the human mind; or a literary method of representing such a blending of mental processes in fictional characters, usually in an unpunctuated or disjointed form of interior monologue. The term is often used as a synonym for interior monologue, but they can also be distinguished, in two ways.
In the first (psychological) sense, the stream of consciousness is the subject? matter while interior monologue is the technique for presenting it; thus Marcel Proust’s novel A la recherche du temps perdu (1913–27) is about the stream of consciousness, especially the connection between sense? impressions and memory, but it does not actually use interior monologue.
In the second (literary) sense, stream of consciousness is a special style of interior monologue: while an interior monologue always presents a character’s thoughts ‘directly’, without the apparent intervention of a summarizing and selecting narrator, it does not necessarily mingle them with impressions and perceptions, nor does it necessarily violate the norms of grammar, syntax, and logic; but the stream? of? onsciousness technique also does one or both of these things. An important device of modernist fiction and its later imitators, the technique was pioneered by Dorothy Richardson in Pilgrimage (1915–35) and by James Joyce in Ulysses (1922), and further developed by Virginia Woolf in Mrs Dalloway (1925) and William Faulkner in The Sound and the Fury (1928). For a fuller account, consult Robert Humphrey, Stream of Consciousness in the Modern Novel (1968).