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Mention Virginia Woolf and almost inevitably the words stream of consciousness will appear But what does this actually mean and how does Woolf distance herself from both reader and Clarissa and indeed does she bother Mrs Dalloway is we are frequently told a radical new form of prose breaking the mould of 19th century fiction Virginia Woolf herself predicted we are trembling on the verge of one of the greatest ages of English literature as she and James Joyce struggled to define a new method of capturing character She argued here that all human relationships have shifted as a result of the Great War rendering the Edwardian character portrait obsolete The entanglement of reader author and character were as much a part of this new effort to depict personality as a multi-layered self in which dreams memories and fantasies were as important as actions and thoughts as they are vital to reading the novel Using as a copy text edited by Stella McNichol this essay will boldly set forth in an attempt to determine the subtle web of relationships woven between these three combatants Woolf felt her greatest breakthrough in the composition of Mrs Dalloway was her discovery of a tunnelling process by which she learnt to dig out beautiful caves behind my characters the idea is that the caves shall connect and each comes to daylight at the present moment As it developed she believed it to gain a more analytical and human quality and so her depiction of character developed She frequently had discussions with the painter Jacques Raverat about fictional form who said the problem with writing was that it is essentially linear It is almost impossible to express the way ones mind responds to an idea where like a pebble being thrown into a pond splashes in the outer air are followed under the surface by waves that follow one another into dark and forgotten corners This idea
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