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Crawling creating creatures : on Beckett's liminal minds.

Bernini, M. (2015) 'Crawling creating creatures : on Beckett's liminal minds.', European journal of English studies., 19 (1). pp. 39-54.


The continuity and contiguity between animal and human beings in Beckett’s work has been the subject of sustained critical attention. The recurring dehumanisation or degeneration of his characters’ mental faculties and behaviours has largely been analysed as an ‘ostensible animalization’ of human nature – following a reading of the ‘creaturely’ spectrum as a regression from the human to the animal. In contrast, this article considers the creaturely level in Beckett’s narrative as occupied by undeveloped human cognisers as opposed to (and sometimes rancorously opposing) fully fledged Humans. If Beckett’s formal minimalism has been extensively foregrounded, this essay draws on contemporary cognitive science and phenomenology in order to define and examine what the author calls Beckett’s cognitive liminalism – his literary exploration of liminal states of cognition and experience, of which the concept of the ‘creature’ constitutes a foundational element.

Item Type:Article
Keywords:Samuel Beckett, Molloy, Malone Dies, The Unnamable, Company, Creature, Cognition, Phenomenology, Consciousness, Emergence, Predictive mind, Attunement.
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Publisher statement:© 2015 The Author(s). Published by Taylor & Francis. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Date accepted:30 September 2014
Date deposited:20 November 2015
Date of first online publication:12 March 2015
Date first made open access:No date available

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