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

By V. Sotirova

This stylistic learn of recognition within the Modernist novel explores shifts throughout diverse viewpoints and the strategies in which they're dialogically interconnected. The dialogic resonances within the presentation of personality attention are analysed utilizing linguistic proof and facts drawn from daily conversational practices.

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For Adamson, ‘the historical drift of SIL [style indirect libre] from the eighteenth century to the twentieth century’ has been marked by ‘a progressive suppression of speech accompanied by a gradual reduction of irony’ which is normally the result of a denser use of modality and evaluative and expressive language (1994a: 207). What makes it possible for Hemingway to move away from recording fully articulate speech and thought to capturing perceptual or preverbal states of the mind of a character in free indirect style is the selection of particular linguistic markers of subjectivity at the expense of others: namely the excision of emotively charged vocabulary and the greater density of deictic and aspectual categories.

Such undermining of coherence may be as simple as the use of ambiguous reference at the opening of narratives which immediately grounds the narration into the consciousness of someone present in the narrative world who is familiar with the people and objects identified by pronouns: (A) Of course he knew – no man better – that he hadn’t a ghost of a chance, he hadn’t an earthly. The very idea of such a thing was 30 Consciousness in Modernist Fiction preposterous. So preposterous that he’d perfectly understood it if her father – well, whatever her father chose to do he’d perfectly understand.

The parallel between these two authors’ techniques is aptly captured by Lodge: The most remarkable formal feature of Emma is that the story is told almost entirely from her point of view – there are just a couple of scenes at which she is not present but during most of the action she is mistaken about the true state of affairs, so that on first reading, the reader shares at least some of her misapprehensions, and the shock of discovery. This was an effect in which Henry James later specialised telling the story through the consciousness of characters whose understanding of events is partial, mistaken, deceived, or self-deceiving – which makes it all the more surprising that his recorded remarks about Jane Austen are so condescending.

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