- 英米評論 = ENGLISH REVIEW (ISSN:09170200)
- no.9, pp.5-33, 1994-12-20
The modern history began with the revolt of individual selfconsciousness against social pressure, which in turn led to the development of new types of unfettered thinking and behaviour. Thus, one way or other, language art was to go parallel with it: namely, increasing efforts came to be made toward the possible way individual consciousness should be communicated verbally. It is the so-called psychological novel that was then timed to meet the deeply-felt desire. Itself a product of new ages, however, the attempt to introduce the unmasking of innermost reality like 'mental movement' into the province of literature may well largely depend upon the progress in the world of science, particularly of the human mind. Yet it should be noted that most of the psychological novels in the earlier stage dealt with the human mind not so much in the light of its mobile proceeding as in the classical way of thought according to which 'mind' is left to its natural inclination and, not infrequently, an extreme manner to take the human mind as something predetermined in its course was no doubt enforced by the naturalistic view at its best. The course of time, meanwhile, came across an American psychologist at the end of the last century whose penetration was, far from being fin-de-siecle, quite fresh in that he compared the dynamic continuity of consciousness to a flowing state, thus putting forward the 'stream of consciousness' theory: William James was his name. The turn of the century found out a French philosopher who tried to raise the concept of consciousness up to the metaphysical level by calling it the 'pure duration' (duree pure) in his own fashion. Here we see that this theory of Bergson's is literally epoch-making on account of his attempt to get insight into, and cognition of, reality in its phase of duration, not in the static phase, which is in diametrical opposition to a majority of philosophical views since Plato's. It is equally worthy of note that the cognition of psychic reality, especially of consciousness, was more substantialised by two of his contemporaries, Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung, both of whom, being psychiatrists, carried out fruitful investigations into the human subliminal world by means of psychoanalysis. Consequently, the impact of their thoughts upon the world of letters was of such particular significance that without calling their achievements to mind, many modern psychological fictions would remain mere puzzles to decipher. Then what matters most for men of letters, in so far as they are more or less aware of it, will be the question if they could be bold enough to disclose all the undercurrent of private consciousness by casting off the yoke of linguistic convention. Nevertheless, such an undertaking admittedly forces them to defy it at the cost of intelligibility. At this point they are brought between the horns of dilemma, but they must needs break the deadlock. It will stand to reason that endless difficulty is involved in the linguistic presentation of such polydimensional reality with temporal continuity and spatial expanse as the stream of consciousness. In reference to this type of fiction, all the possible devices have been ever since invented by many writers to find their way through that language barrier, of which the most popular is a technique called the 'interior monologue'. Setting aside everything about such formal contrivances, of great importance, in terms of what matters linguistically, is the proper use of the verbal tenses which may be considered ultimately contingent upon a speaker's mental attitudes. The present tense invariably stands for the psychological present, and the past, including the pluperfect and others serves for a medium by which to picture consciousness in the form of recollection. The differentiation between the 'progressive form' (to be better termed 'imperfect' or else 'expanded') and the simple form in the English verbal system may be considered to be of great utility for a writer in that language. In this monograph more than three score of apt instances are given to illustrate the possible extent to which the progressive form was employed by the British writer, Virginia Woolf in two of her fictions, Mrs. Dalloway and To the Lighthouse. It will be seen clearly how this unique verbal form is, so to speak, sensitive to the writer's strong desire to bring the dynamics of mind into bold relief.