Today, someone mentioned that The Book of Disquiet was not a stream of consciousness. I tend to disagree though. Could you please help me out?  Thanks.

Expert Answers
Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I do think that Pessoa's work is stream of consciousness.  Part of this lies in the general definition of the narrative mode as one in which there "is the continuous flow of sense‐perceptions, thoughts, feelings, and memories in the human mind or a literary method of representing a blending of mental processes."  In assessing this with Pessoa's work, consider the words of George Steiner in describing it:

The fragmentary, the incomplete is of the essence of Pessoa's spirit. The very kaleidoscope of voices within him, the breadth of his culture, the catholicity of his ironic sympathies – wonderfully echoed in Saramago's great novel about Ricardo Reis – inhibited the monumentalities, the self-satisfaction of completion.

I think that being able to liken Pessoa's work to terms such as "fragmentary," "incomplete" and "kaleidoscope" helps to strengthen the connection between stream of consciousness and what Pessoa has developed. This is enhanced by Pessoa's own envisioning of the work as something that was "a collection of fragments."  In assessing the work, there is no real distinct start and finish.  The continually introspective and self- analytical nature in which focus is not entirely directed towards one end, but the exploration of the multi- faceted nature of being is where I think that the narrative description of stream of consciousness is applicable. 

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The Book of Disquiet

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