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Crawling Creating Creatures: On Beckett's Liminal Minds

Bernini, M.

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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.


Bernini, M. (2015). Crawling Creating Creatures: On Beckett's Liminal Minds. European Journal of English Studies, 19(1), 39-54.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Sep 30, 2014
Online Publication Date Mar 12, 2015
Publication Date Mar 12, 2015
Deposit Date May 15, 2015
Publicly Available Date Nov 20, 2015
Journal European Journal of English Studies
Print ISSN 1382-5577
Electronic ISSN 1744-4233
Publisher Taylor and Francis Group
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 19
Issue 1
Pages 39-54
Keywords Samuel Beckett, Molloy, Malone Dies, The Unnamable, Company, Creature, Cognition, Phenomenology, Consciousness, Emergence, Predictive mind, Attunement.


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