Tuesday, 26 April 2016

In which I paddle in the Stream of Consciousness

Reading about Dorothy Richardson author of the series of novels entitled Pilgrimage I was informed that it was novelist May Sinclair who coined the expression stream of consciousness in relation to her narrative style. The doubt I have is not about priority of the use of the concept of consciousness proposed by William James to describe Richardson’s work but the notion that she initiated a new narrative style. The oddities of personal association, the meandering and saltation are in Tristram Shandy for instance and what novelist does not attempt to limn the turbulent, turbid or smooth flow of a character’s mind.

Pointed Roofs is the first of the 13 novel series by Richardson. I have just read it and will by the mill stream of my mind grind grind out the makings of a critical scone. Soon. My consideration now is that trope of James’s. What can it mean? Clearly I shall have to examine his usage of that metaphor in Principles of Psychology

Compare and Contrast:

Empty-handed, I hold a hoe.
Walking on foot, I ride a buffalo
Passing over a bridge, I see
The bridge flow, but not the water.
(Bodhisattva Shan-hui)

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